You’re Killing Me Man



I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems every day we hear about something new that is slowly but surely killing us. Do you know that according to medical experts, microwave popcorn can cause severe respiratory distress, resulting in the possibility of death? When I was a kid we made popcorn on the stove, in a big pie plate covered in aluminum foil. We would shake it vigorously over a stove burner until it expanded into a huge mountain of popcorn. The only dangers we faced, where cracking our teeth on rock hard kernels, or losing an eye, when an exploding piece of popcorn flew out of the bag at the speed of a streaking meteorite. Now, we cook a bag in the microwave, and five minutes later the grim reaper shows up at our front door saying,

“I was just passing by, smelled butter, and figured I’d stop in just in case that darn popcorn kills you.”

Things used to be so much simpler. You had a limited list of things that would kill you, and you did your best to avoid them, or limit their intake. You didn’t smoke, drank alcohol in moderation, smoked weed only at Grateful Dead concerts, or when your mother-in-law was coming for a two-week visit, eliminated salt from your diet, and tried not to forget the date of your wedding anniversary. If you could do those things, you had a good chance of living a fairly long life.

These days, there are so many more things that can kill you. Do you know you can die from second-hand smoke? It’s true. Recent scientific studies have also shown that one billion Chinese factory workers, furiously puffing cigarettes on their five-minute lunch break is killing people on the other side of the world. You may not know this, but soda and snack vending machines can kill you. Since 1978, thirty-seven people have died from incidents involving these devices. Pretty terrible way to go, don’t you think? Imagine some, poor, starving, overworked guy with low blood sugar, who is forced to work through lunch by a demanding boss. Putting his last quarters into a snack machine, and then furiously shaking the darn thing to dislodge the last, stuck bag of Doritos, he is subsequently crushed when the machine topples over. Even worse; big Al from receiving, walks over, reaches down, and dislodges the bag from the hand protruding from under the vending machine.

I do have one bit of good news. Many states are starting to legalize the use of marijuana. I guess they’ve determined it doesn’t destroy brain cells, slow reaction time, damage your lungs, make you act stupid, and probably won’t kill you. Just don’t let that hundred and twenty-pound bale of dried weed you’re unloading into your basement for medicinal, and recreational uses, fall on top of you. I’m pretty sure it can kill you.

I just wish all those scientists with brains so big, they carry their heads around in wheelbarrows, would make up their minds about what will kill us. I went on a diet recently, lost a lot of weight in a short time, and had my doctor tell me to slow down. He said that losing too much weight, too fast, will kill you. I also heard that not eating breakfast will kill you, but if you eat eggs, bacon, and white bread toast for breakfast, it will kill you. Even sleeping can shorten your lifespan. Studies have shown that too much sleep will kill you, but too little sleep will also lead to any early death. And, if you somehow survive sleeping, you may be one of the 450 Americans who die every year from falling out of bed – while sleeping!

How many of you love delicious hamburgers, mouth-watering hot dogs, tender barbequed ribs, or big juicy steaks, cooked to perfection on a grill? Well, you have to be careful. I just learned that the grilling of food can kill you. My first thoughts were possibly expiring in a massive propane explosion, or meeting your maker, as you accidently catch fire, and become a running, human torch, as fellow picnicker’s look on in horror. To my dismay I was told that over-cooking meat on a grill produces chemicals which are harmful to our DNA, may increase the risk of cancer, and thus can kill us.

Here is a partial list of some of the things we do, or encounter every day, which may kill us. They include: exercising too little, or too much, using a cell phone, texting while walking, Tylenol, stress, loneliness, margarine, fast food, potato chips, sitting too much, salt, getting angry, cold cuts, toothpaste, whole milk, microwave ovens, and having your spouse just take out a million-dollar life insurance policy on you. To be fair; that last one may not kill you, but it does increase your chances of having an unfortunate accident, or mistakenly ingesting something you wouldn’t necessary eat or drink, like rat poison, arsenic, or antifreeze.

Here’s one I hadn’t thought about. Your kids can kill you. Studies have shown that the stress incurred while raising a child to adulthood can shorten lifespans. I believe this is absolutely true. What parent hasn’t been up, late at night worrying about the safety and health of their children, or how to pay for new braces, ballet lessons, or for escalating college costs. I really don’t think my kids realize what a burden it is to raise a child. The other night I said to my son.

“Adam, do you know you’re killing me?” He replied, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – whatever. Hey dad; can I borrow the car, and do you have a few bucks to spare? There’s a big party at Jakes house tonight.”

At least some recent studies have shown that some things aren’t as bad for us as previously thought. I can now eat dark chocolate, partake of wine in moderation, drink huge cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee, and load up on sugar, without having waiting ambulances parked in my driveway. I know sugars not the greatest thing to eat, but those artificial sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrups will really kill you.

I do have some good news. Statistics show, I only have a 1 in 500,000 chance of meeting my demise by being hit by a rogue asteroid on a collision course with earth, a 1 in 84,000 chance of being struck by lightning, and a 1 in 250 chance of being shot and killed. If I forget my wife’s birthday or some other important date, those odds drop dramatically to 1 in 125, but that’s still, not too bad. I guess the only thing I’m sure will kill me, is old age. I have a 1 in 1 chance of this. While I’m waiting for it, could you please hand me that Bong. I just got some great weed from California. Just be careful. It’s very heavy. If you drop it on your foot, it may just kill you.

Posted in Everyday Life, Popular Culture, Simple Observations | 16 Comments

That’s Why They Call Them Pets



A few nights ago, I was relaxing in my favorite recliner, drinking a strong cup of dark roast coffee, and watching reruns of Cesar 911 on television. Also, commonly called “The Dog Whisperer,” it’s one of my favorite reality television shows. It features, Cesar Millan, a dog trainer, who uses behavior modification techniques, and a philosophy that exercise, discipline, and affection are the keys to having a happy and healthy dog. My dog, Chase was lying next to my chair, and periodically, I would reach down and gently rub his head. I had done my best to follow the dog whisperer’s advice concerning dogs. I believe that affection, is definitely a key part of having a happy dog. Chase, for his part, can never get enough attention and petting. He has a special place, behind his left ear that he particularly enjoys being caressed.

As Cesar, swiftly pulled apart two fighting dogs, I became distracted by a loud meow on the side of my chair opposite to Chase. It was a signal from my cat, Harper that he needed to be fed, have his litter box changed, or required a small bit of human interaction. Harper has learned that if I raise my arm up level with the palm facing down, it’s his signal to jump up on the arm of the chair. I’ve learned that when Harper rubs against my hand, and softly purrs, he’s looking to have a few moments of petting.

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Posted in Animals, Simple Observations | 8 Comments

What do you mean I’m Not Cool?


This post, is for all you rapidly aging parents out there, who once, in the very far and distant past, were considered fairly cool. It’s also for all those young people, who think their parents are: unbelievably old, technologically inept, have one foot in the grave, are out of touch with today’s music and culture, don’t understand the pressures of being young, and have no concept of what it means to be a young adult in today’s world. Oh, I almost forgot – and constantly embarrasses them, in too many ways to count.

I’ve racked my brain over the past few days, in a futile attempt to determine the exact moment when I lost my cool. I can recall a time, not too long ago, when my kids thought I was the greatest man in the world, a powerful superhero with unbelievable powers, and a towering giant, who could protect them from even the most frightening monsters. Until recently, I had always thought I was pretty cool, hip, groovy, and up-to-date on the latest trends in fashion, music, and popular culture. Do you know how I found out I wasn’t cool anymore? My teenage son told me. To be fair to him; he didn’t just come out and say it. He told me that we needed talk. He then said,

“Dad, I love you, and I still think you’re the best, but sometimes you embarrass me in front of my friends. I know you don’t mean it, and you often can’t help yourself, but you’re kind of a big nerd.”

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Little House of Horrors




Have you ever wondered why film companies spend millions of dollars making horror movies? A few months ago, I watched a film called, “Life.” The plot revolved around a single-celled creature, that grows aboard a space station from soil samples taken from the surface of Mars. The alien life form, given the name, Calvin, swiftly grows into a large, intelligent and rapacious monster, with a taste for human flesh. I heard the total cost of the film was around 58 million dollars!

Even a recent, low-budget horror film called, “It Comes at Night,” using B actors, and with a bare-bones budget, had a final production cost of nearly 5 million dollars. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it seems pretty expensive for a film about my mother-in-law’s last visit to my house for Sunday night dinner.

Today’s horror movies seem to get more and more expensive each year. If you include the cost of hiring well-known actors, filming in exotic locations, or expensive man-made sets, gruesome makeup, and computer-generated images of hideous and grotesque monsters; the costs can be astronomical. I’ve been thinking about going into the horror film genre myself. I think I can provide a movie experience that will not only cost much less, but scare, terrify, and disgust even the most ardent horror movie fan.

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Posted in Everyday Life, Messed Up Things, Really Crazy Things, Scary Things, Simple Observations | 7 Comments

Facing a Cat-astrophe



I just read a fascinating story about what’s called a “Cat Café.” No, it’s not what you may think. I made the same mistake, in thinking it was a fine eating establishment run by food-loving feline entrepreneurs, with a desire to test their culinary skills on a human population. A cat cafe, is actually a coffee and pastry shop, with a separate area containing cats. Customers pay an hourly fee to relax with delicious food and beverages, while either watching, or playing with our wonderful feline friends.

The first cat café was opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. The idea quickly spread to Japan, Europe, and finally to North America. Even Australia, has a selection of cafes catering to the needs of people looking for a little comfort from our furry friends. I understand, the first endeavor in the land down under involving human animal interactions, was a “Kangaroo Café.” The idea was scrapped about two hours later, after the male kangaroos, kept punching and kicking the living daylights out of customers. I guess that’s killed my idea of a “Hyena Café.” I heard someone tried one once. Not only were the hyena’s hard to handle, ravenous eaters, and didn’t like to be petted, but they kept laughing at the customers.

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Posted in Animals, Everyday Life, Messed Up Things, Popular Culture, Simple Observations | 10 Comments

My Journey to Grumpiness


I have to admit, I’ve been a little bit grumpy lately. Who wouldn’t be with the state of the economy, crime in the streets, rising taxes, and that rotten little Peterson boy, who uses my flower bed as a short-cut to the school bus stop. I guess, I should mention the guy who walks, what is either a large dog, or a small Clydesdale with bowel movement problems by my house every day. Do you think it would kill him to bring a shovel, and a thirty-gallon trash bag along?

I just returned from the grocery store, where it seems the packages are getting smaller as the prices go up. Have you seen the price of a can of coffee, and a tiny jar of peanut butter? Right now, I’m sitting in front of a huge stack of bills, and a politician on television is telling me that the economy is turning the corner. I wonder what corner he’s talking about. If I peek around my corner, I see a gigantic sinkhole ready to swallow me up. What’s this? Can you believe it. My cable bill just went up again! My wife says I need to relax, and not get so upset with things. Just yesterday she said,

“If you keep this up, you’re going to one day become a grumpy old man.”

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The Stuff Dreams are Made of


This may sound a little crazy, but I think my wife is trying to drive me insane. I know, I’ve been saying for years that she makes me nuts, but this is something totally new and different. The other night, right around bedtime, she was watching a nature show. I asked her what it was about. She said it was a documentary on polar bears, and their valiant struggle to survive in a rapidly changing environment, due to the effects of global warming. The strange thing is, after I yawned and said, “goodnight;” she looked me in the eye, and in a quiet, eerie, and should I say, spooky voice said,

“Do you know that polar bears like to……… eat people?”

“Won’t all species of bears, consume humans if given the chance, and if they’re hungry enough?” I replied. She didn’t answer. Instead, she just gave me a strange, unsettling smile, as I left the room, and headed up the stairs to the bedroom.

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Captain – We’ve Got No Power

Star Trek

A few months ago, I was reminded of an iconic television series from the 1960’s called “Star Trek.” Due to a devastating winter storm, the northeastern United States suffered massive power outages. Millions of homes and businesses were left without electricity for up to a week. I was lucky enough to live in an area where we regained power fairly quickly, and my family suffered only two long days of impenetrable darkness, biting cold, sleepless nights, and extreme family togetherness.

You may be asking yourself, how could a lack of electrical power, remind anyone of an old-time, classic TV show, involving a crew of interstellar space travelers in the distant future? Well, let me tell you. The series story-line revolved around the adventures of the Starship, U.S.S Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk. Their mission, set in the 23rd century, was to head out into the unknown regions of space, and boldly go where no man had gone before.

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Posted in Everyday Life, Popular Culture, Simple Observations | 28 Comments

Slowly Becoming…….Bleached Bones!


The other day, I complained to a friend about the sparse rainfall, low humidity, and intense heat, which had turned my once lush and beautiful yard, into a bleak and desolate landscape of dried grass, wilted flowers, an algae-covered pond, drifting sand, and rolling tumbleweeds. Well, maybe not those last two, but it was pretty dry. In response, he said,

“What’s this with heat? Just six months ago, you were whining to me about how cold it was. You said you were miserable, and couldn’t wait for summer.”

“He’s right,” I thought to myself. I do hate cold weather. I guess the question is, which one do I hate more? That’s a tough one. Do I dislike dressing in five layers of clothing, shivering uncontrollably, shooing boisterous penguins off my pond, and fighting off ravenous polar bears with an ice scraper; or do I hate the thought of sweating profusely, removing drifting sand from my driveway, and getting trampled by nasty camels? I asked my wife for help deciding, since she knows how much I hate both cold and hot weather. She said,

“What would be worse; dying from exposure to freezing temperatures, or expiring from excessive heat?”

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Posted in Everyday Life, Messed Up Things, Simple Observations, Weather Related | 4 Comments

Drinking to Look Better

beer goggles

Most of you have heard the words, “beer goggles,” at one time or another. I’m not much of a drinker these days, so I asked one of my slightly inebriated friends down at the local corner bar, what it meant. He said, and I quote,

“It’s a physiological state, induced by the ingestion of alcohol, that may also include psychological alterations of consciousness. This may include a lowering of social inhibitions, as well as a decrease in vital decision-making abilities.”

I said, “What? Come on Frank. I know you were once a NASA rocket scientist, before you discovered pool halls and beer – but could you please put that in words I can understand?”

He replied, “The more you drink, the more attractive the opposite sex becomes.”

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Posted in Simple Observations | 12 Comments