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Fruit Be Not Proud

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Here is  a screen shot of my Game Center account for Fruit Ninja.  FN is the game I play when I am bored.  You attempt to slice fruit and earn points.  If you play the multiplayer, as I do, you try to slice more fruit than they other guy.  For every win, you move up in the rankings.  I am currently ranked #796 out of 1,283,153 players.  That puts me in the top 0.00062% of players.  While I think that is sorta cool to be ranked that high, I am a little disturbed by it.  I play about 20 games through out the day.  The games last one minute, so it’s not like I play a lot, I just play consistently.  I keep telling myself that there is nothing unhealthy about it.  I hope I’m correct.

On another note, we need to talk about hyperlinks.  If you see some text that is slightly blue and has an underline when you put your mouse over it (like this right here), you are supposed to click on it.  I use them in my blogs to add an extra dimension, so please, experience the treasure trove of extra content!

And so it goes.






Welk Was An Elk!

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This year my godfather sponsored me into the local Elk’s lodge.  My grandfather was very active in the Elk’s and my father joined for a while.  This particular lodge is the same one that sponsored my Boy Scout troop, so I was already very familiar with it.  There is a swimming pool, a little restaurant and, of course, a lounge!  The best part is that all of this is within walking distance of the house we put an offer on.

B.P.O.E stands for Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  When I was in scouts, we joked that it stood for Boozing Place Of Elks.  Actually, the Elks started off as a private drinking club in 1868 to get around the blue laws in New York.  Back then it was called the Jolly Corks.  Over the years it has morphed into an impressive social foundation with a $400 million endowment.  Each of the Elk’s geographic areas has a ‘major project’ that funds a cause for helping kids with disabilities.  They have scholarships for kids, a retirement home, different community based programs to help those in need.  Overall, it is impressive how much they do for so little recognition.

To join you need to be 21, American, believe in God and not be communist.  I love it.

Every Monday night they have a once-around all you can put on your plate spaghetti feed.  For the last few months, before Biffie’s Cub Scout meetings on Monday, we’ve gone over there to have dinner before the meeting.  I need to bib the boy up beforehand.

This summer we are looking forward to walking to the pool (assuming the bank that owns the house ever get’s back to us).  When my buddies are around, we can walk to the lounge and enjoy $2.00 drafts or have lunch.

I imagine I will get more involved as the kids get older.  I’d say the average age of membership is mid-60s, but there are plenty of younger guys and gals around.  The Exalted Ruler looked to be in his mid-40s and there are officers who are younger than I am, so it is more welcoming than I had initially thought it would be.  The only meeting I have been to so far included a lot of updates about who died, who just had surgery and who was now in a nursing home.  There are about 2,400 people listed on the membership roles and about 100 of those come to meetings.  From my sample size of one, it is the older crowd that comes to the meetings, so the news topics make sense.

We all went there for a Mother’s Day brunch this year.  Lot’s of food, family and friends for a few dollars.  A great deal no matter how you look at it.

You can go here to see the Elk’s homepage.

And so it goes.


Father of Daughters

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I have the pleasure of being a father to four girls and a boy.

Our oldest, known here as the Alpha Child, is joyful, eccentric and can be, um, difficult.  She is a natural performer.  This past year she sang, ‘A Few of My Favorite Things’, from The Sound of Music at her schools talent show.  Did a great job for a nine year-old.  My Facebook friends can poke around on my wall and find the clip.  When she was researching saints at school this year, she had to say what cause she would be the saint of.  I suggested that she could be the patron saint of dramatic little girls.  Note to self:  Dramatic little girls don’t like to be called dramatic little girls.

Our second daughter, Julia Grace, died when she was very young.  She still looms very large in my perception of the world.  She would be turning five about this time of year.  The kids have a cousin that is her age and I often watch cousin Izzy and wonder what Julia would be doing now.  And so it goes.

Next down the line is The Cuteosaurus.  The running joke with her was to pick an adjective or action and add ‘osaurus’ to it. Burposaurus, screamosaurus, eatosaurus, etc.  The CS has steel in her.  She is four and half now.  When she was 1-2, she would scream this piercing scream to get what she wanted.  It drove my wife to go back to work.  Seriously.  It took a lot of work to get her to stop screaming and start asking, but we got there.  Now she is the easiest of the kids to manage.  She just wants to make you happy and has a mostly sunny disposition.  The screaming will return on occasion, but nothing beyond the scope of what one would expect from a kid her age.  The CS is the most driven of our children and I expect that she will be the one to go into the business world.

Finally, we come to LJ.  (That not a nickname or anything.  Her nickname has her actual name in it and I’m one of those paranoid types who tries not to list his kids names on his blog.)  LJ is two and half and knows the exact moment when my wife and I are too busy with the others to pay attention to her.  She can switch between ornery and sweet very quickly and I never know quite what to expect.  I got her out of the bath the other day and she put her head on my shoulder and said, ‘I’m so happy to see you daddy.’  It really get’s you.  Five minutes later she was screaming at me because she didn’t want me to put lotion on feet.  That really gets me, too.

So there you go.  With summer around the corner,  I expect things to get a little hectic.  We put in an offer on a house last month, so if all goes well, our summer will include a move.  Four kids and a move?  No sweat.  (end delusional statement)

I’ll cover Biffie (the boy) later.

And so it goes.


The Other Brother

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My third brother, Bob, came into town last night.  He showed up at the door wearing what could only be described as a dress.  He said it was a Kaoptaria that he picked up when he was in New Zealand last year.  I didn’t believe him.

I should point out that I have not seen Bob in nearly 17 years.  I don’t talk about him to anyone.  Unless you have known me over 15 years, you have not heard about Bob from me.  I only bring it up now because I think he will be around for a while I wanted to get the word out now before he did.

Bob and I had a falling out about 18 years ago.  I had to do with a girl.  It always did.  Bob was always the ladies man and I, well, I wasn’t.  I had been dating this girl named Lisa Promalleckr (Greek and Polish, I think).  Lisa and I were hitting it off in the way that high school freshmen do when Bob showed up.  ‘Hey there, how’s it hanging!’  And that was the beginning of the end.

Lisa was a sweet girl who had a slight problem.  Her earlobes were large.  Her nickname in primary school was Dumbo.  She immediately thought that Bob was talking to her.  She stormed out leaving me with my brother and a libido in over drive.  I tried to explain what he had done, but he didn’t care.  He never did.  I called Lisa five or six times, but she never called back.  If it weren’t for the fact that my mother begged me to stay close to Bob, I would have cut ties right then and there.

Bob parlayed his little performance into a date with Lisa so he could ‘apologize’.  He apologized alright.  In the car, on the couch, and in the McPlayground at the McDonalds on Madison and San Juan.  It’s closed now.  Poor Lisa never recovered.  The last I head she had been arrested for honking at peoples houses as she drove by…

The worst part was that he never told me what happened.  I had to find out about it from my second brother, Eric.  Eric is a story for another blog.

The final falling out came about six months later.  Bob had a party at the house when my mom and sister were visiting the Holy Lands.  I guess they knelt in the wrong place and were taken hostage.  The embassy said it was a routine hostage taking, but dad had to drive to capitol city to fill out some paper work.  Bob made a few phone calls before I could say ‘Bob is a big fat jerk, the house was awash in beer, girls and desperate guys.

I agreed not to tell mom and dad about the party if Bob let me drink.  He smiled and said of course!  He even made my first drink for me.  Unfortunately he put something in there that made me blackout.

I woke up about 12 hours later in Juarez, Mexico in a hotel room.  I was in a bathtub full of ice with ‘Call for help’ written in lipstick on my chest.  Damn it if Bob hadn’t driven me to Mexico and stolen my kidneys.  As a joke he also took my index finger, the one I use to dial with.  I was reduced to poking the phone buttons with my nose.  Did you know that Juarez does not have 911 service?  911 connects you the Mexican version of Hooters.  Since I was hungry, I ordered some wings and had them delivered.  I convinced the delivery man to call a doctor and then I passed out.  But not before I finished the wings.  Not that it matters, I don’t think they were chicken wings.  Now that I think about it, I am pretty sure they were some sort of deep fired cockroach.

It took around six months of pain and waiting to find two new kidneys for me.  A quick surgery and I was back on the mend.  Bob left, fled if you will, to avoid prosecution.  From my father.  But now he is back.

The funny thing is that he seems mad at me.  You see, in an effort to mend fences, I named I my second son after Bob.  It was a nice gesture I thought.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that Bob is short for Robert.  I named my son William and we call him Bill.  Come on, who knows that kind of stuff.  I’m a guy for goodness sakes.  If it’s not written at the bottom of a beer can, I probably don’t know it.

So my attempt to patch things up has failed.  I now have an angry, slightly neurotic older brother staying with me.  He tried to make me a drink last night, which I didn’t take.  Fool me once…  I just hope he doesn’t try to take my livers.  I could probably get by with one, but I don’t want to.

There is a picture at the top.  Bob is the guy on my left.  I’m the little kid in the middle. Eric on my other left.  My oldest brother isn’t pictured.

And so it goes.



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It is really quiet around here.  Alpha and Beta are staying with Ralph and Ox for the week, and it’s almost like we have no kids.  The girls are very low key when there is no spark around…

So I am sitting in bed writing a blog.  You would think that I would be sleeping.  Alas, sleep is not something I am in the habit of doing.  I’m so used to being up to attend to kids and to study, I have forgotten how to fall asleep before midnight.

I’m listening to my iPhone and writing a blog using Google’s Chrome browser.  I like both, but I am becoming increasing disappointed with both companies.

Apple is showing a remarkable stubborn streak by restricting it’s software to it’s own platforms.  Don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here.  We developed it, and if you really want to use it, you’ll dance to our drummer.  But still, I am finding it annoying.  At the end of my AT&T contract I am going to look seriously at the Droid.

But there is a problem with that too.  Google, for all its glamor, is still a company that is built around advertising.  I like to watch my ‘something blows up’ videos on you tube, but damn it, if it’s not like watching a giant ad.  I was watching a clip from the Discovery channel, and there was a commercial right in the middle of it!  Again, don’t get me wrong, I can totally dig the capitalist angle here, but I’m accustomed to my internet being somewhat ad free.  I tend to gravitate to sites with the most unobtrusive advertisements.  I know that these sites need some kind of revenue to function, but on youtube, it is totally over the top.  I have some software that will lift a video from youtube without the ads.  It’s a pain to do it, but if I think I will watch a clip again, it’s worth it.

I actually think they are in cahoots.  If you notice the names ‘Apple’ and ‘Google’ follow a similar pattern.  They both start with a single letter, then have the next two letters repeating and end with and ‘le’.  I’m just saying that it’s possible they were involved with the Kennedy assassination.

I just want the free flow of information for free.  Is that really too much to ask?


And so it goes.


Wahlnacht Lachen

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The other day I put youtube mobile on my phone.  When I opened it up, it suggested a video called, ‘Hitler Finds Out That Scott Brown Won The Massachusetts Senate Seat’.

I fired it up and it was a scene from The Downfall with new subtitles.  I had seen this same gag a few years ago covering the real estate bubble:

The first thing I noticed was that there were all sorts of the parodies.  The include:

  • Someone stole Hitlers car
  • Hitler Reacts to Notre Dame’s coaching
  • Hitler gets banned from Xbox live
  • Hitler gets a margin call
  • Hitler goes to McDonalds
  • Hitler Is a Jedi
  • Hitler plans burning man
  • Hitler gets scammed on ebay
  • Hitler wants Burger King

And so on…

I haven’t watched most of these, but I would imagine that some are funny and some are not.

It really amazes me sometimes how the internet can be used to turn one history’s greatest monsters into a gag reel for expressing outrage at both non-trivial and (mostly) trivial things.

And in case you are curious as to the Scott Brown video…

And so it goes.


Driving By Braille

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As is my standard practice, I have followed up last months blogging binge with a blogging hangover. There has been a lot going on lately keeping my away from the keyboard. Ralphie and Steve were down for a visit. Casey’s computer died and I had to reload the OS and all the programs. My company laid-off 300 workers and I sat around wondering if I would be one of them. I wasn’t. My prayers go out to those who did get laid off. Having been through it just last year, I know it is never easy. I had an old friend and his family from high school over and we had a great time. It’s nice to know that he is still a great guy. His wife and kids are great, too. I always breathe a sigh of relief whenever I come across good kids.

Not having blogged for a while, I have found myself developing thoughts more than that writing them. This was due in large part to the then-impending job cuts. There is a sobering feeling that accompanies an event like that, though I don’t have to say that. Your lively hood usually depends on someone else’s decision and that is always a little unsettling. It’s nice to be the ‘master’ of your destiny, but it’s always important to remember that you are never really are. It’s nice to pretend sometimes.

Driving by Braille is a term my friends and I used when we were driving after we had perhaps a bit too much to drink. The idea was to let the driver side wheels run on the center road dividers.  That way you knew you were driving with the road.  In reality, it didn’t work like that.  I spend a lot of my life driving by Braille, but in a more philosophical sense. 

Leela is going to be baptized next week.  We are all looking forward to that very special occasion as she is joined the Body of Christ.  All sorts of family and friends will be in town for it.  Should be a very good time.

I bought a new Bluetooth headset, so I can call my friends and family again. 

That all for now. 

And so it goes.