Friday, February 29, 2008


It happens once every 4 years and that day is today. Go make it count!

Today makes 50 months. Nuff said.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Samoas Part 2

I was at the local supermarket which is just one in a chain of about three. To do any real grocery buying I have to go to one of two towns about 30 minutes away. Well I had just gotten off of work (I was doing some OT on the day shift which was nice) and I was getting some things for dinner. I figured that some ice cream would be great for dessert (and btw, never trust a person who doesn't like ice cream. Someone very wise told me that once and there is a lot of wisdom in that statement). I have a fondness for Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream, though it really packs in the fat so I always opt for the low-fat frozen yogurt version of it. It is not as rich, but it is still wonderful!

Well my local grocer, being a small time operator, is limited on their selection of Ben and Jerry's and they do not carry the low-fat frozen yogurt version of any B&Js offerings, though the gas station up the road does, go figure, but I did not feel like driving all over for ice cream or frozen yogurt. Well, as I continued on in the ice cream aisle my eye caught something in the Edy's section.

Lo and behold! I saw something that Edy's sells that vindicated my love for Girl Scout Samoa Cookies! It seems that Edy's offers a Samoa and Tagalong ice cream officially endorsed by the GSA.

Click on the link and you will see what I mean. SAMOA ICE CREAM!

There it is for all to see. There is no Caramel deLite or Peanut Butter Pattie ice cream, just the ice creams of the best darn Girl Scout Cookies we had back in America! Take that inferior cookies!

I bought a quart and I must say that if I have to get my Samoas that way then I will not argue.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Forward, Together Forward

I live fairly close to DeKalb, Illinois. I spend a lot of time there. I do most of my shopping there, whether it is for groceries or clothes or other odds and ends. I enjoy the eateries there too, so it is not uncommon for me to be there a few times a week. I have also discovered a wonderfully cheap movie theater there which I frequent from time to time.

Whenever I head over to DeKalb I pass through the campus of Northern Illinois University. It is a lovely campus and I always enjoy seeing the college kids hustle to and fro as they are either going to or coming from a class. A very good friend of mine graduated from NIU just last spring and is a proud member of the class of 2007. I even accompanied her one night to her lab where she had to do some science tests. It was neat to go into her building and to see the campus from a different viewpoint. I love living near colleges or universities as those communities seem to be a bit more hip, vibrant, and artistic. It keeps me young too.

I was in DeKalb early on the morning of February 14th as I was getting some things for my oldest son's birthday that day. I drove out of town by 9AM unaware of the coming storm that would rock both school and community later that day. I must admit that when I heard of the events that unfolded at NIU later that day I didn't react like I did with the Virgina Tech tragedy. I think that it was because I, like the rest of the country, am becoming used to such horrendously stupid acts of violence.

I was at work Sunday night and I was thumbing through some newspapers during one of my breaks and I came across the pictures and bios of the victims. As I read I became so enraged at their loss because they were just kids. If I hadn't read that they were students at NIU I would have thought that they were in high school because they looked so young. It makes no sense as to their untimely passing, and I felt the sting of tears welling up in my eyes. I didn't know any of these kids and I was confused as to why I was reacting this way. I felt grief for them and for their families. In the back of my mind I heard the words of the English poet John Donne:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

I mourned for the loss of promise for what could have been for these 5 kids had they been able to fulfill their destinies. What will not be because some deranged person took their lives? How many lives will not be touched by them because of their absence? How many will suffer the loss of their gifts and talents because they have been extinguished?

Last night I headed over to DeKalb to take my son out for dinner and to pick up some things for the house. I must say that I was moved to tears as we both witnessed the outpouring of love and support for NIU by the local businesses. The vast majority of marquees that could have been touting sales and products were lit up with well wishes, thoughts, and prayers for NIU. Virtually every establishment we went into had a placard in the window or door with the NIU Husky on it and a black ribbon and the words Forward, Together Forward. I was moved. I am so proud to live near this community because of their character and passion.

My son and I drank it all in and were silent on the car ride back to our town. There was a lot to think about, even more to pray about. It is my heartfelt prayer that the God of my Salvation will reach down and hold these people-victims families, the people of NIU, and the people of DeKalb-in His loving hands and that He would send His Healer and Comforter to them to bend this situation to His Will and turn this tragedy around.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Samoas! Whither Have Ye Gone?

Being a transplant from the East Coast affords me the opportunity to experience the subtle changes in our nation that creep up from place to place. For instance, the further west you go you will find that soda is referred to as pop, basements are called cellars and anything thrown on some dough with tomato juice and then whipped into an oven is known as pizza. As such I joke around with my friends by saying things like, "Back in America we had something known as Pizza," or "Back in America we call it soda," and ribbing of that nature.

Well at work there are always people selling things for their kids school, sports teams, or scouts troops. Everybody throws some money in to help each other out. Recently a friend of mine was hawking Girl Scout cookies. I refrained from buying any because I knew that I would eat a box or two in a sitting so I didn't even look at his order sheet. A few nights ago he showed up with his goods for those who bought a box or five.

So, here we are at one of our breaks and people are opening up their boxes and enjoying some cookies. Someone asked me if I wanted one to which I responded, "Do you have any Samoas?" Well I could have been speaking Japanese for all he cared because the look he shot me was one of incredulity, as if I had said something wrong or unintelligible. He didn't even ask "What?" So I was forced to say, "What's the problem?"

As we continued I noticed others in the break room had heard what I had said and were curious as to what I had meant. He finally said, "What are you talking about?" I told that I wanted a Samoa if he had bought any. He said that he didn't know what I was talking about and that he only had Peanut Butter Patties. I then said, "You mean Tagalongs?" Again silence and staring. The thought popped into my mind that I was not in America anymore.

No one knew what I was talking about and they said that the cookies I spoke of never existed. I disagreed. They then said that if they did the names were changed a million years ago(insinuating that I am old). I told them, "You know, the vanilla cookie covered with coconut and caramel with dark chocolate drizzled on it? It is the best seller for the Girl Scouts!" "Do you mean the vanilla cookie with caramel and coconut with milk chocolate drizzled on it?" Not sure of myself any longer I said yes. "Then you mean Caramel deLites!" I nervously laughed but I had meant Samoas. What the heck was going on? I mean when I was at McDonald's earlier that day they weren't selling Le Royales with cheese! No, they were still selling Quarter Pounders with cheese. What was happening?!

I saw someone eating a Samoa(so I thought) and went up to them to get the box to prove my point but when I picked it up it said Caramel deLites(btw it is pronounced CARE-A-Mel and not CARMLE- just for those living in Dixon, Illinois). Faintly I heard the music from The Twilight Zone playing in the distance and I was ascared, very ascared! Where the heck was I and what had they done to my cookies!?

I had lived in several states and had bought and eaten Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, and Do-Si-Dos from Connecticut to Missouri. What was the deal?

Well thank the good Lord for the Internet because my riddle was answered by finding out that the Girl Scouts use two different bakeries to make, basically, the same cookies. However, depending on the bakery the name is different. Furthermore each Girl Scout Council can use whatever bakery they choose so this disparity is not regional.

So it appears that I was right after all and that I live in an area where the cookies that I know and love are sold under different, more sterile sounding names. I tasted a Caramel deLite and it was too Caramelly(that is Carmelly for those of you who have just moved out of your parents house and into Dixon, Illinois) and not much of a deLite.

Oh, well I guess you can't have your cookies and eat them too. Man I miss America!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

I grew up a several hours away from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. I have been there as a kid and in turn I have brought my children there. It is really a wonderful museum and if you are a fan of the game it is a must-see-vacation stop for you and your family.

I have also been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in Canton, Ohio a couple of times as well. I really enjoyed my visits there I as love football almost as much as I love baseball. There is something to be said about both places. When you are in the actual Halls where the athletes and other inductees are honored you feel like you are there with them in person. All of their accomplishments and gargantuan feats are listed and it is there as plain as plain can be for the visitor to drink in.

The numbers are concrete and the standards were set by the early figures in each sport, only to be broken and reset by those who have come after them. While there are certain players, currently playing, in each sport who I would love to see in their respective Halls of Fame (HoF) their induction doesn't come down to some sentimental nod to them but it comes down to their numbers. Do they have the numbers to get in? It is that cut and dried, as well it should be. That is why those HoF (and I am sure that it is the same with the HoF for Pro Basketball and Pro Hockey though I have never been to either) are places of honor and respect for those few people who have a plague or a bust in there.

I remember back in the mid 1980s when I heard that there would be a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I thought to myself, "How the heck can you have that, and why would you want to have that and what Rocker would agree to be admitted to such a place?" The reason that I thought this was that HoF are Establishment. They represent rules and procedures and everything that Rock and Roll is against. HoF represent the Man and Rock used to be about stickin' it to the man. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that was from the movie The School of Rock but it is nonetheless true and that movie was spot on about what Rock used to be, what it should be, and what it is no more.

I am amazed to see the Rock and Roll (RAR) HoF inductees speak about how they feel honored to be a part of such a place. It makes me gag to see so many Rockers sellout and put on a tuxedo and go and pay homage to the Man. It is a joke and a sham created to sell memorabilia, to make money and many Rockers have sold out to that idea. They have become fat, drunk, and lazy on their own spoils that they have forgotten about the music! THE MUSIC! It reminds me of the closing scene from George Orwell's Animal Farm where the pigs and the humans are all sitting around the table sharing a meal and the other animals stood outside looking in at the scene and they went from face to face looking at the pigs and humans and they could not tell who was pig and who was human. The pigs had become exactly what they were against at the beginning, they had become exactly what they told the other animals were their enemies. They had sold out! Far too many Rockers have become Establishment. Swine. Pigs.

I do tip my hat to the Sex Pistols who in 2006 refused to attend their induction ceremony calling the HOF," a piss stain" and saying in a hand written note that, "We're not coming. We're not your monkeys, so what?" I respect that kind of integrity.

Another thing that irks me is that there is a difference with the numbers of athletes compared to the influence of musicians. By that I mean how does one factor in who is worthy or not to be in the RAR HOF? Is it based on record sales? That would be said and mean that money is the bottom line to induction. Is it popularity? Is it how well the musicians played their instruments, sang their songs, drank the booze, or destroyed a hotel? What is the criteria?

You see music is subjective while athletic statistics are objective. Who can honestly say that Led Zeppelin is better than The Who? Both bands are great and when I was younger I would have said it was The Who, but as I have aged I have come to respect The Zep as one of the finest Rock and Roll bands that has ever existed. Yet, all of that is just my opinion and while there are many others who might agree with me it is still just opinion and not fact. Whether we like it or not, and whether he cheated through the use of steroids the fact is that Barry Bonds has hit more home runs than any other player in Major League Baseball history. Fact is that, in the NFL, no one has thrown more touchdown passes in a career than Brett Favre or in a season than Tom Brady. Those are facts and not subject to debate. Music can never be objective as well it shouldn't be.

So looking at the RAR HoF is looking at some perversion of the music itself. It is a fabricated institute invented to make money and nothing else. I know that I will never go to it, nor will I ever truly respect the rocker who willingly is inducted to it. Their music will have a taint on it, and that saddens me greatly because if you look at the list of inductees there are some great Rockers on it, and some people who are pop/rap/funk icons who have no business being in anything that claims to be Rock and Roll but their presence proves my point that the RAR HoF was never about ROCK AND ROLL. Seriously, Madonna, The Bee Gees, Parliament-Funkadelic, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five? Rockers? Hardly!

So, go if you want. You will never see me there. And that's the name of that tune!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

10 Songs

1. I'll Remember You-Bob Dylan

2. Mandolin Wind-Rod Stewart

3. Revolution Rock-The Clash

4. Reggatta de Blanc-The Police

5. I'm Shipping Up to Boston-Dropkick Murphy's

6. It Don't Matter to the Sun-Rosie Thomas

7. Heard 'Em Say-Kanye West

8. Do You Realize??-The Flaming Lips

9. Goodnight Irene-Van Morrison

10. Even in the Quietest Moments-Supertramp

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Been Awile

I am experiencing what is known as writer's block. It just seems that I don't have anything really good enough, in my opinion, to blog about. It happens. Thoughts come and go and it seems that most of them, lately, are nothing major, nothing worthy of me tickling the keyboards with my digits.

So, I figured that the only way to combat this vacuum of interesting thought is to blog about it. It is a bit Seinfeldian. The post about nothing. I mean sooner or later in this very post I have to hit on something that is interesting, right? You will continue to read until you come across it, won't you?

In the mean time I will treat this post like my late ex-father-in-law would treat a conversation with his brother-in-law. They would dance around any real attention grabbing talk in the attempt to not be seen as rude. They were both Mainers and if you have ever met anyone from Maine, and I mean the real part of Maine-not the so called Flatlanders near the coast but the rough and tumble Woods Queers(their term not mine)-you would know that they are are a different breed of human being, if they are even that. I once heard them carry on a 40 minute conversation over the McChicken sandwich from MickeyD's when it was first introduced. One thing you can say about Mainers is that they don't talk much and even when they do speak they say even less.

I have made reference to my job here and there in previous blogs. My position has changed and while it is more busy and the nights fly by I am still afforded the ability to do a lot of thinking, internal soliloquizing, and soul searching. One thing that popped into my mind the other night is that I have experienced a lot of blessings in odd numbered years and more woes in even numbered years. It will be interesting if 2008 and holds course. I pray not, and there have been blessings in even numbered years in my life, but for the most part the Evens have been ones that have challenged me the most.

Case in point, I was born in 1965, receiving life is definitely a blessing so that was a good year. Though if you want to get technical I was lounging around in my mom's womb for a good portion of 1964-an even year-while waiting to be born. Even though I was in utero I was alive and kicking, no pun intended. Also, as an aside I have been talking with a co-worker who was a flower child of the 60s and I look at that time with disdain. I have told him as I am telling you that I am the only, and I mean only, good thing to have come out of the 60s.

1972 my father nearly lost his life in a car accident. In a contest between a Dodge Dart and an oak tree, the oak tree will always win. He broke his neck and was almost paralyzed. He was in the hospital for a few months. Miraculously he walked out the hospital on his own and no one would ever know that he came that close to death and paralysis. It was 1973 when he left the hospital by the way.

Fast forward to 1979. Had my first kiss in 79. Thank you Ms. Downes I remember you well.

That same year The Clash's London Calling album was released as was Pink Floyd's The Wall. And for that matter The Floyd also released Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals in 1973, 75, and 77 respectively. Conversely the Go-Gos Vacation was released in 1982. Nuff Said!

1982, I was involved in my own car accident which I have mentioned in my first post. Lost my best friend in that accident. Didn't walk for a year and that year was 1983. Met Melissa in 82 but did not actually start dating her until 83.

Started Boston University in 83. Was invited not to return in 84.

Met my now ex-wife in 1985, and that can been seen as either a blessing or a curse. I will go with blessing...for now.

Graduated college in 1989. Two months later I got married.

1991 our first child was born. 93 saw the arrival of our second with the third joining us in 95.

Graduated seminary in 1997 and was ordained that year.

Good things happened in 1996 and 1998, the New York Yankees won the World Series both years.

Even more joyous in 1998 was the birth of our 4th child and 2002 saw our last child become family, so there were some good things in some even numbered years.

But then 2004 saw my wife leave me and divorce me. I left the ministry. And worst of all the Boston Red Sox broke their 86 year old streak of not winning a World Series by finally winning the Fall contest. You win some you lose some.

In 2006 I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle to work. As a result I lost my job and because of that I was forced to moved out of my apartment.

In 2007 I got an iPod!

2007 was a great year and I made many new friends and revived others that were dormant.

I really hope and pray that 2008 brings with it a lot of pleasant surprises. Yet, whatever it brings I will meet it with optimism and a steely resolve to overcome and thrive.

So there you have it. My post about nothing. Hope you were entertained and enlightened. If not then tough! It didn't cost you a thing to read this you critical snob. Just kidding! Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Be good but not boring!