End of the Road for the Idiot

Aspen Trees 2014

This will be my last blog post as The Idiot. I will continue to blog as myself on my Cauda Equina Syndrome support blog at www.cesnightmare.com, but I realize now that it is time to put the idiot persona to bed for the last time.

As you have probably noticed, I have yet to blog anything thus far in this new year. Honestly, I just have no urge or desire to blog anymore. Ever since my original Idiot Speaketh blog was taken down by WordPress, due to a violation that nearly everyone on the Internet does every day, the wind really ended up getting taken out of my sails, so to speak. I’ve ranted about what happened to me until I was blue in the face, but you look at FB and Blogs today, and you constantly see an endless parade of shared photos from the web, shared cartoons, shared videos, etc. and you realize that we are in a social media society in which we share everything on the Web. Someone sees a cool pic on the web site of their local newspaper and shares it on FB or a blog. In legal terms, posting that pic without the expressed consent of the photographer is a no no. But, billions of us do it every day. I shared goofy photos, cartoons, graphics, etc on my HUMOR blog, for 5 years, amassing over 3 MILLION views and THOUSANDS of daily subscribers, only to be shut down without notice and made an example of for the rest of the social media world. WordPress wanted to show the world that they were following the law and would shut down any blog not following the rules, though 95% of their remaining bloggers were doing the exact same offenses on a daily basis.

And five years of hard work was lost.

I tried to salvage what stories and blog posts that I could, purchased a URL, and attempted to keep The Idiot Speaketh going on this new site.

I own the URL. Even though this blog is on a WordPress-hosted platform, and looks like a WordPress blog, it is MY blog and WordPress cannot shut it down, no matter what I might do on here.

But, it’s just not the same.

Even on this new blog, I would cautiously blog with the constant nagging fear that someday this blog might be yanked away from me without notice as well.

Writing was no longer fun for me.

I decided that I would take a few weeks off this new year in order to re-energize myself so that I could jump back into writing.

Nothing happened.

I don’t miss the blogging at all. I miss the people and all my blog friends, but I honestly no longer have the itch to sit down and make up goofy stories any more.

I took up a new hobby and dove into trying to learn to paint. I have been painting on small canvases with acrylic paints and have found it very enjoyable and relaxing, though I have no clue what I am doing.

The best part is that I have my paintings stacked up in a small crate next to my table. They are mine. I created them and no one can come in and just yank them away from me without warning one day, like what happened to my original blog. There is a great sense of safety in this new hobby. WordPress can’t touch me.

(An example of one of my early painting attempts is above)

For now, I am stepping away from humor blogging. Like I said, I will continue my CES blog because it has been a good outlet for myself and other sufferers of this rare condition that I have. Once the URL for the Idiot Speaketh expires, I won’t renew it and will let it fade away into blogging oblivion.

Who knows, maybe I will get the itch to write again, months or years from now. Most all of you are friends with me on FB so I will be sure to let you know where I am writing again, if that day ever comes.

Until then, I will continue to be on Facebook at Mark G Pakulak and look forward to continued communications with you there. I’ll also be posting all my new feeble attempts at painting on my FB page.

If I do return to writing at some point, it will be as myself. I’m nearing 50 now and by the end of the summer will have three grandchildren, so it’s time to put “The Idiot” to bed once and for all.

Rest in Peace Idiot.

It’s been a fun ride.

See ya’ll on Facebook!

Mark G Pakulak

** PS. For my English Friends who wonder which Football Club I now swear allegiance to……….. the answer is……Everton! I am now a proud BLUE. My oldest son supports Newcastle United, my youngest son supports MAN CITY, and I am an Everton guy! Go Blues!

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The case for Football (Part 1)

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Soccer.

Or as it is known to the entirety of the planet outside of the United States and Canada………

Football.

Of course, here in the upper reaches of North America, we play a sport called Football that utilizes nearly every other part of the human body to a much greater extent than it uses the actual foot.

There are about 65 men on a Professional Football team in the National Football League, yet only two of them, the kicker and the punter, are actually allowed to use their feet on the ball. To everyone else on the field, using the feet is a huge “NO NO”.

Yet we call it Football.

That makes a whole lot of sense.

Which brings us to what we savages here in North America call Soccer.

You know Soccer. The game that seemingly every kid in North America, boys and girls, all play in their formative years from about age 5 up until age 12 or so.

It’s practically an unwritten law in this country that young kids HAVE TO PLAY soccer.

And like every other parent in North America, my kids played soccer.

You remember soccer being played by 5 yr old kids. One huge blob of 20+ kids all slowly moving as one solid pack, up and down the field, with the ball hidden deep somewhere inside that pack. You had no idea which team actually had the ball, outside of watching which way the huge blob of kids was slowly going down the field towards one goal or the other. And ah yes, the goal. Tendered by the brave goalie or goalkeeper. Usually the least athletic kids in town. The kids far more interested in playing in the dirt, playing with bugs, or with eating the actual grass than they were with actually participating in the game.

Every now and then, the blob of kids would slowly move down the field, towards the goal, where the goalie was now fast asleep on the ground in the fetal position, and as the blob edged across the goal line, with all 20+ kids all crowded together, the referee would suddenly blow his/her whistle and would signal a goal! Kids would jump and down with joy, parents would go nuts, and no one around the field would have any clue as to which kid actually scored.

Games were offensive displays, with scores of 15-14 being common. Goalkeeping statistics were horrendously bad. Ball handling skills were laughable at best. The kid who could successfully kick the ball with an actual forward motion, while not managing to hit himself in the nose, or trip over his own feet, was deemed to be highly skilled. A kid who had total fear of the ball, fear of being anywhere near the ball, and who had never actually touched a soccer ball in his/her brief life, was put on Defense.

A defensive player, screaming in terror as the ball is rolling towards him/herself, who then has a panic attack on the field and falls down into a shivering ball of tears, just before the ball harmlessly ricochets off of their trembling body, is considered to have made a great defensive stop.

An offensive, attacking player, more interested in staring at the skies to watch the birds and insects, who is lucky enough to have a ball careen of the side of their head with such velocity that it actually trickles across the goal line before the player slumps to the ground unconscious, is future striker material.

Soccer……..

My youngest son on the pitch.

My youngest son on the pitch.

I remember it well.

In our area of North Texas, the soccer craze suddenly dies when kids reach the age of Junior High School. (12-13 yrs old)

Why?

Well, for some odd reason, even though every county and town in the area has organized leagues for the kids, with nearly every kid playing soccer, once the kids reach Junior High age, the leagues stop. There are no leagues for the “older kids”. The area Junior High Schools and High Schools do not have soccer as an organized sport. I live in a county just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas metro area and there is one school in our entire county that offers Soccer to it’s students. That’s it.

The kids quit playing soccer and they quit caring about soccer.

Us adults in these rural areas turn on Soccer on the Television and we don’t see the 15-14 shootouts that we used to watch our kids engage in, we instead are treated to 0-0 “defensive battles” and 1-0 “Thrillers”.

Yawn.

2001-0819_soccer-boring

We instead watch what we call the “REAL FOOTBALL”, whether it be College or the NFL, and we see 35-21 games with bodies and blood flying everywhere, scantily-clad cheerleaders, people consuming near-fatal amounts of alcohol, every weekend from August until January, and we are happy.

Soccer?

That’s the “boring” sport played by all those guys across the pond with unpronounceable last names, in countries we can’t pronounce, with rules we can’t understand, and all we do know is that there is not nearly enough actual goals, the people have on way too much clothing, the weather always seems to be cold and rainy, and for some odd reason, everyone in the entirety of the rest of the planet insist on calling “Soccer”…….”Football” for some odd reason.

Once each of my kids reached the age of 12, Soccer ceased to exist as an actual sport for me. They were no longer playing, they had no opportunity to play in school as they aged, so what did I care?

I was once Volunteering in DFW Airport during the World Cup. Hundreds of people were crowded around every TV in the terminal, all watching a World Cup SOCCER match between two far-away lands, with players that 90% of the people had never heard of. I looked over the crowd and saw that it was another typical 1-0 offensive explosion, yet the people in the terminal were acting as if the game was 15-14 with a large pack of 5yr olds out on the field.

What was the big deal? It was only a Soccer game! It wasn’t the Super Bowl, the one real championship of the one real FOOTBALL!!

I had no idea what the allure was for Soccer. And, I was far from alone in that belief. Here in the United States, I can name off about 20 other sports or activities that get higher Television ratings than Soccer.

A Wrestling match between two blind midgets would get double the amount of TV viewers than a boring soccer match.

Why?

Because soccer is boring!!

or so I thought…….

2013 would be a momentous year for me, sports-wise. As I near 50 years of age, with decades of being a rabid supporter of Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, Golf, Car Racing, and every other sport in North America, I found myself in the position of actually considering giving “football” a try. Not the version of what we mistakenly call football, but the version that the rest of the planet calls “football”.

I was going to start watching socc………. I mean Football. The “REAL” Football.

Part of my reasoning was my son, now 16 yrs old, who had played soccer as a youth, and who now enjoys playing FIFA SOCCER on his gaming system. Another reason was that NBC Sports had gotten the contract to televise the Premier League games here in the US. They would be making EVERY game available to the US Audience. This is totally unheard of in any sport here in the US. In order to get EVERY game of your favorite team, especially if you live in a different part of the country, you have to subscribe to an expensive television package that allows you watch YOUR favorite team play. NBC was going to allow us to see EVERY Premier League team, every week!

Britain Soccer Premier League

But what did I know about the Premier League?

It must be the Premier League in the world, because it’s called the Premier League……. right?

And it had teams from England.

I would later find out it also has teams from Wales.

99% of the people here think that Wales is part of England. Isn’t it?

What Premier League teams do I know?

Manchester United………… Because everyone on the planet hates them………even though I don’t know why…………yet.

Liverpool………… They wear red and the Beatles were from Liverpool…….weren’t they?

That’s about it.

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NBC started airing commercials over the summer in an attempt to warm the American audiences to the many teams in the Premier League.

Even though I actually lived in England for three years in the 1980′s, even I had never heard of some of the cities.

Hull? Where the heck is that?

Stoke? What’s a Stoke?

West Bromwich Albion? Is that near East Bromwich? And what is an Albion?

I lived near Luton.

Where is Luton’s team? How come Luton is not in the Premier League but an Albion-thingy is?

NBC made a few points clear.

There were teams from all over England and Wales. A good chunk of the league were teams based in London. You mean London just does not have one team? They have how many in the Premier League? Six!! You have to be kidding! What? There actually a whole bunch of other teams in London that are not in the Premier League, at this moment, but who COULD BE, in coming years?

This all hurts my head!

NBC tells us that EVERYONE in England supports a team. ONE team. You do NOT under any circumstances, under the penalty of being imprisoned in the Tower of London, drawn and quartered in a public execution, with your severed head then being displayed on a spike outside the gates of the Tower, do you EVER consider cheering and supporting TWO teams! Got that? You have to support ONE TEAM, and ONE TEAM ONLY, for your whole LIFE………..under unwritten penalty of Death!!

But who to root for?

Apparently, you have to do lots of actual studying up on the teams, the cities, their history, the fans, their colors, and you have to do lots of research on how many supporters that they have actually put to death for trying to switch allegiances somewhere during the course of the victims life.

This is all important.

So, that’s what I did this past summer, before the Premier League season kicked off.

I studied.

I studies on the Toffee’s, the Hammers, the Villans, the Blues, the Reds, the Red Devils, the Canaries, the Potters, the Tigers, the Eagles, the Cottagers, the…..

What the heck is a Cottager?

I watched pre-season matches on TV and watched replays of great matches from last season that NBC was showing.

I knew NONE of the players.

My son had always ranted and raved about Messi and Ronaldo on his FIFA game……. who do they play for?

What? They don’t even play in the Premier League? How can that be?

NBC continued to offer programs geared towards helping us wayward Yanks find a team that we could support for the rest of our waking days here on the planet. Did we like a team from an affluent, wealthy area with rich owners, or ones from working-class, blue-collar areas owned by locals or less wealthy owners? Did we like blue or red? Did we like teams who’s fans blow bubbles, who bounce up and down, or fans that sing to the team before each match? They showed us famous celebrities that supported various teams. Prince William supports Aston Villa? Where the heck is Aston Villa? I don’t even see an Aston Villa on my map! Wasn’t Aston Villa a type of car in the early James Bond movies?

This is all so confusing!

Then, I read that you should study the teams and most important, watch the teams. Over the first month of the Premier League season, NBC would be featuring EVERY team in the league on their featured matches of the day, while the other teams would all be available live online.

I told myself that I would make a point to watch EVERY team in the league before I would make my decision as to who I would support.

I told myself I would not be a band wagon supporter and automatically gravitate towards one of the powerful teams that is always in contention from year to year. I learned that my team of choice in fact, WOULD FIND ME.

At some point in my search, the team that I was destined to support, would make itself known to me.

They might be a championship contender, or they might be a doormat that the rest of the league steps on each week.

Either way, this would be MY team.

My 16 yr old son, the former soccer player, and current FIFA gamer, already had HIS team. That meant nothing to me in my search. If I was lead to support that same team, so be it. If not, no worries. MY TEAM would find me.

I found out that my 26yr old son also has a team that he supports, a different team than the one my youngest son supports. I would not be swayed by that either.

And a month into my search……….

My team found me.

I was watching a match on TV and early in the match, with the score still 0-0……. I knew that I had found my team.

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To be continued……….

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Countdown: The Beatle Genius

GH

Some might wonder how I could have listed so many songs on my personal countdown up to this point, with no Beatles songs being on the list as of yet. Trust me, there are Beatles tunes on my list. But, right now, it’s time to feature a single from my favorite Beatle.

The Beatle who was an under-appreciated genius during his years with the band.

#210

What is Life” by George Harrison.

What is Life” peaked at #10 on the Billboard Charts in the US in 1971. The song was the second single, following “My Sweet Lord”, to be released off of the critically-acclaimed album “All Things Must Pass”.

Longtime Harrison friend Eric Clapton played guitar on the single.

george-harrison

I really admired George Harrison. A recent documentary about him showed that he was a true musical genius that struggled by always being in the background during his time with The Beatles. During their time in the world spotlight, the Beatles were John Lennon and Paul McCartney. George Harrison and Ringo Starr were heavily overlooked for their contributions to the band. George Harrison was a master songwriter but was able to get only small amount of his material onto the Beatles many albums. Lennon and McCartney were responsible for the vast majority of their hits. After the break-up of the band, Harrison was finally able to record “his” music and he went on to have a long and successful career as a solo artist.

Rolling Stone rated him the #11 Guitar Player of All-Time.

George Harrison is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as a member of The Beatles, and as a solo artist. He was a renowned humanitarian, environmentalist, along with being a very spiritual artist.

He died of Lung Cancer in 2001 at the age of 58.

This has long been one of my favorite George Harrison tunes. It’s just a great catchy, upbeat song.

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Countdown thus far: (My personal countdown of favorite songs)
(Songs are randomly listed until I hit the Top-10)

Click on song title to be taken to that post.

#247 Broken Wings – Mr. Mister (1985)
#246 Jackie Blue – Ozark Mountain Daredevils (1975)
#245 Superstar – The Carpenters (1971)
#244 Let’s go Crazy – Prince and the Revolution (1984)
#243 I Go Crazy – Paul Davis (1978)
#242 Ebony Eyes – Bob Welch (1978)
#241 Try – Pink (2012)
#240 Don’t bring me Down – Electric Light Orchestra (1979)
#239 Turn me Loose – Loverboy (1981)
#238 Gimme some Lovin’ – The Spencer Davis Group (1966)
#237 “Any Way You Want It” – Journey (1980)
#236 “You Get What You Give” – New Radicals (1999)
#235 “Livin on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi (1986)
#234 My Sharona – The Knack (1979)
#233 “I’m Not in Love” – 10cc (1975)
#232 “Last Dance” – Donna Summer (1978)
#231 “Stupid Girl” – Garbage (1996)
#230 “Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw (2004)
#229 “Falling for You” – Colbie Caillat (2009)
#228 “West End Girls” – The Pet Shop Boys (1986)
#227 “Lonesome Loser” – Little River Band (1979)
#226 “If It Makes You Happy” – Sheryl Crow (1996)
#225 “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (1975)
#224 “Hotel California” – Eagles (1977)
#223 “Photograph” – Def Leppard (1983)
#222 “Crazy on You” – Heart (1976)
#221 “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt (1996)
#220 “What a Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers (1979)
#219 “Birmingham” – Amanda Marshall (1996)
#218 “September” – Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
#217 “Surrender” – Cheap Trick (1978)
#216 “Don’t You Forget About Me” – Simple Minds (1985)
#215 “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry (2010)
#214 “Headed for a Heartbreak” – Winger (1989)
#213 “American Woman” – The Guess Who (1970)
#212 “Somebody to Love” – Jefferson Airplane (1967)
#211 “Where the Streets have no Name” – U2 (1987)
#210 “What is Life” – George Harrison (1971)

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Countdown: Where the Streets have no Name

u2

Continuing on with my personal countdown, it is time to unveil the first song to hit my chart from a great Ireland-based rock band. While I like most of this band’s music, this song is one of my personal favorites.

#211

Where the Streets have no Name” by U2.

Where the Streets have no Name” was released in 1987. The single peaked at #13 on the Billboard Charts.

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The video for the song was shot on the rooftop of a liquor store in downtown Los Angeles and it attracted a crowd of over 1,000 onlookers on the streets below as the video was being shot. The video ended up winning a Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video.

Rolling Stone ranked the song #28 on their list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All-Time”.

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Countdown thus far: (My personal countdown of favorite songs)
(Songs are randomly listed until I hit the Top-10)

Click on song title to be taken to that post.

#247 Broken Wings – Mr. Mister (1985)
#246 Jackie Blue – Ozark Mountain Daredevils (1975)
#245 Superstar – The Carpenters (1971)
#244 Let’s go Crazy – Prince and the Revolution (1984)
#243 I Go Crazy – Paul Davis (1978)
#242 Ebony Eyes – Bob Welch (1978)
#241 Try – Pink (2012)
#240 Don’t bring me Down – Electric Light Orchestra (1979)
#239 Turn me Loose – Loverboy (1981)
#238 Gimme some Lovin’ – The Spencer Davis Group (1966)
#237 “Any Way You Want It” – Journey (1980)
#236 “You Get What You Give” – New Radicals (1999)
#235 “Livin on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi (1986)
#234 My Sharona – The Knack (1979)
#233 “I’m Not in Love” – 10cc (1975)
#232 “Last Dance” – Donna Summer (1978)
#231 “Stupid Girl” – Garbage (1996)
#230 “Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw (2004)
#229 “Falling for You” – Colbie Caillat (2009)
#228 “West End Girls” – The Pet Shop Boys (1986)
#227 “Lonesome Loser” – Little River Band (1979)
#226 “If It Makes You Happy” – Sheryl Crow (1996)
#225 “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (1975)
#224 “Hotel California” – Eagles (1977)
#223 “Photograph” – Def Leppard (1983)
#222 “Crazy on You” – Heart (1976)
#221 “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt (1996)
#220 “What a Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers (1979)
#219 “Birmingham” – Amanda Marshall (1996)
#218 “September” – Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
#217 “Surrender” – Cheap Trick (1978)
#216 “Don’t You Forget About Me” – Simple Minds (1985)
#215 “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry (2010)
#214 “Headed for a Heartbreak” – Winger (1989)
#213 “American Woman” – The Guess Who (1970)
#212 “Somebody to Love” – Jefferson Airplane (1967)
#211 “Where the Streets have no Name” – U2 (1987)

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The “O” word

Barry_Manilow_1975

Uh Oh.

It’s finally hit me.

I’m old.

For the first time, I actually have paused to listen to some of the things I say.

It’s not pretty.

I sound just like how my Father sounded…..when I was young……..and he was ….. you know…….. the “O” word……..

I find myself uttering such wonderful things as:

“When I was your age….”

“I can’t see that….let me get my reading glasses”

“What is it with you young people and your weird music?”

“Hey son, come lift this for me”

“Turn your music down son! are ya deaf???!!”

“Ya know………that Barry Manilow ain’t half bad”

“Ya know………that Barry Manilow ain’t half bad” (My Dad, 1970′s)

“I can’t do that……….my hips can’t take it”

“Can they make the words in this menu any smaller?”

“I don’t THINK that was me that farted”

“Check the DVR and see when my next episode of MURDER SHE WROTE comes on”

“Most of the scantily-clad women who’s posters adorned my bedroom wall as a teenager…are now dead”

“NO! I do not need a senior menu!” (yet)

“Was that you that farted or was that me?” (Me, talking to one of our cats)

“Good Grief son! Your classmates look like kindergartners…..when I was in High School….we actually looked like we were in High School” (Which is untrue. Further inspection of my old yearbooks shows that we too looked like grade school kids at best)

“Son…this song piped into the elevator……..was a #1 hit when I was in College….”

“Son…you don’t know how good you got it. I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was in my 30′s!”

“Son…you don’t know how good you got it. We didn’t get our first actual phone until I was in my 30′s!” (My Dad)

“Good grief son! You’re eating us out of house and home!”

“Good grief son! You’re eating us out of house and home!” (My Dad speaking to me, 1970′s)

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Then, sometimes I have my wonderful children reminding me that I am getting OLD.

“Dad……old guys your age do not say DUDE or COOL……… that just sounds weird!”

“Dad………Members Only Jackets went out of style back in the 1970′s!”

“Dad! You don’t wear black socks with shorts!!”

“Dad!! Turn down the TV! Are ya deaf!!”

“Dad! Quit talking so loud! We are not deaf!!”

“Dad! Don’t sit so close to the TV! You’ll lose what little vision you have left!”

“Dad! Turn down that Barry Manilow!! If we hear COPACABANA one more time we are going to barf!!”

Sigh……….

Maybe I’m just overreacting. I wandered into the bedroom and asked the cat laying on the bed if I was getting old.

She just stared at me and yawned.

And then one of us farted.

Yes, there is lot’s of farting in the homes of us seniors………….

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