Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oprah, We Miss You!

Ever since Oprah retired from daytime television, my afternoon TV selections have been up for grabs. Then, to add insult to injury, they moved Dr. Phil, my only connection to sanity, to a new and different time slot. Suddenly, Anderson has a show and he goes from a respected news commentator to a rag seller trashing the city's back alleys. Katie Couric has a show now, but it's only geared to the female audience. What's a guy to do? Work?

One day while surfing the stations that I have, I settled on Anderson for a few minutes and some woman came on and told of an App that she felt was rather revolutionary. It's called SHOP SAVVY. Here's what it does. You download it to your smart phone and when you use it, it's shocking. I figured I'd try it. It's free, so after searching the web and coming up empty, I decided to try the App Store on my iPhone. It popped up immediately and after a few personal questions, I was ready to download it. It took about 45 seconds and it was ready to use.

Proving that I was now an active member of the 21st century, I was fearless! It offered a window and I was to hold it up to a bar code of any item I wanted to know about. It offers the price the item is asking and then it offers you options of where this item can be purchased for less in your immediate area. Wow! I tried a book that I had bought at Costco for $5.69, a Patricia Cornwell novel entitled Red Mist. It had it's bar code still intact. I held the phone up to it using the camera lens to view the bar code and within seconds it beeped and told me I could have bought this book at Barns and Nobles for $2.35 new and $1.19 used. It also listed a few other places that the book was available, for less than I paid Costco I might add. Now the purpose of this is not to save $4 on a book, although that doesn't hurt, but think about the big ticket items. I bought a 42" Vizio TV one day at Walmart for $450 plus tax. I thought that was pretty cheap and it was. A few days later I spoke with my friend Barry and he offered to me that he just bought the same TV at Costco for $500. That's 50 bucks saved. That was just luck on my part. Now with Shop Savvy, I may not need luck. 

*Martha Jane, you should jump all over this!

PS. The book was a big disappointment.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who Remembers the Charge-It Card?

Sitting around watching TV, something I do way too much of, I waded through a commercial for Fry's Food Stores and suddenly an entire wave of memories started coming to mind. I'm REALLY old! I was around before they had supermarkets. Groceries used to come from the corner store, a place that had no name, that offered credit to people for the asking. They sent a bill once a month along with a delivery boy, that also brought you your groceries. As I got older, I was allowed to walk to the corner store and pick up a package of cigarettes for mom or dad. Dad smoked Chesterfield regulars and mom smoked Spring lights. Cigarettes were 24 cents a pack and an extra penny bought you a book of matches to go along with them. No note was required for a 5 year old kid that was required to hold his older brother's hand, all the way there and back. While you were there, you were allowed to reach into a large cooler that held cold water and pull out a bottle of your favorite soda (pop). They were a dime each and for that kind of money, you wanted to make sure of your choice. I was partial to Orange Crush, but also favored the Hire's Root Beer. One time on the way back, I gave my Fudgesickle to a panting dog just because he looked so hot. He sniffed it once and walked away. I'll never forget the loss I'd felt!

When I was 9 we moved to the suburbs and my mother used to wait for my father to take a morning off to go to the Jewel, she didn't drive. That was the end of the corner store for a long time. The Jewel didn't give credit either. Everything back then was cash. People spoke of a "buy now and pay later" society in a negative way. There was no such thing as credit unless you got yourself a personal loan from a bank. I remember my father's house payment was $104 a month and he paid it once a year for the previous year. No one spoke of foreclosure, just when can you pay. In January my father would get his fall commission check and get caught up then. No late charges, just a hand shake and a thank you from the banker.

Then one day and I think it rained, there in the mailbox was a letter from a bank and it was addressed to me. I was 16 years old and pretty surprised to be getting mail from anyone! Inside the envelope was a card that said "Charge It" on it and it had the same symbol as the MasterCard's of today. The two world globes that we're so familiar with today. Everyone who had a social security number was eligible for "Charge It". I read the pamphlet that came along with it and it said it was good wherever the "Charge It" symbol was displayed. I probably carried that thing in my pocket for several months before I tried it. I didn't trust it, frankly! Who was giving this credit to me and WHY? The news in Chicago was full of stories about Postal workers that were mugged for the Charge It cards they were carrying. They literally issued one to about everyone. I think my bill was up over a thousand bucks when I got the letter about making payments. OH payments, that's what this is all about. Well I started making payments and to this day I still haven't stopped! 

I really kind of miss the corner store and the mentality that made it work.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A New Free Dating Service

She looks normal, right?
Someone told me about a dating service that was supposed to be quite good and best of all, it was a free one. It's called OKCUPID. As my membership on comes to an end, I'll certainly need a replacement in order to continue the disappointments I currently experience quite often. Now if you think about it, the people my age and myself included, that are on random dating services are flawed in one way or another. They are not available for dating because they were such good partners, unless of course they are widowed and that's a different situation. Let's face it, we have proven to the world that we are not good at relationships, either that or picking the right person for ourselves.

So last week I filled out the questionnaire and was totally shocked by all of the questions and how personal they were. I answered 212 questions and never saw the end. One question wanted to know how many times a week I masturbated, gasp! (I skipped that one)

Now has a censoring system that keeps everything on the up and up. Trust me, you can't say shit, that they don't check. They don't allow arrows or other little pictures like this ( o ) ( o ). Obviously eyes. Match wouldn't permit me to use a picture where I was holding a cup up to my face. It violates some rule. On this new dating service you can use pictures of your genitals and no one seems to care. The legitimacy of the pictures sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. It's totally dependent on the honesty of the member posting the picture. All I know is that I continually write to and get the telephone numbers of women that seem to look like Jennifer Hudson and by the time we meet, Betty White shows up!

Last night I had a hard time sleeping. I was up several different times, bored with nothing to do. I'd go to the computer and browse, looking for something that interested me. I looked on OKCupid and saw a woman that had looked at my profile, so I decided to read her profile. The first thing I noticed was that it was long. The lady was rather attractive and 56, so I looked further. Her profile was really long, just what I needed to get sleepy, I thought. It started out talking about Atheism and how there should not be such a word, that it unnecessarily classifies people. Then it went on and on saying how God kills babies and so forth. After several typewritten pages, it stopped and switched to how she hates organized religions and how they cause wars and the creation of classes. Fast forward to politics and I'm no longer reading but doing an IQ test. I learned the woman was very articulate and had a fantastic vocabulary, but my test was not the usual IQ test. My IQ test stood for Insanity Quotient. Why in the world was she ranting to a dating service??? I wanted to write her and ask if she's had any comments so far, but that might start her going after me and just what I do not need is another loony!

Since joining last week, I wrote a few notes to women, then realized they were pretty inactive. After learning my way around their website, I decided to just wait for women to write to me. Naturally I've received my share of notes from overweight elderly ladies that are all of three to five words and one email from a rather attractive lady, but she lived in Mexico. This morning around 6 AM, I awakened to the sound of my phone vibrating, yes I downloaded the app. It was a 6 word email from the woman pictured above. I found her average to a little below. Well maybe a lot below. To give her the benefit of the doubt, I didn't read her profile beyond the address that showed that she lived 2 hours away, but did look at her other pictures and this is what I found:

I slammed my laptop closed and went to the restroom to wash out my eyes. If I had looked even a minute longer, I could have been blinded.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It Began in 1957.

Barry in 1972

I got some bad news a couple of days ago. It's almost the culmination of a story that began 55 years ago. The year was 1957 and having been born and raised Jewish, it appeared it was time to go to Hebrew school. I was 11. I wasn't thrilled about the whole thing. We had recently moved to a new neighborhood and all of my friend were playing sports after school and I was sitting at the curb waiting for the Hebrew School bus or van as it turned out. It pulled up and I climbed in, not knowing anyone and being sort of shy, I sat down in a vacant seat. Next to me was a guy about my age and the only other "cool" kid on the van. (you know what I mean) I recall him having a baseball glove on his hand, but I may be mistaken. Somehow we started a conversation, probably about baseball and soon we were at our destination and he went his way and I was just kind of lost. I eventually found my classroom and that's pretty much the end of that sequence of events. Probably due to finance reasons, I finished that semester and didn't go back. (I was thrilled) About 6 months before my 13th birthday, Bar Mitzvah age, my parents cut a deal with the Temple to let me take Bar Mitzvah lessons, so I could become a man when the time came. (whew!)

Fast forward to age 14 and now it's time to go to high school, so I did. at some point I saw my old buddy from Hebrew School and we renewed our friendship. His name was Barry and he lived a pretty good distance away from me. Remember, this before driving age. A bunch of we Freshman decided to form a social club and I asked Barry if he wanted to join with us. He had a lot of friends and pretty soon our club, the Dantes, was getting pretty big. We all socialized together and hung out and cut school together and pretty much enjoyed ourselves. After high school, again we all went our separate ways and most went off to college. I had no interest in school but was anxious to join the work force. 

The next time I saw Barry, he was getting out of his car, as I was getting into mine, in a parking lot of a Jewish deli. We yelled hello to one another and got out and chatted for a long time. We had both gotten married. Barry had married his high school sweetheart and I married the dreaded Barbara! Barry and his wife, along with their Saint Bernard dog, Brock, had just come back from a long trip on the road, travelling and living off of the land, so to speak. His hair was down to his shoulders and he had a beard. I think he had just passed the CPA exam and was going to go into business. By this time I had opened my clothing boutique, Up Your Legs and invited Barry to be my accountant. We got close again and spent all of our weekends together, along with our wives. Barbara and I had our first son by then and Barry's wife's parent owned a summer home up in Wisconsin and we all were invited to spend some time there, on the lake. Barry's wife, Debbie was pregnant with their first daughter and we all shared the joy of her giving birth.

Shortly after that, we moved to Arizona and still we stayed in touch. Barry and a partner opened their own CPA firm and found himself coming to Arizona a lot and we got to see him then. Because of the vast distance between our homes, we didn't get to see each other a lot, but stayed in touch by telephone about every other month or so. That went on for many years. I got divorced in 1980 and Barry was my "go to" guy for emotional support. We were always there for each other. We met in Las Vegas a lot too. Barry and Debbie divorced and suddenly we were both single again. 

We both remarried, I stayed here in Arizona and Barry and his new bride moved to Naples, FL. and had two beautiful children. In December of 2009, Barry called me to tell me that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and by the time they had found it, it had spread across his entire body. He was terminal, but started Chemo to try to hang on as long as possible. The doctor told him then that he expected him to live for about 6 months. He fought like a soldier with Chemo every week and even some experimental drugs that didn't seem to work. That was almost 3 years ago.

Barry called me a couple of days ago and again told me that he had some bad news. I knew what was coming, but listened to him explain that he had lost 21 lbs within a couple of weeks and his doctor thinks that he's now at the final stages and doesn't think he'll last out the month. The news hit me like a bolt of lightning, but I held my composure as long as possible. He said his goodbyes and thanked me for being his friend all of these years. I did the same. I tried to tell him that the doctors don't know everything and he may continue to hang in there. We both knew it wasn't true. We hung up and I finally let the tears run down my face, much like they are right now.