Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Is America?

This election season has me thinking. Yes I do that on occasion. I've been thinking about the direction of america, it's future, and how differently conservatives and liberals view our nation. America was founded on three main principles: faith, freedom, and good old fashioned hard work. Faith is what the earliest settlers leaned on when there wasn't any food left, or disease set in, and without the benefit of modern medicine, the only remedy available was prayer. Freedom meant not living under the rule of King George III, and his confiscatory taxes. Freedom to worship where and how they chose. Hard work - if faith is the cornerstone of America - then hard work is the foundation. Without it, this nation would not be what it is today. Barack Obama and the democratic party have decided to divide america into groups. Rich, poor, white black, straight, gay etc. Turning the ones who, with hard work, and a little luck have realized the American dream, into the enemy. The democrats believe that if a person gets a job, it is a the expense of another, less fortunate person. If someone starts and builds a successful business, it was at the expense of someone else. To me, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the capitalist system. Just because I take a slice of the pie, it doesn't mean the next guy doesn't get any. The pie is the American economy, and it is not a finite thing, it is constantly expanding and contracting, but ultimately it continues to grow. So now with group think in place, a minority or a gay person that misses out on a promotion missed out, not because he or she wasn't as qualified as the one who got it but it's because they where cheated, or discriminated against. And the the only thing that can right this "injustice" is government. The problem is, what the government gives, will never live up the standard the capitalism can give. Government peanut butter and section 8 housing anyone? The funny thing is, I can go up to an Obama supporter who has played organized sports in their lifetime and they believe to their core that if you are going to be successful on the field, you have out work and out train your competition, and if you don't, you will end up on the bench. And if you win the starting job, it's because you were the better man. And they would be insulted if I told them they won that position because of their ethnic make up. But in everyday life, these same, proud people will stand for being talked down to be politicians who tell them they're not capable of making on their own merit. This "soft bigotry", in my opinion,is the most devious kind. because it not only robs people of the present with meager scraps handed out by the government, it also steals their future because it creates a mindset of dependency, crushing all hopes of attaining what this great country has to offer. It does however benefit the democratic party by all but assuring the "dependency vote". Millions of lives and futures sent down the drain, and why? For votes and power. Despicable! The common belief among many on the left is that America will just simply keep on keeping on. That we are so rich we'll never run out of money. Well, the Roman empire lasted about a thousand years. ONE THOUSAND! It took roughly 400 years to build it, then it peaked for 300, and spent the last 400 in decline. And then - it was gone. Just like that. Our nation isn't 250 years old yet and in my opinion, is in the early stages of decline. Conservatives see this. We see that the things that built this country are under assault. I saw today where federal authorities have arrested the guy who made a video about the prophet Muhammad that supposedly angered muslims. ARRESTED HIM!!! Freedom of speech indeed! Hard work is demonized, faith has been under attack (Christian faith that is) for years. When take away all of the elements that made something great - that thing wil cease to be great. It's as simple as that. So if you are contempt to live off of scraps, and you're willing to trade in your dignity for a government cell phone and some cheese, then proudly cast your vote for Barrack Obama. However, if you would like to keep enjoying the benefits of living in the greatest nation this world has ever known, then vote for Mitt Romney. No Mitt Romney's not perfect. But at least he knows what America is.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Late Fee Lament

Blockbuster video had a "Manager's Special" the other night. The deal went like this: You rent three movies and you get a bunch of candy, some popcorn, a back rub, and one acre of prime Manhattan real estate...or something like that.

I don't exactly remember the details - but suffice it to say - I was like a fish on a hook. They had me at "Special". Besides, it didn't matter how many extras they gave away, they new that they would ultimately get an average of $8,000,000 in late fees -- per customer!

You see, they're gambling that the average customer won't be able to meet the deadline. That's right. There's almost no way I can watch all three movies in the approximate 30 hours I have until THE LATE FEE DEADLINE arrives.

I thought I would be smart and beat the odds this time by coming up with a fool proof plan. Last night my daughter and I watched the first movie together then today I returned that one when I went out to run errands. Mission accomplished. Movie number one, safe in the vault.

Next, I watched movie number two all by my myself (yes I'm married, and no, my wife hardly ever watches the stupid movies I rent. She probably has good reason for this, but that's another story).
One problem. Right after the movie finished, I casually glanced up at the clock which read: 10:46pm. Oh no! That can't be right, because the deadline for return is 11:00pm. The video store is at least ten minutes away and I don't even have shoes on. So I leap from my chair, slip my feet halfway into some sneakers. You know how, when you don't even untie them, and you just kinda crush the heal support with your foot and where them like slippers? It's kind of like a male "walk of shame".

So I buzz by the bedroom and tell my wife what I'm doing to which she replies something that sounded like, "Whatever psycho." Encouraged by my spouses support, I scurry out the door and head to Blockbuster.

By the way, isn't it funny how we seem to notice just how many red lights we catch when we're in the biggest of hurries. Honestly, there must have been fifteen or so lights, and it seemed like everyone waited for me to get within 50 feet of them to turn red. Be that as it may, after side swiping a Pontiac Lemans, and nearly running over someone who was CLEARLY jaywalking, I screamed into the parking lot "Starsky and Hutch" style. I sprang from my vehicle, and hobbled as fast as possible in my socks (Hey, I was cutting it close here, no time to lace up my kicks),to the drop off slot and safely deposited movie number two with four minutes to spare. Ye ha!

As I turned back toward my vehicle, there was another man approaching the box. I looked down to see his shoes untied. I said, "I see I'm not the only one trying to beat the clock tonight. I didn't even have time to slip my shoes on."
"I didn't have time to tie mine." He replied (Told you).

So I guess I'll be able to pay the mortgage on time this month. Blockbuster you tried your best but you'd better get up a little earlier than that if you wanna make an easy buck at ole James' expense.

Yes sir, the ole "Rent Three Movies" trick didn't get the best of...wait a second...Three movies? That means I still have one at home.

AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! Curse you Harry Potter!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Random Darts

Soooo the I.R.S. is buying shotguns. You can read about it here.
I guess it wasn't enough for them to be able to confiscate all of your material possessions, crush your hopes and dreams, and leave you penniless, praying that someone, out of the kindness of their heart will give you some cat food to eat -- they now can take your life as well. I think I'll save them the man hours and just self report to the gulags.

With this being American Idol's, er, Simon Cowell's last season, I'm just wondering who would want to watch the show without being able to see Simon insult 16 year old girls. I mean, A.I. without Simon is like listening to Huey Lewis and the news...without Huey!

Or "The Wizard of Oz" minus Dorothy.

It's like paying to see the Jackson 4 without Michael( actually, I think you can do that now).

I read recently where "Avatar" just became the highest grossing film of all time (domestically). While I'll admit I haven't seen it yet,I've heard it's a fun movie to watch.
No worries though, I get enough 3D action at home while dodging things that family members throw at me...

Headline: "Man Gets Kicked off of Airplane. Blames His Actions on Pot Brownies"

So when the I.R.S. comes to my house with shotguns to collect, I'll just tell them, "Honestly, I was on my way to pay my taxes but then I ate a couple of pot brownies , then I had a powerful urge to go buy some M&M's and Doritos, which made me totally forget to pay my taxes.

I was born way too soon. The things I could of gotten away with if I had these modern day excuses in my arsenal.
"Mom, I didn't break your lamp. It was Steve, my heroine dealer."

"Now that's a good boy. Thanks for telling Mommy the truth."


Monday, February 1, 2010

This One’s for the Girls


Have you ever wondered why guys love football so much? Sure you have -- and that’s why I’m gonna take the time to lay it all out for you. By the time we're done here, you’ll be able to tell the difference between a zone blitz and a prevent defense.
Guy’s however, just kinda know this stuff. It’s like how you girls seem to know, well, everything else. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. There are some women who actually love football. They can tell you the name of every player on a team's roster, the point spread, and who's on the injured reserve list for this week's big game. Scientists have studied women like this over the ages and they've come up with a very scientific name for them, they call them "Perfect". As I said, this species is very rare. So unless you're one of them, please read on.

You see, football is man’s last frontier. His sacred, right of passage into true manly, manliness. Passed down from generation to generation, this phenomenon is everywhere. It's America's new favorite past time, and men are genetically predisposed to drool at the very mention of it. Football is man's intellectual stimulus. It's something we can easily understand. For instance, observe this exchange from the movie, "The Waterboy":

[after Bobby demonstrates his tackling ability]
Coach Klein: Bobby, can you do that for me every game?
Bobby Boucher: Coach, not only will I do it for you, I... I... I... yes, yes, I'll do it for you.

Shakespeare just cringed.

Well that’s all well and good, but what about you? Where do you fit in to all of this? After all, if you could just understand the game a little better -- think of all the quality time you and your hubby could spend together between the months of September and January. Just imagine both of you, wearing matching snuggies in your team's colors, enduring sub-zero temperatures cheering yourselves hoarse, and after the game, you head back to the house, where your man will grill up some bratwurst sausages and you guys eat until you fall asleep. Romantic isn't it?

So let’s start with some basic F.A.Q's.

Question - Why is it called football?

Answer - In other parts of the world, they also have a game called football. Across the pond, it’s called that because the ball is maneuvered primarily by the feet, and players (other than the goalie) will be penalized for touching the ball with their hands. In America, we can touch, throw, or carry the ball with our hands, and we call our game football because...well because we’re America, that’s why! I really have no idea.

Question - Why do all the players wear those tight outfits

Answer - So it’s harder for the opposing team to grab hold of them. Also to keep you girls watching I guess. Geeze,you women have a one track mind.

Question - What does first down and ten mean, and what the heck is a down anyway?

Answer - A down is simply another name for a play. When a team has the ball, they get four plays (or tries) to gain ten yards. If they don’t gain ten yards in the allotted amount of plays then they must turn the ball back over to the other team. Like when you borrow an outfit from a friend,you wash it, press it and promptly return it. Yeah, it's just like that...well, minus all the bone crushing hits.

Question - Why all the bone crushing hits?

Answer - Imagine going to a sale at Macy's and everything is 70% off the already marked down price and you lay eyes the designer purse that you've wanted for months but could never justify spending that kind of dough on a handbag, but now it's in your grasp. It's all about to come together for you. Then you notice some she-devil already has her grubby little hands on it. Oh the nerve! Well that woman is like the player with the ball and you are the one about to hit them so hard as to dislodge the purse/ball from her hands. [Whistle] "15 yard penalty. Roughing the shopper!"

Question - Why is the football sometimes called “the pigskin?”

Answer - When football was first played, they would use a pig bladder for a ball. That and, have you ever eaten’ pork rinds while watching football? Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Question - Why do they sometimes call the playing field, the “gridiron”?

Answer - the lines on the field kind of resemble the lines on a gridiron. I’ll bet you already knew that one.

Question - Why do guys jump and down and scream like little girls when their team does something good?

Answer - Ask God. I can only take you so far.

I’ll bet you’re feeling more football literate already aren’t you? Imagine the conversations you and your husband can have now:

You: “Honey do you think the Colts will be able to overcome the loss of their best defensive end this week? I think maybe they will have to alter their blitz packages, or maybe even run a little 3-4 while bringing their linebackers on some zone schemes. What do you think dear?”

Hubby: ( Speaking through tears) I love you! How may I serve you oh goddess of the gridiron?

Okay now that you've learned some of the basics, let’s lay down a few of ground rules.

1. Never, EVER ask questions during the last 30 seconds of a close game. This will almost certainly result in the man acting like a toddler would after you take away his favorite toy and tell him it’s nap time. Please spare yourself this scenario. It ain’t pretty... not that I would know.

2.Never insult his favorite team. Even when you two are having a heated argument.This is considered the worst kind of betrayal. To a man, this is akin to you dousing him in petrol and light him ablaze.

3.Excuse his ridiculous behavior when his team loses. I know this is difficult for some of you relate to, but try to stoop to us guy's level for a moment. Perhaps the best way for you to understand why we act like this is for you to imagine you’re back in high school, and the boy you were hoping would invite you to the prom asks your best friend instead!!!(Ooh that Jenny,she thinks she's so perfect!) You’d be devastated wouldn’t you? Absolutely, and you should be. See? It’s the same way a man feels after his team flops. Except the man won’t pretend to be happy for his best friend and simultaneously tease her until she develops an eating disorder.

So when fall rolls around this year, you won't have to dread it, for you are now equipped with enough knowledge to at least fake your way through a game. Your husband will love you all the more for it. Here's how you'll be able to use this to your advantage.

You: Wow that game was awesome. Now would you mind painting the house?

Hubby: Why do you insult me my Queen? You make it sound like a chore.

If that example didn't motivate you to try and get the hang of this football thing, then maybe this monologue will: (Or watch the video)

Al Pacino's Inch By Inch speech from Any Given Sunday

(I edited out the naughty bits)

I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
we can stay here
and get the **** kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I p***ed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?

Ladies, that's football in a nut shell.

Don’t forget to come back next week where we’ll discuss: Why don’t men ever completely grow up? (Or you can save some time and just re-read the above article)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ah the Eighties

Yesterday when I got home from work, my daughter, Tiffany, said to me "Hey Dad, tomorrow at school, it's 80's day. How does this outfit look? Do I look 80's?"

Well now, I must tell you that while my kids have done many things over the years that have made me a proud papa; this one moistened my tear ducts. Because of all the things I've claimed to be expert in,(and there's a lot of them) the 80's is at the very top of my list. This was a decade that introduced me to football, Run DMC, Ac/DC, and a girl named Cindy. Actually, every boy in my neighborhood was introduced to Cindy. Not only was she pretty and um...mature for her age but she had every boy around thinking she loved him. How pretty you ask? So pretty that on one occasion, one of us pretended to sprain an ankle so he could put an arm around her and have her help me, I mean him walk home.

That all came to an end once young Cindy learned how to file a restraining order. You know what they say, "If you love someone set them free, if not, you could end up on house arrest for 12 to 18 months depending on your behavior...or so I've heard.

I have many fond memories from this, my favorite of decades. Like this one: November, 1980. It's the eve of the presidential election and I'm watching the results pour in, state by state.
Being only 12, I wasn't political. Heck, I didn't know left from right, didn't understand taxing or spending and I didn't care to. What I did knew was--that my once proud country was down in the dumps. The cold war was at it's peak, and America didn't have a leader that would stand up to the Russia, the evil empire, as Ronald Reagan would later dub them.
To make matters worse, local people would say, "If the Soviets ever launch a nuclear missile, the first place they'll hit is Jacksonville, Florida because we have three naval bases."
"This is great.", I would tell myself, "I must have won some sort of geographical lottery." How lucky can a kid be right?

I recall being ecstatic as network after network called the election in Reagan's favor. I had remembered seeing the campaign ads in the months leading up to that night. They showcased things like missiles being launched, and they spoke of how this current Governor of California was was tough on defense. I liked that.

At the same time. Iran had been holding 53 Americans hostage for over a year and gave no indication of releasing them anytime soon if ever. Iran's leader the Ayatollah Khomeini, was as evil as they come and back here in the good ole U.S.A., you could buy everything from dartboards to toilet paper with his likeness on it. Flea markets all over the nation were prospering from this patriotic run on terrorist imprinted toys and toiletries.
The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, right after Reagan was sworn into office. Earlier that year, Jimmy Carter had sent out two military helicopters to rescue the hostages. Both choppers crashed in the dessert sands, leaving for soldiers dead. This only reinforced my belief that America needed a protector. Someone who would lead through strength and not be pushed around. Other world leaders would think twice about taking on the United States lest they get a Toby Keith style boot up their a**. And now we had that leader, and I, like many other Americans, breathed a sigh of relief.

Now brimming with confidence and a new found sense of security, knowing that my house wouldn't be microwaved anytime soon, I started out on my journey into what would become my favorite era so far, the wild, wonderful, everything goes, 80's. I remember watching Mtv after school(I can still see the astronaut planting the Mtv flag on the moon) and seeing Dexys Midnight Runners dancing in the streets singing "Come On Eileen." You know, back when they played music videos on MUSIC TELEVISION!

I still remember when rap music was fun and wasn't filled with hateful vitriolic lyrics.
I can vivdly see Doug Flutie, quarterback for the Boston College football team, dropping back and heaving the ball 60 yards into the endzone, and his friend and teammate Gerard Pheland hauling in the pass behind two stunned Miami Hurricane defenders. Whenever you watch a football game and hear the term Hail Mary from the announcers, this is the play they are thinking about.

The movies of the 80's were great as well. Sure, when you watch them now, they may seem a little cheesy, but not then. No way no how! Just look at this line up: "Terminator" 1&2. "Rocky" 1-4. "Rambo" 1&3, "Raiders of the Lost Arc","Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "The Breakfast Club", are you kidding me? I could go on, but I digress.

There were a lot of great memories I have from that time in my life but the 80's was about so much more than movies, music, and merriment, it was about the world being a better place than the decades before. It was about having no more gas lines, everybody was working(everyone who wanted to anyway),and prosperity reigned supreme. So much so in fact, that prosperity is what ended the cold war as we knew it. America simply out-spent the Russians. They couldn't keep up and ultimately collapsed in around themselves. Then in 1989, the last year of that marvelous decade, the Berlin Wall fell.

Now my little girl is standing in front of me so excited that she gets to dress like Molly Ringwald. To her it's all about the style and music of that era, which is fine. But to me, it's much more.

I can still hear Ronald Reagan uttering those historic words...

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"


Friday, January 15, 2010

Of Doctor Visits, Diets, and Drama

James sits in the waiting room patiently sifting through the mass of useless magazines on the table in front of him.
After browsing through a "large print" version of Reader's Digest and finding nothing of interest, he spots an issue of People magazine which is showcasing a popular country singer on the front cover. Mildly intrigued, he turns to the story only to find out that it's about the entertainer and his wife having just had their second child. Wow. That's riveting, but I think I'll stick with my subscription to "Sock Drawer Illustrated".

In case you haven't figured it out yet, James is me. And this is what my life is like these days. Doctor's appointments, one after another. X-rays, needles, poking, prodding, coughing, and a stack o-of do-o-ctor bills (Sang to the tune of "12 Days of Christmas.").

The reason for my exciting new lifestyle you may ask? Well I'll give you a hint, it's only five millimeters, has jagged edges, and it was conceived in the depths of hell.

That's right, a kidney stone, or in my case, kidney stone(s). You see, these little guys have one job,and that is to travel through your body and terrorize you all along the way. I've named the one that's been giving me fits. Heck,we've become so familiar with one another I guess you could say we're almost pals. I call him M***** ******!

Like everyone else, I have known some people that I wasn't crazy about in my lifetime, but I would never, EVER wish these things on even my mortal enemy! No matter how nefarious a character they may be. Well, maybe except for Al Qaeda members. Hey,that gives me an idea. Whenever the good guys capture one of those dudes, they should plant a remote control stone,with spikes on it,in the bad guy's kidney. So then whenever some vital intel is needed, just grab the remote and send little spike on a journey through their urinal tract. Is that sadistic on my part? If so, I got that way from spending all of this time around doctors.

Now where was I?...

Oh yeah.

So most of the Doctors I've dealt with have been pleasant, and seemed to perform their duties well enough. It's just that... well...I'm sick of them. Sick of sitting and waiting.Sick of wondering when all this will finally be over. And as I type this on my Blackberry phone, I'm waiting. AGAIN. Waiting to be possibly violated by some guy with a rubber glove and giant hands, or some lady at the desk who'll probably be informing me shortly, that while I was waiting, my insurance provider abruptly went out of business and will not be covering today's visit. Next she will probably tell me how I am now personally responsible for footing the entire bill. I imagine myself asking her what my options are to which she most assuredly will reply,"You can have a peppermint or a lifesaver out of our candy jar...but only one or the other.That's the only option you have. Now Mr. Brooks,will that be cash, credit, or first born?"

Getting back to my point...

Up until a few months ago, I wouldn't have been caught dead at the doctor's office (well that's an awful analogy now isn't it?). It's bad enough that one doctor has already told me not to eat bread,potatoes,pasta, or chocolate- CHOCOLATE!!!- now this one is telling me not eat nuts or peanut butter, and that I have to drink one and a half gallons of water per day.

"Surely you jest." I say.

He wasn't jesting.

After pleading with him for a tasty alternative to fill in the gaps, he smiles from ear to ear and enthusiastically quips, "Carrot sticks!"

I almost committed assault.

Then he tells me that another wonderful benefit to my new tasteless, boring diet is that I can also munch on celery sticks. Obviously excited I ask,"With peanut butter on them?" Now he was pondering whether or not to commit assault.
After finishing up my paper work and delivering some final instructions he stood to shake my hand. I grasped his hand, looked him in the eye and thanked him for his services.

Our parting conversation went something like this:

You're doing really great James. Be sure to drink lots of water and eat those carrots sticks.

Me- I hate you!

Doctor- Um,look at the time. Well I better get to my next patient.

I'll bet I'm his favorite patient. After all, he did tell me to come back again in six months.
Oh would you look at the time. I'd better get going.

Those carrots sticks aren't gonna buy themselves you know.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Big Fat Starbucks Adventure

Here in Ocala, Florida, we're not used to what happened to us this week. We froze our butts off. That's right, it was so cold, the politicians had their hands in their OWN pockets... hey-o!

I've never been much of a coffee drinker, but this morning I made an exception. I drove over to the new Starbucks on the town square. I really like our little downtown area. The recent Improvements along with the pride of the vendors have combined to make this a really nice place to go for dining and shopping without having to fight all of the traffic and hustle and bustle of the newer, more recently developed areas. The natives call this place Brick City. Named after all of the all-red brick buildings that used to dominate this original hub of town until the great fire burned many of them to the ground. Most were rebuilt, but with different exteriors than the originals. But the nickname, Brick City survived, fully intact, and that's alright by me.

After finally finding a parking space (Apparently this weather gave a lot of people the same idea), I crossed the street and headed towards the coffee shop. I passed by a new sushi place, looks top notch, and Gause and Son's Jewelers always looks terrific, as it has for many years as the anchor of downtown. The first thing I noticed upon entering this caffeine craver's paradise was how this national chain store was able to spend the money necessary to fill out this cavernous space in this old brick building and actually give it kind of a cozy feel. Previous occupants had attempted this but it always seemed as if the space just swallowed everything else around you and made you feel like you were the only person in the building and you would need a compass to find your way out.

But there was something else I noticed. The people. Everyone sort acted the same. Almost "Stepford Wife" in their mannerisms. Every one looked as if they shopped at the same store, spoke as if they read the same books, and of course, knew EXACTLY how to order their coffee. I would like to take a moment to address this. I am admittedly jealous of people that know how to speak the Starbucks lingo. As I said, I'm not much of a coffee drinker so, me ordering from Starbucks is akin to John Wayne walking into Victoria's Secret and describing to the sales girl what kind of "little number" he's looking to pick up for his wife. In other words- It aint pretty.

So I'm standing in line, nervous about what I'm going to say when it's my turn, and the little guy behind the counter taking(or should I say giving) the customers orders isn't helping to ease my nerves at all. He kind of half-shouts at the lady in front of me "What are you gonna have!", and she immediately recites something that sounded french to me, to which he replies, "NEXT!" Oh no, it's my turn, I say to myself, what am I going to say?- I mean, I just want a cup of coffee right? I'm cold, all I want to do is warm up a little... that's all. But this guy, this tyrant, this Starbucks "Coffee Nazi" has me all worked up. So I step forward and say something like, "Uh...I'll have a skinny, super charged, peppermint, java express with cream". He looks at me and dryly says, "What size?" Huh? "WHAT SIZE?!" Oh uh, medium I guess. "What's your name"? name is James I proclaimed - proud that I knew the answer so quickly.
A couple of seconds later the girl behind the counter called my name, I picked up my order and was in warm, caffeine bliss shortly after. As I approached the exit I caught the eye of a gentleman who was wearing a stylish, tan leather jacket. He looked to be in his mid 40's and appeared to have all the answers. He gave me a look that said "You're in the club now pal". I looked back as if to say, "I have a cool jacket too I'm just not wearing mine right now".

So it is with new found confidence that I leave the warmth of the building and enter into this bold new latte' universe, caffeine infused and well equipped to handle anything that life hurls my way. Now maybe I'm ready to jump onto the sushi bandwagon I say to myself as I once again pass the fashionable new squid joint. Nah,one culture shock to my system is enough for today.