REAL MEN: MY FRIEND PETER

An addendum to a chapter I so proudly wrote several years ago.  Peter Martin. 

Peter was simply an amazing, loyal, generous, kind friend and father figure to me.  When he passed several years back, I wrote these words to attempt to encapsulate his character and, moreso, his meaning to me.  Not sure I did that any justice.

Thank you, Peter.  Think of you often.

Real Men.

———————————————————————————————

My Friend Peter

We lost our friend Peter.

I never really knew Peter until about 10 years ago when he was hired at my company.  I knew his family.  I knew who he was.  But I did not “know” him.  At first I was a bit intimidated by Peter.  He was a seasoned executive.  Confident, calm and certain of himself, Peter was a serious businessman and I was not sure how we would mesh?

Very quickly I discovered this man would become much more than a co-worker, but one of the best men I have ever known.

During this period, my family was going through a very difficult time and I was distracted personally to say the least.  As I attempted to separate work from home, Peter was the person I was spending most of my time with and, naturally, he learned all about my life.  What Peter did not know was that he was quickly becoming my soundboard whether he liked it or not.  What I did not know, but quickly learned, was the incredible character and compassion that this ‘stranger’ possessed and just how much he would help me during these tough times.  I can only pray he knew that?

While too young to be my father and too old to be my brother, Peter and I shared a special bond.  Our friendship was extremely unique.  He could give me smart advice like my Dad, but also make an inappropriate joke like a best buddy.  Our friendship was perfect.

Also, during these early days with Peter, I uncovered his incredible generosity.  Peter’s generous and giving spirit was on display each day I was with him.  Peter was generous in every sense of the word; generous with his kindness, generous with time, generous with his knowledge, and certainly generous with his wallet.  As a very proud father of four himself, Peter knew I was being challenged at that time and needed a lot of help to get through it, and treated me like a son.

As we grew closer and spent many great times together, it was clear that Peter loved talking about one subject more than any other; his family.  Not just his wife of more than 30 years and their incredible children, but his brothers, sisters, his Mom and Dad.  I often would mock him when he would start to tell a story I had already heard by cutting him off and finishing it for him.  He loved the ribbing.

Many may not realize but Peter was a sentimental and emotional guy too.  Despite the macho, ‘team-Captain’ persona he gave off, he was a softy deep down.  After a bad day or a difficult situation I would frequently receive an encouraging note or text always ending with…

“Luv ya, P.”

Those little reassurances let me know he was in my corner no matter what, and I will never forget that.

Over the coming days (weeks, months and years) I am confident you will hear similar stories and memories of Peter.  I sincerely hope his legacy lives on with these stories because if Peter knew about anything in this world, it was how to be loyal.  Loyal husband, dad, son, brother and friend.

I just hope he knew I was always in his corner too?

Thank you for everything, my friend.

Rest easy.

‘Luv ya’ too buddy

Just go, Man

The world is weird right now.

Very weird.

Last I saw, our world is on standby.  School.  Work. Church. You name it.  It’s all on hold for now.  We are being told (forced?) to stay home.

Weird times.

That said….what a remarkable opportunity we have been presented. Right?.  When, if ever, in our lifetime have we had a guilt-free period to simply “be”? Yes, there is a worrisome pandemic, but I would like to believe most of us will avoid and manage this scare with a bit of resolve and practicality.

And so, why not embrace this time?

Grab a book.  Grab a board game.  Grab a loved one.

Cook that recipe you have been afraid to attempt.  Pick up that guitar you have been staring at.  Take that long walk you always have in mind (with your dog or your significant other. No judging here).  Love-the-one-you’re-with kind of vibe, kid!

Go!

Send that card to Nana.  Mix that cocktail. Scoop that ice cream!

Just go man!

Why not?

I am the biggest, sarcastic hypocrite ever, but hey…let’s give it a shot.

 

A Tale of McNuggets: I’m Loving It

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, by definition:

“The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of processed chicken meat that is fried in batter and flash-frozen, then shipped out and sold at McDonald’s restaurants.

McDonald’s first executive chef, René Arend, created the Chicken McNuggets recipe in 1979. “The McNuggets were so well-received that every franchise wanted them”, said Arend in a 2009 interview. “There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken”. Supply problems were solved by 1983, and Chicken McNuggets became available nationwide.

According to McDonald’s, the nuggets come in four shapes: the bell, the bow-tie, the ball and the boot. The reason for the four different shapes is to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety. Four shapes were chosen because McDonalds states “The 4 shapes we make Chicken McNuggets in was the perfect equilibrium of dipability and fun. 3 would’ve been too few. 5 would’ve been, like, wacky.”

Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t give a crap about the invention of McNuggets nor their God-fearing nutricional UN-value.  I don’t.  And if you care to comment at this stage of this column I respectfully ask you to take your opinion to the nearest Wendy’s.

This is a story of McNugget Lore.  A love story.  A story of passion and poison.  Gluttony and greed.  It has all the elements of a Michael Douglas B-Rate thriller coupled with the spoiled-oil grease trap cooking these American legends across our great land.  McNuggets are the Broad Stripes and Bright Stars.  The Purple Mountain Magesty.  The Amber Waves of Grain. Deep fried deliciousness.

OK, you get my stance.

And now to the long overdue story….

About a year ago….we will call in ‘Ought ’18, a few of my closest and dearest were enjoying some well-deserved Friday Beers over some conversation and comradery at one of our favorite watering holes in the mighty Mill City.  In our spirited discussion, the wildly popular topic of food naturally arose.   More specific?  Fast Food.  Despite the incredible pressure and political-correct-crapness to insist this cuisine is taboo and should never grace our pallets; lets be freakin’ honest for one Millennial second.  If you are a child of the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s….you loved yourself some drive-thru.  Of course you did.  You wouldn’t be human or from the USA if you didn’t.  One thing made you happier than anything else; The HAPPY Meal.  And thence into beauty.

McDonalds, above all of the other gullet-stuffing, caloric-Titanic-disasters of the fast food chain made us all smile in a guilty but genuine glee.

As such, the gang and I all waxed poetic about the delicate decadence of the Chicken McNugget.  Oohs and Ahhs quickly turned to bravado…

“How many McNuggets could you take down?,” one member of our crew shouted.

Insane mathematical impossibilities were exclaimed.

“40!”

“No way, I can do 60!”

“I got 100 in me on an empty stomach!‘ screamed the most clearly inebriated of the clan.

Arguments, fuzzy logic and Venn diagrams even appeared within this classroom of cocktails.

And then a calm and sober voice interceded.  A leader amongst us.  The proprietor of this famed Lowellian water hole.

“Hey….I’ll buy Nuggets and let’s give it a test run.

(Collective gulps).

He continued, “I saw a deal they (McDonald’s) are running right now on special.  40 nuggets for $10.”

The crowd now silenced like the spectators at the Roman Colliseum following a Gladiator death match.

Nods and hesitant (Boston accent) “Shahs” followed his proposal.  And then, he was off like the childish Red and Yellow Clown Ronald himself.

Our bravado soon turned to healthy fear of a Weekend at BURN-ies with a side with a vomitous chicken collision.

I’d like to tell you how we had the greatest eat off since Lard Ass in the Pie Eating Contest in Stand By Me.  I’d love to brag how eating giants Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi were weak shadows of greatness compared to what we were about to take in during this stomach stuffing for annals of history.

But, I can’t.

The real legend in this story is the Fearless Leader and Procurer of the above stated magnanimous amount of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

He mosied in to the nearest Mickey D’s and laid it all down…and they didn’t know how to pick it up.

Calm and confident he stated his demands….

Can I have 200 Chicken McNuggets, please?

Pimple-Face Paul on his first day at the Golden Arches nearly collapsed.

One moment, sir,” Paul choked, “I need to see my Manager.”

No problem,” our fearless faux-chicken-buying General responded.

As poor Paul raced to the back and tracked down Second Shift Manager Scotty, the hollow echoes across this grease pit began to stir.  This was happening.  The day this staff had all been preparing for since they launched this value-friendly coronary offer to the general public.  Scotty attempted to compose himself and visited the counter to confirm this unprecedented request.

(stuttering and disheveled) “Hello, sir.  Um, did my associate get that straight?  You would like 200 Chicken McNuggets?

“Yeah, that’s right,” retorted our hero.

“OoooooK, then, ” Scotty replied in a shear state of disbelief and turned to head back to the kitchen to simply digest (giggle) this magnanimous confirmation.

Reluctantly, Scotty turned back to the counter made the mistake of asking…. “Do you want that for here?  Or to go?”

And this is where this silly tale of processed meat became epic…

“I’m going to have it here.”

At this stage, every single employee, patron and bystander stood petrified in awe, amazement and fear.

And just when you thought our Champion could not make this scene any funnier, he uttered his final words before he let these Soldiers of Preservative-Filled Fortune off the hook with a laugh.

“Oh, and a small diet coke.”

History.

P.S.  I knocked back 30 nuggs without breaking a (meat) sweat later that day.

The Juice is Loose…on Twitter

Grab the popcorn, folks, cause this is gonna be fun.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson has joined Twitter. (ok, that was a link to my feed – just click “Follow” and we will move on)

 

To follow the REAL Juice, here it is TheRealOJ32

And faster that you can utter the phrase “If the glove don’t fit, you must….” OJ has over 600,000 followers!

Wow.  What does that say about the world?  Simple, we all want to be entertained and I have a hunch ol’ #32 will bring that to the ‘Sphere.  So far, OJ has posted three short selfie videos.  The very first one is most intriguing when he proclaims he’s “got a little getting even to do…”

And what do you mean by that does that mean, Mr. Simpson?

Also, how about the fact he makes this big announcement almost exactly 25 years to the day he was alleged (and I by alleged, we all know he did it) to have brutally murdered two people.  We see what you are doing Juice.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a stab (oops) at mocking this new gift granted to our social media lives.

So let join in the revelry with some early ones I have heard,…

“OJ will be using Slashtags instead of Hashtags”

“Surprised he didn’t use the handle @IDidIt”

“His first follower was the LA Police Department.”

“Sure, OJ is on Twitter but that is not gonna drag me away from Judge Ito’s Instagram”

“OJ and Twitter go together like a hunting knife and leather gloves.”

And the jokes could go one forever.  Won’t even begin the long line of Kardashian quips that could be made (yet).

So, highly suggest you give the 71 year old future Hell of Famer a follow.  Its sure to be interesting.

Personally, I prefer to remember ‘the-pre-double-murder-silly-clumsy-Naked Gun Nordberg’ OJ Simpson

 

P.S. Imagine that fact that OJ isn’t even the worst guy in this picture?

P.P.S. My Dad said “he was a nice guy” when he met him earlier this year BUT I am also pretty sure OJ gave him cancer.  Can’t prove it.

CIBF&C POWER RANKINGS: WORST MONDAYS OF THE YEAR

Come Monday

It’ll be alright…”

     -Jimmy Buffet

I’m calling huge bullshit here Jimmy.  Get back to San Francisco and sober up yourself and those Hush Puppies, chief.

Monday.  Just saying the word elicits an emotional reaction; mostly a negative or depressing one.  Monday is that that sadistic teacher that gives a pop quiz on a, well, Monday.  Monday is the overbearing, micro-managing boss looking for your TPS reports before you sit down at your desk.  Monday is the traffic jam.  Monday is the rain.  Monday is that coffee spill on your shirt.

Monday.  Sucks.

But as bad as almost each and every Monday is, there are some especially terrible ones we need to endure throughout the year (today being one of them).

Here are you rankings of THE WORST MONDAYS OF THE YEAR:

10.  Monday after a Screw-off-Friday

You ditched work/school for no good reason.  You may have played the fake sick card.  You may have just played hooky.  It feels so damn good when you are doing it, but you know there is going to be a price to pay.  Start thinking of excuses STAT.

9.  Monday after Thanksgiving

Coming off, what I consider, the best non-vacation week of the year, this one is hard to swallow.  You ate and drank way too much over the previous 5 days.  You need to start thinking about the anxiety of Christmas.  Oh, now you need to wear a jacket everyday.  Shit.

8.  The other 43 Mondays of the year not on this list

Yeah, all of them

7.  Monday with a hangover

While we can not assign an official calendar date these Mondays, we have all had them.  Perhaps you took it too deep at that cookout.  Went a little bat shit at the tailgate.  Perhaps an out of control Bar Mitzvah?  Doesn’t matter, staring down the barrel of a long week, you do not want to be staring down the barrel in your office trying to hold off the pukes.

6.  Monday starting a new job or school

Another date that may not occur on an annual basis, this is one of the worst.  Going into a new routine, new people, new boss/teacher/AA Sponsor….its all a giant ball of stress and now your anxiety has finally arrived.  This hallmark Monday deserves the middle finger and a Stone Cold Stunner.

 

5.  Monday with Guilt

Also known as ‘Apology  Monday’ another, unspecified date on calendar but we have all had these.  Most common in the college era of life, you wake up and know you need to face some demons.  You have a class with ‘that girl’ you made out with like the plane was going down in front of 63 people.  You have to see those dudes from the hockey house whose sink you pissed in.  You have to encounter the co-worker you drunkenly outed at the company outing Saturday afternoon.  It’s a Monday full of embarrassing “I’m sorry(ies)”.  Only remedy is bail on all commitments and just hide in bed. Time heals all.

5.  Monday (AKA Tuesday) after Labor Day

Obviously, this is not a real Monday, but you get the same feeling only worse.  Why?  Summer is officially over.  School is back in session.  All those ambitious projects you have been putting off in the name of ‘it’s summer, everyone relax’ are punching you dead in the face.  Thank God for football; the only thing that takes this sting out (See #1)

4.  Monday after Christmas*

This specific Monday ain’t all that bad.  You still have a few more ‘carefree’ days before the new year begins.  Everyone is faking it today and the rest of the week, but hey, its still freaking Monday and I would rather be in my Jam Jams watching cartoons and drinking hot chocolate/vodka.

3.  Monday after vacation

All vacations come to an end.  As refueled, re-energized and rested as you think you are, walking back in to the office, the classroom and any other obligatory location is the worst.  Insert pit in stomach.

2.  Monday after New Year’s *

This is a really bad (oh and look, it’s today!).  Excuses are gone.  Holiday cheer is dead.  Vacation is over.  Its time to get your shit together, Skippy, and it just plain sizzucks.

And our #1 Worst Monday of the Year is…..

1.  Monday after SuperBowl

Yes, this Monday get the #1 slot in our rankings.  Whether your team is in the Big Game or not, this Monday sucks the worst on a number of levels.  Football season is over. Its is freaking cold and snowy and no relief in sight.  It’s still dark out at 5PM.  There is nothing to do but sit inside and dwell on your misery (insert more of that hot vodka here).  No other sports to really give a shit about at this juncture.  But wait, look its Valentine’s Day!  Double Farts!

6 weeks until St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness.  8 weeks until The Masters.  12 weeks until you can even think about a golf club.  This really is the Grand Daddy of All Suck Ass Mondays.  You, Madam, are a giant bitch.  (NOTE: Add a SuperBowl loss by YOUR team – call the suicide hotline)

*Denotes this “Monday” can be alternate day of week depending on work/school schedule

So, yeah. Happy New Year.  Pffffftttttt.

Happy New Year!  We are all doomed!


And so as we close out half of this decade (am I the only one that thinks 1999 was like 3 years ago?) this evening, I thought I would offer a basic and easy-to-understand overview of the Presidential election landscape.  Politics is really not my thing – at all – but is this not the most bizarre field of candidates you have seen?  It’s more like a reality show than a run for the White House.

Anyway, here is a simple chapter and verse rundown of our future leader….

HILLARY CLINTON

Supporting Hillary is like supporting that stay-at-home, overbearing, bitchy PTO mom everyone hates but no one will say it even though she will ultimately screw you over and give half of those brownies you made away to the lunch lady for free at the annual bake sale.
BERNIE SANDERS

Supporting Bernie Sanders is like recreating Back to the Future. Doc Brown (Sanders) convinces naive Marty McFly (the American people) that stealing plutonium from Libyans in the name of scientific advancement could cost you your life. What does that mean? I don’t know either, but this guy is moon bat, shithouse crazy and needs a straight jacket.

DONALD TRUMP

Supporting Trump is basically sucking up to that snotty, pushy rich kid that had all the best toys, game and parties but you don’t really like him and he will inevitably screw you and everyone else over if given the chance.  HUGE!

JEB BUSH

Supporting Jeb Bush is the equivalent of becoming buddies with the head coach’s son cause you know you will make the team and get some varsity action. Just go along with what Daddy says and everything will be fine for you even if the rest of the team suffers.

CHRIS CHRISTIE

Supporting Chris Christie is like supporting pizza. Always seems like a good idea til you eat the whole fucking thing alone and now find yourself filled with regret (not to mention pizza)

AND….

As for the rest of the field….might as well flip a fricken’ coin. Who “sucks less” in this race is what we have on our hands.

Insightful, I know.

Vote your conscience because logic and reason won’t help you in November.

USA!! USA!! USA!!

HAPPY 2016!

Good night and God Bless, suckas!