Tuesday, March 3, 2015

February 8days2Amish tweets of the month

My 8days2Amish twitter feed passed the 300 followers mark last week . . . four times! It’s true. I’d get a minor surge of followers who’d then one-by-one drop off. I’m now up to 315. Know what that means? Ashton Kutcher and your 16.5 million followers, watch out! I’m gaining on you. I’m lately getting bursts of followers who promise to get me Kutcher-like numbers if I follow them and pay for the privilege. I’m not going to do that. If I pay for any relationship it’s going to be for me to have sex with a prostitute. I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way. But please do share/follow/re-tweet/etc. I promise I won’t charge or try and screw you.

Play guess-my-favorite! Answer at end . . .

• I'm one of those Christians who believes in God, but has trouble believing God could ever believe in me.

• Your peacefulness will increase in direct correlation to the decrease in the energy you spend trying to change the minds of the mindless.

• So let me get this straight: Taylor Swift used to be country, but is no longer. So Taylor Swift is like Steve Earle? 

• The namesake inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver just turned 95. And he's Potsie's uncle!

• Which will come 1st: a gun that shoots pictures or a smart phone that shoots bullets? And how many will die before bugs worked out?

• Harvard bans sexual relationships between profs & students. This crap would never happen at Ohio U.

• Rodell’s Rule of Consumerism: "The crappier/more indifferent the service, the longer the receipt.”

• If man can make a Twinkie whose taste will endure through a nuclear winter how come we can’t make a vegetable that tastes like a Twinkie?

• Dawns on me anew I’ve made bad career decisions when I hear people five years younger than I discussing their pending retirements. 

• Marijuana smokers who succumb to repeated bouts of the munchies are apt to get pot bellies. #TheDudeAbides 

• After getaway weekend, girls have nicknamed me, "The Big Hairy Snoring Fart Monster." I've decided to consider it a term of endearment.

• Teachers teach, bankers bank. What do ushers do? I've seen them ask patrons to be quiet. Maybe they're really hushers.

• ”It's not gonna be an orgy, it's a measles party!”

• Imagine how much better off we’d all be if the humble “Need penny/Take penny/ Have  penny/Leave penny,” were applied on a global level.

• The future of mankind will be brighter when its history is graced by more kind men. And women!

• For promotional purposes I propose Poland change its name to GOland!

• Kids put their money in piggybanks. If you believe the regulators, adults put their money in banks run by pigs.

• It infuriates some Christian conservatives to think us Obama-loving, gay-marriage approving libs have same chance of getting to heaven.

• Just learned Edmund Pettus of the Edmund Pettus Bridge was a former Grand Dragon for the Alabama KKK. Thanks for the info, #BobSchieffer!

• I’m always at a loss for words whenever I take the dog out and he looks up at me like I’m supposed to congratulate him when he craps.

• Avid spankers are the only people on earth whose ambition involves repeatedly hitting bottom. #50ShadesOfGrey

• I once got in big trouble spying on a woman in department store dressing room. She was furious. It was a fit of pique over a peek of fit.

• Realizing I’m destined to become an old fogey doesn’t bother me a bit because there’s no evidence I was ever a young fogey.

• As parents, the fruit of our loins inevitably become the apples of our eyes even when they drive us bananas.

• I admit it. I was a goofball when I was kid. But I’ve changed. I’ve hardened. I guess that means today I’m more of a goofpuck.

• Spent last 20 mins trying in vain to slam anti-slam toilet seat lid. You've won this round, toilet seat, but you've not seen the last of me!

• I’m eager to find site that archives audios of greatest speeches, but said in voice of Elmer Fudd. #IHaveADweam 

• I predict milk next common food staple to get the luxury boutique treatment. People will have milk orgies in moo saloons: Cowligula!

• Some motivated to live good lives in hopes they'll eventually get to a better place. More fun just livin' in Pittsburgh

• I’m not saying we’re arrogant, but to those of us born under this Zodiac sign, it’ll always be Aquarius vs. Aquarithem.

• Ambitious tailors who work exclusively on 3-piece suits have vested interests.

• We should have one day of the month where everyone uses pictures of their favorite mugs for their mug shots

• So a show that’s all about the zombie apocalypse is populated by characters who steadfastly refuse to call zombies zombies. 

• I remain undaunted my career's been high-wire act for 22 years. Just lately the wire seems to be getting higher.

• If I ever have money burning a hole in my pocket the first thing- I'm gonna do is rush out and buy some flame retardant pants.

• I wish in the interests of polite society that people described as lightning rods attracted actual lightning.

• Doggedness is an admirable quality. Dogged people never quit. I fear I’ve always acted with cattedness.

• How ironic is it that New Hamprhire felons must make license plates that read LIVE FREE OR DIE while imprisoned?

• I’m thinking of opening fast food restaurant that uses really seasoned vegetable oils for fried chicken, etc. I'll call it "Ancient Grease”

• We live in an age where people display more affection for devices that play music than for the music devices play.

• How come cookies aren't called bakies?

• I wonder if alpha walruses ever get into beach shoving matches shouting, "No! I am the walrus!”

• Cynics who do nothing but predict doom and gloom are misfortune tellers.

• How come throughout my life I've known many fuddy-duddies, but have never met either a singular fuddy or duddy.

• John Lennon imagined a world at peace. I imagine how different people's faces would look if our eyeballs were squares.

• I’m forming a really shitty Fab Four tribute band. "Ladies and gentleman, please give a warm welcome to ... The Dung Beatles!”

• Some parents ought to name kid Serious. He'd say wild things & when people asked, "Are you Serious?" he'd say, "Yes, how do you do?”

• No excess yeast is used in the making of pita bread. No animals were harmed in the making of PETA bread. 

• Levi Strauss was a jeanius.

• For reasons of justice, environmental improvement & pure symmetry, I think any hedge fund managers convicted of misdeeds should fund hedges.

• Most people who blow their own horn never even go to trouble of obtaining and learning how to play a horn. They just blow.

• My mind's been wandering so long I'm surprised it's not appeared on someone's milk carton

• Historic villains like Hitler should have their audio books like "Mein Kampf" read by guys who do voices for things like "Winnie The Pooh.”

• My handwriting is so bad I’m going to begin signing all my checks with a big shaky “X” to see if it makes any difference.

My favorite? Lots of good ones from which to choose, but I like the one about the New Hampshire felons making the LIVE FREE OR DIE license plates. Works on so many levels.

Thanks for checking in! If you chuckled even once, please share!

Related . . .

Monday, March 2, 2015

Men would rather be shocked than think: Shocking!

I read a fascinating story Sunday that illuminated for me something about which I thought I was already expert. That being the mind of a typical man with absolutely nothing to do.

The Rachel Feltman story read: “People, and especially men, hate being alone with their thoughts so much that they’d rather be in pain. In a study published in Science last year on the ability of people to let their minds ‘wander’ — that is, for them to sit and do nothing but think — researchers found that about a quarter of women and two-thirds of men chose electric shocks over their own company.

“‘We went into this thinking that mind wandering wouldn’t be that hard,’ said Timothy Wilson, University of Virginia professor of psychology and lead author of the study. ‘People usually think of mind wandering as being a bad thing, because it interrupts when you’re trying to pay attention. But we wanted to see what happens when mind wandering is the goal.’”

Of course, I was shocked — and I hadn’t even participated in the stupid study.

I was intrigued too that a story about how men felt was written by a woman named Feltman.

That men especially couldn’t let their minds wander for 15 minutes was a surprise to me, a man who let his mind out for a wander in 1992 and hasn’t seen it since.

Here’s what happened: The subjects (24 women and 18 men) were told they were going to be in a distraction-free room with nothing to do for 15 minutes but think.

They couldn’t do it. 

Told in advance the purpose of the study, the subjects still found it impossible to let their minds wander. Those who did it at home admitted to cheating by picking up a phone or a book. 

The others reported that the six to 15 minutes they spent engaged in thought were unpleasant.

So researchers decided to up the ante. Rather than give them nothing to do, they gave them a negative-stimulation option.

A button was placed in the study room. Pressing it would deliver a mild 9-volt battery shock. Subjects were told this and given the opportunity to experience it before hand to remove the curiosity factor.

What happened?

Rather than submit to mental idleness, the men especially began to dive on the shock button.

Zzzzz! Zzzzz! Zzzzz!

Twelve of the 18 men did so (only six of the women did). The men did it on average of 7 times.

One masochist self-shocked 190 times!

I would have like to have seen what that guy would have done had he been given the choice to either shock himself or spend 15 minutes quietly reading my blog.

He may have crashed the entire East Coast power grid

I think the study points out the tremendous cultural pressure to always appear busy.

The phenomenon was explored in a “Seinfeld” episode in which Elaine Benes and boyfriend David Puddy were stuck on a long, boring trans-Atlantic flight. Puddy chose to spend the duration simply staring straight ahead.

He refused fidgety Elaine’s offers of magazines, conversation and chose to simply stare for hours and hours at the back of the seat in front of him.

It drove Elaine nuts.

Elaine wouldn’t tolerate me and my mind-wandering either, I’m sure.

My mind’s been on such a long, fruitless wander I’m surprised there isn’t a picture of it on someone’s milk carton.

Want to know what you think about when you have nothing to do but think?

I think about how lucky I am to be alive, to have so many friends and how that happy little family of mine always welcomes me home.

Never once in all these years of aimless mind-wandering have I ever wished I had a button that would import pain anytime I thought I was merely wasting my time.

If that were the case, I’d be a charred cinder.

And just imagine how much worse it would be if my wife controlled the button.

It’s something to think about.

Related . . .

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Re-Run Sunday: Planes should have horns

I just read another blogger apologizing for re-running a blog, like he’d let his readership down. At www.EightDaysToAmish.com we celebrate ‘em! It’s like a holiday. Well, it is for me at least.

This one is from April ’12 when I wondered how come crashing airplanes don’t have horns to warn the folks on the ground to run for their lives.

It’s been nearly seven days since the crash of the Navy F/A 18-D Hornet into a 40-unit Virginia Beach apartment building and I still have a lot of questions.

Chiefly, how come planes don’t have horns?

Every plane on the planet has multiple safety overlaps intended to help ensure the gargantuan machines defy gravity.

But I doubt any of the flight manuals include instructions for a pilot to yell a courtesy, “Head’s up!” when those systems catastrophically fail.

Regular readers know my office is above my favorite tavern. And, sidebar, the happenstance always reminds me of an old country song, “If I Had My Life to Live Over, I’d Live Over a Tavern.”

Yes, everyday I thank my lucky stars.

But what if those stars one day turn unlucky?

See, me and the bar are both directly in the landing path for the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport about two miles away. It’s a great little airport. It serves Spirit flights clear from Ft. Lauderdale and is a real boon to the community. We’re all excited about the Blue Angels appearing here June 23-24.

Many days I look out my window and marvel at the majesty of the big jets zooming by.

I wonder about the people inside. Did they enjoy their vacations? Were their business trips fruitful? Are they happy to be heading home?

And I think about the pilot. Is he sober? Does he feel like showing off? Is he about to go crazy like that JetBlue guy did a couple week’s ago? (favorite headline: “This Is Your Captain Freaking!”)

I think, too, about the great hand of fate and how about 30 times a day it could impetuously send a plane crashing into my happy little life and I’d never have the faintest clue of my pending doom.

Worse, it might happen when I was actually up here attempting to work. That means I’d die a fraction of a second before my buddies, not near enough time for them to hold a decent wake, toast my memory, or even express a good bitch about all the money and drinks I died owing them.

If a plane had a horn, the pilot might be thoughtfully honking it as the plane was spiraling into oblivion. I could look out my window and have time to say a quick ass-kissy prayer taking back all the sacrilegious stuff I’d written the last few years.

Just in case, hang on a sec while I take a peek . . . all clear. Whew.

And I stand behind everything I’ve ever written!

This isn’t idle speculation, either. A few years ago I read a news brief that made a great impression on me, and I say that understanding it made a more profound impression on the hapless victim.

It involved the death of a beach jogger who was struck by a little Cessna that needed to make an emergency landing and did so right on top of the jogger. That it was one of those freaky things didn’t make the guy any less dead.

I spent a lot of time thinking about that stranger. A health-minded individual, he may have felt euphoria at having the opportunity to jog along the beach at sundown. He may have been hoping to appear fit and refreshed for an exciting dinner date with a cute girl or boy.

The story lacked detail so I’ll make no prejudicial suppositions.

One thing he likely never considered was the one thing that cost him his life.

He wore earbuds.

He never heard the approaching plane bearing down on him or the hollered warnings of fellow beach combers.

Instead, he probably heard Adele.

I remember thinking, if it were a flying car, a typical driver would have honked the horn, flipped the guy off and executed a routine landing, a better result than executing a routine jogger.

I never followed up, but I would have loved to have heard why the pilot didn’t just ditch in the surf. The only thing I can figure is he must have been wearing dress slacks.

But that was the exact moment when I began advocating mandatory plane horns.

That’s at least one death that could have been prevented if planes came equipped with horns.

So let the swingers have their mile-high club.

I won’t be satisfied until it’s the planes themselves that are horny.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pittsburgh landmark defaced by Patriot fans

I was appalled to see a brash obscenity plastered on one of my favorite Pittsburgh landmarks. Even more appalling, I was the only one who seemed notice.

Maybe that’s good.

That way no Pittsburgh ice skaters will rush out to seek investment advice from MassMutual Financial Group.

Of course, they must be a pretty persuasive bunch.

How else do you explain caretakers at PPG Plaza allowing them to deface a work of art with four of their cheesy advertisements?

The base of the enigmatic obelisk that centers PPG’s popular ice skating rink in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle is now sided with MassMutual ads.

I’ll admit, it’s not exactly like dressing the Mona Lisa up in a Geico NASCAR jumpsuit, but it is unbelievably crass.

First, let’s consider the 31-year-old building, the most sparkling asset on Pittsburgh’s magnificent skyline. It is a 6-building complex covering three city blocks around the dominant 40-floor tower.

Architects covered the glass-maker’s HQ with more than one million square feet of PPG Solarban 550 clear reflective glass so they positively shimmer.

From Pittsburgh’s grand overlooks, the PPG Towers look like Oz’s Emerald City would if the Emerald City had been designed and constructed by Steeler fans.

Know what else I like about the building? No signs!

Yes, Pittsburgh skyscrapers have over the last 15 years been branded out the wazoo. PPG doesn’t need to stoop to such unseemly hucksterism. Its glass building says it all.

I admire that.

Now let’s consider the art. The obelisk was designed by building architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee. And while I love the building, the obelisk has always left me cold — and that was way before they surrounded it with ice.

It’s stark. It’s unimaginative. It looks like it was designed by two guys in a hurry to get the hell out of Pittsburgh before the rivers all froze.

It’s just four black spheres atop a rose granite base crowned by a nondescript 44-foot rose granite obelisk.

When it was unveiled in 1984, meat ’n’ potato Pittsburghers looked at it and said, “Huh?”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Peter Leo brilliantly declared it “The Tomb of the Unknown Bowler” and said the sparse plaza looked like a dandy place to host a public execution.

So as art goes, the obelisk doesn’t resonate. In fact, neither did the plaza. 

That all changed in 2001 when PPG bestowed the square — and the art — with heart. It gave it over to Pittsburgh’s children.

It installed a delightful water park around the obelisk where golf-ball sized bursts shoot straight up as high as 20 feet. It’s utterly delightful. Me and my family have played there among the sprays dozens of times over the summers.

I’ve taken my lunch and a newspapers there just to relax and watch the children playing.

It makes me happy.

Around the same time, someone thought it would be a great idea to infuse the plaza with the same joyous atmosphere in winter. They built a small ice rink around the obelisk, which in the holiday season is dressed as a Christmas tree. 

The plaza has become the go-to place for TV crews in town to snag some color about what it’s like to live in Pittsburgh.

Now, let’s consider the ads.

The only thing I know about MassMutual is that the Mass is short for Massachusetts.

Know what that means? A Pittsburgh landmark is being defaced by New England Patriot fans!

If someone were caught spray-painting a message on the same space they’d go to jail — even if the message was something on which sensible jurors could all agree like, say, “Patriots Suck!”

But mingling art with advertising is just crass.

And it’s beneath PPG, a company that in 2013 was reported to have earned revenues of $15.1 billion.

If you’re going to be a tasteless sell out, you might as well go all the way and carve “VIAGRA!” up and down the sides of the towering erection.

That kind of advertising would at least justify my hard feelings.

Related . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I'd like to see Bill O'Reilly interview Bill O'Reilly

I’d like to watch Bill O’Reilly interview Bill O’Reilly if only Bill O’Reilly would agree to be questioned by someone like Bill O’Reilly.

It’d be the intellectual equivalent of watching an old professional wrestling match between Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter. There’d be eye-gouging, ear-biting, shouted threats and the mutual kind of menace that would make an old Mike Tyson fight seem comparatively dainty.

Of course, I’d have to watch with the volume way down. To hear Bill O’Reilly shouting at Bill O’Reilly about the many exaggerations in Bill O’Reilly’s story would make my head pound.

Just like it does on those rare occasions when I tune in to watch Fox News.

The mouthpieces don’t so much report the news as berate it. They leer. They roll their eyes. They shake their fists.

O’Reilly is the king of this. If the daily news were a defenseless woman in a red dress he deemed too slutty, he’d rape it.

That kind of behavior while delivering what purports to be news is highly entertaining to a lot of people who enjoy losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. 

Not to me.

To me, he’ll always be the buffoon from the tabloid TV show “Inside Edition,” which he anchored from 1989-94. Having trolled in the tabloid world for 10 years myself, I don’t begrudge him the shifty persona one bit.

But I do blame his audience, those us-against-the-world, Koch-brother-loving, Obama-delegitimizing, climate-change-denying, flat-earther-birthers who hoot in nasty glee when Brian Williams is swiftly deposed for silly exaggerations then circle the proverbial wagons when one their own is clearly guilty of the same misdeeds.

To me, the difference is Williams believed his lies — and his bosses (like O’Reilly’s) encouraged them — and that in his mind made them true. Brian Williams was trailing in a helicopter group that was attacked, ergo, Brian Williams was attacked.

It’s a stupid mistake and for a man in his position an unforgivable one. He should go.

O’Reilly’s petty exaggerations are worse.

He claims he was under fire in a war zone — even as he acknowledges that “war zone” was 1,000 miles away.

Even if you concede him his dubious semantics, no one who was in actual combat in the Falkland Islands at the time is bragging he took a shot that nearly hit future Fox News deity Bill O’Reilly right in the ass.

It’d be like me saying I had an intimate chat with Mick Jagger in 1994 because I heard his amplified yell to me and 49,999 other Stones fans, “How ya doin’, Pittsburgh!’ and I politely responded, “Doing great, Mick. You?”

I’ve been avoiding this topic because it’s such a petty little lie, to me the journalistic equivalent of O’Reilly telling a girl in a bar he’s got a really big penis. It’s tasteless, it’s crass, but depending on the woman’s immediate options and appetites, the veracity of the boast will one way or another be exposed.

To me, this is a much bigger story and will remain one because of the way he and Fox are over-reacting to it. 

They’ve threatened reporters, shouted hair-splitting details and have done everything in their power to slime the reputations of anyone who responds to the gotcha with a hearty Muntz.

It’s an at-long-last-have-you-no-decency-sir moment.

So I’m going to enjoy watching as now-provoked legions of reporters dig into every detail of this flawed pretender’s audacious claims and ferret out more falsehoods that chip away at his standing and that of his employer.

Make no mistake: it’s precisely the thing Bill O’Reilly would do to Bill O’Reilly if Bill O’Reilly ever had the courage to agree to be questioned by a bully as unfair and repugnant as Bill O’Reilly.

And the more Bill O’Reilly denies it, the more he’s exposing himself for what he really is.

Not just the kind of man who brags he has a really big penis.

More the kind of man who is nothing but one.

Related . . .