Archive for July, 2008

“I Feel Cheap, Used and I Caught Something”

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Street Walkers have been called the “Fast Food of Sex”. What an insult to the women! Fast Food might be the same – but I guess my digestive system is demanding a more loving relationship with what I eat.

In the early ‘60’s, Carrols Hamburgers opened near Syracuse where I lived with my family. We were amazed. Hamburgers were 12¢, fries-10¢ and a Coke was a dime too. Imagine, 32¢ for a meal! My Dad often brought us kids to Carrols late Sunday afternoons to give my Mom a rest.

I’m sure Mom needed a rest – but she didn’t like this new dining experience for the same reasons we kids loved it: junkie food, no vegetables, no sitting down as a family to eat, no place to wash our hands and faces, no napkins on our laps, no grace before meals, no waiting to be excused when we were done and no bothersome polite dinner conversation. She let us go because it was only 1 meal out of 21 in the week.

So anyway, I was rushing around today like a fly on acid and ended up at my final destination, Walmarts, around 1:00 pm. I was quite hungry but knew there was only one choice: McDonalds. These days, I only eat there about three or four times a year and the experience is almost always the same: grease, messy tables, screaming kids and other undesirables, and a surly counter crew which snarls at customers. They’re pretty bad until you see the real animals in the joint – the “cooks” grunting to bells and beepers in an ugly, crouching trance.

I’m not picking on McDonalds – I’m sure all these grease palaces are pretty much the same. But as the burger and fries slid down my throat on the bubbling flow of brown sugar-water, I had a strange thought. There’s really not much food there for which you need teeth. You could gum down virtually any item on the menu. Maybe that’s why there are so many old customers – and babies.

Anyway, what did I catch? I really don’t know who Montezuma is – but he could be the leader of all the fast food counter people worldwide – and now he’s getting their revenge.

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Tomorrow – If You Have an Erection That Lasts Longer Than 4-Hours…

MAFIA CHILI

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

In the ‘60’s, if you were invited over to Mob Boss Carlo Gambino’s home for Superbowl Sunday, you got to sample his famous MAFIA CHILI. Of course Carlo never called it that – but that’s the name which gave it legendary status for over 40-years.

I have the “official recipe” for the dish and it’s pretty remarkable stuff. How’d I get it? I can’t tell you exactly but you should know that there were hundreds of people invited to Carlo’s home over the years and very few of them had names like “Broken Nose,” “Four Fingers,” or “Picky.”

Carlo lived quietly in an upscale New York neighborhood with his wife and children. He would have been repulsed by the flashy Don – John Gotti – and horrified to learn that Gotti took over his family when Gambino’s cousin and successor, Paul Castellano, was late for his reservation because he was lying dead in the street in front of Sparks Steakhouse.

Anyway, when that many people come over to ‘mange’ all Superbowl afternoon, you can’t exactly ask the little wife to rattle her pots and pans. So virtually all of these parties were catered and the numerous cooks pretty much had to make the same chili because of its reputation – hence the written recipe.

Have I ever cooked it? Sure – but not exactly as written. First of all, it’s very, very expensive to make. Carlo could afford hundreds of pounds of top end Sirloin Steak (“Cut into 1/8” cubes – first cutting off all fat”) but I can’t. Neither can I afford cases of a specified ‘58 Bordeaux nor custom-made Hot Italian Sausage. And although I can afford the bundles of hot green and red chili peppers, I don’t know one person who could eat the damn stuff if I put in the amount called for. A few of the “non-secrets”? No beans of course (You want beans? Buy a can of Campbells.) There’s no mention of Chili Powder – only the raw ingredients of which it’s made and the words ‘ground beef’ do not appear. Probably the most surprising secret ingredient – which really “makes” the dish – is from China!

Now it would be really easy for me to reproduce the recipe here – but what fun would that be? And I’ve found that people value something only when it costs them money (I wish I got so much as a ‘Thank You’ for many of the writing projects and coaching hours I’ve given free over the years.) So here’s what we’re going to do to keep the MAFIA CHILI recipe to ourselves:

Send $ 5 – plus a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope to:

CHILI RECIPE, Box 15-B,
10 Manhattan Square,
Rochester, New York 14607

I will give your $ 5 to my favorite charity and someone will mail you the recipe within 5-days. You are on your honor not to make more copies. REMEMBER – you are getting a COPY of the original recipe given to me. The typewritten (pre-computer) original is framed and hanging in my living room. Superbowl Sunday is only 6-months away – don’t get stuck with fondue!

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Paolo’s SUNDAY SCHOOL of SPEAKING

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

My friends were being transparently diplomat.

“Of course the nation NEEDS your social commentary, political editorials, and the laughs -BUT you’ve been a top Business Presentation consultant for over 25-years. Don’t you think your Blog readers (now usually between 100 and 200 readers EVERY DAY -thankyouverymuch) DESERVE a bit of that expertise for putting up with you?”

So OK. Let’s run this for a month and see how it goes. EVERY SUNDAY for at least 4-weeks, I will devote a blog post to making you a Great Presenter. You will learn things about Presentations that you’ll NEVER learn in Speech 101, Dale Carnegie, or Toastmasters. I focus on Presentations by Actual Human Beings – hence the name of my website: PresentationsUnplugged.com. There’s a link to the right under Blogroll. Give a visit if you haven’t been there.

Top corporate executives pay about $300/hour for my services. Of course they get the advantage of a personal videotape analysis of their presentation styles, ME – charmingly in person, and we do it all in the comfort and privacy of their own executive suites.What will YOU learn every week? Certainly a lot less than that – BUT some tips to make you a Great Presenter at a price anyone can afford (free). And we’ll have some fun – promise!

Some of the ideas are out of my book, How to Make a Great Presentation in 2-Hours (Lifetime Books, 1993). After two printings, the book is now out of print in this country but it’s being pirated in at least FOUR other countries (BTW – if you can get me a copy of the Chinese edition, I’ll be your friend forever).

Anyway……let’s give it a shot. I know you will learn a lot – have some fun – and become a better presenter. Quite frankly, there’s not a skill you can develop that will advance your career more. LET’S KICK SOME PRESENTATION ASS!

SUNDAY SCHOOL of SPEAKING WEEK I – DON’T BORE THEM TO DEATH!

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Tomorrow – MAFIA CHILI

If this doesn’t melt your heart….

Monday, July 28th, 2008

fall on the floor – because you’re dead.

Paste into your browser: http://youtube.com/watch?v=adYbFQFXG0U

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Tomorrow: “Paolo’s SUNDAY SCHOOL of SPEAKING

A Tax On Stupid People

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Like me. And you – if you play New York State Lottery Games – or any Lotteries bigger than church bingo. The games have been called “voluntary taxes paid by people who are too dumb to understand odds”. Well I understand odds. My rationale is much more sophisticated than that. I pay a dollar or two to dream of winning and you can’t win if you don’t play. Pretty smart, huh? Naw, not so smart. Actually it’s pretty dumb when you know the odds – which you can find on the NYLottery website.

See the pretty ticket above? It costs a dollar. And $500.00 a week for Life is a pretty good prize, right? So here come the official NYS odds for this dream. We’ll start on the smaller prizes first – get ready to WIN!

The odds against winning $1 are 8.77 to 1. For you non-bettors, that means on average, you’d have to buy about NINE tickets to scratch off a dollar winner. But, as the brighter ones in the group have already figured out, you don’t really “win” a dollar because that’s how much you paid for the ticket. So, OK – to win a dollar, you’ve really got to win $2 on the ticket. Odds against a two dollar ticket? About 47 to 1. WHAT? That’s right, Skippy; to actually win a dollar, on average, you’d have to scratch off 47-tickets.

It gets better, right? Right, this is New York State. To win $10, you’ll have to scratch 200 tickets. $100? Get ready to buy 50- thousand, 400-tickets. That’s a lot of buying and scratching for a hundred bucks. And the Grand Prize? $500 a week for Life? Get your coin out and start scratching. Better make it a few coins, you’ll need to scratch 7,938,000 tickets.

Don’t tell anyone though. It kind of ruins the game if you know it would take almost three entire lifetimes to scratch off enough tickets to win $500 a week for the rest of your life. Plus, about $8-million dollars.

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Why Vote? And Why Vote for OBAMA? (Part II)

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

For 40-years I refused to vote – except for Ross Perot – in 1992. I was his Upstate NY Campaign Spokesperson – and he was a trip. I really believed he represented the drastic change America needed. What about the rest of the candidates from the major parties for all that time? I refused to make a choice between TweedleDumb and TweedleDumber.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain….” prattled the common masses. Oh, bite my slice – is that in the Constitution?

There’s something many people can’t seem to grasp: in the vast scheme of things, the President has a lot less power than you might think. Our government was designed that way – and that’s good – especially when we get klunkers like Bush and Cheney.

To the rest of the world, our President is more of a symbol than a power. He represents our national philosophy – those things for which we stand. And to me, that’s got to change – and at the speed of lightning. Bush, and McSame, symbolize an America that no longer exists. An America of abundant wealth and unsurpassed power. An America that’s the ‘Freedom Cop’ of the world – the land of unlimited growth and opportunity!

That America is gone. We may be sorry it’s gone – and I’ll certainly miss parts of it – but let’s not waste time on national nostalgia. It’s time we stepped into the global future – stop meddling in other countries’ affairs – and focus on becoming economically strong again. The rest of the world is important to us because we need every country to become valuable trading partners. We basically need 2-things: a vibrant economy and a powerful DEFENSE not an offense. We’ve made terrorism WORSE by our international meddling. America must still be on guard but for chrissakes! – let’s stop picking fights with those who don’t share our philosophy!

So who’s American face do we want for a global future? There’s no real choice. On Thursday, Obama went to Berlin and 200, 000 people turned out. They were young – some waved American flags – and they were excited. They weren’t thinking of the wonderful America of history – they were searching for the face of America’s future.

So should we.

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Tomorrow:  “A Tax on Stupid People”

For President – (reluctantly) – OBAMA – (Part 1)

Friday, July 25th, 2008

My love for American politics got blown away with the back of John Kennedy’s head in 1963. I was 13. As a well-read kid, I knew the ‘Oswald – Lone Nut’ theory was a crock of shit – but I couldn’t understand why our own govern- ment would lie to us. Today 4 out of 5 Americans do not believe the “Official” report – but at that time (when the numbers were reversed) you too would have gotten mighty confused had you been 13 – and all the adults thought of you as just a precocious dope.

I still clung on to parts of the American Political Fantasy for the next 5-years. I still wanted to believe. Then Martin Luther King was murdered by a “drifter” who didn’t have enough money for a decent room – but managed to travel around the world with lots of cash. Another ‘lone nut’ – hmmm.

But at least Bobby could light the beacon of America again – maybe – he was the only one left! Right. He was left on the floor of a hotel’s pantry filled with more bullets than he and the surrounding walls could possibly catch from the single gun of the convicted assassin.

My belief in the American political system was in tatters – but I still wanted to believe. Then came Vietnam. THAT WAS IT! Enough was enough. I refused to be taken for a fool any longer. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me a dozen times ……………

I was given a college deferment so some other 19-year old could get his (usually black and poor) ass shot off. At least I had enough decency to tell my local draft board, “give me any goddam status you want: I’M NOT GOING! Yank my deferment – DRAFT ME! – Let’s get it on, MF-ers!” I never heard from them again. I entered college as a Political Science major – who refused to vote.

“But you know so much about politics!” people chirped, “Why don’t you vote?

“You just answered your own question,” I’d say.

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Tomorrow: Part II – Why vote? Why Obama?

US Pat.#378797t00becky3452

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

My friend Becky is one of the kindest and gentlest people I’ve ever met. Except in the early morning – which, for her, is about from noon until two. I used to send Tuesday and Wednesday in to awaken her but now both cats hide when I make the suggestion.

Today I had to get her up at 11:00 and it was no picnic. I called her name with gradual volume increases until one of her eyes opened as if for the first time. Then the other one opened s-l-o-w-ly – trying to work as one with its sister-orb. Then an in-unison, s-l-o-w trial-roll around the room with both eyes.

This is a very delicate, critical time. NO TALKING is allowed. A giggle will get you a glare – a throat clearing will get a sneer – and opening the blinds could get you killed.

Remember, Becky is a warm, sensitive woman who is so peace-loving, she was once beaten up by Quakers. But first thing in the morning, watch out! That’s why I was surprised when she spoke.

“Do you ever use that thing?” she said, looking at my sit-up board.

“Oh – that hurts,” I said trying to suck in my stomach.

Her eyes got big. “No – I didn’t mean it like that.” From anyone else, it would have been a jab. From Becky, it really was just an innocent question.

Silence. Slow stretch – then,

“Every time I see an exercise machine in someone’s house, it’s got clothes hanging on it. Maybe they should just make them with an extra bar for hangers. They could call it the ‘Let’s Be Honest’ bar.””

I should wake up Becky early more mornings.

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To the Class of ’68:

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I actually went to two high schools because my family moved in the middle of my Junior year. Not surprisingly, they both invited me to their 40th Class Reunions. Also not surprisingly, I won’t be going to either. So, since I won’t be speaking to anyone in person, I thought I would kind of fill you all in with a verbal report.

This picture was taken last week. Note the similarities it has to my ‘68 yearbook picture. I really haven’t changed much at all. I haven’t gained any weight nor lost any hair. I still lead a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, natural food and I’m always positive with a strong belief in the Lord. Yep, pretty much like you remember me.

I understand some of you have changed, uuuh…rather dramatically. Well that’s OK – 40 years is a long time. So if you happen to see me skipping down the street without a care in the world, please say hello – love to see ya!

If you’ve changed at all, I might not recognize you – so please stop me. You’ll see me easily – just use the picture above as a reference.

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Are You Kidneying Me!?!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

(NOT ACTUAL SIZE)

Here’s one of my 5 kidney stones. Passing a kidney stone has been described as trying to blow a golf ball out of a garden hose. I wish it were that easy. Golf balls are relatively smooth compared to the formidable collection of cutting crystals you see above. Since it was one of the largest stones he saw passed “naturally”, my kidney doctor said either I was very large or it was horribly painful. It was horribly painful.

When cleaned and viewed under a magnifying glass, the stones themselves are rather pretty. My friend Amy has a collection of mine in a small, heart- shaped, blue velvet-lined case. She says she’s waiting for me to pass a few more so she can use them to make a bracelet. Amy is funny and strange. Very strange.

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