Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Storage Wars and other stuff

@lucysfootball Has never seen Storage Wars.

I am not surprised because she goes to the theatre and writes incredibly long and hilarious blog posts, so where would she find the time to watch this show.

Fortunately for her, I have. And I like to think this blog can be educational. Why just the other day, someone found this blog looking for the following: Do the scooters from the Scooter Store really work? Ok, that is a bad example because I didn’t address that in the posting. I am sure they do though or else they wouldn’t be able to advertise on tv, right?

Anyway,back to the show. This gem of a show has,as most of these shows do, a certain pattern to it.

First, the premise.  Have you ever wondered where all the junk in consignment stores comes from? Wonder no more. People who own these stores go to storage locker facilities. When someone hasn’t kept up the payments on their lockers, the storage companies put these lockers up for auction.

The locker is opened. Bidders get five minutes to look in without entering the locker. Then the bidding commences. Highest bidder gets the locker. Then later on, they get to go through the locker and see if there is enough items of value to get their money back.

That, right there, should be enough for a show, but there is more.

The show focuses of a handful of regulars who try to outfox each other. Now we are not confusing this with a Mensa meeting.

We have Barry, the oldest one: Dave, the annoying one with his trademark shout of “YUUUP” when he bids: Darryl, the sleeveless one: and Jarrod and Brandi: the couple.

(By the way, can anyone tell me just when i took the place of y at the end of women’s names? Was this before bellbottoms?)

So, we follow them through the bidding process and as we do, there are cut-ins where they get to trash what the others are doing or pat themselves on the back for being shrewd.

Eventually, they look through the lockers and usually someone finds something of value that needs to be appraised. Which leads us to the end of the show where this weeks winners and losers are revealed.

Is it entertaining?  I suppose so. In the way that eating potato chips can be. It doesn’t require a lot of thought, which can be nice.

So, Amy, there it is.  The next someone around the office starts talking about the show, drop your voice an octave and say, “Yuuup!” Knowing smiles will abound.

One other thing today, the Super Bowl is happening in my new hometown of Indianapolis.  I am not going, nor do I have tickets. But the downtown area is really hopping with activity. My son, who works down there saw an interesting thing last night:  A woman with her head in a Louis Vuitton bag, laying on the sidewalk asleep, as her husband stood over her slowly shaking his head. A clear case of Super Bowl fever.





Friday Potpourri Vol. 2

Once again I have reached out to my loyal band of followers for advice on what to write today.

So, this week we are dealing with: pilfering of office supplies (@lucysfootball), first presidential election I can remember(@lahikmajoe) and @heinakroon(@lgalaviz).

And a special bonus topic brought to my attention by@writerchica.

Last night, @heinakroon tweeted about walking down stairs while pulling a sweater over his head. He was advising against it.

I think what we are dealing with here is a simple case of logic run amok.

I can imagine him thinking:  I have walked down these stairs thousands of times. I know them so well, that I don’t have to see them to safely travel down. In fact, I can slip this sweater over my head at the same time.

Here is the deal with that. Our brain is working all the time. Subconsciously. We don’t have to actively tell our brain, “Don’t let me walk into that wall.” Our eyes and brain are always taking care of that for us, so we can think about other things, like what we want for breakfast.

So, in this case, when he covered his eyes, they sent a panicked message to his brain saying,” What the Hell? He covered us up. Can you make him feel like he is falling so he never does that again?”

On to pilfering of  office supplies. I have spent a little time in office environments over the years and the key to this problem is to weasel your way into being in charge of ordering the supplies.

You also need a drawer with a lock. A BIG drawer.  When the new order comes in , you stash one for you first, then put the rest out for those thieving vultures.

You also need a ruler. A wooden one with the metal edge running along one side. I learned this in Catholic grade school. One quick smack and this will discourage the snatch and grab specialist.

If someone has to lose a finger to make a point, tough.  Get your own paper clips, Grabby.

I promised when I started this that I wouldn’t mention politics. But talking about past Presidential elections is more about history than politics, so here we go.

The first one I am able to remember is the 1968 election. (Yeah, I am that old. Stop trying to do the math)  (Ok, I was twelve, can we move on now?)

The only vivid memory of that election is from the day Bobby Kennedy was killed in California.  The paperboy delivered the paper with the word died written in blue ink on the headline which said that Mr. Kennedy was seriously wounded.

Actually, my first involvement in politics was in third grade when a friend of mine asked me if I could hand out balloons at school. His next door neighbor was running for Mayor of our town and the balloons had the Mayor’s name on them  Paul “Mike” Burns. He lost. But politics has always fascinated me ever since.

Alright it is time for the bonus part.

In Florida there is a court case called Toxic Tush.  @writerchica seemed shocked there wasn’t more public attention paid to this and I agree.

It seems this person put an ad out promising to enhance, how should I put this, womens posteriors.  He charged one woman about $700.  She went to his townhouse. He had her lay face down on a table and injected Fix-A-Flat into her buttocks.  Then sealed the holes up with Super Glue.

But here is the interesting part. When her body had an adverse reaction to being treated like a flat tire, she found it difficult to tell anyone what she had done.

We have all dealt with going to the doctor. Imagine this poor woman telling the receptionist what she is there for, Then the nurse who weighs you, then the doctor’s assistant and on and on.  Along with trying to get the insurance company to cover the related costs.

Now it is a big court case, because she wasn’t the only woman who tried the “treatment”.

Thanks Ken, Amy, and Lisa for playing along this week.





Madonna Comes To Indy


As even those of you who don’t follow sports know, the Super Bowl is coming up.

Halftime is evidently going to be  a Salute to the 80’s. Madonna will be the half-time entertainment.

This would have been big news, say 25 years ago, but now it seems a little tame or lame.  What can she do? Sing a few of the oldies? Where is the excitement going to come from?

Watching her doing one of the old routines, hoping she doesn’t break a hip, seems to be too depressing for words.

Of course, as an old guy, I have had to come to terms with performers from my youth getting old.  Some age better than others.

Paul McCartney comes to mind. But, dancing on stage was never his thing. Just playing that left-handed bass and shaking his head. Whooo!

Billy Joel? I bet he doesn’t climb on the piano like he did when I saw him singing Big Shot in the early ’80’s.

Cher? Tina Turner? Whitney Houston? Nope,nope and what the hell happened?

Maybe this will be like when Ali was going to fight George Foreman. All the experts predicted Foreman was going to easily beat Ali. No contest. Boxing was a young man’s sport.

Well, Ali summoned all his experience and remaining skill and knocked Foreman flat.

So, I will watch the half-time show. And hope she pulls it off.

A victory for my g-g-g-generation.

And if she doesn’t, I hope she avoids Twitter.


The Scooter Store!? Really?

The whole matter of aging can at times be a sensitive subject with those of us on the north side of 50.

I can’t complain too much. Everything still works. Just in slow motion.

I watch a lot of late night tv, so I see all the old folks ads.

The step in tubs.

BTW,how exactly do those work? Usually, you fill a tub first with hot water and then get in. With these it looks like you step in first and then fill it up.  If I am old and decrepit enough to warrant buying one of those, how in the hell will I be able to stand up long enough for it to fill up?

The help alert call buttons. Aging cream. Various pharmaceuticals.

But I received an e-mail from the Scooter Store.

What the Hell?  I was outraged. But…what if I could have one just for special situations.

I could be the guy driving through Wal-Mart blissfully unaware of people or racks of clothing.  Scattering shoppers left and right. Backing up down long aisles  knocking over anything in my path.  Everyone afraid to say anything to me.

I think I might have been too hasty when I deleted that e-mail.





Friday Potpourri

So there I was stuck for a new post.

WordPress suggested asking people for input.

I sent out a tweet that said, Need an idea for a blog post.

Fortunately, I have a small group of followers who are helpful with that sort of thing. One of the newest @julierosesmk suggested “psychology of kittens “.  @debihen came up with “jury duty”. @lgalaviz had a number of choices to pick from.  “philosophical post on your favorite soup”. “list my deepest fears”.something about pirate hats.

Since I know at least three people will read this, here we go.

Psychology of  Kittens

Kittens make me nervous. Mainly because they grow up to be cats and everyone knows you just can not trust a cat. Maybe this should be under—

My Deepest Fears

Yeah, this is where the cats should be. Along with my fear of anyone who has taken a semester of Psychology.  Have you ever had a conversation with someone who has completed such a class?  They use phrases like “Don’t project your feelings onto me”, “You seem awfully defensive”, “Someone has mommy issues”.   You know, Dr. Phil kind of stuff.

I bet Philosophy majors would belong in this section as well. People who have a philosophy about raising kids without having any of their own would be at the head of the list.

When you are trying to talk a small child into eating baby  food peas , an extensive knowledge of the works of Plato will never help you.

This is flying along. Let’s see what we have left. Pirate hats. Soup . Jury Duty.

@lgalaviz has cornered the market for pirate hats on Twitter. She informed me that she has 11 of them.  Nice, but you can only wear one at a time, so 11 seems like overkill.  Maybe you use different ones depending on what you are doing.  One for marauding, another for pillaging, a third for movie night. I dunno. Enough with the hats already.


I don’t eat (drink?) soup. And you can’t talk me into it.

I like chicken and noodles but not when it looks like it is drowning. Which leads us to….

Jury Duty

@debihen says she has been on jury duty twice and found the accused guilty both times.  So, if you are on trial in her area, a plea agreement would be the best course of action.

I have served on jury duty.  It was interesting.I was one of the people who didn’t want to get out of it.  I wanted to experience the whole thing from beginning to end. That put me in the minority.

The excuses were pathetic.

“I can’t put myself in the position of judging another person.”

This was far and away my favorite.  How incredibly lame is that! We judge people all day long.  The idiot in front of you asking the Subway sandwich specialist what kind of soup they have, for example.  The person who, at a 4-way stop, can’t count to four.  Twitter is full of judging.

Anyway, I got to serve on a one day trial.  We found the person innocent, which really pissed off the prosecutor. He left mumbling.

But the next time I was called for jury duty, one of the attorneys asked me about previous jury experience and I told him about the last time I served. I was excused and as I was leaving, the guy who used that lame excuse I cited above was selected. So, I won at jury duty. Judge that!

Man, this was a lot of typing.

My thanks to Julie, Debbie, and Lisa for the suggestions.




During the Wikipedia blackout, @ninatypewriter mentioned an old World Book set of encyclopedias she once had. In response I said that I still have a set of Colliers encyclopedias that my parents bought when I was born.

Now, much of the info has changed obviously, but they now serve as history books. And when I was growing up, they were my main source of reading material.  They were wonderful for boosting my vocabulary. And started a lifelong love affair with trivia. I like the fun you can have with weird or unusual facts.

For example:

(1) Who was the first host of the Tonight Show?

(2) What show was on Saturday night at 11:30 before Saturday Night Live started?

(3) What is Hulk Hogan’s real name?

(4) Was Pat Sajak the first host of Wheel of Fortune? If not, who was?

See. Isn’t this fun?

Beats talking about the South Carolina primary, right?

If you are looking at the end of this posting for the answers to today’ trivia questions, you are out of luck.

I will let you who do read this thing have an opportunity to figure them out on your own.

No fair looking at your neighbor’s computer.



Imagine your dream realized. Playing music on SNL. Then, someone tells you about the tweets.

That was the tweet I sent to @pulmyears during the commotion about the musical guest on Saturday Night Live last weekend.

Lana Del Ray was her name.  From the conversation on Twitter, she was awful,untalented,off-key, and shaky.

I didn’t see the performance in question, but let us look at it from the perspective of the performer.

You love singing. So, you sing all day to whoever will listen.  One day, you wind up being able to make a record.

One thing leads to another and you wind up being invited to appear on SNL.

You make it through dress rehearsal. Next time you sing on that stage, it will be LIVE  before more people than you could have ever hoped to sing for.

When you hear the show’s theme music playing, you know it is for real. Nowhere to hide.  Breathing become more and more difficult.  Your legs seem as if they belong to someone else.

Finally, it is time. You sing the best you can.  Every fiber of your being is screaming at you to make a break for it but you get through the song. You move off of the stage not really noticing the audience reaction.  The temporary sense of relief you feel is tempered by the knowledge there is one more song to go. But you survive the second song.  The end of the show comes very soon. You wave good night with the rest of the cast just like you have seen others do it for years.

You survived! Yesss!!!!

Then, someone tips you off to the conversation on Twitter.

Because that is how life evens things out.  From relief and exhilaration, to shock and depression.

Was I that bad, really?  Friends tell you to stop reading the tweets, but they just keep coming. You are a hashtag.  The pile of snark is getting deeper and deeper.

Not until the Golden Globes awards show starts can you catch a break. Ricky Gervais and how people dress becomes the trending topics on Twitter.

Look, all I am saying is there is another way of looking at the snark on Twitter.  Many people are deserving of it and I will not turn down the opportunity to deliver a snarky line of my own from time to time.

Well, anyway, that is what I think.  You can fire away in the comments if you like.



The Magic Is In The Memory part 2

I promised @debihen a concert post so here it is.

Way back when (actually Feb. 1994) my wife and I had been married for a little over two and a half years.  A friend of ours got a hold of two tickets for a Garth Brooks concert. Now at that time, Mr. Brooks was the hottest concert ticket going.

The concert was at the University of Notre Dame Campus. It was the first time since our honeymoon we had a day for ourselves. And I did mention it was Garth Brooks, right?

So, we traveled about two hours , stayed overnight at a hotel called Amish Acres, and on Feb. 12 1994 we drove to the concert. The opening act was a small woman who had been selling t-shirts at his concerts. Her name wasn’t even on the tickets.  She was Martina McBride. Very nice 30 min. set.  Such a strong ,powerful voice.

Then an announcer said, “Five minutes to Garth!”  I can’t explain what the following five minutes sounded like. The roar was deafening and never let up. The concert hall was where Notre Dame plays its basketball games.

The lights go down. You can see the musicians taking their places.  The music starts. The lights go up. Garth appears seemingly out of nowhere.

The crowd gets even louder, now singing along. They stand for the first four songs, until Garth says, “We play a long concert. You might want to sit a little.”

Well, he sang everything you would want to hear. It was a blast. My wife and I as we were leaving knew we had experienced a great show. Hard to top Garth Brooks as a Valentine Day memory.

And the reason I remember the date so well is because buried in my wallet is the ticket stub from that night.

P.S. No bellbottoms were spotted that night. Plenty of first-time worn boots and cowboy hats.



Bellbottom Blog redux

Having looked over which posts got the most attention so far. I decided to change the name of this blog.

@lahikmajoe and @lgalaviz are getting the credit (blame) for this.

I suppose they will expect all kinds of hippie ramblings, going on and on about granola and the like.Not going to happen here.

I also added a picture which may or may not show up. I am not very good at this computer stuff. The fact that I have five blog entries that have gone through and out into the interwebs is amazing to me. The pic is of me  and my grandson doing what we like almost better than anything.

Naptime on my own is being lazy. But add a grandchild,awwww.  What a racket!

Anyway I am going to hit publish and see if the changes took place.

I also encourage anyone who visits to leave a comment in the section below. Or let me know on Twitter.  @jbrown3079

I promised @debihen a post about concerts but that will probably be tomorrow.


The Magic Is In The Memory


I watched a debate the other day on Twitter.  It was about using camera phones at a concert. In this case it was in a comedy club and when the comedian asked the person to stop, there was an argument which spilled over to Twitter.

It made me think about the number of YouTube videos people make from their own concert experiences. Almost all of them are fuzzy images and sketchy sound. I don’t really understand bothering with that.

So I sent a tweet that went as follows: I would think it takes something away from a concert experience recording it on a phone. The magic is in the memory.

That was retweeted by more people than almost anything else I have written.

The physical part of a great concert can’t really be duplicated. The goosebumps  you feel when the artist first appears on the stage as the crowd roars their approval. The satisfaction of hearing your favorite song in person and being encouraged to sing along. Walking out afterward, exhilarated and feeling like it was money well spent.

Can’t capture that on a phone.

But since this is my story I have an exception to this rule.

There is a video of a Paul Simon concert at which he invited a young lady on stage to sing one of his songs.  You can find it on YouTube. Her name is Rayna. And the song was Duncan.  The joy of her moment on stage is amazing. She could play the guitar and sing. The sound isn’t very good, but you can see Paul Simon nodding his approval as she sings.

There are two versions of this: one from a random concertgoer and one from her husband.

The random one was taken by someone who just got the camera that day. I had a chance to talk to her in the comment section of her post and she was so excited to catch that incredible moment. It was in focus and very well done.

The other by the husband consisted of him yelling “Yeah, Baby” over and over. Rendering the video useless if the purpose was to capture HER Moment not his.

So, in conclusion, just because you can record a concert with your phone doesn’t mean you should.



Post Navigation