April 2008 issue

Crackin' Down!!

Irene & I tried out a new Italian restaurant in the neighborhood recently. We've passed it several times going to and from work, and stopped for dinner the other night.

Our server at Johnny Brusco's was obviously brand new to the world of waiting tables. We ordered a bottle of red wine and I was immediately carded! I laughed, said I was flattered, and was told... "No, really! I have to see some ID!"

I finally proved I was old enough to order alcohol and asked what reds they offered.

She suggested the Mir-Lott!


Buy Cheap, Get Cheap!

I really don't want to bitch and moan about stuff, but one company in particular has my Irish up! It's "Mr. Sandless", a franchise operation specializing in restoring hard wood floors without the mess of sanding a layer off the top.

The promise? The floor is first thoroughly cleaned and then any holes or gouges darkened with dirt are cleared to bare wood. Then their special chemical surface is applied, filling in all scratches and imperfections leaving a perfectly smooth, high-gloss, durable finish.

The reality? I could have gotten the same results by pouring buckets of acrylic over the old floor without bothering to do more than sweep it first. Actually, that method would probably have been smoother than what we wound up with! And, after just six months, high traffic areas are already worn down to bare wood and look as if the floor hasn't had any care in a couple of decades!

And what was Mr. Sandless's response? I don't know. He filters all calls through an answering machine and won't return my calls. I thought I was going to save about 50-% of the cost and all of the hassle of dry sanding the floors, but instead I got ripped off for a few hundred bucks.

Don't let it happen to you!


Yo, Bro... Zup?

Doing promos for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for about a year now, I've done Tom Jones, Sting, Howie Mandell, and lots of other performers. But this time, I had to get down wit my bad self and stroke a black magic carpet ride with soul sister Mary J. Blige and the pop-top of Hip Hop, Jay Z, together in concert! I've never felt so white in my whole life!! Listen!


A Taste of Curry

I've never been a big fan of basketball, but I've had a few times when I've been totally excited and entertained by the game. One was when I got to see Michael Jordan play here against the original Charlotte Hornets, years ago. Another was a couple of weeks ago when Davidson played Kansas for a spot in the NCAA Final Four, and I saw a kid named Stephan Curry!

I admired his dad, Dell Curry, when he was with the Hornets. I met him once or twice. Nice guy, and a sincere member of the community. That was his son, Steph, I saw performing athletic miracles on the court!

Kansas won that game so Davidson didn't make it to the Final Four. But then, historicaly, Davidson never made it past the Sweet Sixteen and only reached it once, about fourty years ago! This year, they made it to the NCAA final eght... 3 games away from the national championship!

I live within ten minutes of Davidson, and pick up the college radio station on my TV, whether I want it or not... it's that close. And I sure am proud of what the Wildcats did this year, and of Stephan Curry for putting this sleepy little college on the front pages while keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Too bad they lost. I'd have given anything to see their next game, which would have been against UNC!

PTA = Puttin'
Teachers Away!

When I was a kid, we had "Show 'n Tell". Now, it seems, the kids have "Show 'n Kill"! I'm referring, of course, to the news two weeks ago that a group of nine-year-olds in Utah plotted to murder their 3rd grade teacher. One kid was going to knock her out with a crystal paperweight, another would bind her with duct tape, a third would cut her up with a broken steak knife, and the fourth member of the group was to clean up the mess afterwards. They took their "tools" to school... knife, handcuffs, tape, etc.Holy Crap!! I heard one caller on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" ask if anyone had bothered to check and see what the teacher did to prompt such hatred. What!!!??? It's the teacher's fault? This is so typical of the "Not-My-Kid" parent schools have to deal with every day.

My dear wife, Irene, is a teacher and has had to put up with death threats from kids who are barely able to read. And, still, she and legions of others like her continue to take on the task of preparing our next generation of leaders and losers, while facing hostility from parents, administrators and government bureaucrats, not to mention the kids!

Why do they hang in there? It sure as hell isn't for the money or the respect they deserve and never get.

What a screwed up world we live in!


It Does What??

"The hypothalamus is one of the most important parts of the brain. The hypothalamus controls the "Four F's": fighting; fleeing; feeding;
and mating."

(Actual statement from a Psychology professor teaching a neuropsychology intro course)

Remember When...
Real Estate Was A
Gold Mine?

If you're one of those who opted for a variable rate mortgage, an interest-only mortgage, or one of those super, no money down sub-prime loans, hang onto your hat! Real estate used to be a rather consevative investment, virtually guaranteed to make money for you while delivering geat tax benefits.

But we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto! Not only is there a mortgage crisis to make buying more difficult, but the recession is actually driving home values down. Bad news for some of those "creative financing" homeowners. Cost is up, value is down, equity is shrinking or gone!

The good news? If you're debt-free and have savings, it's a great time to buy!

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