Category: Uncategorized

My Father’s Day Tribute to My Punning, Pranking Dad

My dad…Richard M. Garsten 1922-2007

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. This is my 36th year as a dad and the 13th year since I lost mine. Oh no, we’re not gonna get maudlin. We’re gonna have some fun, because that’s what my dad was. 

Actually, he was sort of sneaky fun. Generally quiet by nature and not nearly as outgoing as my mom who aspired to sing and act on Broadway, but gave it up to raise me and my brother. Some trade, huh? She would have had a shelf full of Tonys. 

No, my father was sneaky fun in a few ways. He was a chemical engineer by trade–not a profession generally associated with yukking it up. “Hey Al, hear the one about the constricted pipe nipple?” But he was a master punster who both loved to hear them and let one loose. Whether he was delivering or receiving, at the punchline, he’d grab his throat and make a choking sound. That was sometimes misunderstood by folks out of earshot and at least one time a concerned citizen ran over about to administer the Heimlich Maneuver on my dad thinking he’d swallowed an olive whole. Poor guy. Not only didn’t he save my dad’s life, he ruined his punchline. 

What was the pun? Oh, my father’s absolute favorite mocking of country music. The set up was, “Oh, I hate country music!” His victim would always ask, “how come?” The reply/punchline was always, “They have stupid titles like (and he’d sing it like Hank Williams) ‘He fell down the sewer and they called it sewer-cide.” Hand to the throat. Choking sound made. Victim suddenly remembers he’s late for root canal…and looking forward to it. 

One think my dad absolutely hated was cigars. Hated how they looked in a guy’s mouth and despise their smell. Back in the 60’s it was OK for folks to smoke in other people’s homes and we had an impressive ashtray collection to facilitate their early grave. Cigarettes? OK. Pipes? OK. Cigars? No OK. One night when the weekly poker game was at our house one of the players decided to fire up a stogie. My dad had laid down the ground rules many times, so he felt no need to repeat them. Instead, he simply whipped out a fat rubberband, made it tight around his fingers, and shot the cheroot right out of the guy’s mouth. The shocked guy knew he done wrong. All he could say was, “shit, I forgot the rule, but you could have just asked me to put it out.” Nope. My dad knew how to make a memorable moment…and his point, without uttering a word. 

Speaking of making his point wordlessly, that same guy who broke the no-cigar rule turned out, after awhile, to be quite the asshole and the guys wanted to kick him out of the game. They didn’t relish the confrontation so my father, ever the brilliant one, again came up with a way to send the message without getting into what would likely be an unpleasant verbal exchange. 

He shared his plan with the boys, whom he had arrive a little earlier than usual. When the jerk arrived at the usual time, he was greeted just outside the door to our apartment with 7 guys armed with seltzer bottles who drenched him in bubbly water. We never saw him again…and not a word was spoken. Told you. My dad was quiet.

I miss him every day and memorialize him by taking out my gee-tar and singing his “favorite” country song, afterwards reaching for my throat and making that choking sound. Oh, I’d never perform it in public. Would be professional sewer-cide. 

The Face Mask as Rebel Flag

It’s heartening to see display of the Confederate flag being given the improper burial it deserves along with other symbols of the former Confederate States of America—a group of states with people who believed in enslaving other human beings who were ripped from their native land, shipped across the ocean like cargo and put to work against their will. Just a simple exercise of “states rights.”

Yeah, yeah..I lived in Georgia for eight years. Attended the Stone Mountain laser show where disciples of Lee, Jackson (the Stonewall variety) and Davis yahoo in reverence to the men who led the CSA to utter defeat, but remain in high regard to many as symbols of southern culture. You can yank down monuments to these losers but you can’t really level Stone Mountain, which, by the way, is an excellent park.

In 1987 I covered for CNN a civil rights march in Cumming, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta. On the day before the march I spent the day with Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who came over from New York City to help, er, contain things because trouble was expected from a group of militant white racists. The Guardian Angels were not welcome by the local PO-lice and some obviously racist residents. When I asked Sliwa about that he said, “We were treated like hemorrhoids!” Such a charming New Yawk thing to say. (see video)

On the day of the march while waiting to do a live shot, I was also treated with the respect of a bulging butt growth as some fine gentleman wearing the Stars and Bars decided to welcome me to the proceedings by launching a soda bottle filled with sand directly at me. Now that’s a hearty Jaw-Jaw howdy! I narrowly avoided the projectile and those that followed. Then I had to shake my head. That’s one reason you idiots lost the war. Couldn’t hit a standing reporter from 30 feet.

Over the years, including this one, I’ve heard repeatedly that shhheeeeeeet…the Confederate Flay-ag represents Southern culture, and our rights as Amuricans. No it doesn’t. It represents bigotry, hatred and the losing side in a horrible war. By the way…that’s not Southern culture. I love Southern culture—the culture of courtesy, warmth and foods that’ll kill ya but are second to none in taste and satisfaction. When I was transferred up to Detroit in 1989, by my request—it was a promotion—I missed Atlanta and Georgia very much. Well, except for the 24/7 gridlock. But everything else. In fact, before the transfer, we were looking to move to a larger house as our family grew.

Still, there’s a stubbornness among those who cling to the Confederacy and that same mule-headedness has now manifested itself among those who refuse to wear a face mask. We’re not wearing them because someone is throwing a global masquerade party. We’re wearing them to keep ourselves and others from dying. Yet when you ask someone to put one on the reply is rarely, if ever, “oh, sorry. I forgot.” OR “Ooops..left it home. My mistake.” No. The retort is “It’s my right not to wear the damn thing…and it’s uncomfortable and hot.” OR “Mind your own effin’ business. It’s my decision.” What is wrong with you? Have not enough people become ill or died because of COVID-19? Got news for you.. only characters in Marvel comics have superpowers. But we all have the power to contain this viral bastard, saving ourselves and others.

Wearing a face mask isn’t foolproof, but it’s an honest effort to do the right thing—an easily accomplished act of decency and unselfishness.

Oh by the way…your “rights” don’t mean shit…if you’re dead. Just like the Confederacy… and just as useless.

The Face Mask as Rebel Flag

It’s heartening to see display of the Confederate flag being given the improper burial it deserves along with other symbols of the former Confederate States of America—a group of states with people who believed in enslaving other human beings who were ripped from their native land, shipped across the ocean like cargo and put to work against their will. Just a simple exercise of “states rights.”

Yeah, yeah..I lived in Georgia for eight years. Attended the Stone Mountain laser show where disciples of Lee, Jackson (the Stonewall variety) and Davis yahoo in reverence to the men who led the CSA to utter defeat, but remain in high regard to many as symbols of southern culture. You can yank down monuments to these losers but you can’t really level Stone Mountain, which, by the way, is an excellent park.

In 1987 I covered for CNN a civil rights march in Cumming, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta. On the day before the march I spent the day with Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who came over from New York City to help, er, contain things because trouble was expected from a group of militant white racists. The Guardian Angels were not welcome by the local PO-lice and some obviously racist residents. When I asked Sliwa about that he said, “We were treated like hemorrhoids!” Such a charming New Yawk thing to say. (see video)

On the day of the march while waiting to do a live shot, I was also treated with the respect of a bulging butt growth as some fine gentleman wearing the Stars and Bars decided to welcome me to the proceedings by launching a soda bottle filled with sand directly at me. Now that’s a hearty Jaw-Jaw howdy! I narrowly avoided the projectile and those that followed. Then I had to shake my head. That’s one reason you idiots lost the war. Couldn’t hit a standing reporter from 30 feet.

Over the years, including this one, I’ve heard repeatedly that shhheeeeeeet…the Confederate Flay-ag represents Southern culture, and our rights as Amuricans. No it doesn’t. It represents bigotry, hatred and the losing side in a horrible war. By the way…that’s not Southern culture. I love Southern culture—the culture of courtesy, warmth and foods that’ll kill ya but are second to none in taste and satisfaction. When I was transferred up to Detroit in 1989, by my request—it was a promotion—I missed Atlanta and Georgia very much. Well, except for the 24/7 gridlock. But everything else. In fact, before the transfer, we were looking to move to a larger house as our family grew.

Still, there’s a stubbornness among those who cling to the Confederacy and that same mule-headedness has now manifested itself among those who refuse to wear a face mask. We’re not wearing them because someone is throwing a global masquerade party. We’re wearing them to keep ourselves and others from dying. Yet when you ask someone to put one on the reply is rarely, if ever, “oh, sorry. I forgot.” OR “Ooops..left it home. My mistake.” No. The retort is “It’s my right not to wear the damn thing…and it’s uncomfortable and hot.” OR “Mind your own effin’ business. It’s my decision.” What is wrong with you? Have not enough people become ill or died because of COVID-19? Got news for you.. only characters in Marvel comics have superpowers. But we all have the power to contain this viral bastard, saving ourselves and others.

Wearing a face mask isn’t foolproof, but it’s an honest effort to do the right thing—an easily accomplished act of decency and unselfishness.

Oh by the way…your “rights” don’t mean shit…if you’re dead. Just like the Confederacy… and just as useless.

Haircuts Are Back-My Follicle Follies

You would have thought our governor announced free six-packs of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale for all on Friday. I, personally, would have appreciated that very much, since I’m down to my last few and they’re going fast. 

No, the collective jubilation heard ‘round the Mitten was her declaration that we could all…after everything we’ve gone through over the past few months…after suffering through a terrible pandemic, mindless searches for toilet paper, avoiding human contact and appreciating the wonders of curbside pickup and Grubhub…..can finally get our hair cut! 

For the stylists, barbers and salon owners who have endured months of financial disaster, I’m thrilled. For those who have simply suffered blows to their vanity, get over it. It’s just hair. If someone only appreciated you, lusted after you, respected you only because you were stylishly coiffed, snip them out of your life! Give ‘em the brush off! I’d chase ‘em with a blow dryer and muss up their locks while shouting, “your hair sucks! We’re through!” 

Personally, I just don’t care. I own an impressive collection of ball caps that match the colors and styles of just about anything I choose to wear. Bad hair day? No problem. Pop on a top with the logo of my favorite team or car brand or place I’ve visited. I have an especially tacky one I acquired years ago while covering a story at the Ontario Tobacco Growers warehouse. It’s not only ugly, it offends anti-smoking types. I’m not a smoker, but I do like lighting up prissy puritans once in awhile. 

When I worked as a TV reporter I was forced to pay close attention to my hair. It wasn’t always bad. The TV station where I worked in Tucson, Arizona paid for our haircuts. They had a deal with a salon located in beautiful old house and my assigned stylist was gorgeous. It was a nice change from our previous salon run by a crazy woman who often ran out to her car in the middle of a styling, apparently to huff a white powder. She wielded her Conair blower like a Glock when she returned and when we informed the station we would no longer sit in her chair like sitting ducks they thankfully moved us to the much nicer place where none of the stylists potentially faced arrest. 

By the time I worked my way up to CNN, the network merely reimbursed us for our haircuts since the on-air folks were strewn around the world. At first I was lucky enough to find a young lady who was quite talented and that lasted for a year or two until she got married and quit. I looked around for someone new and was referred to a stylist who was quite experienced and received positive reviews. Things went well for a bit until she experienced “man problems.” For the entirety of my styling she’d go into a rage about men, her man, how men suck, how she’d like to kill all men. Given she was holding very sharp scissors and I happened to be a man I was not, in the least, relaxed. I finally just stopped using her and moved on. 

That was better until the new stylist said she only wanted to work one or two hours a week and none of those hours coincided with any of the hours I could come in. 

At that point I honestly didn’t care anymore. I visited my nearest Fantastic Sams. Didn’t care who I got. Waiting like everyone else. Got someone different almost every time. Got a fine haircut almost every time. No rage, no threats, no problem. Then the shop owner decided Fantastic Sams franchise fees or whatever were too expensive so she went out on her own. Best yet. Independent owner, talented stylists, 12 bucks plus tip for an excellent shearing. Sometimes they speak English, sometimes they don’t. Don’t care. They speak the common language of “follicle.” Been going there for a decade. I’ll be happy to return. 

But meanwhile, my hair has been silently growing, thankfully covering the thinning bald spot on the back of my head. I’ll miss my mop when it’s cut. I may even grow it back. I just hope the same stylists return to my favorite place. I have nightmares I’ll get in the chair and looming down over me with sharpened scissors hovering over my ears is the man hater raging about how I walked out on her all those years ago. Snip Snip. Oh shit. No tip. 

The Pandemic Ice Cream Index

maskedconesHas it happened to you or a family member yet? So far we’ve escaped, but others are not so lucky–and it’s causing longer, slower lines at neighborhood ice cream and custard stands as well as testing the patience of hardworking scoopers and shake makers.

It happens to all of us at one time or another, but since things have gradually reopened during this pandemic, I’ve been an eyewitness to a new degree of the inability to accurately convey a preference. It’s a malady I can only blame on months of being holed up at home, separated from society without the need to make any big decisions–most notably, regarding frozen desserts.

I present to you a few recent actual events as evidence.

zipdipI’m in a properly socially-distanced line at a neighborhood ice cream stand…much like those in the photo above.  At the front of the line is a guy who, let’s just say, looks like he comes here often. I can’t hear him order but the efficient worker quickly brings him two shakes. NEXT! Right? Nope. The guy kinda gives the two cups a confused look and asks, “are these mediums?” The attendant replies there are, in fact, smalls. “Aw, sorry…I wanted mediums.” The attendant apologizes and goes back to whip up two larger shakes. Meanwhile the line is getting longer and you figure when the attendant returns with the two medium shakes our guy will be satisfied. Heh. All this quarantining has his mind completely addled. “Uh…jeez…sorry again.” The attendant appears to be feeling around in his pocket for something–perhaps the cyanide capsule he’s hidden in his apron for such an occasion. “Yes sir?”  “Uh, didn’t I also order two medium twist cones?” “No sir, you didn’t.” “Aw shit, sorry. Could ya do those too?” The cyanide is looking better all the time. He dutifully makes the two cones but that’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH. “Aw, man. Could ya turn ‘em upside down and put ‘em in cups?”  Nah..cyanide is fast, but not fast enough. The attendant gathers himself and returns with the two, now, upside down cones duly placed in cups. Mercifully, the customer accepts them and leaves.

By now, with those waiting standing six-feet apart, the line is roughly 50 feet long and up to the counter steps a skinny codger with a scraggly white goatee. I tell my son, “this guy’s trouble.” Father knows best. Customer places his order. “I’d like two small chocolate cones.” Easy. Not easy. Attendant still recovering from the last customer quickly comes back with two chocolate cones.  “Aw, crap. Jeez.” Attendant starting to take on that 1000 yard stare. “ I really wanted TWIST and not just chocolate.” Attendant disgustedly dumps the two chocolate cones in the trash, and remakes the guy’s two cones. Hands them to him without a word. Customer endures hard stares from those in line and submits to the walk of shame back to his car. We all hope the cones melt before he gets there.

My turn at last. The attendant is wary. He’s thinking, “oh shit, another old guy who looks like a Rocky Road short of his 31 flavors.” I pick up on this. I order. “Two small cups of vanilla and one SMALL twist cone.” I see the doubt on his face. I smile, and add, “and that’s my final answer.” He laughed. I laughed. I paid and left. The crowd applauded.

One day this will all be over. Our minds will recover, and it will be safe to once again order frozen desserts correctly.

When A Graduation Goes Awry..And You End Up Dry

VBphotoI hadn’t planned on watching Graduate Together last night but I stumbled on it an stayed with it. I’m glad I did. I feel terrible for all the seniors who have missed out on all the things that make senior year fun and memorable. As I watched I thought back to a couple of my senior years and remembered, sometimes even when there’s no pandemic, getting to the finish line can have it’s unexpected moments.

First…I present to you my embarrassing photo from Futura ’69…yearbook for Martin Van Buren High School Class of 1969, Queens Village, New York. Full disclosure, our high school team name was lame…the VeeBees. Get it? We instilled fear in no one.

Of course, being pimply teenagers we thought we were pretty hot shit being from Class of ’69…oooooooohhhhhh 69! So ready to take on the world… if the world was populated primarily by oversexed 18 year olds. I was only 17 and severely undersexed. I achieved high school graduation at an earlier age because I scored high enough on a test in 6th grade which allowed you to skip 8th grade. It was cool to go from 7th to 9th grade except pissed off 8th graders always wanted to punch you during lunch.

FuturamaSenior year was eventful. It was during the Vietnam War and students were active in protesting it. Some of the more “radical” kids pasted anti-war stickers on street light posts with little explosives under them. If you tried to remove the stickers you might get burned.

Another set of students were a bit more obtuse. They set off a larger explosive in one of the administrator’s offices. That move cost us our senior trip to Shea Stadium to see the Mets.

It’s important to point out our school was hugely overcrowded–5,300 students on triple session. Seniors had the best schedule–early session. If you could manage to drop lunch, you were in by 8 and out by noon..plenty of time to take a part time job, or screw off the rest of the day. Sophomore had it the worst–late session. In at 12:30pm out at 5:15pm. During the winter it was dark when you got out. Upside, you could either sleep in or attempt to complete your homework in the morning because by the time you got home the night before it was time to watch TV.

So you can see that the run up to graduation was already fraught with unpleasantness. We did have a prom but I didn’t go. Let’s just say my acne would have been an impressive gameboard for connect the dots. Not exactly a chick magnet.

Our graduating class, as you can imagine, was also oversized–1,735 students. You could be 500th in the class and still be considered not so dumb. By the time graduation day arrived the sheer size of the class, combined with the weather, conspired to turn the planned pomp and circumstance into a frantic “run for it!”

You see, the top VeeBees decided to hold our graduation outside–at a bandshell in leafy Forest Park. Beautiful venue on a beautiful day. This was not a beautiful day. As we sat listening to the first remarks from our principal very dark, scary clouds moved in. The wind picked up to the extent we thought via the benefit of our mortar boards we would shortly take flight.

This did not go unnoticed by the principal who decided to call an audible, which was interesting since Van Buren High School was one of the few NYC high schools not to have a football team.

He looked at the sky, then gazed upon the 1,735 graduates, their parents and siblings and thought about how freakin’ long it would take to call out each of our names, have us traipse onto the stage and return to our seats. There was no way possible before the skies would open and, two months before Woodstock, we would be slopping in mud.

Suddenly, the principal made the call declaring “move your tassels over to the left. You’re all graduated! Now…quickly head to a picnic table located in the rear where your diplomas are in envelopes in alphabetical order. Good luck! Bye! Hurry!”

And so went the the Martin Van Buren High School Class of 1969 into the world. We just beat the rain, prepared for whatever storms life would toss us in the future.

This is how I looked four years later at in my college yearbook. My parents refused to display it. Oswegophoto

Those Uncomfortable First Days

firstday

While we’re all waiting for the world to spin back on its axis and people aren’t getting sick or afraid of breathing in public, I thought it might be fun to kill some time thinking back to one of life’s most uncomfortable episodes–that horrible first day on the job.

You know how it is…you don’t know where anything is, everyone in the office is giving you the eye wondering if you’re OK or a jerk or if you’re gonna try to steal their job or be an ass-kisser or slacker. Your main challenge is delicately asking where the washroom is and where the office supplies are hidden. Some wiseass gives you directions to the washroom, but after you memorize every turn and finally find the door as you’re about to explode, you discover the schmuck didn’t add that you need a key to enter. Sound familiar?

I’ll start with a couple of my most memorable/horrible first days, and then I invite you to join the fun by adding yours in the comments.

egcnnanchorThe date was November 30, 1981. My first day at CNN in Atlanta. I was hired as one of the first producers to launch their second network which was known at the time as CNN2. It later morphed into Headlines News and now HLN.

I had been working as a producer, reporter, anchor at KGUN in Tucson, Arizona. If you know anything about Arizona, it’s extremely laid back. No one gets dressed up, much. Especially producers.

Well…I saunter into the crazy, busy CNN headquarters on my first day figuring I’d wear my “producer clothes.” In Arizona that meant casual pants, an open-necked button down shirt and comfortable shoes. Psych. I look around and everyone else is wearing serious business clothes. Women wearing dresses. Men in dress shirt, ties, jackets, polished, black shoes. I’m already marked as a rube from out west. My boss kindly takes me aside and whispers, “you may have noticed there’s a bit of a dress code.” Well..yeah…would have been nice if someone told me in advance. But that wasn’t the worst thing about my first day. That would happen momentarily.

The boss said we should go out onto the newsroom floor and learn how the national assignment desk worked. So I go up to the first guy I see on the desk. He’s a big, balding, bearded volcano about to erupt. I introduce myself and ask if he could take a moment to explain how things work. Cue the eruption.

“YOU WANNA KNOW HOW THE FUCKIN’ DESK WORKS! WATCH THIS!!!!,” he screams at me. He picks up the tie-line to the DC bureau and starts screaming at the producer on the other end using the most vile language one could muster. This goes on for about 20 seconds. He slams down the phone, glares at me and screams, “THAT’S HOW THE FUCKIN’ ASSIGNMENT DESK WORKS. NOW GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY FACE!!!!”  I took that as a most instructional lesson, took my leave and, you know, I never got the guy’s name or saw him again, which was just fine. Boss later asks me if I got the lay of the land on the national desk. I told him about the “guidance” I was given and just grinned, replying “yeah, that’s pretty much how it works.”

garstenLAautoshow1First day number 2. August 23, 2005. My first day at what was then DaimlerChrysler and now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It was my first corporate job. Hired away from The Detroit News to ghost write and manage a blog for the head of corporate communications. Cool job.

I’m led up to the sixth floor PR offices at corporate HQ and plopped in my new boss’s cube for all the first day stuff. First thing I was told was to look at my new badge.

“See your badge? It’s green. That means you’re a contractor not a REAL employee. REAL employees have blue badges.” I feel welcome already. Then the next indignity.

“Come with me. Let’s look out the window. You see those parking decks close to the building. You can’t park there. Those are for REAL employees. See that surface lot..somewhere beyond the horizon? That’s where contractors park. So that’s where YOU park. It’s not too long a walk…except when it’s raining, snowing or the wind is howling. Then…it sucks. Welcome to the company!!”

I became a REAL employee about 13 months later but always hid my blue badge. It was out of consideration for the other green badged contractors who were still trudging into the office from the corporate back forty. They would also call me bad names.

Remembering Kent State-My Coverage and Conversation With a Prof Who Was There

kentstate30thcredOn May 4, 1970 I was on the air at WOCR, our campus radio station at SUNY Oswego. The little studio was on one side of a basement hallway in the student union. Our old UPI teletype machine was chugging away across the hall in our business office. I heard the five bells ringing from inside the studio denoting a bulletin was crossing. I ran over, ripped off the copy and read the unthinkable news on the air. Ohio National Guardsmen had shot and killed four unarmed students at Kent State University in Ohio during a large protest against the U.S. bombing of Cambodia.

kentstateguardsmenMy phone lit up and angry and crying students were on the other end of the line simply reacting to the news. They just needed to vent, first, to the person from whom they’d heard the news and would later take their outrage to the streets. We joined the ABC radio network for updates and gamely filled the rest of the time with a record here and there mixed in with listener reactions. This was all new to me. I was only completing my freshman year. I had no experience at all dealing with this type of story. I just did my best.

Fast forward 25 years to 1995 when my career took me to Detroit as the CNN Bureau Chief and correspondent there. We covered a large territory and Ohio was part of it. A quarter century after reading that bulletin on the campus radio station I would find myself at Kent State covering the 25th anniversary of the shootings. Most of my crew was too young to remember what happened. My cameraman, Chester Belecki was four years younger than me and remembered it well. We had to explain to our two younger team members why tears were in our eyes as we saw the monuments to the four young people cut down. Each monument was place exactly where they fell. A bullet hole remained in a metal sculpture in front of a classroom building.

Five years later we were back for the 30th anniversary. During our coverage of the 25th anniversary we got to know sociology professor Jerry Lewis, who played an important role on the day of the shootings. He created a course to inform students who came later about what happened on May 4, 1970, its context, consequences and aftermath. I caught up to Prof. Lewis and his class, and filed this report which you might find relevant even today…because we should never forget.

Hey Joe! Please Don’t Pick Our Guv as Your Running Mate

joegretch

Open Letter to Joe Biden

Dear Vice President Joe..

I know you have a lot on your mind, what with the campaign and trying to remember stuff that happened a few minutes ago, but I’d like you to do me, and the other citizens of Michigan a favor. Please don’t choose our governor to be your running mate.

Oh, it’s not what you think. She’d be great as veep or in any other position in your administration if you win, but we need her here, in the Mitten. “Big Gretch” as she’s come to be known lately is a tough, ass-kicking, no nonsense leader who isn’t letting knuckle dragging cretins carrying loaded weapons into our state capitol whining about her stay-at-home orders affect her decision making.

14dc9fbf-269d-491b-aa29-37ccc97a290d-guns_in_capitol

I feel terrible for everyone who has lost a paycheck or business because of her policies, but she’s looking at the big picture trying to take control of the spread of Covid-19 and it seems that without a cure or vaccination the nasty coronavirus is gonna do what it wants to do in a dangerous and unpredictable manner.

Our idiotic Republican-controlled legislature is doing everything it can to prevent Gov. Whitmer from taking the actions she needs to take because, one, she’s a Democrat, and two, they’re demagogues whimpering about the fact she just doesn’t need them to do her job properly and effectively. One leading Republican the other day even whined, “we don’t want to be moot.” Too late. You are. Sit down. Holster your tongue.

thatwoman

Mr. Vice President, for sure, on a debate stage that awesome woman from Michigan would kick Pence’s ass so hard his Hoosier would hurt, but right now, we need her here to fend off those who think the governor of Georgia is smart in just throwing open the doors to everything, virus be damned. We do that here and there’s a good chance all that progress made because of Guv Gretch’s tough policies will be reversed. Now…I must say…before moving to Michigan back in 1989 I lived in Georgia, Atlanta, to be exact, for eight years. Loved it there until the traffic gridlock resembled the backup in my intestines after eating too many servings of grits and biscuits.

No, Joe, go choose someone else to be your running mate. The truth is, Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is just a little busy right now and by the time this is all over and she’s successful at knocking the crap out of coronavirus here, folks will realize running for Veep may just be too low a bar for that beer drinkin’, backroom brawlin’, backbone steady woman from Michigan.How cool is our guv…the National Bobblehead Museum in Milwaukee made a Whitmer bobblehead.

bobbleheadbetter

That’s right, Joe. She’s already got a bobblehead…and that would look great on a corner of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office….when she’s sitting behind it.

Thanks very much,

Ed

The Perils of Navigating One-way Grocery Aisles

onewayaisles1Went to the supermarket this morning to buy some basic items: milk, OJ, prescription-strength Lysol.    It was one of those supersized supermarkets that also sells stuff you can’t eat but can wear. Never understood that because none of them have try-on rooms. Just grab a chicken, juice and a cute top and pray they both taste good and look tasteful.

But that’s not the point of this post. I’m getting to that, but first I have to walk in the correct direction on this one-way aisle of prose. Yes..that’s the point. The giant, supersized supermarket has one-way aisles to help prevent people from crossing paths and spreading coronavirus. Excellent idea. In theory.

My first experience today involved finding the brand of soda my wife wrote on the list. I noticed the green sticker at the head of the aisle which meant I could enter. I felt like a law-abiding cart pusher. The problem was the workers stocking the shelves were darting about in every direction crossing paths with me several times. At one point I just stopped short before the stocker and her giant cart of soda bottles broke my plane. We were both wearing face masks and gloves, but I was tempted to make a citizen’s arrest of the obvious one-way aisle scofflaw. Are stockers immune? Do they have special dispensation by order of the one-way aisle cop? Seems they’re as likely to transmit and catch coronavirus as a suburban schlep like me. Aside from trying not to die, I don’t want points on my license for shopping the wrong way down a one-way aisle. I’ll actually have to call my insurance agent to add “supermarket aisle directional indemnity” coverage.

This particular supermarket made my task more difficult by separating brands bottled by Coca-Cola and Pepsi by a full aisle. My mission was to buy two bottles each of one brand, bottled by Coke, and two bottles of Pepsi. I was already at the end of the Coke aisle and ready to grab the Pepsi, but I would have had to walk all the way around since the Pepsi aisle was one-way…the other way. Screw it. I parked my cart at the end of the aisle, which is a directional no-man’s land. There was no one in the Pepsi aisle, so I took a chance, feeling oh, so cavalier, and took the few steps the wrong way to grab the two bottles of Pepsi. I’m sure no one saw me, but I’m also sure my misdeed was captured on the security camera. I wonder what the statute of limitations is for such an infraction.

onewayaislesThe rest of the shopping trip went fine as I dutifully obeyed all green and red stickers. A red sticker meant you were at the wrong end of the aisle. DO NOT ENTER! OK, I was a good boy, but I saw two couples absolutely blow through  the red stickers in the french fry aisle much to the horror of the guy traveling in the correct direction having a hard time deciding between spring and egg rolls. As the wrong-way couples passed him, he looked like he might need a ventilator right then and there, just from anxiety.

I do like the idea of one-way aisles to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. They’re really just a minor inconvenience and I’m sure a boon to the burgeoning colored sticky floor arrow industry, which, before this all happened, was pointing towards hard times.