Monday, January 30, 2012

Have I told you lately that I love you...and that I'm an idiot?

 Yesterday was the birthday of the most important person in my life, and somehow I managed to pop the celebratory balloons...

<---------That's the Crazy Tomato posing with the cake she and I made her mom. CT insisted it be a princess cake, and I completely understand why. Her mom is a princess. But instead of getting the royal treatment from yours truly yesterday, I decided to let a lot of unnecessary baggage be the wet blanket of the weekend.

You have no idea how sorry I am for that fact too.

January 29th is the pinnacle day for Mrs. Tony C's year.  Before the little ones came along, we started the New Year off not with Happy New Year! but rather with Happy Birthday Month!, so her birthday was a big huge deal.

While some of the luster and anticipation has somewhat diminished with the rug rats now around, the day is still very special to me and always will be. Despite the rigors of the daily grind we all go through day in and day out, it is this one special day I get to set aside and focus exclusively on just her.  Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way yesterday.

Sure. We attended the funeral of a family friend last night, but it wasn't necessarily a sad event. Brother Rudolph had lived a great life and leaves behind a tremendous testimony and tons of great memories. No...that just wasn't the cause of the turmoil.

Without going into the humiliating details that are, quite frankly, none of anyone else's business, I take full responsibility for funkifing the festivities. A few deep breaths and a slow count to ten would have been far better serving for me yesterday than the path I chose, but we all know the adage too well concerning hindsight.

Thankfully, I have Valentine's Day in February and our wedding anniversary in March to make amends. No...not quite the same, so I'll have to double my efforts this 2012 go around and make both memorable!

I complete adore my wife, and I am hopelessly in love with everything about her!

Did you necessarily need to hear that? Probably not near as much as I needed to declare it publicly, so thanks for helping me out. I've always known you are the best readers a blogger could have, and now I seriously owe you one.

Happy Day After Birthday my love! Hope you have many more with me...and continue to be the most forgiving soul I've ever put to the test.

See...I told you she was a princess (in pink)...

I'm truly one lucky dude.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man...and don't call me Lola!

My masculinity has been called into question of late, and I'm mad as heck about it too!

There. That sounded pretty forceful. I've been called a lot of different things in my life, but accused of being dainty or effeminate (read sissy) are tags I've never had to wear...for good reason.

While there have been a few descriptive adjectives thrown my direction in the past that, admittedly, made me a bit uncomfortable, I won't rehash said accusatory attributes to avoid giving credence. However, I also won't deny many...okay, maybe most...were easily justifiable.

But I'm drawing a line in the sand on being branded unmanly!

Metrosexual I'll accept...renaissance man I prefer. I honestly have Mrs. Tony C to thank for it coming to this showdown too. She's always going on about what a great cook I am, and how I do all the clothes ironing and how easily I get flowers to grow, and yada...yada...yada. What's she doing to me! She's destroying my very manhood!

I've been a football player, a jock, a competitive power lifter, a hunter and outdoorsman... a United States Marine for the love of God! I can fix the brakes on my car, repair major appliances around the house, fix holes in sheet rock and even fix a busted toilet. That's plumbing! You hear that? Plumbing! Nothing is more masculine than plumbing! That's right...I said that!

Okay. Maybe I am one of very few men to be found using Pinterest. What's the big deal? I've gotten some great ideas for the garage, projects lined up for the yard come Spring and... okay, a few pretty awesome recipes. Doesn't mean I wear lacy panties! I'm just a refined consumer of available internet information using the most efficient means available to me. I've got an ESPN app on my phone too!

Big deal I do ZUMBA.  I told you last year I made a commitment to Mrs. Tony C to improve my overall health. After eliminating sodas and a few other small dietary changes, I shed 30 lbs by Christmas. Granted, the y-axis on my line chart (where y represents weight and x represents time) probably made an upward tick in December. assuredly spiked upward which resulted in a need to kick it up a notch  put things into a higher gear! Since Mrs. Tony C was instructing her own ZUMBA class three times a week, I just wanted to be a supportive husband. It was the best of both worlds! I get in shape and brownie points for being supportive. Win-win!

What's ZUMBA you ask? Well, it's part aerobics, part dance and a lot of moving. ZUMBA is really hard to describe, so here's a video that shows you...

Okay. Maybe that was a mistake. But I don't do all the moves! Well...I can't do all the moves. Mrs. Tony C can bend like a willow branch and comes in at a 100+ pounds lighter. I'm no pansy...or fool.

Look. There's no way I can be accused of being effeminate and here's proof why. I made an unfortunate bet with a fellow sports radio broadcaster years back when our respective teams played each other and lost. The pay up? Going to the rival school's pep rally dressed in formal prom attire...for a girl!

There won't be any pictures posted, but believe me, it was scary ugly, and I nearly killed myself trying to walk in a 2 inch closed.

Monday, January 23, 2012

That's not even a word according to my spell check...

I mean come on! You can't be serious... Unfriend?!

My initial reason for jumping into the social media fray so long ago was what I thought to be out of necessity (explained here). While it's a never ending, uphill battle, I try to be a responsible and conscientious parent. Go where the kids are if you want to know what's going on may seem like common sense advice, but least we never forget that common sense is hardly common place...and even rarer is universally common (aka one size fits all) when it comes to kids.

Then I was hooked.

I began to see the growing potential to market the Stick With Jesus website, expand my blog readership, spread the Good News and reconnect with some old friends who had been MIA for quite some time. Pretty soon I leaped from MySpace to Facebook...way before my teenage daughter gave it a thought. 'Facebook is for old people!' was her stand on the issue, and as usually, turns out old dad was just a step ahead of her.

I'm seriously fighting the urge to go nanny, nanny, boo-boo, who's old now? But I'll refrain for such an immature display of celebratory least for now.

Today the whole world and then some are part of the social media craze called Facebook. My darling spouse came kicking and screaming to the 'dark side' back in late 2009, and now she spends more time on her iPhones app picture stalking...I mean...checking up on her own old friends than she does watching Criminal Minds reruns, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice combined. Actually, she usually peruses FB while watching those shows. What was I thinking?

But let me not poke fun of my beloved in fear of some type of stinging retribution. While there are numerous counter-punches in her arsenal when it comes to me specifically, I'm pretty sure she would go straight to her most used (and time-tested) counter concerning the all important Friends list. Let's face it...Facebook without friends is like the proverbial Buddhist monk trying to clap with one hand.

What's the point?

Her jab is of my own making too which makes the sting even worse. Let me explain. I just refuse to turn down any friend request. Not one goes unconfirmed. She is, on the other hand,  more selective about who 'makes the cut'  than sports writers are about their precious MLB Hall of Fame inductees.
There just an element of WWJD at play in the whole process for me. Clicking the Delete Request button is so...anti-Jesus.

Now this position comes with a few undesirable consequences I will admit. There's the Rude and Obnoxious crew that post status updates that don't necessarily reflect my own...ahem...value system, the Past Girlfriend section that really do me no favors strolling down memory lane on my Wall, the Old College Buddies who need to apply the whole 'stays in Vegas' adage to their story telling (regardless of Statute of Limitation expiration), and least we not forget...wait...okay the Past Girlfriend thing is a little ego boosting...but strictly in a platonic way!

Still, having over 1600 friends does makes my News Feed look like rolling credits at the end of a show.

Do I personally know/have known these people? Probably not. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't care to  meet least most of them anyway. What I do have a serious problem with is people who use social media sites to subjugate the rest of us to their personal dramas. Got a sick friend or family member? I'd be glad to lift them up in prayer. Recent job promotion? Kudos to you, we celebrate together. Kid stuck a Lego block up their nose? Those do make some of the funniest pictures. Caught your boyfriend cheating with neighbor's dog? Seriously...I just don't need that information or the resulting thread of Comments in my day or thoughts. Maybe it's just me...

Just this very weekend I was somewhat forced to Unfriend someone from my list due to the teenager's drama. It was only the second time in almost four years I've done that, and the first time was truly a matter of self-preservation (and even then I felt bad). Who would ever guess high school relationships are almost always temporary...

So where does it all end? Believe me. Facebook is a finite plaything in a fickle world. The Restart button surely can't be too far away. Wish I'd hurry and get the new thing idea first...

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Let us swear while we may, for in Heaven it will not be allowed." Mark Twain

For some reason, I find cussing quite perplexing... but that's to myself of course.

Let me qualify that opening statement by drawing some clear distinctions about what cussing actually is or isn't in my opinion.

In the inarticulate world of expletives, there are undefined categories that none the less draw obvious conclusions. While most people haphazardly lump cursing, cussing, profanity and vulgarity under an all-inclusive verbal umbrella, I challenge the notion as a mere bastardizing of the English language.

Cussing is not a form of cursing. The root meaning of cuss is generally defined as saying bad words. Therefore, cursing would actually be a form of cussing, as is also using profanity, vulagarity or any other inappropriate verbiage deemed by society.

To curse is to actually wish misfortune upon another person or persons. That's bad no matter how you paint it up. Besides...who are you to determine the eternal fate of any soul just because they might have cut you off in traffic one day. Seems a bit arrogant on your part to flaunt such an important task...again, in my opinion.

Using profanity is worse than cursing! Being profane is actually showing contempt for God Almighty by very definition. Whoa! Now we're on a slippery slope! While the subject matter of the eternal fate of one's soul is still fresh, you might want to give serious thought to the next Holy Cow, Holy #%$@ or Holy (fill in blank) that comes flying out of your mouth. By the way, Jesus doesn't have a middle initial.

Let me stop right here just a second. If you know me or read Tony C Today at all, then my background as a former Marine is no secret. While it's true that colorful language and service to one's country are somehow linked in the minds of the masses...well, okay...that's actually a pretty fair assessment. Not sure where I was taking that.

It's not as if the use of certain words, phrases or references to genealogy are taught as a course in basic training. As a matter of fact, I specifically remember a class given to new Marine officers at Quantico during The Basic School that discouraged the use of cursing and profanity when addressing other Marines and blatantly denouncing such use in front of the opposite sex. Chivalry still least in fairy tales and the United States Marine Corps.

Cursing the Army or the Navy, however,  was expected and encouraged. By the way, Marines consider the Air Force a civilian occupation.

I recall, unfortunately, an incident at my parents home while visiting on leave one Christmas while active duty. Raised as a proper Southern gentleman, the use of any word deemed inappropriate in front of one's mother is considered both tacky and crude. Unrefined by the very nature of the offense.  Even in the days when my language wasn't as sophisticated (read clean) as maybe it should have been, I never uttered words considered potty in front of either of my parents (take note young's a respect thing).  But on this single occasion, duty back in Hawaii called...literally.

Since this story happens prior to the plethora of cheap mass communition means of today, Ma Bell was my only choice short of a telegram to stay in touch with my command. As the Executive Officer, or XO, of a company of Marines at the time, discipline was my very business...and business was always open and a booming.  During one of my call backs, my prized customers (one Private A. Jones) was up to his usual shenanigans. After listening to his platoon commander fill me in on the details, I requested Private Jones be put on the other end of the line.

For the next 90 seconds, it was as if General George Patton himself possessed my every word. A dressing down of near-epic proportions ensued.

After hanging up the phone (which was attached to the wall thus limiting my mobility) and collecting myself, I walked back into the living room to find my terrified mother gasping in sheer disbelief. An unforgettable sight. My father, known for his on use of unseemly verboseness, was just staring at the floor fully aware of the humiliation I was about to experience from his own prior offenses. To my mother, you just didn't say words like:

@#%$ - under any circumstance,

#$%!@ -  just blasphemous and completely inexcusable,

&%$$@)@!?#^ - required a visit from Preacher Taylor and some form of absolution, and

*?#%&@!   @#*+!@ - well, you just didn't go there.

But, I had used them all during that rather short conversation in various forms from verb to compound adjective.

I felt great shame...and rightly so.

Today, I just don't use profanity. I also don't curse or dabble in vulgarities either, although I do understand the differences. Vulgarity is most often directly associated with bodily parts, functions and/or consequences thereof, and such language is taboo in the Tony C household because nothing is more embarrassing than your 4-year old squealing "Ewww, somebody farted!" while you're waiting to check out in line at the grocery store. Believe me...I've been called out.

For the record, Mrs. Tony C also doesn't actually allow any words or references dealing with flatulence other than excuse me to be utter in our home. Heck...I even have to spell s-t-u-p-i-d (not even cussing) if I ever use the word...which seriously diminishes the intended effect by yelling letters at the idiot that just cut you off in traffic!

Not to mention we house a teenager, and believe me, I think the word, among several others I must spell, quite often...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Let's take a cup of kindness people...for auld lang syne!

If you think I'm at all worried about the impending destruction of the world this year...better think again Jack.

I find a tremendous amount of humor in the time and energy spent discussing and debating the 'great end of the world' as allegedly predicted by the subsequent ending of an extinct culture's calendar.

Has anyone stop to think maybe Mesoamericans couldn't count past 1,383,136? Maybe there is no 1,383,137 in their numbering system? How about the fact that the end of the current Mayan Long Count Calendar is the thirteenth such ending without a major hitch...well...aside from the fact the Mesoamerican culture ended in the 16th century, and their calendar sure didn't predict that.

Yep, not losing much sleep over this one.

Plus, I've resolved to be more positive in 2012, and fixating on global destruction kind of goes in a different direction. Keeping resolution is hard enough without the looming fear of end of times. Think about it...if you resolved to lose weight this year and hold to the belief the world is coming to an end in December...what's the point? I say die fat and happy! Besides, we're all getting new bodies on the other side anyway.

If you've resolved to save more money in 2012 but feel validity in the global demise on the forthcoming winter can't take it with you, and who really cares about a plump portfolio when plumes of inter-Earth fire are springing up all around us! I say investing in a fire-proof safe room for your house or at least a swimming pool might be a smarter move than the IPO of the month.

So, you've resolved to learn a new language, get more organized and/or give up that lifelong vice in 2012 but know time is short with less than 353 days to go destruction.  Look on the bright side Sunshine. This is a leap year and you have a whole extra day to get it done (or maybe undone if applicable)!

Three days in...I'm still resolution strong and charged like an ion.

Happy New Years to all. Let's have a great year together!