A Positive Post

A friend of mine saw a recent post and sent me a private message to say that she hoped everything was ok. I figured it was time to share a positive post.

My Boys

I’m excited for this weekend. My youngest son will be with me Saturday and part of Sunday. He’s been going through some rough times and he has chosen to stay with his mom a lot recently. I am hoping that I get to spend some quality time with him and connect.

My oldest son calls me 2 to 3 times a week, usually while he is working and when I am driving into work. I look forward to those calls. He is 19 now and he delivers pizzas. He is often on a delivery when he calls. Sometimes we only get to chat for 5-10 minutes, while other times we talk for 30. Sometimes he talks about really deep stuff, while other times it is light hearted and goofy stuff.

The other day he called to tell me he was sad about Norm MacDonald passing away. We used to watch the Celebrity Jeopardy clips on YouTube and laugh a lot at him as Burt Reynolds. He also told me that he received his acceptance letter to the community college in town. I couldn’t be more happy for him and more proud! He has come a long way!!

Today he called and we talked about history and how everyone seems to want to erase it (deep stuff). We talked about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman and other historical figures and why it was so important to know history so we could learn from it. It’s funny because I remember the first “deep” talk I had with my dad and how much more I connected with him. He obviously feels the same way because after he hung up I received a text that said:

“That was a great talk today. Having these discussions with you means a lot to me. No matter when we have a conversation and no matter what the topic is, I’m always happy about the outcome of it all. I love you and hope to see you tomorrow.” (He is hoping to be the one to drop his brother off to me.)

All I could respond with was the truth. I told him he had no idea how important those conversations are to me, too!

Getting In “Touch” With Me

One of the things I have been working on is trying to “connect” with myself. Lately, I have been kind of disconnected and in my own world. That world has been full of stress and worry (as noted in previous blogs). I not only feel disconnected from myself, but at times from everyone. This has not been fair to the people in my life. So in discussing things with my therapist and my doctor. I am trying to take moments throughout the day to reconnect.

I need to be aware that I am “present.” Walking barefoot on the grass and doing things that really connect with my senses is important. They say that these things will help me be more present and aware. At first, I thought they were suggesting me doing meditation. I would find it very difficult to find 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time to do that.

My therapist said that it doesn’t have to be that long at all, and it doesn’t have to be anything more than just taking 2 minutes. So my “homework” has been to take 2 minutes and count 4-3-2-1. I need to notice 4 things I see, 3 things I hear, 2 things I smell, and 1 thing I feel. So far, when I have done it, it has been helpful. Let me share one of these instances:

Before work one day this week, I was going to grab subs for Sam and I. So I got in the car, rolled the window down and drove down the street. It was at that time I decided to do one of these “sessions.” The 4 things I saw: The new family in the neighborhood walking together on the sidewalk, the city policeman in his familiar place looking for speeders, a classic car driving presumably to the car show north of us, and an elderly couple sitting on a bench under the gazebo in town. The three things I heard: the loud bass from a teenager’s car blasting, the sirens from an ambulance, and a Jackie Wilson song on the radio. The two things I smelled: gasoline from the huge semi truck filling the tanks at the gas station, and the smell of burgers from Burger King as I passed it to get to the sub place. Finally, the one thing I felt: The breeze coming into the car while driving with the window down. Oh the feeling of the wind on my scalp! LOL

The last thing is the one that really got me. It seems that when I get in the car, I just tend to crank the AC or Heat and drive. I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had drove with the window down. I guess I really need to do it more often, because it really was quite an awesome feeling.

Here’s to hoping that these little exercises continue to help me “reconnect.”

Fake “Stars” and a Real One…

It’s been a few days since I have blogged. I’m sorting through some things that I’ve been dealing with and I hope to be back to my old self sooner than later. Please bear with me.

What’s This All About

I used to post pictures of famous people on my Facebook page when it was their birthday. My ex told me to stop because “nobody cares about that crap!” When I stopped, people started messaging me and asking why I stopped posting them. So I created a page on Facebook that completely focused on Famous Birthdays.

There were a few sites that I visited often to get daily birthday info and ages and such. I used to spend way too much time compiling the info and posting it. It got to be too much, so I stopped. At any rate, one of the sites I checked for birthdays had loads of great information on stars, but what frustrated me was when there would be people listed on there as “YouTube” and “Snapchat” stars.

I mean really, what have they done to be considered “stars?” Nothing! If I am being honest, you and I could easily do what they are doing and gain “star” status! I have a YouTube account, and I have only posted one video – and it isn’t even me! I have a Snapchat because a few friends have it and that is their only social media platform. I also use it for the stupid filters.

When a friend of mine posts a “Snapchat Story,” right below it are all kinds of other stories (pictures and videos) from other “Snappers.” You know how they verify celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, and such? They actually verify these people too. I decided to watch a few every day for a week to see what exactly about these people are worth verifying.

Observation: Most of these people are 18-24 year old girls who talk about nothing. Some of them just post pictures of them in various outfits. Some post exercise videos. Some post videos of themselves in bed crying over a boyfriend or something. So many of them post “Swipe up and ask me a question” to which they post photos and replies to questions like, “How tall are you?” or “What’s your favorite ice cream?”. Then there are the weirdos who ask them to post pictures of their feet! Even the male Snappers who post things and have been verified have nothing to say. I don’t get it!

What I found funny is that there are 5 or 6 who always come up in the stories and they all answer the question: “What makes your teeth so white?” EVERY single one of them answers “I use Purely White Deluxe.”

I have never heard of this product, but it is obvious that they are paying these people money to talk about this thing! I mean, come on, they answer this same question every day! You know that the “people” asking it are “plants” to make it seem like people are genuinely interested in it! Maybe it is just me, but when I see stuff like that, and way too many people talking about it, I know that I DO NOT want to try it…and will actually avoid it!

Maybe I need someone to go to my Snap Chat and ask how I get my bald head so shiny?! “Why don’t you know? I use Turtle Wax!!”

Norm

I was shocked to hear of the passing of Norm Macdonald today. He was 61. What surprised me the most was to read that he had cancer for almost a decade. As a celebrity, it seems everyone knows your business. How he was able to keep it a secret, I’ll never know.

I always liked Norm on SNL. He was so flippant. He had that “I don’t care” attitude. Sometimes I think he told a bad joke purposely. If I had a dollar for every time he said the word “Crack” or told a bad joke about OJ Simpson, I could probably retire.

Outside of the appearances and cameos in Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider films, I loved Norm’s silly movie called Dirty Work. It is typical Norm. There are so many stupid lines in it, yet there are some very funny parts. You’ll be dumber for watching it, but you will get a few chuckles (and they get funnier every time you watch it….).

His appearances on talk shows were always great. He told great stories and even better jokes. One of the best is his Moth joke on Conan…. typical LONG set up and great punchline!

Of course, I will always remember Norm for playing Burt Reynolds on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy. While the bit would progress into Sean Connery’s Hatred of Alex Trebek in the bit…..Norm’s Burt Reynolds is priceless. How can you not laugh at Turd Ferguson?! When he starts talking about Scooby Doo … I laugh every time!

Rest In Peace, Norm!

A Little Mischief

All my life the night before Halloween was referred to as Devil’s Night. In some places it is called Mischief Night. Other places call it Goosey Night, Mat Night, or Cabbage Night. Whatever you called it, it was usually a night that kids/teens would go out and prank people. Usually those pranks were pretty harmless. Recently, Devil’s Night in Michigan (Detroit, in particular) became a night that folks would go out and set fires to abandoned house and buildings. It is now referred to as Angel’s Night as many patrol neighborhoods in hopes of stopping those fires.

I was not an innocent little teenager, as I would occasionally go out on October 30th and cause mischief. In discussing with a friend the many pranks associated with Devil’s Night, I did many of them, but not all of them. How many of these were you involved with?

Toilet Papering

Of all the pranks we came up with, I admit, this was my favorite. We TP’d houses even when it wasn’t Devil’s Night! You can read about that in a past blog. We had a group in high school called the TP Bandits. I swear we bought hundreds of dollars in TP in 1988! When we were done, we left works of art! The sheer beauty of TP blowing in wind …. ah, what a sight!

Soaping Windows

Probably one of the cheapest and least menacing pranks was soaping windows. You’d go into your bathroom and home and swipe a bar of soap and go up and down the street drawing smiley faces on car windows. Sometimes we’d write “hello” or draw things on home windows, but not usually. I can see where this might not be so harmless today. I have a feeling that most kids today would write hateful things on car windows. The nice thing about this prank was a car wash or rain would take care of the soap.

Ding Dong Ditch

I’ll be honest, I never heard it called “Ding Dong Ditch” until recently. We would usually just say, “Hey! Wanna go ring doorbells?!” This prank is more annoying than anything and if you were slow, you’d get caught. Basic idea – ring the doorbell and run. I would imagine that the Ring Doorbells with cameras make this not as fun. It really is a dumb prank. This is almost the same thing as …

Knock and Run

This prank is basically the same thing, except you knock on the door and run. I have a feeling this came about because of homes that had no doorbell! I’m not sure I’d have the guts to do this, but when I saw this picture I laughed. Imagine doing this to your own home!

He probably needs a longer hockey stick…..

Egging houses

A bit more expensive and a lot messier, this was a prank I only did a couple times. A buddy of mine busted a window by whipping an egg at it, and I think that was when I decided that “egging” was not my favorite prank. Most people just egged cars, but some threw them at doors and houses. It was always messy and I remember my dad hating having to clean that up. Some people took this prank in another direction and used tomatoes!

Forking

This is a prank I never really understood. Forking a lawn is just what it sounds like – someone puts a bunch of plastic forks in a lawn. I would think you’d need a whole lot of people to pull off this prank in a hurry, otherwise, it is gonna take you a while to get it done. I don’t know about you, but if I am pulling a prank like this or TPing, I wanna get it, get it done, and get out before I get caught! This is one of those pranks I never really understood.

The Flaming Bag of Poop

This is probably the cruelest of all the pranks. It is gross. Someone puts dog poop in a paper bag and lights it on fire. Then, they knock on the door or ring the doorbell and run away. The home owner comes to the door and stomps on the bag, getting poop on their shoe. This prank has shown up in Adam Sandler movies, on Saturday Night Live (in Matt Foley and Martha Stewart sketches), and on the Simpsons.

For the record, I never did this prank. I can’t even imagine wanting to pick up a piece of dog poop!

Smashing Pumpkins

I guess this prank is pretty mean, too. I know how hard my son worked on carving his pumpkin. If he woke up Halloween morning and found it busted up, I can only imagine how upset he’d be. I am not sure that this is really a Devil’s Night thing, as I think most pumpkin smashing happens after Halloween when the gourds are a bit more … mushy.

Did I miss any pranks? Let me know!

I hope that when I walk out to my car in the morning it is egg and soap free!

Rest In Peace, James Lipton

I was saddened to read of the passing of James Lipton this week at age 93.  Many know him from Inside the Actor’s Studio, but he did so much more.  He was a writer and producer (working with greats like Bob Hope, and writing for many soap operas).  He was also an actor (on Guiding Light, Arrested Development) and voice actor (often playing himself on shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy).  He was also an author (he wrote the novel Mirrors, which was made into a TV movie in 1983).

He was born in Detroit and worked as a copy boy for the Detroit Times.  He actually starred on radio’s The Lone Ranger (which was broadcast out of WXYZ in Detroit) as Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger’s nephew.  He wanted to be a lawyer, but went into acting to earn money to pay for his education.

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It was with Inside the Actor’s Studio that made him a household name.  The show was a non-credit class at the Actor’s Studio Drama School where successful writers, directors, and actors were interviewed by him about their craft.  The acting students could also ask questions of the guests.  The sessions were recorded, edited, and broadcast on television for audiences to enjoy.  The show began in 1994 and continued with him as host until 2018, when he stepped down.

He was parodied by many, including Will Sasso on MadTV and David Cross on Mr. Show.  But the most memorable parody was done by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.  Ferrell’s portrayal was over the top and hilarious.  When asked how he liked it, Lipton said, “I love it!  I love it!  It’s flattering.”  The thing I always remember about it was the HUGE stack of blue question cards Ferrell had on the table for his guest.

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I know many people found him to be a bit creepy, but I found him fascinating.  I was always amazed at how he was able to get his guests to open up and share stuff.  He was very good at that.

Whenever we interviewed someone on the radio, we had a jar with questions.  The questions were written by staff members, listeners, and some were just made up.  We’d have them dig into the jar and answer five of them  We called it the “Final Five”.  It was far from an original idea, as James Lipton always wrapped up his interviews with a series of questions inspired by French interviewer Bernard Pivot.

In honor of his passing, here are those 10 questions.

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Here are my answers:

  1. Ridiculous.  I am not sure that I’d call it my favorite, but I use it a lot!  I am guessing it changes from day to day.
  2. Moist.  That’s the first word that pops into my head, and I hate it!
  3. My wife. Constantly!  She is beautiful.
  4. Smoking. I was exposed to it as a kid and I find it disgusting.
  5. Birds singing on a spring or summer morning.  Love it even more when I hear it on the golf course.
  6. Children crying – it always breaks my heart.
  7. Fuck.  Not proud of this, and believe me, I am trying really hard to stop using it so much!  There are just some things that force me to say it – like my co-workers – they’ve come to expect it from me.  LOL
  8. I would love to teach.  Today’s atmosphere is a lot different from when I was in school.  I would love to teach some sort of fun subject – music or entertainment oriented.  Wishful thinking, I know.
  9. Any political job.  No matter what you do, someone disagrees with you. I’m not sure I could handle that kind of criticism or pressure.
  10. I believe heaven does exist, and I would love for God to say, “Welcome, Keith.  You’ve done well.  You were a good father, a good husband, and a good friend.  You’re mom and grandparents have been waiting for you.  They need a fourth for pinochle.”

What are YOUR answers?

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