Monthly Archives: March 2012

Deceptive Packaging, Fuzzy Math


             Question:  Are my BWB partner and myself the only human beings on earth who pay the absolute highest amount possible for any item at any given time?  Even when said item is supposedly on sale?  It doesn’t seem possible that it is simply our imaginations.  During innocent conversations with other people who occasionally hit on the hot-button topics of cell phone packages and cable packages, we are routinely reminded of what chumps we are.  And we’re too embarrassed to admit that we’re such losers.

Well, I, for one, have had enough.  I’m sick and tired of paying exorbitant amounts of money for things that everyone else is practically receiving salaries from these companies for the same, or often, less services.  What is that all about?  No wonder we’re broke.  I’ve felt this way for a long time and now I finally have an outlet to vent my rage (and confusion).  No more embarrassment about not understanding the circuitous explanations of these packages.  That’s right – WE’RE MAD AS HELL AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!  Wow, that felt pretty good.

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And Also With You…DOH!

Well, today is Friday and already I’m thinking about mass this weekend.  For those of you who may not be aware (that is, you non-Catholics out there and Catholics who don’t attend mass regularly – you know who you are), some changes were made recently to the text of the mass.  The church has been in a constant state of defending the changes, claiming the new version is much more closely aligned with the orignal Latin text.  And, even though my daughter has a very impressive grade in her Latin class (as of the last time I checked), I doubt she is capable of corroborating this line of reasoning.  And, I’m not sure how far I would get challenging the changes based on my high school junior’s limited Latin (beyond, “Et tu, Brutus?”)

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Nine Famous Irishmen


This has to be one of the most entertaining TRUE stories of Irish history.  The moral of this story:  You can’t keep a good Irishman down! Here’s a  true story about
Nine Famous Irishmen

     In the Young Irish disorders, in Ireland in 1848, the following
             nine men were captured, tried and convicted of treason against
             Her Majesty, the Queen, and were sentenced to death.
             John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donohue, Thomas McGee,
             Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O’Gorman, Terrence
             McManus and Michael Ireland.

             Before passing sentence, the judge asked if there was anything
             that anyone wished to say. Meagher, speaking for all, said:
             “My lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be
             easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen,
             to try to do better next time. And next time — sure we won’t be
             fools to get caught.”

             Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged
             by the neck until dead and drawn and quartered.
             Passionate protests from all the world forced Queen Victoria to
             commute the sentence to transportation for life to far away wild
             Australia. In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria
             that Sir Charles Duffy, who had been elected Prime Minister of
             Australia, was the same Charles Duffy who had been
             transported 25 years before. On the Queen’s demand, the records
             of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what
             was uncovered:

             Thomas Francis Meagher, Governor of Montana.
             Terrence McManus, Brigadier General, United States Army.
             Patrick Donohue, Brigadier General, United States Army.
             Richard O’Gorman, Governor General of Newfoundland.
             Morris Lyene, Attorney General of Australia, in which office
             Michael Ireland succeeded him.
             Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Member of Parliament, Montreal.
             Minister of Agriculture and President Council, Dominion of
             John Mitchell, prominent New York politician. This man was
             the father of John Purroy Mitchell, Mayor of New York City at
             the outbreak of World War I





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Dear Gentleman Behind Me In the Movie Theater…

The Life and Times of Nathan Badley is a very funny blog to follow. I definitely would recommend you check it out.

The Life and Times of Nathan Badley...

Dear gentleman behind me in the movie theater,

Wow! That sure was a great movie, huh? I bet you thought there were a lot of very funny parts and a good soundtrack. I know you enjoyed it because I could hear your laughter. I, however, am not sure whether I enjoyed it or not.

See, I was unable to take in the entire movie experience. I was distracted by your feet.

Not that I’m saying anything bad about your feet. I’m sure you have very fine feet. In fact, they may be the world’s best feet. For all I know, they could be made of pure gold, although I suspect they aren’t as this would make walking very difficult for you.

As far as feet go, they seemed okay. At no point did I experience rank foot smells from them and they did not seem to be abnormally large and/or…

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A Little Irish Music

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you a couple of great Irish songs I grew up listening to.  This post is dedicated to my two favorite South Side Irish leprechauns, Elizabeth Quinn Toner and John Casey Toner, who instilled in my sister, five brothers and me an undying pride in being Chicago South Side Irish.       (Also known as Mom and Dad.)


What did I have? said the fine old woman*

What did I have? this fine old woman did say.

I had four green fields**.  Each one was a jewel.

But strangers*** came and tried to take them from me.

I had fine strong sons.  They fought to save my jewels.

They fought and died.  And that is my grief, said she.

Long time ago, said the fine old woman.

A long time ago, this proud old woman did say.

There was war and death.  Plundering and pillage.

My children starved.  My mountains, valley and sea.

And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens.

My four green fields ran red with their blood, said she.

What have I now? said the fine old woman.

What have I now? this proud old woman did say.

I have four green fields.  One of them’s in bondage.****

In strangers’ hands, who tried to take it from me.

But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers.

My four green fields will bloom once again said she.

* Old woman -Ireland

**Four green fields – the four provinces of Ireland(Leinster,Ulster,Munster,Connacht)

***Strangers – the English

****One field in bondage – Ulster, which is still under British rule


Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

Oh, my father was an Ulster man, good Protestant was he.

My mother was a Catholic girl,  from County Cork was she.

They were married in two churches, lived happily enough.

Until the day that I was born and things got rather tough.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

Baptized by Fr. Reilly, I was rushed away by car

To be made a little Orangeman, me father’s shinin’ star.

I was christened David Anthony, but still in spite of that,

To my father, I was William, while my mother called me Pat.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

With Mother, every Sunday, to mass I’d proudly stroll.

Then after that, the Orange lads would try to save my soul.

Where both sides tried to claim me, but I was smart because,

I’d play the flute or play the harp, dependin’ where I was.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen

My father, he was Orange and me mother, she was Green.

One day, me ma’s relations came round to visit me

Just as my father’s kinfolk were all sittin’ down to tea.

We tried to smooth things over, but they all began to fight.

And, me bein’ strictly neutral, I bashed everyone in sight.

Oh it is the biggest mixup that you have ever seen.

My father, he was Orange and me mother , she was Green.

Now my parents never could agree about my type of school.

My learnin’ was all done at home, that’s why I’m such a fool.

They both passed on, God rest them,

But left me caught between that awful color problem

Of the Orange and the Green.



 (and especially Mom and Dad – we miss you everyday)



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Cereal with a Fork

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Man’s Best Friend, Mom’s Worst Nightmare

Most horror stories begin very innocently.  A good-looking family moves into a charming farmhouse in a bucolic town.  The kids excitedly run through the house, each claiming a bedroom.  The move itself plays itself out in pure fantasy, as neatly labelled boxes are placed in the appropriate rooms and each member of the clan smiling in their clean, crisply-pressed button-down shirts, casually cuffed at the sleeve.  Neighbors, armed with sweet delights and casseroles welcome them to the neighborhood.  But, we all know what’s hiding in the dark attic.

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The Value Of A Moment

With the recent announcement of Bruce Willis’s aphasia diagnosis, this previously unknown and quite invisible, disability has now come to the forefront of our collective awareness. A few years ago, I had never heard of aphasia. If I thought enough about it, I probably could have figured out what the word meant. But that all changed on Sunday, May 25, 2008.  The evening before was a festive occasion as my family gathered at my brother, Kevin’s, house to celebrate the college graduation of his daughter.  My son’s college graduation party was scheduled for the following Saturday.  But that night, it was all about Lauren…until the cake was served.  At that point, my other brother, Tom, surprised us all with another cake.  This one was for the mother of the college grad, my sister-in-law, Marita.  She had just earned her second Master’s Degree in Library Science (the first being in Special Education), but kept quiet about her achievement, so as not to steal any of the attention from Lauren.  As we were preparing to leave that night, Marita told me we could expect to see them for our party the following weekend.  We all said our goodbyes and headed home.  In a matter of hours, everything was forever changed.

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