Originally equipped with a 225 slant 6- I'm now a 318 V-8  (THAT'S A WEIGHT REFERENCE) that leaks oil and blows caustic smoke from its tailpipe without warning. (I THINK YA GET THAT METAPHOR)  Most times I'm lucky if I get 100 miles out of a tank of gas and I can't hit 25 mph unless I'm heading down hill. (THAT'S A PERSONAL REFERENCE TO SPEED AND MOVEMENT ABILITY) The original push button torque flight transmission is now three on the tree that slips out of second for no apparent reason. (I'M CLUNKY)

My round headlights have been repaired, (EYE SURGERY AND CATARACTS) the mirror attached to the ceiling of the interior is held on by duct tape (NECK PAIN) and don't even ask me about my rear bumper.  Let's just say that over the years chrome tends to pit. (YOU CAN FIGURE THAT OUT)   

Did I mention my tires are bald (AND SO IS MY HEAD) and that I've blown a gasket or two in my time?  (HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE).
I squeak quite a bit (ARTHRITIS) and there is quite a bit of flaking paint too...(DRY SKIN). 

The original front axle has been replaced and the rear axle is next.  (LEFT HIP REPLACEMENT TWO YEARS AGO- RIGHT HIP SOON)   I need a tune up badly- but the rust is the only thing holding the wires on to the plugs. (NEED TO GET IN SHAPE)  My windshield is cracked,  (WRINKLES) my wing vents are stuck (I'M SET IN MY WAYS SOMETIMES) and the t-handle parking brake takes a little extra effort to get it to work. (ONCE AGAIN- INSERT YOUR OWN METAPHOR HERE)    Oh- and my intake manifold has been modified (SINUS SURGERY) and the hinges on the passenger door have been replaced. (RIGHT ELBOW SURGERY).   The suspension is suspect (BOTH SHOULDERS AND KNEES HAVE BEEN MODIFIED) and I don't start up right away.  (I DON'T WAKE UP AS EASY AS I USED TO)

Yeh... I'm broken.  But with a little tender love and care I can get back to near what I once was.  Right now-  I get where I need to go and ya don't see many like me around anymore.  (AND WE ALL THANK GOD FOR THAT!)

This past weekend I learned of two deaths.  

The first  was a dear friend and my personal physician.  He'd been battling cancer for quite some time and although he outlived his original prognosis by 10 years- he quickly succumbed to his illness a couple weeks ago.   He was a great man who was odd in his approach and unique in his perspective on life.  He listened.  He cared.  He had a tremendous sense of humor.  Most importantly- he made an impact on my life and he'll be missed.  

The other loss was of an acquaintance of mine from years ago.  He was actually  a friend of a friend.   To be frank- I found him annoying and he got on my nerves like fingernails on a chalk-board.  We spent a week at the beach together back in college and had it not been for "Don" I think it could have been one of the greatest weeks of my life.  But instead- it was mediocre at best.   This is not to slam "Don" but rather to lay the cards on the table.  Two different people.  Two different impacts on my life. Ironically and sadly both died from long battles with cancer.

Neither deserved to die.  They were both still relatively young in today's world.  Both had families.  Both were loved dearly.  Both were good people- just one was a treat and the other was, well, a pain in my ass.  And- learning of their death(s)- both enacted the same reaction from me.  Shock.  Bewilderment.  Anger.  Sadness.   I can understand why "Doctor K's" death got to me.  But  "Don"- I don't know why.    It's been 25 years since I saw him last and I couldn't tell you when the last time was that I'd even thought of him.  Heck- I'm kinda sure he thought the same of me (not much!)...

But I do know I was sad to hear of his passing... and sad to see yet another chapter of my life turn into yet another distant memory.

When I was young I thought by this point in my life there would be a cure for cancer.   If you think about all the different chemicals, biologicals, weapons of mass destruction and other ways that  we've been able to "invent" over the last fifty years to destroy those around us- surely we'd have found a way to cure something like cancer.  But we haven't.  The human race has found it easier to kill than to save.  Someday- if our species lasts longs enough we'll- look back at the first several thousand years of civilization with disgust.

In the meantime, I'm going to look back at two different people and actually miss them both...knowing that neither deserved to die from cancer and that both impacted me whether I realized it or not.

A sample from their new album.... Still makin' music and NOT IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL!  Its a travesty....
Congratulations Banana Joe.  You're the Top Dog!  The Prefect of Pooches!  The King Canine!   Winning the Westminster Kennel Club's big what-for as best in show is no small feat especially for a dog with, well, small feet (paws).  

As the Monsignor of Muttleys your job is simple.  Represent all of Houndsville with grace and humility and don't pee or poop on the carpet.

What's great about this affenpinscher's win is that his cuteness is only exceeded  by his, uh, more cuteness.  This top-bop of bow wows was a perennial second banana until last night having placed the last two years in the Toy category.   But this year he finally did it-  winning it all under the bright lights of Manhattan.   Now, Banana Joe is indeed the top fruit of his collective species.    He's the Premier Pup of the Land!  Forever featured in Fido-dom.  The tiny tail-wagger  who could.  The Supreme Four Pawed Emperor of both flea-bag mongrels, curs and papered aristocratic pure-breeds.   He's the doggone squat that goes with the diddly.

Let's just hope that in 10 years there aren't allegations that this hallowed hound used PED's....   Dogs don't know its not bacon.

I love a good bourbon and for a long time my go-to brand has been Maker's Mark.   I like the way you can feel it as it entices the taste buds as its warming properties slowly creep down the throat and esophagus.  When it finally hits the end of the trail the small explosion within your gullet tells you that indeed you've experienced craftsmanship and distilling mastery.   Its a balancing act of mash and alcohol that has been aged in special wooden barrels.  Its not cheap- but its not expensive either.  It was just plain good.

Now- I've learned that the demand has become such that the fine folks in their Kentucky Distillery have lowered its proof from 90 to 84.   "Fact is, demand for our bourbon is exceeding our ability to make it," wrote Maker's Mark executives Rob Samuels and Bill Samuels Jr. in an email to clients.   

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!   I remember when I would be made fun of because I liked bourbon.  I was told it was an old-man's drink.   Now- its so popular that the distillery has to water it down???   That's not right on so many levels.  Its one thing when some wannabe bourbonite waters his drink down.   You know that person- the one who like's good booze and diet coke mixed.  But the makers of Maker's Mark?  How can that happen.  Wasn't watering down drinks something that happened only in the speak-easy and that was only to keep the patrons from going blind.   

My father kept a bottle in the cabinet...way in the back behind the Comet cleanser and the scrub brushes.  Once in a while I'd steal a nip and add water to replace what I took.   He actually had the doctor run tests on him because he thought he was losing his sense of taste.
This was a great sipping whisk(e)y.  

I guess Knob Creek will now be my go-to.  But don't tell anyone.  I'd hate for it to become so popular that their distillers begin to water it down too.

They really, really don' t like us.  Go figure.  Watch as a young comrade's slumber includes sweet dreams of nukin' New York.  I don't get it...  When I was his age-  Nuking something was the LAST thing I was dreaming about.  

Doesn't Kim Jung Dung or Mung or Lung or whatever his name is (the leader of North Korea)- doesn't he realize we could turn that entire nation into a giant parking lot?  And does he not realize that a midi file of We Are The World is far from intimidating?

Regardless- I don't understand the text displayed during the video (since its in Korean) but I do understand the gist of the message.  Hey Wung or Biff or Jim or whatever (the leader of North Korea), be careful what you wish for....  
Take a look at this video... I really hate people who are so obsessed with their cell phone that they don't know what they're doing nor do they know what is going on around them.   The woman in question on this video is a radio-brethren from England.  How embarrassing to her and our medium. 

The surveillance camera captures the moment she's texting her boyfriend.

I loathe when people walk right by you, eyes and thumbs glued to their phone.   When someone gets on the elevator in the middle of a phone conversation I want to scream.  And when a phone junkie can't hang up while in a check-out line I've been known to snatch things out of their cart or add things to it just because they're so engulfed in their conversation- I can!.  I don't want to be privy to your call.   I don't want to have to worry that you'll walk into me while you are texting or worse, while you're driving you'll miss the stop sign and plow into me.  There's a time and place for everything but unfortunately common-sense has given way to that time and place mantra.

Texting, tweeting, emailing...its all fun and all good.  But take a moment to stand still and do it.  Your jeopardizing your own well being not to mention the sanity of those you pass by.   So, like I said- view the video and laugh out loud.  Had she been paying attention to the surroundings and not her phone none of this would've happened. 

Finally- when people who should know better do something stupid- I will henceforth call them the knucklehead of the day.
"We could all take a page out of Cam's Playbook"
Cam Cameron told the New York Post that his firing by the Ravens was a "brilliant move" because it made everyone on that team take a look in the mirror.   He also said he holds no ill-will towards Baltimore and has been rooting for 'em during the post-season.

How cool!  It was a brilliant move.  He's right.  The team improved and now is heading to the Super Bowl.  And, more importantly, he doesn't blame them for doing what they had to do to improve.  That is remarkably refreshing.

Its much more common for people to place blame on someone else for their own shortcomings.  We tend to want to find a scapegoat even when we are the initial sacrificial lamb for the greater good.  We have a tendency not to look at the whole picture but instead make the center of the universe ourselves.   Football is a team sport, and the older I get the more I realize that life is a team sport as well.  

Nothing in our lives gets done without the help of others.  Sure, we can steer our own destiny- but we never achieve without the help of family, friends, co-workers or even perfect strangers.  We've all blamed people for our personal set backs.  In a way, its a defense mechanism.  Nobody wants to think that they're not quite the fit or that their performance is sub-par.    If we all took a page out of Cam Cameron's playbook I think we'll see that it doesn't always matter who is at fault but rather does the end justify the means.  Does it help the greater good?  Does it eventually make us a better person?

When adversity hits us we have really only a couple  ways to look at it.   Blame and anger or opportunity and a new door opening.   Thanks to Cam- I'm going to try to remember the latter.

Our bedroom is either really hot or really cold.  It all depends on when the furnace fires up.  Last night around 3:00am I woke up and was soaked from the waist up. 

I thought to myself- "WOW!  It must've really gotten warm in here".   I sat up in bed and realized that only one side of my shirt was wet.

It was then that I noticed that our four-year old was asleep in the middle of the bed.  It didn't take much to deduce that my shirt was not soaked in sweat.

I don't remember ever being a bed-wetter.  It must come from her mom's side of the family.  Doesn't mean I didn't- it just means I don't remember.  Kinda like I don't remember ever having eye-brows I don't need to trim weekly because of the stray mutant hairs that are the result of age.   I know I didn't always have to trim them but I don't remember when that was.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my little one.  I know she didn't mean to leave a puddle on the temperpedic, and I know that gravity caused the majority  of her waste-water to run its course toward me and soak my night shirt.   But- at 3:00am as I progressed to the sofa to continue my slumber (ironically both her and her mommy slept through the release of the Hoover Dam) all I could think of is how I'll exact my revenge.

It may be 40 years from now as I approach 90 and no longer have control of my own functions.  I hope it will be in her car with the really nice Napa leather seats.   I hope it will be a very hot day.   It doesn't matter because I will get my sweet revenge.  Just like I will exact payback from my oldest daughter for telling a cute college girl when she was a toddler that  "Daddy had a boil on his hiney and had to go to the hospital".   I hope she doesn't plan on introducing me to a boyfriend anytime soon.    

Those moments of joy and pride with your children are awesome.  But the plotting and scheming of their eventual embarrassment is beyond happiness.  Is that wrong?
As the 57th Inauguration of an American has taken place...it got me meandering.   We celebrate this peaceful transition of power every four years.

But...in essence we do it yearly, via the NFL.  We have the primaries where teams from the two respective parties (conferences) run and pass against each other.  Each year we narrow it down to two who then run and pass at each other on election day (the Super Bowl).  Then- the crown (Lombardi Trophy)  is passed, peacefully to a new champion of the greatest sport on earth and a city and region gets to rule with a title for a year.

This year- after the Ravens and 49er's play to determine the winner in New Orleans- either Baltimore or San Francisco will be the champion city.  Two nations- Niner Nation and Raven Nation will dress in their respective colors, fly their flags and debate endlessly about who is better.   Two coaches- brothers-  will head their administrations. (kinda like Europe- only without the inbreeding).   But, in the end- no "war" will break out between the two towns.  No coup de tat to overthrow the respective gladiators.   No puppet regime will be controlled by other legendary NFL powerhouses.   And, even though "America's team" is not in the big game- we'll all acknowledge and accept whoever wins fairly and squarely.

Pretty cool stuff.    And in 8 months it will all start again- peacefully.   We live in an absolutely great country.

    Mike Ondayko

    Mike has been a Baltimore radio staple since 1995.   He can be heard weekday afternoons on Baltimore's Classic Rock Station:  100.7 The Bay.

    His meanderings are just that... a meandering.  Just thoughts scattered on the interwebs designed to entertain, incite and provoke.  Or.... perhaps divert for a moment or two.