ebay – a cautionary tale…


You can’t always get what you want…

No, you can’t always get what you want…                                                              

But if you try sometime, you just might find

You’ve bought something on ebay and you’re like “WHAT?!?”




That is a drum set…

It’s sitting in front of my guitars in the music room. Yes, my brother is a drummer. I’d post a picture of him in his glam powder blue bodysuit but there are certain things we just don’t talk about. So, you might ask..as my lovely wife did, why do I have a drum set?

First let me say it is a Ludwig set, just like Ringo used.

(for our younger readers – Ringo played in Paul McCartney’s first band)

And it is a full five drum set with cymbals and a hi hat…In excellent condition…yeah, yeah, I know, I’m getting to it.

So the other day I jumped on ebay instead of going to the Indian casino. The magic people at ebay do a wonderful job of reminding you of things you might have missed, in my case it’s usually musical instruments. As I was perusing the listings I saw a drum set for a ridiculous starting price. I looked at the details and the auction had about two hours to go and nobody had bid. I guess that was because they wouldn’t ship, it was local pickup only. The set was in LA. I figured there were a few folks who were waiting until the last few seconds so I said “What the hell” and made the first bid.

Late that evening I remembered the bid and looked to see what the drums sold for. I clicked on ebay and was greeted with…



I’m guessing this guy is experiencing the same problem…how the heck am I going to explain this?

So Honey, I found this great art sculpture of giant screws and bolts…”


 However, I would like to point out that I did not buy:

A grilled cheese sandwich with a portrait of the Virgin Mary on it, a suit of armor for a guinea pig, Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast or The Meaning of Life which sold for $3.26 in 2000.

As penitence I cleaned the garage.


  Everybody have a reasonably safe 4th of July.




We have a dog, his name is Bingo…

Bingo came with us from San Diego. We have just found out he is very sick.

Bingo came to us through San Diego Spaniel Rescue. He had been found on the streets of Riverside, CA by the dog catcher animal control. The rescue people pulled him out of there and boarded him in their facility. We found him on their website.


On a Saturday a lady brought this nervous, scared bundle to us.



As he walked around on the patio he was leaving wet footprints. It took me a minute to realize he hadn’t stepped in water…his feet were sweating. At 18 months he’s already had some tough times. He was skinny and obviously had a few dustups on the street. We took him for a two week trial (yeah right!).











Amy sealed his love for her by dropping a full string cheese stick right in front of him, about 5 minutes after he walked into the house. It also imprinted on him that when the Girl is in the kitchen, there will be food on the floor.









Soon he was part of the family but his “Pound Name” was Amos. He was no Amos, besides, if I was yelling at someone Amy and Amos were too close. I didn’t want any confusion.

One day we were talking…well, I was talking and he was listening, and I said the word ”ping”. His head snapped around and his ears shot up in recognition.
“Ping?” I said again. He looked at me like,”Yeah, yeah you’re getting it”.
Who would name their dog Ping except a Chinese guy or a golfer? I tried again. “Bing?”
The recognition factor was completely off the scale, “Bingo?”
He practically leap into the air like a Cirque du Soleil performer. He would have given me a thumbs up…if he had thumbs. He has gladly answered to Bingo since.




We soon learned that he was a relaxed dog. He never found a cool flat place he didn’t like.




DSC_0269 A lot of dogs are good with kids but to have a rescue-puppy let toddlers pull at him like he was a stuffed toy required a special kind of guy, and that is Bingo. I think he liked their smell…which I will never understand. All the G-Kids love him and ask to see him on FaceTime.

He has is idiosyncrasies. He refuses to be restrained. Tie him up with a leash meant to hold a 150 pound Rottweiler and he’ll snip through it like a Beauty Queen cutting the ribbon at the opening of a new car dealership.
He believes in a free range system. Like the time he took off after a rabbit on Thanksgiving morning and came back with about 4000 burrs in his coat just as the timer went off for the pies.

He hates the car. It doesn’t matter if we were going to the vet or to get ice cream on a summer evening. He took one road trip – he stood the whole way. It was like taking a crowded subway from Boston to New Jersey.





Bingo is a total babe magnet. Every girl from 6 to 60 immediately falls in love with him. One of the first times we took him to the beach there was a craft fair. Amy disappeared into one of the stalls while Bingo and I hung out. When she returned I was surrounded by six or seven young ladies in tiny bikinis.
Yes…they were admiring Bingo.






Bingo is the dreamingest dog I’ve ever known. Besides the running in place chasing dream squirrels and his soft sleepy woofing, there are the times he howls like a wolf and then sits up, awake, and looks around like, “What the hell was that?”

Bingo has done his job. As friend, good listener and companion.

He just has had too short a time with us.

I wanted to write this before he is gone. I wanted to be able to tell him that his story is now out in the digital consciousness of the world. Maybe someday a little girl will click on his picture and think “cute doggie” and smile.


Thanks for all the smiles Bingo.


I think this situation will bring to a close to this blog. It just sort of feels like  putting one foot in front of the other now, doing what needs to be done.
Thanks to all my 17 readers for  tagging along, feel free to share.

The Mad Men Conundrum…


I’m surprised that so many of the people who are bemoaning the end of a TV show about people  who look like this.


Actually look like this…


I grew up living with the first group. Suits and ties, shined shoes, white gloves for the ladies, a pipe after dinner. They were our parents, our teachers, our first boss. They trekked mighty distances to get to school


They didn’t just have tools in the garage…they had TOOLS.
Grinders, drill press, radial arm saw…and a lot of the time a welder…and they knew how to use them.  And in the 60’s we rebelled against these people.


Then I saw this on the internet…

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This made me angry…and disappointed.
Now the internet is teaching basic living skills.
There aren’t 11 steps to changing a tire (unless you’re dialing an international number on your cell phone). You won’t have to jump start your car on a lonely road – the battery goes dead when you’re parked in front of a buddy’s girlfriend’s apartment…usually.
And this is from Esquire “a magazine for men”.

In the 1930’s Esquire was a refined periodical with an emphasis on men’s fashion and contributions by Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  In the 1940s, the popularity of the Petty Girls and Vargas Girls provided a circulation boost. In the 1960s, Esquire helped pioneer the trend of New Journalism by publishing such writers as Norman Mailer,  Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe.

There were no articles on how to change a tire, fix a faucet or put up a ceiling fan. It was assumed real men knew how to DO things.

I heard my wonderful and patient wife say the other day, “What the heck happened to men?”


This is what happened…


January 1970, The Phil Donahue Show entered nationwide syndication. Five minutes later if a guy wanted to get lucky he had to be “sensitive” (except in some bars in San Bernardino). Women wanted us weeniefied. Or so they thought. They wanted us nodding at every stupid feminist declaration…

Note: I am a firm believer in equal pay for equal work and there is NEVER a time when hitting a woman is OK…even if you’re a NFL player.

And the outcome of this grand social experiment? Wussy basement dwelling “gamers” or a-hole “bros” with no sense of responsibility or direction. Thanks Phil…

And in breaking news…
Just saw and article about “Caitlin Jenner’s most memorable outfits”…
How about this one?

More news as soon as I think it’s important.

Why tennis players have fuzzy balls…

After the worldwide attention given to the New England Patriots’ deflated balls a couple of months back, I began to wonder about other sports equipment.

(This is where Amy says things start to go terribly wrong)

Pondering it, I realized there are no other fuzzy balls in sports except tennis. If deflation is a problem in football we sure don’t want to introduce fuzzy balls on the gridiron. Quarterbacks all over the league reaching beneath a center to grasp fuzzy balls? I think the shotgun formation would be permanently adopted.
With all the spitting scratching, chewing, pine tar etc I don’t think baseball needs fuzzy balls. Besides it would rob baseball of the satisfying crack as bat meets ball.
I guess basketball players could get a better grip if they had fuzzy balls but it might affect their shooting.
I don’t see a plus for pool, racquetball, ping pong, golf or croquet.
The only thing I can think of is, bowling would be quieter.

So why do tennis players have fuzzy balls?

Going to the elephant graveyard where half-truths go to die – Google – we find that early tennis balls were made by Scottish craftsmen from a wool-wrapped stomach of a sheep or goat and tied with rope. Unfortunately many of these balls were mistaken for Haggis appetizers and were eaten before tennis season could begin.



Other early tennis balls were constructed from a combination of putty and human hair or  materials such as animal fur, rope made from animal intestines and muscles, and pine wood…basically any old crap one could find laying around in the 1600’s


In 1882 a clever Englishman adopted the failed idea of wrapping automobile tires with stout tartan cloth. He tried wrapping rubber tennis balls with felt…and tennis’ fuzzy balls were born.




We also find that there are both pressurized and pressureless balls used in tennis. There has never been a deflated fuzzy balls scandal in tennis…however it is believed that something about that was yelled by Bobby Riggs at Billy Jean King.

I know you are asking (or maybe it’s just me)…what happens to all those used tennis balls? There aren’t enough dogs in the world to recycle them.


Balls from Wimbledon are now recycled to provide field homes for the nationally threatened Eurasian harvest mouse. Studies are underway to see if the mice would prefer a different house color.

The gift of tennis balls offered by the French in Shakespeare’s Henry V is portrayed as the final insult which re-ignites the Hundred Years’ War
‘When we have match’d our rackets to these balls, We will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set’

They should have sent a nice fruit basket…

Bingo’s 4th


Hello…my name is Bingo.

I am the second cutest dog in the world (I know, I know…your dog is the cutest).

I just got back from what they call “a trip”. The Lead Dog and the Redhead took me somewhere.


To get there you have to get into one of the boxes outside the house with couches inside them. Then it rattles and shakes and the whole time there are movies playing all around you.. They are boring movies. Oh sure, I like a good tree documentary but this lasted from breakfast until way after afternoon snack time. Then everything stops and somehow you are magically somewhere else. If anyone knows how this happens let me know.

The Lead Dog kept saying “Wow this is lucky…look at all the traffic heading for the Cape.” This is what the movie was playing.


We went to a big house. Even bigger than our house where it’s warm all the time. But we only stayed in one room. I was dog tired.


There were plants and trees and a waterfall inside the big house…which I thought was a great idea…but I still had to go outside to pee and poop. Again if anyone understands this I’ll give you my email.

Every morning they would have a bacon festival. After I smelled everything and “did my business” the people would take me back to the room and go to the bacon festival. They would come back to the room with a few little pieces of bacon for me. They said I couldn’t go because other people were having a “reunion”


At the big house there were lots of other people staying there. There were kids and big people and old people. I kept hearing they were having a “reunion”. I guess a reunion is where everyone goes to a big house and then runs around yelling very loud until very late at night.

I guess it was kinda like when I go to my hotel that they only allow dogs at. I see old friends and we all sniff each other’s butts. But I didn’t see much butt sniffing at the “reunion”…so maybe it’s a little different.

My people played one game a lot. They all sat in a circle and took turns saying “So – what do you want to do?” and then everyone else would say “I don’t know – what do you want to do?”

I don’t understand this game…it didn’t make anybody happy.



One day the Redhead said, “I’m going to work out”. I don’t understand what that meant. She left the little room. The Lead Dog continued to sleep…which I do understand. So I joined him…he said it was the best part of the trip.


By the end of the trip I think the Lead Dog was ready to go. He kept saying “We need to get on the road”. I think he was entered in a contest.


When  we got home he had caught a buzzy flying thing with the big box with the couches. The Redhead was very excited…so I guess the “trip” was successful.

It was really nice to get home…


If it’s Rome…it must be a photo op


OK I know all 17 of you are on the edge of your seats…

Amy is out of town and so I sneaked into her photo file vault and swiped a bunch of pictures. There aren’t necessarily the photo prefect ones she’d show, but what the heck – let’s look at Rome!


Here I win the “The Only Hawaiian Shirt In Rome”  award – I’m so proud…

There were modes of transportation –


Ancient buildings

DSC_0185DSC_0188 DSC_0751 file00070


Crowds on the street


DSC_0298DSC_0324 DSC_0222 DSC_0682   DSC_0117

 Don’t these people have cable TV?

Street side cafés


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  DSC_0190 DSC_0563 DSC_0660 DSC_0631 DSC_0650  Untitled-3

Fun people to talk to


…and there was lots of this


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Stay tuned for another Vacation Minute Movie!

Dinner For One – or a Hundred

Having returned to these shores from a foreign land I had a hankering for some good old American food. And what’s more American than a good old backyard cookout?


I decided to Barbeque. BBQ is not grilling. Grilling is slapping some form of meat on a searing hot grill, leaving it there either too short or too long a time and then washing it down with your favorite beer.
Barbeque is the very slow cooking of a large hunk of meat, which allows you to get  drunk and not burn dinner.
I also found I have two empty propane tanks.


In SoCal we have 325 days of BBQ weather while Boston has only 2 weekends. We wanted to do our take on traditional BBQing – Barbacoa (which sounds like something you would buy from a late night infomercial) and try it in “rain day” mode.

Barbeque is generally associated with the South, however most cultures have a tradition of flinging big chunks of meat into the fire and then drinking until the women-folk get pissed and yell that the kids are hungry and need to go to bed. In Southern BBQ there are dry rubs and wet rubs and sauced or dry. Every region has it’s style. In this version I am going to do Hawaiian Kalua Pork.

If you wanted to do this in the traditional method you would first dig a hole in your backyard…kinda like you were going to bury your Mother-In-Law.
HaHaHa…no, I’m just joking.
The size of your pit would vary on the size of your Mother-In-Law, some of you might need a backhoe…HaHaHaHa – joking again.

With the appropriately sized hole dug you would line it with rocks and start a big fire. This is to heat the rocks. When the rocks are just under lava stage throw on some wet burlap, a banana leaf wrapped pig, more burlap, then bury it in sand like a dog with a steak bone..

Now wait 12 hours.

As much fun as this sounds, most non-Hawaiians who try this end up with 250 pounds of sand covered pork.

So here are the steps to making a fun filled indoor BBQ
First you need to get a Boston Butt…
OK…I’ll wait…done? Oh no. I’ve never heard that joke before…
In pre-revolutionary New England, some pork cuts (not the highly valued, or “high on the hog,” like loin and ham) were packed into barrels (also known as “butts”) for storage. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known as “Boston butt”.  It isn’t anywhere near the actual pig butt…or ham. We save that for Easter dinner.

Having procured a pork shoulder, the first essential tool is a crockpot. If you do not have a crockpot find someone who was married in the 70s or 80s – they will have one right next to the Cuisinart. Seasoning the meat is next up. I used a combination of spices and dried orange and lemon peel. If you want you can rub it down with liquid smoke. Another alternative is to roughly cut up an onion and make a bed of it in the Crockpot. My “secret ingredient” is a small can of pineapple juice dumped in. Pile all this into the counter top cooker and set it for low and go away.

For 12 hours.

If you have a job, that would be a good activity to while away the time.

Upon your return from golfing work it is time to prepare your accoutrements. Some people use the term fixin’s as in, “…with all the fixin’s”. Any time I read that on a menu I expect to find a hair in the salad.

The traditional side dish for me is macaroni salad. I have had some horrible macaroni salads. The usual downfall is it’s swimming in watered down mayonnaise like the little tubs they throw in the bag at questionable delis. Or someone gets fancy and puts chunks of cheese in, which makes it cold mac and cheese…which I only eat with a hangover.

This recipe starts with hard boiled eggs. If you need info on how to boil water please go back to watching Storage Wars or House Hunters or something. Do at least 8 eggs. Cool for at least 3 hours. Again the boiling thing…cook the pasta. Have fun and get weird shapes. Besides wagon wheels I’ve seen little flowers, even Sonic the Hedgehog. Be brave.

Mac salads needs crunch – oh sure you could leave some of the eggshell in but I prefer finely chopped celery.

Of course you are thinking “He writes a blog about cooking a hunk of meat? In a Crockpot?”

I have something to share…

What’s the worst job in the kitchen?
No, besides that..
Peeling hard boiled eggs…freakin’ frustrating. So here I am in the sunset years and I find out about this! I couldn’t get the video to load so use the link to check it out in facebook. You’re gonna be amazed! And it works!



And remember…the fun really starts when the 40 ouncers come out!

Happy Barbeque Season.