2-4-2007 Intemperate thoughts

I just got back from a walk to the neighborhood grocery store and it is cold outside. Not brutally cold, as the humidity seems to be down. But that gusting wind sure makes up for the lack of moisture contacting your exposed skin.

On my way to the store I encountered a crowd of Mexicans (?) on the sidewalk shopping out of a parked step-van labeled as such: Vega Provisions: Mexican Products. I figure this must be some sort of localized version of Schwan’s specializing in refried beans and other barely edible quasi foodstuffs. I mean to say, after being exposed to typical Mexican chow, I want to sincerely apologize for having once made fun of Polish delicacies. Compared to some of the slop coming from south of the now-nonexistent border, dough, cheese and mashed potatoes all wrapped together sounds pretty frickin’ good.

Anyway, on the return trip to the adobe I purposely made a detour so as to encounter the new crowd milling alongside the truck at it’s new position further down the street. And, as always, as I made my way through the crowd, not a soul made an effort to acknowledge me. As always, I was treated to blank stares and fast-averted eyes.

Assimilate into society? Yeah! When they find me keeled over dead with my face frozen to the sidewalk, then you’ll know that one of my newest “neighbors” bothered to say hello to me.

Sez me.

I’m curious though. What would the city’s health department people think of selling foodstuffs door-to-door? Sounds kind of unregulated and fraught with danger to me.

This just in:

You can expect a major press release this coming Tuesday that will have to do with the upcoming Primary election. I’d leak the details of which to you right now, but the local newspapers get annoyed when I manage to scoop them.

Man, you think they’d be used to it by now.

I guess I‘d be remiss if I failed to mention the big football throw-down tonight. I’ll say this, I’m none too excited about it. No, I’m not worried about Peyton Manning’s legacy. And, no, I’m not impressed by that other team--the best coached average team from the NFC.

I’m could care less about Rex Grossman, soon to be a career backup quarterback. And I don’t give a hoot about what skin color the coaches may have. That’s an interesting thing. Throughout my entire life they have bludgeoned me over the head about being colorblind at all times no matter what. But just as soon as someone of another color accomplishes anything of note, that is trumpeted to the point of absurdity. Make up your minds already.

The excesses that characterize Super Bowl parties concern me. People are going to gather all over the area and drink themselves into a freaking stupor tonight. Meanwhile, the meteorologists are predicting below-zero wind chills, high temperatures in the single digits, and some are saying scattered snow showers are to be expected. So, when the parties too numerous to list start breaking up, I’d say we have a 100% chance of tragedy raining down on someone.

With all of that having been listed, there’s no way I’d want to be a cop, a paramedic or a first responder of any sort on this night. Scanner Land should be a very busy place tonight. And that’s unfortunate.

Prediction? Well, the Colts were being manhandled by the Patriots to the tune of 21-3, when Peyton’s offense went berserk for the remainder of that game. They were as about as low as their chief nemesis could have hoped to have them, and still the Colts roared over that heretofore never before cleared hurdle. I’m thinking the Colts have too much offense for the blue collar Bears.

Although, it should be noted that any Super Bowl not featuring the New York Football Giants is a boring Super Bowl.


All I know is, when the drunken fans hit the roadways after the game, I won’t be out and about. Y’all can kill yourselves if need be. But you aren’t taking me with you.

Enjoy, but not too much.

Let‘s revisit that “Dickheads all!” post about the average person’s idiotic driving habits.

I was sitting here watching a movie late last night when the scanner announced three separate motor vehicle accidents inside of twenty minutes. Three! And all at intersections supposedly controlled by traffic signals. How smart are we?

So, as a direct result, you’ve got your paramedics tied up with the idiots. And other fire apparatus. And you’ve got ambulances from other municipalities responding to the idiocy. In effect, you have no available ambulances, only engine companies that can baby-sit a medical emergency until a medic unit becomes available. Whatever.

But here’s the biggest problem with making like bumper cars wherever we may roam. All too often these fender benders require two and three…sometimes four police officers to 1.) Investigate the accident, and 2.) To secure the scene by shutting down streets.

And while multiple police officers are sitting idly by waiting for the scene to be cleared, we have that many less police officers patrolling the city. If it weren’t for the needless vehicular idiocy, we’d have safer streets and neighborhoods. Then again, if it weren’t for the needless idiocy in general, we need neither cops, nor courts.

So, you say you want safer neighborhoods with more police officers on patrol? Well, then stop generating needless, completely ridiculous police calls. Try controlling yourselves.

One more time:

Green means go.

Red means stop.

Yellow means err on the side of caution.

And "Put an X on it!" means somebody might be dying at the scene.

Even an idiot should be able to follow that.

From the e-mail inbox One of his all-time favorite dishes, as he called it, was (Excrement) on a Shingle.

I've done radio in lots of cities, lots of states. Absolutely nowhere have I heard local fundraisers advertise their breakfasts as featuring "SOS." And proudly. In no newspapers have I seen the local service club advertise the monthly public dinner as including "SOS."

I don't have anything against this gastronomical delight; just that it generally was served "under the radar," at least as far as using those initials went. You never heard people saying, "Oh, wow! The volunteer fire company says they're having an SOS dinner this month! Call the relatives!"

Tom Carten

(You can use my name.) * * * * Today's thought:

Don't do anything that will scandalize the children or stampede the cattle.

Visit me at: http://northfranklin.blogspot.com (new URL)

You sure got me on the fundraiser versions of “SOS.” All I know is, it mortified me when I was a kid. It was utter slop. And it tasted awful, too. Nasty, nasty sh*t.

My step-dad grew up in one the remotest places in Maine, very close to the Canadian border. The family plot was so completely isolated, I seriously doubt if I could find it again. They lived in a Waltonesque house with a hand pump in the kitchen sink, an outhouse and nary a thought given to insulation. Spending time there as a boy, it felt like I was in another country when compared against what I was so used to in Connecticut. The 8 kids were schooled in a one-room schoolhouse. And they had some childhood friends on another lonely farm a couple of miles away. Nothing but muddy dirt roads and one long-collapsed bridge. There was a logging truck submerged in the river alongside that bridge. Other than that, they had trees, virgin forests as far as the eye could see and snakes at every turn.

But being so isolated and self-reliant they way they were, they were definitely a meat-and-potatoes bunch and didn’t waste much time on cooking their meats. Sorry, but medium-raw just doesn’t appeal to me and it never will. And because of that, mealtimes were all too often points of serious, serious contention, if not, outright hostilities.

But there was one incident that still brings me great satisfaction to this very day. Leo absolutely loved Chinese food stemming back to his days in the Army. And once a month we’d make the drive into Bridgeport to visit his favorite Chinese restaurant. I think it was on Golden Hill Street and very close to the greyhound racing track just across the river.

When it came to Chinese food, my smallish sister and I were in complete agreement that it simply looked too foreign and too weird to be good, or even edible. And this would make Leo very angry, but at least he couldn’t single me out for a beating. He’d eat these garish-looking dishes piled high with curious-looking meat substances, and we’d order something very, very safe. Rice, Chinese noodles, fortune cookies, perhaps some meatless chow mein. And while it would annoy him to no uncertain end, Sue and I ordered pretty much the same things every time we visited. Much unlike the cannibalistic step-dad, we were dietary cowards through-and-through.

But, lo-and-behold, it was reported on a television station out of New Haven that Leo’s favorite Chinese haunt was abruptly padlocked when the city found out the joint was serving cat, dog and only Allah knows what else. So there were no more trips to Wong’s House Of Cat and I’m sure Leo quickly found something else to pick on us about. But despite his constant urgings to “put some meat on your bones” at Wong’s, I’m thrilled to say that I never, ever did. Simply put, I don’t do cats. The thing is, I don’t see a spit of difference between eating cats and eating cows.

But I must ask, if you were my step-dad, would you be getting the urge to beat me right about now?

Methinks yes.

Looking back on his “manly” shenanigans, I could really care less about what he thought about the menu and how Sue and I reacted to it. This was the very same guy who knocked unconscious with one monstrous punch a then-4 year-old Sue for eating an effing Scooter Pie without permission. And then, he needed to beat on me for “not watching her.” And his punishment? Another lost weekend at the nearby veteran’s hospital, courtesy of the local police department. That was it.

It’s one thing to beat on the defenseless step-kid. Hell, that’s like an unofficial national sport in this country. But it’s a whole other thing to make like Mike Tyson on your own flesh and blood toddler over a single snack. Whatever. That’s why we live here in Wilkes-Barre and he sits there all alone in Ansonia.

And trust me, I’m not whining. Rather, I’m expressing my appreciation for all that he taught me. Because, when it comes right down to it, all that I learned from him was what not to be if and when I ever had kids of my own. I may not be the end-all perfect father, but I sure as hell ain’t him.

And never once did I inflict the dreaded “Sh*t on a Shingle” upon my unsuspecting kids. Nor did they ever find Velveeta being served up in half-ton chunks.

I’m proud of that.

Okay, I’ve tortured you enough for one day. I do not apologize.

I’m going to turn on the former video advertising box, now renamed the pharmaceutical advertising box, and take in the 12-hour Super Bowl pre-game marathon.

Black head coaches?

Get the hell out of here! I didn’t freakin’ know that!