Beware of Old People Who Can’t Hear

It started with a simple comment about underwear. My dad-in-law was over, along with my mom-in-law, for Christmas Eve dinner. The evening was filled with light conversation and a wonderful meal filled with Osso Buco, rissoto, and wine. With dinner over and us now gathered in the living room, he excused himself to the bathroom. It was upon his return and his simple questioning about “armor underwear” that I realized we are now in for a world of change where we can no longer talk about old people behind their backs, or in front of them, or when they go to the bathroom.

And it’s all Steve Jobs’ fault.

Some short backstory.

Continue reading Beware of Old People Who Can’t Hear


MPAA Rated – Not Rate
It’s 1:15 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Shura Eadie, Ebert Hobbs, Henri Pelletier, Max Schellenberg
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: January 27, 2015 – Online and VOD
Kiddie Movie: Not too young. It’s a documentary and there’s a lot of talking.
Date Movie: It’s cute enough for the two of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing that will make you blush.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: The seniors with no governor on some of the things they say.
Memorable Scene: Shura cooking the grilled cheese with an iron.
Memorable Quote: Annette says “I’m not eccentric.” and Henri the mentor just rolls his eyes.
Directed By: Saffron Cassaday

As I was watching Cyber-Seniors I couldn’t help but think of three people, my Mom, my Mom-in-Law, and my Dad-in-Law, and although a little older than all of the mentors in the documentary, my experience with each my seniors was pretty much the same as the mentors had with theirs. My Mom was an early adopter to the Internet though she passed away before Facebook hit it big which would have helped her re-connect with many more people she lost touch with than she had found just through email and Google searches. My Mom-in-Law’s adoption, especially on her iPhone, quickly accelerated once she hit Facebook, even to the point she has now discovered Snapchat as “GrandmaEleanor” and loves posting her “stories” while keeping in touch with the Grandkids. My Dad-in-Law stays away from social media, but loves finding any news site he can discover. Teaching all of them various aspects of the internet and social media takes a lot of patience, but as the mentors show in the movie, the patience pays off the minute you see the smile of the elder discovering the wonders of Skype, Facebook, and finding out that the younger generation swears too much in their Facebook postings.

As the documentary goes, Macaulee and Kasha Cassady had a high school project back in the late 2000’s after they witnessed their grandparents discovery of the Internet, and they started a program to help other seniors get online. They ended up setting up a group, recruited friends to help teach the seniors, and their sister, Director Saffron Cassaday, started filming the sessions. The documentary keys in on a few of the seniors, their mentors, the elder’s challenges in understanding the concept of the Internet with the youngin’s challenges in finding ways to help point the elders in the right directions, and the excitement of discovery as the elders realize their is another world out there beyond the walls of the retirement home by becoming part of their families everyday lives again.

The training progress showing everything from just turning on a laptop, to using webcams and Skype, even to online dating, while the movie concludes with a contest amongst the seniors, namely to see who can be the biggest “YouTube” star amongst them. Their worlds open up again, and it’s a joy to see.

The beauty in training seniors is that they rarely have a governor any longer, and some of the best moments in the documentary are times when the seniors don’t hold back about people’s looks and their opinions on life, and while some are a little hesitant at first, worrying that if they unfriend someone on Facebook that said “unfriend” will come and attack them, eventually, once they see the benefits, they love it.

All in all it’s a nice documentary about the youngins helping the oldins learn how to get online. There is a little bit of a side story as Macaulee and her grandfather came down with cancer during filming which kind of took the story off the rails a bit, and things dragged a tad as we came to the YouTube contest, but the touching commentary by Ebert Hobbs on having a purpose in life long past your retirement is both poignant and a nice ending to the movie.

A fun look at the old folks learning about technology and it’s 3 1/2 stars out of 5 for “Cyber-Seniors.” If you’ve ever tried to help an elder learn about technology you can relate to the patience the mentors have, but mostly you can relate to the joy when the senior finally “gets it.”

On a side note, if you are interested more about the movie, want to be a mentor or cyber-senior, be sure to check out the the Cyber-Seniors website.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

When Funny is Shot Down

No Photoshop. No digital editing. Just a couple of magazines, someone with a weird curiosity, and old-school cutting-and-pasting. There on the table were the magazines and my quick glance brought me Taylor Swift on the cover of Time, and Tony Robbins on the cover of Fortune. A second glance, and then the coffee nearly came out of my nose as I saw the change, laughed out loud, and wondered if either Taylor or Tony would have the career they have if they had a different mouth.

I took a picture of the magazines and giggled with glee every time I looked at it. The sweet, pouty lips of Taylor on Tony almost gave him a sensitive quality, but that giant grin with the huge teeth on Taylor was the kicker for me. I planned a wonder if they could be popular with their new mouths, and later in the day, with uber excitement, pulled out my phone with my latest find of laughter, intending to bring my wife as much joy as I was experiencing. She looked at the picture, looked at me with my giddy anticipation of her enjoyment, and quickly gave a look of “What? So someone switched their mouths.” Then she said “What’s funny about that?” My funny was shot down.

I tried to defend my funny, but she had none of it. I tried to explain the humor of the juxtaposition of the mouths, but she didn’t care. She just didn’t find it funny.

I did.

Maybe it’s because I have the sense of humor of a 12-year old, maybe it’s because in my head I see all kinds of images, like Tony Robbins singing and dancing to “Shake It Off,” while Taylor Swift is on stage, her sweet voice coming through a giant mouth, and explaining how you aren’t handling your finances well (Tony’s got a new book out called “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom”), but for me the picture is funny.

So I wonder. I know my answer, and I know the answer from my wife, but is the image of Tony Robbins with Taylor Swift’s mouth, and vice-versa, funny?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Sitting Where Their Butt Sat

As sometimes my wondering follows current events or people I see while I’m out on the town, the experience of moving has left me with lots of things I’m wondering about so count on seeing a few as the weeks roll by. This time it’s about toilet seats.

There are things I don’t always think of that are important I suppose, but others in my family seem to have it as just about #1 on the priority list when moving. Sure, there is contacting a moving company, making sure you have everything at closing, packing, maybe figuring out new furniture or the best place to put a lamp, even buying cleaning supplies for the initial move-in, but nowhere on my list of things to do was buy a new toilet seat. Yet there it was, I would say #2, nah, actually #1, on things to buy and install for the new house.

At the Home Depot we’re in the toilet seat isle and it’s not the easiest of choices to make. There are the easy-remove versions, elongated versus round (and from the number of boxes that were obviously returned it appears most people don’t get this one correct), padded, no-slam, and then do you go with the no-name brand versus say a Kohler? Sadly they didn’t have the version with the money molded into the plastic, so standard white was in order for our bathroom.

With new toilet seats in hand (we went with Kohler, with the slightly nicer one for the upstairs bathroom), and at the new house, changing out the toilet seats became one of my first priorities as, well, the need to use the toilet was quickly approaching and there would be no sitting where their butts sat. I will say as gross as it can be to change out your own toilet seat and see whatever gets in places under the plastic caps, it’s even a little more gross when it’s not your toilet seat and not your own gross.

With my fat ass nestled nicely on the new seat, and my correct guessing that we had round instead of elongated toilet bowls, I must admit it was kind of nice to be the person to christen a new toilet seat knowing mine was the first butt to grace its plastic. I also couldn’t help but wonder: Do you change the toilet seat when you move to a new place?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Safer Driving and You

Depending on the study of the week it’s either safer to be hands-free and talking on your cell phone while driving, or it doesn’t make a difference. Personally, other than being annoyed because one hand is tied up from doing something like turning on a turn signal or changing the radio station, I don’t think it makes a huge difference as your head is still in the conversation instead of on the road, and while others will say something like “What’s the difference between having an in-depth conversation with someone on the phone instead of with your passenger in the car?”, I will retort that at least with a passenger you have someone else watching the road who can yell at you to stop.

The other day as I’m driving I see a woman doing her part of complying with the law of technically being hands-free while driving as she was obviously on her speakerphone. I say “obviously” because she was also a hand-talker and in my rear-view mirror I couldn’t help but see both hands off of the wheel as she was in heated conversation, phone in one hand while her other hand was anywhere but attached to the wheel, hands waving around like a bee was buzzing her head, and I was probably more mesmerized and distracted watching her than she was talking on her phone.

Over the course of the stretch of road I can bet with nearly 100% certainty that if you pulled her over and asked her to say any detail about the travel she had just undertaken should couldn’t tell you if traffic was bumper to bumper or wide open, she wouldn’t know if it was raining or sunny, but she sure had one entertaining conversation, at least from my perspective, one that would have only been topped had she had her window open and the phone slipped out of her hand on onto the road in one of her “hand-waving conversation” goodness moments.

As many states are enacting hands-free legislation that doesn’t really seemed to be enforced, and seeing my share of people who still have their phone glued to their ear while driving, whether you believe the studies or not I do wonder: Are you hands-free while talking on the phone while driving?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Would You Respond to an Ad Posted on the Side of the Road?

Have you been summoned for jury duty?

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Driving in the dude-mobile the other day I’m seeing a plethora of handwritten signs on the side of the road at intersection. Now, every now and then I see the signs for garage sales and the never-ending furniture stores announcing they are going out of business and liquidating all of their stock which always makes me wonder how many furniture stores there are, and why are they always going out of business. This time, though, was a garage sale kind of sign stuck in the ground, and written in giant marker, sloppily, it bragged that an investor was seeking an apprentice and that by working part time you could make $5,000 a month, while if you really put the full-time effort you could be pulling in $10,000 a month! “Holy cow!” I thought, $5,000 a month for a part-time job? Sweet! And I’d only be an apprentice? My God, what could I actually make if I were the “investor?”

The curious person in me wanted to jot down the phone number and call, but the logical person in me was skeptical, kind of like with the liquidating furniture stores, and figured I would just get roped into some scam where I would sink our life savings into some scam business where the way you make money is by convincing an “apprentice” to pay you money for the secrets to making money, all the while dispatching said “apprentice” to post signs on the side of the road.

I notice them all of the time, poorly written instructions on a garage-sale kind of sign, stuck in the side of the road, where I can be a painter, realtor, apprentice, and the like, all the while making exorbitant amounts of money for just a little bit of work, and I wonder: Would you respond to an ad posted on the side of the road? On a secondary note, it you have, I would love to hear your story of how that worked out.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Do You Flash Your Lights to Signal Cars About a Speed Trap?

Where I live I have grown accustomed to the usual locations the police will use to set up a speed trap. I’m not that much of a lead-foot to begin with, in fact, on a trip years ago with a bunch of friends of mine, whenever a car would pass us up one of them would undoubtedly says something like “Grandma Moses just passed us up!” Today, though, while driving down the road, a car was coming at me flashing his lights. I suppose it was a nice reminder about a police officer parked up ahead in one of the normal speed-traps, but for me it was unnecessary and actually mostly annoying because the car in front of me decided that sure, he needed to slow down, but instead of going the prescribed 40 miles per hour he felt it necessary to drop down to 30, I suppose just in case the officer was looking to pull over someone for going the speed limit.

I know there were stories years ago about how flashing your lights could get you attacked by bad people, or that you can get pulled over by the police for flashing your lights (I guess this varies by state), but most people probably find it harmless, except for me who gets annoyed by the cars that now go slower than the posted speed limit. I have a time or two flashed my headlights at someone driving at night without their lights on, but I can say that’ I’ve never done it to signal a speed trap. As such I plight: Do you flash your lights to signal cars about a speed trap?

That’s it for this plight! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Holy Crap, I Made an iPhone App!

I so wanted my first post announcing my first iPhone app to be filled with gloriousness, with “Hey, go out and get it!”, with “Let me know what you think!”, with “Sure, I know it’s $.99 and you want it for free, but hey, I do have plans for a limited, free version with ads someday, but really, will an ad above a picture that makes you smile really make you smile?”, and “I have lots of ideas for future versions, but if there are any suggestions you have please throw them my way!”, and all kinds of other fun comments like that, but then I downloaded my app when it was officially approved on Monday.

Low and behold, a little bug that I thought I fixed somehow re-appeared. The thing is that it was a bug that might make you frown and not smile, especially if the first “Make Me Smile” picture you took using the app was priceless, because, well, there was a glitch where the app wouldn’t save the first picture it took. All other pictures would be saved to your library, but not that first one. So instead of a joyous “Holy crap, I made an iPhone app,” all of a sudden I was just saying “Oh, crap.” And made my previous post on the When I Smile site.

But alas, I plugged away at truly eliminating the bug (Please, please, please don’t be there anymore!), and Version 1.1 of “Make Me Smile” is available for download in the app store, and it only has one goal: To be able to, when you need one, make you smile.

Yes, I do have a lot more features in my head planned for the app, and heck, I have other ideas for apps floating in my head, even one for the Entertainment Ave! website, but for now, please feel free to visit the When I Smile site, spend the $.99 for the app, and thanks for your support, suggestions, and smiles!

I Became a Person Who Came to Downtown Chicago to…


The Dude on the Right

Garrett Popcorn LogoI put a little post on Facebook: I’m doing something I said I would never do only I can’t say exactly what it is until Monday. How’s that for a tease?

Hundreds, okay just a few of my friends, tried to figure out the mystery, and the guesses ranged from hitting a nudie-bar (I have been to one of those before, so that couldn’t be it), to a spa treatment complete with a pedicure.  I will say that all of the guesses were wrong, although from my fiance’s descriptions of her pedicure experiences, well, that may not be ruled out in the future, but in any case, what I did astounded me.

You see, for years, living in Chicago and visiting downtown quite often, there is a tradition I witnessed yet couldn’t understand.  The people would be there, in the freezing cold, in a line that sometimes would stretch down the street and around the corner, and you would think it was either the day after Thanksgiving and they were waiting for the season’s hottest gift, or that some store was giving away a hundred dollars just for standing in line.  With my friends I would mock these people, laugh at them as they were bundled in their parkas, shivering, yet with shear anticipation on their faces, and in an orderly fashion they would file, one by one, into the little storefront that housed a treasure people far and wide would stand for hours, or at least a bunch of minutes, to secure.  The years would go by and I would wonder, "Is it really that good?", and prior to this weekend I had already found out and well, it is good, but "stand-in-line" good?  It didn’t matter, I suppose, because there I was, standing in line, in the freezing cold, to get a bag of Garrett’s Popcorn.

Yup, hours of my weekend downtown, okay, maybe about 20 minutes, were spent, in a line, waiting for a bag of popcorn (okay, actually two bags of popcorn), something I made fun of for years, something I told myself I would never do, yet as I witnessed a group of girls try to cut in line, as I saw two women become nearly orgasmic as they sampled a little cup of fresh Chicago Mix, and as a tourist, in the freezing cold, wearing sandals, jumped for joy as he walked over a sidewalk grate venting warm air, I patiently waited, moving ahead one person by one person, with my order in my head: "One large bag and one medium bag of Chicago Mix please."  I would then pay the man, step to the side, and hope not to screw up the process and have someone yell "No popcorn for you!", yet this wasn’t like a Seinfeld episode because people ahead of me kept changing their minds, and the people behind the counter were patient through every person.  There were the newbies, still staring at the menu unsure of what they wanted when it was finally time to order, and then there were the experienced folks, rattling off their popcorn tin requests like they were trading stock, and there I was, bewildered in myself that somehow I was actually the person who suggested this gift for my future in-laws, and if it weren’t for my fiance, I would have forgotten to get a bag for us.

And so I have become a statistic in this world of Chicago, someone I would question if it was really worth it, someone I would mock, someone I always thought must have better things to do when visiting Chicago.

I became a person who came to downtown Chicago to stand in line to buy popcorn.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

I Think I’m Done with Playboy


The Dude on the Right

Playboy sent me my renewal notice, and I hate to say it, but "Playboy, it might be time to leave you."  I can hear my buddy, Stu Gotz, bashing me already, he will say that my fiance wants me to get rid of it and that I am caving into her will, but the fact of the matter is that Playboy just isn’t that interesting of a magazine anymore.  Sure, it’s got naked women, and yes, they are pretty, but lately too many of the women are covering up so for that aspect it’s kind of like "What’s the point?", and I hate to say it, but I haven’t even been finding myself reading it for the articles that much anymore, because, well, the articles haven’t been all that enlightening, engaging, or groundbreaking. Also, as my budget is tighter than it used to be, what with a wedding to plan and all, I’m looking at the yearly renewal rate they are offering me and I’ve got to say that my $32.97 might be better spent elsewhere.

So I tried to analyze what I was getting for my $32.97, and I used their list of "benefits" I get as a guide. If I renew before December 17th I get the following:

  • Renewal discounted for another year at their absolute lowest price:        $32.97
    • Okay, this is nice, but I do wonder if it is their "absolute" lowest price, and if someone else out there is getting a better deal.
  • Preferred Subscriber Savings of 52% off the cover price:                        52%
    • Kind of a redundant with the renewal discount they described in the first benefit, but I guess it’s just to reinforce the fact that if I went to the newsstand every month it would cost me $68.89, but then again, one month is a double issue (nice cost-cutting measure for them, huh?).
  • Special Bonus: One-Time-Only-DVD – Playboy’s "Uncensored Home Videos" with your paid renewal        FREE
    • Come on Playboy, aren’t we up to the Blu-ray generation yet?  And really, I do read Playboy mostly for the articles, and Stu tells me there are much better "Uncensored Home Videos" out there on this thing called the internet.
  • Special Annual Issues: Playmate of the Year, Holiday Anniversay Issue, MLB, NBA, NFL Previews, Sex in the Cinema, Gala Christmas Issue:    Included
    • Umm, are these really special?  Haven’t you been doing these for years and aren’t these more "expected" than "special?"
  • Convenient home delivery:    Included
    • Okay, that’s nice, and it is pretty convenient.  I’m glad they aren’t thinking of billing me extra to deliver it at home.
  • Money-Back Guarantee:        Included
    • If I’m not completely satisfied with my subscription I can cancel at any time and receive a full refund on all unmailed issues.  What I would rather have, I think, is if I could maybe go online every month and say something like "I only liked 50% of this issue, can I get a credit on my account for the part that sucked, but keep sending me the magazine because I did like the 50%".

The crappy part, and maybe crappy is the appropriate word, is I used to be able to gauge how engaging an issue of Playboy was because, well, I admit that most of the time I would find myself reading it on the crapper while taking my daily constitutional, and if it was a good month of stuff, well, I would find that before I was done reading everything in said month there, thanks to the Convenient Home Delivery, would come the next month’s issue having me cramming in some final reading, or spending a few extra minutes on the Mighty Ferguson.  Lately, though, I’m finding that I’m pretty much done with the issue well before the next issue arrives, leaving me time to just sit and ponder rather than shit and wonder.

My problem now is what to replace the magazine with.  See, I already subscribe to Rolling Stone, Maxim, and somehow I get this Small Business Magazine, and they all pretty much keep me in tune with things in the entertainment world and high finance, although I do like a decent interview, and that’s what Playboy used to really give me.  While listening to the radio I was thinking GQ might be a nice replacement because I heard there was a great article with Clint Eastwood recently, but really, me and GQ?

So, I’ve got around $33.00 to spend, maybe on a magazine subscription, but then again, it would pay for like 1/5thish of a person at our wedding.  Any suggestions would be well appreciated.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!