Saturday, May 29, 2010

That name STINKS!

Do you ever wonder how some products get their name? I was looking at a recipe for some Cajun flavored rub and it called for some ‘Old Bay’ seasoning. Really is this the best name for anything associated with food? When I think of an old bay, I think of rotting wood and stinking fish parts far past their prime. Especially with all the troubles in the gulf, can you imagine if I started marketing ‘Oily Bay’ Louisiana hot sauce – who would buy it?

Look at the board game ‘Yahtzee’ - it has a pretty unusual name. If you think it sounds like some sort of high-brow expletive, your guess would not be bad. In fact the game’s origins are traced back to a wealthy Canadian couple’s diversion aboard their yacht in mid 1950’s. The game was originally known as the “Yacht Game” until the toy maker E.S. Lowe purchased the rights (followed by Hasbro)and marketed the game nationally under the brand name ‘Yahtzee’ in 1956.

Probably one of the more famous names that everybody has heard of but nobody knows what it means is ‘WD 40’. Yes the oily spray is probably at least a part of your home and car maintenance arsenal. The name translates literally to “Water Displacement , 40th attempt” and comes straight out of the chemist’s lab book in 1954. The stuff is believed to be derived mostly from fish oil and amazingly has an indefinite shelf life. As the name implies, WD-40 primarily repels water and hence inhibits rust, but its properties have proven to be a fairly effective cleaner as well.

Gee Yahtzee and WD-40 invented in the same year – no wonder the 50’s are remembered as the ‘happy’ days. No sorry, like a dead fish, that Old Bay secret mixture has been seasoning crustaceans for around 70 years or so. I think that is more than enough time to come up with a more palatable name … if not one that at least SMELLS better.

Red Red Vine

Now lets not quibble about it because you know it’s true. There are only two types of people out there and they are the Twizzler OR the Red Vines candy licorice addicts. There is no middle ground here except of course if you have some rare mental condition that allows you to actually enjoy REAL licorice.

While I freely admit that both Twizzlers and Red Vines are far more candy than licorice, I make no apologies for firmly falling in the Red Vines camp. I don’t ordinarily have a huge sweet tooth but my dentist has pulled all the rest of my smaller teeth. I do make an occasional exception however, for gummy Starbursts, Hot Tamales, and Bit O’ Honey candies. These sweet tidbits however, are no match for sinewy spiraled 3 pound TUB of Red Vines for a quick caloric rush of empty calories!

Now my Mother and my Aunt are very strange people. They actually pick out those nasty black, licorice flavored, jelly beans. Why is anyone in my family willingly eating something that looks like the yard leftovers after a frightened deer and rabbit convention? I never learn, as at least once a year I too will eat a black jelly bean just to try and remember why I hate them so. About once every decade, I also will still find and chew a stick of nasty licorice-flavored Black Jack gum and quickly understand why only old time candy shops sell the stuff. In the late 19th century when ‘Choo Choos’ were king, Black Jack’s claim to fame was that it was the FIRST ‘Chew Chew’ with FLAVORING and the first STICK gum sold in the U.S.

So are you a real black licorice fan with a historical appreciation for that nasty perennial or just a Walgreen’s wannabe ‘Vine-O’, like me requiring a candy intervention? Yeah I’m afraid I have gotten into the Red Vines tub too deep and I am spiraling down into an addicted out of control ‘Vine-oholic’. At least the warning signs are easy to spot. I’ll be the guy seeing RED, standing at the freeway off-ramp with a sign that reads … “Will NOT work for TWIZZLERS”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Boffo Waffle

I broke into a box of frozen golden waffles the other day and paused with reverent reflection. It seems I have enjoyed these sweet breakfast treats since I can remember. But unlike a fine wine critic, as a true waffle aficionado, I have never examined their texture, taste, appearance, and smell in detail.

Now that is a true shame since in most of the circles that I run with, baked goods ALWAYS outrank leftover, bottled ethanol forcibly extracted from fermented fruit. I mean let’s be honest here, have you ever really had an awful waffle – NO you haven’t! But most adults willingly volunteer and revel in their worst experiences with a nasty bottle of vile vino.

So I set out to compare what makes a frozen waffle so special. I tried the big round ones, the little round ones, the connected pair of rectangles, and the cavernous crenulations of the mighty Belgian. In fact I sampled every kind of waffle geometry known to man and even a few enlightened women. In short I did my research and I have the waistline to prove it. Please indulge me with a bit of poetic license for my summary review:

Oh frozen waffle so pale and yellow, your pocked mark exterior beckons me ’hello’

How can I resist your sumptuous ardor; when spying you alone, intoxicates more

I shall toast all shades , darkness and light; and then I will feast from daybreak to night

Syrupy sweet, melted tubs of butter; sugar powdered whispers, ‘YES – let’s have another’

Regardless thy name, the same FLAVOR at minimum; Orignial, Homestyle, Buttermilk and Cinnamon

Why must you taste so impossibly good; for my gut keeps expanding beyond where it should.

So take heed dear friends, tale true of said waffle; not a bad one among them - all were quite BOFFO!

REMEMBER – 90 Left

When you think of ‘extinction’, you’ve typically been taught to ponder the threatened rare and exotic flora and fauna around the world. Yes, somehow humans have made their presence felt in nearly every remote nook and cranny of nature’s grand plan, and are wildly criticized for speeding up its inevitable decline. However you are rarely asked to consider that indeed, some of those same humans are VERY SPECIAL and irreplaceable as well, but who will notice when they all, are soon gone.

Yes sadly John William Finn, (July 23, 1909 – May 27, 2010), an American Hero and Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, died yesterday. He was the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient that bravely distinguished himself at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Out of the 90 remaining distinguished Medal of Honorees, Lieutenant Finn was the oldest at 100 years of age.

The Medal of Honor is America’s highest military decoration. It is often bestowed posthumously to members of the U.S. armed forces, since by the nature of receiving it, the odds are very high that the honoree did not survive their acts of valor. In essence these folks are the best of the best, who faced the nation’s enemies and risked their lives, far above and beyond the expected call to duty.

So take a moment to remember Lieutenant Finn’s honorable service. Pause to notice the sacrifice of the 90 impossibly rare, true heroes that live-on of Finn’s breed. Revel in all of their accomplishments, heroism, and incredible love of country, that has somehow become increasingly extinct in today’s culture. Though eventually their bodies will fail, be thankful that these special American rarities can live-on forever in spirit, legend, and within the heart of every American true – all you have to do is REMEMBER.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Traumatized idols

With the exit of Simon Cowell on American Idol last night and the end of the television program LOST, this has no doubt been a traumatic week for many serially addicted TV watchers. I have not reviewed the actual market share numbers of these finales but no doubt the numbers will be big for their respective time slots and the broadcast networks who screened them.

I have never watched American Idol but I am well aware of Cowell’s acerbic persona and mop-haired ‘too cool for school’ image. I think I might like this show if they would get rid of the remaining judges, contestants, and the music, so I could be alone with my thoughts - now that’s GOOD TV. I have watched Lost a few times over the years but I cannot call myself a fan. Most of the time, the plot was so complex and the cast so large, I literally found myself, well … LOST whenever I tuned in.

It always seems the first few weeks and the last few weeks of a television show generate the most buzz and therefore the most viewers. So I have surmised that if I were a big shot television brain, I would come up with a new cable channel dedicated to screening ONLY pilot episodes and finales in my programming schedule. Think how much time my cable channel would save you if you only had to watch just the American Idol finalists named in one hour and then the winner crowned in the next?

And how about all those infomercials – who needs all the fluff and set-up when all we really want is answers to the big finish questions? Yeah, just tell us the payments, how many bonus gifts are included, and where in the recesses of my kitchen is there room for yet ONE more giant, un-used ‘griller spinner choppa choppa whiz bang’ gadget? Ok, since you’re now convinced that the finale of something is far better than the gooey nougat center, I had better cut this off before you get hooked. Yeah, if I wanted to traumatize all the readers who idolize me, I would simply SING … to myself!

Waxing Pathetic

It was a warm day and my car was in need of a good scrubbing and polish. Oddly that was just how my mother used to describe my monthly flea dip and shoeshine in my youth. So yeah the car had a little road grime and a few burnt offerings left from passing geese and some gum trees.

I went to the store to research bug and tar remover along with various wax and polish compounds. Now if you have not made this pilgrimage lately, I recommend you allow at least an hour. That’s right, there are about 50 different products among a dozen manufacturers to compare. Since I am so cheap I could immediately eliminate at least half of them but still that is a lot of warning labels to read when you’re an old guy with a drinking problem.

I was dizzy by the 7th or 8th product; it was pretty clear that all of these wax formulations taste ABOUT THE SAME. None of them want you to apply their polish in the sun or on a hot car. No problem there because when people see my car they describe it as anything BUT hot. These waxes all kind of look white, oily, and pasty – almost exactly like the goose stuff I am ALREADY trying to remove from the car. The fancy polishes come in bottles with high class labels but give you NOTHING to apply the stuff with for twice the price. The cheaper products come in a tin or plastic tub with a powder puff applicator pad.

If I am lucky I will wax my car maybe twice a year. Even after applying this new gunk I will still have about 95% of the bottle left over. That means even if I don’t like it, I will have to use it 19 more times – who knows I may be dead by then and I KNOW the car will be? Fortunately the car polished up well so I will not have to worry about a different wax for awhile unless my unibrow grows back in. It's pathetic though ... my car now actually looks too clean with its spit-shiny in-your-face sheen. I wonder where I can go park in the hot sun and scare up some geese to dot my car with their own special formulation of liquid wax?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bakery Fakery & Dubious Desserts

If a picture is worth a thousand words to readers, then for some bakeries and restaurants, a real 3-D representation of their food is worth a 1000 calories to their eaters right? More and more restaurants are not just making tasty food to eat, but they are offering up ‘demonstrator’ plates of entrees, breads, and desserts to entice you to buy and try new things. You know you’ve seen them near the menu board – an attractive meal or bread loaf all ready to go except that it is made of plastic or rubber.

Some of the fake desserts can look amazingly realistic and appetizing, which is the idea to help influence you to buy the real versions. When my kid was young we enjoyed playing together with her plastic fake food too. Yeah I would always look forward to my daughter serving up a hard plastic quartered waffle with butter pats, a syrup jug and a silver percolator full of simulated coffee. 1st generation toy foods for kids were pretty much limited to single color molded plastic. The kids would have to use their imagination so that ‘bright red wedge’ became a slice of pizza. But today, even toy foods have become amazingly realistic.

My wife recently attended a fancy function and the chef had prepared an attractive vanilla dessert cup with just a touch of thick caramel and chocolate syrup drizzles on top to make it look top drawer. It was served with a small fan of dark chocolate bark shoved in the side along a festive green mint leaf. My wife said it looked beautiful but as a fan of plain vanilla AND very dark chocolate, she said it tasted even better. One gentleman at my wife’s table took a bite of the ice cream but grimaced and was not impressed. He called the server over and asked for her to take the dessert away and bring him a cup of coffee instead.

In the meantime, my wife was later told that the chef was aghast because he had misplaced his ice cream dessert display cup that he had made. It was simply a realistic representation of the dessert for the servers to show the patrons. Though the chocolate and mint leaf were real, the ice cream was scooped from pure white shortening so as to hold its shape and texture during the dinner service. Apparently the poor guy at my wife’s table had just eaten a mouthful of SATURATED FAT! Though ice cream will never be the preferred medium for frying tater tots, isn’t it nice to know that REAL ice cream is still a healthier choice for dessert that the fake stuff?

Hygiene - Razors n’ Flossing

One of my least favorite personal maintenance tasks is shaving. Cutting my hair comes in at a close second but shaving is definitely first. I guess I just am kind of a ‘hair hate monger’ or something? My sensitive nature was probably damaged beyond repair when I won the ‘longest leg hair’ competition at music camp in 8th grade.

I have tried all kinds of razors but have kind of settled on an electric triple head job. It works ok I guess, but I actually try to spend as little time with it as possible. It is not unusual to make a 1 minute pass over the rough spots and call it good enough. The trouble is that I will get out in the light of day and find out I have eccentrically missed patches of whiskers randomly around the chin and upper lip. Generally now, my wife will make me pass a flashlight whisker inspection if we are going out to meet REAL people.

At a recent garage sale, I found an old Durham Demonstrator straight razor. Actually it is not really straight at all as it has the normal arc of an antique razor handle but the shaving end actually looks like a double sided comb. I did not know the name or anything about the razor but my wife collects small antique tools, medical equipment, or anything with some history. So I thought it would be a fun thing to own and a cheap research project since I only paid one bit (12.5 cents). Turns out it was the first attempt at a safety razor in good old 1907 since those comb teeth kept your fingers and face slightly back away from the blade. I don’t think they make blades for this thing anymore, but on-line it sounds like CARPET cutting blades are a substitute. Oh gee that sounds like good Halloween fun – shredding one’s face up with a carpet knife?

So for at least 103 years between the Durham straight razor and my electric Norelco, men have been dealing with these annoying whiskers? Why haven’t the NAIR people developed a nice acid paste to burn that hair off my face yet? You would think that along with all those Rogaine prescriptions being sold, there is also probably a little room for some ‘RoGOAWAY’ stuff too? Doesn’t it seem still a bit primitive to be sliding a honed stainless blade along your face. Who do these people think they are marketing to - RAMBO? Let’s get rid of this barbaric practice and concentrate on classier and flashier personal hygiene like dental care and flossing. That reminds me, I think I’m out of floss . . . no problem though, I can always farm a few yards of un-waxed from beneath my calf-length socks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just throwing it out there

You know sometimes when writing I just will run into a wall for new and fresh ideas. It feels sometimes that I have written on just about every weird topic so what’s left? Often I will have to go back and search my archives to make sure I do not start repeating myself. Nothing better in life than listening to an old man repeat the same story over and over right?

So today was one of those brainless days. Fortunately for me at least, these bouts of creative constipation usually do not last too long with so many broadcast and internet news sources at the ready. Yes I admit it, while most of you use the media for genuine information and entertainment, I have reduced its worth to a lowly mental laxative.

Anyway, my daughter and I were watching the mid-day news and one of the reports depicted how a full sized pickaxe, busted through a Washington state couple’s car windshield while on the freeway. The thing hit dead center and missed both front occupants of the car before embedding itself in-between the seats. If it were me, I could handle the flying Ax trauma okay, but having to re-glue that rearview mirror back on is what would haunt me for the rest of my life. Whenever I ride in a convertible, I always worry a little bit about rocks, road junk, trees, rain, and birds bombing me. But not once did I ever imagine a giant garden tool dropping in to bisect my ride.

Now since we’ve started down the path of ’throwing things’, the other news story that absolutely floored me today was a minor assault charge at a Philadelphia Phillies game. Yeah Phillies fans can be noisy, loud and legendary for their boisterous team enthusiasm; but nothing can match this New Jersey guy. This obviously drunk punk literally let things get ‘out of hand’ by shoving his fingers down his own gullet to PURPOSELY throw-up on the objects of his disapproval – a man and his kid. Hmmm, now I have something else new to worry about when riding in convertibles? I guess I should avoid parades for awhile – especially in drop-tops directly behind those big beer-binging Clydesdale horses!

Happy Feet

As summer approaches there are changes afoot in our house – namely the shedding of slippers and the switchover to flip-flops. Now I do enjoy something warm and cozy on my toesies during the winter but when it gets warm outside, I prefer to wander around in socks to even get the mail. Yeah they quickly turn battleship gray on the bottom but it sure beats walking barefoot. I actually cannot stand naked feet and wearing flip-flops. Who wants their feet violated by that rubber thong shoved between their toes?

I have always been a bit of a tenderfoot growing up. Even beyond my personal ban on barefooted behavior, at one point I had to have my shoes checked for allergies to my feet. The doc must have owned a ‘steak’ in a suede shop, because I was magically allergic to ONLY manmade shoes, not the pricey leather ones. I think my Dad probably thought I was pulling some kind of flim-flam foot scam but he gritted his teeth and paid for the fancy leather shoes anyway.

Now oddly my own daughter seems to love BOTH flip-flops and walking around barefoot. This is contrary to when she was but a young pup playing on blankets in the park. If we tried to stick her bare feet down on those spiky daggers of grass, she would immediately raise them up like a drawbridge. She never fought us putting on shoes and socks like a lot of youngsters do, so I thought her foot fortitude would be as low as mine someday. No, these days my kid will bound up the stairs, go outside, dance, or even walk in grass, with or without footwear now.

It is probably my mother’s genes that are at fault? Clearly my Mom’s propensity for walking or doing anything barefoot has skipped me and liberally infected my daughter’s generation. I’m starting to wonder if all these un-clad happy feet are just another ‘unTOEward’ scam (like my allergy angle) to keep those expensive pedicure places in business? No doubt my daughter will protest and of course disagree. Unlike her old man’s dirty sock-covered skis, my kid’s fancy feet are special and demand professional pampering and care. After all she’ll claim … they’re her best ‘FEETURE’!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The PERFECT potluck dish

This week I have been fairly busy with a lot of end-of-year banquets. It is typical annual stuff, mostly revolving around various teams and student send-offs. I always enjoy such events as it is probably the first and last time of the year that I can truly relax where nobody is really expecting much. If it is a catered affair, then I am really in heaven, since all the work is done for me. However, many events require some kind of pot-luck dish which should be a real PERFECT crowd pleaser if at all possible.

Somewhere in my past, I magically became the ‘bean man’. Now I find this title of mirth disturbing and not completely reverent of the care I take in preparing a highly seasoned and aromatic tray of baked beans. If I am particularly unhurried during the day, I might prepare my baked beans with strips of bacon or cut up little hot dogs. It always helps to add in a healthy portion of caramelized onion, your favorite brand BBQ sauce and a touch of garlic too. Cook ‘em slow and low to burn off excess moisture. It is kind of like a day spa for your beans.

But sadly I do not always have the time for the perfect party food and then I am reduced to warehouse club faire. Kids particularly like the pizza rolls but I can see the parent’s eyes narrow when I walk in with a tray of those greasy, caloric little pillows. No doubt they are planning to track me down in the future and blame me for their children’s struggles with obesity. Especially the swim team people seem to worry more about health so I will try to throw in a big bag of carrots to quell their health rebellion. I don’t prefer gutting fruit, so maybe grapes or watermelon is an ok party dish but forget the cantaloupe completely.

My pot-luck attention span, really turns lifeless if I am attending my own family functions. Yeah my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins will still love me no matter what, so for their parties I routinely show up with a cheesy smile and a bag of cheddar doodles to match. Nobody can then fault me for coming empty handed and they must surely appreciate the generous 3 minutes of thought that I put into grabbing the bag from the store. Sometimes if I am feeling particularly lucky, I might make some homemade salsa and chips for our personal family get-togethers. But with lots of touchy stomachs and bloaty GI tracts, the decision carries a modicum of risk. Oh yeah, you don’t have to ask – NO, ABSOSLUTELY NOT! Never again will ‘Bean Man’ (especially in a confined space) unleash his powerfully pleasurable legumes upon his own family. Let us just say this as gently as possible - I’ve “BEANO there and DONEO that!”

Celebrate Early, Late, & OFTEN!

Well if there’s anything that I love more than saving loads of cash and finding excuses to celebrate, well let it stand up or forever hold its peace. Uh, ok … I guess family deserves more love; and friends too; yes – I love eating … Oh C’mon, I’m trying to make a point here! Like most people, I look forward to all the fun holidays (and a few more) every year, but all that celebrating can dip into the dubloons if you’re not careful.

This problem has hit home because we deal regularly with lots of different organizations and their event calendars. We also, like everyone else, have all the recurring birthdays, holidays, and greeting card days which never seem to end. The goal is to try to ‘plan’ early for any event so as not to get caught off guard at the last moment. Late shopping and treasure hunting to find ‘just the right thing’ for a party that is a day away is not only a DOWNER, but it is downright stressful and expensive.

So my solution is fairly simple and that is to plan and purchase for your events as EARLY as you can, and whenever you are able, celebrate those stock holidays a few days LATER than their actual calendar date. Before you accuse me of being an anarchist or a cheap Grinch - hear me out. You may already be doing this anyway for your family birthday celebrations but just don’t think about it? How many times have you put off your kid’s birthday party until the weekend because it will be easier scheduling. Isn’t that always MORE FUN for your kids since they can stay up later and enjoy a more relaxed homework schedule? I know a lot of you choose to open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve too. The earth hasn’t shaken itself to a stop yet, so I think it is safe to say, you are free to experiment with your celebration calendars without fear.

Especially for the costly celebrations which are fixed dates like Christmas, Valentines day, birthdays, etc. – if you buy a lot of your consumables early on sale, you literally can save enough to pay for MORE SWAG for yourself or your favorite charity. Compare prices AFTER Halloween, Christmas, or Easter and how cheap all the decorations, tableware, and even popular gifts become. Retailers always will attempt to sell at deep discounts rather than ship and store all that stuff for the following year.

Now don’t blame me if you carry my advice too far and try to pass out year-old Halloween candy. After the neighbor kids break all their teeth on your old nasty, rock-hard and chalky Reese’s cups, you WON’T be loved. Your own kids will also NOT appreciate getting Chaunakah and Christmas gifts sometime around Mardi Gras so don't be a 'bead brain' and use common sense. The idea is to PLAN and shift the expensive parts of celebrating to FIT YOUR schedule and budget – not the greeting card company's calendar. Try it. If your kids are young, they will hardly know the difference and if they're old - then make 'em chip in with their own Social Security check. Who knows, you may save enough to throw yourself another birthday celebration? But skip that pesky 'AGING' part of the tradition – all those candles are EXPENSIVE!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

‘Wrap-tacular’ Packaging

I am amazed at the amount of wrapping paper, boxes, bags, ribbon, tape, and just plain bulky stuffing-stuff that sits around here waiting to be used to cover gifts up or mail them to some distant place. I mean we have whole walls of oddly sized empty boxes ready to recycle for any shipping need. Beyond the exterior plain wrap, we have to stock gift wrap, stickers, and happy wrap for Christmas, birthdays, Weddings, your varietal Mitzvahs, and all those other everyday gifting events.

Ever since my first REAL job working for a ‘mail-order man’ when I was 13, packaging and wrapping things has been a part of my life. Oh yeah, anyone can dress up a rectangular box proficiently, but it takes practice and skill to tackle wrapping a football or other similarly oddball shaped object. Now just because I am willing to take on such horrible packaging projects doesn’t mean I am actually GOOD at it. Yeah I have seen Martha Stewart’s gifting expertise with her perfect paper folds and stinking double-sided tape. But who REALLY wraps gifts like this? When most of us get to the point of wrapping up a gift, the actual event is only hours if not minutes away. Believe me, I’ve been down this road so be charitable if you ever receive a gift from me handsomely adorned in kitchen foil and duct tape. Can ANYONE think of a better way?

So say hello to the gift bag. It seems that the only thing that is more important than the gift, is that attractive oversized bag that surrounds it. I frankly am not sure how to interpret a gift that arrives to me by gift bag? I get the need if the giver is trying to wrap up a plush bunny holding a spear that’s riding in a sleigh pulled by 8 tiny reindeer. That would be a tough gift to wrap with all of those protrusions and air holes to keep the animals alive. But when I receive a nice cubed-shaped inanimate gift, like a boxed coffee mug or a stack of post-it notes - why can’t the giver take less than a minute to ACTUALLY WRAP the gift? You’d think that I’m a nice enough guy to deserve better thought-out packaging than the likes of a stale bologna sandwich thrown into a brown bag?

At least gift bags still offer a little bit of the gifting ‘WOW’ factor because you cannot actually SEE what’s inside until you dig under the layers upon layers of Kleenix. The weirdest gift packaging is when some mall kiosk girl will use hot air to blow up a see-through latex balloon around a pair of frilly ‘undies’ or a bag of Juan Valdez’s best coffee. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want either of these fine gift choices to smell like hot rubber when I hand them off to a friend? So I guess I will still have to wait for a better way to wrap gifts. I have often thought a ‘Seal a Meal’ vacuum gift bag was the future of gift wrapping. But until its invention, for now I have to stick with my stuffed peanuts, mountains of boxes, and rolls upon rolls of decorative paper. It’s ok – that poor plush bunny and his 8 tiny reindeer friends might have a little trouble breathing in a vacuum anyway?

Pink, Black, and Blue

I was pondering society’s gender conventions that we all grow up with from our youth. You know the ones like all girls want to be cheerleaders and all boys want to play football. Probably the most common one still is that baby boys are relegated to blue hued clothing, and baby girls should wear pink. The problem though is that I like pink and I’m a male? I guess pale blue is ok too but I’ll be honest unless something is a really rich royal blue, I will still probably prefer pink. I know a lot of girls don’t even like pink because they think it is associated with being ‘too girly’. Many gun manufacturers don’t agree since they are now producing record numbers of rifles and pistols with pink grips and camo straps.

I do not remember playing with a lot of dolls as a kid but I did have a Major Matt Mason set. It was kind of a Space based version of GI JOE. I really loved some of the space accessories that little guy had, like a rover and the zip line that he could slide along from his home base to the lunar surface (our dining room floor). I may have had a GI JOE or two as a kid but other than the cool rifles, canteens, and miscellaneous gear, I never got too excited about the expensive dress up Army clothes. Years later, I remember a friend who was a girl that had a Barbie closet with tons of clothes in it. The two things that truly fascinated me with that toy was the tiny little hangars which worked EXACTLY like real hangars, and the colorful high heeled shoes. Oh god, what is WRONG with me?

I think as an adult, I simply liked pink because it was kind of an ‘anti-establishment’ position for men to take when I was first out in the work force. Since I worked for a traditional Japanese firm when I was young, it was an accepted practice that women made coffee. In those days I drank more coffee than anyone, so the rule seemed unfair. It took about 6 months, but once I began making coffee for myself or anyone (male or female) who drank it, then the gender specific rule was quickly abandoned. Eventually EVERYONE who drank coffee shared in making it – as is the CORRECT rule. In that same company, I was invited to play recreational golf, though spouses were not included for no other reason than gender. Again with a little prodding, my wife was allowed to eventually play in company golf outings, and even came in 2nd place in our tournament which permanently eliminated gender biased rules at our firm.

As a coach today, I am always particularly proud when our team celebrates another successful year of competition. The girls on the team this year gave me a pink cowboy hat and a signed shirt. The year before that, I received a pink pillow and a Flamingo drink cooler or something similar. It never really matters what it is, I always accept these ‘pink’ gifts with pride and cherish them for their deeper meaning that I’m just “one of the girls”. Don’t kid yourself though – I wouldn’t want these kids mad at me as they can be as tough as any guy athletes. They may proudly wear pink, but if you are on the field and in-between the goal - you had better get out of the way. Because no matter what gender you are, if you get hit hard, no matter what colors you prefer, you are turning black and blue!