How to Gain Unwanted Attention – Just Drive Normal

PoliticallyIncorrectBumperStickers

A Politically Incorrect Bumper Sticker

You are driving along when you have to slow down for the person in front of you, who is going 10 miles under the speed limit, for no reason whatsoever.  Then they turn off the busy city street into a neighborhood and there they gun it to 20 miles over the speed limit in a school zone. For these folks they should have a child warning system, like our tornado sirens, that tell poor kids you are coming.  Then they need a bumper sticker so you can spot them and text ahead to your kids to run for cover.

This is how it is in Norman, OK.  I have lived and driven many places, but I think this place takes 1st place for the strangest and most absurd drivers – EVER. In this town the presence of a police car will grind traffic to a halt.  Heaven forbid you drive the SPEED LIMIT!  Oh no, they have to drive like it was a school zone. Do you understand my source of frustration?

One day, and I kid you not, my wife was flipped off by a guy as she made a left turn at the green arrow, when this moron across the street in the opposing lane wanted to take a right, even though he didn’t have right-of-way.  You see we were inconveniencing him.  I guess they must have had a 50% off sale at the local Fat Burgers with a free 64 ounce Bubba Drought Buster soda.

I am also convinced it is the nation’s leading town for DumbPhoners.  You know what I am referring to, those people who just cannot place their smartphones down long enough to drive safely.   These are the people who are so self absorbed that they fly through school zones and red lights while texting.  Heaven forbid you call the person to talk with them. Oh no, you have to text something as important as this, “OMG Sally dated Bob, then Bob dated Amy, OMG, OMG, OMG!”  Then they hit the curb and like a city designed for bumper cars, other cars are dodging each other. Then there are those that pull right out in front of you and expect you to stop for them.

We also have left turn lanes, designed to keep traffic moving.  Oh no, not in Norman, OK.  These lanes have become merging lanes of death.  You know, the lane a person uses when they are tired of trying to make a left turn, so they pull out and park until someone allows them in, it clears, or they just come in fully expecting you to stop because they drive some massive bubbamobile, all the while texting, “OMG this #$*^#@ won’t let me in – oh the nerve!” These lanes are also used to pass people and buses unloading passengers.

My final pet peeve are the people who never, ever, come to a complete stop.  You know what I am talking about.  Those people who start turning left trying ever so skillfully to miss your rear bumper, while their texting and drinking a 64 ounce Bubba Drought Buster soda from Fat Burgers.

Everyday in Norman is an adventure in driving.  I’m old school. I use my lane change arrows, look both ways before entering an intersection, and always yield for pedestrians, children and bicyclists. I drive the speed limit even as the cop is giving me the evil eye. My SmartPhone is off.  I think I can safely wait until my feet are on the ground before playing my next selection on Word With Friends.

So if you want to gain unwanted attention, try driving normal in abnormal Norman, OK.  Chances are you will get flipped off for doing so. OMG, OMG, OMG!

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The Workout From Hell – Or was is it Yoda, Vodka, Gollum, Soda or Yoga

man-exercising

I decided about a month ago to get back into shape one last time in my lifetime and then keep it that way.  On June 16th I will turn 54 (gifts welcomed) and getting in shape has become a little harder than I thought.  I go to the gym and step on the elliptical trainer and do 15 minutes from hell.  I watch the calorie burner and in that time I’ve burned off just one diet soft drink (120 calories).  Are you kidding me!!  I sweat more than enough to fill a six pack!  Next, I journey to the weight machines to try to bring my muscles back off the floor.  As I lift 80 pounds, some 100 pound female walks by and sits straight across from me and squats 850 pounds, then prances off giggling.  Show off!  It is hard to imagine that I was once 135 pounds at high school graduation, worked out and gained 50 pounds of muscle, stopped working out and gained 50 more pounds of flubber rubber.  Yet, my chicken legs are as skinny as they were in high school.

But now I have a workout buddy – my wife! Woo hoo! My wife has never truly cared for exercising – period!  Even she is seeing the need to exercise.  I think it was the AARP membership drive package she received when she turned 50 that was the inspiration.  So we decided to invest in exercise mats to do daily stretching, which some call Yoga.  I call it Holycrapa!  I watched a YouTube video on Yoga and even watching the instructor made my knees crackle and pop.  My wife swears I just watch for the instructor.  You be the judge.

Now this is definitely not Yoga for Old Farts, as I was hoping, this was Yoga for Martians Pretending to be People.  Are you serious? Holycrapa! Then this instructor says, “let’s do it again.”  I couldn’t do that once, even when I was a toddler!  Watching this alone gave me an instant OMG! (Oh My Groin) moment.  Where’s the beginner video of just 1 hour of laying on the floor motionless in meditation, followed by one leg lift? So after actually searching for Yoga for Old Farts, I found what I was looking for.

I can do that! As I was doing this strenuous Yoga exercise, to the right of the video were other suggestions, such as a Gollum and Yoda parody, a soda, and a vodka ad.  Soon I found myself more interested in funny videos instead of getting in shape (sigh).  It was at that moment the latest AARP membership package arrived offering discounts to new AARP members with ADD,  offering a free beginners Yoga class taught by master yogi Yoda Gollum, followed by dinner served with a soda mixed vodka. Okay, these search engines are getting a little too good.

So, hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to the gym I go. But for tonight, me and my workout buddy are going to enjoy a glass of wine. Hey, lifting the bottle, pouring and then curling to sip counts as exercise!!!  Well, it does in my world.

In Memory of the Fallen

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day

Today we celebrate Memorial Day.  However, it is a somber day. A day we remind, or should remind ourselves of those that died defending our country and the cause of good around the world.  It began shortly after the Civil War and was changed to include all those that died in any war. We have Veterans Day in which we give thanks to the survivors of wars.  Yet with Memorial Day the dead cannot hear our thanks, unless you believe in an afterlife.  Therefore all I can do is submit this thanks to the families of those who have died.  Your pain still remains.  For you it is not likely a day of celebration, unless you celebrate the extraordinary life of a hero. This one day each year I feel much different and yes, I shed a tear.

We have many people we admire and even idolize in the USA; the athletes, actors, singers, etc.  Yet, none do I hold in higher regard than those that have served and sacrificed so that I may celebrate a long life.  All I can truly do is to support through a contribution of money to an organization that helps our fallen heroes and their families.  This is such a small sacrifice on my part.

One day in the afterlife, that I believe in, I will be able to give my direct thanks and listen to the story of how they fell in battle.  Maybe one day, men of power, influenced by evil, will come to realize the need for a common peace, and that we are indeed one family, and this is the only world we have. Then and only then, we will lose all nagging doubts that their lives were not lost in vain.  Therefore, hoist your flag, not to politicians and administrators, but to the heroic warriors who have kept our shores free. Most of all give a silent moment of thanks to the men and women who have sacrificed for you.  Maybe in the heavens they will hear you and know they are never forgotten.

The Extended, Extended, Extended Warranty On Extension

SpeedRacer

IFunPhone Version 65

Today on Facebook I socialized with a fellow author over a mixer.  This author’s mixer died and I commented how only authors can provide narrative to the humanistic sounds an inanimate object can make.   I asked if she had given it a name.  “Stupid,” was her reply.  I replied that I understood her state of mind.  For me it’s weed whackers.  I had one I bought in the 1980’s from Sears that lasted almost 25 years.  It had no warranty, it was just made well, by AMERICANS. Alas, it died and then the next generation of weed whackers came along.  They last exactly 366 days, or just one day after the expiration of the warranty.  I don’t curse often, but on day 366 I do, loudly and proudly.

Now I always turn down the extended warranty, because it costs as much as the stupid plastic object itself.  I freely admit it – I LOVE MY MONEY!  I work so very hard for it and yet it parts from me faster than Taylor Swift from her boyfriends.  The problem is that manufacturers also love my money and have advised their engineers to make sub-standard products from plastic.  You see, if companies are to keep their EPS ratio high and shareholders giddily happy, they need sales, a lot of sales, or revenues from warranties  They get you coming and going.

This is why we have a new SmartPhone or a Mini Maxi Tablet every 30 days.  Soon the smart phone will have a weed whacker app, that spits out a blade like the car Speed Racer drove in those campy 1970 cartoons (which I admit I watched).  The iFunPhone Version 65.  It also has a mace app.  This way you can blind your attackers first, then go Chainsaw Massacre Mad Max on them next.  You see why I love to write?  If only I could convince stupid manufacturers of my cutting edge product features and yes, the warranties.  My imagination never takes a break.

I suppose I should purchase the extended warranty, but the second I do I am afraid the salesperson will tell me that this extended warranty is good for only 30 days or until the company reaches sales of 30 billion.  If they fail to reach their quota the self destruct app will be initiated and your weed whacker, version 6,234,567,892 will explode in a terrifying and agony filled death.  So, would you like the extended, extended warranty; good for an additional 30 days?  I am sure this is about $300 for a $50 product.  Oh, but they aren’t done on the siege of my wallet.  This is when they sell me the extended, extended, extended warranty that I can place on extension through October 15th, the very day I will finally get my tax return done and my $1,000 refund, which will cover the warranty.  How convenient!

Now since I am an old guy, most probably don’t remember the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy buys a vacuum cleaner, but through the salesmanship of the door to door salesman, she buys attachments valued at more than $1,000.  Adjusted for inflation that vacuum cleaner system is now the same as a BMW.  As she has to explain to Ricky, she goes into her famous cry, “Waaaaaah!”  Today’s products may be stupid, but the clever people at the manufacturers are always looking for ways to separate you from your money and they call themselves iMagineers.

To end this post, I have renamed my whackers, the company, the salespeople, and the shareholders to – Weed Wankers.  And as I edge my yard I curse and then I pray the wanker will last to day 367. Yes they are as stupid as the mixer.  What product (no company names) riles your gall, even if you don’t know what a gall is?

A Moment of Reflection

Unseen

May 22, 2013 – I live in Norman, Oklahoma.  As you may have read, our neighbors nine miles to the north were just hit with a devastating tornado.  I am speaking of the May 20, 2013 tornado in Moore, OK.  This tornado had winds higher than 200 miles per hour and was as wide as two miles in some portions of the 40 minutes and 20 miles it remained on the ground.  Our weather channel issued a tornado emergency, which is rarely used.  This was issued with the warning that if you could not get underground, death was likely.  Watch and you can easily understand why this issue to the public was given.

Moore, OK is famous for two other storms:

May 3, 1999 – in which the storm was declared an F5 tornado with winds that reached 318 miles per hour, or the fastest winds ever recorded on planet earth.  Over $2 billion in damages resulted.  This 2013 storm will most likely surpass this.

May 8, 2003 – yet another major tornado swept through the town.

Tornadoes are a fascinating weather phenomena, yet one you only wish to view from a distance.  I was close to one in 1986 in Edmond, OK.  Edmond was also struck on the May 19, 2013 storm.  What I saw in the 1986 storm boggled my mind.  I saw a 2″ by 4″ lumber stud lodged into a tree, with no damage on either end.  Tornado’s can turn the ordinary household item into a missile. My friend in Edmond captured this funnel cloud as it was forming over Edmond on May 19, 2013.  He too was present in the 86 storm and now another one in 2013.  Soon this storm went over I-35 and became more powerful, finally to level Carney, OK.

Many of you might ask, why live there?  No matter where you live on earth, you have the risk for some  form of major catastrophe.  It is just the violent nature of the world we live in.    Our state has many great qualities.  It is part of the bread belt of America.  It is the nation’s wind corridor producing new alternative sources of energy.  It has vast reserves of oil and natural gas. Tornadoes do not happen everyday.

But for me it is the people.  The people of Oklahoma are tough, but caring individuals. On May 20, parents lost children and some children lost parents.  We all lost neighbors and neighborhoods. Did we lose our faith or our determination?  I surely hope not.  I hope those effected by the storms have found comfort from those they do not even know and that generosity overwhelms them.  This is a moment of tragedy, but also a moment for the display of the finest qualities of being human; to recognize that we are all part of one family, trying everyday just to survive.  Most of the times these people we do not know ask no favors from us, but today without asking, we must give back and reflect what if we had traded places?

This tornado began near Newcastle, the sirens went off in my neighborhood, as they had 5 times the night before.  Could this have been me and my family?  Yes, it could have been.  This is why I take not a single moment for granted. Today is not about me, my feelings, or my needs.  It is a day of the needs of others, those that I may have religious or political differences, yet today they have the very basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing.  Will we come to the call for aid of the human family?  I cannot speak for others, but I must offer something, even if it’s just money to buy a blanket or a toy to calm the nerves of very scared child.  They will forever be changed. Events in our lives have a way of giving us deeper reflections of life than what the media focuses on.

Next month I turn 54.  Those 54 years have flown by, but they are flying faster now than ever before.  Yes we suffered a tragedy, but it is also a learning moment that can have a positive impact on our lives.  Take nothing and no one for granted.  Bury your hatreds in the piles of the torn neighborhoods and be reborn to the needs of others.  When you reach out and help another, you will receive blessings in return.  Soon admiration for you will grow and in the hour of your greatest need, those blessings will be returned.  We have suffered a setback, yet the fallen will rise again.

How to Stay Sane – Read the News

News052013

I admit to reading several news sites each day, to stay abreast of financial, political and human trends.  The above images and their headings are real.  I have not altered them in any fashion.  They say you can gain a readers attention with just a few words and a single image.  So what pops out for you?  Well here is what did for me.  Reading from the top row, left to right, I was intrigued with the following:

  1. Crazy Drunk Tourist Acts. Hey! They thought they were sane at the moment.
  2. Twilight Time for Stewart?  Oh please, please, please, please, please, please……
  3. Guy Fights Back With Funky.  As in the Funky Chicken?
  4. Where to Get Dating Advice.  Uh, try good ole mom and dad.

Not convinced you are sane?  Does any of this really catch your eye?  Now for the next  row:

  1. Could Humans Be Cloned?  I sure hope so, I’ll take two Selma Hayek’s please.
  2. The Trillion Dollar Question.  Well since I am a CPA and financial advisor I have 72, trillion dollar questions.  As in, are you folks in Washington really paying attention to the size of the debt and unfunded liabilities?  I don’t expect any of you to understand this, so I will make it simple.  It’s bad, real bad.
  3. Rodents Return from Space Trip.  Why those lucky rats!
  4. Unrelated Celeb Twins.  Wait a minute!  Am I missing something?  How can they be twins and be unrelated?  Then I saw the image of Michael Jackson and thought to myself, “Humans Have Been Cloned!”  Dang it, I said two Selma Hayek’s.

The media spends big bucks on research on what readers want to read.  Only 8 of the 14 images or titles caught my attention.  That’s slightly above 50%.  That is how I know I am still sane, in that my attention to media garbage wasn’t as high as 95%.  Now had they placed an image of twin Selma Hayek’s, I would have been hooked, even if the detail of the article had been about space rats doing the funky chicken in orbit with Michael Jackson’s twin.

Have a great day.

Cool or Creepy? Only in the eyes of computers.

GoogleGlass

Do you remember when you were little and there were small advertisements in your comic books for x-ray vision glasses?  Supposedly you could see through women’s clothing. I was not that inquisitive, nor am I to wear Google’s newest gadget.  Creepy?  You bet.  I watched a demonstration as a person asked the glasses about directions to a cafe, the glasses showed how many steps, and left and right turns you needed to make.  Geez people!  I am really beginning to wonder if you have MS-DOS brains, requiring two floppy drives.  Is it really that hard to find these places?

I remember how cool it was to carry around the first Compaq portable.  It had a 5″ monochrome screen and 10MB of storage space.  It weighed about 100 pounds.  Now that was cool!  Why?  Because before then we had only paper and pencil.  I did my first tax return by hand and books with journals and ledgers.  We had IBM Selectrics where I could type 60 WPM. I used my brains. Now the keyboards are so small that my fat fingers hit three keys at once.  All you hipsters now use, are two thumbs and acronyms that comprise your complete communication skills and vocabulary – OMG.  But this won’t be good enough, soon you won’t even want to use your thumbs.  The newest devices will have to be voice activated and the screen must be part of your vision field.  Soon you will have a pea-sized brain and devolve back into a chimp, but a very hipster chimp. However there is no guarantee the Chimpanzee Club of America will be accepting new memberships.

chimp

Geez Mon! Do I have to claim humans in my evolutionary chain? Even I can find my way to Chez Nous.

But even that new technology won’t be enough as you will want it embedded into your skull with slots for upgrades and it must be thought activated. Soon Siri, or Ginger Google, will be invading your dreams and when she doesn’t like what she sees she’ll send directions for you right over a cliff, which I admit might be pretty cool.

Dave, you were thinking of Siri again weren’t you? 

Poor Dave freaks outs as a new voice, other than his own enters is mind.  “Uh, no!”

“Oh yes you were, take a right and then an immediate left. 

Without questioning, Dave  takes a couple of steps and BAM, right into an open man hole.

Think of all the instant YouBoob sensations! Ginger and Siri’s revenge.

My point is simple, I was a young gun when the PC generation was born, and have seen all its supposedly cool upgrades.  The day I need instruction from a pair of PC glasses to find a bathroom is the day I retire.  However, just as there are people of Walmart, we need to begin taking photos and videos of the people of Google, because once you see yourself in real reality, trying ever so hard to look hipsterly cool, is the day I make a mint from Google YouBoob hits as you walk off that cliff, or into a fountain, a door jamb, or Ginger’s man hole.

One day you will wake up and realize that technology companies have done one thing excellently – separating you from your money.  Gee, isn’t that cool?

Alright all you geeks, hit me with your best virtual shot.