Astrology is nonsense, but it is benign nonsense. Much safer than religion. I doubt anyone has ever been persecuted or any wars have started over astrology. I don’t think anyone has gone postal because his or her horoscope indicated a bad day. So if you follow it, fine. But to think you can break down the entire human race into twelve personality types is ludicrous. I have met women with more personalities than that and have met many people with none at all. Maybe there should be a category for that. Your birth sign is Toxic. You have no personality at all. Do not mix with the rest of humanity.
I think the reason Astrology is so popular is that it appeals to our vanity. Many of the characteristics listed in Astrology summaries are very desirable: Honorable, Powerful, Natural Leader, Nurturing, Intelligent, Prosperous, etc. We read the traits of our particular sign and think, “yeah, that’s me.” I think often it is more like, “yeah, that’s who I’d like to be.” If you didn’t guess by the image above (your sign might be Moron), I am a Virgo. So lets examine my Astrological traits.
The Virgo is highly discriminating, but not necessarily as prudish at some might believe. In ancient times, a Virgin was a woman who was not the property of man, and therefore had the legal right to just say "no." Now, in modern times, you Virgos are known for your ability to be highly discriminating -- especially when it comes to matters of personal desire. When Virgo is ready, however, to say yes, the laser-like focus of your passion is anything but prudish.
That is true for me. It is prefered that the object of my desire be female and conscious. If that is discriminating, I am on board.
Virgo is the picky one of the zodiac signs, critical and fault finding with the keenest eye of all for details. This sign is wonderful at analyzing, critiquing, schedules and agendas. You Virgos have the uncanny sense to see what's wrong with a person, a situation or your environment. It's why Virgo makes such natural critics. Virgo practical analytical abilities are second to none. Your mental process may not be the most creative, but Virgo's razor-like thinking is highly effective. Like the maiden pictured in the Virgo glyph, you separate the useful wheat from the unneeded chafe, the good from the bad. Virgo might be a "clean freak," but most Virgos have a messy closet somewhere or a disaster under their bed.
So basically, we are nitpicking jerks. I have three children who would agree with this analysis. You have me there.
The Virgo motto could be "Perfect is almost good enough." On one hand, this trait makes you very employable, for you're not likely to do shabby work. On the other hand, you can be so finicky that you put limitations on your interactions and experiences before they happen. You'll be happier if you can learn to be selectively less critical, both of others and yourself.
I have a bevy of former bosses who would beg to differ.
Earth signs are naturally practical. In this lifetime we are bound to Earth. There is no escaping the reality around us The Earth is about as real as it gets; it can be felt, weighed and it has substance. Accordingly, the earth signs base their life on what is real, not what is imagined. Sensation is valued over thoughts or feelings. Earth signs live with their feet on the ground. Others seek their advice because of their basic sensibility. For earth signs, seeing is believing.
The earth of Virgo is a changeable earth, light to the touch. It's about practical analysis -- using mental tools to discern the best use for what is around us.
This must explain my hesitance to embrace religion and why I don’t believe in Astrology. Too much speculation and belief in dogma required. I do espouse tangible things like money and blondes. .
Sixth House: Work
The Sixth House is about the regular performance of work-related tasks. This isn't necessarily about career. It's about the job you have that buys the bread for the table. This sector is also where we look to find out about health and healing, for it's not only work routine, but also our daily habits of hygiene.
I bathe and brush my teeth regularly. Too bad about the other 11 signs. Dirty bastards.
Key Planet: Mercury
Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, moves around the Sun faster than any other planet. He symbolizes our thoughts -- not only how we think, but how we communicate. In fact, Mercury is in charge of all language. Mercury is our active and rational mind. It is not only "just the facts" but also what we do with them. As the key planet of Virgo, Mercury is about intellectual discrimination. It's the binary function of the neurons in our brain. They either fire and impulse or they don't. Mercury here is about the basic "yes" or "no" decision that must be made for every piece of information that enters our consciousness.
I don’t even understand this gibberish.
Virgo Greatest Strength: Your ability to focus your attention
Good to know that my ADD and OCD do not exist. I am going off my medication immediately.
Virgo Possible Weakness: Need for perfection gets in the way of enjoyment
Condoms are a must. STDs get in the way of enjoyment.
So all of us Virgos are clean, critical, discriminating, hard working people who are such miserable souls that we are destined to spend our life alone, cleaning stuff. Well, maybe I do believe in Astrology after all. Maybe I should find me a nice Virgo woman and we can focus our attention on destroying each other with criticism and spending our lives totally dissatisfied with each other. Any takers?.
I don’t often pay attention to detail (not very Virgonian) so if the topic this week was actually Astronomy, please disregard all of this.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I opened a small retail store on Main Street in Riverton, Wyoming in 1994. I started very small, part-time, sharing retail space with another fledgling business, a trophy and engraving shop called Lasting Impressions. I soon outgrew that arrangement and moved to a larger location, resigned my position as Director of a Technical Training School, and took the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship. I sold sports memorabilia, apparel, comic books, gaming supplies (Dungeons & Dragons and the like), pool cues, darts, paintball supplies, and just about anything else I could fit in my store. I even had a game room with pool tables, coke and candy machines, and video games. My enterprise grew by leaps and bounds as it was about 120 miles to my nearest competition. My customer base ranged from hard-core sports nuts (of which I can relate) to the Magic the Gathering and D&D crowd (of which I pretended to relate as it was good for business). Business was booming.
Sometime in late 1995, a man walked into my store with a salesman’s gait and a large satchel. It was a slow day and I decided I would listen to his pitch before I tossed him out into the street. He was from a company called Ty (which I had never heard of) and he had a new product that was going to “sweep the nation”. Then he opened his case and proudly produced the most ridiculous looking, poorly made, generic, piece of crap I had ever laid eyes on. He introduced them as Beanie Babies. He further stated that my business (due to size, location, reputation, and success) had been selected to be the exclusive outlet for this product in my town. He assumed that blowing that much smoke up my ass would endear him to me. He was wrong. He did not realize what a skeptical person he had encountered. Though I had lost interest immediately and was paying little attention, I believe he said that a $3,000 initial outlay would assure me all of the new issues, of which many were planned. I rather rudely dispatched him from my establishment, but not before belittling his product as only a person of my wit and cruelty can. He urged me to reconsider, but when he fully assessed my size and attitude he left by his own power, without fully closing his sample case. Beanie Baby extremities were frantically waving goodbye to me as he exited.
By Christmas of that year, every Tuesday morning throngs of grandmas encircled the block waiting for Jerry’s Flowers and Things, a block or so east of me to open. Tuesday was the day the new issues of Beanie Babies arrived. This phenomenon continued for several years. You see, the somewhat androgynous Jerry was open-minded and saw the profit potential in selling crap to people who collected crap. He made a fortune from this foresight. Though I also sold crap to people who collected crap, my crap seldom appreciated 5000%. I tell you that story to tell you this story.
In 1998 I heard through one of my wholesale distributors that a new game called Pokemon was being released soon that was going to “sweep the nation.” I immediately placed my order. I am skeptical but not a complete fool. I bought this game direct from the factory in the largest quantities allowed. I usually pre-sold the entire issue before it ever arrived. I would not even open the cartons; just redirect them to eager secondary market buyers as far away as Australia. For nearly two years I profited more from that one product than everything else in my shop combined. Sadly for some, Pokemon sales hit a wall shortly after I sold my business and moved to South Carolina. I tell you that to tell you this.
A couple of months ago a COSTCO member that I was visiting in my role as Business Development Representative told me about Vemma, a new and wonderful nutritional product he had just discovered. It was going to “sweep the nation.” My ears and mind opened wide. He gave me a bottle to try. In a few days I realized that I was going to buy Vemma. I did a little research and decided I was also going to also sell this amazing product. I have since given samples to others who have shared my excitement. Anyone who is suffering from any health issues can benefit from replacing whatever nutritional supplements they are taking and this one simple product. I cannot adequately describe its potential in this forum but if you take a moment and visit my website www.myvemma.com/rickwainright you can learn about this incredible product. As you have read previously, I am a hard sell. I am admittedly the most skeptical person alive. If I am sold on it, you will be too. Whether you are looking to just improve your well-being or are looking to embark on a home-based business, this product is for you. I am no longer selling crap to people who collect crap. I am selling a better quality of life and everyone needs that. Feel free to ask me any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Last evening I watched a very interesting interview of Princes William and Harry by Matt Lauer. I think that interview will spark several Blogs from me depending upon how motivated I become. The first of this series (and possibly last) is a one-act play I have written:
The scene is Buckingham Palace Gardens on a cloudy (imagine that) June afternoon. There are two people seated on a bench in the garden, Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles. For simplicity and because I am lazy, their names will be shortened but even the most unsophisticated reader should be able to follow the conversation. For maximum authenticity, the reader should read aloud in a posh British accent.
PC: “Mummy, will I ever be King?”
QE2: “My darling: aren’t you happy being the Prince of Wales?”
PC: “Wales is shit, mummy.
QE2: “Is that proper language for the heir to the throne to use?”
PC: “Sorry, mummy, but I so want to be king. I have heard from Mel Brooks that it is good to be king.”
QE2: Laughing. “Well at least you are not the pissboy.”
PC: "Sometimes I feel like the pissboy. Oh mummy, you are 81, don’t you want to retire?”
QE2: “My dear boy, it is also good to be queen.”
PC: “Please mummy, I implore you.”
QE2: “Charles, we have discussed this many times, must we revisit?”
PC: “But Mummy, I am nearly 60 years old. I fear that if I am not crowned soon my prostate will be the size of a football before I am seated on the throne.”
QE2: “You know I love you Charles, but there are certain factors at play here that have caused me not to relinquish my crown to you. But there is a plan afoot.”
PC: “Please expound, Mummy. What is the plan for me.”
QE2: “Why must you force me to hurt your feelings? You know how upset you get.”
PC: “I know, but I must understand.”
QE2: “One reason you have not been promoted is the currency.”
PC: “How so?”
QE2: “It appears that no one wants your likeness on it. Parliament is afraid it will devalue the pound sterling.
PC: (under his breath) “But the picture of you is 50 years old, you wrinkled old hag.”
QE2: “What did you say?”
PC: “Nothing. They could use Photoshop and make me look any way they want. Granted, I am not Brad Pitt, but who in this country is, what with his straight teeth?”
QE2: "You do look a bit like that American, what is his name, Newman?"
PC: "Oh, Paul Newman, thanks Mum, everyone likes him."
QE2: "No, no, I think his name is Alfred E. Newman."
PC: "Oh mother, you can be very hurtful when you set your mind to it."
QE2: “Regardless Charles, we are opting for your son, William. Lovely boy, that?”
PC: “But he is the spitting image of me, mum.”
QE2: “Oh, dear boy, that Skywalker lad favored Darth Vader more than William does you. To be honest, Ladbrokes gives Sir Elton John better odds of being crowned than you. But there is the problem of whether he would be king or queen.” Chuckles.
PC: Jumping to his feet. “Mother, you insensitive shrew, you are a hateful bitch!!!!”
QE2: “Previous queens would have taken your head for speaking in that tone.”
PC: “About the only thing you can take from me that you haven’t already is my Capital One card.”
QE2: “Speaking of plastic, how is Camilla?”
PC: Sits back down. “She is fine, but can’t you accept the fact that I love her and treat her with due respect?”
QE2: “I don’t know what you are talking about, Charles, I have given her a quite noble title”
PC: “I wanted to talk to you about that. It was very hurtful to call her the Duchess of Skank. There is no such place in the commonwealth. We googled it”
QE2: “How many times must I apologize? It was an innocent mistake. It has been officially corrected and now she is Duchess of Cornwall. Doesn’t that sound nice?"
PC: “But Mum, the press always call her the Duchess of Cornhole, and sometimes I can hear her late at night, crying.”
QE2: “You should keep the kennel door closed.”
PC: Rising once again. “Mother!!!!!!!”
QE2: “Sorry Charles, it is just that she looks a bit like someone who is constantly smelling flatulence. Diana was such a lovely girl. Isn't the entire purpose of cheating, to improve one's prospects?”
PC: "But Mother, Diana cheated."
QE2: "My point exactly."
PC: "But he was a simple stablehand."
QE2: "You are not advancing your argument."
PC: "But I am a royalty, what could she possibly have seen in him?"
QE2: Does not respond, but looks dreamily into space and smiles slightly.
PC: “Mum, you hated Diana.”
QE2: “True, she was a free spirit, a rebel, but Phillip and I did like the fact that after centuries of inbreeding she actually put a fork in the family tree.
PC: "I did think it odd that many of the Royals had only one grandfather."
QE2: And let’s face it Charles, she gave you two beautiful sons. And the world loved her.”
PC: “Must I always hear those whispers? People say, "beautiful Diana, beautiful sons, fortunate to favor her, wonder who is the birth father" It is all quite tiring?”
QE2: “Nevertheless, Charles, I have decreed, your son William is to be the next King of England.”
PC: “Only if you outlive me, mother.”
QE2: “That is the plan, my dear.”
Saturday, June 23, 2007
If I told my secret to the half dozen strangers who read my blog each Sunday, then it would not be a secret, now would it? Not that I have a secret, but if I did and I revealed it here I would have to fly around the world and whack each and every person that commented on my blog on Sunday Scribblings. That could get very expensive having to fly to Oregon, Idaho, India, England, Australia, California, Italy, Massechusettes, Washington State, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Herbsylvania (there is such a place, ask Herb). OK, I could drive to North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida but I would have to get a rental car or maybe jack one so that my own vehicle would not be spotted at the crime scene. I could probably combine Oregon, Idaho, California, and Washington State into one trip, so that is doable. To the locations I would have to fly to I would be confronted by today's increased airport security and I could not bring my Glock with me so there is that inconvenient 5 day waiting period before I could buy some heat to bust a cap. And you can't even buy a handgun in England and many other third-world countries, so I would be forced to kill the foreign Sunday Scribblers with a claymore or a fireplace poker. Then there would be some kind of lobby against fireplace pokers. Remember, "claymores don't kill people, people kill people." I would miss too much work and Costco would fire me, leaving me without income or prospects. I would soon become homeless and have to live in a Kenmore dryer box. I could die of KFC dumpster poisoning, rabid rat bites, frostbite or hypothermia (not likely in South Carolina but my resistance would be down). I would be without healthcare, and I am not an illegal alien, so I would have to be treated by a massage therapist and aromatherapy cannot cure the plague (I looked it up). I would be so overcome with guilt over killing all of you (well, some of you) that I would simply lose the will to live. My death would be on your hands. So that is why I am not telling you my secret and I think it was rude of you to ask.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
In spite of playing the game, the real reason I have become an avid fan of baseball is that I am fascinated by statistics, always have been. There is no sport in which statistics are more important. Baseball records are some of the most hallowed in the sport’s world. That brings me to the point of this blog. I am going to make a statement that will cause many baseball aficionados a knee jerk reaction. The two most overrated players in the history of baseball are Hank Aaron and Pete Rose. What? It will be considered blasphemous by many, but I have statistics to back my claim. I will bet you I am right (Pete Rose joke). These two were great players, don’t get me wrong. But each has a career record that is based on longevity over achievement.
I am going to compare their records with some current players and see how they measure up. I am purposely not including the steroid boys, such as Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa. I believe they have tainted the record book and do not acknowledge their numbers. That is my choice. It is my blog. If you want to give these jakals credence, get your own blog. Give me a break. Bonds shoe and hat size have even increased. Athletes in any sport do not get better at 40 years old. Have you seen Mark McGuire since he retired from baseball? I saw him recently playing in a golf tournament. He looks like he has spent the last few years on chemotherapy. He is literally half the man he used to be. Sammy Sosa is still playing, but looks like he could be eaten by the turn of the millennium version of himself. He had to take the entire 2006 season off to clean out his system as they now test for steroids. In my opinion, the single season home run title still belongs to Roger Maris. He hit 61 in 1961. Roger was 6’ tall and weighed 197. If he was performance enhanced, it wasn’t a very good product.
Back to my topic. Let’s begin with Hank Aaron, the career home run leader with 755. If Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. had as many at bats as Hank they would have 852 and 843 home runs respectively. The most home runs Aaron ever hit in a season was 47. Arod and Griffey have exceeded that season total 4 times each and are both likely to do it again this season. Arod may do it by the all-star break. No one has ever brought either of these athletes into the human growth hormone or steroid discussion. Hank was a nice player and totally deserves being in the hall of fame, but I don’t rate him in the same class as the aforementioned players. Griffey has been hampered by injury, but before his unfortunate move to Cincinnati, he was the most exciting player in baseball.
Moving on to Pete Rose. He is the all-time major league baseball hits leader He amassed 4256 hits but batted only .303 for his career. This stat would not rank him in the top 100 of all time. As with Aaron, I believe he is a great player and should be a sure bet to enter the hall of fame some day (sorry, another Rose joke) but I am less impressed by his numbers than most people. Using my previous logic, if current players Ichiro Suzuki and Todd Helton had the number of at bats that Rose had, they would both have about 4700 hits. They have lifetime averages that hover around .333, top 20 all-time. The measure of a great season for a hitter is 200 hits. Pete achieved that number in less than half of his 24 seasons Ichiro has done it every season he has played. Granted, that Helton plays half of his games in the rarified air of Colorado, but he also hits in a much weaker line-up than Rose ever did. Pete had 3 future hall-of-famers batting behind him. Helton has none. This allows pitchers to pitch around him more. Albert Pujols has not played enough seasons yet, but I believe that barring injury, he will become an all-time great.
But I may be wrong.
Note: Since I originally wrote this post Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids, much to my disappointment. I still believe that Rose and Aaron were stat compilers and when I think of the greatest players in baseball history, neither name comes to mind.
I was planning to write a blog about my dad for father’s day, and as all my writings do, it rambled on and took on a life of its own. I do not apologize for that. Those who read my words regularly have grown to expect me to stray and stay off topic. That is more a product of my ADD and OCD quirks than by design. If you saw my weekend housecleaning begin in the kitchen and up at Hooters, you would understand. I will immediately lose any readers who know nothing about baseball. I will divide this into two separate blogs as I know from my own experience that long blogs don’t get read.
I have always been a baseball fan. I came by it naturally, as my dad loved the one game a week that was televised when I was growing up in northern Idaho. Since, in the late 1950’s, the New York Yankees were a dynasty, the “game of the week” usually featured them. Later in his life, dad became an Atlanta Braves fan. This was equally due to WTBS televising all of the Braves games and the fact that dad grew up in Georgia. He was also a loyal Georgia Tech fan, though I don’t believe he ever had laid eyes on the Atlanta campus. Even though WGN broadcast all the Chicago Cubs games, dad never became interested in that hapless franchise. Who could blame him? Dad never got a chance to play sports as his dad considered such things frivolous and dad was forced to quit school quite young to go to work. He used to play catch with me but by about the age of 10 I threw too hard for him to catch me. That, in itself, made him proud.
My sons became New York Yankee fans by a lifetime of intense brainwashing. So much so, that my oldest son, Rick Jr. named his daughter Maris. I was delighted with that. My daughter’s son, Carson, will become a Yankee fan once I have him fully programmed. Maybe I will nickname him Mickey, Hanna-Barbera probably has a copyright on Yogi..
My love for baseball increased during my youth, as I showed an aptitude for it. But as I pitched my way to some local acclaim, dad seldom watched me play. He felt that he was bad luck as the few times he was in the stands I performed poorly. He would listen wide-eyed as I came home and gave play-by-play accounts of no-hitters. I always knew he was proud of me and only when I had kids of my own playing sports did I realize how painful it must have been for him to stay away from my games. Outside of military service commitments, I don’t think I ever missed any of my children’s sporting events. Sometimes, when all three were playing at different levels, the logistics got very difficult. Watching those games will always provide some of my fondest memories. I coached their teams for several years and those experiences will result in future blogs.
Friday, June 15, 2007
One of the many definitions of eccentric is deviation from the normal or expected. With that in mind I am going to disregard the prompt this week and write about whatever comes to mind. Nothing has really come to mind. Maybe next week.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Three Mile Island
My good friend and golfing partner, Ramesh, is from India. If you picked that up from his name, you are paying attention and are probably quite worldly. I have been to his home for lunch or dinner several times. Having been all over the world, I am pretty open to trying anything that is considered food by other cultures. If you don’t know, much of the food of India tends to be quite spicy. Knowing that I am a bit of a wimp in that area, he and his wife Leela (also from India) advise me on the intensity level of each dish. While I find many of the foods delicious, I have stayed away from those of which the aroma made my sinuses begin to drain and my eyes tear worse than from viewing the end of “Old Yeller.”
I recently won a free, all you can eat, wing party at Hooters on a radio trivia contest. Yes, I know a lot of useless information. There were to be ten of us at the party. I arrived early to select our first order of wings. Hooters has several different levels of intensity for their chicken wings. I ordered an assortment ranging from Medium (I am not even wimp enough to order mild from a scantly dressed hostess) all the way up to their hottest, one named “Three Mile Island”, which I specifically selected for my Indian friends. I am sure it was on the high end of the Scoville Scale, since the hostess shuddered when I ordered it. I am pretty sure that the cook needed protective gear to even prepare this coating. My timing was great, as the order came out shortly after my party had arrived. The hostess pointed out the different plates of wings as to their piquancy (she did not know that word, I do). The party began with most of us reaching for the medium and hot versions and avoiding the plate with the haze hovering over it, like a runway in the summer. I pushed the plate of biohazard wings toward Ramesh and Leela. They tried them and it was immediately obvious from the blisters raised on their lips and the inability to breath that the “Three Mile Island” recipe was not popular in India. Mike, one of the other participants, a Caucasian from New Hampshire elected to try them. We all watched in awe as he devoured the entire plate with no visual side effects. Whether he actually enjoyed them or was posturing for the hostess, I was impressed. I have a hunch that the next morning, Mike would regret stepping up to that plate. Ramesh later said that he had eaten spicy food his entire life and had never tasted anything to rival “Three Mile Island”. Hooters should come up with an ad campaign, “Try our hot wings, they would make Gandhi swear.”
Pinehurst in My Dreams gave me a prompt because I was bitching that Poetry Thursday had gone on hiatus and I need a kickstart to write. She chose "bullfrog". At first I thought how stupid of a prompt that was, but in a few minutes I came up with this.
Music of the Night
Each night outside my window
A cacophony of sound
Natures orchestra Serenades me
It’s instruments abound
Crickets provide percussion
While calling to their mates
Owls ask their eternal question
Their vocals captivate
And when I stop to listen
I can’t help but rejoice
Providing bass and baritone
The bullfrog adds its voice
So open up your windows
To the music of the night
You won’t need a sedative
To relax ‘til morning light
Though sometimes out of rhythm
And usually off key
The creatures of the darkness
Provide a symphony
Saturday, June 2, 2007
As always, I respond to the Sunday Scribbling prompt with a knee jerk reaction and go with it. This is what town and country brought to mind:
I love visiting New York for the excitement, culture, and entertainment options. I also adore Las Vegas for obvious reasons. But, I could never live in either place. Huge cities are overwhelming to me. Too stressful, too fast, and way too much temptation. There is evil everywhere, but it really stalks you in the big city. I could also never live in a rural area. I enjoy the isolation of the country on my own terms, not as a lifestyle. I am a townie. I like living in a medium sized city with access to the country. Even though I seldom venture out in the middle of the night, it is comforting to know that there are stores and restaurants open 24/7, should I have an urgent need for a lottery ticket or a Denny’s Grand Slam at two A.M. I grew up in a tiny village in Northern Idaho, where the sidewalks (what sidewalks?) are rolled in shortly after supper. I lived overseas for 15 years, where legitimate businesses in even major cities pretty much fade to black as the sun sets. Pubs in England usually close at ten thirty. That may be different now, but I am speaking from my own experience. There are after hours clubs, but you generally need to be young, heavily pierced, and have hair of a color normally found in a rainbow to fit in. Living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is perfect for me. Southern cities are unique. I have access to all the conveniences of a metropolitan city and am just minutes away from rural areas that cause Dueling Banjos to pluck in my head. Maybe I should do a commercial for the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce. City living with the potential to “squeal like a pig” only minutes away.