The Choking Game

Let's admit it. We all do stupid things when we are kids. God knows I've done enough stupid things to warrant death many times over by jumping insane ramps on my bicycle. Hell, one time I jumped a ramp so big, my steel framed Sears Red, White and Blue Free Spirit broke in two on impact, right down the middle and left me riding the front half of the bike for a few seconds until I wiped out. When I brought the bike home, my dad just about had a coronary. He didn't buy me a new bike, he welded it and left me to repeat the incident once more. Hell, I was an Evel Knievel disciple. My dad then bought me a 10 speed in an effort to stop my insane ramp jumping obsession. I did an end around by beginning to build my own jumping bikes using parts from the neighborhood throwaways. Everytime I saw an old bike out on the curb for garbage pickup, I grabbed it and brought it home. I ended up with 3 or 4 jumping bikes that I could care less if I destroyed.

Now, this past weekend, I saw a news story about kids choking themselves with ropes or choking each other to get "high" and I shake my head. Apparently, the kids are choking themselves unconscious to get that "post-unconscious high". The story parades a host of mothers who lost their kids trying to invoke some sort of sympathy for their children who were just caught up in some "deadly game". I'm sorry, I just won't bite. You got to be pretty fucking stupid or demented to let someone choke you unconscious or even crazier than a shithouse rat to do it to yourself with a hanging noose. These kids deserve to die if they are that damned stupid. And I refuse to feel sorry for any of them. How does someone come up with an idea that they are going to choke themselves to near death to get a high? That is absolutely insane and I can't imagine that these kids aren't just suicidal. Of course their moms insist that they were healthy and happy. Typical parents living in denial. These are the same parents who tell teachers "My kids would never do that!". Maybe if they take a few seconds to plug into their kids lives instead of buying them crap they don't need, they'd have more of a clue. Strangling yourself is not a game, it is a sickness.

When kids get drunk or stoned, the purpose is to have fun with friends, even if it not entirely logical and misguided. What fun do you get when you are unconscious and wake up with an oxygen deprived headache? This is called depression and is a cry for help. This is called a suicide attempt, not a social activity.

Listen, I'm not a heartless bastard altogether. As a parent, I can't imagine the devastation of losing a child. What I take issue with is that parents are looking at this as it is something that kids are doing to have fun and that it is entirely unrelated to their kids' emotional state. They are insisting that as parents, they are powerless to stop it and are washing their hands of the responsibility of their children's deaths. That disgusts me. Kids do stupid things all the time. It is part of growing up. The Choking Game is not something kids do to have fun. It is a suicide attempt even if somewhat veiled under the guise of getting high. These kids need more parental contact and counseling. The Choking Game is not a random event like stepping in front of a bus or a stupid one like jumping a ramp over a construction area, it is mental instability and depression. I jumped ramps because I was happy emulating my hero and it gave me a rush of euphoria. I wanted to be the next Evel Knievel. Was it stupid? Hell, yes! But there is a fundamental difference between the two. Kids playing the Choking Game are only inspiring to die.

It's not a game. It's not an attempt to get high. It's a suicide attempt.


Thanksgiving in NYC

I just returned with my girls from a crazy Thanksgiving in NYC with my family. My sister, Siouxy, had her third son, JT, on Friday to match my three daughters. My mom attempted unsuccessfully (we're getting too wise for her to manipulate us anymore) to start WWIII between all of us siblings by telling my youngest sister, Kreeshka, that the rest of us were criticizing the behavior of her kids in an effort to deflect her own commentary on Kreeshka's children. My daughters and I spent the drives playing Judge Judy where we all took turn being the judge, plaintiff and defendants (I sure wish I had an audio copy of the precedings- "Case is dismissed! ba da da!). The cases all seemed to resolve around my lactose intolerance, which they seem to really get a kick out of (poisoning by milk, cheese, Combos or cheeze-its).

All in all, a fun trip to see my family but it's nice to return to my quiet solitude. I swear my mother is slowly inducing a brain tumor with her incessant talking. I love her to death but God what I would give for a few minutes of silence. The scary thing is that I talk alot. Anyone who knows me can vouch for my non-stop banter. My Mom puts me to shame. My favorite quote (besides "Case dismissed!") for the weekend comes compliments of my three year old niece, Gabagoo, who when asked to go on the potty, looks at the toilet and exclaims "That's disgusting!". We had fun with her and I'm sure much her mom's chagrin, we had her uttering her hallmark quote directed at just about everything. She had me pissing myself.

Lastly, the funniest moments came when me, my mom, my daughters and my brother, Frunkel, were watching a NY1 expose of a dangerous game that teens everywhere are playing called "The Choking Game", where teens choke each other or themselves to go unconscious and get a "high". Apparently another teen or two died recently trying to get high. Of course, this all feeds into my social Darwinism argument that the stupid of society, not only die, but probably deserve to do so.

My daughters had their uncle, Frunkel playing hide and seek all weekend. Every time thay asked him what he wanted to play, he would exclaim, "Let's play the choking game!". My horrified mother would yell at him and we would bust out laughing. It never failed to make me or my daughters laugh.


Favorite Quotes: Part 1

This segment will be a blog series. I will add them as I think of them.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I've been collecting quotes my whole life. There are some quotes that I've been using since I was eleven years old such as:

"What the hell do you think this is?...Coney Island?...I've got to get to work in the morning!"
That phrase was uttered by our town drunk after a few neighborhood kids set off blockbusters in the sewer, waking him up from a night of excess. Of course he slurred the words and I've been laughing about it ever since and still use it constantly to this day. These are some of my favorite quotes to repeat. I have not authored all of these.

"Naked women offend me"
Bluey generated quote continually repeated to absolve me from going to strip clubs with my friends

"You're giving me cancer"
My older sister, Vicki uttered to her eldest son when he was giving her a hard time. This may be an all time favorite. I say it jokingly to my kids and just about everyone else now

"I'm not gay...but aren't unicorns awesome!"
My "adopted" son Pimp-n-Playa, said during a moment of extreme silliness. I think this quote is golden

Okay, that's a start. Stay tuned for more.


Yes...I'm Addicted To Harry Potter!

A lovely 30-something PhD turned me onto the books when "The Goblet of Fire" first came out. I chastized her for reading children's books.

She told me that she was hopelessly addicted to them and gave me "The Sorcerer's Stone" to read. I've been addicted ever since. I wait in line with my girls at midnight for the last two new releases like a crack addict trying to score some "rock". I even bought two copies of "The Half Blood Prince" because my eldest daughter, Loni, was going to the shore with her mother and I didn't want to wait until she got back to read it. I finished the book early Monday morning, a little over 24 hours later.

Of course I saw the new movie on Friday night and at two and a half hours, I thought it was painfully short and missed so many good parts of the book. What else is new. I thought the movie was great, but I felt that it was like putting an LP record at 45 speed. Every scene seemed so rushed. I felt like the movie went by in 45 minutes. Now, I feel like I need another fix. I guess I'll have to talk my girls into seeing it again and give the whole series another read through. I hate to admit how many times I've read the series in the last few years. It's a great time to be a kid. These books are awesome. Now onto re-reading the Narnia series. Man, do I have some serious issues.

I am Bluey and I am an addict.


The Ipod and Social Darwinism

The theory of social Darwinism as I understand it, is that the strong and intelligent have a better chance to survive while the weak and stupid tend to get culled out of the population due to an assortment of life's mishaps. To this point, I say that the Ipod will end up subtracting more than a few children from our ranks due to parental stupidity which hardly seems fair at all.

Two years ago, my eldest daughter, who I'll call Loni, asked for a cellphone at the age of nine.

"Who does a 9 year old need to call?", I inquired.

"My friends, you and mom", she rebutted.

"You can talk to your friends all day at school and me and mom anytime after school", I volleyed back.

"I can use it if there is an emergency", she returned.

Aha! That was the excuse people used for getting cellphones in the first place before they started ringing up $400 monthly bills abusing them. As an adult, I finally relented 3 years ago and replaced my land line when cellphones became cheaper to use then home phones. I told my daughter that the odd emergency wasn't a strong enough reason for me to buy her a cellphone. I told her that my worry was that her use of the cellphone would be more distracting to her and liable to cause more emergencies than it solved. Just looking at adults using cellphones in cars makes me shudder. Kids seem to be in their own world when talking on cellphones to their friends. Of course the cost factor is also a primary issue as well as a child being responsible for a cellphone.

Now two years later, she's asking for an Ipod. A $300 walkman as far as I see it. Now I don't discount that the Ipods are pretty neat and convenient. Take your music wherever you go. But the cost is out of whack for a music player and I won't even buy one for myself.

But the real reason I won't buy one for my daughter is due to Social Darwinism. I have a motto that states, "Never send your kid out into the world with something that they could be killed for". In the past, this included items such as $90 Air Jordans. What parent would send their kid out of the house with $300 in their pocket and a sign on their back that read "Kick Me, and by the way, I have $300 in my pocket, please kill me for it"? That's exactly what you do when you buy a kid an Ipod that they take everywhere with them (which is what they are for, this is not an accessory meant exclusively for home use). When I told Loni that I had no plans on digging a hole in the backyard for her body and that she'd have to go without an Ipod, she was okay with that but still was disappointed.

Three of her friends have Ipods and more are getting them this Christmas. That is truly amazing to me. It's not that I can't afford Ipods for my kids. It just seems so inherently stupid to have them carrying around something worth so much. I remember growing up as a kid and being shaken down by older kids for my baseball cards or wacky packs. Is the world that much of a safer place these days for kids? I guess that's what these parents are banking on.

Call me a pessimist and I'll keep my shovel where it belongs...in a shed.


New York Rangers 6, Pittsburgh Pens 1

Being a NYC native and avid Ranger fan, I took my daughter, Bebis (nickname) to see the hockey game tonight. I'm trying to be a good Pittsburgh father, raising my three daughters to be Penguin fans.

Bebis insisted on a pre-game bet. While it wasn't much of a game, we did get the opportunity to sit for a caricature drawing, which came out awesome and hilarious.

By the way, I won the bet and Bebis will be wearing a Ranger jersey our next trip to the Mellon Arena. Yes...count it!


BS Poker

For my buddies that may have missed the BS Poker festivities at my place, we made up a few more songs to go with Irish Math which was born on Thursday at the Fall 2005 Pilgrimage.

I apologize to outsiders who this will mean nothing to. Just me documenting the idiocy.

(sung to the tune of Gary Numan's "Cars", while doing the robot)

Irish Math (props to Mr. Ocho Rios)
I had two quarters,
then I won one and lost one,
then I won one...
now I'm down three dollars
Irish Math

German Logic (props to Herr Gavo)
I had a flush
It had a three, then a seven,
now it's three jacks
German Logic

Italian Math (props to Don Felatio)
I had two sevens
then I added one more
now I have 3 sevens (while holding up four fingers!)
Italian Math

Can also be sung to the tune of Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science"!


Bluey the Novelist? I Don't Think So...

Twice a year, me and up to about 20 or so buddies go up north to the shores of Lake Erie in NY to unwind, play some sports and generally act like a bunch of idiots for 3 days. My buddy, Irish hosts the event and the two of us do our best to promote it every year to ensure maximum attendance.

The emails that promote the event are usually original and extremely bizarre.

Here is this fall's latest entry sent as an open email:

And as I walked naked down the peninsula, my toes found the warm white sand that reminded me of the playdoh I used to wring my hands through and the lead-based paint chips I loved to eat. My speedo thong, visually eclipsed by the rolls of fat supported by my appetite for General Tso's chicken and zebra cakes, found my warm crevices and barely covered the manhood I haven't had the opportunity to see in years. The sun, glistening tempestuously off the beads of sweat generated by my thirty foot journey from Leviathan, warmed me to the core evoking memories of sleeping next to the clothes dryer as a child and spanking off in my parent's food pantry. For the pilgrimage was only a day away, and soon, people that I barely tolerate and some that I downright despise, will flood into this beautiful village spoiling everything that is good like a hoard of maggots digesting a gassy and engorged plague filled rat's spleen. God, I hated those fuckers....

For more, read the Viking Paperback "Where Fun Goes to Die" by exciting new novelist Bluey!

Believe it or not. We had one hell of a turnout this year.


I Hope Not...I'm Dating Your Daughter!

My name is Rich and when I was in graduate school a few years back, there was a kind and wise professor who always took the time to give me advice and guide my progress as a student. He really fit the mold of the proto-typical sweet old man. He always made time for his students and he always had a word of encouragement when you ran into him in the halls.

One day in particular, we were talking about my schedule for the upcoming term, and he was counseling me on the various class offerings. At the time I was dating his daughter, who was also a graduate student in the department.

Out of nowhere (and highly unexpected to me) he asks me "Do you prefer Dick?"

I damn well had to bite my tongue to keep from crying. It took me a split second to realize he was talking about my name and I was barely able to keep myself composed until I walked away and then just about pissed myself laughing in the bathroom.

To this day I wish I could have blurted out the first thing that came to my mind...

"I hope not, I'm dating your daughter!"


We All Live In A Capital I...It's All About The "O"!

I don't know about many of you but when I was a kid in the early 70's, I grew up on Sesame Street and watched it religiously for quite a few years. I'm sure everyone can remember a favorite skit or song no matter what age you are. Many of us watched decades apart as new parents. I did a second tour of duty with my daughters.

One of my favorite cartoons of the series was brought to us by the letter "I". It involved an assortment of little guys that lived in a structure that was a capital letter I. I don't know why I was so attracted to this particular little tune but it had such a catchy little tune and very simple lyrics. I always looked forward to the repeat broadcasts involving the letter I because they always played it. It was my favorite.

Years later I watched Sesame Street again with my daughters and was shocked and dismayed that they had retired the capital I cartoon. I was very disappointed but figured, hey, time moves on. In with the new and out with the old, right?

It wasn't until a few years later when I was playing poker with buddies, that I was able to formulate a theory for its' ommission. Some of my buddies remembered it, some did not. For those who remembered it, they recalled it with the same fondness that I shared. But still, it crept in my mind and festered as I searched for an adequate reason why it was dropped.

It was during my explanation of the skit to my friends that had never seen it, did the reason dawn on me. Then it hit me like a freight train. The skit involves a bunch of little guys living together in a huge capital I in the middle of a desert. All these guys seem to do all day is to clean and polish the I and seemed so ecstatic to do so relentlessly day in and day out. When I started singing the song for my friends, the meaning became crystal clear.

I present the lyrics as exhibit A:

We all live in a capital I
In the middle of the desert
In the center of the sky.
All day long we polish up the I
To make it clean and shiny
So it brightens up the sky.
Rubbing it here
And scrubbing it there.
Polishing the I
So high in the air.

And as we work we sing a lively tune
"It is great to be so happy on a busy afternoon."
And when we're through with the day's only chore,
We go into the I
And we close the door.
Capital I, capital I,
capital I, capital I.

Here is a link to hear the song: http://members.tripod.com/Tiny_Dancer/capital1.mp3

The stanza that clearly stood out as I sang it as an adult was the "rubbing it here, scrubbing it there, polishing the I, so high in the air".

Oh my God! The song is promoting masturbation to young boys!

Now that I see it, I cannot unsee it. As I researched the matter, it became very apparent to me that the Sesame Street folks were very careful putting messages in all of their songs to promote social growth, racial harmony, etc.. Every skit seemingly under the surface had some broad message even if it was not outwardly apparent to children such as the fact that all of the muppets were different colors to instill an understanding of differences in all people and to accept them all (even the grouch).

But I am convinced that this particular cartoon was an inside job and that the writers slipped one past the Sesame Street censors. This cartoon is about guys spending countless hours rubbing an polishing the ultimate phallic symbol...a capital I! And they are even wearing raincoats! In the middle of a goddamn desert!

I think the writers probably made this skit as a joke, thinking it would never get past the decision makers...but it did! And it played for a long time as I recall.

When it was officially pulled from rotation, and the reasons why, are unknown to me. I have never been able to find any stories regarding complaints or an explanation for its' retirement.

But to this day, I get a chuckle out of Sesame Street's pro-masturbation anthem and thank the writers for promoting such a healthy activity for young boys. Some of my friends think I'm nuts, but a few are convinced that I may just be on to something.

For Sesame Street sponsored by the letter I, it was indeed "all about the O"!


Can Someone Tell Me If I Won?

For the last few months, I've been wondering aloud why anyone buys $10 and $20 scratch off lottery tickets. It seems awfully pricey to me.

The people I see with these lottery tickets always seem to be those who look like they're on a fixed income. Admittedly, I don't play the lottery at all but I can understand that guy in the convenience store who uses his buck or two in change to buy a scratch off ticket or a powerball ticket.

But 10-20 bucks for one scratch off ticket? And they come in vending machines now. I can only guess that the reason for it is that anyone with an ounce of good sense should be embarrassed to pay that amount for a scratch off ticket to a real person. Kind of like asking the lady at the pharmacy counter for condoms. But that's not the kicker.

Today as I walked by the vending machine in the place I get lunch, I noticed that the vending machine had braille on it.

Braille??? Are you kidding me? I'm just trying to picture or understand the scenario in which a blind person walks up to the vending machine, plops a twenty in the machine and proceeds to scratch off the ticket.

How in God's name do they know if they won or not? The tickets don't seem to have braille on them. Now, I'm sure that some feel good legislator had something to do with this.

Only in America do we go to extra lengths to ensure that the blind have an equal opportunity of throwing their money away.


Something Important To Say...All The Time!!!

Now, my friends will probably tell you that I tend to be on the verbose side. I seem to have a story, opinion or theory on just about any topic under the sun. I think the medical term for this is...self-absorbed.

I like to delude myself and not admit it but I guess it is true to a certain extent. I'm not the type of person who goes looking for the insanity of life, believe me. It just seems to gravitate to me.

Blessed with an analytical mind, I like to think that I process things differently than many other people and thus the multitude of wacky and irreverent interpretations of everyday life.

Anyway, to save my friends some grief, and to save their eardrums, I figured that this new blog would serve as a good outlet for my thoughts. Also, I figured that it was about time that I documented some of the more interesting and funny theories and ideas that pop into my head.
Being 39, I tend to forget alot more than I remember.

So, bear with me. I can be very tongue-in-cheek. Some of the posts will just be downright silly, with no redeeming quality. If you are easily offended, I suggest you read somebody else's thoughts. Mine aren't always G-rated.

My life is pretty awesome and I have a great network of friends and family. I dedicate this blog to them. I don't know how they put up with me.

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