Today I’m Thankful For…

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I would like to touch on a few of the things I am truly thankful for on this blessed day.

I. My Health. At this time one year ago, I truly had one foot in the grave. Between heart problems, stomach ulcers, migraine headaches and the abundance of other problems that were eating me alive due to stress, I couldn’t believe I was going to live to see the end of 2017. My son was the only thing keeping me going, the only thing in my life that really mattered to me at all. A year later I am truly on the road to recovery. I have a long way to go, but the majority of my problems have been overcome, once the issues that were causing me so much stress were eliminated. While I still deal daily with stress, as everyone does, my stress level now has lowered so much it’s barely a blip on the stress radar.

II. My Friends And Family. I often say I owe my friends a debt of gratitude I can never repay, and that is so true. So many that I was not “allowed” to remain in contact with over the years that I have been able to reconcile with, you helped to fill the hole in my soul this year. I cannot stress enough how much all of you truly mean to me.

III. Technology. This has been the greatest tech year of my life. I upgraded my cell phone, I got a new 4K Smart TV, upgraded the RAM in my PC, bought two new stereo systems, two Amazon Fire Sticks and upgraded my video game collection. I often sit an reminisce about my younger days, without thinking about the fact that I have everything I had in my younger days, and I have it at my fingertips anytime I want it. As a young lad I loved watching The Dukes Of Hazzard but I could only watch it on Friday night’s, when it was on the air. Now I can put in a DVD or turn on Amazon Prime video and watch it anytime I want to. And that goes for anything else I want to watch. What a time to be alive.

IV. My Mind. No one has ever accused me of not being intelligent, in spite of the large number of stupid decisions I have made in my life. One of those decisions was to allow my brain to stagnate for the past 10 or 12 years. Not only was I not learning, I was dumbing myself down by being around too many people who lacked not only a higher level of intelligence but, in some cases, even basic intelligence. That’s a bad place for an intellectual mind. Now I’m able to learn again and I’m taking full advantage of it. Physics. Engineering. Mathematics. History. Social Sciences. Chemistry. Paleontology.

V. My Life. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything or anyone. If I could just rewrite my life from 2006 to 2017 (with the exception of every second spent with my son) and make a few more intelligent decisions in my teenage years and I would call my life “perfect.” While I can’t change the past, the future is mine for the taking and brother, I’m taking. I’m living for me, doing what I want, when I want and how I want. Thankfully.

Thank you for reading, God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

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This Has Been A Great Year

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Over the past few weeks I have read a lot of posts online from people complaining about what an awful year 2018 has been. That lead me to write this, because I can honestly say this has been the best year I have had since 2010 and one of the top three years I have had in the past 15 years.

I’m not saying 2018 has been perfect, by any stretch. January was somewhat disastrous for me but it was also a cleansing moment. I lost my son for the time being but I also eliminated a lot of negatives from my life. I started being able to sleep again, and I was excited for baseball even though I knew the Chicago White Sox were looking at a long season of losing. By the time Spring Training rolled around I was starting to really feel like my life was on the upswing. And after the previous seven years, I was definitely ready for it.

For the first time in my life, I managed to watch every Chicago White Sox game this year. All 162 regular season games and every Spring Training game that was telecast. My only regret is not playing more MLB The Show on the PS4, but hopefully 2019 will be the year I can remedy that.

I was able to reunite with a large number of friends I had not been allowed to talk to in a number of years and met a ton of new friends. I am thankful for all of them. They helped make this year extra special for me.

There were setbacks, including my severely sprained ankle, the fact that I didn’t get into better shape but I am still down 20 pounds from where I was in January. I met a few people I would have been better off not knowing but I can’t complain about those little life lessons we all need to be taught. And it had been a long time since I had an extended run as a single man. The world has changed a lot in the past seven or eight years.

I am ready to take the next step in my life. I am going to begin taking online classes in physics, engineering and mathematics, which I wish I had done 20 years ago but I spent too many years not using the intellectual gifts God had bestowed upon me. Instead of learning and doing the best for myself, I flat-lined and spent my time with people who were not only not on my level intellectually but I lowered myself to that level as well.

I had planned to do my Alfred Hitchcock reviewing project this year but I’m going to put that off to next winter, I want to focus on my online classes and finally watching the complete original Star Trek series this winter. I started on it last year and watched the entire first season and massively enjoyed it, and I still have two seasons to go, as well as the original motion pictures and the animated series as well. I can’t wait.

Most importantly, it’s time to take this broken-down, past-it’s-prime body and turn it into the body I had when I was 22 years old. And there is no reason I can’t, the only thing standing in my way right now is me.

One of my few regrets in 2018 was not getting back into my cigar hobby early enough, I pissed away months that I could have spent enjoying cigars before I bought a new humidor and restocked it. But, now they have months to season and should be ready to smoke next spring. I can’t wait.

As good as 2018 was, and it was great, I think 2019 could be the best I’ve ever had. While my Amazon store is doing the best business it’s ever done in the eight years I have had it, I want to expand it and make it even better. I would also like to get a new job in addition to my Amazon store. I would love to have as much to do as possible to keep me busy in 2019.

I also want to start attending Minor League baseball games again in 2019. That has been one of the highlights of my past summers and it’s time to do it again. I needed the year away to kind of cleanse the memories of the past but now that the slate is clean, I will enjoy getting back into it again.

Life is what you make it. I did a damn good job making 2018 one of the best years I have had in a decade and a half. Here’s to a better 2019.

Random Thoughts…

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Random Thoughts

  • I am in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I spend every day in a mild state of depression as I look at myself and wonder what I did with the past 41 years. With the exception of baseball, I have basically failed to pursue any of my intellectual passions. My love for history (both world and American) are well known, as are my love of science (especially physics and paleontology) and politics and mathematics. Now, suddenly, my mind has become a sponge and my thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. I study all I can, all the time. I even listen to YouTube programs about physics before I go to sleep. Why didn’t I have this desire 25 years ago?

  • I am finally learning that it doesn’t pay to carry a grudge, no matter what has been done to you. Not only because I saw what happens to other people who have been wronged as they make complete asses of themselves on social media and that is the only recourse they are getting, but because I know now that carrying a grudge is a one-sided situation, because the person you carry a grudge against may not care at all. Especially when the person in question is a psychopath.

  • In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to start watching every existing Alfred Hitchcock-directed film (I have all of them in my DVD collection) and I have yet to start on that due to my horrible time-management abilities and lack of focus. So I am trying very hard to get that started this week.

  • I also need to take better care of myself physically. Between 2010 and 2017 I fell apart both mentally and physically and now that I am completely on the other side of that mentally, and have wiped my ass of it permanently, it’s time to fully put my body back together. I know I’ll never be as fit as I was at 22, but that’s my goal. I can’t believe I even made it to 41 years of age, to be honest. From the time I was 15 I always said I would never make it to 40. I never knew at 40 ½ I would be reborn and have to basically start over, but here I am, ready to go.

  • Finally, I am thinking about getting a new job. I have been self-employed for the past 11 months and while I enjoy it and I am financially secure, I am also bored out of my mind and couldn’t imagine spending another 20 or 30 or 50 years like this. Or, maybe I’ll just take this opportunity to start taking some classes in some of my preferred subjects that were neglected for so many years.

Top 5: My Favorite Everything… Revised

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This entry is a revised version of a previous entry, from January 2018. This was just for fun, to see how many things had changed in the ten months since the original entry. New additions to the list will be marked with a (*). Enjoy.

FAVORITE MOVIES
Back To The Future
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Return Of The Jedi *
First Blood
The Lady Vanishes *

FAVORITE BOOKS
The Art Of The Deal
The Catcher In The Rye
The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin *
Moneyball
Think Big And Kick Ass *

FAVORITE COLORS
Black
Blue
Silver
White
Gray

FAVORITE ACTORS
John Wayne
Brad Pitt
Harrison Ford
Joseph Cotten
Gene Wilder

FAVORITE ACTRESSES
Sharon Stone
Uma Thurman
Julie Newmar
Kim Novak
Grace Kelly

FAVORITE SUPERHEROES
Batman
Superman
Captain America
Spider-Man
Wonder Woman

FAVORITE VILLAINS
The Joker
The Red Skull
Lex Luthor
The Penguin
Mandarin

FAVORITE FRUIT
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Grape
Watermelon

FAVORITE VEGETABLE
Corn
Potatoes
Green Peppers
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVORS
Rocky Road
Chocolate
Neapolitan
French Vanilla
Coffee

FAVORITE MOVIE CHARACTERS
John Rambo (First Blood)
Sam McCord (North To Alaska)
Marty McFly (Back To The Future)
Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct…  Hey, that’s what got me through puberty)
Han Solo (Star Wars series) *

FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS
Jack Tripper (Three’s Company)
Perry Mason
The Lone Ranger *
Paladin (Have Gun – Will Travel)
SpongeBob SquarePants *

FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Mystery Science Theater 3000 *
Alfred Hitchcock Presents *
Three’s Company
The Lone Ranger
Perry Mason

FAVORITE CANDY
M&Ms
Whatchamacallit
Snickers
Rolo
Hershey With Almonds

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Longhorn Steakhouse
Denny’s
Chili’s
McDonald’s
Burger King *

FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS
AC/DC
Megadeth
Hank Williams, Sr.
The Beatles
Judas Priest *

FAVORITE WEBSITES
Facebook
iFunny
YouTube
Wikipedia
Amazon *

FAVORITE SONGS
“Sin City” by AC/DC *
“I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles *
“Angry Again” by Megadeth
“How About That” by Bad Company *
“Hysteria” by Def Leppard *

FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES
MLB The Show
Batman Arkham series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES trilogy *
Super Mario Kart *
Grand Theft Auto III *

FAVORITE BOARD GAMES
Monopoly
Life
Chess
Scrabble
Yahtzee (which doesn’t technically have a “board” but it makes the list anyway)

FAVORITE SPORTS
Major League Baseball
Minor League Baseball
NCAA Baseball

FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYERS (ALL-TIME)
Frank Thomas
Bo Jackson
Jose Abreu
Pete Rose *
Mickey Mantle *

FAVORITE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
2010
1995
1987
2018 *
1998

FAVORITE SUBJECTS FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND/OR COLLEGE
History (high school)
Journalism (high school)
Criminal Law (college)
Business Law (college)
American Civics (high school)

FAVORITE CITIES
Chicago
Los Angeles
Phoenix
Las Vegas
Pittsburgh

FAVORITE BEVERAGES
Coca-Cola
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Folgers Black Silk coffee
Ocean Spray Cran-Grape Juice

FAVORITE CEREAL
Apple Jacks
Cap’n Crunch
Frosted Flakes *
Cocoa Pebbles
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats *

FAVORITE CARTOONS
Looney Tunes
South Park
Beavis and Butt-Head
SpongeBob SquarePants *
Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

Peace.

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” – Alfred Hitchcock

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Those that have known me for any appreciable length of time know that I have been a fan of the works of Alfred Hitchcock for nearly 30 years. I was first introduced to him via Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes in the fall of 1991, when my mom invited me to watch an episode and I was instantly hooked. In the years since, I have acquired nearly never episode of that program plus all of his surviving feature films.

I actually began taping Alfred Hitchcock Presents the year I discovered it, on VHS tapes, as they aired on Nick At Nite. In 1998, I re-recorded every episode that was shown on TV Land. Finally, when the program was released on DVD, I was quick to purchase every season that’s been released. I am still waiting for the release of the final season. I’m not sure why every other season was rushed to release except that one.

As for his feature films, AMC ran a marathon in 1999, the 100th anniversary of Hitchcock’s birth, and I filled as many VHS tapes as I could with those films. The ones that weren’t shown, I would try to find at my local movie and music stores.

Then, in 2010, I purchased three studio-release boxed sets, as well as a $5 Walmart boxed set that featured mostly silent films from the 1920s. The few films that were not included in any of these sets, I purchased on individual DVDs.

I have 54 feature films and 229 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in my collection. I plan to watch ALL of them over the next five months or so. While I have, more than likely, watched every episode of the TV program over the years, there are still 10 or 12 feature films I have not seen, even though they have been in my collection for a number of years. This has been a dream of mine for some time. Now it will happen.

In addition to watching, I also am planning to rate each film and TV episode through my IMDb account. I have done this previously with the 1950s TV series State Trooper and with the first two seasons of the original Star Trek series. I think it will be fun to look back on that as the years go by and especially when I watch a film over again.

This little project has literally been something I have been desirous of doing since at least 2005. I knew it would be a winter project, since my summer nights are taken by Chicago White Sox baseball games. I also knew it needed to be done at a time when I would have absolutely no outside distractions on a nightly basis.

My current thought process says I would like to watch three films per week, which will take 18 weeks if all goes as planned. I would also like to watch roughly 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents per week, which would take roughly five months, and I would finish up right in time for MLB Spring Training in 2019. I do worry about burnout, though a few years ago I watched every episode of The Lone Ranger during the winter months, 221 complete, and never suffered burnout. And could have watched more.

I have printed out the title of all 54 feature films and will be cutting them out and putting them in an old cigar box and will draw a film out and watch, that way I’m leaving which films I’ll be watching completely to chance. I don’t want to just jump in watching my favorites (i.e. The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca and Psycho) all at once.

Oddly enough, the oldest surviving Hitchcock film, titled The Pleasure Garden, is one of the few I have not seen before. It was not included in any of the boxed sets. Released in 1925, I was able to secure a DVD copy from Amazon at a reasonable price. Apparently, it is now out of print because it is no longer available on Amazon or eBay.

I am looking forward to this project. It is many years in the making.

Below is my collection.

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“The List, Version 2.0”

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Back in 2010, I crafted what became known as “The List.” It was a simple collection of ten or so rules I put in place in case I would ever consider getting into a relationship. The rules seemed common-sense to me (“must have a car” and “must have a job”) but some met with quite a bit of negative feedback (“must not have kids”). At that time, I made no attempt to explain my rules, unless I was pressed into doing so.


Even though I have removed myself completely from the dating scene until at least August of 2019, I am going to create a new “List.” I’m sure it will be very similar to the previous version, which has been lost over time, but I feel like now is a good time to do it, since I am clear-headed and have 11 months to make it into “law.”

So, I present to you, The List, Version 2.0:


RULE 1 – MUST BE SINGLE

This may seem a little over-obvious until you understand what I have dealt with. I’ll give a perfect example. In 2006, I met a girl I took a liking to, she was cute, intelligent and had a great sense of humor. The first time we went out, she told me she was divorced and gave me a little insight into her life. A week later, she told me she needed to be “honest” with me and announced that she was separated, not divorced. A short time later, she told me she was not exactly separated, they were still living together to “share expenses.” I cut my losses at that point and found out a few weeks later they were expecting their second child. Fortunately, I had never laid a hand on this girl.


RULE 2 – MUST HAVE A JOB


Just suffice to say I have had enough experience dealing with good-for-nothing, worthless, jobless, hopeless, penniless pieces of garbage. Period. If you can’t support yourself, you need to find a way to start doing so, not expect some guy to do it. Especially if you’re toting around numerous children. That’s trashy. No decent man is going to walk into that kind of a situation. At least not knowingly.

RULE 3 – MUST HAVE A CAR

See rule 2. I see relationships as a 50/50 proposition. If you can’t come and see me as often as I come and see you, it’s suddenly a 75/25 proposition. And that doesn’t work for me. I also have no desire to run a taxi service. If I did, I’d be an Uber driver.

RULE 4 – NO CRAZY EX’S

If your ex is going to show up at the house with a gun, or follow me or threaten me, he’s just begging to get his ass kicked and I have no desire to be staring at assault charges. I am not taking hold until your ex has let go… and you have let go of your ex. In 2006 I met a beautiful woman who worked at a local hospital.  One day, her ex-husband showed up at the hospital and proceeded to bust the windows out of her car.  That’s not going to work for me.  My ex’s are left in the past, where they belong. I do my best to completely forget I ever dealt with any of them. If you’re still hung up on yours, then you need to get over it, or you guys need to work things out and get back together. Just keep me out of it.

RULE 5 – NO MULTIPLE BABY DADDY’S

If you’re in your 30’s and have more than two kids with more than two guys, you are not relationship material, you are community property. No man wants to introduce a woman like that to his friends. Especially if her reputation proceeds her. No man wants to get laughed at because his woman has been everybody’s woman. I am not making any open-ended judgments here, just keep that away from me.  I am not going to date a woman I am ashamed of being with.  That’s absolutely ludicrous.

RULE 6 – MUST BE LOCAL

I’m not doing long distance. Period. It’s not even up for debate. If you don’t live within a reasonable distance, don’t even flirt with me. If it takes an hour or more to get to your house, I see no reason to even give that a consideration. I’m too needy. If I am in a relationship, I expect to actually SEE my woman. Regularly. Not once a month or even once a week. You can’t get to know someone well enough barely seeing them to know if the relationship can go forward. Long distance does NOT work.

RULE 7 – MUST PASS MY BACKGROUND CHECK

If there is a chance we are going to start seeing each other, I’m going to do some investigating. No one wants to go into a situation completely blind, and I always like to see what someone’s reputation is like on the street. Admittedly, I have found out that people don’t always like to tell the truth until it’s too late, but I’m still going to see what your reputation is like. No one wants to date the Whore Of Babylon.

RULE 8 – MUST BE CLEAN

This covers a multitude of areas. No STD’s. No arrest record. No drug use. Must bathe. Must keep your house clean. I’ve had enough dealings with trash to last me a lifetime and I don’t want to deal with it any longer. And I never will again. So if you can’t keep yourself and your home clean, and you can’t stay out of jail or off drugs, piss off. I’m too many levels above you and it’s not going to work out. Find someone who is more on your level. The jails are full of meth-heads you should hit it off with.

RULE 9 – YOU MUST ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM

I’m 41 years old and I’m not changing for anyone. I love watching baseball and smoking cigars and time spent by myself. I like to sleep in my own bed, alone or otherwise. I don’t use drugs and I don’t waste my life in bars. I’m a bit of a “geek” and proud of it. I’m not going to alter my life for a woman. I’d rather be alone and do what I enjoy than be with someone who can’t accept me for who I am. Non-negotiable.

In closing, if you are able to jump through all nine of those hoops and we have a mutual attraction and compatibility and you’re single in August 2019, then we’ve got a good foundation for a potential relationship. If you come up short in any way, then I wish you good luck in your future endeavors and hope you find someone more compatible with you, because I’m not. And at my age, I see no reason to settle for less than I deserve. I’ve spent far too much of my life settling when it comes to relationships.


Thank you for reading. God bless, and have a great day.

“Do I look pretty?” … and other stupid questions women ask, and shouldn’t…

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I am going to rant about something that has been grinding on me for well over a decade.

Are you required to compliment your significant other, regardless of the truth? This goes back to the old “do these jeans make me look fat?” joke of years’ past. But I want to dig a little deeper than that. I want to look at this situation deeply, from the inside.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am straight-up honest. If I find a woman to be attractive, I tell her. Not in a condescending way, but truthfully. If I don’t find a woman to be attractive, I don’t tell her. There’s no sense in lying to someone about something like that. Especially since beauty is only skin-deep. I think it’s best to just be honest.

From 2006 to 2009, I would argue with a significant other on a regular basis about the fact that she had to, as she said “beg for compliments.” I think that speaks for itself.

The truth of the matter is, I did not find this woman attractive and felt no need to lie to her face in order to make her feel like I did, even when both of us would have known I was not being honest. She was 305 pounds when we met and could barely fit through the door.  I felt it best to keep my mouth shut. My options were to lie, or to change the subject, or to try to angle my way out of it, i.e. “you have a great sense of humor” which would have been so transparent any idiot could have figured it out.

So, what is proper protocol here? Do you just go ahead and say “you look absolutely marvelous?” when you are about to throw up in your mouth a little bit? Do you tell the truth and say “you know, I have never really found you to be all that attractive and honestly, I have seen elephants that were smaller than you.” Or do you respond with “I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that may answer may tend to make you want to split my skull open with an ax?” Is there really a correct answer here at all?

Personally, I kept my mouth shut. All that did was lead to arguments, which would probably be the universal response from women, ugly or not. So if a woman knows a man is not attracted to her, what is the point in even asking him to give an opinion?

Earlier this summer, I went out with a woman who I was absolutely captivated by. And I was very vocal about how beautiful I thought she was. If I say it of my own volition, is that more meaningful than if I have to be coerced into saying it when I don’t mean it?

I think the bigger question might be why I date women I am so attracted to but only get into relationships with women that make my colon clench and make me nauseated.

Maybe there is no “correct” answer to a conundrum like this… And I can live with that…