Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bar Etiquette for the Holidays

Not me. This guy is working! ("Hollywood Capers" 1935)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS my friends! Here are just a couple friendly reminders on how to act and treat your bar staff when you are enjoying yourself out and about for the holidays. I am extremely lucky in that I rarely have issues where I bartend. I recognize that good behavior while at a bar is definitely a two way street. I will treat you with respect and I expect the same in return! Some of what is said is a lil' snarky but it's meant in good fun.

This blog is also for all of my bartending friends whether they work at a local bar, a restaurant chain, catering, a swanky restaurant, a ski lodge or a hotel chain. It can be a tough job. There are some written and some unwritten rules of the bar which will make your holiday, and mine, go a lot smoother.

Please don't curse. There may be kids present if the bar you are at may have a restaurant. I'll keep my mouth clean too.

This seems incredibly obvious but every other week someone finds it funny to start throwing things at the bar. It's NOT. I give you a warning and tell you to stop once. After that, don't expect me to be friendly. And if you are in the slightest way buzzed, I'm slowing you down. If it continues, you are being asked to leave the premises.

Don't stand on your bar stool or get on the bar. That should be obvious too. And if you fall back onto the floor, I'm gonna question your sobriety.

If we do not have your first choice of beverage at the bar, I am sure there is something else we have which you would like. We are not the Liquor-Mart in Delaware but we do have the basics. Look at the size of the establishment. Is it a small town bar? Is it a local Lodge or VFW? Is it a chain restaurant like Chili's? Is it an upscale restaurant or hotel like the Ritz-Carlton?

Make your choice keeping this in mind. You are most likely not gonna get a Pernod's or glass of Moet at the local dive bar. Settle for a frosty mug of beer, a good voddy tonic or rum 'n coke and you'll be just as happy. Don't expect a bar to have every flavor of vodka or whisky either. Most bars have their liquors within eyesight. Take a minute and look. Sorry, no bubblegum flavored vodka here.

I am allowed a break. I'm on my feet. LOL Don't harass me if I wanna take 5 minutes. Although I know that won't stop some of you ...

If we are jam-packed, it may not be the best time to ask me for drink suggestions. You will get a stare from me and I will suggest again a frosty mug of beer, a good voddy tonic or a rum 'n coke.

If I don't know what is in your drink choice, I may look it up in the bar book. Don't be offended. This is a part time gig and although I make a mean martini and an awesome Long Island Iced Tea, I don't know how to make everything. Even full time bartenders are always learning. So that means your pink alligator, blue whale, mind-eraser, or woo-woo may take a couple minutes longer.

If it's a packed bar, you will wait a couple minutes for a drink. Relax. I see you. I feel you staring at the back of my head. Say hi to someone and chill. I'll be right with you with a smile. I don't openly ignore people. Why would I do that? I know I'm gonna have to serve you anyway. Why would I want to jeopardize my tip? Take a breath and again, I'll be right with you.

Cheesy moustache & fellow bartender Spongebob
The hardest part of my job is deciding how to tell you that you've had too much to drink. Luckily it doesn't happen often. If you are getting too intoxicated, I may offer you a complimentary bottle of water or soda, or even something to eat. Take the hint and don't make a scene. I am attempting to slow you down without having to cut you off. If I do cut you off, I'm going to try and do it discretely, quietly, and not embarrass you. But if you create a scene, all bets are off and you'll be asked to leave without apology. REMEMBER THIS: I'd rather have you mad at me that night, but alive the next morning.

If you want a virgin cocktail and have no idea what you want, I'll suggest the ultimate virgin drink, water. I'll be honest, mock-tails are not my specialty. I can give you a Shirley Temple, a Roy Rogers, or a mix of fruit juices. Your pick?... oh yeah, water.

A good bartender will socially bounce around the bar, making small conversations here and there. Now I need to spend time with other patrons, making sure they are cool, doing the small talk thing with them as well. I like taking care of all my guests. I will also tend to scan the bar, making sure everyone's drinks are fresh. If my fellow workers need something, I will be ending the conversation temporarily to help them. Don't be offended. We are a business and I'm helping it run smoothly.

I am also not offended if you call me by my name for a drink. I'd rather you do it. IT'S MARC ... with a "C". There's a lot to do behind the bar and I could get caught up in other stuff like cleaning dishes, counting money, wiping off bottles, etc. So definitely learn your bartender's name and I'll try and learn yours, or at least your drink! I'd rather be called Marc than "YO!" And do not bark at me. If you bark at me, I turn on SELECTIVE HEARING.

We are SERVICE not SERVANTS. There is a major obvious difference. Remember that mutual respect thing I began the blog post with?

If you buy 10 shots for people, I have to make or pour the 10 shots and then wash the 10 shot glasses. So that means your next mug of beer may be a little delayed.

I never force alcohol on anyone. If they don't want your free drink, I am not gonna force it on them. That goes along with "buying" the bar a round of shots. If someone doesn't want it, I'm not gonna pour it.

In the same vein, don't feel obligated to buy rounds and rounds of free drinks just because everyone else is doing it. While I like high bar sales as much as the next guy, don't feel that you have to put yourself in debt just to match someone.

Be nice and polite if you ask for pretzels or peanuts. They are FREE. I don't mind putting them out (much to the chagrin of my bar manager, the Big Ragu). They also make you thirsty which helps me in the long run. (Come on.. you can figure it out. LOL)

I will be polite, respectful, and friendly to you even if you are ... let's see ... not a friend of mine (politically correct). There are a couple individuals out there I am ... not friends with. It's called LIFE. LOL. That's a good bartender though. I will still be "service with a smile".

BUT, if you are rude to me, all bets are off. I won't and shouldn't have to put up with rude behavior. If I see you be rude to one of my fellow servers, I am also gonna call you out on it. If you insult my fellow workers, assume that I will take their side. BE NICE. It's the holidays damn-it!

Try not to come to my bar in a bad mood. I recognize that if I'm in a bad mood and you're in a bad mood, it is infectious and brings down the overall mood of the bar. If I happen to be in a grumpy mood, I will try and get out of it, I promise. No one likes a surly bartender either. Not good for business.

In the same vein, don't play depressing songs on the juke box!!! no one wants to hear "Crying" by Roy Orbison or "Everybody Hurts" by REM on a fun Saturday night.

I will listen to your problems within reason but pleeeeze don't make it a therapy session. Otherwise, my bill will be in the mail. ;)

NOT ME. Cheesy movie. 
I saw this happen one night and I blew it off because I know the guy ... but SERIOUSLY, DO NOT STICK YOU HANDS IN MY TIP JAR and COUNT MY TIPS. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It is not done and not acceptable. In addition, don't put anything in my tip jar except tips. It's just a bit annoying.

Oh and I won't be tossing cocktails into the air, I ain't this guy from Cocktail.  Duh, LOL

Now listen ... I would not be doing this if I didn't still love bartending. Some of us have the "gift of gab" as it is called. I just love to socialize. That helps with bartending. But I also really love serving my customers, new and regular. I have probably the BEST PART TIME JOB in the WORLD!

I know I have said it before but I really mean it. I love the people who choose to hang out with me at the Lake Wynonah Lodge while I'm on bar. I am a VERY lucky guy.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great Quote by Edgar Allan Poe

like reading this again when I am settling down in the evening to write with a beer, glass of wine, or bourbon by my side.

"Filled with mingled cream and amber, I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visitors clamber, Through the chamber of my brain - Quaintest thoughts - queerest fancies, Come to life and fade away; What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today." 
- Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lesson Learned as a Young Man

"Parvin State Park"

When I hike, my mind wanders. I was in the end stretch of a 7 mile hike on the Elk Trail in Elk County, PA when I thought back to one of the greatest lessons by my father that I have ever learned. Ironically on the Elk Trail, I saw no elk. I saw signs of elks: their scat, their prints in the mud, but no elk. I did see elk in pretty much everyone's front yard in Benezette and Weedville, PA though. The elk, as it seems, like to hang out in yards filled with grass, lazily munching away.

Back to the lesson from my father, it was and to this day, a memorable and important one. It stayed with me because it rattled my core. My father was disappointed in me. I learned from it and he forgave me. For that I am thankful. And I never forgot the lesson he taught me.

I was in Cub Scouts as a young boy. Went through the Webelos (between 10-12 yrs of age) and then onto Boy Scouts for a couple years. Dropped out. Wasn't for me. Moved on with life... ha-ha... my BUSY childhood life. During the time that I was in Webelos, I went camping with my troop with my Dad, my Uncle Carl, and my cousin Carl as well as several good close friends from Wenonah, NJ.

We camped at Parvin State Park in South Jersey. I think there were about 10 of us kids. One afternoon, the entire troop went on a 3 miles hike around the park. Dad and Uncle Carl treated the hike as a learning experience, showing us scouts (we were kinda pre-scouts) the nature, flora, and fauna of a Pine Barrens forest.

One of my best school buddies and I ignored my father's efforts to make it a group event and charged ahead like it was a race. We ignored my Dad's directives to slow down and remain with the troop. My friend and I decided to continue on ahead. And charge ahead we did, we completed the trail in record time. We left everyone in the dust. We won... or did we?

No, sadly, we did not. We won nothing except bragging rights over a group of kids that did not even care. How sad, we won bragging rights for ourselves.

It was supposed to be a learning group activity: observing the woods and surrounding swamp, living in the moment, observing nature. It was not a competition, it was not a race.

After the hike, I remember lying in my tent on my sleeping bag with my arms clasped behind my head all smug. My Dad came poked his head into my tent and stated to me sternly, "I'm very disappointed in you. It was NOT a race." I was crushed by my father's disappointment. I stayed in my tent awhile, thoroughly embarrassed by what had happened.

Eventually, I came outside and rejoined my fellow scouts by the fire. I don't know if my Dad said anything about it to my friend. It didn't matter though. The fact that he scolded me for something which should've been so obvious was meaningful enough. What he had said affected me and got through to me.

I looked at Dad and said I was sorry. Dad, in his always peaceful and calm voice said, "It's OK Marc, just learn from it."

I did. And this is one of those life lessons you learn from and apply it to events which occur down the road for the rest of your life. It was an important life
lesson from a kind loving father, my biggest influence besides my mother to this day.

Life goes by too fast. It's not a race. Take notice of what is around you. Look at the trees in the forest, not just the forest. Listen to the birds, the rustling of a squirrel running through the leaves. The smells of the woods, the mossy areas. Take heed of your sense. Apply this to life, your day to day existence.

Don't let the little things pass you by. While shopping at the supermarket, smell your veggies and fruit. I mean REALLY STOP AND SMELL those oranges! Pet your dog or cat. Feel how soft they are. How they purr or how happy they are that you are giving them affection. Cook your meal and actively admire how good it smells in your kitchen. Listen to music while cooking. Enjoy the jazz, classical, or classic rock. What ever turns you on!

Slow down, turn on your sense, and take a deep breath. You'll be a better person for it.

Friday, November 17, 2017


"Miss Moxie Don't Care About Adulting"  

I  put up a post on Facebook this evening where I stated "Not looking for sympathy ... maybe a lil. There are weeks I just don't feel like I do ADULTING well. :( " I feel like I need to elaborate FOR ALL OF US! It's is SO TOUGH! AND .. The kicker is that I DON'T EVEN HAVE KIDS!!!! lol How do YOU FOLKS do it???

With the immediate response on Facebook, I knew I needed to write a blog post about it. I've been enjoying myself so maybe the gin will help. LOL My Nana once said to me "Gin is the Devil's drink, and tonight I'm visiting the Devil!" Ha-ha, hopefully I won't be visiting the Devil tonight, just a little honesty and then bed.

It is really tough being an adult or ADULTING as we say these days. SO TOUGH this week. I find myself wanting to go back to the simplicity of my 20s.

Now overall I have it very lucky. I have a wonderful home, stable great (sometimes) job, and an  awesome relationship. But day to day life can be really tough sometimes. I try and juggle things and I find myself a mess. I often wonder how do people do it? How do they cope? I know others feel that way. I need to elaborate and let you know that I feel the same way. We feel it on different levels, but still, the same stress.

I know these are totally 1st world problems. I am FAR luckier than those in this world. But considering I am not a millionaire or billionaire like Bill Gates or Donald Trump, I feel like I have a right to bitch for a bit.

My commute this week has been horrible. An hour each way. Twice late into work this week due to accidents or traffic. I also got almost crunched by tractor trailers on the way home one night and then t-boned another evening. Just shook me to the core. I have been commuting to my government job an hour both ways for the last 13 years in two counties! It is so stressful.

Not to mention, I feel like I cannot get the yard work done. I get home at 5:30 PM or 6 PM and it's dark! I try and fit in yard work wherever I can. And I feel like my yard is crap compared to my retired neighbors who can do yard work during DAYLIGHT. I am not gonna rake leaves in the DARK! What ever will happen will happen on the weekend, so my dear neighbors, the yard work WAITS until the weekend! I know it sounds like I am knocking retired people,

I come home, try and do dishes, get the laundry done, try and clean a room or two, clean the cat box, do garbage, and THEN try and do gym. May I'll eat dinner at 8PM and then a drink or two before bed. Then REPEAT! Throw in doing bills on my breaks at work, fit in the grocery, fix up stuff CONSTANTLY at home, I am just besides myself.

I made a mistake on a bill this month, chose 11/22 for my cable bill payment, when it should've been 11/12 and Comcast was ready to shut off my ass. OH MY GOD!!!! WTF?!?!?!?!??! Are you KIDDING ME????? I get so exhausted, I forgo gym some days and try and try and focus on the house. Clean this room or clean that room. Try and keep up on the wash.

Oh and WHAT'S for DINNER? Did you pick up anything? Did I pick up anything? Whose turn was it? DOES IT MATTER? If it's my turn, I will pick cans of tuna or sauce and pasta EVERY NIGHT! What ever is EASIEST.

OK need to fill those damn bird feeders because the birds actually relax me unless those damn squirrels eat all the bird see and then I wanna go postal on the local wildlife!!! I also have a woodpecker eating the side of my house now. Sound familiar?

Oh and people say for me to further my relaxation like write more or play the piano more often (I took lessons 10 years). YEAH, clone me and then we'll talk about extracurricular activities. And remember, I am asking you to clone me. How ridiculous is that? I'm asking for a clone so I have time to do fun stuff.

And I need to replace the bulbs in the front hall way chandelier. So I drag the ladder out from the basement, set it up in the front hall way, reach up to get out the burnt out bulb. Replace the bulb from Home Depot which I spent $$$ on for three of them. The bulb F*CKING breaks OFF in the socket!!!! SO NOW.... I need to go to the basement, turn off the power so I can remove the broken bulb from the socket without electrocuting myself!!!! And then replace it AGAIN.

I'm exhausted this week AND AGAIN, I DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN! HOW DO YOU PEOPLE DO IT???? This is nuts. There has to be a better way but I am just doing the minimum!!!

I am pretty good at time management. I just get into weeks where I suck at this thing called being an ADULT. I sometimes feel like I had a better handle on my life in my 20s when I was a simple waiter/bartender living on my tips week to week. Now I am in a government position making more than I was before. It doesn't matter, income is relative to what you are dealing with at the time. I just don't have the time!

What is that line from a rap song? Mo Money MO PROBLEMS?

I hate to say it, but that night-cap definitely helps destress me. Again, I have it FAR easier than others. I feel for what they go through. But... back to me. LOL Dealing with stress sucks. But thinking about how hard others have it while writing this blog ... it tempers me a bit. I will try and remember I have it pretty well. Stress still f*cking sucks though. GOD, give me strength....

This is for all my friends who feel the same way:

Please share what you are dealing with! Misery definitely loves company!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What to Toss, What to Keep

Miss Moxie is not helping me.

After staring at the pile of paperwork on my desk at home, I grew frustrated over my pack-rat self. I was determined to change my ways!! Time to shred and purge!
I clip articles hoping to read them, collect brochures from places I wanna visit, rip recipes out I wanna make, save birthday cards from years ago, etc. My Mom saved everything so I know she is who I got this “urge to save” from. And then there are the magazines and books I think I am going to read someday...

Any magazines around the house I try and toss or forward onto someone after I’ve read them pretty thoroughly. Books or magazines I haven’t read 'Im trying to be more proactive and donate them to friends, family, or a library. If I have not read those clipped articles in a year, I toss ‘em. A couple I kept and moved them from the pile to my nightstand or magazine rack in the bathroom. Ha-ha. Perfect night time or “private” bath time reading. J
With regards to all of those countless travel brochures, I think I’m going to make a running list of the places that I want to visit and keep it on my desk top on the home computer or the fridge. This way I can always glance at it, add to it, cross off, etc. No need to keep all those brochures. (OK, already going through brochure withdraw over here...)

For example, I’ve wanted to go to the Reading Public Art Museum for years and I keep grabbing brochures. I found three brochures of the same museum! Time to figure out another strategy to reduce unnecessary paperwork. Now this though, will be VERY hard as everyone who knows me, know how much I love collecting brochures since I was a wee little lad.

I’ll keep birthday cards from just my immediate family. If one is from a close friend with a nice personal note, I’ll hold onto that one too. Any other miscellaneous birthday or holiday cards, I’ll toss. Do I really need to save a birthday card from Joe-Shmo at work from  3 years ago? Nah, sorry Joe. I barely know ya.

Where do I draw the line with old bills, bank statements, pay stubs, and tax info? That’s another pile of past paper I was staring at. Most past billing statements can be retrieved online so what I do know is pay the bill, check it’s been paid online and reflected in my balance, and then shred the statement. And listen, before you question me that I am still receiving paper bills, I can’t help myself. I’m Old School baby! I have turned about half of my bills over to electronic or online billing. I’m not ready to take the full jump yet...

With bank statements, it’s the same deal. Everything can be found online these days. I kept some general info about each bank I had an account at, notices, terms and conditions, etc. The past statements have been shredded and tossed.

I’ve kept one pay stub from each previous job. Just so I have the company info if I ever need it, or the last pay rate. I embarrassingly actually had EVERY pay stub from when I started at Lehigh County over 8 years ago!!! Why was I keeping all of these papers!? I got rid of the majority and have just kept my very first one (for posterity LOL) and pay stubs from the current year.

The most depressing thing? Comparing my wages from 2009 to 2017. How sad. Now county public service careers are a great stable jobs but the ongoing financial incentives are pretty meager. Par for the course as I always knew private sector pays more than public.

Now with tax paperwork I just file away and pretty much keep forever. I’ve heard you can toss after 7 years and I’ve read you can toss after 3 years. I’m not taking any chances with the Feds. I’ll be buried with my old tax returns.

Below is a link to a great article by Suze Orman on financial clutter and what you should keep and what you should get rid of. It’s not the Bible of it all but nonetheless, a damn good guide. Hope it helps. It gave me a great place to start. 

Hmmmm…. But I don’t see ANYTHING about tossing travel brochures so I think I’m gonna still keep hoarding them. J

What paperwork or other items do you find yourself keeping?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Incredible Quote by Maya Angelou

This has always moved me. 

You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.

by Maya Angelou (1928-2014), American poet and activist

My Love Affair with Bugles is Exposed!

The Devil's Snack

I had a tough commute tonight. I hit rush hour which extended my normal commute of 1 hour to just under 2 hours. It wasn't an accident thank God. It wasn't construction. It was just blasted traffic! Grrr. Not even anything crazy to look at. Prior to hitting the jam, I ended up stopping at the local quick gas/coffee/convenience store right before the highway. Picked up the necessities: gas, coffee, and a snack for the ride home.

In this case, it was a 14.5 oz bag of my favorite childhood munchies, BUGLES! OH GOD I loved them!!! Well I hit major traffic and everything stopped. I had already had a handful of the Bugles. They were sitting on the passenger seat JUST STARING AT ME. I mean like just mocking me, tempting me to eat them. 

Ok I just had one hand full, then another, and still ANOTHER. By the time I hit Shartlesville.... yes that's the name LOL, I ate 90% of the bag. So what did I do, I asked Google how many calories were in each bag ... 1120 calories!!! Um. I'm feeling like a pig right now and a bit sick. I'd be seeing a different Shartlesville pretty soon. Ha-ha! 

What's a gym rat to do? Well work it off. But why oh why did I do it in the first place? 

I'm HUMAN. I love salty snacks. I had a tough day and needed some comfort food! Don't give me Oreo's or chocolate (unless it's dark chocolate). Give me salty crunchy snacks! That's my thing! That's my craving! It's crazy right? I guess not really. We seemed to be programmed to go after snacks which we LOVE like sweet or salty. I like crunchy and salty. Chips, peanuts, chips, more chips. etc. 

The guilt came over me. I've been SO GOOD. And I threw it away with over 1000 calories of snacks in a single serving! First off, remember I said we are human? Gotta accept it. We break down, even the craziest of us gym rats. I need to forgive myself. I am trying. 

Now what to do about those friggin' calories? Well washing dishes helps. LOL So does laundry. Maybe a little yard work... does sweeping the deck count? 

OK, I know, I am putting it off. I hit the gym at 7pm with a belly full of Bugles. They were SO GOOD but I knew I needed to get on top of this fast. 

I spent an hour at the gym on the elliptical and worked off  500 calories. Good start. Again ... I (WE) am human. I (WE) will have minor setbacks. Wrestle with your conscious but physically MOVE on that sh*t! Get on top of it before it becomes an unwieldy weight. I know it's tough and it means more work out. You gotta just work through that guilt. I'm with YOU! It sucks! 

I hate myself for eating an entire bag of BUGLES! LOLOL I laugh just thinking of it. But I gotta work it off. I'm halfway there. I'll have a couple of tough workouts. On days I spend only doing weights, I'll throw in cardio to work off an extra 100-200 calories. It'll be worked off by the next week. 

I ended up having a very light dinner due to my snacking. I enjoyed a Progresso Tuscan-Style White Bean soup at 260 calories. That helped. A little more sodium than I'd want for my intake but more water diluted that as well. 

It's tough people! I've been eating so healthy these last couple weeks. I got a craving and I satisfied it. Remember, 4th time, we are human. I beat myself up. You need to hold yourself accountable. But don't beat yourself up too much. Just hold yourself accountable and make changes to correct the missteps. 

Establish a social network of friends who also work out to keep you in check. I have that. But I decided to call the Bugles instead. LOL  GOOD LUCK on your workouts. I am with you in your highs and lows. :) 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tiny Tales, Part Two

"Miss Moxie"

The writing contest for the "Marvellous Tiny Tales" has a second part which I will be entering as well. Remember from the first part, the story has to be 3 sentences long, the more odd and quirky the better! Even if I don't win, it has been a fun writing exercise. Here are the selections I have been tooling with. Let me know which ones you like.

"Miss Moxie's Other Plans"

While I was immersed in a favorite novel, Moxie the Cat had other plans for me that bedtime which included lounging on my chest. The book shall wait until another evening as Miss Moxie apparently is not a fan of Hemingway. She has won again.


"Country Drive"

Driving with windows down through the countryside on a sunny September day, Barkley passed old stone houses, farms and fields as far as the eye could see. Up and over meandering streams and through bends in the road,  he slammed on his brakes to avoid a rickety cart filled with pumpkins. Welcome to Fall!


"No Chocolate for You"

For the umpteenth time on another Halloween night, young Jacob made the rounds of his neighborhood dressed up as a hobo. No matter, he thought, for his trick-or-treat bag was filed with dozens and dozens of chocolate bars! After fastidiously counting the many candy bars in various shapes and sizes, he ate to his heart's content ... only to ironically discover as he broke out in hives, that he was severely allergic to chocolate.



Dozing at the beach on a warm summer day, Nigel buried his feet into the pearly white sands by the water's edge. Stubbing his toe on something sharp, he pulled free the most beautiful tiara of gemstones and gold. "Thank you for finding my crown!" yelled a young mermaid, frolicking in the waves before a disbelieving Nigel.



We sped off for the Coast on a humid summer evening, me and Zeb, in his old clunker of a Chevy with rock-n-roll on the radio. As the car zoomed forth, I felt free and alive, smoking a cig in one hand and the other waving out the window through the rushing air. After an hour on the open road, Zeb exclaimed "Oh man Bud!" for the trip was abruptly cut short by a herd of Jersey cows blocking the highway.


"First Date Chaperone"

Breathless, clammy, and excited, Peter met Claire at her house for their very first date. They sat quietly in the parlor searching for something to break the ice when suddenly Claire blurted out, "Well aren't you going to address the pink elephant in the room?" Peter spun around coming face to face with a large pink elephant squeezed into a petite settee sipping on a large martini.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Madonna and I have Changed!

"You Can Dance"

I hit the gym last night and brought up this album on my mp3 player, Madonna's You Can Dance. We are talking Old School Madonna! I love the album; had the cassette and still have the CD. (As you can gather, I'm Old School, LOL.) The album was released in November 1987, the Fall of my senior year of high school. I was seventeen at the time of its release. WOW, the album is 30 years old!

The difference between listening to the album in 1987 vs 2017 ... besides 30 years? Again, WOW. The difference is that in 1987, I would listen to it and dance around for an hour, not losing my breath. If I were at an under-age club, I'd be probably dancing for another 3-4 hours. Ahhh, the endurance of youth!

Now in the Fall of 2017, I would listen to it for an hour on the elliptical machine or treadmill. Oh how the times have changed. After an hour on the elliptical, I can tell you I am probably breathing pretty hard, sweating bullets, and checking how many calories I burned to see if I can have a beer OR several that night.

Listening to the album brought back a flood of high school memories. My good friends and family know how much I love Madonna. I've been to almost every concert and have pretty much everything musically that she's ever put out. I have always loved her as the ultimate 'entertainer'. She may not be the best singer but she can sure put on a fucking show and always has!

I remember the first time I saw her video "Open Your Heart" on MTV in 1986 (I was a geeky 16 year old). I was so excited I screamed for my Mom to come into the living room to show her who Madonna was. Mom took one look at her dancing around the TV screen with her bosoms bouncing all around and flatly exclaimed, "SHE'S A WHORE!" before marching back to the kitchen.

I crack up just thinking about that afternoon! It's actually one of my favorite memories of my Mom just 'saying it like it was.' Mom did eventually become a fan and absolutely loved Madonna's 'Dick Tracy' album "I'm Breathless" put out in 1990. She loved Madonna's throw back nod to the 1930's.

This also brings me back to memories of my high school days where I would drive into Philly with my best gal-pals Angie, Mandy, and Marguerite heading off to bars and clubs we could get into and drink. We were always trying to drive into Philly and as they say ... up to no good!

One time I was driving home, I drove over the concrete median between the slow and fast lanes on Route 295 in South Jersey. The girls screamed their collective heads off, the car bottomed out totally for about a tenth of a mile, and sparks were seen across the South Jersey skyline from Gloucester City to the Deptford Mall! That poor 1987 Nissan Sentra!

We all had a nervous good laugh about it and I dropped Marguerite and Mandy off in Wenonah, NJ and then drove Angie all the way south (about 20 minutes) to Mullica Hill and made sure she got home. I came back home to Wenonah, parked and went to bed .. lets just say LATE.

Well the next day, Dad asked me, "Can you come outside to the driveway for a minute and look at the car?" Oh FUCK.

Dad, always the peacemaker, God LOVE HIM, asked me if I knew how this may have happened, pointing to a completely shredded tire. I cannot believe I actually made it from the Deptford Mall to Angie's house in Mullica Hill and back again! I vaguely said I remember driving over something on 295 but it was SO dark, I couldn't be sure. I knew he didn't buy it. He told me I'd pay for the tire. LOL I did totally pay for that shredded tire and we BOTH knew I got off lucky!

On another evening, Mandy was driving Angie, Marguerite, and I into Philly on one of our adventures in her Dad's Audi. It was Marguerite in the front and Angie and I in the back. How do I remember this? Because Madonna's "Holiday" was on FULL BLAST on the radio (probably a cassette, remember them?) and we were singing it, all four of us at once.

Now out of the four of us, I certainly knew I did not have the voice to sing Madonna or anyone for that matter. LOL. I was usually quiet, in the background, singing "Holiday" really softly LOL. :)  The other gals each had vocal training with Angie belting it out, harmonizing. It was rather enjoyable.  Marguerite and Mandy were EACH trained in vocal song. I just enjoyed being there. LOL BUT someone was at that particular moment, off pitch. LOL Maybe it was ME? Maybe it was someone else. LOL I'll never tell NOR admit it but those rides were the BEST.

OK SO.... On THIS particular ride, we were driving across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge towards the great City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, singing OUR HEARTS OUT to Madonna's "Holiday"! One of us, not sure whom, looked up and realized MANDY was driving in the bridge lane towards Philly with red lights. She was driving into oncoming traffic!

I think the screams of all four of use broke windows up and down Mainline Philly! Mandy quickly swerved her Dad's Audi from oncoming traffic into the correct lanes with .. Ahem... them CRAZY green lights (you know, the ones you're allowed to drive in) and we continued on our way across the Ben Franklin Bridge. It was quite an experience and one the four of us laugh and exclaim about 30 years later!!!

I reached out to Mandy and Angie about this memory. And pretty much each one of them were like "Oh God MARCUS!!!!!"  LOL

Mandy, God bless my dear friend, also reminded me of our Chinese fire drills at each stop light and also the time she got pulled over by the cop for not having her headlights on. (She didn't know how to put them on.) Ooops, sorry Mandy. You know I LOVE YOU. :)  In fact, these gals provided me were a lifetime of AWESOME high school memories. I love each of them.

Sigmund Freud Quote I Can Relate To


Sigmund Freud

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Awesome Mark Twain Quote

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.  - Mark Twain.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tiny Tales

"Tiny Tales" 

I've entered a writing contest called "Marvellous Tiny Tales" where you submit tiny expressive stories in three total sentences. The prize? Bragging rights and a small animated movie being made to go along with your story. Criteria? Be odd, bold, and unusual. That sounds like me. LOL.

My tiny stories "Dream Traveler" and "Feed Us!" are what I will be entering. Putting out my writing can be nerve wracking but why would one write if not to be read? (Private journals not included.) Anyway, here are the tiny tales and others I wrote during this project.

"Dream Traveler"

One steamy late summer evening in Philadelphia, Baxter fell into a deep slumber and found himself wandering down a long hallway filled with a thousand doors. Choosing one, he entered a noisy boisterous bar filled with energy and excitement as far as the eye could see. He was feeling suddenly thirsty when a bartender sporting the curliest mustache he had ever seen exclaimed, "Welcome to Chicago, what's your poison?"


"Feed Us!"

Drinking his morning coffee, Fletcher gazed out from the kitchen onto the overgrown yard.  A rogue hummingbird, then another, buzzed the window while hovering within inches from his face. "Feed us," they demanded, "for we must begin our long journey south for the Winter!"


I dragged a tangled mass of branches around the house to dump over the hillside into an even more tangled pile. Focused on task, I was startled by two feeding does, each one more startled than me. And with a flash of a large white tail, they bound off across the yard!


Waking up from a good night's sleep, I hear pouring rain and a distant thunder through the open window. The bedroom air smells good from the rains: sweet, grass-like, and dewy. I snuggle in for another hour covered from head to toe against the morning chill in my comfy quilt.


The crackling Fall fire-pit warms my feet even through my hiking boots. A swig of bourbon is tempered with a toasted roasted marshmallow and the whiff of a good cigar. I'm heady from all the scents and will sleep well tonight.


Summer tomatoes burst in my mouth, juices overflowing. Give me some basil and wet mozzarella and that'll be the way to start dinner! Unfortunately dinner didn't measure up to those wonderful summer tomatoes.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tip for Reporters Covering Disasters

Hurricane Harvey (

A video interview occurred last week with a reporter sticking her microphone in a poor woman's face at one of the Houston evacuee shelters in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It was an extremely uncomfortable moment which showed the raw emotions and pain of a woman and her family pushed to the edge by the tumultuous events surrounding the hurricane.

Link to the interview:

The reporter initially did not get the obvious hint that we the viewers picked up on, other than just saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." The woman kept stating, "And you are STILL putting that mic in my face." The reporter finally embarrassingly withdrew it, shaken up herself. I'm sure she regretted continuing the questioning.

I also feel that it wasn't her intent to set the woman off, but it happened and hopefully she will learn from it when interviewing in the future. And by the way, the news organization which the reporter is from has nothing to do with the reporter's questioning. I've seen various levels of incompetence on all three of the major cable news networks: CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.

There was a tip that I read for reporters from the comments section of an online article on Hurricane Harvey from The Washington Post in response to the video. With Hurricane Irma almost upon the Caribbean and then possibly Florida, I think it can be applied to that impending event as well.

"Do not ask how someone feels after a disaster. Ask them if there is something that they would like to share so that the people outside of the area can understand what is going on in there. That gives them the chance to say they cannot talk right now (due to emotions), vent all about all of the reporters in their faces, or tell what happened to them."

I don't profess to even know what the job of a reporter during a catastrophe is like but ...


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pets and Hurricane Harvey

Pic by Scott Olson (Getty Images)

This picture really got to me. This poor swimming cat, with a look of desperation on his face, just trying to make it to higher ground. I was crushed when I saw this. People are not the only ones who have been suffering during Hurricane Harvey. People's pets and other animals are also fighting to survive. The photos of these animals all have the same look of fright, anxiety, and apprehension you see on the faces of their human companions.

Cowboys saving their cattle (from Houston Chronicle)

From the cowboy trying to get his horse to higher ground. To the farmer searching for his herd of cattle of 90, only to be able to find 30. The others presumed dead, including many calves. To the countless dogs and cats being passed from arm to arm or from carrier to boat, all to safety. To the farmer leading a stray long horn steer who is not fighting him because he wants to get to higher ground and safety. To still another herd of cattle, all 25 crowded around the last stand of high ground around the ranch house. Everyone and every animal, trying to survive.

"Frankie and Bear" Picture by Ed Lavandara CNN (off his Instagram page)

Frankie and Bear )above) had to be left behind by their human family who were unable to take the dogs with them into the rescue boat. Heartbroken, their only option was to leave them in their smaller boat, hoping someone would find them. Luckily, people did, are caring for the pooches, and will reunite them with their family at some point.


And then we have Otis, a German Shepherd mix in Sinton, Texas, wandering around town with a bag of his favorite dog food after getting out from an enclosed porch. Apparently he knew exactly where to go for it at a local food store. He has since been reunited with his owner. Otis was just hungry and is now an internet celebrity! (picture by Sinton, Texas resident Tiele Dockens)

There are countless stories of heartache and tragedy but also ones of rescue and hope. People are still are struggling down in Texas and will continue to do so for months to come. Water pumps are breaking down, people still need to be rescued, and shelters are still being opened up.

For more information on the plight of the animals and pets during Hurricane Harvey, CNN has published an informative article: 

What can we do for our fellow man? There are a myriad of organizations collecting for those people that have lost everything to Hurricane Harvey. You can donate to the Red Cross, the Houston Food Bank, the Salvation Army, and Save the Children funds to name a few. The New York Times has published an excellent article and links for many charities in an effort to prevent people from getting scammed:

What can we do for the pets?  Another excellent article detailing pet relief efforts was published by .

Specific relief organizations include the,, and . Do your research and determine whether you want to donate locally, or donate nationally. Either way, make sure it's a bonafide organization. I will be donating to help those pets in need. No judgment calls during times like this either. If you wish to donate just for your fellow man, that's awesome. Everyone down there, people and pets, needs our help.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Scaling Back Yet Again...

My social media contacts on Facebook have grown tremendously in the past several years, partly because of me wanting to promote the blog. But I don't think it has 'helped' the blog as I've thought or hoped it would. 

I'm torn somewhat but I've decided to scale back for my own sanity. I think I'm done with the acquaintance friend. I have more acquaintance friends on here from my local community which have caused me more stress than someone from Indiana who wants to be my friend just to read my blog! And guess who will ultimately remain, the housewife from Indiana who supports my writing. I'm done feeling like I have to have an online phone book called Facebook. I will go through and see who supports the blog. That will be a big decision. Keeping family, Philly friends, high school/college friends and fraternity bros are at the top of my list too. 

Time to evaluate again where this path called life is leading me! And remember, nothing in life is permanent. People come and go in our our lives and their is nothing wrong with that. Making someone feel guilty for these types of decisions is wrong though.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flower Rockets are a DUD

So with this day being what would've been my mother's 75th birthday, I am dedicating this laughably "garden" blog post to my dear Mom Abby. I feel she would've gotten a kick out of this post. And in retrospect, I think I will follow her gardening advice from here on in and plant marigolds and impatiens because as she used to say, "They'll survive anything!"

Back at the end of April, I purchased several Flower Rockets at the local Rite-Aid store. They were on sale for $1.00 per box (that should've been my first clue) and even better yet they're... "AS SEEN ON TV!"(second clue, slapping me in the face).

I have WHEAT growing on my deck...
Yes, I am sometimes a sucker for that age-old slogan slapped on any merchandise. The Hurricane Spin Mop?  The Pyramid Silicone Baking Mat? The Dump Cake Cook Book!? Brett Favre's Copper Fit Socks!?!? All seen on TV??? I'll take them!

LOL I'm not that bad BUT I was excited about these little boxes labeled "Flower Rockets." I figured how easy is this? Plant a biodegradable pod of seeds and in a month to 2 months, have a ROCKET of flowers ALL SUMMER LONG! This I figured, would save me so much time and energy and bursts of color would be blooming all over the yard! They promised an entire summer and fall of hundreds of zinnias, hummingbirds flowers, and summer bouquets!

I don't know what the heck this is!!!
I took a picture of the Flower Rocket boxes but it came out blurry. Perhaps my skepticism was trying to rear it's ugly head and shake some sense into me via my phone. The very first pic above was copied online and shows what is SUPPOSED to grow from the seed pods. 6 boxes, NOT ONE BLOOM.

I start each Spring off this way. I get so excited about my yard with the multiple flower beds and planters. I makes lists on what I am going to plant. I hunt for sales on plantings. I get all the gardening equipment out and clean them off. I make sure I have gardening gloves, seeds, plant food, pesticides, etc. The yard is big so it's quite a daunting task. But I said to myself, this year will be different. The Flower Rockets will make it easier!

3 mths later, NOTHING
WRONG. I planted 6 Flower Rockets. and 100% of them were DUDs upon lift off. NO FLOWERS. Three months later, three of them didn't even grow! The other 3 were just weeds, weeds, weeds! After all is said and done, I don't even know what these weeds are! For all I know, I am bringing in invasive species into my friggin' yard!  I ended up planting primroses late in the season in two of the empty flower pots.

Screw the rockets, bring in the roses.
After the fact, I did some research and found that the MAJORITY of buyers of the Flower Rockets (at least on Amazon) were very unhappy and had the same crappy experience as me. In other words, NOTHING GREW. Next year, I'm sticking with Mom's advice and buying just impatiens and marigolds. Heck, even the deer stay away from the marigolds!

Buyer beware my friends!

Monday, August 7, 2017

NO to Public Drama

(Not my pic)

I was out this past weekend at a local restaurant with a friend. We stopped for a quick beer, just one. We were sitting at the bar and said hi to a couple we know from our community. 

I don't know them that well at all but enough to say hi, shake a hand, and chat for 5 minutes before going about my business, that sort of thing. It was pleasant. If this was the mid 20th century, we exchanged pleasantries.

"How is your summer going?" 
"Mine is well, how is yours?"
"Its going great, but going fast."
"I agree, before you know it, it'll be the fall!"

That sort of thing. 

My attention turned back to my beer and I chatted up my friend. The couple sat 3 seats down talking adamantly. I could tell within 2 minutes they had drank way more than a couple drinks each. They started arguing and it got ugly. The woman was accusing the man of treating her badly and began to get louder and louder. He attempted to calm her down, to no avail. 

When that didn't work, he grew louder and louder in return. He was 'upping the ante.' It was as if they were making embarrassing points about each other just so the others at the bar could hear the sordid details of the argument. Personal subject matter was brought up which should never be brought up in public. Neither party was the innocent one.

It was SO extremely awkward. Cursing began. There were other people at the bar and it just grew so silent whilst the two continued their inebriated argument. I glanced at my friend and we both read each other's mind. Time to finish our beers and leave. I don't even remember if I said good bye. I just wanted to get the hell outta there. 

Once back in my car, my friend and I discussed what we had witnessed and the awkwardness of it all. We both realized that they were lobbing accusations loudly at one another on purpose just for the rest of the bar to hear. And we both decided at the same time that it was definitely time to go. I hate public drama and so does he. Some things should just be private. It was absolutely mortifying. 

We talked about what to take away from this experience. What could we learn? One thing was to realize what type of drinker you are. If you are one who tends to become emotional or argumentative when drinking, maybe you need to question how much you are drinking in public so avoid from having a meltdown if you are triggered by another party. 

Another lesson was that we realized from watching it on the other side, how mortifying it is when people air their dirty laundry in public! And this couple was not a young couple. They were the perfect example of a middle aged couple lacking maturity in social situations. Don't be that couple!

Obviously, the alcohol did not help the situation. As a bartender, I do see my fair share and try and curb it by watching people's emotions and reactions to alcohol as the night goes on. 

Public drama between couples is never pretty. It's pretty obvious, don't drink to excess and publicly argue. If you know you have an issue with your emotions when you drink, recognize it and if you need help with controlling them, seek it out. 

The final lesson we discussed was that even when you are SOBER, don't argue in public. If you have an issue with someone such as your spouse, significant other, or even a friend, temper your emotions and deal with it in an appropriate setting. Not a bar. Not a restaurant. Not the local supermarket. No one likes witnessing public drama. It makes the rest of us uncomfortable.

Now I'm not perfect. Never said I was. But at least I can take something away from such an awkwardly horrible situation and learn from it. Though I doubt this couple will. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Christmas in July

At the Lodge with my new bartender. 😏

"Christmas in July" events are now becoming pretty popular. Apparently 4 months of Christmas shopping starting in September and leading up to December 25th are not enough so people have to celebrate another month in the middle of the year JUST IN CASE they have forgotten how to be joyously merry. πŸ˜’

The Hallmark Channel has totally capitalized on this month long event. As if the constant stream of romance movies weren't enough to drive you over the edge, you will now have 33 Christmas themed movies to look forward to in the coming months. It is nice though to see that certain 80s and 90s actors are gainfully employed again. I'm sure Candace Burrell, Andie MacDowell and James Denton are happy.

Several bars in the Allentown area are having events for the faux-holiday. One bar is having entertainment and a costume contest. I hope its an indoor ugly sweater contest. I mean how many fully dressed Santas are gonna show up at a bar in summer heat? And unless you and your friends are going as elves or reindeer, there just aren't that many Christmas costume options.

But good things do happen as a result of these celebrations. I've seen many food and toy drives. Food pantries are always in need this time of year. They receive an overabundance of donated canned goods in December and then unfortunately, they are all but forgotten come the summer time.

Visit any weekend yard sales over the summer and you'll see an overwhelming plethora of toys for sale for a quarter here, a dollar there. Gee folks, here's a bright idea, just donate to these unused toys to the toy drives! I mean all that work for $10.00 profit on toys from your yard sale? Save some time, do a good deed by donating the toys, and if you must ... take a tax write-off  πŸ˜•

Our community Lodge had a Christmas in July dinner which featured ham or turkey. It was very popular and sold-out. In years past, Christmas decorations were put up. Unfortunately this year, that did not occur so it was Christmas-in-food only. I blame lack of volunteerism. There just aren't enough volunteers in our communities these days. But that's another blog, another time.

I bartended that evening. I even went to the local thrift store and looked for a Christmas-y t-shirt but none were available. There were row after row of  Christmas decorations available for purchase. I settled for a SpongeBob SquarePants dressed in holiday garb to represent my "Christmas in July" spirit. He also was hired as our replacement bartender since my bud Darren is leaving the Lodge end of August. Hopefully he will be easier to train ... just kidding Darren!

I AM looking forward to decorating the Christmas tree this year. That's a favorite holiday activity of mine. I get out all the ornaments from years past, including a new one I pick up each year. I lay them all out and start deciding where to put each one. My favorite tree ornaments are my Mom's ornaments I received after she passed away, ornaments of my childhood, and various cat-themed ones acquired over the years.  My all-time favorite tree ornament has to be Bugs Bunny Carmen Miranda!

Bugs Bunny as Carmen Miranda

I read online that there is a certain way to decorate trees. Start with the lights at the top, work your way down going round and round. Then drape the garland the same way, top first of course. After that, do the ornaments, heaviest towards the inside, lightest towards the outside. OK WHATEVER. I say open a bottle of wine, beer, or whatever your favorite libation may be, eggnog included, and decorate the tree HOW YOU WANT! All I know is that Bugs Bunny goes FRONT and CENTER!

You better start shopping too, there are only 150 days left until Christmas.
You can 'Bah Humbug!' me later!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

BACK ON TRACK (wit da gym)

"Some days, I feel like a sack of potatoes."

GUESS WHAT PEOPLE!! I took a break from my work-outs. I stopped working out on a regular basis during the month of June and .... OMG ... no... don't say it ... don't even think it ... SAY IT AIN'T SO JOE ... I ... GAINED ... WEIGHT!! OK OK OK, everyone take a breath. Breathe deeply and take a sip of water. Don't mind me, I'm gonna just eat this Hershey's Kiss. NO NO! Don't do it!!! (I did and enjoyed it.)

I've had a stressful month. I mean I went on vacation!! OK OK it wasn't really a stressful month. But I did eat and drink my way through June 2017. Is that wrong? Is that bad??? I mean, I have been so good for this last year!

(By the way.. if you haven't figured it out by now, don't take my ranting too seriously. I'm more harder on myself than anyone ever could be.) 

I initially took a break or two due to injury ... possibly a rotator cuff tear which had healed into scar tissue during a previous injury may or may not have involved a CASE of Dom Perignon falling from a shelf during my Ritz-Carlton days during the early 2000's which was caught by an awesome arm maneuver on MY part which unfortunately I couldn't be drug tested at that time because ... OK another blog another time.

AND I had another injury from tennis elbow due to lifting. NOW anyone who knows me KNOWS I do not play tennis. I am physically uncoordinated for it. There's a law on the books about it in Skook Cty. "Marc Haynes cannot play tennis because he is physically uncoordinated. HOWEVER, Marc Haynes can make drinks for those playing tennis."  LOL 

THEN, I had my 47th birthday which was EFFING awesome because I realized how thankful I am about sh!t! :) I did work out here and there but decided to also eat and drink here and there and enjoy my June. Then what happened??? UM.... I gained weight. I became pudgy. I became chunky again. I felt like a sack of potatoes ... maybe fingerlings? NICE TRY. OK, maybe redskins? NOPE. REALLY? OK who are we kidding, Idaho Russets! wah wah wah.... 

It was tough, difficult, embarrassing. Then I was like, WHAT do I have to be embarrassed about??? I am human! I have been in the best friggin' shape of my life for the last several years! We all get older, we all get stressed out, we turn to ways to help with the stress like food and drink .... we all falter on our workouts. The key is to GET BACK ON TRACK.. Get back on that horse and keep riding! 

But a couple things... Working out is tough. It's NOT meant to be easy my friends. I get into slumps just like anyone else. I get down, sad, miserable, gloomy. It's gonna happen. Being honest, these emotions were involved with me too. Life is tough. We go through ups and down. When you are down, you do not wanna work out. It's easier to grab that bag of chips or a beer and veg and watch an episode of Friends. OMG OMG I still LOVE reruns of FRIENDS. LOLOL. 

BUT, you, me, all of us, need to get back on track. It's for our mental health, our physical health. I'll work the weight off. I know that. Once you start working out for a while, you can gauge how long it would take you to work off 10 pounds. I'm looking at about two months of cardio and serious lifting to get back to where I was feeling good. 

I'll do it AND until I do, I will once again post when I'm at the gym. It keeps me in check. As I've been told and completely appreciate, it gives motivation to other as well. That means a helluva alot, THANK YOU. You know who you are!! And you kids who find it annoying ... Whatever. I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't follow me. (I know some of you already do so no biggie. Comes wit da territory! Don't bother me none.) 

SO ... what to do, what to do ... First, lemme put down this Whoopie Pie (PA Dutch thing) and put down this very strong heavy beer (manly man thing) and get my gym clothes ready for tomorrow's work out. 

If I haven't said it before, I truly appreciate when people like that I am at the gym. I hope that I may continue to motivate you but YOU my friends MOTIVATE ME! Get back on that horse!  (I'd rather it be a kangaroo or giraffe. That's be pretty exciting to ride. Or maybe an elephant! OK, I know, another blog, another time...) 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Many fireflies in the yard,
Memories of the 4th as a child,
Hotdogs by the dozen, dripping mustard,
Many t-shirts lost...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RIP Ralph Archbold AKA Philly's BEN FRANKLIN

Ralph Archbold, the quintessential Benjamin Franklin

Back in the late 90s, I worked at the City Tavern as a server. I've mentioned it before. My server/waiting/bartending jobs set the tone for my wild and crazy 20's.  I became extremely close with a group of other servers from the Tavern and remain so to this day. We were a motley crew of twenty somethings:  men, women, black, white, Hispanic, young, old, single, married, gay, straight .. you name it. We worked hard and then played hard, hitting the sack at the crack of dawn, only to get up 5 hours later and do it again for double shifts at the Tavern. Twenty years later, I loved that time, wouldn't repeat, and still thank God I survived some of it.

For those who don't know, the City Tavern is an accurate reconstruction of a period colonial tavern in Philadelphia on the exact same spot as the original building where we servers would wear colonial garb and serve tourists traditional American fare with a twist. The Chef Walter Staib, still overseas operations since the early 90's. It was called the "most genteel tavern in America" by our founding father John Adams and hosted other founding fathers by the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

One of the fun aspects of Independence National Park is the opportunity to interact with the impersonators who play historical figures walking around the Park conversing with the tourists. We Servers at the Tavern ran into the historical actors on many an occasion as the Tavern was a popular stop for their wanderings.

Benjamin Franklin, played by the late Ralph Archbold since the 1970's, would come in quite often and mingle with the guests moving from room to room stopping at tables, offering advice, commenting on people's "gadgets" or clothing. He would try wandering into the kitchen and we would kindly direct him back to the dining rooms. Always nice, always professional, he would continue his educational anecdotes and speeches while being directed by staff into the more common areas of the Tavern.

Sadly, Mr. Ralph Archbold passed away this year on March 25, 2017. Mr. Archbold was absolutely incredible at his job. I didn't appreciate his dedication to his job and his craft was until I matured a bit more. Here is a link to the great article written by Jonathan Lai on

It isn't until I thought about Mr. Archbold's impressions of Mr. Franklin that I really how good he was. This blog post also serves as an apology to Mr. Archbold because my friends and I were a bit of a menace to the poor actor back in the 90's while he just trying to do his job and do it well.

To a twenty something kid who was trying to handle 10 lunch tables at once, Mr. Franklin ... was downright annoying. He would get in my way, disrupt my service, and be the cause of a great deal of stress for myself, a snotty nose obnoxious waiter, serving lunch in the 90' Philly summer heat.

Even between lunch and dinner services, Mr. Archbold would NOT break character. He was devoutly loyal to his alter ego, Mr. Franklin, to the core. For instance, someone would pull out a flip cell phone and Mr. Franklin would inquire, "What is that newfangled device you are speaking into?"
One of us servers would respond, "OMG Ben, it's a cell phone,  you know that ... Break character and have a Coke."
Marc (with Cindy, the nicest server ever)
Mr. Franklin, "Oh I don't know what you mean ... talking into a little hand held box ... how extraordinary! Maybe I'll just have a sherry instead."
"UGH!" we'd collectively reply.

"Oh my look at that horseless carriage? What will they think of next?" Ben would exclaim.
"It's a Philly taxi cab Ben! We are all on break! Now please give US a break!"
"No, no," he'd reply in his slightly faux British-American accent. "Much work to be done today and then I'm off to bed, for remember, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!"
"Please Ben, it's 99' out, it's hot, and your are quoting us your famous quotes again!? I've got two lobster pot pies in the back I will most likely burn myself on, I need to focus on juggling them to table 10, four pepper pot soups to table 4, and pick up 3 Thomas Jefferson Ales at the bar!"

Ben, I mean Ralph, no I mean Ben, would quote his famous quotes often much to our surly dismay. We'd comment to him, "Oh my GOD! Are you kidding me? Will you not break character? There is no one else around? We are not tourists!"

I was an asshole to be sure, a punk bitch ass ungrateful waiter to be more specific. I get that now.

Ben/Ralph was truly a nice guy. It just annoyed our immature selves that he would be in character 24/7. Hell, even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson broke character every now and then to complain about the hot weather, their girlfriends, the honking taxi cabs or the fact that all they wanted was a beer in the August heat.

But there was Ben, always in character, ever so knowledgeable. "You know when I was a child, we didn't have these large metal electric cold boxes, we kept our ice in an ice house! Do you know I invented electricity?" as he wandered through the restaurant kitchen while we were trying to eat our pre-service staff meal.

"REALLY BEN!!?? Can't we just each our employee meal!? Will you just stop it for 10 minutes while we eat! Then you can go back to being Ben, OK?"

"Oh I surely don't know what you are referring to my good man. Remember ... An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
"Please for the love of God, Ben, stop for just 5 minutes! What does that even mean? I'm just a waiter who can barely pay his rent and have enough money for partying the night away at a local dive bar!"
Ben would just laugh, shake his head, and continue wander the building dropping quotes and missives to unsuspecting tourists.

The man was incredible, he absolutely loved his job. As a young server, it annoyed the hell outta me. But then again, most of the world annoyed the hell outta me. My job did, my apartment did, the summer heat did.

As a (ahem) mature adult, I now appreciate this man's dedication and loyalty to his craft. AND I formally apologize to Mr. Rich Archbold, our Philadelphia's own Ben Franklin.

Rich Archbold, you will surely be missed by your great city of Philadelphia! And actually, you will be missed by me. I wish I could have the love for my job that you had for yours.

Lastly, I am reminded by a quote from Ben Franklin I've just recently discovered. And I thank Mr. Ralph Archbold for it, as I would not have discovered it if I had not started writing this blog post:

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." by Benjamin Franklin