Boomer Twilight

Mostly Humorous Observations of Most Anything, with a Boomer Slant

Posts Tagged ‘Facts

April 3, 1989 – Al Gore’s Worst Nightmare

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It was a beautiful afternoon on April 3, 1989; Orioles Opening Day at Memorial Stadium. I attended the game with a co-worker, Scott Becker, and a business acquaintance, Jeff Funk. The Orioles had just beaten the Red Sox, 5-4. Fans were enjoying a victory on the way to their vehicles.

We were waiting for the light at 36th Street and Alameda to cross and get to our cars, when we heard, “Stop!” A father in distress was yelling to his six-year-old son, who had just broken the grasp of his hand and ran into busy traffic. The son obeyed and stopped; in the middle of the road. A car hit him and he flew from the front of the vehicle to the rear (described as 30 feet into the air) and slid for another 20 feet after landing. Everyone was horrified. I had never seen anything like it. The child laid unconscious in the road and we all thought he was dead.

His mother was screaming hysterically (what mother wouldn’t?). His father was trying to calm her, while attending to his son. I, like a fool, ran over to the vehicle that hit him, and shrieked at the driver, “Get out of the car!! Get out!!” I was convinced he had been speeding, because that’s what I saw. The driver was obviously distraught, thinking he had just killed a boy. But, I was undaunted in my vigilantism. My friends pulled me away, and we all tried to collect ourselves. It was terrifying.

I tearfully observed the father trying to keep everyone in tune with the situation, while thinking his son had just died. He looked athletic, a big fellow, leading me to believe he was an athlete attending the game and seemed familiar to me, but with all the commotion, I couldn’t recall who he might be. The police came, told me to go away, and we walked to our cars. I immediately called my wife and told her what had happened and asked her to check the news. On my way home, she called to tell me the boy was Al Gore’s son.

At the time he wasn’t quite as famous as today. Whatever your political philosophy may be, and however Al Gore fits into your political spectrum, in this case he was just a father; scared to death he had lost his son. No one ever wants to deal with that. The internet, Vice Presidency, 2000 election fiasco and global warming were all in his future, but at this point he was just praying for the recovery of his child.

We tend to think celebrities are beyond heartbreak. Their lives are not like ours. Those whose children die before them are not our concern, because we think they are somehow surreal and unapproachable. But, it happens to people in all walks of life, and we shouldn’t lose sight of how vulnerable we are to mishaps and disease. Albert Arnold Gore, III survived, thanks to the attending physicians at Johns Hopkins, but he very well could have died. Most of us wouldn’t have even thought about it. If I had not been there, I wouldn’t either.

I like Al Gore, and am sure it is because of this particular experience. I also like that he is a Vietnam Veteran. Many people give him grief because of his liberal leanings, but I can’t get past this accident. No matter what he does or says, there will always be a spot in my heart for April 3, 1989. He dealt with it well, but it could have been the end of him if his son had not pulled through.

I only hope none of you have to suffer the loss of a child.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Written by Bake My Fish

July 7, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Ding a Ling a Ling . . . “Wait a Minute . . “

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“Marco! Polo!” is to swimming pools what “Wait a minute . . “ is to ice cream trucks. They are universally interpreted to mean whatever they mean, and all children say them the same way (you’re probably hearing them in your head right now).

Oh, the sound of those bells and the kids singing, “Wait a minute,” as they rush into their houses for some change. “Mom! Mom! The Ice Cream Man is here!! Hurry!!!” I like to remember chasing down the Good Humor truck with my friends, but the best memory was driving one.

In 1973 my discharge from the Air Force came through. It was exciting, until I thought, “Now what?” My skill was reading and delivering secret messages. There weren’t an abundance of jobs requiring cryptographic training, and I planned to attend college in the fall, using the GI Bill. I needed something quick to take care of my 3-year-old family. Having a wife and two kids, with no income, can cause anxiety for everyone involved, so I had to find work. Any work.

After a month attempting to sell Ecko Hope Chests on the streets of Washington, DC, and not even sniffing the possibility of a sale or income, the time seemed right for a different venture. My parents’ apartment was closing-in on us, so I began a relationship with the Washington Post classifieds.

I can’t quite remember how the advertisement read. There was mention of Good Humor Ice Cream and driving; two things I like. So I hopped into my new 1973 red Chevy Vega (don’t laugh) and drove to the plant in Hyattsville for the job interview. It was a short question and answer session, which included inquiry about my driving record (having been out of the US for the last four years, I didn’t really have a chance to soil it) and a quick run of the mirror under my nose to see if I was breathing. They gave me the job. Whew!

The truck you see to the right was the typical style of the late 60s – early 70s. Mine was slightly different. It required dry ice (good for entertaining when a puddle was nearby) for the freezer, rather than being plugged-in overnight. And, I got out of the truck from the driver’s side, since it was a two-door cab. But, the chimes worked great. Ringing those bells while driving around the neighborhoods gave me the chance to be an inspiration to the children and a screen-scratching irritant to the parents. I yanked on the chain as rhythmically as possible. The louder and sing-song jingly I could make it, the more ice cream that was sold. I got “Jiggy wid it,” and pulled in a pretty decent wage.

Ice cream-seeking children are disciplined. They have an internal clock that notifies them it is time for the Good Humor Man. After one or two weeks of conditioning, they knew where and when I would be stopping. At the designated corner, they fidgeted excitedly with money in hand, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Lord of Frozen Treats. It is one job where being late means lower income, because if Mister Softee is lurking nearby and the Good Humor Man makes a habit of not arriving on time, soft serve will be sampled (my family’s Sheltie loved it). A child’s loyalty only survives one or two disappointments.

Most of the Good Humor drivers had their first names on the side of the truck just over the freezer door. Mine read “Menjie.” Usually the kids would ask, “Is that your name?” I would answer, “Yes, I am Menjie Rovasfringle.” Their heads tilted slightly like a puppy, while they wondered if it was true. My answer always remained the same, “That’s my real name.” A little white lie, but it entertained them, as they forked-over their nickels.

The favorite part of my route was the end. I always finished-up at the Fort Belvoir barracks in the evening. The soldiers ate dinner about 4:30, so by the time 7:30 came around, they were ready for pints, quarts and half-gallons; all packed away at the back of the freezer to be sure there was a ready supply. Young GIs, with the munchies, usually emptied the truck, which made for a good drive back to the plant, carrying lots of cash and having plenty of room for tomorrow’s wares.

School started for me in August, ending the experience as a Good Humor Man. Many of the drivers drove taxicabs in the off-season, and I was directed toward Yellow Cab in Marlow Heights for weekend work, while going to school. The parent company, Unilever (Lipton Tea), made a decision in 1976 to abandon direct sales, opting to distribute Good Humor® through grocery chains. By 1978 all the official company trucks were parked, and eventually sold to other ice cream distributors. The Good Humor Man was no more.

Although, I only worked for the company a few months, it is a memory that will live on forever. Hold on a second, that sounds like the Mister Softee truck. I have to go.

“Wait a minute . . . .”

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Written by Bake My Fish

June 21, 2008 at 11:42 am

Confessions of a Hallowed Wiener

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My favorite holiday is Halloween. It’s not even a holiday. No government offices close, banks and other companies conduct their normal business, and all schools remain open. Yet, it’s considered to be a holiday. That’s what you think, right? It has that celebratory feel. Maybe we should just label it a Cause For Celebration, since it doesn’t get the official holiday treatment. I’m not even sure I should capitalize Halloween.

Regardless of whatever the plan for decorating my house happens to be, I usually take the day off in anticipation of all the little tykes soon to be scared half-to-death. I probably shouldn’t confess playing hooky on an unholiday. Please don’t tell anyone. Yeah, I’m the guy in the neighborhood children either can’t wait to encounter, or the house they stroll past nervously. The candy I give is the good stuff, but they have to work for it. If it’s a really good night of fright, there is a lot left over for the office.

My parents started it. It’s all their fault. On Halloween they put on a show. The best year I remember, Mom took out her teeth and played a Witch, and Dad got up on the roof and dropped a sheet-covered broomstick on a rope in front of the kids as they ascended the steps. They gave the best treats, so all the kids wanted to make the stop. That particular year my father was a driver for Rock Creek, and he gave out bottled sodas to the costume-clad loons. Glass bottles. If anyone gave me a glass container of pent-up fizz, it would be tossed in the air to watch it break in front of me. That would be cool. So, my father unwittingly probably contributed to bad behavior. Nevertheless, receiving a sugar-infused soft drink is a nice treat. Fortunately, when my Dad drove for Sinclair Oil, he didn’t give away bottles of gasoline.

So, I was hooked. Now, Halloween can’t come soon enough. I want each year to be more outrageous. The creepy music, screams, shrieks, blubbering, chimes, bells, howls, cackles and other haunting tracks blast out of the upstairs windows, probably making a few neighbors hate 2034.

Although, it is really neat to be the house treat-seekers want to hit before the end of the night, my most successful gig was in 1983 while living in an apartment in Columbia, MD. I had this really hideous, horse-faced mask of Richard Nixon. The picture (not my mask) you see here does not do justice to the fear my face-cover extracted. During that day in the office where I worked at the time, the mask was worn for our Halloween celebration. I popped up from behind a cubicle in front of one of my bosses, and got him good. The fright on his face was priceless. And, he was a Republican. If he were a Democrat, he probably would have made a quick trip to the bathroom.

Then that evening, the haunting began. It was a perfect night. Monday Night Football was on and the Redskins were playing. A bottle of tequila (the last one ever) was my friend, and my children were with me.

We tied a cord to the handle of the door of the apartment and rigged the knob so it could be opened without turning. I stood in the foyer under a green light, with my head covered by the mask and wielding a plastic Psycho-style knife. My kids took turns yanking the door open at the sound of a knock, and I did my best Norman Bates impersonation, while shrieking and thrusting the blade downward. It never failed to do the trick. The only time I regretted the prank was when a father, holding his infant, screamed like a girl, then laughed. The baby did not think it was funny and cried pitifully. Causing seven-year-olds to crap their pants was good. Scarring a child for life is not. My divine punishment was too much tequila. Eventually, I just pointed to the television and said with an idiotic slur, “Rrredshkinz,” then slowly shuffled sideways into my bedroom, got sick and passed out. To this day my son and daughter rag on me about the episode. “Tequila, you are no longer my friend. Be gone, and take that silly worm with you.” One good thing that happened was the Redskins beat the Chargers 27 – 24.

Some people might think at my age being obsessed with Halloween is a bit odd. I’ll never stop. We’ve lived in this neighborhood for 22 years. The kids expect the crazy guy at 2034 to do something goofy and weird. I have a reputation to uphold. Several months ago, while getting my hair washed before the cut, the shampoo girl was talking with me about where she grew up. She was referring to my neighborhood. We started discussing Halloween and she mentioned the fear of walking up the driveway of the house with the loud eerie music, and the man who always dressed up, and usually jumped out from behind something. I probed a bit more, and guess who? We had a big laugh. Endorsement by unsolicited testimonial.

My life is now complete.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

June 3, 2008 at 4:58 am

Signing For Dollars

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During a drive from Baltimore to Florida in late April, I was assaulted by South of the Border billboards beginning about 175 miles before the camp. After entering South Carolina on 95, I passed the official, government-sponsored Rest Area and while crossing over the short bridge that followed, I thought, “If I just had a can of green paint and silver reflective tape, I could change the D to a P, and cause a few travelers to giggle.” In my mind, a short distance after, a sign would be erected that reads, “Welcome to South Carolina, Tiny.” The females would probably get a better laugh than the males.

The inundation of road signs, billboards and markers along every highway fascinates me. I want to be a Signage Mogul in my next life. There are signs selling food, reminding you to rest, warning to watch for the next sign that warns to watch for the next sign and giving distance in fractions of miles. In one section of Virgina, there are mileage markers every 1/10th of a mile. One tenth! That’s like the distance from my house to my neighbor’s. Or from the parking lot of Walmart to the store. Do they need to remind us every tenth of a mile we have driven 1/10th of a mile? Those who order the signs for whichever governmental office appropriates that sort of thing, must be getting good seats at some sporting event.

Of course, traffic signs are a necessity. Otherwise, how could we locate the nearest fast food establishment and get a full tank of golden liquid for our vehicles, so we can drive to our next quick cuisine joint four hours later? When I’m on a road trip, there better be some indication of the nearest restroom, because I drink a lot of liquids; so “thank you” Sign Procurement Officer. Without you, I wouldn’t know where to stop.

When I was a pre-teen, my parents drove a few times from Maryland to Indiana to see my Grandmother. I loved the trip because it gave me the chance to be on Burma Alert. Some of the best commercial poetry of the time was the series of signs made famous by Burma Shave and I couldn’t wait to read the next group. They were fun because I was a kid who didn’t shave and didn’t pay taxes. Burma Shave wasn’t using my dollars to test my roadway literacy. They were footing the bill.

Even though most traffic signs are necessary, there’s one that pisses me off every time I pass it. Now, I don’t mean to be a whiny, “I’m always over-taxed, government sucks” nuisance. My complaints about wasteful spending are kept to a minimum. Salaries of governcove-f-ortment workers have to be paid, trash has to be collected, schools need money, streets need mending and the homeless need to eat (unless we can find a use for the cadavers ;-)). I know all that, and acquiesce to the assumed worthiness. Road signage falls within the aura of government responsibility. Then every time I take Exit 16-A off Baltimore’s Beltway on to I-70 toward Frederick, there is this huge Green Monster informing me how far it is from that point to Cove Fort. 2200 miles. Who is driving to Cove Fort from Baltimore? Who’s even thinking of it? Maybe the idea comes to mind after you see the sign, but the message is a waste. I don’t think anyone is really driving that far, and the bus station doesn’t have a long line of people purchasing tickets to Cove Fort. Anyone flying there doesn’t care the distance from I-70 is 2,200 miles. And, where the hell is it, anyway?

Somebody got paid for that sign. I wish it were me.

Signing off,

Weird Geezer
Guest Contributor

I’ve Always Thought it was Neanderthal, But Apparently it is Neandertal

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I was on Chicken Foot Road, in St. Paul’s, North Carolina this past Mother’s Day, sitting around the kitchen table with my Mom, younger sister and her daughter (she calls me Uncle Baggo). We were enjoying strawberry-covered angel food cake. The small TV in the corner was tuned to Clash of the Cavemen on the History Channel. In the beginning I was the only one watching, but after a short time my sister started commenting, then my niece, and finally my Mother.

It wasn’t so much the content of the show that caught their attention; it was the Narrator’s pronunciation of Neanderthal. The premise of the episode was how Mr. & Mrs. Neanderthal’s contact with Homo sapiens (Cro-Magnon Person) about 27,000 years ago, because of the necessary migration forced by Global Cooling (better known as the Ice Age), caused their eventual extinction.

When I was young, the only pronunciation for Neanderthal was Neanderthal. But apparently the hoity-toity, high-brow Anthropologists prefer to use the proper German Neandertal. So what if Neanderthal was discovered in Neander Valley? I want to say it the way I know. Although I heard the “correct” pronunciation a few months before my family on a different “educational” show, at the time I didn’t pay it much mind. Now it kind of ticks me off. How dare them change it? Bastages. All of them!

Then the Narrator started pronouncing Cro-Magnon as Cro-Magnyon, in some sort of French, Sissy way. Where will it end? I always knew Cro-Magnon as Cro-Magnon. Now, I have to picture Peppy Le Pew walking around saying, “Theese eeze Cro-Magnyon Pairson” as he points to the picture on the left.

Homo sapiens were much less mentally-challenged than Neanderthal (tal). Anytime a more advanced brain subjects an inferior brain to The Ways of the World, the superior mind wins.

I think I’ll have another donut. Pass the pizza.

With Love,

Bag O’ Donuts
Guest Contributor

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Written by Bake My Fish

May 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm

One Flu Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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My wife and I were sitting on the couch the other evening watching TV. When I got up to get a soda, she noticed what appeared to be a blister on my butt. Immediately I screamed, “Oh no!! It’s Smallpox! It’s Bubonic Plague! I’m gonna die!!!” It turned out to be just a contact lens we thought was lost forever.

My panic attack was probably caused by just having watched Episode 6 of Season I of Deadwood, which was dedicated to the Smallpox epidemic that swept through the town during its infancy, not to mention a general fear of dying from one of the Pandemics we seem to hear so much about these days.

My intention is not to ridicule the seriousness of various ailments in our history. The Black Death killed more than 25,000,000 human beings throughout Europe from 1347 – 1352; an average of 5,000,000 a year, which was 1/3 of the population. One of every three people someone knew at the time keeled over. That’s kind of scary, and kept the Cadaver Patrol quite busy. It is estimated that worldwide up to 50,000,000 people expired from the Spanish Flu of 1918. Probably more people died from that outbreak than smoking. The Asian Flu of 1957-58 caused the death of more than 70,000 in the US. Asian Flu is still around, but hasn’t circulated in humans since 1968. That means if it reels it’s ugly head again, no one under 40 is immune. Pandemics are devastating. Many people die, and many more become seriously ill.

What should we do? Wash our hands more often? Kill our neighbors if they seem ill (or are mowing on our side)? Wear a surgical mask 24 hours a day? What? My suggestion is just “Go with the flow.”

I’m not picking up any dead birds on the street. And, I’m not planning to pal around with any sick chickens (we still don’t know why they cross the road). Avian Flu is real and the most troubling strains start within fowl. My precautions are warranted, because our feathered friends are here on earth to kill us all. Influenza A viruses use wild birds as their host. Unless the virus undergoes Antigenic Shift it is harmless to humans. When it mutates we are at risk.

How many of you get a flu shot every year? And how many of you who felt immune got sick, anyway? I’d venture to guess more than should, considering we tend to believe the inoculation is the shield. Is it really? The immunization contains three strains of flu to protect you. Influenza genes are composed of RNA, rather than DNA, and are more prone to mutation than DNA. When Antigenic Drift occurs after the vaccination, it is ineffective.

Personally, I don’t trust science over viruses. Germs, squiggly things and potentially deadly microorganisms have been around longer than humans, and their ability to adapt to hostile threats is far more superior than our own. Birds evolved from dinosaurs; they were here first. We can’t win.

I just hope Home Depot carries plastic bubbles big enough to cover my house.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Soy To The World

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I have really been enjoying soy products lately. Tonight my dinner was Peanut Noodles made with soy pasta. Add a little spinach and/or bok choy to the recipe, and you have a home run. Mmmm. You might be turning your nose up at the thought, but it was really good. Tasty.

I’m by no means a Vegan. Meat is a part of virtually all my meals. The occasional nibble of a hunk of jerky is within the realm of my dietary kingdom. I haven’t chomped on the side of a buffalo lately, but I do eat meat. My joy for soy is not because there is any particular concern over chewing on carcass. It’s just that soy products are so healthy and are now more like familiar food. And honestly, they please the Buds of Taste (sounds like a movie).

When I was a kid, one of my favorite journeys was to the Chinese restaurant with my sister and parents. We always got a kick out of my father eating the hot mustard and pretending the beads of sweat were not rolling off his brow. “Naaa, it’s not hot. It tastes good,” so he said. We knew better. His red face and fire-eyes were a dead giveaway. Dad was cool.

When the food came, the first thing I reached for was the soy sauce (bet you do, too). If I had known then my sauce would turn into Peanut Noodles as an adult, I would have prepared myself for the evolution.

Soy crisps make a great substitute for potato chips. A dripping, sloppy cheeseburger; with a side of Roasted Garlic Soy Crisps, is more healthy than a dripping, sloppy cheeseburger; with a side of dark russet oil chips; probably about 70 calories.

It seems with all the diets there is an emphasis on high protein. Soy contains hearty amounts. The standard grocery chains are carrying more and more diverse soy products. You don’t necessarily have to go to the natural food markets and pay an exorbitant price for healthy food. It has always bothered me that to eat healthy, you have to pay way too much. It’s as though you need to take out a loan to live. Why is that? I know supply and demand economics is at work here, but is it really fair?

When I saw soy noodles on the shelf it was exciting. I love pasta, and this gives me a chance to eat it and get the near equivalent of the protein contained in meat. Another really good dish, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, is great using soy pasta. The recipe calls for minced garlic, but if you slice it real thin and brown it in olive oil, it’s better. Maybe use a little more because the chunks will be bigger than minced garlic, which emits more flavor than sliced.

As a society we have grown bigger and broader. The clothing industry and models of the clothes seem to be telling us we shouldn’t be allowing this to happen. Yet, we continue to expand. Obesity is a major concern, and our health is challenged by our abnormal growth. “Fat is not where it’s at.” We do little to counter the expansion of our torsos. Food made with soy will help. And for the tree hugging, animal saving public, it can be the answer.

Soy ice cream is terrific. We can feed our fat fetish, while saving our hearts. It seems to me that is a good way to go.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

March 7, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Seinfeld Gang, Come On Down!!

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Last time we talked, I was lamenting about the Beatles not being Boomers. Eventually, I’ll get over it. After all, I’m not dancing in the streets to Revolution. There’s this thought that hanging my hat on the memory of the best musical group in the History of Forever might get me a seat on the bus to Boomer Heaven, but I can live with the notion there is not such a place. My salvation is realized in the fact all the actors in the Seinfeld series are Boomers. Alright!! Life can go on. Hello, Newman.

I don’t want to drone on about the popularity of Seinfeld. Personally, I can’t get enough. So what if I have watched all the episodes a zillion times? Every repeat cracks me up. The diner scenes still make me laugh. Big salad, indeed. Is it just me, or is Elaine hot? Even today, at 47? It must be the French part of her that gets me. That baguette under her arm makes me crazy. And then there’s the dancing. Go, Elaine. You rock!

Every episode is funny. My wife and sister-in-law love the “Low Talker/Puffy Shirt” one. My nephew thinks the “Chinese Restaurant” episode is great. The only thing I liked about the restaurant scene was when the Maytla Dee shouted, “Caultlight!” I thought of Hoss (Boomer reference).

Larry David is a genius. He and Jerry Seinfeld created the show, and since it’s conclusion, Larry has gone on with Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is a lot like Seinfeld, without the censorship. Hilarious. I really like that Larry David graduated from the University of Maryland. A terrific school and my Alma Mater. He’s a Yankees fan, which might make some Orioles fans crazy. Regardless, he has a great mind. Do you remember the episode where Elaine was wearing the Orioles hat, while sitting in seats provided by George Steinbrenner? That was a riot. Especially when Kramer was hit in the head by the foul ball.

Cosmo Kramer flies into the room and we all laugh. The recent difficulties with his stand-up act notwithstanding, he was the show. The only episode in which he was not included was the Chinese Restaurant scene. That explains why it’s at the bottom of my list.

The neurosis of George Louis Costanza was Larry David personified. George is so annoying you love him. He always seemed a donut-hole away from exploding. It was particularly grating during the last season, when almost every episode ended with George screaming in the air, and the camera panning away from him in a Heavenly direction. The technique was overused and got on my nerves.

This Boomer Club I have recently been touting is still accepting applications. We’re not that strict and will allow WWII-era children, as well as Desert Storm babies. I feel good we have broadened acceptance.

Sounds like America.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

P.S. Check Out These Seinfeld Clips!!

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Written by Bake My Fish

February 17, 2008 at 8:41 pm

The Beatles Are/Were Not Boomers. Who Knew?

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I was surfing through Google Images, looking for a picture of Linda McCartney to add to my slide show Some Famous Boomers Who Have Passed. Then I searched her history on the Web to discover she was born in 1941. Officially, being born before 1946 does not qualify as a Boomer. That seems odd to me. Then I searched for the boys in the band, and learned none of them are, either. Even Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. All of those left are “Old Dudes.” Not groovy.

My first dance (with someone other than myself) was to I Want To Hold Your Hand. It seemed to me the guys singing it were in sync with me. Then She Loves You became my favorite, and I was in Heaven. At that time I thought, “These guys are really hip.” Now realizing they are much older than me, the magic has waned.

Boomers are the 60s. The Beatles are, too. Why then is there some official definition of who is or is not a Boomer? I thought of John, Paul, George and Ringo as “my guys.” Aside from geneaology, we are the same. Now, I can’t be seen with them.

My nephews, aged 17 and 16, are Beatles fans. They are 40 years my junior, and I am younger than any member of the band. Does this mean I should be doing the Charleston at dance clubs in tribute to music forty years prior?

The Beatles really were catalysts in the Hippie Movement; nevertheless, they were born too early to be considered Boomers. Weird. Most of the drivel in the 70s, like Maharishis and Hare Krishnas, were directly influenced by the inertial karma of the Beatles. Yet, they are not allowed in the Boomer Club. Paul, we love you and you know you should be glad. But, please stand behind the rope. You’re not on the list.

Recognized as the first born among official Boomers is Kathleen Casey-Kirschling. She just filed for Social Security benefits on October 15, 2007. The assault on your tax dollars has begun. I’m proud to run point for the Boomer Army.

And here’s another bit of Bummer Information for you. The Monkees don’t qualify, either. And guess who else (this’ll kill ya)? Gilligan.

Welcome to our club.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

February 6, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Rome Wasn’t Filth in the Day

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Our bathroom habits are routine. We have privacy whenever and wherever we want. There is never a necessity, other than a serious emergency, for us to use an outside facility. During the realm of the Roman Empire your routine would have been challenged. Sitting on the bowl in the wide open, waving at Julius Caesar (he made such a great salad) during a Triumph through The Aventine, would be a stunning scene in today’s world. Considering the Roman diet was decidedly higher in grains and fiber than ours, these holes would have been put to good use.

I can’t imagine sitting on a pot with the person next to me, scrunch-faced and chatting as if we’re waiting for a bus. No walls, no barrier, just our bloomers around our ankles, shooting the breeze. It’s tough enough remaining quiet when there are stalls. In the open, you can’t be mum. The guy sitting on the adjacent hole may want to talk. You can’t be rude and avoid the conversation. Otherwise you will be considered a jerk. I suppose it was fairly awkward reading slate tablets, rather than the newspaper or a magazine, but without the solitude, you had to lay down the newsoid and listen.

I’ve written about the over and under TP roll. Sitting in the open during number two, beats any lack of proper materials or the direction of the pull. Are the mores of today any better for us than during the days of open potties? We think it’s nasty, but for the Romans it was the norm. Louise Pasteur wasn’t around, so they didn’t really know about bacteria and stuff. Our exposed genitalia wasn’t considered as naughty and disgusting as now. We were humans, with normal needs. Society didn’t really care that we emitted waste.

Fortunately the lack of stalls eliminated most of the bathroom graffiti. It is important to note; however, that the series of privy poems about The Young Man From Nantucket or Azores, originated during the reign of Caligula. The felt-tipped pen wasn’t invented before this period. Potty Laureates had to be creative.

A friend came into my office the other day to discuss “Urinal Protocol.” I do agree with him that indeed we have developed habits. If a man walks into an empty bathroom, which receptacle does he use? If there is more than one user, with more than one trap, where do you line up? In Ancient Rome it was no problem. For us it is perplexing.

Imagine a day at the Coliseum during a Gladiator/Wild Beast massacre with 50,000 spectators drinking wine, eating whole grain bread smothered in Garum, a hunk of cheese, and some kind of carcass from the stadium vendors; all of which were very likely bacterial-infested. I would guess they might want to visit the facilities on occasion. Now, I could probably live with the idea of sharing a booth with another person, given the culture of the time. But, 50,000? I’m glad to have been born a Boomer.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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January 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm

No Bank Ever Gave Me a Poe Toaster

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There is this mysterious character in Baltimore dubbed Poe Toaster. Every January 19th, which is the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, some guy leaves three roses and well-branded cognac at Edgar’s grave. Nice tribute. Please leave barbecue pork rinds and Kettle One vodka in the field where my ashes will be strewn. Don’t forget napkins. Also, leave a DVD player for any movies I might want to watch in the hereafter.

I love Poe Toaster. What a cool idea. This started in 1949, has always been a media event, and the guy never dies. I’ll bet there are more than one. Probably an underground society of Poe Toasters plotting to take over the world and force us all to live under a swinging pendulum.

During my youth (I always dwell on that) Vincent Price was my hero. He was in all the Poe-based flicks. Vincent was scary. Everything I ever read or heard about him as a real person, is that he was a super nice fellow; the kind of guy who would fix your flat tire if he happened upon you in dire need. Go, Vincent! My kind of people. Nevertheless, he was freaky.

I find Edgar Allan Poe fascinating. In today’s world, he would be shunned. An opium eater, drunk most of the time, and sleeping in alleyways. Still, a gifted author. Don’t get me wrong, I love Eddie. And to this day, someone leaves a tribute at his grave. Live poetry.

It’s not a Baltimore thing. I just like him. E. A. Poe would have been viable in any city of the world. His talent is universal. Baltimore is honored to claim him as their own. One of his best characters, The Raven, became the local NFL franchise’s mascot. You can’t be given any better tribute than to have a billion dollar sports franchise named after a subject of your poem. Edgar lives on. I’m just glad they didn’t name the team “The Potters” because the logo on the helmet would be kind of lame.

In my travels, I often drive past the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. Sitting at the light, I glance over just to look. I never see anything sitting on the grave. So, I wonder. What happened to the cognac? You know someone is drinking it. Savoring the beverage left for Edgar. It’s good stuff. Well-liked by those who partake of cognac. Well? Who’s drinking it? Huh? Someone is. I think it warrants investigation.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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January 19, 2008 at 7:55 pm

A Rose By Any Other Name

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This Christmas I watched Bad Santa. For me it was a rerun; my third viewing. Anyone who has seen this movie was either put off by the profanity or thought it was frickin’ hilarious. I’m among the latter. The movie is politically incorrect; seldom appropriate; often vulgar; but downright funny. The fat kid in the picture to the right latched onto Santa, who holed up in the kid’s house, while avoiding the authorities. He was a Bad Santa.

After an hour into the movie, “Kid” gave Santa his report card (all Cs, with one B). Santa looked at the grades, and focused on the boy’s name. “Your name is Thurman?” “Yeah.” “Your name is Thurman Merman?” “Yeah.” Then he looked at the kid with this expression that could only be associated with the thought, “You poor, pathetic loser. No wonder your life is so screwed. What kind of name is that?” Exactly.

Now let’s go through a scenario of the Life and Times of an Ill-Named Child. The first traumatic experience will be at roll call in grade school. Chipper and anxious to learn, until their name is called out by the teacher. This embarrassment lasts however long the school system calls roll. If it’s Reform School it could be until 18. If college, 22. Then there is employment. An office job brings with it name plates on the office door or cubicles, name badges at any business events and business cards. The snickers and chortles never end, because there is just too much exposure.
What are some parents thinking? They seem not to be able to forecast
what a name can do to a child’s future. Richard Head, Tom Thumb, Ira Heinilick, Hymen (anything), Isabell Ringing, Easton West, Howard Ewdune. Should I continue? I like funny names. There are many more here. I mean no offense to anyone whose name may really be one of the aforementioned Monikers. Nothing personal, but the names are funny.
If you go through life responding to “Thurman Merman,” which carries with it wedgies and ass-whippings that linger until adulthood, you have to look at your parents and ask, “What did I do?” “Did I come out of the womb si
deways? Did I look too much like Dad? Why did you punish me like this?”
Sure it’s rebellious and patriotic to name a child “America” or “Freedom,” if at the time of birth you were on some acid trip and flexing your political muscle. But, the kid has to spend about 75 years lugging around an Albatross. Imagine being at the Assisted Living Facility and after a lifetime of questions, still explaining your name to the staff, while placing your teeth in the jar and hair on the lampshade. Mom? Dad? Scarred For Life is not a video game. Don’t try to be funny when naming your kids.
I always liked the name Sir Dingle Foot. He was a member of the British Parliament, who died choking on a sandwich in 1978. How he died is not what fascinates me; choking on food is a common occurrence (not always leading to death). What puzzles me is the name “Dingle.” It’s quite possible there may be more than one person in the world named “Dingle.” My question is, “Why?”
With Love,
Bake My Fish

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January 15, 2008 at 9:37 pm

What’s That In Your Pocket?

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Now, don’t snicker when you read this. I’m here to discuss a serious matter. It’s not the end of the world, but to some men it may seem that way. Macho no mo’ is not a reason to jump off a bridge, or drive your car into a wall. There is hope. You can get assistance from several sources. Medication is available; although it’s quite expensive. And, not covered by Health Care plans. They consider it a luxury drug, meant to solve a luxury-less problem; unnecessary in the eyes of those determining what to allow. They’re probably not getting any, so it doesn’t matter to them. Spending all their waking moments finding ways to deny coverage leaves little time for romance.

Research indicates there are several causes of libido malfunction: smoking; diabetes; high cholesterol; too much alcohol (when was the last time you were drunk and the man?); high blood pressure; venous leak; depression; and a tiny wee wee. There are several other reasons, and most likely some yet to be discovered. Basically, any condition causing restricted blood flow can be the culprit. After all, it’s an organ, not a bone.

Much money is being made providing chemical solutions to men suffering from this traumatic experience. The drug companies developed at least three pills, and many herbal enhancements to keep the motor running. There are creams, devices, implants, and other remedies to make it possible for afflicted males to enjoy continued activity with the “love of their life.”

The most interesting, yet frightening remedy is a potential cure based on the venom of an aggressive and extremely deadly creature . . . . the Brazilian wandering spider. Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me to inject poison or any other potentially paralyzing agent into the body for the sake of six or seven minutes of “Oooo, baby, baby” is a bit risky. Pass on the spider toxin. Temporary rigidity isn’t worth chancing permanent paralysis.

If you are having difficulties, and the woman in your life is becoming frustrated with your inability to be her ideal mate, see your doctor or therapist for relief. They’ll gladly give you samples of medication and a prescription. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. The pharmaceutical companies give the samples to the doctor to be handed out. They want you to be hooked on their new miracle drugs. No one is complaining about the cost of the product, because they don’t want to admit they’re users. It’s like the first time a guy thinks of a vasectomy. The thought goes through his head, “Will this be the end? Will I be impotent from this procedure?” Guys have difficulty thinking they are less than virile. Either you take something, or continue making love with a rope.

If you need it, just ask the physician. Maybe they’ll even give you a badge to wear proudly to proclaim your allegiance to taking care of business. It is estimated that 30 million men suffer from this syndrome. During football season it grows to about 40 million. The increase is most likely caused by excess alcohol, over eating, lack of attention, and many other conditions resulting from six months of College and NFL football TV viewing (including preseason games).

Well, I gotta run. The game’s on, and I need to pour a cocktail so I can take this little blue pill. She’s waiting for me, and both should have kicked-in by halftime.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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January 3, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Nine Tenths or a Tenth of a Thent?

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Pssst! What’s wrong with this picture? Give up? Well? What? It’s the fraction. I didn’t pay much attention when I was younger, nor have any idea when it began. If you know, tell me, because I am clueless. Now that I’m old and cranky, it just pisses me off!

Why do the gas companies use 9/10 as a measurement? I’ve never purposely pumped 9/10 of a gallon in my car. I usually try to round it off at the .00 mark, occasionally going a penny over (man, it ticks me off when that happens) and then try to go all the way to the next .00. Sometimes I get caught at .77 and can’t fill the tank any more without spilling it on my shoes. My preference is to pay for the fuel in round numbers, not tenths. I rarely have a pocket full of tenthathents.

The consensus is sellers of petrol use the fraction as a marketing tool. That’s not particularly profound information, is it? I’ll bet more than a few of you reading this see 3.14 9/10, and think you’re getting a deal at 3.14, not 3.15. Many will drive a couple of more miles to buy the gasoline at 3.12 9/10, because it seems like it’s only 3.12. The strategy seems to work. I too, fall prey to their ploy. And to be even sneakier, they don’t use dollar signs (like they’re some fancy restaurant), as if we lemmings won’t know it’s money. Lately, I seem to have stopped chasing down the few-cents-cheaper-gallon-several-blocks-away. It just doesn’t seem worth the fight. I’ll probably burn any savings during the chase down. When gasoline is necessary, I just get it.

Using the fraction is really no different than going into a store and buying something for $9.99. You’re only paying nine dollars, right? And, you are probably not even calculating the tax in your head. Who’s the better marketer; the petroleum companies or the retailers? The 9/10 is so annoying. Can’t they just round it out? Or switch to .99? That’s almost as irritating, but for some reason not quite as much as 9/10. Decimals are more appealing than fractions. Fractions seem a bit unwieldy. Decimals are quick and clean. Fractions are like a little fence you have to jump. Decimals are to the point. Hell, they are a point.

The price of gasoline is high, but how many of us buy bottled water? If a 16-ounce bottle cost $1.00, a gallon is $8.00. It appears the day has arrived where people are paying more for water than gasoline. Of course, no one can drink 10 gallons of water a day, but we can easily use 10 gallons of gas.

We’ll complain, debate, moan and groan about the price of gasoline, and how the Middle East is the cause of all our problems. Regardless, we won’t walk, car pool or drive more efficient vehicles. Why should we? When it comes to sacrifice, it is better to tough it out and pay the bill. Let’s save on groceries or other things in our lives. Eating at cheaper restaurants is helpful. I wonder how many Oil Executives frequent McDonald’s?

Well, I’m going to go now. I need to drive my SUV to Wendy’s and pick up dinner. They don’t deliver. Probably a result of the fuel prices.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

December 30, 2007 at 8:53 pm