Blog Envy, Springsteen & The Superbowl

It is heading towards midnight and I am sitting in a dark room trying to decompress after a very busy weekend. Radio Nowhere is playing and I find myself trying to decide what it is about Springsteen that resonates with me. I think that it is a combination of the passion and the music. The Boss is not just a performer but a master storyteller.

Just for the heck of it here is a partial list of some of my favorite Springsteen songs:

Brilliant Disguise
Tunnel of Love
I’m On Fire
Secret Garden
Streets of Philadelphia

Everyone of those songs holds special meaning to me. Each of them is tied into a memory or two of a person and or place that has been or still is a major part of my life.

Anyway, Springsteen put on a fantastic half time show. The best artists sound better live than in a studio recording.

I didn’t have a dog in this fight, speaking of the game that is. I have been a Raiders fan for more than 30 years, followed by the Rams and then the Cowboys. But the Superbowl is one of my favorite events and it is a guarantee that I’ll watch regardless of who is playing.

The game itself was great. All too often we have been forced to witness a blowout in which the outcome is decided long before halftime. Tonight was fun because of how exciting the fourth quarter was.

I played around briefly with the idea of liveblogging the game. I thought that it might be kind of interesting but opted not to. I wanted to enjoy the game as a fan and really participate in it and I knew that liveblogging was going to blow that right out of the water.

But I did manage to check into Twitter and let off a couple of tweets about the game. I am a newcomer to Twitter and still getting my sea legs there. I haven’t quite decided what to think about it and that leads into the topic of blog envy.

It is something that I have discussed here more than once and had numerous conversations via email and in person as well. These conversations typically start in one of two ways. A newer blogger asks me for blogging advice or a non blogger wants to know how I feel about other blogs.

For those who haven’t received the dime tour let me offer some clarification. I blog for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that I blog for me. I find this to be relaxing, enjoyable and at times therapeutic. I’d love to be paid to do this full time. It would be very cool but I don’t have any expectations that this is going to happen any time soon.

There have been times where I have looked at other blogs and wondered why people like them better than mine. They have more readers, they have more commenters etc. Most of the time I don’t care, but I am human. There are times when I shake my head and wonder. Reminds me a bit of a time in high school when Ann Stacey asked Tom Stelling to escort her to a dance instead of me. I looked at him and thought that she must have been blind, deaf and dumb.

FWIW, she later told me that she regretted not asking me, but I digress.

Blog envy happens. I sometimes wonder why people stop reading, unblogroll me or stop following me on Twitter. Most of it is curiosity. I wonder what they didn’t like. What weren’t they getting.

But since I write for myself it really doesn’t matter. If you ask for my unsolicited opinion if you want to be a successful blogger you have to do it because you want to. It has to be something that you like or it is doomed. And really, if you don’t like blogging why are you here. There are lots of ways to spend your time, don’t waste it doing something that you don’t enjoy.

Anyhoo, it is after midnight now so I think that is beyond time for me to go wrestle with old man insomnia. This time I think that I know how to beat him. See you in the A.M.

Jack Versus The Hacker


In spite of what some of these posts indicate I am really not a confrontational guy. I prefer to go along and get along but some situations demand action. This is the story of one of those encounters. But first for the backstory.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any common sense at all. You see I went to Costco on Superbowl Sunday. Now you know that I love Costco. If I have to go shopping Costco, Trader Joes and Home Depot are right up there with places that I generally don’t mind going to.

However I still try to avoid hitting these places during prime shopping time. I don’t enjoy fighting the crowds. Matter of fact I have also written about Costco’s relationship to Hell and I have bitched about The Supermarket too. So you would think that based upon my feelings and past experience I would have known better than to show up to be a part of a passion play about Dante’s Inferno.

But Nooooooooooo. I had to go because I had to pick up a couple of items before the big game. So off I went to do battle in the parking lot. There is nothing like playing chicken over a freaking parking space. Ideally you have a really big car that looks like you use it for the local demolition derby. This often helps encourage others to keep their distance.

This time parking the car wasn’t bad. Instead it was navigating my way from my space into the store. I felt like I was the Frog in Frogger. I danced to the left, stepped forward, jumped back and then moved to the right. Maybe I wasn’t playing Frogger, maybe it was some kind of folk dance. I dunno, maybe Shira will weigh in on this.

Inside Costco was a swirling mass of activity. Ten million people were crammed into the Van Nuys warehouse. You can only imagine how difficult it was to navigate my cart through the aisles. Even worse than that was getting rammed by the carts of other shoppers. The last time I got rammed from behind so many times I was on the receiving end of a sigmoidoscopy but that is a story for a different time and place.

Part of the challenge was because I had the audacity to try and pass by the tables with the free samples of food. It was like a scene out of some movie in which an airlift drops food into some famine starved village. The tables were surrounded by people fighting to try the various products. It would be one thing if they were poor, but something tells me that the lady with the diamond ring and Kate Spade bag has enough money to feed herself. She also has watched a lot of football because you should have seen the block she threw on the guy who tried to step in front of her.

Perhaps the worst part of this day came when I ventured over to purchase some produce. I needed some carrots and celery for my dip platter. It was while I was there that things got nasty. As I surveyed the scene I heard someone coughing nearby. It was a loud hacking noise, the kind of cough that makes you wonder why they aren’t lying in bed.

When I turned my head to the left I saw a middle aged man standing over the blueberries. He was the source of the coughing. A moment later I was horrified to watch him cough on the berries. He didn’t even attempt to cover his mouth. I was startled by this and even more concerned when he failed to cover his mouth to cover a second coughing fit.

At this point I couldn’t take it any longer.

Me: Sir, could you please cover your mouth?
Hacker: What?

Me: We would prefer if you covered your mouth and turned away from the food when you cough.
Hacker: So you speak for everyone.

Me: In this case I do.
Hacker: Who elected you health inspector.

Me: Sir, please refrain from using sarcasm. A little courtesy goes a long way.
Hacker: I just asked you a question. Who elected you health inspector.

Me: My name is Tom Fouker and I am a duly designated representative of the FDA. If you do not cease and desist I’ll have you cited. (Why oh why do I not carry a fake badge for these moments.)
Hacker: Cited for coughing?

Me: No cited for being a threat to the public health and safety, Typhoid Tom.
Hacker: You can’t do that.

Me: I most certainly can.
Hacker: What are you going to do, handcuff me.

Me: Sir if need be I can have you restrained and locked in the freezer until the police arrive.
Hacker: You wouldn’t dare.

Me: Have you ever been tied up with the cord from a banana boat. Day-o, it is more than sufficient to handle you and uncomfortable.
Hacker: $$^$%&*#U$%*$

And with that epithet he threw a tray of berries at me and began to run. I was close on his heels. There was no way that the perp was going to escape justice. Within moments I had closed the gap between him and I. I flung myself into the air. As I soared over a table full of books I grabbed the 2007 edition of the Webster’s Dictionary and dropped it across his head.

There was an audible thunk as he hit the floor. I dropped down on top of him and used my shoelaces to tie him up. Loud applause rang from all over the store. Agent Fouker had done it again.

Ok, that little exchange didn’t take place like that. I didn’t confront him for his lack of manners. But he did cough on the lettuce and I was disgusted by that. I did want to say something to him but he walked away so I figured what was the point.

I don’t know about you but I liked the first version of the story better.

What do you think?

My Favorite Superbowl Ads

Here are my favorite Superbowl ads from yesterday’s game. Not incredible, but they did make me chuckle.