Viewing posts from April 2015

Throne of Games

tilebathI don’t know how it started, but whoever thought that putting tile in the bathroom was a good idea missed the whole point of what a bathroom is. The bathroom is all about privacy. It’s the one place in the house where we can privately “empty the trash.” Until we hit that little handle, what happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom. So what have we done to insure that privacy? We cover the bathroom walls and floors with tile, the most sound-reflective material known to Man.

For all the many luscious sounds the human body can produce—singing, squeals of joy, laughter—there are a whole bunch more that are diametrically disgusting. I guess it’s that yin and yang thing.

exhaustI was in the bathroom once when my body made a gas-powered, long, loud noise. As a car guy, I reveled in the exhaust note. Luckily, my daughter wasn’t home to hear it. She was in the front row at some screamo band concert at a music festival in Massachusetts. I saw no reason to hold back. Next thing I know, I get a text message: “Daaaaaad!” I blame the tile.

If you’re in a public bathroom, say, a restaurant restroom, it’s a whole different ballgame. The amount of tile doesn’t matter. The more, the merrier. You’re with your fellow complete strangers freely doing the same things and nobody cares. It’s like a reverse bonding experience. Complete freedom with people you’ll never see again. If you do happen to run into them at some point, at least you’ll have a good conversation starter. “Manero’s Steak House. Last June. Stall four, right?” “Hey, howya doin’?”

smellyWhere it all gets tricky is when you’re at a friend’s or relative’s house. This requires a strategy. You can’t just rip one out in the living room. First, you have to excuse yourself from the conversation, thereby alerting all but the most brain dead to your destination. As you walk away, you subconsciously calculate how close the nearest human being is. Are they within earshot? How much sound can I get away with? Hmm. You triangulate the various distances. You know what you’re up against. You do your business, all the while being careful to stay below a certain predetermined decibel level. If people are close by, you try to parse everything out with the least amount of aural disturbance. After all, you want to go back and join the conversation, not be the conversation.

There you are, attempting to be silent while sitting on a porcelain fixture surrounded by enough tile to cover the bottom of the space shuttle. You suddenly realize not making any noise under these conditions is like trying to drive with the brake on. So do you cough to cover up the next round of sound or do you do like I do and cover your lap with a couple of guest towels?

My advice is to sound proof your bathrooms. Get rid of that tile, buy decorator sound baffling and let ‘er rip.

The Art Of Napping

DogNap1This past weekend I decided I was going to do some spring cleaning. I looked around, calculated how much needed to be done and tallied what kinds of cleaning equipment and other supplies I’d have to buy. Exhausted from having completed Phase 1 of the project, I decided to take a nap. Napping is the only thing I can do every day that allows me to go to bed at night fully confident that I did at least one thing right that day.

A key component of taking a nap is, of course, waking up. If you don’t like waking up or know how to do it consistently, this may not be the lack of activity for you. If I don’t wake up, then it becomes a permanent nap and I’m happy. No matter where I end up at that point at least I’ll be well rested.

PerfectNapTimeTaking a nap each day is something I highly recommend to everyone. It doesn’t have to be a long nap. It can be 10, 15, 20 minutes max. I wouldn’t go any longer than that because your boss may find out and make you share a cubicle with the guy who won’t take Beano because he doesn’t like the taste.

The real art of napping is training yourself to cat nap at work and wake up in time to go on break. My skill at napping and, ultimately, cat napping, was discovered in high school. In those hallowed classrooms I developed and perfected “vertical napping”—sitting upright and adopting a posture that looked like I was supporting my head on one hand while I was “taking notes” with the other. It really served me well in school. I was especially proud of using “VN” in Mr. Sheridan’s history class, the subject I referred to as “Kill Me Now.” For years I thought I had outsmarted him. As I grew into adulthood, I realized I hadn’t bested Mr. Sheridan at all. He was just there for the paycheck and didn’t give a damn.

CaptainSleepingThe one place I really need to nap, but haven’t yet conquered, is on a plane. It’s my final frontier. When you fly first- or business-class, taking a nap is easy. The seats are comfortable. They give you more room to spread out laterally and longitudinally.

I fly coach. I can’t spread out in coach. Maybe it’s because my knees are pinned so tightly against my chest, my ribs can’t expand enough for me to take in enough oxygen to stay conscious. So I pass out. Passing out is not the same as taking a nap. There is a plus side, though. After traveling this way for years, I’m now limber enough to stowaway in somebody’s carry-on. I’ll have more room than coach and I can take a nap.


GodfatherIt used to be that when you were “connected” it meant that you either knew people in your industry or in the Mafia. Now it means that you have all the latest devices, apps and are on top of social media. This is good and bad. The good part is that you can reach anyone anywhere any time you want. The bad part is that you can be reached by anyone anywhere any time they want. You can run, but you can’t go without checking your email.

I don’t like being this connected. I’m old enough to remember a simpler time when there was one phone in the house. It was on a corner table in the kitchen. Not just for two or three years til the next newest thing-phone came out. It was the same phone in the same spot for decades. And there was no “next newest thing-phone” til I was in my 20s.

Ford Model T Coupe 1920Like the Model T Ford, all phones were black. They must’ve had steel I-beams for the frame because not only was this thing indestructible, it was heavy enough to be registered as a lethal weapon. Seriously, how many TV and movie murders used to be committed by bashing someone’s skull in with a phone? You can’t do that anymore. You wouldn’t. What are you going to do? The 7-11 guy shorts you a buck so you attack him with a $600 phone? You’ll get put away for being an idiot.

pianomanPeople on TV and in the movies always used to lose their memories when they got cracked over the head with something heavy. Remember? Almost every TV show had that episode. “Dad loses his memory when he gets hit in the head with a piano.” A piano I can understand. It’s heavy. It’s made of wood and metal, heavy stuff. It hits you in the head, it’s going to cause some damage. What’s the worst that could happen if you got hit in the head with a cell phone? I’ll tell you what. You end up with a boo-boo. That’s right. That’s the worst damage you could have if you got hit in the head with phone is you get a boo-boo.

The biggest problem now with such hi-tech phones, aside from erratic reception, is that it’s difficult to come up with plausible excuses as to why you didn’t get someone’s call. There’s only so many time you can use the bad reception/phone out of juice/I’ve been in a tunnel all day excuses and get away with them. We need new ones.

ASignHere’s what I propose. For the next two weeks, send me your best excuse for not taking a call on your cell phone, either an excuse you’ve used, or one you made up. Just sign up for this blog so you can leave a Comment with your excuse. Yes, you’ll get the Amusement Park Blog posts sent to you every Tuesday, but no, you will not be spammed (like I have time to do that. I’m lucky I get this post out every week).  I’ll select the best of the best and we’ll have a vote for the Best Excuse for Not Answering Your Cell Phone. Winner gets her/his picture on this blog and recognition for being the Best. For all the world to see! Good Luck!

Looking Good

CosmeticsI used to think college was expensive until I saw the price of cosmetics. I don’t know what that stuff is made of, but I do know that I’m glad I’m a guy because I could never afford to be a woman.

Most women buy a lot of make-up. They don’t necessarily need it, but they buy it because they want to look their best. Nothing wrong with that. We all want to look our best. Some of us just prefer to set the bar lower than others.

Looking good is tough because the ads are mostly B.S. My favorites are the ones where there’s a beautiful woman who’s no longer worried about wrinkles thanks to the latest miracle super goo she’s been using. “Look at my skin. It’s flawless. No more wrinkles.” What kind of wrinkles could this women possibly have? She’s 30! On the other hand, if she has a lot of wrinkles and says she’s 30, I’m checking her I.D.

Older women seem to be targeted more in magazines. In print it’s easier to look at the before and after photos to convince you of how well the product works. Of course, the only way the truth can be told is if you switch the photos around.

EdisonVitalizerWrinkle cream used to be really popular. Maybe it still is. I don’t know. But let’s be real here. Anybody who buys wrinkle cream has to know it’s not going to work just by reading the label. It’s called “Wrinkle Cream” for a reason. If you wanted to get rid of your wrinkles maybe you should have considered “anti”-wrinkle cream. That would have been the smart move. You can’t have wrinkle cream and anti-wrinkle cream do the same thing otherwise somebody’s lying. And if either one really did what it was supposed to, I would’ve bought some long ago and put it on my clothes. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to iron. 

The next step beyond creams is, obviously, plastic surgery. The problem with surgery is it’s expensive and mostly only for the parts of the body that show or hint at what’s underneath the threads. When you see some 78-year-old who looks 10 years younger and has tight skin, you know they’ve had work done. You also know that if they took their clothes off you’d find a 68-year-old-looking adult with a body that still has parts made in 1937.

SummerGlauWithGunIt’s not all bad, all this stuff. The upside is that you can make a ton of money after years of always using the creams, exfoliants, powders, make-up, and all the things you invested in to look good. So here’s your big pay-off. Tomorrow morning, leave the house without a stitch of make-up on, put your hair into a baseball cap, go out in your around-the-house clothes and rob a bank. Don’t worry about the cameras. Without your face on, no one’s ever going to know who you are.

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