Friday, November 28, 2008

Here comes Peter Feather Tail?

A lot of people complain about their in-laws but not me. Mine were the best. Angie and Adrian welcomed me into their lives even though I was this “Italian guy with long hair” that wanted to marry their daughter.

My father-in-law passed away several years ago but my mother-in-law “Angie” is in her mid eighties and isn’t going anywhere.


Unfortunately she has Alzheimer’s disease. She’s not completely debilitated although each day seems to bring new challenges for her and the family.

Thanksgiving was well….. different.

“How’s your mom getting here?”

“My sister is picking her up.”

(Doorbell rings)

“What time did you tell people to come over?”

“After 1:30pm.”

“It’s a quarter to one. That must be the old people.”

“Stop it. Just answer the door.”

(Tradition calls for anyone over the age of seventy to show up at least 45 minutes early for every event. Which is why when I invite them anywhere I lie about the time. But not my wife.)

(My wife’s aunt Rita her friend Wally and a cousin, I don’t know how we’re related to, were at the door.)

“Happy Thanksgiving.”

“Are we early?”

“A lit….”

“No… of course not.”

“Is Angela picking up Angie?”

“Yes we’ve got it covered.”

“She was a little confused this morning.”

“So was I. I bought ground lamb instead of ground beef for the stuffing.”

“He’s an idiot Ti Rita but he can cook.”

(30 minutes later my mother-in-law and my brother and sister-in-law show up. My mother-in-law gives me a hug and says…. )

“Happy Easter.”


“Oh it’s so good to see you guys. I’m ready for the Easter egg hunt. I just love Easter.”

(She joins her sister in the living room and my wife and I go into the kitchen. My wife is definitely upset.)

“She thinks it’s Easter?”

“So… let it be Easter. What difference does it make?”

“But it’s Thanksgiving. The decorations, the food is all about Thanksgiving.”

“Babe, we’ve had turkey for Easter before. It’s not that big a deal. Let’s just go with it.”

“Okay but… It’s just…. She’s getting worse.”

“She is, but today is about family and being thankful for what we have. Don’t dwell on the negative stuff today.”

(And then I had an idea.)

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get the plastic Easter eggs out of the garage.”

“You’re what???”

“We’re going to have a Thanksgiving Day Easter egg hunt.”

“That’s crazy.”

“No it isn’t. Call the kids. If they haven’t left yet tell them we’re celebrating Easter today. Tell them to put the kids in their Easter outfits. Explain to them what’s going on. I’m going to run to Vons to get some candy to put in the eggs.”

“Calabrese this is nuts. You can’t do this.”

“I can and I will. I’m going to tell Rita and Wally. You call Sheila and Bobbi. If anyone else shows up let them know as soon as they get here that we’re celebrating Easter today for your mom.”


“No buts. The Easter Turkey is making his visit today.”

(My wife called the kids and a few other people we had invited over and explained the situation to them. As each group arrived they were greeted with “Happy Easter!”)

(My sons cornered me in the kitchen.)

“Dad, Alex is a little confused. He knows its Thanksgiving.”

“I’ll talk to him. I’ll tell him about the Easter Turkey.”

“Dad I think what you’re doing is pretty cool but I’m not sure it’s the right thing.”

“Look guys. I don’t know if it’s the right thing either. But it feels right. You’re grandmother deserves to have a good day. So today is Easter. We’re having an Easter egg hunt and I’m going to make sure she has fun.”

“Just…. Don’t confuse Alex too much.”

“Trust me.”

“Come on Dad.”

(We spent the day eating and talking and doing what any family would do on Thanksgiving Day. We even had a Thanksgiving Day Easter egg hunt. At the end of the day people left stuffed with turkey, pumpkin pie and whatever candy I had put inside the eggs that my wife and I hid. It seemed like a pretty normal Thanksgiving.)

“Angela wants to know if you can take mom home. They have to go to David’s house now.”

“No problem. Today was kind of fun wasn’t it?”

“You never cease to amaze me Calabrese. An Easter egg hunt on Thanksgiving…”

“Are you crying?”

“It’s just…”

“Honey it’s no problem. We just started a new tradition that’s all. The Thanksgiving Easter egg hunt. The grandkids loved it. Everybody had a good time. Your mom was happy celebrating Easter. Hell… she won’t even remember this tomorrow. Plus I got to have M & M’s for Thanksgiving so I’m happy. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff babe. Just go with it.”

(About an hour later I took my mother-in-law home. She didn’t say anything in the car, she just looked a little confused. I’m not sure she knows the way home anymore even though she lives less than a mile away. When we got to her house I walked her up to the front door.)

“Thanks Tony. You’re a good son-in-law.”

“You're welcome mom. Did you have a fun day today?”

“Yes I did. I really did. You know… I know its Thanksgiving today. There’s no football in May. The Cowboys and Seahawks don’t play in May. Did I really think it was Easter?”

“Yes… Yes you did.”

“I’m losing it.”

“Not all of it.”

“The Easter egg hunt was a bit much.”

“It was fun though.”

“Yes it was. What are you going to do for Christmas?”

“I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

“You may have to dress up as a pilgrim or a turkey and hand out presents.”

“I’ve been a turkey before.”

“That’s what my daughter tells me…. I think.”

“Happy Thanksgiving Easter mom.”

“You too Tony.”

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal brain disease. As many as 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Not only does Alzheimer’s take a persons memory but it takes their dignity as well. It puts strains on the family you can’t even imagine. To find out more about Alzheimer’s visit the Alzheimer’s Association at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wherever there is injustice.........

My good friend Paul, wrote a great post titled “The Trouble With Dreams” and it reminded me of the conversation I had with my wife this morning.

The alarm goes off, I give my wife a little nudge to wake her up, and she greets me with…..

“You have a huge carbon footprint.”

“Excuse me?”

“Your carbon footprint is too big.”

“I had Mexican food last night.”

“Idiot your carbon footprint!”

“I wear a 13 EEE of course my feet are big.”

“Not your feet, your carbon footprint.”

“What the hell did you dream about last night?”

“You need to reduce your carbon footprint.”

“Did I kick you in my sleep or something?”

“If you did you wouldn’t have woken up.”

“Why are you worried about my carbon footprint?”

“You use too many paper towels.”

“In my sleep?”

“No numb nuts. Yesterday when you made dinner you used too many paper towels. You went through two rolls of paper towels.”

“And this is an issue at 5:00am because……..?”

“Because your carbon footprint is too big.”

“Let me get this straight. Yesterday I used some paper towels and for some reason it bugged you enough to dream about my carbon footprint?”

“You went through two rolls!!!! How many rolls of paper towels are you going to use for Thanksgiving? You use too many paper towels!!!

“Really? Would you say I use a plethora of paper towels?”

“Look don’t start that Three Amigos crap with me. You use paper towels like they grow on trees.”

“They do.”


“Actually they do grow on trees. Paper towels are actually a renewable resource, as opposed to a synthetic cloth that might be made of finite petroleum resources.”

“Shut up.”

“Shut up? That’s all. Shut up?”

“Don’t piss me off Calabrese?”

“You started this. Do you even know what a carbon footprint is?”

“I know what a carbon footprint is.”

“Then tell me.”


“Well, you told me my carbon footprint is too big. And I just would like to know if you know what a carbon footprint is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has too big a carbon footprint, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a large carbon footprint.”

“Wait… That’s… You’re doing that stupid Three Amigos El Guapo thing again.”

“Forgive me, sweetheart I know that I, your husband, do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?”

“Get out of bed!”

“Ouch!!! Jeeez woman what is your problem this morning?”

“Starting today you are going to be a more responsible eco friendly human. You Calabrese are going to reduce your carbon footprint.”

“All this over two stupid rolls of paper towels? This is nuts? What if I don’t want to reduce my carbon footprint? What if I feel like turning on every light in the house and every TV and every radio? What if I want to stand in front of the open refrigerator door naked to cool off? This is America!!! I still have a few rights! Maybe I’ll just go to the garage start my car and gun the engine all damn day!!!! What are you gonna do about it? Cover me in solar panels?”

“Are you done yet?”

“Our forefathers fought to leave the lights on! When Paul Revere warned us that the British were coming he used a lamp that burned oil!!! Well what if he didn’t have that lamp? We’d all be driving on the wrong side of the road!!!! Carbon footprint my butt!!!” That whole carbon footprint thing is just stupid. The human race is a pimple on the earths butt. You know what? In the end we’re all going to be one big carbon footprint. 50 million years from now some TV show on the Discovery Channel will host the dig for the remains of our carbon footprint. Well you can take my carbon footprint and shove it where the sun don’t shine. You can’t stick a solar panel up there! I tell you what when I’m dead plant a tree on my grave and use it to make paper towels!!!!”

“Now are you done?”


“We… that’s right “we”, are going to make every effort to reduce our carbon footprint. Why? First we are going to set a good example for our grandchildren, second because we’ll actually save money and third because it’s the right thing to do.”

“That sucks.”

“Get over it. Did you hear Alex last night? Our six year old grandson wants to go green!”

“It’s not easy being green. What? Fine… I’ll cut back to one roll of paper towels. But don’t blame me if you get salmonella on Thursday. Wait…. Now I get it. It’s about everybody coming to our house for Thanksgiving isn’t it?”

“Of course not!”

“Oh yes it is. Thanksgiving is your El Guapo.”

“My El Guapo? Okay Dusty Bottoms get this straight. You’re going to keep that kitchen clean and you’re going to use a normal amount of paper towels. We are going to have a Happy and green Thanksgiving. Do not embarrass me or I’ll kill you is that clear.”

“Yes Jefe.”

In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be “the actual” El Guapo!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's just no good anymore since........

I burnt my nipple.

Boy that’s something you don’t say everyday.

In order to tell the tale we must go back to the beginning.

It was a dark and stormy night….

Okay so I live in San Diego it wasn’t exactly stormy.

I’ll start over.

It was dark.

I was hungry.

Inside my head my brain was saying to me…

“You should probably have some fruit Anthony, maybe a carrot or some snap peas. Think of your health.”

Inside my body my stomach was saying…

“Ma please. Fruit? Carrots? Come on Tone you’re Italian you can’t eat that crap and feel satisfied.”

The problem is they were both right.

So what do you do when confronted with one of those situations where wrong is right and right feels wrong? You know, like when you’re in a strip club with nothing but a debit card.

Well I decided I would take the high road. I’d eat all of my wife’s Jenny Craig Personal Pizzas. That way I’d be eating diet food. Eating something kind of like pizza but not really pizza.

And yes I said I’d eat “all” of her Jenny Craig’s Personal Pizzas. Hell you can’t eat just two or three and feel satisfied.

First I had to sneak down to the kitchen without waking my wife to get the pizza out of the freezer.

So using my catlike reflexes I slinked along the hallway wall to get downstairs. Did you ever notice how when you’re trying to be quiet you squeak?

I squeak.

I was like the friggin Tin Man. Where the hell was that noise inside my body coming from?

I think I need looser underwear.

I had considered dressing like a ninja but all I could find in my den to make myself black was an “El Marko” marker and I didn’t want to do anything permanent.

So I make it downstairs but I don’t turn on the lights. I don’t want a single light ray to waken my wife.

You don’t want to wake my wife up after midnight because the last thing she’s going to turn into is a pumpkin.

I figure I’ll just work with the light from the freezer.

You know nuking pizza after midnight with just the light from the freezer and the microwave is actually kind of romantic.

She’s got five Jenny Craig Personal Pizzas in the freezer. In my head I was thinking I don’t need to eat all of them. If I only eat four maybe she won’t notice.

I didn’t read the directions. It was dark. I figure it’s frozen; five minutes should be about right.

I should have known better from watching the Discovery Channel.

With each Jenny Craig Personal Pizza is a space age material that you set the pizza on in the microwave. After five minutes this material turns the cheese on the pizza into lava.

I’ve seen lava on the Discovery Channel.

I know lava.

That was lava.

So I’m staring at the bubbling lava through the window on the microwave waiting for it to be done.

The one thing I hadn’t counted on was the “beep”.

My microwave beeps. Three times when whatever you’re cooking is done. It’s a loud beep. A really loud beep.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, oh baby here it comes, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BEEP… BEE….. SON OF A BITCH!!!!!

I grab the microwave door and thrust it open to stop the beep! I don’t know why I thought I needed to grab the pizza and yank it out of the microwave at the same time.

Have you ever touched lava?

I have.

Picture in your mind a middle aged overweight Italian man standing in the kitchen in the dark with his hands in molten pizza lava.

Naturally I pulled back from the pizza of death.

It wouldn’t let go.

It was now melted to my right thumb and index finger.

The whole thing seemed to be happening in slow motion. The pizza was flying through the air towards me. I ducked. Why? Because it was dark and I didn’t want the lava to hit me in the face.

Well the pizza wasn’t going anywhere. It was part of my hand now, the hand that was coming right at my body.

The pizza landed lava side up on my right breast. I had burning molten lava pizza cheese on my right nipple.

I may have used someone’s name in vain at this point.

I was wearing a tee shirt so it wasn’t direct lava on nipple contact but let me tell you it wasn’t much different. At this point I knock the pizza to the floor. I have lava pizza on the floor and a burnt nipple.

I mean a really burnt nipple.

Well what do you do when you have a burn?

You put ice on it.


Because the last thing you want is a blistered nipple.

Blistered nipple?

That may be the name of my new band.

So I take off my tee shirt and drop it on the floor. I go to the freezer and get an ice cube and put it on my nipple.

You know how timing is everything?

All of a sudden the kitchen light pops on and guess who is looking at her husband putting an ice cube on his nipple in the kitchen in the dark with his shirt and a pizza stuck to the floor?

You guessed it.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Putting ice on my nipple. What does it look like I’m doing? You’re always questioning me. Can’t a man put ice on his nipples now and then?”


“Uh… I burnt my nipple.”


“I didn’t want blistered nipple.”

“How did you burn your nipple at 1:00am in the morning??? Better yet why did you burn your nipple at all??? Who burns their nipple??? What kind of an idiot burns his nipple??? You better have a good explanation numb nuts.”

“I was trying to make lava in the microwave. I saw it on the Discovery Channel. It was an idea I had for a science project for Alex.”

“Uh huh…. Is that one of my Jenny Craig Personal Pizza’s on the floor?”

“No. That is the molten lava pizza of death.”

“Why are there four boxes of my pizzas on the counter?”

“Uh… One would be too lonely and two can be as bad as one according to the song and three just feels perverse but four looks like a barbershop quartet and everyone loves harmony.”

“You were going to eat all of my Jenny Craig Personal Pizza’s at one o’clock in the morning?”

“No I wasn’t. You are incorrect. I was not going to eat “all” of your Jenny Craig Personal Pizza’s.”

“What the hell is wrong with you Calabrese? It’s always something. If you’re not crawling around on the floor of our bedroom you’re burning your nipple. This is not normal. Normal people don’t do things this stupid.”

“It’s not my fault. I was hungry.”

“Have an apple for Christ’s sake.”

“Funny, that’s what my brain was telling me.”

“Well the next time why don’t you listen to that pea sized brain. Let me see your nipple.”

“You want to see my nipple? Yeah baby…..”

“Idiot! I want to see if you really burned it.”

“Fine. Go ahead and look.”

“Oooooh! That’s gonna blister!”

“Great. Just great. Blistered nipple. Probably leave scar. Hey…. Women like scars right?”

“Right. We women just love to see a scarred male nipple. We should put some aloe on that. Clean this up and then come upstairs and I’ll…”

“Clean this up? I’m wounded. I feel faint. I’m probably going into shock. Plus I’m still hungry. Maybe you could heat up one of your pizzas for me while I go over and lie down on the couch and try to gather my senses. Could you turn the TV on for me?”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! You want me to clean this up? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! How long have we been married? HAHAHAHAHA!!!! You’re on your own blister boy. Clean this up…. I’m going back to bed. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!”

“But what about my nipple?”

“You and your nipple are on your own.”

"I don't think I should be alone right now."


Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number, worse than two
It's just no good anymore since she went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday
(Number) One is the loneliest number.....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We the people....most of the people.......

Last night I wept.

No not because of the election results but because I lost 20 minutes of good pre election comedy material.

I have four shows this week. Now I have to think up some new stuff.

So I went to my local bookstore to pick up some current magazines to look for material ideas and I spied the bargain book table.

Everyone loves a bargain, especially during a recession.

There were all sorts of cooking books and military history books but the thing that caught my eye was a stack of hard cover dark blue books, with no outsider cover identifying them, that were marked down to $6.98.

That seemed like a pretty good deal to me. So I picked up the top book. The title was printed on the spine.

The Constitution of the United States of America.

On sale????


For a copy of the Constitution?

Over 50% off?

Are you kidding me?

So I opened the book to the first page.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Pretty powerful stuff for $6.98.

The book also contained the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All for $6.98.

I sat down right in the bookstore and started to read the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of our Constitution, written by men over 200 years ago.

Freedom of speech.

Freedom of religion.

The right to keep and bear arms.

Freedom of assembly.

The fundamental right to petition the government for a correction or repair of some form of injustice without fear of punishment for the same.

Prohibit unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and compelled self incrimination.

The Bill of Rights also prohibits Congress from making any law respecting establishment of religion and prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

I got all that for $6.98?

So I picked up the entire stack. Fourteen books in all and took them to the checkout counter.

The clerk looked at me like I was nuts.

“You must really be in to the constitution. Are you a teacher?”

“Sort of. I’m a comedian.”

“I don’t think there’s anything funny in the constitution.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“What are you going to do with all these?”

“Give them away. And you get the first copy. Do yourself a favor. Read it.”

As I sit down writing this I have one copy left. I gave then other 13 copies out in less than an hour. I gave them to the first thirteen people I met.

Yesterday was a historic day for our country. We elected the first African American to become president of the United States. Many of the men that wrote our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence were slave owners. They could not know and probably would never have believed that this event would ever occur.

But there’s a funny thing about our Constitution. It can be changed. We the people can make it better.

The Thirteenth Amendment banned slavery in 1865.

Five years later the Fifteenth Amendment gave all “men” regardless of race or color or previous status as a slave the right to vote.

Here we are, 138 years later, and an African American is the president elect of the United States.

We witnessed history last night.

It doesn’t matter who you voted for. It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to. It doesn’t matter what your religion or ideological beliefs are. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman. It doesn’t matter what your race or color is. Today we can all celebrate that this country has in place a living breathing document that allows us to change without violent revolution but under the rule of law.

It isn’t perfect. Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) proved that. But the Twenty-First Amendment fixed that little problem and assured that I can have a Patron Platinum gimlet now and then.

The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote. I’m on the fence on that one. I swear my wife picks her candidates the same way she picks the horses.

The Twenty-Sixth Amendment lowered the voting age to eighteen. It recognized that if you were old enough to die for your country you should be able to vote on those running it.

There have been seventeen amendments to our Constitution since 1791. There will probably be more. I can’t imagine what will influence us two hundred years from now.

My candidate didn’t win last night and at first I was a little depressed. But as I watched the celebrations of the other party on TV I saw the thousands of Americans who had exercised their right to vote I felt a sense of pride.

This is the greatest country on earth. We may have our ups and downs. At times we may lean to the left and at other times we may lean to the right but in the end this is still America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. The land of “we the people”.

From the Statue of Liberty we read:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

No matter what is said about other nation’s health care or education systems or energy policies, people come here. They come here to be part of “we the people”. They come here because there is hope. There is freedom. The freedom to be right and the freedom to be wrong.

There is the Constitution.

I picked one up for $6.98.

You should all go out and get a copy.

Yesterday we exercised our greatest right.

Today… Well today I just hope these pinheads don’t raise my taxes.