Wednesday, August 25, 2010


If you can believe The American Medical Association, roughly 70% of all U.S. Homes are lived in by dysfunctional members. Or nutjobs, in case the medical term wasn't clear.

Maybe that explains why we're inundated by this dilemma. It's hard to read a book, watch a movie, see a play, or poke fun at a TV sitcom without being reminded that most families are deeply disturbed.

And sometimes, rather than treat it as an embarrassing blight on our society, we choose to make light of it.

The Simpsons and Family Guy are two extremely popular and somewhat amusing TV cartoon shows that owe their very existence to aberrant family behavior.

Equally disturbing and confusing is the current trend of quitting a perfectly good and probably lucrative job to spend more time with a loopy family or impaired family member.

Before committing to such a radical and life-altering change, anyone considering this absurdity might want to give some thought to the following lengthy question.

Will whoever you're quitting your job for want to have you around for the rest of his or her life deciding what foods they should eat, which beverages are appropriate, whether they've had enough sleep, and how much exercise they need to lead a healthy and happy life?

The news is filled with stories about successful people active in politics, business, and sports retiring to spend more time with their families.

To give you a recent example, Lou Piniella, the 67-year-old Manager of the Chicago Cubs--the 14th winningest manager in baseball history, the second manager to have 1700 hits as a player and 1700 wins as a manager--has just quit his job to take care of his ailing mother in Florida.

Is that really a good idea?

I mean, it's a nice and kindly thing to do. But for Lou Piniella? “Sweet Lou” is a facetious nickname given to him because of his explosive temper, contempt for umpires, and volatile mood swings.

Lou loved to argue, get in your face, and kick dirt on the shoes of opposing coaches. Getting ejected from games for his sudden outbursts was a common occurrence.

Once, as a player, he was called out at first base. Convinced he was safe, “Sweet Lou” ripped first base out of the ground and threw it into right field.

Imagine what he might do to his ailing mother when she complains about his cooking or tells him to watch his locker-room language. And what if her temper is even worse than his?

Poor Lou might overcook a hamburger and get it thrown in his face – with the plate still attached to it.

Instead of quitting our jobs to spend more time with our families, maybe we should be quitting our families to spend more time with our jobs.


Saturday, August 14, 2010


Nobody is claiming that BULLSHIT as an expletive, or utterance of contempt, is lacking in its power to satisfy the one hurling the time-honored profanity.

It's a perfectly fine word and fills the bill for anyone who gets slightly enraged when somebody says something that is clearly false, misleading or tries to pass off some bogus crap as the genuine article.

“BULLSHIT!” you say, and pretty much so does everyone else who is not heading to a monastery to take a vow of silence.

Let's try to break it down. “BULL” means nonsense and dates back to the 17th century. “SHIT” is self-explanatory and probably goes back to the caveman and his early attempts to express revulsion to his crude neighbors.

The evolution of this word probably went something like this.


T.S. Eliot, the poet – in case you think he's a starting pitcher for the Yankees – wrote a poem sometime between 1910 and 1916 that never got published called “The Triumph of Bullshit.”

I guess the poetry lovers back then weren't ready for a poet held in high esteem to launch a potty-mouth tirade.

The point is, BULLSHIT has been around for a long time.

But now it's time for a change, something new and fresh and satisfying to blurt out during times of stress and agitation. The problem is, replacing BULLSHIT won't be easy.

HORSESHIT has been used successfully by some. Still it is no BULLSHIT.

MOOSESHIT … GATORSHIT … RHINOSHIT. All big enough, but somehow none of them carries the weight and gravitas of BULLSHIT.

I will continue to try and come up with an alternative. But if anyone out there has a suitable replacement for BULLSHIT, now is your chance to make a name for yourself.