Category Archives: General

Various articles of which I have no idea how to specifically categorize…

Of Bouncers and Doormen…

imageI have the opportunity to work as a “doorman” at a very nice Irish restaurant and sports pub in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on alternate Saturdays and when needed during large events. In my opinion the food is always very good. Delicious, large portions and beautifully presented. The staff is courteous, personable, attentive, friendly and, most importantly, fun! I like working with every one of them and like them on a personal level as well. In fact, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the managing partner and his staff if it was in my power. I view this establishment as my establishment, not from an ownership point of view but from the standpoint that this is the first place I would bring my family and friends to for food and entertainment on a regular basis.

I’ve worked as a “doorman” before…in an Irish bar, known as Paddy’s Irish Pub located in Norfolk, Virginia, during the 1980’s. It was a “lively and rowdy” place and the clientele consisted of young, single women, sailors and Marines. Sadly(?) it’s gone now, replaced by a women’s shoe store.

The clientele who frequent the restaurant of this establishment are a more genteel and varied mix. From young families in their twenties and thirties who bring their children in for chicken fingers and fries to couples in their 30’s through 50’s who come in for date night and a quiet dinner by the fireplace, to those families who bring the grandparents in. The restaurant/pub is the venue for birthdays, anniversaries and other various celebratory events. In addition, the establishment hosts various charitable events as well and is active in their local community.

Patrons of the pub are generally men or couples between mid twenties to sixties who come to watch the many sporting events displayed on the multiple televisions throughout the pub and patio area. Almost every kind of sport is televised. Not only the main four of football, baseball, basketball and hockey but MMA fighting, cycling, rugby, soccer and others. The patronage varies depending upon the events being televised.

That all changes on Friday and Saturday nights and this is where me and my fellow “doormen” come in…

On Friday and Saturday nights we get a younger “demographic”. Many “young adults”, those who have just reached the legal drinking age, come in to the pub to get together to enjoy each other’s company and to enjoy the entertainment on those evenings. On Friday we generally have a DJ which is when we get the larger of the younger crowd but we also get a substantial number during the live music on Saturdays as well. This is when the establishment requires “doormen”. Some call us “bouncers” but we prefer “doormen”.

Let me explain the purpose of the “doorman”. We are not there to intimidate or be surly and gruff. We are not there to prove that we’re tough. Our first and foremost purpose is to welcome you to the establishment and ensure that those not of legal age are not served alcohol. We do this by checking IDs at the door of the establishment. House rules in our specific establishment are that no one under the age of 21 is admitted to the pub area without parents or legal guardians. During special events or when we have a large crowd we frequently issue wristbands to identify those who are over 21. This is to make it easier for you to be served alcoholic beverages by making it easier and faster for our bartenders and servers to identify you as one who is of legal age.

To establish who is of legal drinking age we thoroughly examine your drivers license, state issued ID or passport and, if we are not certain your ID is valid, we will ask for a second form of ID. House rules in our establishment are to ask for ID from anyone who looks as if they’re 35 or younger. Most young adults are very cooperative when we ask for ID. However some get offended and others get belligerent. It is not an insult to ask for your ID, it is a compliment. In addition, I’m 60 years old…everyone looks young to me. To those who are belligerent at the door you will be refused entrance. If you’re already giving me an issue before you get in then arguing with me or insulting me is NOT going to convince me to let you in and drink alcohol so you can become a BIGGER problem.

To those who are underage who try to use fake IDs to get in. We are not trying to “spoil your fun” and underage drinking is not a “game”. If an establishment is caught serving drinks to underage people they can lose their license and be closed. Though many of the bartenders and servers enjoy working with the public the reality is that they do what they do for a living. Working at this establishment helps them pay their rent, pay their bills and supports their families. Some are single parents who are not only trying to support a family but go to school to better their lives. The establishment has a large staff of not only bartenders and servers but management, hostesses and hosts, a chef, cooks, kitchen staff, food runners and dishwashers. All these people depend upon this establishment for their livelihood. You’re underage and drink? We get closed by the Liquor Control Board and all these people lose their jobs, just because you were selfish and wanted to have some “fun”. As doormen we’re not being your personal “buzz kill”….we are protecting the means by which the staff provides for themselves and their families.

Our secondary purpose is to ensure that everyone had a good but SAFE time and that one persons’ good time doesn’t infringe upon somebody else. We like our patrons. Our establishment is one that generates its income by providing good food, drink and a good time. We don’t make money if we have to ask people to leave. We want our customers to enjoy themselves but do not condone behavior or actions that may injure themselves or other persons. If two or more buddies start wrestling or punching each other as a joke, we’ll step in as we’ve found that sometimes this type of clowning around gets out of hand. Somebody falls or hits his buddy too hard and that person gets hurt. Or somebody falls into another customer or accidentally punches another customer and that customer either gets hurt or a physical altercation gets started…then a number of people get hurt.

If you start to dance on a barstool we’ll have you get down. We don’t want anyone to fall or get hurt and, not to sound snobby, but anyplace where families bring their children in to have dinner is not the “barstool/bartop” dancing type of establishment.

If we believe someone is inebriated we will thank them for their patronage but refuse to serve them any further, ask them to call a cab or UBER and have them to leave. Once again, we like and appreciate our customers and we are glad you choose our establishment to enjoy yourself. But we want you to get home safely so that you can visit us again at a future date.

As a “doorman” at a few establishments over the years I have viewed the behaviors outlined above and have experienced negative feedback from some patrons which prompted me to write this article. We want people to patronize our establishments. Your patronage also pays our wages and we appreciate your business. The better time you have in our establishment the more you will come and visit us. This makes our establishment more successful and ensures that we’ll be here for you to visit in the future. It is my hope that this article helps explain our role as doormen and helps to better your experience.

Thanksgiving

IMG_3422the sunrise…on the way to Starbucks Newtown, Thanksgiving 2013

When I was a little kid I would eagerly wake up on Thanksgiving morning, turn on the tv and await the arrival of Santa Claus and the Christmas season at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After breakfast and the end of the parade my parents would dress up and dress me and my brother up in jacket and tie and my sister in a nice dress. We all then went to my grandparents on my fathers side, Mom Mom and Pop Pop for Thanksgiving dinner with my Aunt Barb, Aunt Ellie and Aunt Harriet and all my cousins some of who I liked alot, some of who I liked….all of who I saw too few of since they were Jehovah’s Witnesses and Thanksgiving being the only holiday we all celebrated. It was also “Surprise Day” on which all the kids received presents.

However I think my favorite part of the day was piling up all the leaves from the forest at the bottom of the hill that was behind their house, going to the top of the hill, which looked so big when I was a child, and running down to jump in them. All the cousins used to do that along with Judy Happle, the girl who lived across from my grandparents. My cousins used to tease me by saying she was my girlfriend which I would vehemently deny but truth be told, she was a cute dark haired girl, with hair cut in a “pixie cut” and had a beautiful elfin heart shaped face and I really DID like her.  Our parents, being the smart parents they were and blessed with common sense, would pack play clothes. The dress up clothes were just for our grandparents sake. Once they saw how nice we cleaned up we were allowed to change and go out to play.

Mom Mom made turkey with all the trimmings. Walking into the house and saying “hi” to Pop Pop, sitting in his overstuffed rocker with the ships helms on either side supporting the arms, the house would smell sooo good. The kitchen was far too small to seat everybody, at least 15 people, before my cousins Tracy and Bonnie were born, so a long table was set up in the living room, though quarters were still tight as Mom Mom’s Wurlitzer organ still took up a lot of room. Another favorite thing to do was pick leftovers off the turkey with my Dad in the kitchen until we got yelled at. For dessert Mom Mom made the BEST Carrot Cake….so moist and delicious and NO raisins….it was wonderful.

Everything was closed back then…. I don’t even remember grocery stores being open then. This was a time when the father worked and the mother stayed home to care for the kids. I don’t even remember the local gas stations being open….maybe the ones on the interstate.

So on that day, families got to be together….and we enjoyed being together…at least the kids did. I don’t remember tension or grownups arguing either. We as children were brought up being taught that fighting and that kind of behavior was not tolerated on the holidays. And woe be it unto the child who upset Mom Mom or Pop Pop and disturbed the peace of the day. You were going to be nice, polite and on your best manners if it killed you…..because if you weren’t chances are your parents WOULD kill you when they got you home….And you know what? It was nice….and it has made for some of my most pleasant Thanksgiving memories….

Nowadays my Thanksgiving traditions consist of getting up early in the morning and going to Starbucks in Newtown PA. Though I am against shopping on Thanksgiving Day and feel somewhat guilty about Starbucks people working and though I would not be unhappy if they did close to give the staff the day to spend with family, I AM extremely grateful that they ARE open and I can get a quick breakfast, rather than having to cook at home. As a token of my gratitude I make it a point to leave a large tip and thank every barista working (thanks again Anna, Gretchen and Matt).

I then go home and prepare the turkey. We have a deep fried turkey. I have a great electric Masterbuilt Turkey Fryer that my wife got me from QVC about 3 years ago and have cooked the turkey this way ever since. It’s pretty much goof proof (except if you forget to push “Start” like I did this morning) uses peanut oil and will do a 14 pound turkey from beginning through the resting period in 2 hours and 15 minutes. While I’m cooking the turkey I’ll sit on the porch and drink hot spiced mulled cider with my cinnamon stick while listening to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” on WXPN. I used to listen to WYSP but then they went to talk radio and, though I love and respect Pierre Robert dearly, I find that in my late 50’s WMMR has gotten a little too headbanging for my Thanksgiving Day listening….. In addition to “Alice’s Restaurant” Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving” has become another must listen tradition as well…..

My brother will come over for dinner at 2:00pm with my wife, son and mother in law. He will then play video games with his nephew and sleep off the turkey coma on the couch…

This evening we’ll go over to my father’s for dessert and to turn in our Pollyanna slips for our gift giving at Christmas Eve….

Not a big Thanksgiving as Thanksgivings go but a satisfying one for me none the less……..

Writing Sucks

I first got the idea to write a blog after reading a particularly vexing article on MSN.com.

I read MSN in the morning to get my news. I start with MSN than move on to Military.com as I am retired Navy and, as I served this country for 20 years, am still very interested in its’ defense.

Daddy, what did you do in the Navy?

Daddy, what did you do in the Navy?

After Military.com I check my personal email accounts (two) and the email account for the small classic motorcycle repair and restoration shop my father and I operate.

1955 Triumph T110
1955 Triumph T110

I then peruse my personal Facebook page to follow my friends. some which I’ve known since junior high, some former Navy shipmates who are scattered to the four points of the compass and others I have been fortunate enough to acquire as life goes on. I also check the shops’ Facebook page at Collins Classic Cycles.

However I am of Irish, German, Welsh and (supposedly) Scottish descent and, though I try to resist, I occasionally see an item in one of my news sources listed above which will suck me in and provoke me to passionately(?) state my case. It could be the last presidential election, social engineering and women in combat positions, the lack of civility in today”s society, gun control and the Second Amendment, the bullshit that is “political correctness” (see “social engineering” previously), the scandal that is the watering down of Maker’s Mark Bourbon or the inane fascination that the American public has for the antics of Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift or anyone from the cast of Jersey Shore while the pack of jackals that is the current Congress/Government (all 3 branches!) runs our country into the ground.

Gratuitous Kim Kardashian photo

Gratuitous Kim Kardashian photo

 I don’t even recall the article that made me lose my mind and say to myself “That”s it! I’m throwing my somewhat inconsiderable and uninteresting opinion into the journalistic fray that is the blogsphere!!” I don’t even recall what I hoped to accomplish with this futile action. Stress relief? Venting?? “I might get a readership and make a difference???” Mental masturbation????

All I know is that I suddenly thought that my insight was worth touting. I had a lot to say and would comment on a wide variety of topics. I would freely say what I was thinking while being bold, brash and outrageous doing so. I would be thought provoking! Shocking! Entertaining!

However wanting to do a thing and actually doing it are two different affairs. What you were once so eager to begin, which seemed so simple and straightforward in theory, suddenly becomes near impossible in practice and instantly all kinds of roadblocks rear their ugly head.

Time…

As I get older I have found time is the most important asset anybody has in life. When you’re a kid time seems to go on forever. You can’t wait till Christmas. It’s gonna take forever till your birthday. Why is Math class sooooo long? It seems as if you have forever when you first start out in life.

You look forward to your 16th birthday so you can drive. If your civic minded, you can’t wait till your 18 so you can vote and change the world. “I’m gonna party like it’s 1999 when I turn 21!”

However nobody knows how much time one has on this Earth. You could live to be 110 or die in a car accident or of disease at the age of 7. Should you be one of the lucky ones who lives till “middle age” that misleading perception of time as forever becomes clearer when you get older in life.

Your next big event is at 50 when you’re eligible for your AARP card. At 55 you begin to become eligible for Senior Citizens discounts. And finally at 70 when you reach full benefit age for Social Security and can become a greeter at Wal-Mart to supplement your income. Our future generations may not even have that to look forward to.

Time speeds up after 40 and it streaks by in particular when you decide you want to work on a specific project or towards a specific goal. All of the sudden days seem like hours, an hour seems like 30 minutes and 10 minutes go by in the blink of an eye. (Unless you’re on an exercise bike…. THEN time crawls…)

In addition you find that, once you’ve set a goal, ALL these other demands on your (non – existent) SPARE time suddenly come out of the woodwork. Cub Scouts has two races in two successive weekends. Not only do you have the actual races but the extensive preparation involved prior to. There’s a school spirit night at the local pizzeria. Your child can’t understand his homework then proceeds to argue with you on how YOU’RE doing it wrong and something that should take 10 minutes winds up taking an hour and a half and now its time for the  twice weekly (at least) karate class. Throw in the bi-monthly Cub Scout den meetings and the monthly pack meeting and your  months are full. And this is the winter schedule! It doesn’t even count the upcoming yard work and property repair that will begin in spring.

This coming weekend I’m hosting a birthday party at karate in the middle of the day on Saturday and it’s CCD, Scout Sunday Mass then the Blue and Gold Cub Scout banquet on Sunday so this weekend is shot.

Even your days go fast. I get up in the morning at 5:30. I work out, have breakfast, get my child up, fed and ready for school, get showered and dressed, read the news and emails then head off to work. After work I drive home, do the aforementioned homework debacle with my son then off to karate or Cub Scouts and by the time the day is done it’s 10:00pm. You hit the ground running in the morning and don’t stop til bedtime.

So when do you have time to work on your goal(s)?

Writers block….

It is a shame that one cannot write while one is showering, shaving or driving. When performing one of the aforementioned tasks my mind is incredibly active. I can hypothesize the secret to time travel in correlation with the speed of light while driving, clearly divine the solutions to world hunger and the path to world peace while trimming my ear hair and easily comprehend the Grand Unification Theory while scrubbing my armpits and groin.

You have all this subject matter available to you. Current events, politics, the economy, social issues, gun control vs Second Amendment, gay marriage, gay Boy Scouts, religion, entertainment, food, music, the arts, travel. There is a wealth of things that you read about and contemplate as you go about your daily life.

But when you sit down in front of the computer to specifically write a blog? Duuuuuhhhhh…..nobody’s home. You can’t think of  damn thing…..

Then there is the practice of self – censoring….

You think about the wealth of personal opinion and stories that you could postulate but then think  “No matter how funny the story is, Uncle Roscoe will be camped out on his front porch with a loaded shotgun next Christmas awaiting my arrival if I write about the time he got drunk on Thunderbird and got pulled over in a Chevette with those 5 dwarf Panamanian cross dressing prostitutes.” or “John’s wife will kill him if she finds out that we really had a bachelor party for him at the local strip club rather than go to the local Mormon bible study the night before his wedding, 22 years ago.”

As to commenting on politics or current events in today’s society you become concerned that, though you are a decent and principled person,  your opinion, though you have a right to it, may be viewed in a dim light by those who have very prejudicial and narrow  opposing viewpoints and may affect your social or professional standing. You don’t so much care about how people perceive you as they perceive the organizations or businesses you belong to. And that they may decide to have a little “get together” to show their disapproval at those organizations for tolerating your membership…

KKK intolerance

Finally, there is your own perception that the piece you just wrote and agonized over for the last week and a half absolutely sucks……as I am doing now.

So, based on the above I have come to the conclusion that writing sucks.

Despite that I still have the urge to put pen to paper (or fat fingers to keyboard) and contribute my small and inconsiderate dribble to the general discussion. After all, someone once said it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes or make a mess, it’s better than doing nothing. Who knows…maybe with practice I’ll get better at this.

Or worse…..

 

 

 

 

 

The End Of “Heroes”…The Persecution Of Lance Armstrong.

Came across the following story on MSN.com this morning;

USADA to ban Armstrong for life, strip Tour titles

After years of persecution, unannounced surprise testing (all which came back negative), various accusations by publications and individuals and a recent two year federal criminal investigation, which yielded no charges, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which has as of yet produced no physical evidence and based on hearsay, will strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles and ban him from competing for life.

Though an eloquent man can express himself without vulgarity this is an instance where nothing drives the point home like the occasional 4 letter word…….

This is bullsh*t!!!!  Where is the “effing” physical evidence?? Does the “burden of proof” now fall to the accused??? Are we now all guilty, based on hearsay, until proven innocent????

“If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and — once and for all — put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?”

Lance Armstrong has had enough. The mental and physical toll of fighting all the accusations over all these years has finally wore him down. I wish the guy would continue the fight to clear his name but what kind of life is it where you work so hard to achieve something great but then constantly have to defend your accomplishments?

“The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.”

The full Lance Armstrong statement can be found here; http://msn.foxsports.com/cycling/story/lance-armstrong-statement-not-fighting-us-anti-doping-agency-charges-082312

Why is it we can no longer believe in heroes? What is it in our beady little brains that, rather than celebrating the possibility of further greatness in human achievement and looking to someone as example of how good we can be, we instead look to that example as making the rest of us look bad….and follow the pack mentality of dragging someone down to wallow with the rest of us in the mud?

I am not a naive person. If there were a shred of conclusive physical evidence produced then verified by a second governing body I would accept that Armstrong did cheat. But this has gone on for so long and he has been investigated by so many different organizations. And he has passed through it all.

Yes, Lance Armstrong has made a lot of money from his achievements. But what has he done? He started the Livestrong organization to help those with cancer. And he has been an inspiration, not only for those with cancer. But for many who have a dream of accomplishing something. be it cycling or other challenges in life. Not the actions of a cheater.

Lance Armstrong has beaten a cancer that he was only given a 10% chance of living through. Why can we not believe that someone who worked to overcome such an event can apply the same discipline towards his sport?

He is a personal inspiration to me by what can be achieved through discipline and hard work, coming back from the very depths of struggle (near death) to achieve the pinnacle in the most grueling test of human fitness and endurance in the world.

You go on and believe that there are no more heroes….

Lance Armstrong will always be a hero to me.

 

Starting a Blog…Humble Beginings

this is one of my goals in life….

I’m a 56 year old retired submarine sailor with a wife and two sons. One in his mid 20’s, former Marine with two tours in Iraq, who now attends school. The other is 9…he also attends school. He was a big surprise at my age. I thought I was going to be a boat bum out of Mystic Connecticut at this stage of life…not married, with a child in elementary school, living miles inland, away from the coast. Oh well…

I’ve started this blog for a number of reasons. One was to comment on various subjects I find interesting,vexing, some downright perplexing.

As for my interests they cover motorcycles, sailing, bicycling, grilling, traveling, drinking and music.

The things I find vexing are the current state of our “government by the people and for the people,” the general lack of civility, the increase in rudeness and downright animosity, the lack of common sense and the total absence of common respect and courtesy for one another in today’s society.

Perplexing is the popularity of Lindsay Lohan and the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

Another reason is that, kicking and screaming, I am being dragged into the 21st century. I’m attempting to familiarize myself with social media, the preeminent way of communication and opportunity these days.

When I was a young adult the PC and Mac didn’t even exist. The first desktop I saw was something called a Tektronix Desktop Calculator. It was one big computer about 2 feet wide by 18 inches high by 2 feet deep. The keyboard, cpu and monitor were all one piece with an integrated mag tape drive. The screen was a green Cathode Ray Tube and the graphics were primitive (see the movie “War Games”). The magnetic tapes were about the size of a VHS tape and that was what your files were stored on.

playing “Star Trek” was so cool on these things…..too bad the commanding officer of the submarine had no sense of humor about using the expensive Sonar computer for gameplaying….

So I am diving into the future with this blog. I hope you find it entertaining, amusing, thought provoking and informative. This first post is a little tame. They should get more interesting when I figure out what I’m doing. Cheers!