December 22, 2005

Da Shoit!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:07 pm

All Star Shirt Front.jpg

All Star Shirt Back.jpg

Da Story:
In the post entitled, “Buggsy’s Onions,” I described the softball game that preceded the cookout, which, in turn, involved Buggsy’s Onions. I described how, at the outset of the game, Uncle Buggsy’s team members all whipped out shirts that said “Buggsy’s All Stars” on them.

Well, late last night, I received an e-mail from Cousin Jack (Uncle Buggsy’s son and a participant in the game), who forwarded me the above images. He reminded me that it was I who sent him the shirt several years ago. He’s right about that.

As best as I can recall, I came across this shirt in the dusty attic of my parents’ home when they were relocating to a different home in Jersey. That would have been roughly in 1986. The shirt sat in a dusty box in my basement for many years, until several years ago (perhaps ten years or so — I’m not sure), I came across it and decided to send it to Jack, because, as you can see, it was the shirt he wore (He was “Jackie” back then and, to some, he still is).

It is clear that no one of dared wash the thing, as I doubt the lettering or even the shirt itself would hold up. We estimate the shirt to be somewhere between forty and forty-two years old.

I can’t figure out whether this is a Christmas present to or from Uncle Buggsy. Either way, I figure he’d be’d have a big grin on his face. I just know it was great remembering it all and getting another look at the shirt.

Thanks, Jackie.

December 21, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:14 pm

I give you Mr. Helpful on the subject of Sportsmanship:

The father who stands up at his eight year old kid’s Little League baseball game and screams at the umpires, screams at the coach and screams at his own kid is not a “bad sport”. He’s an asshole. Which means he isnt just like that at the game…he’s like that no matter where he goes. He’s the guy who cuts into line at the grocery store. He’s the guy that gets into a fistfight over a goddamn pack of cigarettes. He’s the guy who knocks over anyone in his path on his way to grab the last $19 DVD player at Walmart on “Black Friday”. No well intentioned, feel good study is going to change this guy’s behavior. About the only thing that might work is to give the silly bastard a swift kick to the nuts twenty times a day for the next ten years. Then, and only then, he might soften his behavior and treat the rest of the world with even a semblance of respect. (Read the whole thing)

Years ago, my band was playing weekends at a local saloon and, for one reason or another, I had packed up my drums and left them locked up in a storeroom at the place so that I could pick them up later in the week,

When I arrived at the saloon, there was a meeting being held in the large room where the band played on the weekends. It was a meeting of about eight or nine men sitting around a long table. When I arrived (they couldn’t see me by the nearby storeroom), they were in the middle of a huge screaming match. They were pounding on tables, accusing one another of bad faith and downright cheating. There was lots of finger pointing and cursing. It appeared to me that, at any minute, a brawl was about to break out.

My initial assumption was that this was perhaps a union meeting of some kind, or perhaps even a political or business meeting, where tempers can sometimes flare up.


It turned out that these guys were the local Little League Coaches and what they were fighting about in a most unpleasant way was that year’s player draft. Who would get which players for his team was the issue about which they were carrying on like lunatics and appeared to be close to fisticuffs.

Mr. Helpful is right. Assholes.

Sure. Where Do I Sign?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:05 pm

I just received the following e-mail, in which the sender appears to be trying to sell me a watch:

Good day to you sir,

Precision crafted timepieces are perfect gifts.

All REP LIKAS have alike look N feel of original product.

These REP LIKAS are more like the originals than any others available.

Offer expires soon! Visit our site to g rab the 0ff er.

I’ve been searching far and wide for a watch that has alike look N feel of original product. I think I’ll order a dozen.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:04 pm

I had to go to the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles today to have my non-photo driver’s license upgraded to one of the fancy-schmancy holographic ones. New Jersey, to its credit, now has stringent requirements for proving one’s identity and current address in order to receive or renew a driver’s license. As such, I had to dig out my passport, military separation papers, social security card, and a recent utility bill showing my address in order to properly prepare for what I expected to be a painful ordeal.

To make matters worse, Mrs. Parkway had to go as well, because it seems that the social security number in the Motor Vehicle Agency’s database did not match the one provided to the Agency by the Social Security Administration. The notice she received made it clear that, until all that was sorted out, her license would not be renewed. She also had to dig up a pile of papers to prove her identity.

I have had many experiences over the years with the State’s Motor Vehicle Agency, and each time it was about as pleasant as being forced to spend a couple hours in the Port Authority Bus Terminal Men’s Room while people holler at you. This time needing two license renewals and having to grapple with a disconnect between the Social Security Administration and the State Motor Vehicle Agency, I feared an impending double dose of bureaucratic bludgeoning.

I had heard people say that things have drastically changed for the better at the Motor Vehicle Agency, but, being a native of New Jersey, I wasn’t buying any of it. After all, it was Jim McGreevey’s nightmare of an administration that supposedly straightened things out at the Agency – all the more reason to be skeptical.

We walked through the door fully anticipating to spend the next few hours in something like the Third Circle of Hell.

It wasn’t like that at all.

In fact, as compared to my prior experiences with the Agency, this visit was like entering the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. There was a reception desk staffed by three smiling people who asked the purpose of the visit and then dispensed the proper form to fill out, along with a number. I was instructed to complete the form and take a seat to wait for my number to be called.

My number was called before I even finished with the form. No waiting!

I sat down across from a very pleasant woman who examined all my forms of identification, clicked away at her computer and directed me to another equally pleasant woman to have my photo taken. I wrote a check, had my photo taken, and was directed to take a seat to wait for the delivery of my new license. In what was probably less than three minutes, the very pleasant woman produced my new license.

Mrs. Parkway, even with the extra stop she had to make to sort out the Social Security glitch, had her picture taken about the same time as I did. We were delivered our licenses at the same time.

We were in and out of there in approximately twelve minutes, and everyone was nice.

I spent the next few minutes in shock.

I am not shy about complaining about politicians and bureaucracy in New Jersey, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Things really have changed for the better at the Motor Vehicle Agency.

I am, however, still in shock.

December 20, 2005

Defining “Victory” in the War on Terror.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:57 pm

Jersey Blogger, TigerHawk, has given plenty of thought to the matter, and it’s well worth your reading time.

Poor Santa.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:18 pm

First off, let me say that if I carried a camera with me on my walks, this post would consist only of a photograph. I will, however, do the best I can to describe the picture I would have taken if I could have taken one.

The owners of one of the houses on my normal route must be very fond of those big inflatable lawn things. I have written about these inflatable things before (e.g. Santas and Ghosts). Towards the top of a small, sloped front lawn was a very tall inflatable Santa. On the lower portion of the sloped lawn (closer to the sidewalk) was an inflatable Grinch, wearing a Santa hat.

When I passed this morning, the two characters were in a state of mid-deflate (mid-inflate?) and were bent all the way forward at the “waist”. Santa’s nose was right up the Grinch’s ass!

A most troubling image.

December 19, 2005

“Buggsy’s Onions.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:24 pm

Buggsy.jpgDuring this morning’s walk I found myself thinking of relatives who are no longer with us. It probably has something to do with Christmas and our ever-shrinking Christmas Day guest list. Of course, most of my thoughts were about my parents, about whom I have written a bit in the past and about whom I suspect I will write more in the future.

About halfway through the walk, I thought of Buggy’s Onions, and it made me smile broadly enough that passers-by may have thought me to be some kind of nut.

Anyway, “Buggsy” was my uncle (my mother’s brother and Cousin Jack’s dad). Back in the Stone Age when I was college puke, Uncle Buggsy goaded me into a softball challenge. I was to assemble a team of my cronies, several of whom were also college pukes, and he would form a team comprised of other uncles, some guys from his American Legion Post (Buggsy was a WWII Navy Vet), and the “kids” in the family (i.e. the younger cousins, including Cousin Jack).

Uncle Buggsy had a distinct knack for keeping a straight face, while riding one’s ass. At the time he said stuff like, “Look, I don’t care that you guys are all in college. My guys will clean the floor with your guys.”

Of course, being a dumbass college puke, I absolutely could not permit a bunch of “old guys” and “kids” whip our asses, so I even went so far as to recruit a couple ringers. Hell, one guy I recruited, a brother of a friend, could hit a softball about a mile.

Game day came, and the better part of our family showed up, as did a dozen or so of my friends. The plan was that the game would be followed by a cookout.

I know … I know … What about the onions? I’m getting there. It was a long walk today.

So, the teams assembled. My team was ready to rock, having been subjected to some pre-game trash talk (all G-rated) by Uncle Buggsy.

Once we determined which team would bat first, Uncle Buggsy gave the cue, and everyone on his team produced a white T-Shirt on which were stenciled stars surrounding the words “Buggsy’s All Stars”. It was quite a sight to see Buggsy’s Legion Post buddies and the “kids” all don their homemade team shirts and take the field. An effective psychological ploy, I must say.

The game itself was a riot, with Uncle Buggy’s team bending, stretching and sometimes outright breaking, the rules, much to the delight of the spectators and the exasperation of the “umpire,” who was another friend’s dad, who thought that his job was to be a real umpire.

OK, Jimbo, so what about the farookin’ onions?

Relax. I’m getting there. I’m on a roll here.

At one point in the game, I hit a ground ball to Uncle Buggsy’s friend Huey, who was playing second base. Huey was also a WWII Navy Vet. Huey must have figured, “There is no way that this college puke is going to beat me to first base. I’m a gottdamned veteran.” At the same time, I figured, “There is no way that this old guy is going to beat me to first base.” So each of us put our heads down and ran for the base as fast as we could. Unfortunately for both of us, we arrived at the base, full-speed at exactly the same time. CRASH! Huey and I collided full speed and knocked each other ass over teakettle. When we finally dragged ourselves off the ground and inspected for broken bones, the spectators were still howling.

It was a crazy game, but in the end, we beat Buggsy’s All Stars, as I suspect he knew we would. We may have scored more runs, but in terms of making sure the game was a hilarious bit of fun, he and his team were the winners.

After the game, Buggsy had another surprise. He presented me (as the Captain of the College Puke Team) with a homemade trophy. It was a softball that was spray-painted gold and affixed to the top of some kind of fancy black cylindrical perfume bottle, all of which was mounted on a black spray-painted piece of wood. I proudly displayed that thing in my parents’ house for years.

Yo, Jimbo! Heartwarming story, but when are we going to hear about the onions?

Sheesh! OK, here’s the part about the onions.

After the game, Buggsy manned the grill. The fare was the usual hot dots and burgers. However, he also had a pot on the grill in which were thinly sliced onions that were for use on the hot dogs. They were in a reddish-orange sauce, and they were delicious.

One of my friends and band mates, Tatsy, who was fully nine years older than I and already had graduated from Cornell and completed a four-year stint as a Naval officer, absolutely LOVED the onions.

He approached Buggsy and said, “Buggsy, these are absolutely the best onions I have ever tasted. Would you tell me how to make them?”

Buggsy, with his trademarked straight face, said, “I’m very sorry, but I can’t tell you that, because the recipe is a well-kept secret.”

Tatsy, being older than all of my cronies and more of a gentleman, thanked Buggsy and stated that he understood why Buggsy would not want to reveal a secret recipe.

On several occasions after that, Tatsy raved about “Buggsy’s Onions” and tried to duplicate Buggsy’s secret recipe, with very little success.

Several months after the game, I had occasion to be sitting around with Uncle Buggsy, and I asked him what the story was on his “secret recipe” for onions. He laughed and said, “I don’t have a secret recipe. Those were a jar of Sabrett’s onions that I bought at the supermarket.” Sabrett’s was a brand of hot dogs that were widely available back then and were often sold by pushcart vendors. They were often served with a reddish-orange onion sauce. The hot dogs and onion sauce were so popular that the company marketed them to supermarkets.

Fast-forward more than thirty years.

A couple years ago, I saw Tatsy for the first time in more than thirty years when we all assembled in Colorado for the Band Reunion. We were grilling hot dogs and burgers, and Tatsy was inside working feverously over a small pot. He brought the pot outside and proudly displayed its contents to me saying, “Taste these; they’re ‘Buggsy’s Onions.’ I think I finally figured out how to make them.”

I tasted the onions. They were quite good, and I said, “Congratulations. I think you’ve finally gotten it.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth.

Uncle Buggsy, who passed away about three and half years ago, would have pissed his pants laughing at it all.

Epilog: Apparently Sabrett’s has sold out to a larger company or has gone out of business. However, it is obvious that Tatsy was not and is not the only one trying to figure out how to make “Buggsy’s Onions.”

**Photo of Buggsy lifted from Cousin Jack’s Blog. I figure that neither he nor Uncle Buggsy would mind.

December 18, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:37 pm

“Like a banana, it is on the sweet side, but don’t let the fruity taste fool you into uttering the famous last words, ”Ooooh, this is delicious. I could drink these all night.” Try it, and you’ll be flat on your arse, because this stuff packs a 99 proof wallop.”

I Didn’t Heed My Own Advice.

Yesterday, daughter TJ came by to help with the preparation of the Christmas golabki gwumpkies, one of the items that can be prepared in advance and frozen. After that, she helped with other Christmas preparations that have reached critical mass here at the House by the Parkway.

Then the trouble started. We decided that a bottle of champagne sparking wine would be a good idea, and we made short work of a bottle. I then said, “Hey, would you like to try so 99 Bananas?”

“Sure” was her response. That’s my girl.

After TJ called her husband to inform him that she would be staying the night, we tossed back a few icy cold shooters and then began “experimenting”. Wound up mixing the 99 Bananas with Kahlua and milk on the rocks and topping it off with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Delicious. So delicious, in fact, that before I knew it, it was 1:30 in the morning and the Kahlua was gone and there was barely a shot or two left in the bottle of 99 Bananas.

This morning, TJ looked normal and was, in fact, quite chipper. I, on the other hand, looked like warmed over shit and felt worse.

Yoot. There’s no substitute.

December 16, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:27 pm

Spray can.jpgI was making one of my regular visits to Two Nervous Dogs and saw that Dogette, as part of a pet store adventure, bought some something called Cat-B-Gone, which is granular stuff that you pour in places where you don’t want kitties making kitty doo.

That got me to thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a product called Asshole-B-Gone. I would like it to be in liquid form that could be packaged in a pocket sized spray can. Wouldn’t it be great if, when you’ve had just about enough of a particular Asshole, you could spritz him and instantly banish his sorry ass to someplace like the Phantom Zone? Once spritzed, they would get all meta-flaky, just like people did on Star Trek just before they were teleported off the spaceship.

Say you’re sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and the guy across the room insists on treating everyone to his half of a long, loud cell phone conversation. You could pop your spritzer out of your pocket and give the Asshole a squirt. “Adios, Asshole!”

Or, how about the guy in the seat in front of you in economy class on a packed plane who decides that he absolutely must have his seatback in your face for six farookin’ hours? Wouldn’t you love to pull out your little spray can of Asshole-B-Gone, reach over the top of the seat and SPRITZ!! “Buh-bye, Dipshit.”

Ahhh, then there’s the person in front of you at the checkout counter who stands there for five minutes while the checkout person scans in all the purchases and renders a total on the register, and ONLY THEN does the Asshole reach for his/her wallet/purse and begins rummaging around for money or a credit card . “Yo! Did it come as a complete surprise to you that at the end of this process you would have to pay for your purchases?” SPRITZ!! “See ya, Asshole. No charge.”

I hope Santa reads this post and leaves a year’s supply of Asshole-B-Gone under my Christmas tree.

December 14, 2005

“Vacation” Day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:53 pm

I took a vacation day today. What the hell every happened to using vacation days to actually spend the day taking it easy?

The day began quite normally, with a morning walk, although the temperature was a bracing fifteen degrees, and with the hawk biting, I actually had to pull my watch cap over my ears. It was still good though – except for having to constantly watch the ground directly in front of me to keep from stepping on the ice that was all over the farookin’ place.

The next six hours was spent schlepping around a shopping mall. The crowds were tolerable, but it would not have been my first choice for things to do while on “vacation.” But, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Fa la la la la.

Next stop was, yes, the mondo liquor store to lay in the Christmas supplies. I also had to pick up some stuff for the Post. All together, it wound up being two shopping carts worth. They know me well at the mondo liquor store.

As promised in yesterday’s post, I picked up another bottle of 99 Bananas, and one bottle each of 99 Apples and 99 Blackberries (the store did not have 99 Oranges). I tried the 99 Apples, and it is more apple-y than the apple flavored vodkas I have tried (e.g. Friis, Smirnoff), which, again, could permit it to masquerade as something milder than apple-flavored vodka, when, in fact, it is higher in octane (99 proof) than typical vodka (80 proof). I like it fine.

Nothing like a restful “vacation” day.

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