It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while. Well, it was a rough year. No, wait, it was a great year, although I can’t always see that clearly. This is usually because I’m screaming at somebody. About what? Well, I have two teenage boys. In fact one has been a moody teenager since he was 11. This should be enough explanation to anybody with two teenage boys.  It’s not like it is in sitcoms… unless you count Married With Children, or the other show that was Married With Children except the father hangs out with a stuffed rabbit with Bobcat Goldthwait’s voice.

So why I haven’t I kept up with this? Hell, I don’t know. But I’m going to take another shot at it. Why now? Well, I’m getting ahead of the New Year’s resolution rush. I will have failed to keep up with this before most you have even made a New Year’s resolution to fail at.

I’ve had to decide what this will be. I like to be mostly family friendly here, although my real life language is not. Although I guess my family is dealing with it.

Also, I’ve always had to deal with whether or not to bring politics into things. The world is especially polarized and focused on politics these last few years. So I have decided that worthlessobservations.com will be staunchly apolitical. Why? I don’t feel a need to get my political views out in this forum, and for the most part, nobody ever changes their mind anyway. There’s two people. Neither one of them represents you 100%. You pick one (by voting or by apathy) and then the people who vilified them continue to vilify them to a greater degree, and the people who think they’re the answer continue to think so, until the specified period of time is over. Except in my original home state of Illinois, where the specified period of time may be interrupted by a prison sentence. What happens when it’s all over? I stop reading Facebook, that’s what.  Where am I promoting this?…. Well, I’ll be in and out of Facebook.

Mostly, I’m trying to be funny.  I’m not always going to hit the mark.  My wife tells me I’m not nearly as funny as I think.  I tell her that women have no idea what is funny.  But it’s safe to say that what I think is funny is not going to suit everybody’s sense of humor.

Occasionally, I’ll share something I find moving.  It’s safe to say what I find moving will not be moving to everybody.  Let me explain.  I don’t cry.  It isn’t a macho thing.  I’ve never told my boys men don’t cry or anything like that.  I don’t know why, I just don’t.  Eventually, I’ll lose somebody close to me and I’m sure I will then.  But in my adult life, I don’t remember crying.  Not when my kids were born via emergency c-section.  Not when my first son came home three weeks after the emergency c-section on Christmas Eve (although I came close the following year, perhaps I’ll relate that in a Christmas post).  Not when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in game 7 in 2006.  Not even when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in extra innings in game 7 in 2016.  I didn’t stop myself, it just didn’t happen.  I have however, stopped myself from crying in other cases, because they are so ridiculous compared to the actual moments in my life that a normal person might have cried over:

  • “I have a message.  Lt. Col. Henry Blake’s plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan… it spun in. There were no survivors.”
  • “I want Rudy to dress in my place coach”
  • “Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!” (The movie version.  Why not in real life?  Well, I was 8, I didn’t understand the cold war politics involved and the fact that we didn’t send pros, whereas the Soviets probably blurred this line, and if the real life version of this would have choked me up, certainly the Cubs winning the World Series would have.)

So, nothing in my life moves me to cry, but fake people, or the dramatization of what shouldn’t really be that big of a moment in sports might.  So what I find moving might not seem moving to you.

So, wrapping things up, I’m going to take another shot at this.  I’ll inevitably fail and it will just be the output of a Russian bot trying to sell jerseys, or whatever the hell I keep deleting.  I’ll try to be funny.  Sometimes I might share something that I find moving.  There’s a fair chance you won’t like it, but that’s fine because I’ll probably forget it after a while.

 

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving!

Dogs and cats

I love dogs. All dogs. Even dogs I’ve never seen. I have distant friends with dogs I’ve never met, and I love them. You, reading this? I love your dog too (let’s be honest, odds are that I know you, but on the off chance that I don’t, I love your dog). I’m a dog person. Except Chihuahuas. I merely tolerate them. I think this goes back to visiting a friend in high school who had a Chihuahua that got so excited when you came over he alternated jumping on you and running around in circles while peeing everywhere. I suppose you have to admire his coordination, I don’t think I could do that. On the other hand, he probably didn’t care if he peed on himself as much as I do.

But we don’t have a dog. We have two Siamese cats. I don’t like cats, but I love our cats. I don’t wish cats ill will, but I prefer dogs. Other people’s dogs. You see, for the first eight years of my marriage, I didn’t have children, and we often went out in the evening, straight from work, because we live out of the city. Dogs don’t like this sort of thing, they have to go outside for bodily functions, and they get lonely. Cats sort of hope that you come home, but if there is food in their bowl, they really don’t care if you spontaneously combust at your desk.

Growing up, my wife had outdoor cats. My father in law doesn’t believe in having animals live in the house, or taking them to the vet – except to get fixed – because he only wanted so many cats even outdoors. This isn’t quite as callous as it sounds, because he doesn’t believe in humans going to the doctor either. The problem with outdoor cats, is that they tend to meet with unfortunate ends. They get hit by cars, in fights with other animals, whatever. Sometimes you find them, sometimes they just never come home.

So when we got married, my wife wanted an indoor, chocolate point Siamese kitten. I didn’t want a kitten. I didn’t want a cat. I didn’t even want a dog. But I did want to continue to see her naked. So shortly before Christmas that year, I brought home a chocolate point Siamese kitten, whose name would be Ming. Ming and my wife formed an immediate bond that I have never seen between a person and an animal. They adored each other.

Ming and I… he liked to play, and we did that. But it took us some time to reach an understanding with one another, but we developed a strong bond over time. Not like he had with my wife, but we had our own thing.

Ming was smart. He knew his name – which up until that point I never believed cats did. I know what you’re thinking, “He knew his name? You’re right, what a genius.” There is more to the story. One time, his litter box was nearly empty. I poured the last bit of clean kitty litter into the litter box, and threw the kitty litter box into the trash. Then we left for work.

When we came home from work, the trash was tipped over (he did this occasionally because he was just nosy). We came to realize he had tipped the trash over, got the kitty litter box out of the trash, and dragged it next to his litter box, which was in another room. It should be mentioned that he never before or after this dragged anything to his litter box. It should also be mentioned that this was quite an undertaking, as he didn’t have opposable thumbs, or even hands. Finally, it should be mentioned that I have to pickup kitty litter on the way home tonight.

On a very sad Friday morning in 2013, we had to have Ming put down, about two weeks shy of his 19th birthday. I had said I didn’t want another cat. After all, I didn’t want the first one. And we had really good one, so the odds of getting another really good one seemed low. And in the end, I’m a dog person (although I am an other people’s dog person). I had stated this firmly in the years leading up to the end of Ming’s life. So naturally, being the man, I put my foot down, and we didn’t get another cat.

Except, that’s not what happened at all. What happened was we left the vet’s office, we came home and I worked for a little while, we went to lunch, and then went several places in town looking for kittens. When we didn’t find one, we went home and looked online, where we eventually found a couple that raised Siamese cats, and had a pair of blue point Siamese kittens for sale. But I was very firm, and stuck to my guns. Except that what really happened was that we drove straight there, and while trying to decide which one we would choose, I suggested we get both. Sticking with the previous Asian theme, their names are Zin (male) and Miko (female).

I’m sure a shrink, a type of doctor that treats mental disorders that I of course have never seen – except that I have – because the voices told me to go, could tell you all the reasons why what we did was wrong. That we didn’t grieve. But what they’re not taking into consideration is, screw them we wanted another cat (actually two more). We’re grown ups. I don’t wait until some magic day before I turn from heat to air conditioning either. I grew up and started going to work every day for a reason – and I’m pretty sure it’s so I can turn the air conditioning on whenever the hell I want. Or buy kittens. Who are brother and sister. Literally Siamese Twins. They are inseparable – except for the two times that something has happened that caused them to attack each other and we have to keep them separated so no real harm is done. And that’s what I really came to talk about, but I think I’ve put you through enough for right now. We’ll talk about feline redirected aggression, and whatever the hell happened the second time, in another article.

Hi, I’m Dan… and The Holidays Make Me Blarknard, Part I

A little business up front.

  • Hi. I’m Dan. This is my blog. Because of the environment we live in, where somebody says something that could have been said on TV in the 70s and it would have been viewed as “racy”, but now would be a career ender, I had decided to keep it anonymous. However, since my first post it has dawned on me that I’m about as controversial as warm milk. So, yeah, it’s me. My name is Daniel William Henry, Bill Daniels is sort of an anagram of that (not a literal anagram, but a mishmash of names and nicknames).
  • You may have noticed the site has taken a very utilitarian look with all the charm of a high school newspaper (actually  high school newspapers might be fancier now days, if they have them.   They’re probably all websites).  This is because I got sick of trying to get my Cubs logos and pictures of Wrigley field in there.  So here it is.  Just words.  I hope they’re vaguely humorous.

Moving on to business.  The holidays make me blarknard.  Some of it has to do with what the kids want, or that they won’t play with “outside toys”.  Some of it has to do with my wife bugging me to wrap presents.  Some of it has to do with the fact my cars are dirty and people won’t stop leaving fast food cups and old books in them.  This isn’t a holiday specific concern.  I can rant about this pretty much any time.

But that’s not what’s bothering me tonight.  Tonight it’s holiday decorating.  Fall decorating consists of hanging a wreath.  My wife handles it.  Christmas is a different matter.  The Friday after Thanksgiving my parents had the kids from around 4pm until 10:30 or 11:00pm.  What could a couple of parents do with this time?  When my wife asked what I wanted to do, I said “take a nap and binge watch Justified, but you don’t”.  And I was right (I always am, it’s not even worth keeping track of), she had no interest in my idea.  So, we turned toward decorating.

We moved this year, so we looked at the front facing windows of the house, and decided how many trees we needed. We had a slight disagreement about if the double window in our forward facing closet needed one or two.  I felt we needed two. Of course, I was right. We had two 4′ white lighted trees, so we needed one for the hall window, one for the gameroom, one more for the closet, and a tall one for the dining room.  Then our normal tree in the back of the house.  This is 5 front facing trees, and the real one with presents under it in the living room, that faces the back of the house.

First, we decorated the two largest bushes with all the white lights we had, and put them on a remote control.  When men put something on a remote control, they get a great sense of power, not unlike the Wright Brothers felt, or perhaps the guy who invented that remote.  So with warmth in the cockles of my heart, we set out to walmart for the necessary trees, and extension cords that all had a footswitch. This doesn’t make you feel like Orville and Wilbur, but maybe like the guy who figured out how to put that little air vent on the plane so  you’re not having a claustrophobic panic attack before you take off.  Also, when we got to the tree store, my wife decided we needed the “next to the door trees”.  We’re now up to seven front facing trees.

I had it all done before my parents got home, which made me pretty proud.  The streetlight in my yard ruins the effect, but it looks like this:

It’s 7 trees and two bushes.  When I asked about doing the garage windows I sort of got a bit of a “what the hell is wrong with you look”.  So I stopped there.

I was quite proud, so many decorations in such a timely fashion.

Then there’s the neighbor.  He’s the nicest guy in the world.  He’s retired.  His yard is flawless and decorated.  I hate yardwork.  This is not a new development. I hated it at 14, nothing has changed.  He loves it.  He decorated the following day.  He put up 3 lighted animatronic deer, an angel, lit the row of bushes between our yards (which he politely asked my permission to put stonework around so the mulch didn’t move in the rain), a lighted snowman (maybe inflatable).  He lit something I can’t identify on his front porch.  He has a large Merry Christmas sign over the porch.  To cap things off, the top of each window has a lit wreath on top part of the window, and a candle on the bottom.

And he has no streetlight to detract. I’d show a picture, but I’m protecting his innocence.  I’ve been out Griswolded.  It makes me blarknard,  It’s a word you know.  You can even get it on a mug for $25.  I don’t see any proceeds in case you’re wondering.  That makes me… blarknard.  Apparently, a lot of things bother me.

If you read this and hate it, tell me.  If you enjoyed it, please tell a friend.

Blarknard was published by UrbanDictionary.com

In my previous article, I invented a word, blarknard.   Blarknard is a word I invented because I’d rather not say fucking insane in a public setting. So I submitted blarknard to urbandictionary.com. This way on the occasions I mean fucking insane, I can use blarknard, and not offend my mother – who has never said blarknard, but has occasionally said the other word.  Not all the time.  Not often.  Not recently.  But when she did, look for a safe place.

Blarknard was initially rejected by urbandictionary.com.  I’m not sure why.  It could be because it’s an obviously made up word.  But it’s urbandictionary.com, so what isn’t?

Anyway, instead of saying fucking insane and making my mother upset, I can say blarknard.  So, stay tuned for my next post, The Holidays Make Me Blarknard, Part 1.  I can’t imagine there won’t be more than one.

Worthless Observations, coming your way….

You know how stand-up comedians work for years and if they’re lucky they make a living being on the road and living in a different city every weekend? The luckier ones get a pilot or two. Really lucky ones get a series. Extremely lucky ones get a sitcom that goes several seasons, and they make millions of dollars per season, like Jerry Seinfeld. Or sell out Madison Square Garden like Kevin Hart. Or both.

Guess what? It’s not luck. They busted their ass. Watch a documentary on what a comedian goes through.

It’s not all work. You have to actually be funny too. A friend who was a good all around athlete once asked me “What do you think is the hardest thing to do in sports?” I thought for a moment and said “Hitting a round ball with a round bat”. He said “No. If you have the bat, you have a chance. Pitcher throws the ball, you take a swing. You could get lucky.” He continued, “The hardest thing to do in sports is dunk a basketball. If you’re 5’9″ and can’t jump, there is no way in hell you’re dunking a basketball. There is not enough luck to help you”. And if you’re not funny, you can’t work hard enough to get to make a living being on the road and living in a different city every weekend, get a pilot or two, get a series, a sitcom that goes several seasons and make millions, like Jerry Seinfeld. Or sell out Madison Square Garden like Kevin Hart.

I’ve never given up on the idea that I am funny, despite a lot of argument to the contrary.

Here’s an aside – There will be a lot of these as ADHD seems to run in my…. anyway, Rod Beck was a relief pitcher, and at one point played for my beloved Chicago Cubs. It would be 74 degrees, and Rod would be sweating through his hat. He was not the most athletic athlete you ever saw… but when he was good he didn’t have to be, because he only had throw about 14 pitches. When he wasn’t good…. well, he wasn’t. And I’m not always funny. But as Jim Valvano said,

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Jim didn’t, and I’d like to think Rod didn’t either. Although if Rod had given up the cocaine and heroin in his bedroom when he was found dead, he might still be with us.

About ten years ago, I wrote for a while. Blogs were all the trend. Things have changed. At the time, blogging still seemed like a step toward writing for a paper or magazine. My favorite columnist was Dave Barry. I also enjoyed Lewis Grizzard and Mike Royko, but their production really dropped off sometime in the 1990s.

While the opinions on my writing were generally that it was bad, I occasionally strayed as far up the scale as mediocre. So I think if I really give this a shot, consistent mediocrity might be within my grasp. The first time I didn’t listen to Jimmy V. This time… I will try to remember what he said.

Am I funny? My wife says I’m not nearly as funny as I think. But what I’ve learned is that women, for the most part, have no idea what’s actually funny. This is why women don’t like The Three Stooges. Is this a generalization? OBVIOUSLY!!!! But while I’m not going to try to be the second coming of Dice Clay, I’m also not going to be so PC that I can’t speak my mind.

Does anybody else remember when PC stood for Personal Computer? That was it’s default meaning. It’s only meaning. Now it means Politically Correct, by default. This makes me blarknard. Blarknard is a word I invented because I’d rather not say fucking insane in a public setting. So I submitted blarknard to urbandictionary.com. We’ll see if they pick it up, or I have to say fucking insane on the occasions mean fucking insane or if I can use blarknard, and not offend my mother.

Summing up:

  • I think I’m funny. I might or might not be, I’m going to give this a shot and your reactions will determine if I am.
  • I used to write. If I kept at it, maybe I’d be mediocre by now. Jimmy V said “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.“. I did.
    • Jimmy V didn’t, but he died anyway.
    • Rod Beck was a pitcher. I’m not sure if he gave up or not. He died too, probably because drugs were involved. Not modern baseball drugs that enhance performance – cocaine and heroin, which I assume do not help you throw a baseball sixty feet and six inches.
  • I’m going to write more. I’m going to try to see if following Jimmy V’s advice helps.
    • Success is on my terms. It doesn’t mean I have to make money. A lot of people liking it would be fine.
      • I get to define what “A lot of people” is.

Stay tuned for my next post: The Holidays Really Make Me Blarknard.