Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Do what you do when you do what you do...

Why do you blog?

Just a few weeks ago, I was asked this very question by a lady who's a regular reader of Tony C Today. The follow-up question was a logical progressive inquisition.

How in the world do you come up with all those things you write?  

As I recall, my response started with a light chuckle and mental echo of Mrs. Tony C answering for me with an expletive on the waste by-product of the bovine digestive tract. Not that she would ever actually say that...

I have to admit, the moment of recognition for me was...uncomfortable. Now, I'm by no means a shy person (those who personally know me can stop laughing). Never been accused of being a shy person. Quite probably at one time in my life, I might actually have been labeled as outspoken...and I dare to even say maybe overbearing. For a number of reasons, I feel safe in saying both characterizations are thankfully behind me. Still, that left the question dangling...why do I blog?

Pondering the questions for several days, I started deeply reflecting on my real motives for spending time each week pounding out anecdotes on my keyboard. I went back and read the first few months of post that started three years ago this coming Friday and discovered a much different tone than readers see today...more political, conservatively vernacular, postulational and maybe even cerebral.

Mentally projected Mrs. Tony C: BOOOOORRRRRING!

Yes. Maybe that too.

So why the change? Even more fundamentally, why do I do this? I realize today the answer to both questions is, in part, one in the same. Through blogging, I've discovered a venue to channel my love of writing. Sure. A personal journal might satisfy the same desire, but sharing my muses in an attempt to entertain others more closely fits my personally.


Now we're closing in on something. From a very early age, cowering away from the proverbial spotlight has never been in my makeup. That has an element of both good and bad, if the truth be told. In high school, I was the guy who twice hosted the annual Talent Show in the style of Chuck Barris a la' The Gong Show. No problem. In college, well...I'd rather not go there if you don't mind. As a Marine Officer, impromptu speaking was an actual rated skill on fitness reports and taught in basic training. No problem. In my job today, communicating effectively with people from different backgrounds and cultures is crucial to successful outcomes. No problem again.

Those are the good. The bad element is a bit less overt. When I've opined a statement concerning the decrepit state of our government, a certain amount of audaciousness goes with that view. Who am I to stake such a claim? Why should my thoughts be taken any more serious that any other political pundit...and we should ALL be pundits when it comes to civic issues like the political process. <-------- See! There...right there! A perfect example of the dilemma. What's it to me if Joe Blow could care less about the country's political quagmire? Why should everyone else see things the way I do (wouldn't that be nice...and boring)?

Stating an opinion and throwing it out on the internet for the world to see can be a...well...humbling experience at times. THAT is not necessarily a bad element. A maybe, just maybe, where my uneasiness came from in the opening stated exchange. Here's where the fog starts to clear for me.

Initially, my approach to blogging was to emphatically state my opinion on any given topic making sure to assert my Christian perspective. Political evangelicalism...if you will. Not necessarily a bad thing, but also not really who I am either. But a funny thing happened. As accurate (or not) as hit counters can be, I noticed a trend concerning the different topics I posted. Personal, more reflective post far exceeded hits over a more polarizing political issue post. GASP. Do all Christians not share the same political views? Shut the door!

Gradually, my blog has taken on a personality more closely resembling my own. Yes. I still on occasion dabble in the political sphere, but I think my true reason for writing Tony C Today is to share with others that an ordinary shlub like me making his way through life's journey can once in a while stop, poke a little fun at himself (maybe a few others) and still be genuinely thankful to a loving God that I know this life just isn't as good as it gets. Being a Christian has a number of aspects that go with the title,...but immune to a little fun in life isn't one of them.

I appreciate all of you for coming along on the ride.

...and thank you (and you know who you are) for asking the questions too. By the way...I guess I do it for Him because He lets me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Go Tony C. Go!

I had the weirdest dream last night.

Not one of those NyQuil-induced, running from zombies kind of dreams either. I dreamt I was actually in the book Go, Dog. Go! maybe is was like one of those NyQuil-induced, running from zombies kind of dreams...but I was cold medicine clean on my word.

Anyway, the 1961 classic by P.D. Eastman has always been one of my favorites. I believe Eastman understood the repetitive nature for parents of reading books to young children and managed to layer the book to appeal to adults as well as kids.

Then again, maybe I am just really that jejune.

So,  here I am in the middle one of my all-time favorite books going through the story. Now, I know I've read this book a thousand times to both the teenager (when she was younger, of course) and now the Crazy Tomato. Baby C is on deck for what's sure to be more recital than readings for her turn at the classic tale of dogs gone wild. To say I'm familiar with the story, plot and characters is attuned to saying  Ronald McDonald is familiar with Happy Meals...hey wait...okay, go ahead. I set that one up for you way too easy.

I was driving to work this morning seriously wondering if this is how it all starts. First, you begin dreaming you're part of childhood stories. Then, you begin exiting the mall looking for your parked car wandering aimless before finally realize you didn't even drive. Next, you start repeating the same stories over and over completely oblivious to prior tellings. Somewhere around here in the analysis I realized...that all of the above already apply to me! GASP

I changed my destination to Walmart  before work to pick up some adult diapers. I mean...that's obviously next in my rapid decline into dementia, and I wear Khaki pants every single day. Not going to chance 'it' happening and me not even realizing 'it' while walking around the office. SIGH

About this point, I looked around to survey the progression of my daily commute. Line of cars bumper-to-bumper, full speed ahead. Typical. Wait a second...this looks very familiar. Hey! My daily commute looks a lot like...

...come to think of it I know Mrs. Tony C and I have had exchanges like this (maybe not about hats) too many times to count...

     ...this, looks a lot like...

Earlier Saturday mornings at the Tony C estate...

Finally I realized...that's it! I didn't just dream I was in Go Dogs. Go!...I actually live there nearly every day! The hectic pace of modern day life in a dog-eat-dog world...there's an obvious connection! Maybe I'm not ready for the Haldol just yet after all. SHEW

It's also reassuring to know that even in my kooky dream last night, there was Mrs. Tony C cheering me on...

...but I won't be sharing that part of the dream with you folks. Sorry.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just hang on…I’m about to get jiggy with it.

n1078284889_30269039_7088686I had the privilege of stepping up and helping a couple very dear to me this past weekend. Two young people from my Sunday School class entered into the sacred bond of matrimony on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t pulled off without a few kinks in the works…naturally. 

The week prior, the bride discovered that the band she had booked for the reception was bailing on her. In the realm of Murphy’s Law, weddings and receptions are always ground zero. But alas, for every problem, there is always a solution! So a quick text to yours truly and the reception music void is filled by DJ Tony C…

Okay. When you stop laughing, I will finish the story.

Saturday wasn’t my first music-spinning rodeo. I’ve been booked on a number of special occasions, including a wedding, to man the mike and the mix. My…ahem…skills come with two special features- 1. I can be counted on to be there, and 2. I’m cheap…as in free.

Of course, Mrs. Tony C immediately meets hearing the request with skepticism. She quickly makes two of her own counterpoints- 1. You don’t have DJ sound equipment, and 2. Nobody wants to listen to that old crap on your iPod.

Ouch. That really stings. My music is considered classic…not old…thank you very much.

As I pointed out prior, this wasn't my first gig, and I had a secret weapon to address one of her two issues. DJ Tony C happens to come with the best sound man in the business (aka Sound Daddy Grand) who happens to be equipped to the teeth. Not only that, in all of my prior performances, said Sound Daddy Grand sets everything up, sound checks and has the rig ready to roll when show time comes. Yes. He’s really spoiled me.

DJ equipment- check.

Without hesitation, I jumped into the request with both feet. The concept of an old dude cranking out tunes at a young people wedding never phased me. Why? Quite simply…you just have to let the bride decide the music! Brilliant.

iTunes to iPod + Sound Daddy Grand’s set up=good time had by all.

So, a quick text to the bride and this party is ready to get started. I’m going to apologize in advance because I might get a little teary eyed at this next part. The response I received was…gold. The bride wanted her first dance to be to When I Say I Do and the daddy/daughter dance to Cinderella.

Check and check.

When I inquired what kind of music she liked, I believe God Himself smiled upon me. She replied she loved…80’s music!

Big check and a plus sign to boot!

DJ Tony C: She likes 80’s music. Hear that…80’s music. Journey is her favorite (tear)! 
Mrs. Tony C: No way! She really wants 80’s music? How are we dancing to that?
DJ Tony C: Like MC Hammer baby! (breaking into side shuffle)
Mrs. Tony C: Please don’t do that at the reception. I beg you just please don’t. Are you crying?

Just to get Mrs. Tony C off my back, I download something called Cha Cha Shuffle and Cupid Slide or Cupid Shuffle and Cha Cha Slide. Apparently, there’s an overwhelming need at a large gathering of celebratory white people for line dancing. I’m just saying…it’s indeed a sad spectacle.

Things only got better for me when the wedding planner gave me the emcee agenda and directed that soft, mellow music be played while people were eating so they could comfortably converse.

Soft, mellow music like Five for Fighting, James Ingram, Aaron Neville and James Taylor? Check, check, check and check.

I must admit final validation came when a younger, 20-something female approached my station:

Young female: What is this song playing?
DJ Tony C: Donny Osmond. Sacred Emotion from 1989.
Young female: Donny Osmond? Wow. I really like that.
DJ Tony C: It is a nice song for a wedding reception (Yes!).

Granted, Mrs. Tony C was looking way hot at the wedding and reception…but it was DJ Tony C burning down the house with the best sound outside of any known elevator. Now I’ve just got to get that shuffle/slide crap off my iPod in case I’m ever in a car accident.


DJ Tony C with the lovely newlyweds

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pasteur?! Like we wouldn't have eventually figured that one out on our own...

I had to chuckle today when I came across a short article about the origin of the idiom pardon my French. No. There weren't really any major revelations or even an interesting Paul Harvey-esc Now you know the rest of the story moment. Truth be one seems to really know from where the expression hails.

It's no secret, after all, that most Americans closely associate the French with profanity anyway. And why shouldn't we? The European country seems to have quickly forgotten that German would now be their nation language if not for a few of the homeboys travelling over to help out a couple of generations ago. Thus, the prevailing condescending attitude of their red, white and blue directed at our stars and stripes is enough to make a red-blooded American want to...well...curse.

Calm down mom...I said want to. Put your soap bar back up.

To make matters even worse, Spike TV opened the third season of Deadliest Warriors with a head-to-head battle between General George Washington and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and declared Washington a narrow victor.

Shut the front door!

That little...weasel... wouldn't stand a chance against our nation's first president. If Napoleon couldn't get the better of a Duke named after a fancy-smancy beef dish, how in the world could he beat a man who turned down being a king?!!! Washington was a man among men...and great men at that.

If you're a conspiracy theorist, the French are straight in your cross hairs as a major reason for child obesity in this country. What innocent 4-year old doesn't love french fries or french toast? Maybe the master plan is leading our nation into eating its way to third-world status with the French, Chinese, Mexicans and Italians behind it all?

Sweet fancy Moses!

Back to the French and profanity link.

So, exactly why do we use the common apologetic expression after a slip of the tongue? Why not pardon my German or pardon my Swahili? How about a nation-neutral pardon my rudeness or pardon my lack of verbal sophistication?

Personally, I would like to hear pardon my ignorant, unsophisticated use of the beautiful English language and for subjugating you to this verbose and awkward disclaimer. I'm neither an attorney nor an attorney spokesperson. I'm just a neanderthal-like knucklehead who often forgets four-letter words never, ever actually make people take me more serious.


Looking back over that statement, I suddenly have a clearer understanding of why I don't drink champagne, eat Dannon yogurt, read Women's Day magazine, drive on B.F Goodrich tires, use Bic razors, wear Mephisto shoes, watch Jerry Springer (look it up) or cook in T-Fal cookware.

And by the way...I think Dijon mustard taste like...poupon!  Pardon the French.   

Monday, August 8, 2011

Well there you have it…the delicate genius says there’s no God.



One of my favorite times of the day is just after Baby C wakes up. She will contently lie in her crib playing with her feet or favorite stuffed animal and babble or hum in the most adorable way. Mrs. Tony C and I will often take it all in via the baby monitor from our bedroom consumed by the pride and satisfaction of the wonderful creation we have managed. Aren’t we so special…

Well, actually we’re not…according to Stephen Hawking.

Call it inquisition, self-induced aggravation or just plan geekdome, but I’m drawn to shows on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. I guess it’s that whole scorpion and the frog anecdote…it’s just my nature...I’m sorry.

So, I spent part of my Sunday night watching a new series on the Science Channel called Curiosity. Ironic. The first episode promised to answer the question- Did God create the universe? which to me was obviously a rhetorical question.

Apparently Hawking didn’t get that memo.

Accounting for skipped commercials (yes, it was recorded), I watched and listened for the better part of 40 minutes while the mostly narrated words of the famous physicist explained how the entire universe from the very creation could be explained using the existing laws of nature. His conclusion, however, was the most compelling (Spoiler alert! In case you’re watching later).

According to Hawking since time didn’t exist until the Big Bang that created our universe, there was in fact no time for God to exist within…therefore, there is no God.

(cricket noises)

(Hand raised) Excuse me…I have just a few questions Dr. Hawking.

I found it very convenient how you quickly summed up the problem in your theory of something being created from nothing as a complex issue of quantum physics. Since matter is merely energy at, shall we say a slower pace, all that was needed was energy and space to create all the matter we see today. But where did the energy and space originate? In all of recorded science, there is not a single know source of infinite energy…discounting the human soul of course. 

On the issue of the bang in the aforementioned Big Bang, if only energy and space existed before the singularity that created all we see today and time came into existence at that moment, doesn’t that negate your hero Einstein's theory of relativity since the speed of light squared is a matter of time and distance? Did I miss that explanation?

Last one. Since Newton’s Laws of Motion are also a fundamental building block of your conclusion, where did the external force or push to get the cosmic ball rolling originate? Granted my knowledge concerning Newton’s brilliant theory is approaching the very limit of my formal education in physics, but according to you, these laws can’t be broken…ever…so I’m having a hard time reconciling how F=ma when there is neither mass nor acceleration (element of time) in your pre-Big Bang theory, and even most grade school kids understand the swing just won’t go without the F (force). 

Maybe it’s me…but this all looks and sounds a lot like another very misleading theory being sold by a snake about an apple a long time ago…without the fancy graphics and reenactments of history.

I guess it all boils down to faith no matter how you try to explain how the universe began. Sorry Steve…your theories and equations require far too much for me. I’ll just stick with what I know.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Truth isn't found half way between right and wrong...

Friends...I've got to admit I'm in a complete state of both shock and disgust.

I tried to catch a little of the national evening news before church last night. Rarely do I look at the local newspaper or watch the local television news because it's just so laden with what I call 'blodder news.' More on that in a moment.

One of the lead stories last night was about the international federal roundup of a group of cyber-child porn freaks. The largest in our country's history. I couldn't help but think to myself watching the can run, but you can't hide scumbags. Since I was pressed for time, I made sure the rest of the news was spinning to the DVR to watch later and headed to church.

A very close friend of mine after the service inquired if I'd seen the news about someone we both knew. I had heard he was in the custody of federal officials, but what he showed me next was...well...very distressing. The man in question was actually one of the 52 people arrested in connection with the national story I had watched just hours prior. It was a local news story. All I could think can that be?

This man (I use that term strictly in the biological sense) was a local police office. Smart. Mannerly. Not a guy you would ever associate with such a heinous crime. Yet, he was one of 72 people worldwide federal investigators were accusing of perpetrating a child pornography distribution ring on the internet. Unbelievable.

When I got home and pulled up the local story to read, it directed to the national story that was also on all the news stations. Folks. I'm not naive. I know we live in a dark, sinful world. But the things I  read on the national media story truly made me sick to my stomach. I stopped reading and closed my eyes in prayer. I desperately needed the warm love of my Father to counter the ice running through my veins. 

I've written about yet another guy I know in prison today for similar atrocities.Many of us who know him are still in complete disbelief about his revelation over 2 years ago. My point isn't to counter what I said in that post...because to God...sin is sin. We all are guilty and deserve death, but by grace we can overcome that death. In return, we are expected to love one another...sins and all. Even with that knowledge deeply rooted in my core belief system, I still find myself consumed with anger by the facts presented in yesterday's story. My mind struggles but fails to fully comprehend the details I read. Finally, a mental image of Satan laughing at it all causes me to pray once more. This is the fallen world we live in due to sin...

The Casey Anthony story didn't catch my attention like it did the rest of the nation. Yes. The story is very tragic on a number of levels. Even so, it grossly fails in comparison to a group of people dedicated to facilitating themselves and others who participate in the intentional harming of children, from babies to teenagers, in sexual ways impossible for any normal, rational human being to understand. All to gratify and promote their own demented urges. Freaks who take pleasure in watching actual living, breathing kids being tortured for their entertainment.

And I personally know one of them...

I came very close to not writing this post today. I'm both saddened and embarrassed to know both people I've mentioned. Dread hovers over me like a dark cloud wondering if there will be another surprise in the future along these lines. A small part of my faith waivers as I grapple with thoughts of vengeance...which leads to even more feelings of shame. Again...I must stop to pray.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.   Romans 12:19

Honestly...I'm struggling today in the WWJD way my friends...and just needed an ear. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Help! I've fallen and can't reach my iPod!

Middle-aged stinks!

When I see this commercial for Urloic, a medication for people who suffer from gout, I have to admit I see an old guy. My apologies to the actor who brilliantly nails the part...of an old guy who suffers from gout.

So if gout is an affliction on the elderly, then why in the blue blazes did it attack me this past week?!

Okay. Just stop! I know you've already read this year about bad backs, sebaceous cyst and the battle of the middle-aged spread. Maybe you should add denial to the list as well. While I don't necessarily think of myself as old, apparently medical demographics has a different point-of-view. I guess that it's time for me to face the facts of the mileage starting to pile up on the old odometer...and hard miles at that.

There are few things more humbling in life than trying to out crawl your 8-month old to get to the bathroom door (I know I would have won too if I'd been even with her at the start. Little cheater!). But that's the lowly place I found myself this weekend when the uric acid mechanism in my left ankle went haywire. So just what is this gout thing? How did I get it? I mean after all, I don't eat real sausage anymore. Just the fake turkey stuff. Sausage is what always triggered an attack in Uncle Bob.

The scientific answer is this:

All I know is this:

Now before you go making fun of my white ankle socks and Crocs, please take note to the swelling in my left ankle first. And that's much improved! Mrs. Tony C tells me the white socks with open shoes is an old man thing. Apparently either she isn't getting the memos or completely in denial about my decrepit state too.

But I'm all about the fix. So from the comfort of my own bed with leg properly elevated on pillows, a quick internet search produced a plethora of information...and information is power...even for old people. While the forces of DNA can't be disallowed for my latest affliction, diet seems to play a large part too. No problem there. Been working rather diligently on that one already. The key to preventing a flare up seems to be avoiding foods rich in the compound purine. Okay. So what are those foods?

From the Web-MD website:

Examples of high-purine choices to avoid:
•Certain seafood (canned tuna, dark meat fish)
•Certain shellfish (shrimp, lobster, scallops)
•Non-diet soft drinks

What?! I'm just thankful Honey Bunches of Oats and turkey sausage isn't on the list or I wouldn't have anything left to eat!

Wow middle-aged stinks.