Saturday, November 18, 2023



Blarney sounds like an Irish rip off of the purple dinosaur we all used to hate. But Blarney is loosely translated as the Irish gift of charming gab. Legend holds you could get that skill by kissing the Blarney Stone which was used to build Blarney Castle guessed it...Ireland six hundred years ago. 

The photo of a much younger me with an unfortunate ponytail above shows me pointing at a portion of the Blarney Stone that was in the wall outside of Fitzgerald's Casino in Reno back in the 1990s. It was always one of my stops when I'd visit my friend from college who lived in Reno and worked as a Slot Supervisor at Harrah's in Reno. We'd always swing by the Fitz, rub the Blarney Stone for good luck (there was no way I was kissing a rock on a building in downtown Reno) and go through what we called the Lucky Grotto inside the casino. It was one of the casino scams to draw in tourists. You when by displays of lucky charms like Buddha's belly, the Blarney Stone and leprechauns to give a spin on a wheel of fortune.  Although I technically you could win cash, we almost always just got a Leprechaun keychain, a four-leaf clover keychain or a pen. I think we once also got a Fitz trucker hat.

We never really minded winning cheezy things on the wheel of fortune at the Fitz because it was all part of the fun. Unless you were pretty stupid or a degenerate gambler, you didn't go to Reno to get rich. You went to drink, gamble a little and forget your day to day mundane existence. 

I have pointed out before that Reno was the blue collar version of Las Vegas. It was low key and low rent. Oh, they had bright lights and lots of slot machines, but it never pretended to be classy. And while Las Vegas bragged about what happened there stayed there, Reno pretty much didn't give a shit one way or another. That's why I liked it.

So why am I waxing poetic about Reno? I was at a Goodwill store a few weeks ago browsing the bric a brac and I found an ashtray from the Sands Casino/Hotel in downtown Reno. It reminded me of all of the ashtrays I used to pocket from various Reno casinos in my day even though I don't smoke. It was my way of sticking it to the man. I think at one point I was walking around with eight ashtrays in my pockets.

The ashtrays have long since gone the way of many of my obsessive collections from my younger days. I found them in a blue plastic bin I had stored in our garage for 20 or so years. I purged most of the stuff during the pandemic by either selling the stuff on eBay or donating it to Goodwill. I think that's where all the ashtrays ended up. 

Ironic, don't you think? Because now, when pretty much no one smokes or goes to Reno, the casino ashtrays have become trendy "trinket trays."  

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

On this day in history (of my blog...well this day tomorrow) 2010

 Since daylight savings time is still plaguing us and went into effect last weekend, this post seems particularly relevant even though it is 13 years old. Now granted I don't have to change as many clocks because Alex and Apple take care of most of that, I still have to figure out how to change the clock in my car while not deleting any bluetooth settings or letting the air out of my tires. My kids are no longer small but try explaining daylight savings time to two cats and a dog who trust their body clock more than the government. But so do I. Anyway let's fall back to this post:

Making a withdrawal from my daylights savings

I'm not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time. For one, it means I have to figure out how to change the time on 40 clocks and appliances scattered about my house. And I have to figure out how to change the clock in my car with one hand while driving because I never seem to notice the clock until I'm on the road and trying to get somewhere.

I also don't like the government arbitrarily messing with my body clock. Because just because they theoretically give your hour back in the fall after ripping it away from you, your body never really catches up. This is especially true if you have small children in the house. Setting your clocks back in the fall has absolutely no meaning to them and they will now get up when their body clock says it is time to get up.

I think the clock read 5:30 a.m. this last Sunday when my two-year old son sat up and declared he wanted to watch Tickerbell and the Lost Treasure. He then proceeded to sing the theme song from Little Einsteins while slapping out the drum beat on my back. This was followed by repeatedly putting a pillow over my face and pulling off and crying, "boo." My four-year old daughter quickly joined in the fun. My extra hour slipped out of the room along with the cat, both being chased by toddlers.

Dante has a level of hell just for whoever came up with Daylight Savings Time.

Personally, I like walking to the train in the morning in the dark. It is peaceful. And this is Seattle. Even if the sun is out in the morning, its behind a cloud, so giving me an extra hour of daylight means absolutely nothing.

You can bet our ancestors didn't try messing with time. I'm sure they dragged out of their caves as soon as the sun came out and scrambled back in as soon as it when down. They didn't need the village elders to decide they could save firewood by going out an hour earlier in the spring or an hour later in the fall.  The carnivores waiting outside in the dark dictated strict adherence to nature's clock.

Oh, I am sure there is a federal agency somewhere with the sole responsibility for defending Daylight Savings Time with a vast arsenal of charts and graphs showing us how much energy and money we save each year. Honestly, I don't care whether they are right or wrong. I just want them to leave my body clock alone. Go regulated plastic bags and bottles and leave my freakin' clocks alone.

Friday, November 03, 2023

On this day in the history (of my blog) in 2005


This one is truly a golden oldie from the past. I haven't worn a tie for almost a year. But 18 years ago it was still an occasional obligation as part of the work day. Since the pandemic, ties have pretty much gone the way of powdered wigs. Come to think of it, so has wearing pants. So something good did come from the whole mess. Anyway, tie this one on for size:

Tie one on

I've had to wear a tie two days in a row now because I was sitting on an interview panel at work and it is making me more than a little cranky. I am not a tie person. Its status as a symbol of conformity doesn't rest easy with me. And besides, the damned things are like wearing a noose around your neck.

And why do we wear ties? Blame it on the Croatians. Apparently in 1635, a group of Craotian mercenaries came to Paris to give their support to King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. And the distinquishing article of clothing that made the Croats stand out amongst the usual dandies of Paris was a scarve around their neck tied in a distinctive "Croatian style" previously unknown in Europe. The fashionable expression, ’a la croate’, soon evolved into a new French word: la cravate. Thus the cravate or necktie was born.

I'm not a Croatian. I'm not in the Court of King Louis XII, yet almost four Centuries later, I'm walking around with a bit of silk around my neck like a dog on a frilly leash.

Well, this dog don't hunt, he just howls.

Other than serving as a personal garrote, the tie really serves no practical purpose than emphasizing your beer belly. And the fashion dictators add insult to injury by varying the width of the tie you should be wearing at any given time. Just before we moved in August, I must have tossed out 50 ties ranging in one to five inches in width.

I suppose wearing a tie is a right of passion all men must endure. After I graduated from clip-on's my father taught me to tie a tie. But that was only after he got tired of tying them for me and slipping them around my neck. Not that my father wore ties very often. He was a foreman in a warehouse and had the blue collar luxury of only donning the yoke of oppression for church and funerals.

But I had to go to college. Every time I think I need to look professional, I button that top button and slip the noose around my neck.

It could have been worse though. The Croatians could have thought it was cool to wear dead fish around their neck and we could have adopted that fashion. The higher you are on the food chain, the bigger fish you'd have to wear.

"Honey, have you seen my Blue Marlin?"

"It's in the closet next to the Mackeral."

Yes, there could have been worse customs we adopted from the Croatians. Though I think I would have looked pretty good wearing a Salmon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

The commute from hell


I don't commute as much since the "end" of the pandemic, but I was riding the train home last night from downtown Seattle and snapped these photos of one of my fellow passengers.

Now granted, it was Halloween and more than likely this was someone who dressed up for an office party.  But the "person" stood on the platform waiting for the train wearing the mask, a hood and holding onto a scyth. They boarded and sat down and began scrolling through their phone (which confirms there is cell service in hell...I'm willing to bet Boost Mobile is the provider).

It did give me pause because you don't really want to see the Grim Reaper on your train barreling along at 60 miles an hour on tracks that are prone to mud slides. And yes, it was Halloween, but what better time for death to relax and not worry about being noticed as they head home for the evening.

Funny thing about it was that no one seemed to notice that the Grim Reaper was sitting on the train going through their phone (maybe checking their "to do" list). Even I tried to act like it was nothing and snapped my photos discretely. I suppose it wasn't like people would be jumping up and yelling, "There's Death!" and asking for a selfie.

Though it would have been cool.

Fortunately nothing happened. I got off at my stop (which wasn't the "last" stop) and headed home without incident. 

I can't speak for the rest of the trip.