Tuesday October 18, 2016

hqdefaultSay what you will about pro-wrestling, but P.T. Barnum said it. “There’s a sucker born every minute.” That’s all you need to know. It’s all well and good. Gorgeous George appears on some of the earliest broadcast television sport entertainment shows ever to be televised. Live. Professional wrestling drove television technology back in those days. Once upon a time Mr. and Mrs. Pleasant Valley Sunday down the block were known as the only folks on the street to have a TV and everyone was invited at least once if not weekly to watch the programming that was available at that time. The late 1940s, early 1950s. Pro-wrestling. Flash forward to Bill Goldberg standing in the middle of a WWE wrestling ring last night on the USA Network’s Monday Night Raw program. That wasn’t Gorgeous George. It was, “Goldberrrrrrg! Goldberrrrrg! Goldberrrrrg!”

Bill Goldberg. This is a man who’s been very vocal about the ebb and flow and culture shock of how sports entertainment (or, professional wrestling) was something thrust upon him at a time when not only was he a legitimate pro football athlete trying to prolong his career but simultaneously, at a time when pro-wrestling was trying desperately, somehow, someway to legitimize itself after years of scandal – court depositions in front of grand juries over alleged misconduct and drug abuse. Bill Goldberg – for whatever image the industry tried to paint onto him (MMA fighter-esque) came to pro-wrestling when the industry had long turned a deaf ear and blind eye to steroid and recreational drug abuse in the business of pro-wrestling. He was quickly programmed with the longest winning streak to ever have been recorded in sports entertainment on television on a national level.

Bill Goldberg recently hung out with wrestling icon turned podcaster, Steve Austin, and on two, back to back podcasts was very vocal with respect to his past in pro-wrestling: being the ultimate prisoner to his manufactured, in-ring, persona with the WCW professional wrestling organization in the 1990s and again, later with the WWE brand. On the podcasts, Goldberg voiced his disappointment to Austin with how – as an outsider to the business – the backstage goings on and locker rooms he dressed in became places where he never truly felt comfortable, accepted nor completely worthy of and sometimes above the sullied stage he was helping to populate at the time. Goldberg also said he was never given fully the opportunity to cement the legacy he was fighting to create for his in-ring wrestling persona. The fun he originally enjoyed – being a professional wrestler – was not there for him any more toward the end, twelve years ago; he eventually became jaded and left the business in the early 2000s.

So it has come to this. When the lines get blurred between comedia del arte, high drama, sports entertainment and theatricality spiced with athletics the likes of which can only be seen in Olympic tumbling events, the battle of good versus evil will rage on. On television. Bill Goldberg defeated Brock Lesnar many years ago at WWE’s WrestleMania XX in what was touted as one of the worst main events ever to have been played on on a WrestleMania stage. He, now, as then, seriously has nothing to prove to Brock Lesnar, who clearly came away from being called as, “stiff,” if not stiffer than Bill Goldberg and held an Ultimate Fighting Championship (mixed martial arts) in the years since Bill Goldberg pursued other interests. Lesnar cemented for himself a persona as formidable as any “bad guy wrestler” of the last hundred years. No one would want to meet Lesnar on a school playground at recess, that’s for sure.

But for Bill Goldberg who accepted an open challenge from Lesnar’s manager, Paul Heyman to fight Brock Lesnar last night on USA Network’s WWE Monday Night Raw, recess, may have just become a level playing field. But for P.T.Barnum, one eye will always be perpetually shaped in the form of a, “wink.”



Word Count: 665. Post # 1164

Thursday October 13, 2016

twds7headerLet’s not kid ourselves here. The Walking Dead will return on October 23rd and we’re going to lose a most beloved character or two. It’s imminent. No turning back. Well, this is dramatic episodic television we’re talking here so there is turning back. In flashback sequences you can turn back, though. The cliffhanger ~will~ be resolved. But be all that as it may, amid all the goofy YouTube speculation, articles, summaries, podcasts, vidcasts, not even the goofy people hanging around near the set with high powered zoom cameras know a hundred percent for sure what’s going to take place. Theories exist. But only those truly, “inside” – the actors, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, Scott Gimple and perhaps a handful of actor’s relatives who’ve been sworn to secrecy know completely for sure who the next people to bite the proverbial zombie bullet are going to be.

We’re learning a bunch of different things about who and how many of Rick’s gang Negan is going to pummel with his trusty bat, Lucille on the October 23rd return of Season 7 of The Walking Dead by reading the articles, watching the YouTube videos, listening to the pod and vidcasts all anticipating what they believe are the hints that have been alluded to in Negan’s behavior and actions in that last episode that aired as the season six finale. But when October 23rd rolls around there will be gnashing of teeth. There will be disappointment. We will lose at least one, if not multiple members of Rick’s gang. So prepare thine selves. One of the videos I saw compared the ending of the season six episode to recently released footage of more of the same scene where Rick’s gang are all kneeling in Negan’s compound (I assume) encircled by cars with their headlights on and Negan uttering those now famous words from the children’s choosing game for taking up sides: “eenie meanie mynnie moe.”

This particular YouTube aficionado screen capped a wide angle shot of Rick’s gang and analyzed the sequence in which Negan pointed Lucille at those kneeling individually and to whom he was pointing along the whole “eenie meanie” thing and claims the answer lies in that analysis. Another YouTube aficionado used an audio editing program which can filter out noise and music and such, depending on what you choose to filter out – and says you can clearly hear the voice of one individual amid the high-pitched, tinny ringing as Negan swipes Lucille across the melon of one of the gang. He also claims the high-pitched, tinny, ringing signifies something from a previous mid-season episode that clearly identifies who the person being batted around truly will be. The truth of the matter is, this is some awesome detective work but without knowing the clues Kirkman or Gimple says exists in the Season Seven finale, no one – still – really knows for sure what’s going to happen until the program airs.

Who Negan bludgeons to death is truly anyone’s guess at this point and it will be sad, regardless of whom that individual is. You don’t watch a television show about the undead without live people dying, first, and, second, expect that when the zombie apocalypse comes walking (or trudging or ambling or shuffling) down your street that everyone will be spared. Folks are going to be eaten. Nice folks. Good folks. Hopefully a lot of the baddies will too. Usually, in the case of The Walking Dead, it’s people who you’ve grown to like. As characters. A lot. It’s inevitable. There’s not a lot this program can do at this point to not anger their viewership. Some of us are even, “ho-hum,” about it all. Some, pumped for the season seven opener. Two things are for certain. One, you’re either going to continue watching this comic-book adaptation for it’s ghoulish, gruesome depictations of death. And two. . .

. . .this ain’t going to be good, folks!


Word Count: 680. Post # 1163.

Friday September 23, 2016

Some of the things I was saying to the world eleven years ago in March of 2005 when I started this blog and was 43 years old are not the same things I am saying to the world – now – today, at 54. Nor are they the same things I would have been saying to the world at 32. Or 21. (If we’re using 11 years as an epoch of time measurement here.) This material today is not the same thing I will be saying to the world at 65. The fact of the matter is, today I am indeed 54 years old and am blessed to have found a place like this blog to have said anything at all to the world in the first place.

As I was then and am now – I’m happy just to be expressing thought and ideas to the world: mundane trivialities. Sharing opinion. Dissecting concepts. Tying it up in a neat little bow. Sometimes funny. Sometimes howling at the moon. Sometimes serious. Sometimes melancholy. Speaking of bows, can I ask you something? Who ties anything up in a bow anymore and when did doing so drop out of favor? Also, why have they been pre-tied with “stick ‘em” on the bottoms that you buy in bags in the wrapping paper aisle at the craft store for about forty or fifty years? Didn’t every family once have at least one person who could tie a decent bow?

“Stick your finger here.”

And they’d tie a bow right on top of a gift that was already wrapped while you watched them do it? It was always a thing to behold. Let’s not even talk about how the expression, “tying it up in a neat little bow,” is actually an excuse. That’s right. An excuse. What’s the matter? Can’t get to the point easily, quickly or even right away? Talking around and around making smaller points? So that when a brain comes back around and listeners (or readers in this case) are half asleep waiting, it’s actually a gift. A relief. Something that needs to be tied up and dressed up by saying, “In conclusion, tied up with nice little bow, here’s my point, finally.” Get to the point, would you for crying out loud! I think I’ve heard that once or twice in my life.

But when you’re saying things to the world at large, perhaps, you want that bow front and center for fear of some “karmic” twist of fate biting you in your proverbial keyster. Perhaps when you’re trying to be part of the world and IN the world if one let’s a smile be their umbrella then a smile one creates in others is, “the bow?” I have no idea! I just know that I apparently have always had something to say to the world. Topic. No topic. If I go too long without dumping some text into this blog, I miss it. Even eleven years into it. My friend Ray (Ya doesn’t hasta call me, “Johnson!”) says I have a book in here somewhere. Who’s got time to sift through eleven years worth of this stuff? I’m saying all this talk about thinking and expressing and sifting makes me hungry just thinking about it.

That’s what I’d say to the world – like so many in third world impoverished countries: “I’m hungry.” No insult intended. I know I’m blessed. I know I have it much easier than those living in third world countries. I know their plight is real. My plight is only in my mind. Intellectual hunger versus real hunger. When I was an undergrad amassing credits toward my diploma, intellectual hunger was par for the course. I’m not sure that kind of hunger still exists in the world. I don’t often see it in the world I inhabit now. In order to partake from something “said” to the world, some sculptor needs to sculpt, a writer needs to write, a songwriter and lyricist needs to make a song or an artist needs to create that food source first. To feed that hunger.

Maybe we should be trying to feed legitimate hunger in the world first, like what happened in the 1980s when those hopeful idealists created USA for Africa and Live Aid. Those movements said some things to the world. Didn’t they?

Just sayin’.



Word Count: 747. Post #1162

Saturday September 3, 2016

“I got my ticket for the long way ‘round. Two bottle of whiskey for the way. And I sure would like some sweet company; I’m leaving tomorrow what do you say? When I’m gone, when I’m gone, you’re going to miss me when I’m gone. You’re gonna’ miss me by my hair, you’re going to miss me everywhere, oh, you’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”

— Cups,
Pitch Perfect, movie

My sister, Annamaria has been out of town since Thursday. Vacation. And it’s not so much that I can’t live on my own, now that she’s my roommate. It’s not so much the fact I moved in five and a half weeks ago. I ~CAN~ do things for myself. It’s not so much that her doggies have been a bit unruly while she’s on vacation. I sort of got used to our nutty schedules in the time I have been here and had gotten used to her again in my life. Just like I did when she lived at home before she married her husband, John, and was nineteen or so when she began her life with him. That was some thirty-six years ago. Sure I’ve seen her since then. Yes, we’ve spent time during both of her pregnancies and births, for holidays, birthdays and just visits with her family for the fun of it. Weekends up north at our summer home and when my folks retired there back in 1997 or 1998 or so. I’ve seen my sister. But never as much or little as I have in the last 6 weeks since I moved in.

During that time we’ve left these notes for each other on her kitchen table. They have been cute and fun and I have even written about them in my last entry. “Sissy,” took me in and suggested this whole magilla after my brother-in-law, her husband passed but it took me two and a half years to decide to move in with her and now here I am. Uncle to two great dogs and I have a sister again.

I should be happy, right?

She’s enjoying a much needed vacation. She is with the families of her former sister’s-in-law in Indiana and all is right with the world, correct? No, not really. But it’s cool. Getting to know someone again after all that time will take time. We both have quirks. And her transition from wedded wife and mother to being single again is just one of those things life throws at you. A fly in the ointment. Probably having her little brother again in her life was just that, too and she basically said, “Dang! Five weeks of this is just simply too much! I need a vacation!” I’ll never truly know because she never said that in one of those heavy sigh moments in front of me. Actually in the six weeks I’ve been here there have been no, “heavy sigh” moments from her. We’re Hungarians, ethnically. There’s always a, “heavy sigh” moment isn’t there with Hungarians? Or something simply isn’t right. Ethnically, Hungarians are like the princess and the pea. As Rosanne Rosannadanna once said, “It’s always something!”

And Sissy’s vacation is something I am sure she will come back home from with many stories of how lovely Indiana is this time of year and how wonderful her former sister-in-law’s families were to her but, too, when she gets home there will be major hurrahs and huzzahs from her two poochies, Hershey and Chubby. The lethargy has been so great around the house since Thursday when Sissy left that I actually put my sister on speaker phone so her doggies would know that she is still alive and perhaps they might recognize her voice and be soothed and calmed in the notion that they are hearing, “Mommy’s voice.” Who does that? What kind of “dog sitter” would put a master’s (or mistress’s) voice on speaker phone for dogs they’re watching? A desperate one, that’s who! (Typical guy, right?) These poochies, you see, have been here for all of the joy and sorrow of life here for so long that the bonding that took place between they and my brother-in-law and my sister is sort of sacrosanct, if that makes any sense. I’m pretty much the outsider here. One can’t just come into a scenario like this and just “deem” one’s self, “alpha.” Can one?

I think I might have to consult that, “Dog Whisperer dude,” Cesar Milan. Because I need some answers here how to pep these boys up.

Or buy some more dog treats?

Or just wait patiently – like they are – for my sister to come home from vacation.

One of those, anyway.



Word Count: 750. Post# 1161


Sunday August 21, 2016

Love, Me

Since I have moved out of Chicago for the first time in my life and into my sister’s home located in a suburb of Rockford, life’s been different. You can see more of the sky out here because buildings are being buildings and blocking out the skyline in the city. Not here. I love this aspect of it. Red lights seem longer out here and reaction times are slower. Makes sense. The ‘burbs are why people move out of the city, aren’t they? And it’s for that reason and so many others I have witnessed and found in the short month I have been here that people do this: move to the suburbs. Sissy and I – in this passed month – quickly realized our schedules were not conducive to what we had imagined: getting to know each other all over again in later adult life. So one of the ways we have communicated is by leaving leftovers for each other in the refrigerator or on the table. Sometimes “take out, fast food” that either her or I nibbled and couldn’t finish, sometimes dishes we created for dinner. We have left them there for whatever reasons. You can get to know a person by the sorts of food they buy for themselves at a drive-thrus and leave in the fridge for later.

One day, Sissy left me a whole package of Reese’s peanut butter cups on the kitchen table and texted me from work or told me in person – I can’t remember which: “Those are for you.” I was astounded and amazed that someone could think of someone else in that awesome, selfless sort of way. A small package of love. So I quickly decided in the short time I have been living there with her that I would – if nothing else – at least try to replace, move or otherwise tidy things that might need it just so when she came home she would see something different than when she had left. One of the other ways we communicate is by leaving each other notes on this notepad on her kitchen table because as I am getting into bed she is waking up to go in super early to her job.

Here are some examples of the things we’ve left for each other on that community notepad in the short month we have been roommates. Mind you, we have not lived together since 1979 so bear that in mind when you’re reading these.

Dear Mikey,
What the hell were you thinking that time at the Rush concert? WTF? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
IKR? I figured if you guys wanted a ride home the only way I could protect Dad’s car was to cover the front and back seats in industrial plastic. It made things sweaty but neither one of us got into trouble. Love, Me.

On another day:

Dear Mikey,
We can talk about dinner when I get home. Tonight and tomorrow are my days off. Love, Me (smiley face)

Dear Sissy,
As Dad used to say, “I’m happy with a boiled potato and a glass of milk.” Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Mom called and said she needs a gallon of milk. (I now live closer to my mother and the rest of my family) Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
How about we buy her a cow? I’ll take care of it. I know a guy. Love, Me. (smiley face)

Dear Mikey,
You have to find that cable box from your old apartment and take it into the cable place. They called. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
How about we go back to what Mel Brooks called “television” in caveman times and just cut a big hole in the side of your house and whatever walks in front of the hole, we watch. We’ll show those cable Nazis! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
I love Animal Planet too much. Find the box. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I still have 1,239 boxes to go through. And I’ve been their customer since 1985, through three names changes and 5 or 6 other cable box changes. They better cut me some slack. I’m only one person. Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
I’ll help you find it. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I can’t even find my clean underwear and it’s been a month already. Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
What have you been wearing? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I’ve been going, “commando.” Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Ewwwwwww, TMI! Love, Me.

Did you ever notice how blue your skies are out here? Love, Me.

Dear Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Duh! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Thank you for washing the dishes. There’s some leftover lasagna in the fridge from Cyndi’s last night. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
I love a red sauce as much as the next person but if it’s all the same to you, we have bologna that’s coming close to it’s expiration date and I’mma eat that, k? Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
Thanks for doing that. I’ll get you something special at the market today. I was thinking, that girl at the checkout from aisle 4 that you liked so much when we went last week. Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
Remind me to bring my cellphone. I’ll take a selfie of us on our first date for you and send it to you via Skype or text or Facebook Messenger or something. It’s the least I can do for such a wonderful thing you did. Imagine that? Being fixed up with the single mother of 4 who’s fingernails were bitten off to the nubs, a tooth missing in the front and hair three shades of Miss Clairol #22, #39 and # 57. I’m going to love the suburbs! Love, Me.

Dear Mikey,
HA! HA! HA! She reminded me of that girl you dated in the eighties that Mom said never bring inside the house again. Only an older version of. . . . . . what was her name? Love, Me.

Dear Sissy,
HA! HA! HA! Phyllis. (And she only had two kids) Love, Me.

Anyways, there you have it. A representation of my first month living in the Suburbs. It can only get better from here. I hope!

Sissy, I love, you,
Love, Me.



Word Count:1060 Post # 1160

Monday August 1, 2016

One of the things you find out early on when writing a blog is that this is a lonely business. You can’t call this a part of your,”social network,” because it’s not. It’s long form. And anyone switched into technologies knows the, “long form,” is something that is looked upon – by the average everyday think pad, smart phone, Internet user as a thing they simply do not have time to invest in. And yet, it’s all pervasive, this, “social networking, smart phoning and think padding.” It, in a relatively short amount of time, has captured practically every spare moment belonging to thinking, feeling, breathing human beings taking up the sixth sevenths of this planet’s population. (The estimated amount of people who own smart phones on planet Earth: six of of every seven people.)

That’s the reason bloggers, like myself, are lonely people. I, when I’m thoughtful enough, weigh. I weigh. I don’t react in the first fourteen seconds of any catastrophe (although my commodity market training makes me do as such anyways) that hits CNN or breaks in on television programming or hits my Twitterverse. I am speaking for myself only now. And anyway, that’s not what this blog has ever been about. When Al Gore (and I invented the Internet) bragged about “political bloggers” being allowed in certain sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives, I thought to myself, “Why – unless a paid journalist – would anyone do that?” Take a laptop into a Congressional hearing, meeting, etc., and write about the proceedings they witnessed? And then it occurred to me. Some people do it as a hobby.

Most of us, however, cannot afford to sit in Congress all day and we take up other hobbies like gardening and woodworking and in my case: blogging. Not political blogging. Just blogging in general. God bless the person that can trundle around Washington and do that kind of thing. I simply cannot. I am mostly a blogging hobbyist. A modern day philosopher. This is my hobby. It’s not political. It’s not pop culture. It’s not matchbook psychology. It’s not radio, television and film. It’s not even a social media critique. But it has elements of each. Time and time again, I say this blog, is, “me.” There is no clearer way to put that. It’s the love of the,”art of expression.” Weighing. Thinking. Feeling. Humor. “My” personal freedom of speech. Haters beware because haters will hate as the Taylor Swift song tells us. I don’t write about you in here. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Perhaps if I did, blogging wouldn’t be such a lonely business.

I have been around the Internet long enough to know that negativity is not a thing I want to spend my time spewing.

Wonderment. With the world around me and the expression of that wonderment is what I want this to be.

And if at 54, I never have all trappings of conventional, societal affiliations? Then this blog is my, “child.” My,”baby.” My production. And if all that’s the case, then this blog not only becomes my legacy but the drop down menu and the eleven years of writing a consistently inconsistent blog it collectively becomes my collective autobiography. Why would I not want to treat this material, this space, with the utmost respect? This is hallowed ground, man! The place where I can write, “when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds His hands have made” and have it mean precisely that. Or type out my infamous parrot joke I stole from Bob A. from Pillsbury at the grain exchange and made my own to the point people quite literally would take me to other desks on the trading floor and say,”Mike tells this insane joke. You gotta hear it. Tell him, Mike.” Why can I not post a blog about a duck on the Fox River? Or a blue heron? Or just write about my day? Because the jealous haters don’t want me to.

You think I’m going to stop now? After eleven years of this? How does this guy write six hundred fifty to a thousand words more than just a few times a month for eleven years? Because it’s my hobby, my offspring and my life. It’ll be here for as long as WordPress allows. Come back when you get over yourself. I’ll still be doing this and I’ll still be here.

Opionated, crusty, curmugeonly.

Why stop now?



Post #1159 Word Count: 771

Sunday July 17, 2016


In the eleven years this blog has existed, it’s been quite a few things to me. It has been my catharsis and my media review depository. It has showcased homages to the famous and infamous and this blog has also contained chapters from my parent’s flight from tyranny. Today it’s my journal and diary. I am going to become a roommate for the first time in my life in one short week and I am choosing it over living alone.

Eight years ago during the economic crisis and the massive layoffs that happened in this country and all over the world, I had no choice in the comfort of, “staying” somewhere. Being with the same people for twenty-one years – a total of twenty-four – between two different companies (using the same trading facility, same building, similar offices) day in and day out was bittersweet for me especially when the human resources person from my company’s home office and my boss sat me down and said to me, “Well, Mike, we sort of seen this coming in this industry.” The layoff.

Not seeing the same people anymore. Not riding the same commute. My desk with it’s gray, upholstered, mega-form enclosure, about chest high, with family photos, newspaper cartoons and inspirational quotes pinned to it. The conversations in person and on the phone. The paperwork. The laughs. The intense highs and debilitating lows of commodity futures trading personality clashes and how I got through that mess. The longer I dwelled on the, “bittersweet,” the more I forgot I was being sent away. Less of that rejection, the confusion and anger remains now eight years removed from the layoff and the bittersweet resurfaces more and more, I’m finding.

This week, however, I realize my choice is my own. A huge change is happening this week and it’s all my decision. No one’s making it for me. I decided on this major life change. Me and me alone. Nineteen years living alone. Nineteen years since I moved out of my family home which I helped a real estate agent show while my parents built their retirement home up north. The, “roommate” opportunity presented itself to save a shekel here or there, to better myself in that process, to start fresh again and to make a change. I’m choosing. Not the other way around.

Perhaps I not only should be thanking my roommate – whom I am grateful to have – but, too, The Great Electron in the Sky not only for this choice but for my freedom to choose it. Hell, the freedom to, “choose” is a really big deal, if this is boiled down, actually. Some people can’t choose much in their lives and here I am at 54, doing things teenagers do: moving in with a roommate. I am not as resilient as a teenager. Perhaps not as open to new experiences, so that this transition in its immense blessing does carry with it elements of, “curse,” too.

For example – and this is an example a friend used to share – the difference between married and single people, or roommates and people that live alone. Do what you want. When you want. In whatever stage of clothing you want. Leave things out of place. Put off ‘til tomorrow something that interferes with your today. This, all, versus cooking together, perhaps, cleaning together, washing clothes together and doing dishes together. Asking permission for having guests come over. Knowing which foods in the refrigerator belongs to whom. Division of chores and finances. Twice the garbage to take out. And the all-important, “Hey as long as you’re up. . .”, sorts of favors. Plusses and minuses.

My one true hope in all this is that it turns out for the best, for the good of me and my roommate. Let’s face it, no one at this late stage in the game – gets into roommate situations without a measure of trepidation as well as, “hope.” It’s a pretty daunting thing to know bills are due, doggies need to be walked, we’re out of milk or bread or eggs, or what have you, your cleanliness may be scrutinized or the way you suck spinach out from between your teeth. Perhaps the way you,”chew,” and on and on. How about just as many expenses as when you lived alone and thinking you can afford more now that you have someone to, proverbially, “lean on.” This transition will definitely be a, “slippery slope,” for myself and my roommate, too. I am not the easiest guy to get along with.

Sissy, I’m coming in a week. I hope we’re both ready for this. I love you and thank you.

Your little brother,



Post: 1158. Word Count: 794.