January



Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Wait, it's an election year? You don't say...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    In 1980, I turned eighteen and had my first opportunity to vote in a Presidential election. My choice was an easy one... Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter. I have to admit, I don't recall the primary process running for months and months. And if I recall it correctly (which I do because I just looked it up on Wickipedia), Reagan and Carter only had only one debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
    It was at this debate that Reagan gave his now famous line Well, there you go again!... and Carter infamously stated that he had consulted with his then twelve-year-old daughter, Amy, about the biggest issue facing our country and she had responded that it was the control of nuclear arms.
    In retrospect, she should have mentioned the economy or the hostages in Iran. Actually, in retrospect, the Democrats should have nominated Amy!
     Reagan was the best... there I said it.
     Voted for him twice and would have voted for him a third time if I could have. He was unapologetic in his positions. He was articulate. He was funny. He was smart. And unlike Donald Trump, he mainly attacked Democrats, and he did so in a fairly non-offensive funny way. For example... A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job and a recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his! 
    It was an election that pitted optimism against pessimism.  The results were kind of predictable.
    Anyway, I bring all this up because I am completely fed up with Presidential politics. The first primary is still three months away and we have been hearing from these folks every day for the past year. Twelve months of hearing how this candidate is going to lower taxes, create jobs, save the economy, improve our education, defeat ISIS and give us everything we want at no cost to anybody... except the rich guys.
    On a side note... has it occurred to anyone that the rich guys are rich for a reason. That they may figure out ways to avoid paying for everybody else's stuff or that if there were no personal incentive (wealth) associated with their rich guy idea, they might just decide to take a pass on the great idea and wait for someone else to come up with the idea... and then take that guy's money!
    I digress.
    I am sick of the coverage. I am sick of the commercials. I am sick of the speeches. And most of all. I am sick of the debates.
    I have a proposal... combine the Republican debates with the Democratic debates. Put everyone up on the stage and make it a battle royal. I know what you are thinking... this can only work if we have a truly neutral debate moderator. If you don't know what I am talking about, then you haven't been paying attention.
    For those of you that haven't been watching... or listening to talk radio... let me try to explain through some of my sort of made up questions...
    Senator Rubio... I have looked at your tax plan and for this question, I have made up facts about your plan and I will misquote some conservative tax foundation that commented on your plan. Based on my made up facts and the misquoted comments of the tax foundation... your plan gives nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1% as to people in the middle income scale. Don't you have it backward? 
    Turning to Senator Bernie Sanders... according to your plan, you figured that the top 1% will pay for all of our health care, all of our college education as well as all of our children's day care... was the math hard? It had to be hard, didn't it? Wow, are all socialists as smart as you? 
    Speaking of math, Ben Carson... I have had unnamed sources look at your plan and I have to ask... can you add and subtract...  quick what is the square root of 78,996,544? You don't know... then why should we trust you with our economy. 
    Governor Kasich... say something bad about two other Republicans. To be fair, we will waive any time periods for your answer... GO!
    Governor O'Malley... are you still here? Sing us a song. 
    Donald Trump... Are you a comic book version of a candidate? By the way... this one was not made up in any way. 
    President Clinton... ooh, did I say President Clinton, I meant Secretary Clinton... my bad. You testified before the Benghazi Committee and there were several revelations during your testimony but one thing still remains unanswered... Boxers or Briefs?  And I ask that because you are the only woman on the stage and will be, er uh, could be this country's first female President and this is an important issue for many women. What's that? Carline Fiorina is a woman?
    Ms. Fiorina, you were fired by a bunch of men at Hewlitt Packard... why would you let all the women of the United States down by being such a disappointment? 
    Senator Cruz... no sir, you just be quiet... I'll do the accusing here, thank you! 
    Finally, I would like to allow for all of the candidates to make a closing argument. Republicans, please address your greatest weakness and let the voters know why that weakness would disqualify you as President of the United States... and Democrats, please don't say anything to hurt Hillary's chances. 
     Man... I wish I could vote for Ronald Reagan again!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... The king has spoken...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     So if you have been a regular reader of FGF, you know that laundry has been at the center of nearly every disagreement that Cheryl and I have had. Sure, it may start with some stupid comment that I make about homeschooling or the kids or plans to spend yet another evening with her family, but it quickly degenerates to my declaring that I don't have any clean underwear and it is a direct reflection on you! 
      Not sure how that happens but it does... last week was no different when I was forced to GASP!... wear my son's underwear. It was, of course, a direct reflection of my wife's refusal to provide regularly washed undergarments. I will neither confirm nor deny that I may, or may not have, mentioned this in the heat of battle.
      Admittedly, kind of a rough comment but it bore results. Although at the time she may or may not have mentioned what I could do with my direct reflections.
      The next day, Cheryl lit into the laundry like a windmill in a tornado. She got all of the dirty clothes into the wash and all of the clean clothes out of the laundry room.  Then the next day, we had our once every three months housekeeper show up on the scene and our home was fit for a King!
      I mention Kings because once I arrived home, I made a proclamation fit for a monarch. This new-found cleanliness was here to stay!
      From this day forward, there will be no clothes left on the floors of the bathroom, the bedrooms or the hallway. All dirty clothes shall be placed in hampers and once the hamper is full, the clothes will be transported down to the laundry room.  All clean clothes will be transported to your bedrooms and immediately placed in the appropriate drawer. 
      I was on a roll so I branched out on my declaration to include another of my pet peeves.
      And this does not mean that we can stack everything on the stairs for a later time when we eventually make it up the steps. Nothing shall be stored on the steps. Besides this being a cleanliness issue, it is a health issue... I am going to trip and kill myself one day coming down the steps in the middle of the night and you are all going to be sorry. 
      There had to be consequences for any violations of the newly instituted law, so I continued...
      Any clothes found on the floor or any time found on the stairwell, shall be thrown away, never to be heard from again. 
     So it is stated... So it shall be!!!
      I was awesome... I was clear... I was authoritative... Yet, I was kind, The only thing missing was two guys dressed like fancy court jesters blowing horns on either side of me.
      I was truly a benevolent dictator!
     Everyone was present during my presentation so there was no getting around the rules. There would be no pleading of ignorance. I knew that my loyal subjects were well aware that a kingdom without rules will give rise to anarchy.
     The citizens were happy and content and all was good in the kingdom... For about 12 hours.
     I was shocked and dismayed to find underwear on the bathroom floor when I went to take my shower... THE VERY NEXT MORNING!
     My investigation revealed that Matthew was the perp but he had already left for school... he was not there to incur my wrath. But someone had to hear about this insolent behavior. Cheryl was the closest.
     How can he do this the morning after I told everyone what was going to happen?
     What did he do?
     He left his underwear on the bathroom floor!
     So what.
     So what? Did you not hear my grandiose announcement last night?
     I remember something you said about clothes.  
     And the stairs... I said something about the stairs also!
     Well, put them in the hamper. 
     You don't get it... I made the announcement about this and now I need to throw away the underwear.  
     Don't do that, put them in the hamper.
     No... consequences. There have to be consequences!
     That is all that needed to be said.
     That seems a little harsh.
     Harsh... did you not hear my grandiose announcement last night?
     I know you said something... but not sure exactly what it was. You know you leave your suits all over the place... do we get to throw those away. 
     Maybe I do need those two guys dressed as fancy court jesters blowing horns on either side of me when I announce new rules.
     I have not done that in over 12 hours... you remember 12 hours ago... oh that's right, you don't remember what I did 12 hours ago. That was the old me... now they get hung up.
     Based on Cheryl's willingness to thumb her nose at all authority, I should not have been surprised to find her purse sitting at the bottom of the steps.
     Consequences, there have to be consequences!
     I took her purse and put it in the trash can.
     Now to be honest, I placed the purse across the trash can, not actually in the trash can. I said I was a benevolent dictator... not a stupid dictator.
     In fact, I called Cheryl to warn her of her consequences just in case she was looking for her purse.      You know, two can play this game... you leave your clothes out, they are getting thrown away. 
     Okay, the game is on... who will be the first to crack? I have been through these wars before with Grace when she took my hair brush. You don't have what it takes to go to battle with me.
      So it is game on, and I am winning 1-0.  I found a woman's undergarment on the bedroom floor just the other day. To be fair, I put it there when I was sorting socks but it was clearly a woman's undergarment.
      I am not sure that this will end well for me, but it keeps things tidy on our house. Our only hope to maintain this type of cleanliness is if our competitive natures are stronger than our sloppy, lazy natures.
      Either way, I am in it to win it... even if I have to plant a bra or two around the house!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... Roll Tide...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    About five years ago, my friend, Billy, invited me to join him in Alabama for a University of Alabama football game. Billy's father graduated from Alabama and his family has had season tickets for several years. He goes to three or four games every year and is very generous in sharing any extra tickets.
     My first trip was four years ago and I am here to report that it is unlike any other sporting event that I have ever attended. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland and have attended many Terrapin football games. In recent years, while Maryland has had little competition when it comes to the "battle of the uniform," they have struggled on the field. But even when they were playing in... and often times winning big games... the Maryland experience was much different.
     Not to be mean to my Alma Mater but a one-word description of Maryland games when compared to Alabama games is J.V.
     At least I think J. V. is one word. On second thought maybe it is two words... Junior Varsity.   
     After my first visit, I thought that if I ever had the opportunity, I would take my two boys. Fortunately, this year, Billy had three extra tickets. In fact, he got his hands on five extra tickets so I asked my nephew if he wanted to take his wife, Jess, who is a big 'Bama fan. Although my nephew elected to stay home, Jess happily accepted the offer and invited her father to join us.
     So this year, six of us boarded a plane on Friday morning and set off for a football weekend.
     Once we landed, we headed straight for the campus. We hit a few stores to purchase our game day gear. Matthew and I had made the trip before so we have our swag... my sweatshirt has a big "A" on the front. Everyone in Alabama knows this distinctive "A" but just about everyone else in the country thinks that I am a big fan of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
     Matthew purchased a new Crimson Tide shirt to go along with his previously purchased sweat shirt along with a baseball cap. Noah went in a different direction. Noah selected a houndstooth hat. Houndstooth is Tuscaloosa's favorite color. Their legendary coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant wore a similar hat while he patrolled the sidelines. Noah correctly pointed out that the hat was actually checkered... please don't tell the folks in Alabama.
     If you're not sure if Bear Bryant is a legend, you can go past Bear Bryant High School and get to the campus. Once there, you can make a right on Bear Bryant Way, a left on Bear Bryant Lane, take another right on Bear Bryant Boulevard and then park outside of the Paul Bear Bryant Museum. The woman in the houndstooth skirt will fill you in!  
     After shopping, we made our way to the Walk of Champions. This is the walkway that the team crosses before every game. Every National Championship team member has their name engraved in the walkway. Great names like Joe Namath, Dwight Stevenson, Lee Roy Jordan and Young Boozer. Actually, I never heard of Young Boozer but his name was in the walkway and I think it is a great name for a college kid!
    Then we made our way over to The Walk of Fame at Denny Chimes. Every Alabama captain since 1947 has had their hand and foot prints placed in cement. More great names like Ozzie Newsome, Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas and Drunk Guard.
     I have to admit, I made up that last name just to see if you are paying attention.
    After visiting Denny Chimes, we searched for our tailgate tent. There are hundreds, if not thousands of tents set up for the next day's game. Wherever there is a blade of grass, you will find a tent. The University provides electricity for each tent so most tents have a flat screen set up for viewing other SEC football games or if you are not one of the 101,000 fans lucky enough to have a ticket to the game, you can watch it on campus.
    Once we found our tent, we decided to get ribs at Dreamland. If you think that Dreamland is the perfect name for a nice restaurant that provides a world famous dining experience... you would be wrong. It is a world-famous dining experience but the place is a dump. A dump located right across from a run-down trailer park.
     When we sat down, Jess asked about the menus. I pointed to the chalk board and told her... there is your menu... do you want a half slab or a whole slab and do you want a piece of sausage?  I will say, they have added sides since I was last here. 
     Those are the only two dishes sold at Dreamland. They do have appetizers, if you count white bread as an appetizer. The locals rave about the white bread. To me, it tasted just like any other white bread... until you dunked it in the delicious sauce. They could serve sponges as an appetizer as long as they serve them with that sauce.
     The food is unbelievable. If you only serve two things, it had better be delicious... and it is.
     The dessert menu has only one item... banana pudding. It does not disappoint. I am not exaggerating when I say, from the time that they placed our paper plates in front of us, to the time we paid our bill, about twenty five minutes elapsed.
     Dreamland does not disappoint.
     Now, at this point we were stuffed and we were tired so we should have headed back to the hotel. But this trip was different... this trip included Jess. Jess is a lot like Cheryl. She always has a smile on her face. She is always upbeat. She always finds something positive about even the worst circumstance. Yep, she can be just as annoying as Cheryl.
     At one point, I told Matthew that Jess reminded me of his mother, except she has a lot more energy than your mother. 
     So after stuffing our faces in preparation for our nap, a nap that I am 100% sure that my lovely wife would have been all in favor of, Jess suggested that we go bowling. We have to do something!  
     Sleeping is something! Isn't it?
     Oh yeah, one difference between Cheryl and Jess that I forgot to mention... Jess is a lot more competitive than Cheryl. Behind that perpetual smile lies the heart of a killer! Our day ended after two hard fought games. Luckily, I was on her team!
     Saturday's game started at 6:00 p.m. Which meant that we had to get to the campus by 11:00 a.m. That's right... seven hours before kick off. And get this... we were late! The tailgate parties start early and they run all day long. By the time the game started, we were exhausted. Noah nearly fell asleep in the first half. If I had not sprung for the chips and queso, we would have lost him.
     In some ways, the game is anti-climatic. The events leading up to the games are exhausting.
     Billy takes great pleasure in setting up the weekend's events and then being a personal tour guide. He enjoys that others have a great time.
     Alabama won big over Arkansas. We had a blast. We made it home safe and sound.
     Roll Tide!        
     

Friday, October 9, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... The ol' gray gal...

    My lovely wife has made the decision to stop dying her hair and let nature take it's course.
    She feels that this will free her from expensive dye jobs and constant upkeep. More than that though, she just wants to be who she is... just be herself.
    I have heard of men going through a mid-life crisis and doing whatever they can do to recapture their youth, but I have no explanation for a woman assisting nature with speeding up the aging process.
    Cheryl sees herself as a trendsetter, and I must admit, I have heard several women wish her well... as if she were getting ready to embark on a battle with some life changing illness or something.
    Personally, I am delighted by her decision because it makes me look much younger than she. People think she is a cougar going after a man nearly half her age. They all say... Man, her husband looks good, and she is lucky to get a man that is half her age.
    They haven't actually said that stuff, but I am pretty sure that they are all thinking it!
    The other day, I called Cheryl from work and she told me that her sister had just left our home. Cheryl mentioned that said sister had just gone the beauty parlor and had had her hair done with highlights and a series of other "tune ups" which made her look very pretty and young as ever, Cheryl joked, knowing that I tease her about her growout.
    She looks 'young as ever'? She just wants to look good for her man.
    Oh sure, by keeping herself looking young. Good thing I don't have to worry about that. Wink.
    Well, you may be singing a different tune when I take off with some twenty-four-year-old hottie.
    You think so? Are you still taking the boys to Alabama this weekend for the big football game? ... an obvious attempt to change the topic from the uncomfortable thought of losing me to a younger woman.
    Yeah, we leave Friday, why are you asking me that? You know we are going.
    When are you coming home?
    Sunday morning. Why all the focus on my schedule? 
    Because I want to be sure that I would have enough time to pack up all of your and your mom's stuff and put it out on the curb! You know... if I had to.
    Wait... wait... why would you pack up my poor ol' mother and boot her out of the house? That hardly seems fair to her.
    Well, I thought that your twenty-four-year-old would love the opportunity to take care of you... and your mom.  Plus you'd need your mom along to do your laundry.
     Noah reported that Cheryl smiled and winked at him when she said all of this, but I am not sure. I think that she thinks that my leaving her for an imaginary twenty-four-year-old would not work out very well for me. This, of course, got me to thinking about some of the other stuff that my imaginary twenty-four-year-old might not do that Cheryl does.
     Here is a short list:
     She wouldn't iron my shirts every morning. Cheryl, and all of her gray hair, gets up every morning and irons a shirt for me. Cheryl is very nice!
     She wouldn't be able to help Matthew with his Algebra II/Trig and Chemistry homework. Remember, my young girlfriend is a hottie and I did not fall for her for her mind. To be fair, I can't help Matthew with his homework and I am amazed that Cheryl can. She looks at Matthew's books and learns the material well enough to teach it. I am not sure that she ever took those subjects in high school or college. The old gray gal is very smart!
     The fake girl wouldn't homeschool Noah. Same reason as why she can't help Matthew. In fact, my girl can't add or subtract which is good because I am going to keep telling her that I am only ten years her elder.
     She wouldn't be able to give my daughter any insight on any problems that she may be having. Cheryl is pretty wise about girlie stuff and always gives great advice. You know, when you think about it, my fake girlfriend is only five years older than my daughter. OOOH! That is gross!
     Alright, I have changed my mind, I am staying with Cheryl.
     Besides, I really do love the gray.
     But this is nothing new. Do you remember the movie the Ten Commandments when Moses left Egypt and in doing so also left beautiful dark haired Nefretiri? Moses ended up marrying the shepherd's eldest daughter with her salt and pepper grayish hair... which she probably put up in a bun with a number 2 pencil... much like some other gray-haired girl that we all know and love.
     Anyway, I always thought that the shepherd's daughter was way prettier than Nefretiri. I would have chosen her every time.
     The fact is, I will love Cheryl no matter what she does with her hair. I am content to grow old... but  not at the same pace as Cheryl... with my cougar wife.
     Did you know that the woman who played Moses' wife was Yvonne DeCarlo. Did you know that Yvonne DeCarlo also starred as Lily Munster in the TV show The Munsters. 
     Can you imagine what people will think if Cheryl ends up looking like Lily Munster. I will tell you what they will think... Man her husband looks good and she is lucky to get a man half her age. 
     This gray hair thing is working out well for both of us.
Sephora, The Ten Commandments

Lily Munster

Friday, October 2, 2015

Funny Guy Friday... The Lunch Date...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    I feel bad.  I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I never thought I would be "that guy."
    Fortunately, I am always honest so I immediately confessed my transgression to Cheryl. I certainly would not ever want to hurt her, but I have discovered that some things are just out of my control...  some things are just bigger than... well, bigger than my relationship with my wife.
    There I said it!
    What did I do that is causing me so much angst... I went on a lunch date with someone other than my wife. And the worse part was that I had a great time.
    To be fair, I did not intend to go on this date. I did not even initiate the date. I didn't even want to go on the date. But I did... and now I fear that there is no turning back.
    It all started about three months ago when we hired two young gals to work as associates in our office. Both Karen and Stephanie are smart, pretty young attorneys that had clerked for two of our county's circuit court judges. I had interacted with them on several occasions before hiring them but never really had the opportunity to spend any significant time with them. One thing I can say for sure is that everyone that meets them, loves them. We are lucky to have them, and we are sure that they will be a great addition to our office.
    Part of their training includes having to follow me around and help me with my cases. They have gotten to see how I maneuver my way through the legal field, and I don't want to brag or anything but... I can be quite impressive.
     Not really. I am pretty ordinary, but they are new and don't know any better!
    As you might guess, over the past months, having spent so much time with both of them, we have gotten to know each other pretty well. We seem to be getting along and working together quite succesfully.
    Typically, after handling our morning cases, we go our separate ways for lunch, but this last Wednesday, as they were heading out to grab a bite, they asked if I would like to join them.
    Honestly, I really did not want to go, but they had asked... and we had been working pretty hard over the past few months. I thought it would be a good gesture to join them. It also thought it might be a good opportunity, outside of the office, for them to ask me any questions that they have been contemplating or voice any concerns that they may be facing.
    Before we left, I had to meet a client, so I told them to go on ahead and I would join them as soon as I finished.
    When I finally entered the restaurant, I was a bit surprised to find a third person sitting at the table. A person that I had never met. Had they not seen me, I would have turned around and walked out... but it was too late. Now I felt like I was kind of intruding.
    This third person was similar to the two associates... young, attractive, and seemed pretty smart. I said hello and complimented his outfit.
     That's right, I said his outfit. "She" was a guy and it was pretty clear that he was interested in one of the girls. It then dawned on me that I was the fourth wheel in this luncheon. Typically, this would be called a double date with four people, but in this case, I was just a fourth wheel... an old worn out fourth wheel.
     Over the next forty five minutes, I had to figure out what in the world was I going to talk about with these three people who were young enough to be my children... and two of the three were on a real live lunch date.
     I don't remember the new kid's name... I think it was Carl... but I do remember that he was wearing his Redskin hat backwards (a sure sign of youth) and a Redskin shirt.
     Nice outfit! I actually said outfit because that is what my wife would say. I have now become the old guy that starts to sound like his wife. No single guy would ever refer to another guy's get-up as an outfit. I regretted my choice of words. I should have led with... Wasssup brah? but I didn't.
     Huh, oh yeah. You a fan?
     Yeah, but it keeps getting tougher and tougher to hang in there with them. 
     Gotta hang in there. 
     Thanks for the sage advise whippersnapper. Let me tell you something... I suffered through more losses in my day than you can possibly imagine, so don't lecture me on the proper fan etiquette. Keep your little advice to yourself.
      I didn't say all that... But I was thinking it!
      I was going to tell him how great it used to be back in the day when they were winning Super Bowls, but I quickly changed course when I realized that reminiscing about the "good old days" was the last thing that I wanted to do at this point. This joker probably wasn't even alive when the Redskins won their last Super Bowl.
      So what do you do? I politely asked... trying to make some small talk.
      I am a firefighter.
      Wow, that seems pretty cool. I could see my son doing that someday. Out of curiosity, did you take any special classes or do any special training to become a firefighter?  
      Well, not really... I played baseball in college.
      Wait... What? Where did you go to college? 
      It turns out, he went to the same college as a couple of kids that I had coached. And it turns out that not only did he know them, he roomed with one of them. They are the best of friends. And it turns out, that he was home-schooled and played high school baseball for a long-time friend of our family. And it turns out that through his firefighting and baseball, he was familiar with many of the same people that I knew, including my brother and nephews. And get this... the more we talked, the more we had in common. It turns out that when he was 12 years old, he played for a team that I coached against.
     What a small world!
     It turned out that he and I talked throughout the entire lunch. Ol' Karen and whatshername  could not get a word in edgewise. Apparently, they did not have as much in common with Carl as I.
     The four of us spent an entire lunch together... at least I think that Karen and Stephanie stuck around... and I saw no evidence of any connection between Stephanie and Carl.
     Frankly, I am ashamed to admit, I sat and monopolized all of his time. I did not think of Stephanie or Karen one bit.
     Here is what I do know... Carl and I had a great time.
     When we finally got back to the office, I inquired as to what was Carl's deal. It turns out that he may have been a teensy bit interested in Stephanie and arranged for that lunch date. Whatever!
     I apologized for hogging him, but I've got to be honest... he never even glanced her way the whole time we were talking.
     After my sincere apology, I did try to clear one thing up... I asked Stephanie if she were not interested, would she mind if I went out to lunch with him again.
     She laughed... Of course, I was just kidding!
     In fact, I apologized again today and Stephanie said no problem. She told me that he thought that I was pretty cool.
     Wait, did you ask him... or did he just out of the blue just say that I was cool. And did he say pretty cool or really cool?
     She laughed... Of course, I was just kidding!
     I am a happily married man and have plenty of friends. And if all that goes up in smoke...
I can always look back and fondly recall... The Lunch Date!
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