Thank you for commenting. Yes…I am a wiseass

Its that time of the season when my body is constantly aching.  My legs, calves, ankles, feet and lower back are all requesting a steady diet of Advil.  All of the games that looked great last May and June when they were assigned to me have lost some of their shine in the present.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want to work them and love officiating its just the price that’s paid to work them.  The road trip there, up to an hour or more.  The boredom prior to the game, we’re there an hour before tip off and there’s only so much the same three crew mates can talk about.  The drive home and subsequent short night of rest before going back into work at 5:30 AM.  I love it…though it takes a toll.  Its that toll that prompted me to write a short Facebook post about what I’d like the fans, coaches and players to know about the games that I work.  I wrote it for family and friends to read.  Maybe a hundred people.  I wrote it in my usual witty wiseass way making a few valid points along the way.  It started getting shared immediately.  I changed my privacy settings to Public so that others might be able to read it. As of this morning its had almost three thousand likes and shares EACH.  That’s INSANE.  I’ve blogged seriously for several years and have never had a reaction like this.  Its been shared over-seas.  Its been written about in the Des Register.  I’ve had officials from all over contact me and thank me for writing and posting it.  There’s a movie deal in the works….(I’m lying now).  Seriously though, it’s perplexing to me how its resonated with folks.  Over five hundred comments, ninety-nine percent of them extremely positive.  A small fraction of the comments were negative.  I only deleted one, he was abusive. I kept the other negative comments to show readers what referees are up against.  Idiocy.  We’re up against idiocy.  A few folks wrote that I needed to “get out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat” or that I was being “thin-skinned”.  A long time coach questioned my motives.  Most readers of that post understood that I was being funny with a thread of truth that ran throughout.  For a  few others I commented that I had originally written this as a humorous post only for family and friends to read…not for the old ball coach at Cornstalk Community High to take as the Gospel.  Relax folks…if its on Facebook it’s not necessarily meant to be taken seriously…especially if its from yours truly.

Its been a good season.  Post-season officiating assignments are being released tomorrow with more games released later this month.  Its a honor to be assigned post-season games.  Fingers crossed I’ll get the call.

One sad note, our crew chief Joel is stepping aside.  Arthritis in his knees is making the games that we officiate together a painful burden.  He’ll still sub in for games when he can, but his departure is leaving a big hole.  He’s a big reason that I’ve gotten as far as I have in such a short time.  While we’ve gotten a replacement for him, and Jon will fit in just fine, we’ll miss our friend.

Dan, Joel and I

Dan, Joel and I

Until later please keep in mind that I am:

#1..a wise ass.

#2…see #1.

#3…don’t believe everything that you read on Facebook.

Fortunately for me I was asked to referee for the Special Olympics basketball tournament again this year.  Its one of the highlights of my season.  True story.

God bless.

R

 

No Speedo. No problem.

Blog #2 of 2 (I’m keeping it simple…its Wednesday for Heaven’s sake).

Our second port of call on our seven day cruise of the Caribbean was in Jamaica.  Again…stunningly beautiful sights.

Jamaica from our ship Oasis of the Sea's.

Jamaica from our ship Oasis of the Sea’s.

 

We walked around the port which was FILLED with shops that sold high-end, duty-free jewelry and liquor…and lot’s and lot’s of Bob Marley related merchandise, wood cravings and other touristy stuff.  Dave sampled the rum and coffee while I people watched.

"Hey buddy...you hot?"  I wonder if this is what folks do when they're hot, from where he hails from...?"

“Hey buddy…you hot?” I wonder if this is what folks do when they’re hot, from where he hails from…?”

Nothing says this is a "Jamaican Paradise" like Dairy Queen and Quizno's.

Nothing says this is a “Jamaican Paradise” like Dairy Queen and Quizno’s.

While at port in Jamaica the ladies refused to braid my hair.  It ruined my whole day.  I ROCK the CORNROWS!!

While at port in Jamaica the ladies refused to braid my hair. It ruined my whole day. I ROCK the CORNROWS!!

This was really, really good. I mean it.  Really good.

This was really, really good. I mean it. Really good.

Our last port of call was Cozumel Mexico where we had bought an excursion to visit a Mayan ruin via a MONSTER JEEP with a picnic on a virgin beach where we could swim, just $149 per person.  Those that really know me are aware that I’m not very cultured but the idea of visiting an ANCIENT Mayan Pyramid plus a virgin beach was too cool to pass up.  As it turns out…they were regular Jeeps (no biggie), we drove them (again..no problem) along a sandy and rocky trail (it got real interesting at this point with one Jeep at the head of the caravan getting stuck for almost an hour).  AAA roadside assistance wasn’t coming to our rescue.

This was our view most of the time while driving to the Mayan ruin...with an occasional well-armed soldier poking his head out of the brush every ten or fifteen minutes.  Who knows why they were out there?

This was our view most of the time while driving to the Mayan ruin…with an occasional well-armed soldier poking his head out of the brush every ten or fifteen minutes. Who knows why they were out there?

Mayan ruin.  A look out.  I was thinking that we'd see Mayan pyramids...nope.  This was it.

Mayan ruin. A look out. I was thinking that we’d see Mayan pyramids…nope. This was it.  Still cool.  Its dated at 400 AD. 

We departed the Mayan look out (it faced the coast…keeping an eye out for pirates and such) and drove to our VIRGIN BEACH with picnic lunch!!

The "catering truck" for our picnic

The “catering truck” for our picnic

Pathway to our virgin beach picnic.  The scenery was beautiful.  The virgin never appeared.

Pathway to our virgin beach picnic. The scenery was beautiful. The virgin never appeared.

We were all given blankets and umbrella's to share until our meal was ready.  That rain in the horizon....yeah...we got that.

We were all given blankets and umbrella’s to share until our meal was ready. That rain in the horizon….yeah…we got that.

I find it humorous that in a Spanish speaking country this sign is only in English...as in "only the Americans would be dumb enough to swim with this kind of rough surf."

I found it humorous that in a Spanish speaking country this sign is only in English…as in “only the Americans would be dumb enough to swim with this kind of rough surf.”

Me pointing towards America...I think...maybe it was Cuba.  Regardless, the water was warm and wonderful as long as you didn't go deeper than your knees.

Me pointing towards America…I think…maybe it was Cuba. Regardless, the water was warm and wonderful as long as you didn’t go deeper than your knees.  The riptide was very strong, the shoreline dropped off quickly.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but I passed on the picnic.  The meat used for the grill was stored in old, nasty looking buckets, they were touching the food with their hands (with no sinks, gloves or anything to wash their hands) and the only thing iced down were the beverages.  Maybe this is what passes in Mexico for a picnic, but for me…I could envision a night of intestinal issues back on the ship if I ate this meal.  Dave ate it, thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t have any problems.

This is Dave.  He fell asleep waiting for lunch.  I didn't have the heart to wake him up about the hermit crab that took up temporary shelter inside his shorts.  Sadly...it left prior to nappy boy waking up.  It would've been a terrific blog...

This is Dave. He fell asleep waiting for lunch. I didn’t have the heart to wake him up about the hermit crab that took up temporary shelter inside his shorts. Sadly…it left prior to nappy boy waking up. It would’ve been a terrific blog.

We made it back to our ship just fine, via a required stop at a “tequila ranch” where they tried to sell us tequila and souvenirs.  While the younger folks in our excursion raved about how much fun this was I felt like what was advertised and what was delivered were two different things.  It was my fault for not investigating more thoroughly before purchasing it.  Its quite a trip to get to the Mayan pyramids is what I was told…like two days of hiking.  Who knew?

The view along our way to the Mayan ruin.

The view along our way to the Mayan ruin.  Hard to beat this view on a Wednesday!

The food on the cruise varied anywhere from good to excellent.  Two examples follow.

Seafood Ceviche.  Shrimp. bay scallops, lime-marinated lobster, red onions, cucumbers, dill & cilantro.  One of my favorite appetizers.

Seafood Ceviche. Shrimp. bay scallops, lime-marinated lobster, red onions, cucumbers, dill & cilantro. One of my favorite appetizers.

Pork Scaloppine Oscar.  Crab meat, fresh asparagus, grill plum tomato and mashed potatoes with a veal reduction.

Pork Scaloppine Oscar. Crab meat, fresh asparagus, grill plum tomato and mashed potatoes with a veal reduction.

I have no conscience while on vacation...but this was probably meant for someone other than Dave or myself.

I have no conscience while on vacation…but this was probably meant for someone other than Dave or myself because this is HOW WE ROLL BABY!!

Dave's impressed.  He only gets this look in his eyes like only...every five years or so.  Its best to just let him finish.

Dave’s impressed. He only gets this look in his eyes…every five years or so. Its best to just let him finish.

Sadly...all seven of my Speedo's were confiscated by the TSA.  The "incident" at Disney World in 2005 continues to haunt me. This dude ROCKS it old school.

Sadly…all seven of my Speedo’s were confiscated by the TSA. The “incident” at Disney World in 2005 continues to haunt me. This dude ROCKS it old school.

I've seen thousands of sunsets from my beloved home state of Iowa.  These were equally beautiful.

I’ve seen thousands of sunsets from my beloved home state of Iowa. These were equally beautiful.

The cruise had plenty of shows and activities to keep us occupied.  Dave especially enjoyed the Broadway style shows, while I usually passed and just walked around the ship or retired for the night.  One of the great things of having such a good friend (of 30+ years) is that we were fine with splitting off from each other and doing our own thing.  I enjoyed shooting baskets at the basketball court then grabbing an ice old beer then swimming while Dave did his thing.  We didn’t need to be joined at the hip to enjoy the cruise.  Folks may think that without our wives along to chaperone us that we’d get crazy and stay out late.  The majority of the time we were in our room before eleven each night.  Did we drink a little too much a couple of times?  Hell yeah…we’re not DEAD!!  But nothing that a little nap and Tylenol couldn’t take care of.  This cruise was a very self-centered extravagance for me.  I doubt that I’ll ever cruise again, but I’m glad that we went.  It was wonderful, except that I really missed Connie.  After I returned home I wouldn’t leave her alone for two days.  She had to grab a stick and whack me with it shouting “DOWN BOY!!” until I got the message.  (true story…I’ll show you the welts later…)

Do you remember all of those baseball and basketball games that I blab about?  Those games paid for this trip.  All of the times that I’ve hustled up and down a court, getting into position?  All of those times that I’ve stood on a hot and windy baseball field in the late day sun with sweat trickling down my back?  THOSE paid for this trip.  I can’t say that I earned this trip…but it was a real nice deal.

Yours truly...looking out from the Mayan look out.

Yours truly…looking out from the Mayan look out.

Its great to be home.  Good to be back at work (I need routine) and I hope that you’ve enjoyed these last two blogs.  As alwaysGod bless and take care!

R

 

Reeding is gud…..

So…I’m on vacation this week with nothing really going on except for the chores that I’ve put off until now, like cleaning out our tool shed (which consequently doesn’t contain any tools in it, and organizing my tool bench (which is where all of my tools are piled haphazardly…its just the way that I roll. Deal with it.) I did stop by the magazine stand at the grocery store this morning to pick up a little reading material for while I laze about the pool here at the Palatial Estates and Worldwide Headquarters of RIPLEY INDUSTRIES. Thee old magazine stand always gives me a chuckle whilst I peruse their selections. Case in point:

Only in a city like Cedar Rapids would you find magazines about chickens, where "free range" chickens in your backyard are legal.  Actually...there were three different magazines to choose from...I just couldn't get them all in the same frame.  I think that they should put these next to the "cooking" section....you know...cuz they's gonna be gettin' eatin' soon enough.  Mmmm...free range fried chicken is one of my favorites.

Only in a city like Cedar Rapids would you find magazines about chickens, where “free range” chickens in your backyard are legal. Actually…there were three different magazines to choose from…I just couldn’t get them all in the same frame. I think that they should put these next to the “cooking” section….you know…cuz they’s gonna be gettin’ eatin’ soon enough. Mmmm…free range fried chicken is one of my favorites.

Quilt Life combines my love of the open road on a motorcycle with my obsession with quilting.  One badass-quilter...that's ME!!

Quilt Life combines my love of the open road on a motorcycle with my obsession with quilting. One badass-quilter…that’s ME!!

PASSS!!!

PASSS!!!

HOT SEX!!  24 MOVES?!  Hells bells...I can't even remember where I put the bottle of ketchup in the frig last night and you want me to remember 24 moves?  (any more than four and you're showin' off in my book)

HOT SEX!! 24 MOVES?! Hells bells…I can’t even remember where I put the bottle of ketchup in the frig last night and you want me to remember 24 moves? (any more than four and you’re showin’ off in my book)

This is my dream...owning a cabin somewhere.  Love me some cabin-time.

This is my dream…owning a cabin somewhere. Love me some cabin-time.

As mentioned earlier…I’m on vacation…so plan on a few more blogs this week…that tool shed that I’m supposed to clean will wait for now.

Peace,
R

Siriusly…?

Writers block. I got nothing to write about. My expert writers at RIPLEY INDUSTRIES are all on their summer sabbatical (one’s reroofing his hen house while the other is changing out the clutch in his truck). Since they’re out of the office I’m “on” for this weeks blog. Here are some random thoughts from the CEO:

Siriusly? We just bought a new car. A Ford Focus. It replaces our Ford F250 ten cylinder truck. Its sporty…almost too nice for me to drive. We love the 34 MPG verses the 10 MPG we were used to getting in the truck. So many new buttons and whistles. It came with a free three-month subscription to SiriusXM radio. Satellite radio with hundreds of entertainment options. Hip-hop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Pop, Christian, Dance and Electronic, Jazz, Classical, Kids, Politics, Traffic and Weather, Comedy, Latino, Religion, Sports, News and Public Radio and on and on and on. I recently had a chance to drive long enough to listen to many of these channels (my usual commute is ten minutes or less). I found out that satellite radio is a lot like cable TV…many options but, honestly, I only need TWO channels. Classic 70’s rock and Classic 80’s rock. Who’d want to change the channel when you can rock on down the highway to the Captain and Tennille’s “Love Can Keep Us Together”? Heh? Not this guy!! At $150 for a years subscription…we’ll pass, but thanks for asking.

A lot of folks take cheap shots at mega-retailer WalMart. I’m not one of them. They embrace who they are, an ultra-large company with great prices on the vast selection of goods that they sell (I’d embrace myself too if I were that successful and wealthy). They’ve never advertised that they’re the fastest at checking out your purchases, so I’m kind of confused when folks shop there and complain about the long lines…that’s the trade-off folks. I love their wide selection of some of the wackiest stuff, which I never buy but love to caption. They are as follows:

Finally a commercial bakery has captured the delicious taste of the hard and stony substance secreted by marine coelenterates as external skeletons into an individually wrapped in cellophane baked treat!!!   CAN I HAVE ANOTHER CORAL CAKE MOM?!

Finally a commercial bakery has captured the delicious taste of the hard and stony substance secreted by marine coelenterates as external skeletons into an individually wrapped in cellophane baked treat!!! CAN I HAVE ANOTHER CORAL CAKE MOM?!

As a child did you have a cousin with a voracious appetite for Play Dough but could never prove that he was eating it?  Well now you can!!  When your Lumi Dough starts to disappear just stick your suspected cousin into a darkened closet and BAM!!   Mystery solved...or it could be your dog...if your dogs logs glow at night...there's your sign.

As a child did you have a cousin with a voracious appetite for Play Dough but could never prove that he was eating it? Well now you can!! When your Lumi Dough starts to disappear just stick your suspected cousin into a darkened closet and BAM!! Mystery solved…or it could be your dog…if your dogs logs glow at night…there’s your sign.

Yes...please...give your 8 year old a "starter DJ kit".  Whatever happened to kids riding bikes....?

Yes…please…give your 8 year old a “starter DJ kit”. Whatever happened to kids riding bikes….?

...get Junior one of these and he could start making some serious cash chalking newly blacktopped roads, streets and parking lots.  Those Coral Cakes don't grow on trees!!

…get Junior one of these and he could start making some serious cash chalking newly blacktopped roads, streets and parking lots. Those Coral Cakes don’t grow on trees!!

And finally…I worked with an old baseball umpire last week as my partner. Umpires, as a whole, usually have several stories to share with whomever they’re working with that game. Honestly, several games have been delayed because the umpires were too entranced in each others stories to start the next inning. Umpires stories parallel those of fishermen, except that they’re usually telling something closely resembling the truth. The following is a pretty good story. It seems that this umpire was working a baseball game where one team was being thrashed by its opponent. THRASHED. The losing coach was fed up with his players and was making it a point to get thrown out (ejected). He hollered. He pouted. He gestured wildly. He was making a scene…all so that he’d get ejected and get to leave the ball park and go sit on the bus and not have to witness his teams ineptness that night. My partner walked over to the dugout, called the coach over to him and told him “Coach…I’m not going to toss you tonight. If I gotta stay out here and watch this then so do you.” With that my partner returned to his position and he didn’t hear anything else out of that coach for the rest of the night. Not. One. Peep.

Have a great week. God bless!
Peace!
R

Frigid Friday 5

Totally FREE of charge to you….another RIPLEY INDUSTRIES Friday 5 (not to be confused with last weeks “Fabulous Friday 5”)

#1…I work retail and consequently…several Sunday’s a month I find myself at the store TOILING AWAY. What bothers me are the Christians who look down on those of us that “work on the Sabbath.” While I understand where they’re coming from I see many of them shopping either prior to, or after church, or make others work by going out to a restaurant, etc. I usually get my “Sabbath” during a weekday, taking time to “do” my Christian stuff then as well as throughout the rest of the week. Honestly…if the only time that you’re thinking or praying to God is for a couplea hours on Sunday morning then you’re doing it wrong in my opinion.

#2…The oak trees in our backyard, being the comedic sadists that they are, release many of their leaves during the late fall and, oftentimes, winter months. This leaves (pun intended) hundreds of thousands of leaves just lying around our backyard where in a couplea weeks they’ll choke out the young, fresh grass that’s trying in vain to grow. GRASS-KILLERS those dead oak leaves. So I fired up “Ol’ Red” (my cheaply built, cast iron push mower that weighs roughly 500 pounds) and pushed it back and forth over said dead oak leaves…turning hundreds of thousands of dead oak leaves into BILLIONS OF DEAD OAK LEAF BITS. With it feeling like 26 degrees out there with a northwest wind cruising in at almost 30 miles per hour…I hope that the grass appreciates it.

#3…While traipsing throughout our backyard this morning (read #2) I noticed that the local deer population absolutely loved to loiter on our scenic property (otherwise known as THE PALATIAL ESTATES AND WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS OF RIPLEY INDUSTRIES). What I also noticed is that they have quite healthy digestive systems and are TOTALLY AT EASE…fertilizing our yard. (I doubt that they’re eating dead oak leaves)

#4…Not being much for setting goals I find myself kinda pumped at trying to become a high school baseball umpire. I should make it, but nothings guaranteed. My goal setting usually ends up less than I had hoped for like when I tried some new weightlifting exercises and aggravated the arthritis in my neck and shoulder last week. Two trips to my chiro and I’m almost back to normal, but that pain is something that I can do without.

#5…My bride turns another year older this weekend. She’s saving up money for her trip to Japan so she doesn’t want a cake or gift, just the cash equivalent for spending $ while in Japan. Here’s one of my favorite photos of her, taken by me last September in her classroom. She was working late and I brought some sandwiches. Connie’s “all business” at school. Goes in at 7AM, doesn’t leave the building until 5 or much later. The reason that I like this photo so much is that she can’t tell if I’m screwing around or just being an idiot (there IS a difference) and I got it on film. I’m funny. I know it, she knows it…but I rarely get her to laugh NOR do I pull the wool over her eyes…for long. This is one of those brief moments. The look in her beautiful green eyes and expression are priceless to me. They say “What…is he doing…really?”

Connie Sue.  Wife.  Best-Friend.  Teacher.  Mother. Comedic foil.

Connie Sue. Wife. Best-Friend. Teacher. Mother. Comedic foil.

Have a great weekend and God bless!
R

Five to reflect on…

#1…I’ve changed the look of my blog, adding the image of “I’m kind of a big deal” as my theme. It’s a long-standing joke with me and those close to me that whenever someone acts or tells you that “they’re a big deal”….they aren’t really that big of a deal at all….which is why I sometimes introduce myself to others as “I’m kind of a big deal around here”. Its funny in a self-deprecating way and puts others at ease. “Big deals” such as myself commonly get told “Rich…someone just got sick to their stomach, aisle five needs a mop as soon as possible” so you know that I’m “way up there” on the proverbial totem pole of hierarchy.

#2…As I was driving home from work Christmas Eve night I frantically searched the radio dial for something other than Christmas music. Truth be told…I love Christmas music for about two days…then I can’t stand it as I hear it ten hours a day for a month. So while at a stop sign I searched the arm rest of my truck and found….a cassette tape that I had recorded….wait for it…on September 2nd 1984. This cassette was from back in the day when me and my buddies would get together and record music from RECORD ALBUMS to cassette tapes. It didn’t take seconds…it took the length of the time it took to play the song on the album. On this particular tape I had Prince (from his Purple Rain soundtrack), The Human League, Naked Eyes, Saga, Hall and Oates and Billy Idol. I smiled slyly as Prince belted out “Let’s Go Crazy” as I drove through the blackness of a snowy winters eve. If you had told an 18-year-old Rich Ripley back in 1984 that he’d be listening to this very cassette on Christmas Eve in 2013 he’d have probably said…”Where’s the John Denver cassette? He’s a really good singer too!” (Dead serious…I like John Denver and I ain’t apologizing…since I’m a big deal and all) After hearing that cassette I’m adding Ozzy, Night Ranger, Prince and some ELO to my iPhone music library. One thing that I did find out about myself in 2013…I like a little Lady Gaga. Somehow she ended up on my phone since my family and I share one account…so whatever they buy…ends up on my phone too. Pa Pa Pa Poker face…poker face. (Lady Gaga reference)

#3…Is it just me or does anyone else get a little tired of “new technology”? I just get used to using something and then an upgrade comes along and all hell breaks loose since the new and improved upgrade doesn’t “do” something that I really enjoyed using and it’ll take a couplea days for the kinks to get worked out….if at all. I’m not complaining about the change so much as the process of really thinking this thing through from the folks who initiate the change to begin with. Being told to just “play with it and you’ll figure it out” isn’t a viable option many days. “Playtime” for me doesn’t include computers.

#4…My best read blog of 2013…was about Hawaii, Pearl Harbor in fact, and not about me in my swimsuit. (apparently I’m not that BIG a deal in a swimsuit)

#5…2013 was a great year for me. I accomplished several goals that I had set for myself. Kept the weight off, dropped 20 points on my cholesterol and enjoyed myself. I have big goals for 2014 that I might be setting too high but for now…I’ll divulge one. To live the Matthew 25 ministry more often. It’s the one where the Lord told us that whenever you clothe the poor, feed the hungry or visit the lonely that you’re clothing Him, feeding Him and visiting Him. I fail in that mission more often than not, and am convicted. I commit myself to work on that as a priority this year, big deals are supposed to do that kind of stuff ya know?


Peace and hope to you and yours this 2014.
R

Put out to pasture…on a bus

I’ve been blessed throughout my life to be around some pretty cool people, not like Eric Clapton or Winston Churchill cool, just “regular cool”. Recently one of the cool guys in my life decided to retire from being at our workplace and start driving a school bus, which sounds like a prison sentence to me, but Mike has solid reasons for doing it. At the tender age of sixty some years of life he’d like to try something different and get off of his feet, which sitting in the drivers seat of a school bus does fulfill. Never having done something like this Mike is kind of jazzed up and excited. He’s been in the Navy, been a salesperson, fulltime artist, and department manager in grocery store…so working with children and having to maneuver said school bus through city streets is, in my mind, like herding cats. I wish him nothing but the best, he deserves it.

Mike, by the way, was the main encourager of me starting this blog. He’d listen to my ideas and read my writings and encourage me to find someway to get them on-line. He pointed me to the guy who could get me started and usually comments via e-mail regarding my latest blogs. Most of you haven’t read his witticisms, which is a shame. Mike’s also one of my biggest fans when it came to me getting started into officiating basketball. During our usually busy and stressful day Mike would ask me about either this blog or my games which, for that moment, would distract me from the day and onto something pleasant. I’d walk away from that conversation feeling better. Thank you Mike for encouraging me to do both blogging and officiating. Thank you also for your many Navy stories, and your service to country and our company.

Now folks in my family and close friends usually get some sort of tongue-in-cheek humorous attempt at a Top Ten List, so with no further adieu:

TOP TEN LIST OF THINGS THAT I’LL MISS ABOUT NOT HAVING MIKE AROUND

#1…The way that he always led us in Hot Yoga before the store opened every morning. So flexible that Mister Ryan!
#2…The way that he looked a lot like the Lorax from Dr. Seuss whenever he let his mustache grow out. Spooky-looking Lorax.
#3…The way that he would warm-up the company Christmas Party crowd with his Burl Ives rendition of “Have a holly jolly Christmas”.
#4…His near world record attempt of eating 25 pickled eggs in ten minutes.
#5…His near world record expulsion of said 25 pickled eggs in fifteen seconds.
#6…His love of the Republican party.
#7…His enate ability to whistle the song “Dixie” through his nose. It sounds uncannily like a piccolo.
#8…His wife Judy’s Holiday Rum cake. It should be considered a National Treasure. Dead serious.
#9…His total joy of regaling us with stories of his and Judy’s children and grandchildren. They’d travel to Antarctica to see them. If you belong to Mike and Judy Ryan, forget about it…you can do nothing wrong, they are so proud of you and they will love you always and forever. End of subject.
#10..His love of being a people person. While others preach it, Mike’s old school. He likes people…most people…some more than others…hell…he’s over sixty…give him a break…he probably just needs a nap or something…or a laxative…probably both…and maybe a pickled egg or two.

Happy retirement Mike!! I will miss you.
R

Customer Appreciation….? Not so much

Okay….so I’m driving home last night when I see a local grocery store having a “customer appreciation” night in their parking lot complete with free hot dogs, drinks, activities for the kids and an inflatable bouncy house. I love bouncy houses. So I parked my truck and hauled ass into said bouncy house and totally rocked that thing for like twenty or thirty minutes before an authority figure complete with a white shirt, tie and name badge showed up at the entrance of my bouncy house. Mister Authority told me that I was “too old” to be in the bouncy house. I told him that I have “that disease that ages children and makes them look hideously old and partially balding” so “lay off me, man!!” (he doesn’t believe me) He then tells me that I’m above the posted individual weight limit to which I reply (while bouncing…it is a bouncy house) “I’m just big-boned”. By this time a crowd had gathered around the bouncy house to see what Mister Authority’s next move is AND because I’m really, really good at bouncing inside bouncy houses (kudos to the folks who put this bad-boy up. The PSI ratio to weight was exceptional. That’s Pounds per Square Inch for all of you non-inflation to weight ratio types). Anyway…Mister Authority tried to take matters into his own hands and enter said bouncy house to either:

A…join me and enjoy the bouncy house on his employers dime. OR

B…attempt to remove me (good luck with that)

Mister Authority didn’t get very far as he couldn’t get a reasonable foothold to get into the bouncy house since I never stopped bouncing and he wasn’t the “bouncy house kind of guy.” (we all know who they are…) I eventually relent and am pulled from my bouncy house by Mister Authority and two of his underlings which is good since I was kind of getting tired though I didn’t feel very appreciated at that point, but the crowd that I had attracted was really cheering me on (I’m a bit of a wallflower) and the attention wasn’t doing me any good. Throngs of folks, with the exception of one older lady, patted me on the back and wished me well (I told you that I’m really, really good at bouncing inside bouncy houses….a guy doesn’t make up stuff like this.)

I had a free hot dog and was disappointed at its substandard quality and made a mental note to let the manager know of my displeasure with it, still it was a pretty good night.

Peace,
R

Top Ten List of Things That You Never Knew about richripley

Top Ten List of Things That You Never Knew About richripley

1. At the core I’m quite shy. I can prove this; just try singing “Happy Birthday” to me on my birthday. I’ll throat punch you, or at least attempt to silence you. I want attention on my terms. Though I’m shy…I have an R rated sense of humor which most folks never see or hear until I’ve taken them into my confidence. Not like F-bomb, R rated, just stuff that you wouldn’t think I’d say until you knew me.

2. I can listen to Huey Lewis and The News for hours. Hours. They’re my favorite band. (sorry Johhny Thunderslapp Lentz) My favorite color, red in all shades.

3. I think about my family constantly. From my wife and kids to Mom, brothers, aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, etc. They’ve been a blessing to me and I love them all. All.

4. At the age of fifty I’ll change my name back to Dick. When I was growing up all of the old guys who were named Richard went by Dick. At fifty, if I live that long, I’m going that way too. When they announce my name at a varsity game as one of the officials it’ll be brutal, but old dudes are immune to stuff like that so suck it.

5. I’m quite sentimental. I get choked up watching beer commercials on TV. Dead serious.

6. I wish that I had gone to college and become a meteorologist, or real-estate agent…or both. “..if you look closely at the radar you’ll see a tornado near the Bowman Woods development on the northeast side where, by the way, I have several homes listed at very reasonable prices, close to good schools, a public pool and just fifteen minutes from downtown Cedar Rapids…and look!! The library just moved three blocks closer!!” But seriously…I honestly felt that I’d be much more successful than what I’ve ended up as. Such is life.

7. While I have hundreds of friends and a handful of close friends, I have one best friend. We’re almost polar opposites. He’s an axe-wielding hippie hitchhiker bent on preventing the inevitable zombie apocalypse while I’m more like “dude…how’s your Mom?” while we drink a couplea beers. Honestly…we’re just different from one another and I think that’s why we enjoy each other’s company. Best friends going on 29 years this August.

8. I’m inept at many, many things. Just ask my wife. I cannot fix the: computer, TV, car, truck, garage door, electrical outlet, IPhone, camera, dryer, washer, refrigerator OR anything requiring mechanical ability, mathematical aptitude or the proper use of apostrophes. I was instead gifted with a witty and somewhat R rated sense of humor to keep the rest of you people laughing, so suck it.

9. I wake up in pain every morning. I hope that this is just the whole “getting old” thing that folks complain about. It seems every part of me makes some sort of sound, crack or pop as I hobble down the stairs to the kitchen. I feel better after a cup of coffee and some stretching…but man…is this going to get worse?

10. I’m impatient, shy, attention-deficient, and OCD…and that’s just during foreplay (HIIIII-OOOooooo!!!! There’s that R-rated sense of humor rearing its naughty head again…DOWN BOY!!) Anyway…I’m some of each of those, a regular buffet of anxiety sprinkled with anger glazed with shyness with some other character flaw that I cannot remember at this time (but if you need a punch-line I’ll have one for you quickly)…..anyway….if you don’t care for me, wait an hour…I’m bound to change.

11. (I told you earlier in #8 that I’m no good at number-thingies so just deal with the fact that this Top 10 List has eleven) I believe that there are such things as ghosts, spirits, etc. I have no idea how or why they’re around, but I think that there are some folks who can communicate with them. Do I ever wish to speak with the dead, NO. I also think that there are other life forms outside of our universe. I think God is great enough to have created more than just us. That’s my two cents.

Peace,
R

Letters to the editor PART 9

Letters to the editor part 9

It’s been quite a while since we’ve opened up the old mailbag and answered reader mail that literally pours in everyday here at the vast and varied RIPLEY INDUSTRIES COMPLEX here in beautiful Cedar Rapids Iowa. Why just the other day our mailman, Ed, was bitching about having to come all the way out here just to deliver one fan letter, two mass pizza coupon mailings and a free pass to a Native American casino just forty-five minutes south and west of here. Ed needs to retire, but he’s only seventy-one which is prime mail-delivering years in the USPS view. Anywho…in no particular order, here are some reader letters…from real live people (honest).

Gretchen of Postville IA writes: How’s your new smart phone working out? Super Gretchen, just super. I can access my personal e-mail while at my job, and update my Facebook status constantly to “still working my ass off.” (Folks want to know that kind of stuff). For the life of me I cannot figure out why they call them ‘smart phones’ as I don’t feel any smarter. Are they fun to have around? Sure. I recently downloaded some music off ITunes to my phone, the sad deal is that IPhones have a small glitch in them that makes it so you have to sync all the music on your ITunes account to your phone…so I got all of my wife’s and daughters crappy music onto my phone now. On the flip side of that coin they’ll have to download some of my recent purchases. I’m certain that they’ll be thrilled with my Pink Floyd, Statler Brothers, Van Halen, The Cult and Buck Owens purchases. Thrilled.

Patrick of West Liberty IA queries: You wrote about having all kinds of “protection” for your first baseball game as an umpire, except thee most important protection…know what I mean? I sure do, Patrick, that is if you’re referring to term life insurance…ZING!! No…honestly, I know that you’re referring to…the “cup” that protects the “old twig and berries” that, if hit, makes a guy feel like the Grim Reaper cannot come fast enough. I do, in fact, wear said protection…at the umpires clinics that I attended the guys in charge made it abundantly clear to invest in that particular piece of equipment. It’s a no-brainer, really. It’s easy to wear and according to the internet…top rack dishwasher safe for cleaning. (I’ve convinced my wife that it’s a single serve colander for noodles (which is kind of half true…the noodle part). Thanks for writing Pat!!

Mabel of Shady Acres Retirement Village of Irvine CA…Hey pretty boy!! When are you gonna start putting out swimsuit calendars again?! Octogenarians want to know!! Mabel…you make me blush, which isn’t easy these days as I’m pretty much tainted from all my years in retail, but I’ll explain why I don’t do many photo shoots any longer. In a nutshell (funny that the word “nut” comes up, heh?) I was tired of being just another middle-aged man with a pretty face and respectable love-handles. There…I said it. Come to my games and heckle me in person, OR just watch any George Clooney movie…I hear that we bear a remarkable resemblance to each other….if George had a bald spot, patchy back hair and acid reflux at 2 in the morning from eating a piece of his daughter’s birthday cake after eight o’clock at night. Damn near identical twins me and George.

That wraps up this edition of reader mail for the mean time so be safe, eat right, get plenty of sleep and for Heaven’s sake…stay away from late night birthday cake.
Peace
R