Monthly Archives: May 2016

Graduation Gift Season


We are in the midst of high school graduations which means we are also in the midst of graduation gift season.  I imagine most graduates would like to get that shiny new car as a graduation present.  I also imagine that most will be disappointed if that is what they are expecting.

My boys are all a few years past this milestone and each received the ubiquitous, but practical gift of a laptop computer to take with them to college.  A friend pointed out to me that today is the anniversary of my high school graduation.  Of course many things have changed since I graduated, especially in all things dealing with technology.  So, when I graduated I was happy to get an electric typewriter that I could take to college.  It served its purpose and made it through most of my higher education.  Its usefulness was diminished by a fire that occurred in my apartment one Thanksgiving break.  The typewriter survived but afterwards was prone to randomly skip spaces while typing and the return no longer worked properly. (Today’s graduates will have no comprehension of  that last sentence.)

So what is the right gift for the Class of 2016?  It seems that money still has not gone out of style and is appreciated by graduating seniors.  Bicycles, laptops and luggage are popular and useful gifts.  Gas cards are popular, but not too exciting.  Board games also remain popular.  It is interesting to see the gifts “not to give” to graduates – these include teddy bears with “Class of 2016” on them, paperweights, children’s books (“Oh, The Places You’ll GO”) and pens.

I can understand most of those on the “not to give list” but pens?  I know a pen is not the most exciting gift in the world; however a good pen is a very practical and useful gift.  Plus, a pen is a gift that will last for many years.  As I mentioned I received a typewriter for graduation and it was useful for several years.  I also received other gifts, many which have been long forgotten.  There are two graduation gifts that I received that I still have.  My Uncle Earl and Aunt Marie gave me a gold Cross pen and pencil set and Mr. & Mrs. Young, the parents of the girl I dated my senior year of high school gave me a silver Cross pen.  I have used the gold pen and pencil set rather sparingly over the years, apparently I am waiting to grow up or something before I can use them on a regular basis.  But I still have them and appreciate them.  The silver cross pen is another story. It has seen a lot of use over these years and it definitely has a good deal of wear and tear.  I think the wear and tear give it character and when I pick it up I am reminded of all that has happened since that day when I thought I had become an adult.

If you are a graduate and someone gives you a nice pen for a gift, do not look down on it, it might very well be with you longer than any other gift in your graduation treasure chest.  The pen is mightier than the sword and they both last a very long time.


Friday Funny May 27, 2016 Sad Times in Cincinnati


Happy Friday!  Hope you have a great weekend as we greet the unofficial start of summer.  Take some time to pause and ponder the purpose and meaning of Memorial Day.  

The baseball season is in full swing, but alas, it is not all joy in Mudville or Cincinnati.  So my advice is to find some humor in it, there is a lot of season left.


One morning in elementary school, the students were going to a geography class. The teacher wanted to show the students where cities and states are.

The teacher asks the class, “Does anyone know where Los Angeles is?” Billy raises up his hand and says, “It is in California!”. The teacher replies, “Very good, Billy!, now can anyone tell me where Houston is?”

Suzy raises her hand and says, “That’s in Texas!” The teacher again says, “Very good.”

Trying to confuse the children, she now asks, “Where’s Cincinnati?” Tommy raises his hand and says, “Oh! Pick me!!!, I know?” The teacher says, “OK, Tommy where is Cincinnati?”

Tommy replies, “Last place.”


I heard that the US Post Office was going to issue stamps with pictures of Reds relief pitchers on them, but they decided not to sell them because people could not figure out which side to spit on. 

What’s the difference between a Reds relief pitcher and a professional bowler?  A professional bowler knows how to throw a strike. 

What’s the difference between the Reds and dirt? Not much, they can both be easily swept.

The other day was take your daughter to work day. The Reds players had a great time and played a little scrimmage against their daughters, unfortunately they lost, 8-2.

What does Cincinnati Reds Manager Bryan Price have in common with Alex Trebek? Both of their jobs are in Jeopardy. 

I was going to buy my grandson a Cincinnati Reds jersey, but then a noticed the tag that warned that it was a choking hazard. 

Thinking about the Reds relief pitchers this year:

  • I doubt they could save a Word file.
  • Not sure they could hold a lead for a dog.
  • I’ve seen more heat in an EZ-bake oven.
  • I’ve seen better pitchers at a Tupperware party.
  • I’ve seen better pitchers in Kool-Aid commercials.
  • I’ve seen better arms on a box of baking soda.
  • I’ve seen better arms on the Venus de Milo.
  • They remind me of Pac-man…walka, walka, walka, walka.
  • They could not pitch biscuits to a hungry dog.

Thought for the Week

“A baseball game is simply a nervous breakdown
divided into nine innings.” ~ Robert Earl Wilson

Before the Bad News Bears There Was the Shiloh Ft. McKinley McDonalds Little League Team.

MCD Baseball

In 1976, the movie, “The Bad News Bears” was released.  It was the story about an aging, down-on-his-luck ex-minor league baseball player who coaches a team of misfits in an ultra-competitive California little league.  About five years prior to that I was on a team that may not have been a bunch of misfits, and did not play ultra-competitive baseball, but I know we did not win many games.  Perhaps someone saw us play and decided to make a movie about it?

I think that I along with Eric Bissonette, John Sharp, Tom Foster, Chris Abston, Jeff Anon, Rickey Dietz, John Genovesi, and the rest knew a little about how to play baseball and Mr. Sharp, our coach, definitely knew how to play baseball.  However, as they say, our knowledge did not quite carry over into proper execution and the result was that we just did not win many games.  If my memory is correct I think we won two games while losing fourteen that year.

Still, I had the opportunity to play baseball that year and the next (I think we doubled our wins the next year and won four while losing twelve).  I learned a very valuable lesson those two years that I have used every year since then.  I learned how to lose.  Have you noticed that, in our society today, we do not talk much about losing?  Everybody loves a winner, right? Yet, that is one of the beautiful things about baseball, everybody loses and even the best team can expect to lose one-quarter to one-third of its games.  So, if you play baseball very long, you better learn how to lose.  I had the opportunity to learn a LOT those two years.

Let me make this clear, I do not like to lose, never have and never will.  But we are told from childhood that “you can’t win them all.”  So, therefore one can expect to lose at least once in a while. 

Mr. Sharp knew baseball and I do not think Mr. Sharp enjoyed losing, but it was evident that he enjoyed teaching us kids, not only about baseball but about life.  I still hate to lose, but these days I don’t sulk off on a solitary walk home to blame my Mother for  my losses.  However as a view the world around me, it appears that learning how to lose is a lesson that many folks, young and old, would benefit from learning today.

Just a few weeks ago Mr. Sharp passed away.  He touched many lives and left us all better for it.  There may not be baseball in heaven, but if there is, I have a feeling Mr. Sharp has season tickets to watch the Angels play.

Friday Funny May 20, 2016 Maybe You Should Just Stay Home


Happy Friday!  As the school year winds down and summer approaches, many of us might be drawing up those summer vacation plans.  However, some people should not be allowed to travel past the end of their driveway as demonstrated by the following (purportedly true) questions posed to travel agents.


What is the safest seat on a plane if it crashes?

Is it safe to drink the bath water in Mexico?

Does the sun set there?

Is this the same moon we see at home?

Do I have to use my real name to buy the ticket?

Is there a walking tour on the cruise?

Can I get an aisle seat on the airplane so that my hair won’t get messed up?

How long is a one-day pass good for?

What time does the 9 o’clock ferry leave?

Exactly how many miles of undiscovered cave are there?

Why were all of the battles during the Civil War fought in National Parks?

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii.  After going over all the cost info, she asked, “Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?” 

A man called, furious about a Florida package we did.  I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando.  He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, “Don’t lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state.”

A woman called and asked, “Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to who?” I said, “No, why do you ask?” She replied,

“Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I’m overweight, is there any connection?” I explained to her that the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

A woman called and said, “I need to fly to Pepsi-cola on one of those computer planes.” I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane. She said, “Yeah, whatever.”

A woman called to make reservations, “I want to go from Chicago to Hippopotamus, New York” The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent: “Are you sure that’s the name of the town?” “Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the customer. After some searching, the agent came back with, “I’m sorry, ma’am, I’ve looked  up every airport code in the country  and can’t find a Hippopotamus anywhere.” The customer retorted, “Oh  don’t be silly. Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!” The agent scoured  a map of the state of New York and finally offered, “You don’t mean  Buffalo, do you?” “That’s it! I knew it was a big animal!”

Thought for the Week

Travel ought to combine amusement with instruction; but most travellers are so much amused that they refuse to be instructed. ~G.K. Chesterton, “What Is America?”, What I Saw in America, 1922

Friday Funny May 13, 2016 Signs You Have Picked a Bad Motel

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 10_54_35 AM

Happy Friday the 13th!  Now that winter is behind us and Memorial Day is just around the corner, perhaps it is time to start planning for vacation travel.  Unfortunately, despite your best planning, sometimes, your choice of lodging does not always work out as well as planned.  If you pull up to your destination for the evening and have second thoughts, here are some signs to help you decide if you have picked a bad motel.


  1. The parking lot is gravel.
  2. Sign out front proudly proclaims that the motel has air conditioning and a color TV.
  3. At check-in you are informed that all “non-infested” rooms have been taken.
  4. George Washington really did sleep there.
  5. Complimentary newspaper in the lobby has headline “Nixon Resigns.”
  6. Coffee syrup is available twenty-four hours a day.
  7. The mint on the pillow runs away when the light is turned on.
  8. The pictures on the walls are strategically placed over bullet holes.
  9. You have to wait until the guy next door is done with the towel so you can use it.
  10. There’s a chalk outline on the floor and part of the room is blocked off with yellow tape.
  11. Wakeup call is provided by police helicopters.
  12. Occasionally the lights dim, and a man’s muffled screams can be heard in the distance.
  13. The pool doubles as a wet lands wildlife habitat.
  14. Hotel clerk has an eerie resemblance to Norman Bates.

Thought for the Week

And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel:  it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.  ~Dave Barry

Friday Funny May 6, 2016 Things Mom Did Say


Happy Friday!  This weekend brings us that day when we celebrate Mothers.  There are many things that Mom told us when we were little.  Here are a few of her “greatest hits.”


There are two options for dinner  – take it or leave it.

Do you want me to give you something to cry about?

Don’t you get smart with me.

What part of “no” do you not understand?

I don’t care who started it.  You stop it now!

“I don’t know” is not an answer.

You WILL eat it and you WILL like it!

You will have fun even if it kills you!

I brought you into this world and I can take you out.

Do I look like a maid?

Is it my job to pick up after you?

A little birdy told me that….

A little soap and water never killed anybody.

Answer me when I ask you a question!

Are you going out dressed like that?

Bored! How can you be bored? I was never bored at your age.

Don’t make me come in there!

Don’t use that tone with me!

Don’t you have anything better to do?

Go to your room and don’t come out until you can behave.

I’ll treat you like an adult when you start acting like one.

I’m down to my last nerve.

Do you think your socks are going to pick themselves up?

Don’t go out with a wet head, you’ll catch cold.

Don’t pick that scab, it’ll get infected.

How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it?

If you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to play outside.

Put that down! You don’t know where it’s been!

Someone is going to end up crying.

When you have your own house then you can make the rules!

You can’t find it? Well, if you’d put things where they belonged, you wouldn’t have this problem.

You don’t always get what you want. It’s a hard lesson, but you might as well learn it now.

Don’t EVER let me catch you doing that again!

You could grow potatoes in those ears!

You will ALWAYS be my baby.

You’re going to put your eye out with that thing!

Your father is going to hear about this when HE gets home!

Thought for the Week

A mother understands what a child does not say. ~Author Unknown