Monday, December 17, 2007

POBRECITO !

POBRECITO (POE-BRAY-CEE-TOE) is the Spanish word for; poor little boy. Its literal meaning is obvious but figuratively it can also be used to either forthrightly or sarcastically to describe a male of any age who is down on his luck.

Ever since Friday December 14th, I have forthrightly been calling my son Andrew pobrecito because he had braces put on his teeth.
Personally, I didn't think his already perfect smile needed to be further enhanced but alas, even I must occasionally answer, and concede to higher levels of wisdom and authority.

In addition to the constant discomfort and/or pain of foreign objects in your mouth, the new "wearer" of braces is inundated with new do's and don'ts of orthodontic care. Therefore in a combination of earnest doctorly advice and propaganda, the impatient patient is told to brush not three times a day, not four times but FIVE times.

Here we are on day-four and my pobrecito is still experiencing the challenge of eating. Another obstacle for him is flossing. It's a difficult technique to master because the braces are in the way.

Additionally, to diminish the effects of uncomfortable edges, the braces wearer is supplied with a waxy substance...which in this case might actually be wax...which can be balled-up and applied directly to a rough spot to reduce the discomfort. Unfortunately, he has had an extremely hard time administering it. Although his mother and I are willing to go in there and do it for him--the logistics of the situation mandates that Andrew does this for himself.

The braces are expected to be "in" from six to nine months. The silver lining to Andrew's gray cloud is that its estimated that most patients get used to the reformation of their mouth and the new maintenance routine in two weeks.

Hopefully, Andrew's adjustment period will be short and that all my updates will be positive.


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Of course what good would pobrecito be if it was only used forthrightly. I think it's infinitely more fun when used sarcastically and I know the best target, moi, (That's French for "me," you silly goose).

In order to call myself pobrecito, I'll start with a joke...These two casino supervisors are walking down the street when one says, "Look, a dead bird." And the other one looks up into the sky and says," Where?"

Why do we make fun casino supervisors and other higher life forms? Psychological experts claim that making fun of other people reveals a flaw...an insecurity...in us. By fulfilling a need to put someone or some group down, we feel artificially better about ourselves.

If this is true, and I'm not proud of it, I must be extremely insecure. As many of you know, I have had feud with my hillbilly next door neighbor for ten years...

But today, I am not here to vent over THAT next door neighbor...because as most of us know, next door neighbors usually travel in pairs. Today, I am after my other next door neighbor and the group I am about to insult are...renters. If any of my readers who are renters are getting squeamish and appreciate political correctness, you are excused from reading the rest of this column.

First, if I was renting a house on a street like mine, I honestly don't know how much (if any) effort I would put in to routine front yard maintenance. So that is NOT the issue here. The issue is, his landlord brings a service in to mow the lawn four times each summer...if that's an exaggeration, I'll up the total to five times but NO higher!

Then twice, maybe three other times during the rest of the year, this same service comes by and cleans up the property...more specifically rakes up the leaves.

This has been an odd year because we had a prolonged Indian summer. In most Autumns, the falling leaves would be gradual and proportionally cleaned up, this year they remained on the trees longer and we are now all drowning in them.

Each year here in Galloway, the city works department advertises monthly leave pick-up dates. Residents pile up their leaves on the street and a truck with a gigantic vacuum, comes by and sucks them up. While waiting for the big day, extraordinary amounts of leaves pile up everywhere.  Many of us, just to see the street tidier, count-down the days as if the vacuum truck's appearance was a holiday.

Well, last month the day before the big event, my renter "friend" has a behemoth pile of leaves just like the rest of us. And for no other reason than mere sport, this numb-nuts plows through his pile in his Mercedes SUV sending a gazillion leaves flying everywhere.

I call myself pobrecito because there's no way I'm going to approach this moron over the difference between his minutia and my eternal search for humanity and common sense. But the next day, our hero really out did himself by parking on top of his still massive leaf pile so that the vacuum truck had no choice but to pass it by...thus leaving the leaves for another month. 

I will now close with a caustic "renter" joke:

So this renter was swimming the English Channel from France to England. And half way across he got tired and swam back to France.

Monday, December 10, 2007

COBBY LIVES ! EVEL KNIEVEL DIES !

Even if you never read my book, I am pleased to announce that Cobby lives.

English-born Webster "Cobby" Wolfe is a handicapped casino hustler in my novel, "IF IT AIN'T NAILED DOWN." Due to the nature of his physical deformity, his role in the casino heist is limited to being a look-out. However, the Cobby character is based on a real person.

Unhealthy looking, scruffy and filthy, this man that I will continue to call Cobby was an apparent victim of the drug thalidomide. Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women in Europe from 1956-1962 to reduce the affect of morning sickness. Unfortunately, it wasn't tested properly and approximately 10,000 children were born with severe birth defect...mainly undeveloped limbs. In Cobby's case, he has two baby hands that look like flippers growing from his shoulders.
In developing his character, I couldn't help but realize what kind of nightmare it must be to be in his predicament. Added to his troubles, Cobby was a lone wolf, (thus his last name). It seemed obvious to me that without a lot of help, it would be hard for him to survive. So when I hadn't seen the real Cobby for quite some time, I assumed he was dead.

Well, last week after about five years of not seeing him pan-handling in the casino, Cobby crossed in front of my car on Pacific Avenue. I was both happy and relieved to see him. Plus, I was glad that I treated him sympathetically in my book.

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On the other hand, I expected Evel Knievel to live to a hundred and eleven...but he didn't. Robert Craig Knievel died last week at the age of 69.
I never gravitated to his motorcycle feats of daring-do. But throughout his celebrity run, I knew who he was and what he did. He made a nice buck and certainly had an enormous following. So I don't mean to diminish him or his accomplishments, BUT !
After his death I watched a montage of his career highlights and low lights. Mixed in was a commentary that chronicled his gazillion broken bones and the lifetime of pain he endured.
Seeing it only solidified my indifference in him. I'm sorry, I don't get it. When I saw him successfully fly over a row of buses... it looked so easy that I couldn't get excited for the risk he was taking. Then when he crashed--all I could think was: SCHMUCK !
Yes I do realize that he is the father of today's XTREME sports...which I do appreciate...and still, I can't get past the word schmuck.
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In keeping with the death theme; the rabbit has died, or should I say the urban legend surrounding the rabbit has died.
"DICKIE ROBERTS" was another crumby David Spade movie from 2003. In it, there was a sequence where the hated next door neighbor's pure white rabbit was killed by the family dog. The family sought to avoid any liability and bought an identical rabbit and secretly returned it to its pen.
When the neighbors got home, they were aghast to find out that their dead and buried rabbit has risen from the grave. Further, their only explanation for it was; Satan's folly. Therefore with the devil at their doorstep, they moved away.
About ten years ago, this story, almost word for word, was told to me in first-hand by a friend. When I told them about Dickie Roberts, they told me that it DIDN'T happen to them...that they had heard about it from someone else. Nevertheless, another urban legend can be permanently buried.
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Lastly, and most importantly, "MORE GLIB ThAN PROFOUND," lives! It lives so well that on December 9th, I celebrated my web-page's first anniversary. I couldn't have done it without your readership, constructive criticism and support. Thank you all so much and my goal for 2008 will be to entertain you with even higher levels of glibness, BUT... with only half the calories.

Monday, December 3, 2007

BLIND STABS in the DARK

On sports radio, one of the commentators has a segment called, "BLIND STABS IN THE DARK." It is at that time that he reveals his pro football picks of the week. Apparently, he is so bad at predicting the outcomes, he gave the segment its apt name.
Personally, I couldn't give a rat's behind about any body's opinion on sports betting but what drew my interest was, the theme music.

A rush of warm nostalgic goodness flooded my body when I heard it but I couldn't identify the tune. When one of your nicknames is "Instant Recall Edelblum" it becomes a mission to remember it or at worst, find out.

Luckily the commentator did identify the "Blind Stabs in the Dark" song as, the theme from the 1964-1965 cartoon "THE FAMOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. MAGOO."
First and most importantly, down through the years, I have done computer searches for old cartoons that my son Andrew was never exposed to. So it was surprising to me that Magoo was never included and that to this day, Andrew has still never seen it.

Mr. "Quincy" Magoo originated from UPA Animation Studios in 1949 with Jim Backus (Thurston Howell III, from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND as the voice). In case you are very young or have lived in a cave for the last sixty years, the gimmick with this character was...whether it was forgetfulness or vanity...Magoo was a kind and wealthy old man needed to wear his glasses...but never did.

The original cartoons were shown in theaters. In them, Magoo was depicted in literary classics like "ROBIN HOOD," "DON QUIXOTE' or "GUNGA DIN." I don't remember seeing any of those, however I enjoyed him in the TV special from 1962, as Scrooge, in "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol."

There was such a demand for more Magoo that they made the Saturday morning cartoon series that I already mentioned...which I loved. Unfortunately, the producers were forced to work quickly and on a skinny budget. Therefore the series lacked the quality of the previous work and didn't make it past two seasons.

I am guessing that Magoo has never made it on CARTOON NETWORK, NICKELODEON or the TV LAND CHANNEL because in these politically correct times...perhaps the sight impaired majority of us might, somehow find Magoo's nearsighted frolics as offensive. He also had an Chinese houseboy (Charley) who projected every Asian stereotype known to man. It sparked enough of a controversy that Cholley (as he called himself) was dropped in Mr. Magloo's second season.

For you trivia nuts, Magoo was a graduate of Rutgers. he frequently wore a full-length beaver coat to the football games, although he never actually made it there. He had two scheming nephews named Waldo and Prezley and a cat named Bowser...who he thought it was dog.

If you like, go to Wikipedia for more blind stabs in the dark about Magoo.

And let's not forget his famous closing words, "Oh Magoo, you've done it again !