Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ Category

Bruce and I, over a wee dram the other night, were discussing the latest in bridge peccadilloes. The latest of course being that of the redundantly named NJ Governor Chris Christie, Fort Lee, and the George Washington Bridge. Where it will all go is anyone’s guess, but this being New Jersey, my old home state, we should be prepared for an entertaining slew of theories, accusations, denials, finger-pointing, more denials, and ultimately not being any closer to the truth than when this story first broke.


But in digging through the archaeological rooms of our library, we discovered that bridges have played more rolls in bringing politicians down, or at least to heel, than assisting them in reaching across chasm-like aisles.

Who can forget the lovely Sarah Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere? To where did it lead her? Yes, she is still on the national scene pandering to those old white men who feel they would like to get her in a voting booth for some “fact-finding” or at least go moose hunting with her? Even cable TV tossed her aside, not once, but twice. Maybe she can get a gig as a guest host on Duck Dynasty which despite its questionable politics is quite funny.


Don’t even mention Chappaquidick. Oops, sorry we did. That was a tidy little bit of bridgework from which Teddy never fully recovered. Of course as with all bridges too far, it was littered with denials before the truth was eventually outed. What is it about bridges that lead pols to folly if not ruination?

And what about Congressman Wilbur Mills (R-Arkansas) and the Tidal Basin Scandal featuring stripper Fanne Foxe. Stopped for a traffic violation, old Fanne bolted the car and jumped into the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC to escape. They didn’t even wait to cross the bridge! That finally gave Fanny an amount of exposure she had never dreamed of previously.


History is filled with bridges which rather than do what they were originally constructed to do have achieved just the opposite. Just ask the River Kwai.


But at least, it helped Sir Alec Guinness’s career immensely.

We confess… we go to a gym. More specifically, a fitness center. One of those shiny open 24 (!) hours ones (do they think they’re New Jersey, for crissakes!), with an entire host of medieval devices designed to thoroughly torture you into submission all the while building you up to resemble an ancient deity, depending of course on your peculiar body type. Yeah, we go to one of those. It’s cheap, nearby, and there are thankfully people who look a hell of lot worse than us. Are we small for saying that? Well, maybe small was the wrong word – after all we are going to this place.

But, more often than not we get the feeling that we’re watching outtakes from the cantina scene in the original Star Wars. There are creatures there we don’t and can’t possibly recognize as  human. There are beings there we don’t understand at all. And it transcends gender. Getting fit is one thing; getting weird, unless you’re in Austin, is another.

9394332501_a74f9a5b31  How do my delts look, man?

The age span is unbelievably broad. From seniors who should know better than to hurt themselves in such ways to children(!), yes children who unless morbidly obese shouldn’t need such self-inflicted agony on their way to physical supremacy.

Not only are the mutated bodies otherworldly, so is the clothing. Normally, a lot of this would be found in a discarded grocery bag found by the drop-off bin at a charity store. But upon closer inspection (please, not that close!), one can see that good money was laid out for this. The tell-tale signs are otherworldly bright colors and insane graphics. Coupled with lycra straining against unbelievable tectonic pressures and it’s a miracle there haven’t been more cellulite explosions pasting innocent victims against gym walls.

One style that many guys appear to favor is the t-shirt with the collar band cut off along with missing sleeves. All the better to show you my delts and biceps, n’est ce pa? It’s a look that went out with the original Flashdance movie. And Jennifer Beals rocked it a hell of lot better than they do. Besides, if a guy is not from New Jersey, don’t try and look like one, poseur! Truthfully, it doesn’t work there either. The same goes for headbands on anyone. You wind up looking like baby Huey.

4524567027_f72bb3d4fa Get the idea?

But those aren’t the only issues with t-shirts. More often than not, the shirt is over-sized or advertising something. Commonly it’s a bar which explains why that person is there either working off fat or a hangover. Then there are those concerned citizens whose shirts celebrate some kind of rally, race, auction, cause, church gathering, or a prayer breakfast for literacy. We can’t forget the family reunion shirts either. Do you really need to be reminded who your family is? We sure as hell don’t. We guess we need to revisit those rules about t-shirts: wear it torn and unadorned or advertise and wear your size. It’s a start.

In a reverse sort of “don’t look at my body, I’m a person not a piece of meat”, men have adopted to wearing enormously baggy shorts as currently favored by NBA players. Gone are the good old days when a bit of leg showing was OK. On the other hand if you’re a woman, you are probably wearing the tightest of lycra (here we go again!) shorts which are painted-on-your-body tight. Yeah, they’re comfortable, but so are baggy gym shorts and you won’t get candida. Think about it.

Has anyone noticed the trend in gym shoes? Some of them make sense in case there’s a power outage and you can’t find your way out of the dark. They’re that bright. The same unfortunately can’t be said of those wearing black gym shoes with matching socks. Really? Does one really need to wear formal gym shoes while working out? So in keeping with that, how about the gym rat who wears the tuxedo t-shirt? He’d better be wearing black shoes to match especially after Labor Day.


Now the gym we go to, sorry – fitness center, is pretty complete. In addition to all the equipment, it features lockers, showers, toilets, and water fountains. So why in hell do people bring in bottled water? Why is there a vending machine, right next to the water fountain, selling bottled water along with other drinks designed to match your hideously colored shoes?  Why indeed.

And what about the inhabitants of this sweat shop? Grotesquely over-developed muscles make the body do rather odd things. Many of the denizens cannot walk straight through a regular door as their arms are sticking out from their bodies at strange angles. They appear to be at the ready in case they’re dropped into a tub of scalding water and are preparing to launch themselves out accompanied by terrified screams.

They also walk funny, duck-like almost, as their feet are splayed out also at ridiculous angles. Couple that with the psychedelic colored shoes, cut-off t-shirts, tightly clutching water bottles, and baggy gym shorts/or lycra and you’ve got a cast of extras from a typical Troma film. Good times, good times.

7439327504_7ea446bdf8                                                                  And as much depth as this cardboard cut-out.

So, during an hour or so at Castle Glute, one can witness all of this and more. So tell me why we pay for cable tv when this is so much more entertaining??

Previously: Zoltan, turning around, hands each of us a handgun, saying these were for good luck. I have an aversion to guns of any size, with any predilection for luck of any kind. I started to protest when Zoltan made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was to start packing, and not my bags: we were going to the mall!

And now: Great. Out of the frying pan into the fire. If there’s anything I like less than bus rides, tarted-up Caddies, and hand guns, it’s shopping malls. Being originally from Jersey where malls are as ubiquitous as Mickey Dee’s, I believe they contribute as much to divorce as infidelity and as much to disease as handrails in hospitals. They are as bad as a war zone in Bosnia, only with free parking and not as pretty. But to the mall we were going. Zoltan likes malls because of the free parking and they appear to be open all the time.


Obviously, not the most current of malls, but where the hell were we anyway?

And as if that weren’t bad enough, Pooch (the for-sale-bride) and Ginger were hitting it off, exchanging the latest in cutting-edge fashion ideas. The bastard child of this retail coupling could only be likened to that of the illegitimate lovechild between Frankenstein and the Kardashians, with the nod for good taste going to old Frank. I hope the stores were well-stocked. And Zoltan was only too happy to bankroll this backwater version of Project Runway. Pulling out a roll of cash large enough to choke a Florida sinkhole, he dispatched Pooch and Ginger off to a shopping orgy commanding them to text him no sooner than three hours while commanding me to stay with him. Of course, he wants to have a latte with me and discuss the finer points of Instagram. Ehhh, not really. He wants my opinion on some jewelry he’s planning on getting Pooch. What a guy! Why in hell does he need me for that? I’m about to find out.

Zoltan figures the girls will be gone at least three hours before we even hear from them so he can do whatever it is he had planned for us. We walk down the main concourse of the mall passing numerous jewelry stores, Gaps, Foot Lockers, cell phone kiosks, until we come across this odd, little store run by some of his “friends.” He smiles at me, winking conspiratorially, and says under his breath, “They give me good deal. Or I give them something else, ehh?” I suddenly realize what the guns are for. Aww, c’mon, I just wanted to get away from my family! But as usual, I get it wrong. But I am starting to miss Ahmed and Kippy.

We walk into the store and are greeted by a stunning redhead, save for her lack of dental accoutrements. Zoltan walks up to her sheepishly, apologizing for being away so long, and kisses her on the cheek telling her his friend, me!, wants to buy a gift for his girlfriend, Pooch! He’s two-timing her! Maybe three- or four-timing her for all I know and he’s now made me an accomplice to his horniness. Not wanting to jeopardize his relationship with Red, he’s got me covering for him. He tells me to pick out the most expensive bauble for my “girlfriend”, explaining to the redhead I’m too shy to do this on my own. Riiight… and he’s there for moral support. While the redhead is showcasing her attributes, the jewelry that is, Zoltan is stuffing a wad of cash in my back pocket, in complete contradiction in what he usually does with such an activity. This is so wrong on so many counts. But, I’ve now got his cash in one pocket, one of his guns in another, and yet Zoltan with another gun gently prodding my back. Well, this is just one more friggin’ reason to hate malls.

4435622489_4ee47e137a This is what Zoltan really liked!

I choose something extremely expensive and equally gaudy and we leave, Zoltan promising the redhead that he’ll get her those new dental implants he’s been promising her. What a guy! It’s only been about half an hour and we’ve still time to kill. I realize that that was probably not the best way to phrase it. Zoltan suggest we go back out to the car and listen to some satellite radio. He’s discovered a new Czardas channel he’s been dying to listen to but Pooch says it makes her homesick. This has gotten plenty weird, way weird enough for me to last several lifetimes. But, right, it’s about to get even stranger.

Previously: Next stop …off.

And now: Just my luck. This bus was filled with Amway acolytes, missionaries of some obscure Zorastrian sect, and worst of all a group of life insurance salespeople heading to a convention in Des Moines. So this was hell…on wheels no less! Remind me why I left Ahmed’s and its insanity. Oh, yeah, right, that stuff.

I could stay on the bus until my final destination, 2 and a half days away with this ship of fools or I could get off some five hours from now. It would be a test regardless of length of my intestinal fortitude and ability to keep mindlessly singing an Abba song. On second thought, that might just endear me to this substrata of American society. But then again, there hasn’t been much in my history to endear me to many with the exception of the increasingly dysfunctional crew back at Ahmed’s.

3975923366_b52635d39f           Oh, yeah. Good times.

I’ve decided to stay on the bus until I could endure it no longer. Wisely, I packed the latest book, number six I think and 2,300 pages long, of the Shame of Bones trilogy. I think the author decided to milk his original premise bone dry – hence the title and the number of volumes in this inaccurately described “trilogy.” With my iPad and this book, I should be able to tune out the world, or rather this damnable bus, until I reach my destination. I hope.

Settling in to my “luxo-comfort-travel-pedic” seat as the bus company portrays it, I turn up my music to the Tony award-winning score of Kinky Boots, just then realizing the influence Kippy has had on me. Great! Just great! Before long I’ll probably be humming the score to Sling Blade – The Musical. I’m on a bus filled with people more marginalized than me, humming a yet non-existent show tune. I’m so screwed. But then it got worse.

We pull into the bus station in some town with no other reason for being other than the bus needs to refuel there and feed its occupants with the latest offerings from Little Debbie. New passengers get on; I look up and oh, crap!, there she (he) is: my brother – Ped, so named for the size of his feet which I will not go into at this point. But he’s not known as Ped any longer. No, not since his operation, yes, that operation, she goes by a new name, Ginger Vitus. Yeah. He’s a tranny, but he’s my tranny even if I don’t want to see him, er, her.

6545400661_ba2c27e4f5  Sister Ginger.

I do have to hand it to her – she pulls it off well. She looks good. Not good to me, but for what she’s done. Tasteful but with just a soupcon of garish. She always did have style. And it looks like she’s been shopping at the theatre gift store since she is now the very embodiment of Kinky Boots. I try to avoid her (his) gaze but she sees me first and walks down the aisle to park her butt in the seat next to me. Didn’t I leave Ahmed’s to escape this stuff?

“Fog! It’s so good to see you!” I try to act like Stevie Wonder but she doesn’t buy it.

Previously: Brilliant was right. In the same way a 15 watt light bulb is brilliant. This was not going to end well.

And now: Little did any of us towering intellects know that we would soon be needing a mouthpiece sooner than later and not just for resisting arrest.

Pops was down with the lawyer idea. He thought it might bring some here-to-fore needed class the pizzeria sorely lacked. F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz, and Johnny Cochran could not have brought class to this place, but, hey, I’ve crushed enough of Pops’ dreams to say anything about it. So, unbelievably, the resisting arrest scam was working. Look, it’s New Jersey, anything is possible here. And things were quiet. No PETA protests, Doris Day was happy with her new dogs, Pops was selling pizza and juris medicine in the back. It was too quiet. But we take our gifts where we get ’em.

6327151234_bd3c0dbf8a Not the caliber of lawyer at O’Shea’s.

Now that all that was humming along nicely, the drama reduced to a low, barely-discernible moan, I could go visit O’Shea’s and watch Ahmed polish his new glass, and finally indulge in one of his falafels. Life was good. Yeah, for the moment. I know I told you about O’Shea’s before, but it does have the best falafel in town. Town being Newark. Newark is out there, hanging on in the dark by its fingernails to the border, right across the river from New York City wishing it wasn’t in New Jersey. It had pretensions once, but now it’s come to grips with itself. It even at one time had its own theatre district. Now why you ask am I mentioning that? Well, what remains of the old and decrepit theatre crowd of hangers-on and former wannabees like to come into O’Shea’s and reminisce over their falafels and gin and tonics. It’s a strange crowd. It’s like watching outtakes from the old Mel Brooks movie, The Producers. Usually, it’s a harmless and almost amusing group of farts. Usually.

Tonight, we’re about to experience an out-of-body event, but I’m not sure whose body. One of the old-timers, named Kippy Sewell, creeps up to the bar next to me and signals Ahmed to join us. Us? I’m just sitting there nursing my falafel. I didn’t ask to join this but it looks like I’m into it.

“Hehnnn… Ahmed. C’mere.” hisses Kippy. Hissing is about all Kippy can manage after Tranks and Barry shook him down, literally, for an unpaid debt of some forgotten nature. “Ahmed, c’mere.”

Ahmed is deep into polishing the glass and doesn’t want to be bothered especially by the likes of Kippy. But Kippy is that rare bird seldom found in O’Shea’s – he pays his tab, so Ahmed reluctantly wanders over, but not before slowly straightening every bottle on the shelf behind him. “OK, Kippy, whadisit? I got glasses to polish.”

“Ahmed, you’re going to love this. You too Fog. But you’ve got to keep it on the down low.” You gotta give Kippy this – he speaks really well, enunciating each word as if in a Shakespearean play, only with hissing sibilance. You can take the boy out of the theatre, but… well, you know the rest.

Neither Ahmed or I are particularly interested in this, but boredom seeps in quickly at O’Shea’s so we listen. “What is it this time, Kippy?”

“I’ve just come across the most unique and original script of a play that I’ve seen in a long time. It is guaranteed to bring live theatre musicals back to the top. I’m looking for backers and you two need to get in on the ground floor. You’ll get rich!”

8318342482_5eb31fdb56 Yeah, it is a Broadway musical, but it looks more like the PETA protest.

Ahmed looks around and realizes there are more bottles that need straightening and departs for his shelves, leaving me with Kippy. I have to decide whether to make an excuse and leave, not finishing my falafel. Nope, can’t do THAT. So, I stay and listen to what Kippy believes will make us all rich. Looking back, I realize I can get a falafel pretty much anytime, but too late.

“Fog, do you go to the movies? Do you like movies? Musicals? Dance numbers?” Kippy says. “This is important.”

“No, Kippy, not really. The last movie I saw didn’t have sound.” I really didn’t want to indulge him, so sarcasm was my only refuge.

“Fog, I know that’s not true. I remember seeing you removing Polly from a Dana Delaney film festival. So there.” he hehnned triumphantly.

“OK, Kippy, shoot. I can’t hide the truth from you any longer.”

“Fog,” he always starts each query with your name. “Remember that actress with the big lips, Angela… what was it? Not Lansbury. No, no. Angelina, Yes, yes, Angelina… Jolie. That’s her. remember her? She was married to that weird guy who tattooed her name on himself. Well he made a movie that I’ll never forget.”

Oh great. He’s made a few. Which one and why? “OK, I’ll bite..which one?”

“Fog, you know the one. The one where he mumbles all the time.. Hmgnnhh. Right. Well, this script is marvelous. It’s a musical version of Sling Blade!”

2788022437_7cf29e2035 Hey, he does sing. Maybe it could work!

Good grief, I wish I had a blade so I could cut myself out of this joke. But, Kippy was serious.

Thank the lord the debates and this damnable election are almost over. It’s no secret Bruce and I are from totally different political worlds. I, of course, am reasonable and willing to listen to the other side, if not necessarily capitulate. Bruce, on the other hand, is of the Attila the Hun school and believes in a scorched earth policy in virtually every negotiation. This is not to say he isn’t a warm, lovable, caring person. He is. But if you would try and determine our party affiliation from these descriptions, you would be wrong. Ah, dichotomy!

But as we anticipate the last debate, or if you’re reading this afterwards, there are too many subjects that the moderators (damnable in their own right) have not addressed. Our goal is to address them here because you know damn well no one else will. The gloves are off. Civility is left by the side of the road. Prepare yourselves. This is war.


Here are the questions the moderators are just to wussy to ask.

1. Why hasn’t anyone asked Obama the revealing question Clinton was asked: “Boxers or briefs?” We want to know. On the other hand, we already know what Romney favors.

2. Whatever happened to Romney’s dog Seamus?

3. Who decided that both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney wear pink at the last debate? This could be collusion at a very high level.

4. We know Obama loves basketball, but we don’t know anything about Romney’s likes or dislikes when it comes to team sports.

5. In the last campaign, Obama was chided for giving Michelle a “terrorist fist bump.” Why hasn’t anyone looked into his penchant for grabbing the other arm of the person he’s shaking hands with? Is this some secret code he uses?

6. Who dresses these guys? Their clothes look like they’re off the rack. Who ever wins should dress better if they’re going to play a part on the world stage.

7. What kind of cars do they drive? This could be very telling in light of the automotive bailout.

8. What was the first lie you ever told? Yeah, this may be a loaded question, but so what.

9. Shoe preference. Loafer or tie? Could be very revealing about their work ethic. Size could be a side issue.

10. Yankees or Mets? This is NY specific, but hey!

11. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Would be a good indication if they’re willing to take on the more difficult tasks of the job.

12. Peyton or Eli? Trick question. Extra credit: Giants or Jets?

13. St. Barts or Caymans? A revealing question.

14. What is your stance on the proposed pipeline from Elizabeth, NJ to Roanake, VA? What? You haven’t heard of this? Deduct major points on this one!

15. Will you go to Disneyland after you win?

If no one else is willing to ask the tough questions, we are. Always have, always will. Give us a call. Because, let’s face it – these aren’t any better or worse than the ones that will really be asked.

Even though Bruce and I are both four-star B.F. Goodrich chefs, we do like to dine out and often. Sometimes it seems as if we’re only doing it to make ourselves feel better about our own superior culinary skills. Really, if you are going to lay down some serious currency in search of an exemplary dining experience, cost, while not the perfect barometer of quality, should be a guide at the very least. But alas, it isn’t. We’ve both have some stunningly good meals at small holes-in-the wall that one usually walks past on a daily basis. Correspondingly, we’ve also barely avoided ptomaine poisoning at some very toney, posh restaurants favored by another tire manufacturer’s stars. Go know.

A favorite hole-in-the-wall place.

However, over the years, we’ve come across a nearly fool-proof method for determining, in advance, as to whether or not a restaurant will make the grade. It’s rather simple, but then again the most elegant solutions are.

Here’s one way of knowing: if a restaurant has to promote its’ cuisine by decor, (excessive, gaudy, minimalist, thematically driven), be wary. Be very wary. We are going to share some additional examples with you. Yet, with all of this said, it doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy yourself. We’ve had some wonderfully bad Chinese food from take-out kiosks at gas stations. Go know once again. What it does imply is that the food will be: over-priced; undercooked; bad; just alright; maybe even cheap; or just plain terrible. But not excellent. Never. Ever. Again, be very wary.

So, without further ado or prejudice (we love everyone!), here are the critical warning signs for restaurants by type and in no particular order or preference.

Chinese: excessive red paint, lots of faux Chinese art, Chinese lanterns everywhere, and a menu with “Specialties of the House” (that just means it’s been in a pot all day long waiting for you!) And anything named after a David Carradine movie or TV show is a dead giveaway. Run!


Steak: This one can be misleading as there are so many permutations: Western decor, private men’s club, and anything with what is called a “petite filet” on the menu; it’s a steakhouse, damn it, not an Ethan Allen furniture store! Ketchup should not be available, even if the bottle is in a plain, brown, paper bag.

Italian: opera music in background, Chianti bottles with candles in them, red and white checked tablecloths, drapes on the walls intimating secret rooms, trompe l’oueils as decor, and meatball grinders on the menu.

Spanish: Avoid at all costs if there are pictures of bull fighters (and bull fighting posters) and Flamenco dancers on the wall. That just looks like Hobby Lobby and you wouldn’t eat there, would you?!

Japanese: fish tanks in lobby, Sumo wrestling on the TV above the bar. Wine – only Sake. Beer’s OK.

Seafood: Lobster tanks with your dinner waiting for its impending death, nautical decor, dead preserved fish on the walls, bibs, and anything printed with a lobster motif on it.

Bagels: Decor matters less than menu here. This is a big one as the princely bagel has been bastardized by the Anglo-Saxon culture – no bagels allowed with blueberries, cherries, chocolate, asiago cheese, cheddar cheese, ham, cinnamon, sushi, jalapeno, etc. If any of these exist, run away. And certainly, a bagel should not be the size of a temporary spare tire.

A proper “Everything” bagel.

BBQ: Do you really believe that your favorite BBQ place is NOT owned by a corporation? Why does all the decor, everywhere, look like it was purchased at a Pier 1 sale? Anyway, spaghetti is never to be BBQ’d; nor is there any reason for a BBQ Pizza. Never!

Pizza: Checked table clothes (again!), Italian flag motifs, any corporately designed, new “Italian” dish such as the “Guisepizza”, WTF is that?

Diner: This is more of a what’s missing means stay away. Here more is more and that’s the way it should be. If there is no cake and pie carousel or case at the front counter, get out fast. If the menu is not at least 16 pages long with everything being a specialty of the house (and they are), you’re in the wrong place. If there are a lot of smoked glass mirrors and brushed aluminum, that is a plus. Bonus tip: if the waitresses are not chewing gum or smell like an ashtray, it ain’t a real diner.

Poifect (in a Joisey accent). (Bruce insisted we stoop to such low humor on this one.)

Gastropub: Really? Get out. This is a medical procedure waiting to happen – to you!

Mediterranean: Carved (really mass-produced stamped) wood chairs and tables (most likely made in China), grape leaves in every dish and painted on the walls, and bouzouki music in background. Zorba does not live here anymore!

Vegetarian: This surprised us the most. We thought they just went to the produce counter and chowed down right there. Key give-away – hemp wall hangings, table clothes, tofu-inspired art, and rough fabric napkins (they’re good for Mother Earth!). Soulful guitar players are an enormous warning to stay away at all costs.

There are of course more examples, but we didn’t want to belabor the point. Dining out can be a wonderful experience, made more so now that you are properly prepared and know that for which to avoid. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Be wary, be very wary. And don’t forget the Zantac.

Get aside Bruce, I’m writing this one myself, move it! I’m pissed! I just lost an hour and a half of my day that I’ll never get back and it’s all Larry’s fault. Stop it Bruce, I’m warning you. I’m doing this one alone. Oh, put down the fireplace poker and have another sherry. You’re getting tedious. There, that’s better. And, Readers, please forgive me in advance as the post that follows is not written with our usual decorum and tasteful prose. Poor service gets both of us upset. We tip exceedingly well and expect exemplary service. It’s only proper.

I don’t know who to blame for this, but the concept of globalization and out-sourcing has gone too far. Maybe Ross Perot was right after all.

We have plenty of non-English speaking people here without jobs in the US without having to employ non-English speaking people in Pakistan. That’s just not fair. It’s truly a non-partisan issue as far as I’m concerned and that IS all that counts.

You know it’s one thing to complain about immigration and illegal aliens taking our “high-paying” jobs here at home. It’s quite another to send those same “high-paying” jobs out of the country and give ’em to people who don’t shop at your local Walmart, keeping the money here. Where’s all the political hoo-hah over that? Yeah, neither is doing much about it. And for those of you out there who may be so inclined, this is not a Tea Party rant. Both of us are too grounded in reality on that one. Well, at least I am.

No, what this is about is Larry…from Pakistan. How do I know he’s from Pakistan? I don’t, but he had an accent that certainly wasn’t from New Jersey and he was way too polite to come from the Garden State as well. Now, he may have been from another country. I’m not singling any one country out, but it seems like a lot of “customer service” is handled way outside of the country. It could be that they’ll work for a lot less than our illegals will. “High paying” has a whole different meaning to them. They are certainly more polite than most of us. All I needed to do was transfer my satellite radio account from my old car to a new one. Simple, huh? Only in the delusions of a cost-counting, corporate hack.

So, Larry, this one’s for you…wherever you may be. I have to give it you, you are one polite guy. You were patient and very understanding, I think. I say I think, because in the over one hour we shared with each other on the phone, not once did you lose it. On the other hand, you never really found it either. You called a lot of other people to help you help me. After our sweet time together embraced in cellular bliss, my problem still existed. Politeness only goes so far before competency needs to weigh in on the issue. But, I did say you were polite, right? You offered me more trial plans and options. Low rates even. But truthfully, that’s not what I wanted. I just wanted my problem fixed. I would have even foregone the politeness.

Uh-huh. That’s Larry in the background.

So, after our hour into our “customer service” courtship, our relationship remained unconsummated. You didn’t even offer me a cigarette or call me a cab. Like some inconsiderate one-night stand, you put my number on the wall and passed me off to another “customer service” guy. Believe me, I’m not waiting for you to call me in the morning.

But, at least the second “customer service” pro, let’s call him Bob (with a midwestern accent!) had the right phone numbers to call, even if meant going in to a chat room. Really! I didn’t know those even existed any more. Maybe he went on to the Customer Service FaceBook page for the answer.

So now Bob and I were in a budding relationship too. Bob was also polite and contrite. Please remember that those two words together (in behavior especially) will work wonders. That and knowing what you’re doing too helps immensely! Bob took yet another half hour plus of my time to get it fixed. And don’t forget, he was polite and contrite.

Well, almost. He got most of it fixed, but for some reason one poor channel refused to come in. Of course it was Bruce’s and my favorite channel – Cormorant Fancier Radio. As this is their pre-mating season, we need to keep up on things as they progress, but will we be able to? Not likely, unless Bob, or Larry, or whoever picks up the phone knows the right chat room to go to.

And the kicker… their closing line, “Thanks for choosing us.” Like we have a choice!

If you read the Sunday papers like I do (Bruce likes to look at the comics and the Walmart flyers – I am trying to break him of THAT habit!)), then you know the primary reason for that edition is to sell you garbage you don’t need. Get over it, there is no news on a Sunday. They print that sucker days in advance. The only thing remotely news worthy are the sports scores so you can see how much you now owe your bookie.


As we mentioned earlier, it’s just to sell you stuff. Do you think all this “new” technology is making your life better? OK, altogether now, a big, emphatic NO! Of course not. It’s what keeps whatever is left of our economy moving until we can find another war. The sad part of it all is this stuff is made in China…as if we didn’t have enough issues with trade. Before long we’ll all be flying the flag of the United States of Walmart. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Bruce and I have found a way to deal with this.

We’ve done some research and found that the new technology really isn’t any better than the old. Blu-Ray? Yeah, right – we gotcha Blu-Ray right here! That sucker’s nothing more than a DVD player with a tuning knob. And we fell for it. Not any damn longer! No! It’s just new paint on an old building. The old stuff was good and it worked, mostly.

Bruce and I are proud to announce the Grand Opening of the new F’ed Up Freddie’s Antique Tech Emporium, or just Freddie’s for those with small. impressionable children. The premise is simple and based upon the notion that “They just don’t build ’em like they used to.” And they’re right. They don’t. But, did you ever wonder what happened to all those new, unopened still boxed, never used DVD players after the Blu-Ray player came out? Bruce and I do. Through shrewd investments and an our off-shore account (Staten Island!), we’ve been buying up all this “new” merchandise and we’re now ready to pass on these incredible savings to you. It may not now be the newest technology, but hey, it works and it is new, so to speak.

Think about it. You’re not that old where you don’t want to hear some of those old scratchy 78RPM records you inherited when your great grandfather died. But the phonograph is dead. Not any more! Come on down to our Route 22 warehouse in Paramus, New Jersey and see the wide selection of RCA Victrolas. We got ’em!


Portable radios and TV’s? All makes, all colors and all styles in stock now for immediate delivery! We know there are plenty of women out there just pining for a new 8 track player to play their tapes of “Bread” again. Wait no more – we got home and car players ready for you.

Or even Neil Diamond! (

And it doesn’t stop there. Relive the sixties (not your age) with a transistor radio. How about a stereo with a record changer? Yeah, those were cool, especially when you stacked the records with “Bolero” strategically placed for the big make-out scene you had planned. Good times, good times.

But while we’re all getting older, it doesn’t mean we have to grow up. We can hold on to those symbols of our youth, our innocence, our disposal cash.

Freddie’s stock is complete with Walkman’s, phonographs, laser disc players, betamax players, VHS players, reel-to-reel tape decks(for the snobby afficianadoes), discmans, slide projectors, AM radios, B+W TV’s, digital audio tape decks, 8mm film projectors, radar ranges, box cameras, and so much more it’ll give you a headache. But our prices won’t! All of this merchandise is new!

Spock shilling for Magnavox! (

And buying from Freddie’s helps the economy. All of this stuff had been written off already, years ago. No tax deductions from retailers, just pure, sweet American profit. Let’s get this country moving again with F’ed Freddy!

Remember F’ed Up Freddie’s slogan, “It ain’t the latest, but it was the greatest!”

This message has not been approved by the Chamber of Commerce nor the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Does that surprise you?

It used to be that TV was free. For you young ‘uns out there, this is fact, just like Clinton saying he never inhaled! But with what we’re about to discuss with you, inhaling is probably a good idea. No, it’ll probably be necessary. And if you have any left, well, give us a call.

We started out by saying TV used to free (with the exception of advertising which in some cases was better than the show) and it wasn’t that long ago. Admittedly, most of it was crap. The occasional MASH, House, yeah those was good. And it was free!

Now you have to pay to see the kind of variety the world of TV has to offer. It’s not free and it’s unbelievably terrible. Right, you got to pay for this crap!

It’s no longer Letterman VS. Leno. ( 

Nah, we’re talking about the heavyweight division of pure, unadulterated, steaming, festering crap. Most of this stuff is on cable channels like Bravo, TLC, OWN, Discovery, and Hallmark. Depending on your predilections, and we know you have them as you’re reading this crap, you run the risk of getting any number of television induced diseases. The end result of all them is the same – sitting, drooling, and mumbling at your TV while the nurse ups your meds.

Each one of these channel is in a submersible race to see who can hit bottom first and the hardest. And though Bruce and I have differing opinions, not often, we are in total agreement that neither of us can determine which of the following is the worst of this sorry lot.

For fairness, we are going to leave for another judgement day, any shows pertaining to New Jersey. Up against that, the other shows wouldn’t stand a chance, capisce? We will also exempt for this post any of the myriad Housewives shows. They alone are the biggest affront to females in recent years with the exception of Clarence Thomas.

So where does that leave us? If we were any smart, we would get ourselves to the mental dental chair and have these shows taken out immediately. But then we wouldn’t have anything to write about, so here goes.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – (    Are you kidding us? In one recent episode, the poor groom wasn’t going to get to first base on his wedding night! Most of us have to wait years after the marriage before that happens! (Also tied with My Big Fat Obnoxious Boyfriend) Thanks a lot Nia Peeples for this great idea!

Ice Road Truckers – This is the winter version of driving your dune buggy on sand. C’mon now!

American Pickers – In any other era, this would be called petty larceny. As it stands now, it’s just a hair short of looting.

Toddlers and Tiaras – ( This is possibly the worst portrayal of child abuse around. These parents should be caned and/or flogged as their children are going to needs years of therapy.

Pawn Stars – You know that old “antique” lawnmower in the back yard, IT”S NOT WORTH ANYTHING! Get a job!

Deadliest Catch – That would be Kate of Jon and Kate Plus 8.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 – Actually they made more news with their breakup. No one was sad.

The Crocodile Hunter – In which the hunter got hunted. Yeah, boo yourself.

Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? My Dad? My Mother? – Everyone and no one!

The Bachelorette/The Bachelor – Why don’t we just introduce these two losers and be done with it?

Fear Factor – Dumpster diving for dollars. Yum.

Dog the Bounty Hunter –  ( We’re not going to say anything because that dude’s scary!

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Yeah, Elvis wanted to be a cop too.

The Swan – In which an ugly duckling gets made over into an…ugly duckling but with better clothes and hair.

Wife Swap/Trading Spouses – It’s just like Nordstrum’s – they’ll take anything back. (Can you believe two people came up with the same wonderful idea? Talk about creative.)

Flavor of Love – An indescribable…well, just indescribable.

The Amazing Race – A prime example that people will do anything, risk life and limb (and sometimes do), for a small payoff. Wise up…it doesn’t look that good on your resume!

Any and all of the “Talent” shows – The Gong Show meets Ed Sullivan meets Don Imus.

Any show with “America’s….” – It isn’t at all!

The Matchmaker – We need to introduce her to the Bachelorete,  the Bachelor, My Dad, Your Mom,  your turtle, and the Millionaire. We’re sure they’ll all be very happy together.

Mob Wives –  ( We sort feel about this one the same as Dog the Bounty Hunter. These broads scare the living crap out of us.

That’s only scratching the surface. Watch too many of these and you’ll have itches where you won’t be able to scratch them in public. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! So that’s what it’s come to folks, we are going to hell in a hand basket. Wait, I like that, it’s a good idea. Maybe Mark Cuban will pick it up.

Oh, there’s a little more bad news – the English have many more of these and they’re coming our way. Payback for 1776 we guess.