Thursday, January 28, 2010

Timeless Wisdom

Any regular reader of this weblog knows that I am a fan of Eastern philosophy. It offers a more complete picture of how to deal with life than just relying on the Western bits. In that vein, here are some quotes from a man who lived in China twenty-five hundred years ago, Confucius.

I posted a version of this almost three years ago, but have since added twenty new ones for those who have read it before (this means you, Rocket):

Confucius say, he who hesitates is probably right.
Confucius say, war not determine who right, war determine who left.
Confucius say, virginity like bubble. One prick - all gone.
Confucius say, baseball wrong, man with four balls not able to walk.
Confucius say, man who fight with wife all day, get no piece at night.
Confucius say, it takes many nails to build crib, one screw to fill it.
Confucius say, passionate kiss like spider web, soon lead to undoing of fly.
Confucius say, man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day long.
Confucius say, squirrel who runs up woman's leg not find nuts.
Confucius say, man with tight trousers is pressing his luck.
Confucius say, do not drink and park, accidents cause people.
Confucius say, man who run through airport turnstile backward going to Bangkok.
Confucius say, man who live in glass house, should change in basement.
Confucius say, man who fart in church, sit in own pew.
Confucius say, man who masturbate, only screwing himself.
Confucius say, man with hand in pocket all day not crazy, just feeling nuts.
Confucius say, man who have last laugh, not get joke.
Confucius say, early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy...but a social loser.
Confucius say, a Rubix cube is like a penis, the longer you play with it, the harder it gets.
Confucius say, a woman can humiliate any man by simply saying "Hold my purse."
Confucius say, the useless skin around a penis is called "a man".
Confucius say, a vagina is like a very small hotel. One must leave his bag outside.
Confucius say, man who mix Viagra and Ex-Lax doesn't know if he's coming or going.
Confucius say, a smile is like tight makes your cheeks go up.
Confucius say, marriage is like a bank account. You put it in, you take it out, you lose interest.
Confucius say, at a nudist wedding, you don't have to ask - you can see who the best man is.
Confucius say, men are like spray paint, one squeeze and they're all over you.
Confucius say, gynecologist and pizza delivery man are very much alike...both get to smell the goods, but neither one can eat it.
Confucius say, Viagra is like Disneyland...a one hour wait for a 2-minute ride.
Confucius say, woman who fall in love with elevator operator, usually get the shaft.
Confucius say, blondes have more fun because they are easier to amuse.
Confucius say, whether or not sex is better than pot, depends on the pusher.
Confucius say, blowing into a blonde's ear is called Data transfer.
Confucius say, men are like cement...after getting laid, they take a long time to get hard.
Confucius say, oral sex makes one's day, but anal sex makes one's hole weak.
Confucius say, dog may be man's best friend, but pussy not far behind.
Confucius say, Christmas trees are like priests...their balls are just for decoration.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, while my wife was at an AAA meeting, I stuck my nose into the library's used book store. I only had about ten minutes to look around as they were about to close. One interesting work I saw there was John McEnroe's biography, "You Cannot Be Serious". I chuckled when I read the book's title; I remember many years ago seeing a clip of him saying those four words to a line judge.

I wanted to get the book, but $8 is higher than I wanted to go.

Still having a half hour to kill, I went into the library proper. I hadn't checked out a book in years. If there's a book I really want, I'll just buy it; I don't like the idea of having to return it after a few weeks. Nonetheless, I wouldn't mind reading the McEnroe book for free if they had it there.

I headed to the sports section, then to the tennis section, then to the biography tennis section. Whew. They did have a copy, but I didn't have my card. I asked a male librarian if it was possible for me to check out books with just my ID. He said it was and I found one other bio I was interested in reading: Maureen McCormick's "Here's The Story".

Interesting fact: Both Mc and I were born at the Air Force Base in Wiesbaden, Germany.

On my way out, I saw a kid playing a video game at a computer station. I wanted to tell him he wasn't supposed to be doing that, but it was his own personal laptop. You wanna know what kind of games I played on my lap as a child in the early 80's? Check it out:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Think Fast

Continuing my observations of Eckhart Tolle's newest book, he writes that "most people are so distracted by their thoughts, so identified with the voices in their heads" that they'll do virtually anything to get away from them. Some such activities include drug-induced highs, sensory overstimulation such as excessively loud music, thrills or dangerous activities, or an obsession with sex.

I think one of the reasons I like movies so much is because they get me out of my head. In fact, I get a bit PO'd when they don't. A couple weeks ago, I went to "The Lovely Bones" and was distracted about 20 minutes into it by thoughts of errands I needed to run. While a part of me was obsessing, another was saying, "Shut up. I'm trying to watch a movie."

In my recent post on pleasures, Randy commented that "I need to veg out at the end of the day and will watch lousy sitcoms so that I don't have to think". Now there's a guy who understands why he does what he does. Could it be that we enjoy the things we do, not necessarily because of what they give us, but what they give us a break from?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Grandma's Boy

My favorite grandparent in this lifetime was my dad's mother. Her name was Ruth. Her husband passed when I was 4, so I don't have many memories of him (the only one I can recall is being with him and my family in a blue pickup truck that had a camper attached to it). She lived at 1924 W 5th Street in Winona. Her house was painted light green and was located at the city limits of Winona (a green sign on the street in front of her house said "Winona" along with another sign that said Winona was an "All-America" city whatever that means).

It seems that almost every time we went there as children, Grandma always wanted to get us "washed up". This consisted of sitting on her kitchen sink while she cleaned our face and hands with a washcloth. It wasn't too unpleasant, however. She also did the same for our redheaded cousin.

She had more than an acre and a half of land. Needless to say, getting the lawn mowed was a job that took all day. Usually my uncle would handle those duties. I sometimes liked to climb partway up a supertall pine tree that was in the backyard. About 4 blocks away was a small grocery store called B&B. I remember one afternoon my sister walked with my brother to the store (she was about 8, he around 5). On their way there, they passed a house that had a small statue of a polar bear in its yard. My brother got a little scared. My sister told him that it wasn't a real bear. In the same yard, he said he saw a snake in the grass and started to freak out. She told him that it was simply a garden hose and all was well.

Grandma typically stocked the same foods in her kitchen. Her grilled cheese sandwiches were the bomb. She almost always had some Welch's grape juice on hand as well as Keebler's Fudge Stripes.

My grandma was also one of the first people I knew who had a remote control for her telly. It was pretty primitive, though (It only had 4 buttons on it). I watched several Super Bowls at her place along with my uncle, including number 23. That was the one where Joe Montana of the Niners came back against the Bengals in the final minutes of the game.

My favorite memories are when I would stay overnight at her house. As opposed to when I was at home, when I stayed at Grandma's, it was all about me. One of my parents would drop me off at her place on a Friday night. She would make something for us to eat for supper. We might watch a little TV. If it was nice out, we would go on her porch, gaze out at west 5th and talk about life. I would usually hit the hay at around the time that the Tonight Show was starting.

I slept in the bedroom while Grandma slept on the couch. One night, I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Grandma said she found me trying to get out the back door. Being half asleep, I thought it was the bathroom door. Grandma told me I had the wrong door and guided me to the loo. It was great getting up in the morning and having some toast and OJ. Waking up to quietness was not something I was used to. In the afternoon, we would walk over to JCPenney and she would usually buy me something that I wanted. One time, I chose this:

We would relax at her place the rest of the afternoon. One of my parents would pick me up in the early evening and we'd head back to the rolling hills of Rollingstone, Minnesota.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pleasure Island

There are three main pleasures I look forward to these days: eating, sex, and watching telly. Which do I enjoy the most? I think it might actually be eating as last night I was fantasizing about how good it was gonna be to go to the pizza buffet tonight. Eating at home is nice, but munching on thin crust pepperoni pizza and dessert sticks with a Cherry Coke nearby is ecstacy. I've had to be more cognizant lately about taking my time eating at the pizza place in order to prolong the pleasure (this strategy can also be applied with sex).

I only watch TV shows that I am genuinely interested in. I feel better lying in bed in a fetal position than watching something on TV that's not doing anything for me. My favorite programs to watch are Ghost Hunters (the only really compelling part is when they show the client the evidence they caught), Modern Family, Inside the NFL, Community, The Office, 30 Rock, Lost, The Amazing Race, and Big Love.

I'm also thankful for a number of smaller pleasures: taking a long bath while reading a good book, hanging out with the cat and dog, and a not-inconsiderable bowel movement.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Guess What?

Yesterday morning, having some time to kill, I went to a number of stores. I've been on a bit of a book kick lately, but don't like paying full price, so checked out the selection at a couple "gently-used" stores. At Salvation Army, I found an Oprah Book Club selection by Eckhart Tolle called "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" (I love how the book cover matches my template).

Though the cover price was $14.00, SA was selling it for $1.00. Though there were a number of passages that I skimmed because they didn't really interest me, there were a number of bits that got me thinking. Here's one:

"You are about to tell someone the news of something that recently happened. "Guess what? You don't know yet? Let me tell you." If you are alert enough, present enough, you may be able to detect a momentary sense of satisfaction within yourself just before imparting the news, even if it is bad news. It is due to the fact that for a brief moment there is, in the eyes of the ego, an imbalance in your favor between you and the other person. For that brief moment, you know more than the other. The satisfaction that you feel is of the ego, and it is derived from feeling a stronger sense of self relative to the other person. Even if he or she is the president or the pope, you feel superior in that moment because you know more. Many people are addicted to gossiping partly for this reason. In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgement of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone."

This passage makes clear the appeal of talking trash about someone else, something I rarely do. Could it be that our parents were right when they said, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." I'm not saying that we shouldn't tell others if they are doing things that are bothering us (the co-worker who 86's every new idea you have, the parent who never calls, the partner who never wants to have sex during the day), just that it's hard to see the point of saying something about others that you wouldn't say to their face. In conversation, I like to ask others how THEY are feeling, how life is going for them, not what's going on with so-and-so.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 1993

It was a cold morning. I woke up at about 7 o'clock knowing that this was the day I had been waiting for. I showered and wondered if by nightfall I really would be hundreds of miles away from here. I packed my suitcase. I had no time the night before because I had worked late at Sammy's. But I was ready to go this morning.

Just two days before I had received the news that my grandmother, Ruth, had died due to complications that occured shortly after she had a heart attack. I guess it just hadn't hit me. I hadn't spent much time with her lately. Since this trip was already set up, I wouldn't be able to attend the funeral which, in some respects, was good. I could just remember her the way she was when me and Mike and Brian went up there on our way to Valley Oaks on Monday night. That was just before Mom moved into her own place. Things change, but I realized that grandma didn't deserve to be pent-up in that little apartment with hardly anything to do. She is now free to do anything she wants, including, of course, reuniting with her husband who passed 18 years prior.

I waited downstairs with my suitcase ready to depart. My stepdad, Phil, picked me up at about 9am. I put my suitcase in back and hopped into the front seat of his company car and headed off to LaCrosse. He told me about the breakup of him and my mother, which I, of course, was aware of. He said he might be a bit distant and introspective during the trip. I understood.

I was going to Florida for the first time. I had a bit of a cold, but it was basically just an on-again, off-again runny nose. We arrived at the Lax airport. It was about twenty degrees outside with snow on the ground . We checked our baggage and boarded the plane. I can't remember much of that flight from LaCrosse to Minneapolis, just that it was only about 40 minutes long and over quickly. I hadn't been on a plane since about 1986 when Phil and Mom took me with them to California for a few days.

At the Minneapolis airport, I ate at McDonalds. This Micky D's actually served pizza, but I chose chicken nuggets while Phil got something from Pizza Hut. After an hour and a half layover, it was time to go. The flight to West Palm Beach would be around three hours. The plane took off. I listened to headphones part of the way, had a little something to eat. We were in first class which wasn't bad.

As we got further south, I saw that there wasn't any snow on the ground and that brought a smile to my face. We flew over Nashville and soon were in Florida. There were a lot of smiling people on the plane as we landed in sunny West Palm Beach in the late afternoon. I was feeling a little groggy, so I picked up some aspirin at an airport store around the time that we got our baggage. The airport was fantastic. It had beautiful, light-colored carpeting and everyone seemed to be wearing short-sleeves and bright colors. We got a car rental. It was around 75 degrees and the sun was starting to set as we headed to the Holiday Inn Oceanfront Resort where we would be staying at. I rolled down the window and was glad that I had come.

We got the hotel room and then Phil showed me the Atlantic Ocean. It was a sight to see as it began to get dark. Then he took me to Burger King to pick something up because he was going out with an associate he knew that evening. I didn't mind. I was looking forward to just sitting back and thinking. He left. I took a bath and thought about what I had left behind. I watched a little TV and then went out on the balcony. I sat down and wistfully looked out at the mighty ocean.

It was hard to believe that I was in West Palm Beach, Florida on a Saturday night looking out at the Atlantic. But it was true. I thought about the upcoming funeral that my family was preparing for. I thought about Sammy's and school. I thought about the future and looked ahead to this summer when I can enjoy the outdoors again. It was so great to sit outside and not need a jacket or winter coat. I went back inside and watched some of the Dennis Quaid-Meg Ryan-Martin Short movie, "Innerspace".

Phil said that Walt Disney World-Magic Kingdom was the ticket for tomorrow and, of course, we already had tickets to the split-squad Twins-Rangers game the day after tomorrow. We wouldn't be leaving Florida for another 4 days, so there would be plenty of time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the state. Phil got back late and went to bed. I watched a little more TV and then did the same. It was hard to sleep thinking about the Magic Kingdom. But I finally did get to sleep. I couldn't wait to wake up and head off to our next destination: Orlando, Florida!

(typed into a computer at Winona State University in the spring of 1993)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wipe That Smile Off Your Face

An recent article in New York magazine gives 50 Steps to Simple Happiness.

Here are the ones that resonated the most with me:

Make your bed. Go figure, but outer order contributes to inner calm.

Leave your mouth in that slightly upturned position it takes after saying ‘Cheez Whiz.’ It’s a relaxed, confident look that will convince other people you know what you’re doing.

Collect visual memories of moments when you were incredibly happy, and close your eyes and picture them when you need a boost. The mind needs images to access feelings.

Carry yourself more erect. Poor posture is a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom. You can improve your outlook and confidence simply by improving your posture.

Never clean your plate at a restaurant. New Yorkers eat out more than anyone, but they can choose to eat less.

Think like a shark, act like a 5-year-old. Our bodies are meant to be in motion. Don’t stay in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Surround yourself with things that smell like green apple or cucumber, two scents that have been proved to reduce anxiety and boost mood. Candles, shampoo, lotion—anything.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Visit to the Dentist

For the past couple nights, I've felt a pain on the upper left side of my mouth while eating in the bathroom. Last night, I came to the conclusion that it was emanating from my gums, not my teeth. I considered that good as work on cavities and other teeth-related issues can be quite expensive, time consuming and, oh yeah, painful. But what if it's gum disease? Dammit, I knew I should've flossed more than once a week (I took Zoe to the vet last week and he said I should try brushing her teeth daily or at least every other day as opposed to weekly).

So it was with a somewhat heavy heart that I called the dentist yesterday morning. It typically takes a month to get in, but I could always ask to be called if a cancellation comes up. The receptionist said I could actually get in this morning. Joy. No, I might as well get it taken care of ASAP. Besides, I would be getting my monthly 90-minute massage the following day, so that would be a happy ending to the week, so to speak.

We got about 4 inches of snow last night (Believe me, I know all about 4 inches), so I started up the snow blower early this morning and blew the driveway. I wear earplugs when doing so as what's the point of killing my eardrums over a random blow job? I left plenty early to allow time to get there and while waiting in the reception area, perused a Sports Illustrated magazine that was three months old (beggars can't be choosy in medical waiting areas).

As I mentioned in a post a couple years ago, I close my eyes when the hygienist is cleaning my teeth as what's the point in having them open, to look at the pretty bright light? I was quite relaxed during the appointment; I sometimes tense up during this time. An interesting thing occurred as I listened to the music that was being piped in: as each song played, a memory came to mind, a memory associated with that song.

"Against All Odds" by Phil Collins took me back to Mrs. Suchla's junior-high Foods Class and specifically an afternoon where parents were allowed to help cook a meal with their progeny (I hadn't recalled that specific memory in many, many years). Gloria Estefan's "Don't Wanna Lose You Now" reminded me of my first year in college when both my mom and I were attending Winona State University. Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me" brought to mind the time when I was first starting out with my wife-to-be (1996).

The hygienist did an exam on my gums in which she gave each a number based on how inflamed they were. She said mine weren't that bad considering, but to make sure that I floss daily from here on out, something I seriously plan to do this time. So it turned out that my problem isn't as severe as I thought and, once again, I have to ask, How in the hell am I ever supposed to learn anything without experiencing any kind of major health issues? I've never broken a limb, ne'er stayed overnight in a hospital (except when I was visiting my wife). Perhaps I'll feel better tonight, thinking of the alternate universe in which I have gum disease and a five-inch schlong.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Eating In A Virtually Empty Restaurant

I went to my favorite pizza buffet this evening (all the pizza, pop, spaghetti, and salad you want for $8).

There was only one other party there while I ate. As I was getting dessert sticks, one of the members of the other party mentioned how surprised he was at the lack of people there. I said, "Well, that's more for us" (though all I ever really eat is some thin crust pizza and a few of the aforementioned sticks).

One possible reason for the restaurant being relatively barren is the cold, but that doesn't typically stop people from going out up here. Perhaps it is because on the 4th of the year, people are still trying to keep their New Year's resolutions which typically include things like staying away from fatty foods and buffets. I don't doubt that in a few weeks, on a Monday like tonight, they'll be quite a few more people ingesting as their good intentions give in to the temptation of a Deep Dish Meat Lover's pie.

I've always had a problem with people saying they're going to start a diet next Monday or the first of the month. If something is worth doing, why wait? It reminds me of the Saint Augustine quote, "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet!" If I'm looking to get healthier, there's no reason to put it off. Typically, once you start doing something, the desire to continue it will show up. Waiting around for motivation to strike is typically a losing game.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Day 2009

One year ago today, my wife and I were on the last day of a 6-day stay in Ashland, Oregon. I started up a blog to write about it last January, but only just finished it a few days ago. Yeesh!

For those who care to check it out, go here.

Some of the highlights included my wife getting frisked, staying in a hotel straight out of the 1920's, and being asleep as 2008 turned to '09. A Brit who read the account called me "garrulous", a word I had to look up as I didn't know the meaning of it.

Wishing you all the best for '10!!