November 22, 2013: Remembering 4-4-3-2

Those numbers may not mean much to some of you, but if you are between the ages of 40-55, it may have made a few neurons fire in your brain.   If you were a kid at some point in the 70’s, you may recall the term “4-4-3-2” from television regarding the healthy way to eat.   It was the “health thing” right after Jack Lalane and just before Suzanne Somers’ workout tapes.  It came from a kids’ TV show, I think on Saturdays called Mulligan Stew, and it was the formula for getting the right foods in your body.  And at least for a few years, it was a big deal.  School cafeterias quoted 4-4-3-2, it was on cereal boxes, it was in public service announcements, it even made it to the biggest health periodical in my eyes, the back of the pop tart box.

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4-4-3-2 refers to the proper levels of types of food you needed to take in each day to be healthy, at least in the eyes of 70s nutritionists.  Each day you needed:  4 servings of breads and grains, 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 3 servings of dairy, and 2 servings of meat.  You get all of those and you were going to be the guy kicking sand in people’s faces on the beach.  The same people that promoted 4-4-3-2 always bragged about how healthy pizza was because of it’s capturing all the servings.  Thank you Pizza Shack for being the Whole Foods Market of Chaffee Mo.

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I don’t recall that much about the actual TV show, Mulligan Stew, except it was a diverse group of kids who traveled around on adventures with an old man named Wilbur.  Already, that concept sounds like a bad idea, but in 70s kids TV, that was the formula.  One of the most popular shows was called “Shazam”, where a kid named Billy Batson rode around the country in an RV with an old guy named Mentor, who always dressed like he was an adult film director, and when Billy said the word “Shazam” (which each letter stood for a ghostly elder like Soloman and Hercules), lightning would strike him and he became Captain Marvel, saving kids from a well and foiling a liquor store robbery.   Back to Mulligan Stew, these kids would find “trouble a brewing”, and somehow they used the power of 4-4-3-2 to bail themselves out of it. 

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Somehow, this concept became all the rage.  It was a bigger thing than Tang or Space Sticks.  I think it was even incorporated into the President’s Council for Physical Fitness, which gave you a certificate from Richard Nixon (the picture of health) if you did 10 sit-ups and vowed to each 4 servings of bread each day.  Today, we need to cut out starches, take krill or fish oil pills, eliminate trans fats, take in the good cholesterol, exercise every day, take coffee enemas, buy dozens of supplements from GNC, eliminate red meat, knock out caffeine, make your carbs gluten free and a whole host of other things.  Using 4-4-3-2 instead, I can start out my healthy day with 4 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts washed down with 3 bottles of chocolate milk and I am half way there.  For lunch, 2 bean burritos and 2 fruit rollups get me my 4 fruit and veg, and for dinner I have 2 pounds (a serving is a pound right?) of bacon and ta-da, I have 4-4-3-2. 

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Dr. Atkins and Jenny Craig appear to have been lying to us the last 20 years.  Come to think of it, I weighed less in the 70s so 4-4-3-2 must have been right.  A conspiracy theorist, and today is their national holiday, might think, the people producing the 4-4-3-2 ad campaigns of the 70s, went on to start a pharmaceutical company that today makes diabetes medication.  That may sound crazy, but to put in perspective, I doubt the inventor of the condom was a virgin.

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November 1, 2013: It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of My Year

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not because of the beautiful colors in the changing of the leaves.  The leaves just remind me I will be raking up 60 bags worth on a weekend where there will be really good football games on TV I will have to miss.  Not because of or the smell of pumpkin everywhere.  The only time I care to smell pumpkin is as the pie comes out of the oven at Thanksgiving and I am about to devour it.   Not because of the changing of the temperatures.  Although I can finally turn off the AC, cooler temperatures mean I will get frost bite when I decide to “go commando”.

I like this time of year because it is Halloween and the changing of the clocks.  Halloween is just fun.  I do have lots of work to do for it, but I get to make tombstones with incredibly poor taste phrases on them to amuse myself.  I get to dress up like celebrities, such as Steve Irwin with a Stingray attached, or Keystone Beer spokesman Keith Stone.   This is also the only 2 week period of the year where most of us actually eat an Almond Joy.

You don’t want to anger teenagers with lectures that they are too old; because tradition says they are just gonna get even once you go to bed.  In my day we, I mean the bad kids, would soap peoples windows.  I am guessing that went away once everybody started using liquid body wash.   Thanks again AXE Body Spray for ruining vandalism and putting great colognes like Brut and Drakar Noir out of business.

The time change is kind of cool.  The upside is we gain an hour’s sleep.  It is on a Sunday so this one only really benefits those who go to church, since the others would just sleep later.  After that first day, the benefits seem to be more for criminals, with longer hours of darkness to burglarize homes, or at least more darkness to operate in dark alleys.   Criminals in the Old West probably hated this day since some were going to be hung at sundown, so they just lost the last hour of their lives.   Sounds like a good title for an adult film, “Hung At Sundown, starring Rod Johnson”.

It seems like “Falling Back” would trigger mass cases of Déjà vu.  Guys working a late shift would look at the clock and think, “1:30?  It seems like it was 1:30 an hour ago”.  I think this is a good time to swindle people out of money.  Late Saturday evening, you tell a friend “I want to give you $100 at 11 p.m.   As long as you agree to pay me $70 at 1:15 a.m. on Sunday, November 3.”   Thanks to falling back, he has to pay you $70 twice.  Sure you are going to lose a friend to make $40, but if your friend is Bill Gates, you can just add some zeros to the end and make your fortune.  Just don’t put any of that DST or ST at the end of your contract.   We should change Valentine’s day from February 14 to November 3 from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.  That way when guys forget Valentines, they get that fallback hour do-over.

My only question is “why does Arizona get to opt out of Daylight Savings Time”?  Is it because there are many retirees in Arizona, and they would struggle to reset the digital clocks in the Buicks?  If so, why punish Florida?  While not having Daylight Savings helps the senior citizens of Arizona, we all know they aren’t great with technology, so figuring out when to set the VCR to record Murder She Wrote and Matlock must have been hell in the past.  I think Arizona must have had a powerful Drive In Movie lobby 44 years ago when they got out of it.

So enjoy your tiny 3 Musketeers bars as you drive home in pitch darkness.  It was singer Gordon Lightfoot who sang “Sundown, you better take care, if I find you’ve been creeping round my back stair”.  Obviously, his back stair wasn’t located in Phoenix.  And with the money he made from “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald” he should have been able to afford more than a single stair, even in Flagstaff.

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October 23, 2013: A Combover For The Hair Of The Dog

A sure thing is something that you know will happen, like this week knowing I will visit McDonalds 4 times with the return of the McRib.  When I was a kid in the 70s, I was sure of 2 things:  Nazareth was the greatest rock band ever, and my hometown of Chaffee, Missouri was the center of the universe.  The first one turned out to be a mistake, but if you ever heard “Love Hurts” or “Hair of the Dog” you understand why I thought the Beatles were about to be forgotten once the next Nazareth album came out.   Lucky for John, Paul, George and Ringo, “Close Enough For Rock and Roll” was a dismal failure.

The other sure thing lasted much longer.  As a kid, I thought the main focus of the world had Dame Street as its northern border.  New York, Paris, Tokyo and Milan were places visited by the rich and powerful (which to me meant the Capshaws) but everything else revolved around Chaffee.  Biblical scholars try to attach chronological years to events in the Bible.  I can help them.  The sixth day of history was 1905, when God took the firmament known as the Witt Farm and let the Chaffee Real Estate pick a name.  I remember watching the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and a Canadian won an event, and on the medal stand as they played his national anthem, I pointed out to my Dad, “Wow, that javelin thrower went to Chaffee High”.

I thought every public swimming pool was a massive concrete structure built above ground by the WPA.  Every high school gym had balcony, every elementary school gym had a slick ceramic tile floor, every school playground had a ditch in the middle to separate the grades during recess.  I assumed every grocery store let you waltz through their back door past the returnable bottles to do your shopping.  When I heard about the Library of Congress, I assumed it looked like our city library, and my vision of the Jordan River was the wider part of Heeb Creek.  I was 13 before I fully believed the Dallas Cowboys would likely win if they played the Red Devils.  Even as an adult, if I played Farmville (and I don’t so stop asking me to tend your crops), my biggest decision would be to design my farm with the giant double silos like the Tierney Farm, or have a mountain of manure next to the barn like the Schwartz Farm.

We grow up and realize Kroger and Schnucks might give Doris Food Mart a run for their money.   Some of us stayed in Chaffee, some moved a short distance away, and some moved half a world away.  For me, being Chaffee-centric never changed even though I lived 630 miles away.  Dallas may have famous people like Roger Staubach, JR Ewing, Lee Harvey Oswald (not exactly a celebrated citizen), Ross Perot and Mark Cuban, but Chaffee had Dave Kielhofner, saxophonist for Billy Swann so it’s even in my eyes.  My son’s high school class had 986 kids in his graduating class.  I am not sure Chaffee High has had 986 total graduates since I got a diploma 31 years ago.  We had 36 or so in my class, but I can name every one of them and tell you something about them, and the 30 or so kids who were in that class but moved away.  I got to know every graduate, and just about every other person 10 years before and after me.  We didn’t offer 12 different foreign languages, but I knew every Wood Shop, Art and music teacher from 72-82 even though I had class with almost none of them.  Advantage, Chaffee R-2 Schools.

It took a trip home for CHS Homecoming this last weekend for me to fully appreciate just how lucky I was that George and Frances made Chaffee my own personal Bethlehem.  It wasn’t because we were the home base for the Country CB’ers, the Willow Grove Roller Rink, The Horstman, Maxines, Mables, or the Bakery.  Nearly every physical landmark crumbles, gets new management, or gets gobbled up in a hostile takeover by another company based in Advance. It is the people working at those places, or shopping or eating there that made the difference.  It wasn’t the swimming pool that made Chaffee great, it was the swimmers.

Being far away and then coming home reminds you that it was the who, and not the what that make your hometown special.  My friend Monica and I always say the best of friends don’t have to speak to each other every day or even every year, they can go ten years without speaking and strike up a conversation like they worked next to each other day in and day out.  At the football game and the party afterward, I talked with so many people that I hadn’t seen in 30 years and it felt like it was only 30 minutes.  They don’t care if your hair is mostly BUT NOT COMPLETELY gone, or what you do for a living or if you can still high jump 6’8”.  Instead they like re-living stories from study halls or away football games or one of the many times I got in trouble for mooning.  Homecoming even gives you a chance to learn your friends have some quite remarkable off spring.  Most of all, it gives you the chance to see that the real reason Chaffee was the center of your world was that you genuinely really liked the people you grew up with.  Since Nazareth still isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I can at least rest assured that for the “sure things” of my youth, I am still batting .500.

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September 16, 2013: If Anybody Is Going To Cut Something, It Will Be Me!

Seems like a long time since the last Courtesy Flush, probably because it has been a while since traveling but here I sit on a regional jet about to enter Arkansas airspace in my way to Alabama so why not? I waited too long to get a flush on twerking anyway.  Back to the airport.  I already enjoyed the complimentary kick to the nuts provided by the TSA. 40 minutes in line and when I near the checkpoint all these turds start coming up trying to cut in line because they are too important to wait thirty minutes like the rest of us. Unfortunately for these self-important douches, I have dedicated a lifetime of being the self-appointed bouncer for amusement park rides, merge lanes on the freeway and airport security lines.

They all have excuses as to why their travel is more important than the rest of us. “Sir, can I cut in? That is my friend up there”. My answer “My favorite hymn in church is ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’. So go to the back of the line after all these mutual friends. If you see an Atheist, feel free to move them to the back after you since they don’t have a mutual buddy like we do”. The next lame excuse is “Can I cut in? My flight is about to leave” and that gets my reply “I bet you are running late because before you left home, you went to the bathroom. Good thinking. All of us decided to get here on time and then use the airport bathroom so we avoid the cramped area of the plane. I had 10 White Castles last night with a side of chili so my digestive system has a scheduled departure well before your plane. Try asking everyone in line till you find someone not in a hurry and have them swap places with you at the back of the line. There is a kid about three people ahead of me who is flying to get a transplanted heart. I am sure he can go to the back of the line to accommodate your showing up to the airport nine minutes before departure. ”

Finally I reach the front. I’ve got to remove the shoes, because one guy one time tried to use a shoe bomb. Isn’t it more likely a terrorist would have a butt crack bomb (not the type you get from Popeye’s Red beans and rice but a real IED)? I think the terrorists may be using this shoe removal to attack America. They could hurt America by intentionally spreading athlete’s foot to all of us. Plus people who never wear socks have to have foot odor so foul it throws off the bomb sniffing dogs.

I get through security and have a nice stroll to the gate. I am intrigued by the airport shops. Selling magazines and headphones and cokes make sense. But I would love to see the business model for the airport jewelry store. A diamond is forever so why not make a lifelong decision during the 30 minute delay before you board for Cleveland. My guess is that men who buy from the airport jewelry store start their conversation with the sales clerk like this “Hi. I just landed but on my trip my wife called my hotel while I was in the bathroom and the hooker answered the phone, so I need something that says ‘think of the kids before you call that lawyer”. The clerk simply says “here is a 30 diamond necklace. Good luck at home Kobe”.

It isn’t just jewelry. They sell all kind of stylish hand bags. Again, why shop for those items in the terminal? Is it because prices are so reasonable in the airport? Is that why McDonald’s dollar menu starts at $4.50 in there? One smart retailer sells iPhone chargers right next to the bank of pay phones. That is because everyone can’t figure out pay phones anymore and the only use them because they left their charger in the hotel.

Taking that vendor’s predatory biz strategy, I stand in front of his store and say “why pay $70 for a cheap charger? I will loan you my phone for $10 for a two minute call and I even have receipts so you can expense it”. You make make $300 before your flight leaves, unless you crippled your profit time by letting too many line cutters in at security. I should sell my idea to the guys in the jewelry store so they can fund a part of their “forgive me necklace”.

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June 6, 2013: There She Is, Miss Understood

Stuck in Washington Airport again. CNN on the TV. Seems to be outrage over the fact that 70% of the contestants in the Miss USA contest couldn’t name the current Vice President. The insinuation is that these girls are dumb and should not be held in high esteem because their low intelligence is masked by being good looking. I see the situation a bit different. It is time somebody step up and defend the Slow and Marvelous and that good hearted soul is me. Here are the reasons to not frown on beauty queens lacking book savy.

Reason #1: Sharing the Wealth. Pageants love to tell us that thy are scholarship pageants, that the winners are there to win education. If these girls are dumb, then there is a great chance they will flunk out the first semester when they look for a pretty triangle when the professor says to find the acute angle. One they flunk out there is 3.5 years of scholarship for someone more deserving.

Reason #2: Smart girls know better than to believe their boyfriends when they promise that her racy pictures she lets him take will only be seen by him. Girls who don’t know who Joe Biden is believe that promise of privacy while the guy forwards to his friends at the same moment. We thank our lucky stars Vanessa Williams wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar. With a 1800 SAT score, no one would go from Miss Wyoming to Miss September in the same year.

Reason #3: Don’t ruin the National Spelling Bee. If we start making beautiful girls know how to spell “crythsanthemum” Then they will start taking the place of the nerdy kids, making them enter beauty contests. It will be confusing.

Reason #4: throwing a Bone to Single Guys. Do guys in bars care that beautiful women don’t know who the Vice President is? Yes they do care. They are thrilled by it. They can walk up to Miss Florida and say “Hi, I am Vice President Haywood Jaboinkmee. In a few years I will probably be President and I want you as my First Lady. “. He can even add in, “yes the Vice President always stays in a Super 8 Hotel because of the deficit”. Do you think she will know better? According to CNN this has a 70% chance of working. If he happens to catch one of the 30% who know Joe Biden is, he just says is the Vice President for the Republican Party. That will probably work.

Reason #5: for the Parents. Early on, parents figure out their kids are very attractive so they don’t bother helping them with any learning. They realize their meal ticket is their beautiful kid. They pour all they had into pageants. If we demand smarts in these contests we will end up with lots of bankrupt pageant moms looking to break up marriages to find a rich backup plan.

Reason #6: World Peace. They always ask contestants a question that they have an answer for already that just needs adapting to the question. And it always ends in them caring about world peace. Even though no beauty queen has yet to bring world peace, I don’t want to give up yet. Maybe some Al Quaida members are watching Miss USA and think, “you know Miss Nevada is right. Lets stop making car bombs and instead make bombs of peace and understanding”. Thanks Miss Nevada, you may think Wolf Blitzer is the VP but your world view is what we care about and not the swim competition.

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May 19, 2013: An Airline For Mini Me

My friend Ryan and I flew to Brownsville for two days of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. First off since it is the Gulf of Mexico and not the Gulf of the U.S., how come our tax dollars get spent to clean up all the oil spills. C’mon Mexico, either give us the naming rights or start taking care of the neighborhood. We know you possess cleaning and landscaping skill sets unless all of them are already here.

Flying to Brownsville means no regular jet service. Instead it is the regional jet, the dwarf little brother of the regular jet. I believe these jets were originally designed to be used to carry cast members from Munchkinland back and forth from Oz once the yellow brick road started having maintenance problems. They are small inside. When Spud Webb and David Spade have to duck when walking down the aisle, you have low head clearance.

You get one flight attendant who appears to be a college sophomore doing an internship. It takes forever for her to get that beverage cart down all twelve rows. It must be hell for alcoholics to fly American Eagle.

One lavatory and 45 people who spent the last week feasting on Mexican food and deep fried seafood. So you know unless you are the first to get up and go, you best hold it till you get to the tidiness of DFW airport toilets. There are few times in life to wish you had a colostomy bag but this is one of them.

Of course there is no wifi on this plane. Which means I can’t unload this blog until we descend below 7000 feet and I violate that “airplane mode only ” rule. Actually this thing has no propellers so unless the say “jet mode” this blog goes on Facebook as we begin our descent into Dallas. That is okay, I will just spend my time doing the crossword or Soduku puzzle in the in flight magazine. I even remembered to bring a pen. I don’t see American Way in the pocket. In its place is Latitudes, so American Eagle has its own periodical. I thumb through it, check the contents page and then realize Eagle saves money by not putting puzzles and Mensa tests in their magazine. I guess their only game section is a blank page where you can have your own game of hangman or tic,tax, toe on.

Ryan has fallen asleep with the tray table down so I discover good use for that blank page in the magazine. I carefully rip it out and in big block letters at the top write “Application for Gay Marriage” at the top and then make it look like a real application by carefully drawing lines. When complete I set the application on his tray table so the flight attendant plus passengers walking around can see Ryan is coming out soon. It works too well as one man connecting through to San Francisco asks me to switch seats. Nothing would please me more than to trade with this guy so I could include snuggle photos of he and Ryan but I know with they ray down I would wake up Ryan so I sadly decline. I just tell him Ryan is interested and just wait for him at baggage.

The seats are a bit cramped. I like to find anorexics ore-flight and switch seats to be by them. Things sure were much easier before Karen Carpenter died. Now only the occasional sighting of Winona Ryder, Calista Flockhart or an Ethiopian gives me any hope before boarding the plane.

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May 16, 2013: A Guy’s Trip

I have never flown on these regional jets before. Small but ok. My friend Ryan Baresh and I are going to the Gulf of Mexico for a fishing tournament. He wasn’t aware of my historical fishing luck which Vegas oddsmaker refer to as “shitty”.

Ryan is preparing for fishing by playing a fishing game app on his phone. I am preparing by clogging the lavatory giving that dark blue water no where to go. Why is airplane toilet water so blue? I assumed it was Windex but after splashing my reading glasses in it, they don’t seem to be streak free like I hoped.

We are going to South Padre Island to fish for two days with his dad. Being out on the sea, I thought I should brush up on my nautical terms in advance. I went to Google and searched Moby Dick. Lesson learned, next time don’t click images and try to put the safe search filter back on. Either way congratulations to Mr. Moby. He should be from Nantucket.

The upside to these mini jets is no middle seat. The downside? If someone pollutes the lavatory there is no seat far enough away to avoid being gagged. Gagged as in “experiencing difficulty breathing” as compared to the gagging Moby was causing in my earlier Google search.

Congrats to Ryan. He just landed a 21 pound iPhone Pike. I am just waiting on my complimentary beverage. With only 50 minutes of flying time, she needs to hustle that cart a bit. I feel for my kids. Dad is flying to nearly Mexico. Mom is in Toronto. I told them if it becomes to much, walk over to the nearest fire station. They have to take them in. It’s the TV reporters labeling me a bad parent that compels me to ask some friends to keep an eye on them or at least if they have a party like in Risky business they at least can be the adult to put a deposit down on the keg.

The guy across the aisle has his iPad and is watching something very offensive. I called the flight attendant and complained loudly. She didnt do anything about it. Apparently by American Airlines standards, a movie starring Julia Roberts doesn’t fit their definition of offensive.

Ryan just caught a swordfish weighing over 400 pounds. It is probably too big to fit in his iPhones memory so he has to throw it back. So far a pretty good flight, although any flight that your blog doesn’t have to be completed by the coroner is a good flight in my book. Ryan just went to the bathroom and said the guy before him left behind enough gas to run a hybrid Prius. They should give people nose plugs rather than barf bags on flights. More likely to use more often. Our plane is starting to descend. Hopefully that is part of the flight plan. The pilot told us the temp and wind conditions where we land. Other than guys fishing who cares if the wind in Brownsville is out of the south or east? Time to shut this off per the FAA. I can see a waterpark below. There is a lazy river with hundreds of people in it. Oh wait, never mind. That is the Rio Grande. I guess that explains why they all enter on the south side and exit on the North.

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