Sunday, October 31, 2021

October 31, 1991: It was thirty years ago today…

It was thirty years ago today—October 31, 1991—that I celebrated my 30th birthday.  My mom and 3 sisters Shawn, Donda-Lin & Courtney drove to Pittsburgh to visit me at my first apartment in the city, and Mom brought cafe curtains for my kitchen window and a chocolate fudge cake with a jack o’lantern hiding in its center. 

We went to dinner at Damons, a prime rib restaurant at the nearby Waterworks Mall and it was just a great day.  Towards the end of their visit, while we were enjoying Mom’s cake, my sister Shawn asked if I had any plans on getting married soon, because if I wanted a kid of my own I wasn’t getting any younger.  Mom told her to stop pushing and I laughed and said Shawn made a good point. 

But I already had what I pretty much wanted.  After dropping out of college in 1981 and floundering thru most of the Eighties, I returned to school in ‘87, graduated in ‘89 and began my career (in IT, as a software developer) on January 2, 1990.  I finally had my own place, a job I loved, and some money in the bank. 

The Nineties would turn out to be my favorite decade.  (Heck, with 3 Star Trek series on TV, and shows like X-Files, Seinfeld & Frasier it was even my favorite decade for TV!)

Anyway, here I am thirty years later, sitting in my robe, in disbelief that today I am a 60 year old man.  I have some blogging friends who are several years older, who say 60 is still whippersnapper territory.  All I know is I’m retired, have a head of mostly white hair and 3 prescriptions I take daily for high blood pressure & urine flow that remind me I’m not a kid anymore, either.

Geez, am I even considered middle aged?  According to, “middle age is the years in adulthood between 40 & 60.”  Well between you & me, in my head I still think like a 15 year old.  Well, a 15 year old from 1976. 

Here’s some awesome birthday cards I got this week, and one (from my friend Susie) even had a $10 bill inside.  What the—!  When’s the last time you got a birthday card with real dough inside? 

Thanks so much Erin, Susie, Pam, Courtney, Shawn, Donda-Lin and Canadian Chuck & Robin.  And Happy Halloween to anyone else out there reading my 60 year old drivel!


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Day 6 of my “No Sofa” therapy: bah, I’m still in a slump

Here’s my favorite spot in my apartment, this area on my couch beside the lamp.  When I sit down here, I have my laptop computer under my left hand and my phone, tv remote or cup of coffee in my right. 

With the tv seven feet dead ahead, this is the ideal spot for my base of operations.

I’ve never been fond of the expression “couch potato”, but it certainly fits me very well, I’m afraid.  (I’m just being honest here, and I very much hope no one gets the bright idea of schooling me on the dangers of being one, because I’m fully aware, thank you.)

Well, I haven’t been a couch potato for the last 6 days anyway.  Since I started those heavy-duty hypertension meds the first week of September (that my doctor is inisisting I stick with for at least 3 months as they seem to be the only ones really working), and developing severe edema in my left leg and foot as a result, I began to notice that prolonged couch-sitting really seems to make the leg worse; even when my club-foot is propped up on a pouf. 

On the other hand, my leg & foot are at their best when I climb out of bed in the morning.  They’re still swollen, but only half as much.  It’s only after I sit down on my couch, get on my laptop for an hour or so to answer emails or read blogs, watch tv for a couple hours, doze off…  by lunchtime the leg & foot are fully swollen again.

Here’s how things look at 7am, right after getting out of bed.  The left (bottom) leg & foot are stiff as heck, but the swelling is reduced by half until noon

So several days ago, I thought “What if I could stay off my couch for a week or so and see if it will keep that swelling down longer?” 

And for the last week, that’s just what I’ve been doing.

I decided to make that my only rule.  What I mean is, if I want to lie on my bed and eat bon-bons, or stand on my head in front of my tv or park my posterior on the toilet seat lid for the afternoon, whatever it takes to STAY AWAY FROM THE COUCH FOR 10 DAYS. 

As of this writing, it’s been six days and I think it’s helping reduce the swelling some… I dunno.

I can’t say it’s helping my backside, it’s been pretty achy from spending my nights sitting bowlegged on the floor in front of my tv.

My stomach muscles are sore too,  I’m typing this while laying on my belly on the living room floor and let’s just say the term “roly poly” comes to mind.  Remember those round bottomed toys “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”?  That’s me on my stomach.

(I tried typing at my dining table, but I have to reach up to the keyboard and it hurts my wrists.)  Anyway, hanging out on the floor sure was easier when we were kids!

I’m sorry, I know this was a goofy-ass read.  I’m just not in the mood to write or do much of anything else for that matter.  In a couple hours I have appointments for my covid booster, haircut & flu shot, all in that order. 

At least it will get me off of the floor and out of the apartment.

My brother Steve & sister Shawn on the couch, with me on the floor holding our family cat Mimi, my sister Donda & brother Duke in front of the tv set, circa 1972

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

ApacheDug goes Hawaiian—well, with pizza I mean

Did you know Hawaiian pizza is a Canadian invention?  It was created by a Greek immigrant in southern Ontario in 1962.  (He was curious what pineapple would taste like on a pizza crust.)  Hold it, says Germany!  We’ve been enjoying ham, pineapple & cheese on toast and calling it Toast Hawaii since 1955.  Australia doesn’t care who came up with it, in 1999 it was their most popular pizza on the menu.

I’ve only eaten Hawaiian Pizza once, at my 17 year old niece Sophia’s 4th birthday party.  I remember liking it, so why have I waited this long to try it again?

I decided I’d make one myself, googled Hawaiian pizza, and came up with 50 versions of the recipe.  I read the ingredients of half of them, then came up with my own game plan.

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F, line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil.  I rubbed the foil down with 2 tablespoons olive oil, this will give the crust a nice sizzle.


2.  Break open a can of Pillsbury Pizza Crust, shape it out to fit the pan.  Yikes, this dough was ice cold!  After I finished, I covered the pan with a dishtowel and let it warm to room temperature for 20 minutes. This also allowed the dough to rise some.


3.  I spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce blended with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.  That doesn’t sound copacetic, but turned out to be very tasty.  I think this would also make a perfect sauce for barbecue chicken pizza.


4.  Sprinkled on 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 3 slices of precooked breakfast ham (aka canadian bacon), chopped.
5.  Next I added half a red pepper, and 3 pineapple rings, both chopped.
6.  Finally, I fried and crumbled 2 strips of bacon, and sprinkled on top with a small handful of shredded cheddar cheese.  I’ll bake this in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes.
 7.  The pizza is ready.  Boi does this smell good!
I enjoyed the first slice at my kitchen window, watching the rustle of fall leaves outside; I had my second slice in front of the tv, while watching the 1940 classic “Doctor Cyclops”.  This sweet n’ savory combo turned out much better than I expected.  Yep, life is good!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

70+ years ago, a look back at the (original) Morris kids

I’ve always loved this old photograph of my dad and his brothers & sisters.  In the upper left is Dad, in front of him is my (shirtless) Uncle Mike.  In the top center is my Aunt Dena, followed by my Aunt Terry & their youngest brother, Uncle Shane.

But who is the elderly woman in the center of things?   Many of my relatives say she was their grandmother, my great grandmother Carrie Morris.  Carrie died in March 1948, at the age of 73.  This woman looks older than that, but I suppose “back then” older people looked older than they do today.  

This photo, taken in 1948, must’ve been shortly before her passing.

I wondered about their (maternal) Grandmother Temple, but when I began digging through old records, Blanche Temple died in 1932 at the age of 43.  I knew my Grandma Morris’ dad Justus Temple passed in 1970, but I had no idea or had completely forgotten Grandma Morris’ mom had died at such an early age. 

It always surprises me how quickly many of us forget or simply don’t know where we came from.

Grandpap & Grandma Morris celebrating a Happy New Year, 1950

For instance, I didn’t know (or didn’t remember) my Grandma Morris also came from a family of 3 brothers & 3 sisters;  Dorothy May (Grandma), Elmer, Benjamin, Betty, Robert & Terry.  I remember great-uncle Bob, and I got birthday cards for years from great-aunt Terry.  A vague memory of Betty & no recollection of Elmer & Benjamin Temple.

My grandpap’s family had 5 kids and I saw his brother (great-Uncle Kenneth) at Morris gatherings for years, and their older sister Ruth who passed in 1986.  But that’s it. 

Y’know, for losing her own mom at such an early age, Grandma Morris was not only a terrific grandmother, but a much-loved Mom as well.  I mean it, my dad & his siblings were fiercely devoted to her for as long as I can remember. 

I was pretty close to her myself and wrote a blog about her here. It’s been 25 years since she left us, I still think about her every day.  Saturday is her birthday, she’d be 107.

In 2016 when I moved back home for 6 months, I ran into my Aunt Dena at the local Giant Eagle and we talked for a good hour.  All I could think was why don’t we do this more often.  My Aunt Dena (the oldest of the Morris kids and the only one who attended college, was an English teacher at Waynesburg High School for 40 years) told me a great story from those early years.

She said the first year she came home from college (for Christmas break), she was feeling a little more ‘worldly’ and in no hurry to return to the family farm.  Grandpap had just brought in their Christmas tree, and Grandma yelled for Aunt Dena to come down & join them in decorating it.  Aunt Dena declined, saying she wasn’t interested.

She said the next thing she heard was a STOMP STOMP STOMP on the stairs, Grandma coming into her room, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her off her bed and down the steps while Dena scrambled & kicked all the way.  She shouted “Let me go!” and Grandma yelled back “You can be fancy all you want out there, but in this house you’re still part of this family!”

Oh that makes me laugh everytime I picture it—I’ll always be thankful I’m a part of this family too. 

Love them all & missing Grandma, Dad & Uncle Shane, who were taken too soon.  I’m not a person of faith, but I sure do enjoy the notion of them being back together again.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Here’s the story of a lovely lady… oh wait, it’s just my friend Danielle

Recently my friend Danielle surprised me with this early birthday present, a pair of 8 x 10 lithographs of… the Brady House!   (I’m definitely going to frame one of these beauties, I think the bottom one.)   This isn’t something I’m especially proud of, but I suppose I was a big fan of the Brady Bunch in it’s heyday and awhile after, and still keep up with the latest doin’s of the cast. 

(Did you know Susan Olsen, who played the youngest girl Cindy, is a godawful Trumper?  Oh the humanity!)

Several generations of kids grew up with this show of course, but I’m one of the original fans who watched it Friday nights at 8pm from 1969 to 1974.  I’ve probably mentioned it here once or 10 times before, but I can still remember the night of it’s premiere, my mom turning to Dad and saying “Who do they think is going to watch this sh-t?” 

(She should’ve known better than to ask; her and Dad had 5 kids, with a sixth on the way.  3 boys and 3 girls, just like the Bradys!  I’m the middle boy in my family, but I’m the same age as Mike Lookinland, who played the youngest boy Bobby.)

In fact, this is how Danielle & I became friends.  In 2011, when she transferred to my work-group in our company, she was being led around and introduced.  When she was brought over to my desk, the person doing the introductions said “You’ll like Doug, he’s a Brady Bunch fan too.”   (How did they know that, and how did they know that about her?) 

I said “Well, there’s a lot of people out there who claim they’re fans, but know next-to-nothing about the show.   You’re probably one of them, and I’ll be proving that in the weeks ahead with a series of quizzes you’ll be given.”  

She said “Bring ‘em on!”   I did, and she surprised me greatly; she knew as much as me and I’m the BRADY MASTER.

Last year when HGTV reconstructed the interior of the actual home used to film exterior shots for the show, they had a comprehensive online ‘walking tour’. 

I studied every room and was surprised to discover only ONE clock in the entire house, on Alice’s nightstand. 

When I relayed my findings to Danielle, I got a lecture in return on how Alice was mistreated by the family.  See, this is what mental fans do!

Of course, as time went by we learned we had more in common than an old tv show.  We had a very similar upbringing (we grew up in parallel small towns in Pennsylvania that turned red for Trump) and we share a death wish for most Republicans on Capitol Hill.  Okay, all Republicans.  We’re both hams, and we each have a sibling named Shawn! 

Anyway, even with our 15 year age difference I knew right away we were going to be good friends. 

Oh and for the record, I love her husband Josh too.  Nerd smile


Thanks again, Danielle

Friday, October 1, 2021

Oh, how the mighty have fallen: c’mon TV Guide, enough with the shakedowns

Hey, remember TV GUIDE?  If you were born in the 20th century, sure you do.  Still, growing up in the 1960s and 70s, it was NOT a regular thing in our house. 

1) The Sunday paper already had ‘TV Week’ in between the shuffle of store coupons and PARADE Magazine.

2) My family had a town crier (ahem, me) who somehow knew what was airing on every channel, every night of the week.  “Hear ye, hear ye!  Tonight on ABC is Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, followed by Three’s Company & Taxi!  On CBS is Paper Chase and the CBS Tuesday Night Movie!  On NBC…”

Still, it managed to find it’s way into our house on occasion, especially if there was someone notable on the cover like Frank Sinatra or Elvis.  And when we went to Grandma’s house, I’d always skim thru her copy.  It was just a part of everyone’s life, like Kleenex.

When I moved out of my parents house in 1979, I bought TV Guide weekly without fail.  (I didn’t have a lot of money, but in 1979 the cover price was only 30 cents.)  When I got my first real place, I began subscribing to it. 

Did you know (unlike most magazines) TV Guide did not offer a discount for subscribing?  Not until the 2000s anyway, when it’s popularity began to wane and the cover price reached a couple dollars.  I can still remember when I finally let my subscription lapse, when they went from digest-size to “regular magazine” size. That was in October 2005.

The final ‘digest-sized’ copy of TV Guide, for the week of October 9-16, 2005

Along with ten million others, I realized I no longer needed it.  Cable & dish services supplied a schedule of shows on your tv screen.  (Smart tvs now do that too.)

For 15 years or so, TV Guide was just a memory.  

And then last year, a Youtuber I follow (FredFlix) posted a brief video of things he missed from his youth.  TV shows like Space 1999, drive-in movies, 15 cent comic books, TV Guide.

We got to talking about TV Guide in earnest, and one of his followers commented “I’m going out to buy one today!”  and I said I was going to do one better and sign up for a subscription.  

I went on Google and found a link from TV Guide to subscribe for one year for $15.00.

When I got my first copy a few weeks later, I was a little surprised, a little disappointed.  It no longer had local listings with local channels.  Just a double-page grid showing what was playing on the major networks and cable channels from 7:00pm to 10:30pm.   What?  No daytime or late night listings?

Also, it no longer came out weekly.  More like twice a month.

It still included the classic TV Guide crossword puzzle & the Cheers n’ Jeers column, but I could tell who this magazine’s intended demographic was.  The cover stories were always about NCIS or Law & Order, and the advertisements were for things like walk-in bathtubs, Jitterbug flip-phones and “Genuine Swiss” cuckoo clocks.

To be honest, I got bored with it fast.  It became a coaster for my coffee cup and remote.  I always intended to read it but the next thing y’know, 2 weeks had passed and here’s the next issue.  

Pretty much a waste of my fifteen dollars, but I enjoyed the nostalgia of seeing it in my house again, at least.  Still, I had no intention of renewing my subscription so when I got a “TIME TO RENEW YOUR TV GUIDE” notice in the mail, I tossed it in the trash.

Then a couple weeks ago I got one labeled ‘2ND NOTICE’.   Gosh, they sure want that $15.00 of mine!  I opened it up out of curiosity, and frankly couldn’t believe what I saw inside:


They didn’t want $15.00—THEY WANTED 4 PAYMENTS OF $13.99—FOR ONE YEAR.  It says you’re getting a 56% discount, but who the hell is going to shell out $55.96 for a one year subscription to this magazine?

Anyway… I took the photo above to share on my blog, then changed my mind, gathered up their silly papers, threw them away and hoped no one else was coerced into paying that much money for this quaint mag. 

And then yesterday, this arrived.  Oh TV GUIDE… give it up!