Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Guest Posting

I'm guest posting over on Shooting the Breeze today...if you're interest in knowing the 10 things I learned during the closing decade.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for visiting Tony C Today!

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 could finally be my year...(fingers crossed)!

I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful holiday. For the rest of you, I hope the time off allowed for more time spent with family and friends...and a few great shopping deals.

Please note that my posting frequency may suffer a bit between now and February 1st because I'm really pushed to help Mrs. Tony C with an application that is due on that date. She has graciously agreed to nominate yours truly for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee are sticklers for timely applications.

Tony C's 2010 goal

Excuse me?! What don't you understand?

After doing extensive research on the award (mostly in The Economist, Time Magazine, People and on Wikipedia), I'm convinced this blog, Tony C Today, has done as much or more than the most recent laureate in meeting Alfred Nobel's criteria that states the recipient:

'...shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.'

I submit to you that no where in the brief history of this blog (which is longer, however, than the current office occupied by the last person awarded) have I once: (a) called for war or started a rumor of war, (b) used my international influence via the internet to provoke ill-will between any nations, (c) advocated for more standing in our armed forces*, or (d) gathered/promoted a war congress.
* I know from personal experience there's already too much standing around in our armed services. It really gets old too.

Feel free to check my claim. It's all documented on this site in black and white...with a few pictures and an occasional diagram for aesthetic purposes.

Although it took a few weeks to convince Mrs. Tony C to take on the process (the application alone is over 300 pages), she was more than willing after I quoted a few excerpts from the most recent winner's acceptance speech just before Christmas. She was pretty fired up to hear a man speaking of war and the necessity for war wearing the coveted medallion around his neck. Although one quote in particular really got her going:

“At times, it even feels like we’re moving backwards. ... We see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded. But they remind us that no Holy War can be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint — no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or the Red Cross worker, or even a person of one’s own faith. Such a warped view of religion is not just incompatible with the concept of peace, but I believe it’s incompatible with the very purpose of faith — for the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Barrack Obama, December 22, 2009

Doesn't look like our Christian President and laureate reads the Old Testament.

She also thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger had previously won the award and was highly agitated that the man responsible for killing all those little smelt fishes in California could possibly be worthy of such a humanitarian recognition. I delicately reminder Mrs. Tony C that Arnold had won the Mr. Olympia contest years ago which has Joe Wider's image on the medal. It was Albert Switzer, the French medical missionary in Africa, that won the Nobel Peace Price in 1952 for for his philosophy of Reverence for Life .

Arnold is actually Austrian and has never publicly been linked to either Nazi or gay-Nazi organizations (source Republican Party website).

I love seeing the tree-hugger in Mrs. Tony C get fired up...most of the time.

Now, I've been ready for months to submit my application and just needed a front...excuse me...nominator to complete the process. Sometimes it just takes the right motivation to rally people to your cause.

Well, I can't take all the credit...she found out about the million dollar purse too. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Festivus...let's start with the Airing of Grievances.

It's no secret on Tony C Today...I'm a huge Seinfeld fan.

I think a big part of the appeal for me was the way the show captured some of the absolute worst traits of human beings and tossed them out there for all to see. We laughed because we related, but not in a looking glass kind of relate. Oh no...that button is only funny when worn by someone else. The show is vastly popular even today in syndication, so I must not be the only one who's relating.

'The Strike' aired in December 1997 and remains one of my favorite episodes. Here's a collage of clips from the episode dealing with the fictitious holiday on November 23rd of Festivus...

One of the more profound lines to me is Frank Costanza, played brilliantly by Jerry Stiller, describing his ordeal trying to buy a doll for his son George. Is this how we've come to view Christmas? As a battle royal?

If you look at the traditions of Festivus, the list seems to be the exact opposite of the traditions we cherish at Christmas. An aluminum poles versus a brightly decorated tree. The Airing of Grievances, which occurs during the Festivus meal and in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year versus a warm, loving gathering of family and friends. The Feats of Strength that pit someone against the head of household in a wrestling match that can only end the holiday if and only if the head of household is pinned versus being welcomed unassumingly into some one's home to celebrate and fellowship.

Festivus being a completely secular holiday versus...hmm, well...like I said...we laugh because we can relate.

Don't let your Christmas become like Festivus. Let's keep the fictitious holiday in a sitcom for comedy's sake....and ours.

May God richly bless you with feelings of love and charity this holiday season.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My theory: We might be needing a bigger planet...

I love reading and listening to podcast from The Economist...so call me a pompous geek. I get the magazine and comb through to find articles that I download to my iPod and listen to while driving to and from work. Makes Mrs. Tony C absolutely crazy.

My weekly reading isn't limited to the London based newspaper...but by far it's my favorite. I get a little bonus listening to the podcast by making fun of the Brits pronouncing Americker or Chiner. What a hoot! Two countries separated by a common language...I believe the saying goes.

Because of my job, I get to talk to a Brit almost weekly. Sometimes I have to call and repeat an instruction or direction I've already conveyed a number of times before to her, and needless to say, I'm a bit aggravated when the call is initiated. But as soon as she answers the phone with an accented How are you t'day Anthony. Good to hear from you...my aggravation seems to just melt away. She never calls me Tony, always Anthony, and she has a way of sprinkling the word brilliant enough in a conversation that I always hang up feeling a little better about myself. But I digress...

A recent cover article in The Economist focused on world population. The article surmises that world population will begin to decline soon due to the fact couples aren't having as many kids these days. The theory goes that in order to just maintain population levels, parents must produce 2.1 children in their lifetime.

Stay with me...this gets better...well at least deeper.

The magical number of 2.1 is derived from a number of variables including one that accounts for some females dying before child bearing years. Not a very pleasant thought, but number crunchers rarely are emotional about their theories and supporting variables.

Apparently this high school Science Fair participant didn't get the memo.

So the wheels start turning, and I immediately start calculating how my life fits this hypothesis. I apologize to a number of parties in advance.

I have two daughters. One from a previous marriage and one with my wife and soul mate (Don't even think I'm using the term current wife. She occasionally reads my stuff). My first daughter's mother doesn't have any other children, so within the parameters of this theorem, I'm already a negative contributor to maintaining the world's population. Two children from three parents...that math is not very difficult.

So, I backed up to a more macro view. My parents had two children. My sister and her husband do not have kids. So now we have a factor of five adults with only two kids. The outlook for civilization is growing more gloomy as I proceed. Let's take an even broader look at my particular genealogy.

My dad's parents had five kids. Those five kids married and produced nine grandchildren. My mom's parents had thirteen...yes 13...children who produced twenty-two grandchildren. So from four adults, we have thirty-one offspring (of course, I humbling admit to being the favorite...sorry cousins). Let's go another level. Those thirty-one grandchild have produced, to date, thirty-four great, grandchildren. It gets a little fuzzy here and at the previous level because there are a number of splits and mixed families, but I'm just counting the actually bodies in the bloodline at this point. So from four...we have thirty-four to date.

What does all this mean? Why is human fertility important enough to be the cover story material from my favorite publication? What does any of this have to do with economics outside of the obvious (which you understand if you're a parent)?

I have personally come to three separate conclusions: First, the Brit who wrote this article was far too selective in the countries he chose for data collection that lead to his 'world population in decline' hypothesis and maybe a little presumptuous. Second, I'm not doing my part personally to ensure I will collect Social Security after I've paid into the system my entire working life. Third, picking a favorite magazine based on accents is a really dumb thing to do, so my new favorite is Southern Living.

Maybe that second conclusion is off on a tangent and a bit too micro...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If you can't sleep...don't blame astronauts or pagans.

After sleeping over 16 hours a day for nearly 10 days, I'm now stricken with insomnia. Ironic.

I'm up this morning after midnight watching the NASA Channel...that's right...NASA TV. You'd figure an hour of watching some guy float around on the International Space Station reading a procedure manual with very little dialog would be enough to send a person right to la-la land.

Didn't happen.

Up next...the History Channel International. Now we're getting somewhere. Surely my subconsciousness would cause a lapse into sleep from habit alone. I watched/slept through at least 100 hours of History Channel programming while I was sick...

Nothing. Not even a yawn.

But, I did catch a program on the history of Christmas with an emphasis on the holiday's pagan roots. No new information really, but it did make me realize how much the subject matter has come up lately in my own little circle. There are people who read this very blog that have very strong conviction about Christmas not really being connected to Christ...at all.
Even though I completely respect the view that Christians should have nothing to do with the holiday due to how it originated and what it has come to represents today, I can't say I'm in total agreement. In my opinion, it's a deeply personal issue, and I'm not comfortable trying to interpret the intentions or sincerity of how someone else celebrates Christmas. Only God has that ability.

For me, it all starts and ends at home. My role at my house is to be the spiritual leader. If I allow commercialism to overcome the celebration of Christ's birth...that's on me. Of course, that's really no different any other time of the year. Focus on God is a 365 day a year commitment. If a few twinkling lights and tinsel distract from that focus, I can't in good conscience blame Christmas or Christmas festivities. Besides, Christmas was always about the birth of Jesus in my home growing up, and I had absolutely no clue then about the pagan ties to winter festivals centuries ago. No...I have a formal, secular education to thank for that knowledge.

Still, I applaud those who have sworn off the tradition based on their belief and faith. They send a powerful message to their children and peers that a secular progressive world can be held at bay. It is not my place to judge them right or wrong...and it is wrong of others to do so too.

Christmas for me is mainly about a perception...a feeling that during the season people are just a little bit nicer to each other, that people are a tad more concerned about those with little or without, a time when families draw closer, when non-believers are forced to deal with those of us who rejoice in our belief, when lessons on being a joyful giver are at a prime, and an opportunity presented to tell on the largest of stages the greatest story ever told.

One of the best lines I think I've ever heard about Christmas came in a Seinfeld episode when Elaine says 'There's too much Jesus in the Christmas thing for me.'

If only that were always the case...

I feel a good sleep coming my way.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm a big baby when I'm sick because I don't like it...

13 days. It has been 13 days since my last post on Tony C Today...wow!

So what has Tony C been so preoccupied with for 13 days that he neglected his blog and blogosphere friends. Well, it's a nasty little four letter...word-like...okay, medical term...H1N1.

(Cue dramatic, revelation music)

It started on December 1, the birthday of my saintly mother. I went to work, came home, ate, and went to bed until the next day. I made like shampoo bottle instructions and repeated the whole process the next day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I took Friday off work to get 3 full days of rest and recovery time. Chicken soup, hot tea, blue blanket and the History Channel when combined with just the right amount of NyQuil have never failed to knock most any bug out of me to date. Add in some TLC from Mrs. Tony C and it's darn near Carnival Cruiselines...

Unfortunately, come Monday my fever was still hanging around, and my cough sounded like something you would hear in Sea World hanging around the sea lions. Thinking I might have pneumonia, I caved into the pleadings of Mrs. Tony C and headed to Urgent Care. After a chest x-ray that revealed no pneumonia and the verdict that I had one severe ear infection with the other one not far behind, I was administered the 'flu test.' Those of you not familiar (like me to this point), the flu test involves running a foot-long, pipe cleaner looking device into each nostril, one at a time, to a depth that feels like somewhere behind each eyeball.

Nurse: (During procedure) I'll warn you, this is pretty unpleasant.

Tony C: Come on! I've had cancer...how bad...GEEEZZZ!

Nurse: Relax. The other nostril...

Tony C (tears streaming from both eyes): Unpleasant! I'm pretty sure that procedure is against the Geneva Convention!

Nurse: You can go back to the Waiting Room. (Noticing the tears) Do you need a few minutes?

Tony C: No! I'm fine. Stupid test. I would have been okay with your best educated guess you know...

An hour and a blood test later, the doctor comes in practically wearing a HAZMAT suit to tell me for sure I have the flu. Prescription: Rest and fluids. It wasn't until the next day they called to confirm it was H1N1. Prescription: Rest and fluids.

Mr. Tony C, your pipe cleaner says you do have the flu, but don't worry...so do a lot of other people. You'll probably be fine in a week, a month or so...I'm pretty sure. Don't worry and get some rest.

I did get an antibiotic for the ear infections, but today both ears are still stopped up and everyone sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. After being quarantined inside the Tony C household for the past 10 days, I got to sleep in my own bed last night...which was very nice. Well, until about 3 am when the 2 year old decided to join us.

I'm glad things are finally getting back to normal...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's got to be true because it was on TV and in the newspaper...

And the winner is...(drum roll)...#5! So the Burkulater blogging over on It's Time for the Burkulater is the lucky first winner. I have to say the Burkster didn't throw up a list of her songs for us all to chuckle about (that's right Johndrow...I chuckled at BOTH your list), but I also didn't specify that was a prerequisite for winning.
I enjoyed my first give away and hope to do another one next month despite the ridicule I received on Facebook over my own list. Hey folks, I'm a product of the 70's...what can I say?

Okay...on to other business.

Is it just me, or do the rest of you find the current headline grabbing story on the White House party crashers a real reach for serious journalism? Come on! This is National Enquirer and TMZ stuff...not main stream news media. So a couple of wannabe reality TV nuts ran the gauntlet of security for what should be the absolute most difficult place in the world to breach uninvited and shook hands with the Prez and company. Big deal! It's not like he ran up and licked him or gave him a noogy. I mean come on! Now that would have been news worthy.

Are the Obama's upset? Sure! Was the Secret Service faced? Sure! Did India's Prime Minister feel insulted for shaking the hands of a couple of nobodies? Who cares!

...he was so late, he ran right over here without even drying his hair! (lol) What a funny little man! Did you say you know Bill Clinton?

Our country is fighting two wars and conducting who knows how many covert operations. I personally know several people who will be deployed away from family during the Christmas holiday. Our economy is far from recovered. Congress is debating a monumental Health Care Reform bill and trying to ram it down the American people's throat. Government spending is completely out of control and bankrupting our country. Churches and schools are hiring security forces to keep people in attendance safe. Thousands and thousands of people are sick with a potentially deadly flu virus. Iran and North Korea are constantly on the edge of creating a new world order.

These party crashing clowns are headline news?! Don't laugh...the media feeds us what we crave to hear as a society because it's all about the money these days...not journalistic integrity. JFK had an affair with a certain Monroe lady for who knows how long. Did the news media know about it? You know they did...but reporting such a detail would be beneath self-imposed standards. These days if your name has any luring power for readers or watchers, the news media will find dirt or create some for you. Just ask Tiger Woods.

So a couple of crashers slipped into a White House gala...big deal. Do they really deserve 15 minutes of spotlight for that fact? The funny thing is...with a name like Tareq Salahi...he probably would have been hassled by the Secret Service more if he HAD been on the guest list! I'm just saying...