Hand in My Pocket

Welcome to the final post on The Cutter Rambles. After over eight(!) years of sharing my thoughts on the world, I’ve decided that I’ve rambled enough. Heck, with over 700 published posts, I’ve rambled enough for several people.

It’s been some time since I felt truly inspired as a blogger, so rather than keep the blog around like a oft-neglected fourth child, I’m going to officially close it out. I’ve said most of what needed to be said (and then some) about both my family and the world. Sure, there are still a few unshared ideas left in my head, but I’m sure everyone will manage not knowing my thoughts on abortion or reading about more plot holes in the original Transformers cartoon.

Before I go, I do have a few more things I’d like to say. And I’ll shall say them with a little help from Alanis Morissette.

I’m broke but I’m happy. I’m poor, but I’m kind

There have been times when writing this blog has felt like a second job. Unfortunately, it remains an unpaid second job, and on more than one occasion I’ve questioned why I was spending so much time on it.

What was I hoping to accomplish? Did I just want a public diary? Did I feel that my thoughts and opinions were so profound that they simply had to be shared with the world? Was I hoping to educate and change people’s minds? Did I hope to gain public notice so that I could become a world-famous author?

I think the answer to all of those question has been yes at some point.

At the very least, my blogging work did help me to become a paid editor of a Philadelphia Phillies site for a short time. I wasn’t a great editor, but maybe I would have become one if the responsibilities of life hadn’t forced me to resign.

As my fellow bloggers can attest, blogging is generally not a path to fortune and fame. There are some success stories, but I don’t know if I would ever be capable of becoming one. It feels like the most successful bloggers aren’t necessarily the best writers, but the best at self-promotion and networking.

There’s also the possibility that maybe – just maybe – I’m not as good of a writer as I’d like to think I am.

I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah

In 2015, the Cutlass was repeatedly getting sick. While we’re thankful that her health seems to have stabilized, we still don’t have any real explanation for why she kept getting fevers. We’ve taken her to all sorts of specialists, and all of them have told us that she seems like an overall healthy child with a few “quirks.”

That’s surely better than hearing definitive news that something is wrong with her, but leaves you with a little bit of doubt. Then again, health is fleeting for all of us. A “perfectly healthy” person could drop dead of a heart attack, stroke, or spontaneous combustion at any point. If a few health quirks are the worst thing that ever happens to her, then the Cutlass has truly lived a charmed life.


I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed

Other parents have asked me what it’s like to raise twins and if it’s that much harder than just one child. My usual answer: What do you think?

I think back to two days after they were born. We were still in the hospital, and it had been a rough day. Mrs. Cutter was still mostly incapacitated, so I was largely responsible for helping her as well as caring for two newborns. It wasn’t easy, especially considering how little I had slept. I somehow had a few minutes to myself so I excused myself from our room and walked through the halls of the hospital. As I walked, I questioned a lot of things, not the least of which was whether I was actually capable of raising three children.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter if I was capable of doing it; it needed to be done, so I’d have to find a way. Obviously, raising twins is difficult, but as long as I don’t think about the enormity of the task, I manage fine. Raising just one child can seem like an impossible job if you think about it too much. If twins are what you have, twins becomes the new normal.

And they’re growing up so fast; They’re two years old and have already started preschool! People have asked me if it’s gotten easier now that they’re older, and in many ways it has. For instance, we can go to sleep at night feeling confident that we won’t get woken up by crying in the middle of the night. We also can allow them to play on their own more without constant supervision. But extra mobility and capability has drawbacks too, and their ability to tell us “no” is a mixed blessing.

What it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine

Last summer, as we prepared for our annual trip to the beach, Mrs. Cutter and I discussed how it wasn’t going to be an easy trip. We needed to bring a lot of equipment with us, and keeping track of the twins in a non-childproofed house was a difficult task.

On the other hand, I recognized that the distance between “high maintenance” and “too old to want to go on family vacations to the beach” isn’t all that large. There will likely be a day when I find myself wistful for the years when we needed to put up baby gates.


Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is giving a high five

I have no doubt that Cujo is going to play sports. Like many small boys, he seems to have endless energy. He’ll run around a room, grabbing everything he can get his hands on, and when he gets tired of that, he’ll see how fast he can run into a wall.

But what happens if he decides that sports aren’t for him? The Cutlet’s soccer career didn’t last long, but that wasn’t especially surprising. She’s always leaned towards more traditionally “girly” activities, and despite my efforts, she’s never shown much of an interest in sports.

I don’t think I’ll allow Cujo to give up quite so easily. Consciously or not, I’m going to pressure him to keep playing sports, even if he doesn’t take to them immediately, or even seem to like it. Based on the limited athletic ability of his parents, there’s a decent chance he won’t be a star. How long do I make him keep doing something he doesn’t want to do?

As for the Cutlass, I predict a future in mixed martial arts. When the twins have a physical confrontation, she usually takes the brunt of it, but I have a feeling that’s going to change. I’ve seen the way she runs around. She’s going to be athletic, and there’s going to be a day that she gets tired of her brother’s crap and just wails on him. It’s going to be amazing to behold.

I feel drunk but I’m sober

Sometimes my single friends will ask me what marriage is like. Specifically, they wonder if I get tired of being with the same person?

A large reason we marry someone is because we think we can tolerate them enough to get through the monotony of life. It’s important to go through the “Wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed” routine, and not openly loathe the person you’re doing it with. But that monotony can be dangerous, and I think some marriages fail because the couples get too caught up in it. I can understand how a spouse could become a partner in monotony, and stop being someone who you love or even care about.

Thankfully, Mrs. Cutter and I have managed to stave that off. We still make sure to have periodic date nights, and these nights usually remind me that marriage should be more than just surviving monotony. To me, true love is being married for nine years, having three kids, and still wanting to make out by the dumpsters behind Senor Tequilas. (Don’t ask.)

Maybe those nights don’t happen all the time, but that’s not a realistic expectation. You think every night for Cinderella and the Prince was like when they first met at the ball? Most of their evenings were probably spent lazily hanging around the castle or dealing with minutiae of the kingdom. But as long as they could occasionally recapture that “first night feeling,” I have confidence that Cinderella and the Prince did indeed live happily ever after.

I’m young and I’m underpaid

The new au pair is thankfully working out well, but I still find myself missing the original at times. (I realize I probably should have given her a nickname rather than just referring to her as “au pair.” So, I’ll retroactively name her “Pebbles” after her favorite breakfast cereal.) She still comes to visit, but it’s tough when someone who was essentially a member of your family for two years leaves home.

We we worried how the Cutlet was going to take the transition, but she dealt with it pretty well. It’s possible that she was too distracted by being sick to truly process what was happening. She might have handled it better than I did, and I’ve come to accept that I’m going to have a rough time of it when she eventually goes to college.

I know I still have a few years before then, but life can move pretty quick. For example, Pebbles recently announced that she is pregnant. Mrs. Cutter and I have remarked that we couldn’t imagine having a child at age 22. Then again, I couldn’t imagine leaving my home at age 20 to move to a different continent and take care of infant twins.

Her child is going to fare well. She’s now a Navy wife, so there’s a built-in support system, and if she can handle taking care of twins (with an older child around as well), dealing with a lone baby shouldn’t prove much of a challenge.

And what it all comes down to, is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet

Earlier this year, I became somewhat sad. I was worried that I had already lived the best day of my life, while it was likely that the worst day of my life was still ahead of me. But then I realized that was ridiculous, because this day hadn’t happened yet:

“Fly, Eagles, fly – on the road to victory! E-A-G-L-E-S–EAGLES!!!”

My family happily joined in the singing as the Eagles scored their fifth touchdown of the day. With only minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles’ 28 point lead seemed secure, and it wouldn’t be long until I would finally celebrate a Super Bowl victory.

Less than an hour earlier, we had watched Guns N’ Roses perform the halftime show. I told the kids how most people had lost hope that the Appetite for Destruction lineup would ever get back together, but there they were, belting out “Paradise City” in front of millions of viewers.

My elation was interrupted when Mrs. Cutter looked up from her phone and asked, “Hey, did you see this?”


“It seems that NASA has uncovered some new data on Pluto. They’re saying that it was likely a mistake to call it a dwarf planet. They’re not certain, but it looks like they may attempt to re-classify it as a full planet.”


I’m sad but I’m laughing

The Cutlet is now a first grader. I thought (hoped?) that grade school would be a seamless transition for her, but there have been some difficulties. She was a “queen bee” at her preschool – everyone knew her, and for the most part loved her. She had to adjust to being one of the smallest and youngest kids in a much larger school.

That’s not to say she has struggled. Her reading and writing are impressive, and seems to get along with most of her classmates, even if they don’t want to play Harry Potter with her at recess. (Mrs. Cutter has been reading the books with her, and she loves them. Unfortunately, they’re probably a little too advanced for most of her classmates. It’s just one of the drawbacks to being such a smart child.)

There have been times when she has been unhappy. For a while, I tried to “fix” this problem, but I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing to fix. Children are allowed to have bad days just like the rest of us. It’s sometimes tough to remember that she’s a person too, complete with moods and feelings.


And what it all boils down to, is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet

I just hope the Cutlet realizes that she truly is capable of anything she wants to do. If she wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and work a 9-5 job with a wonderful family, she can do so. If she wants to become president of the United States…that might be a little more difficult, but the possibility exists.

And what it all comes down to my friends is that everything’s just fine, fine, fine

Is my life perfect? No. Are there things I would change? Of course. Who wouldn’t?

Sometimes I look back at times in my life with regret, and think maybe I should have done things differently. But then I realize that had I done so, I probably wouldn’t be here with my family. There might be a different Mrs. Cutter, and the Cutlet, Cujo, and the Cutlass wouldn’t exist.

When I look at it that way, I realize I wouldn’t change a thing, because everything I’ve done, both good and bad, has led me here, and here is pretty good.

Like Cinderella, I feel I’ve reached the “happily ever after” phase of my story. I’m sure there will be challenges and tough times ahead, because that’s what happens in even the happiest of stories. But for the most part, I can’t complain.


Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is hailing a taxi cab

I’d like to thank everyone for reading this blog over the past eight years. Perhaps I haven’t enlightened people’s thinking as much as I hoped, but at the very least, I’d like to think I provided a mildly amusing way to kill some time on the interwebs.

So what’s next for the Cutter?

I’m not planning on giving up writing. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’m not going to update this site any more. Being my “home,” I always felt obligated to write something here on a semi-regular basis. But I only have so much time and energy to spend writing, and I think that it would be better to spend that time and energy elsewhere.

I may attempt to work on some other blog-like projects, and I’ve come to realize that I ever want to write a novel, I actually have to make an effort to do so. If you’re curious as to what I’ll get up to, or simply can’t go without reading my thoughts, please follow me on Twitter: @CutterRambles.

I also reserve the right to resurrect this blog in the future. It’s possible that one day an important (at least in my mind) thought will come to me, and I’ll simply have to express my opinion in blog form.

Until that day comes, I just want to say thanks for reading!

Posted in Randomness | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Favorite Posts

I’ve written over 700 posts on this site. While the majority have been ultimately inconsequential, every so often, I come up with a post that turns out pretty well. Feeling somewhat nostalgic, I decided to look back through the archives and pick out my ten favorite posts.

I’m probably forgetting one or two that I really liked, but 704 posts is a lot to sort through.

In no particular order:

Know Your People

When times get tough, it’s nice to know who your friends are. Sadly, this is a lesson that too many of us learn too late in life – if at all. I’m hoping my children can figure this out early on, but if they struggle, I can always rely on The Simpsons to help me out.

Cleaning out my Closet

It was inevitable that my parents would sell my childhood home one day. When that day finally came, I had to clean out my old stuff and wish the house – and by extension, my childhood – goodbye.


MC Hammer vs. Vanilla Ice: A Critical Comparison

I couldn’t decide which album – Please, Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em or To The Extreme – was the greatest party rap album of 1991. Obviously, there was only one way to settle the matter: A Dr. Jack-style breakdown!

Of Mice and Men

The world doesn’t give a crap about your life plan. Nothing drives that point home like seeing two heartbeats on a sonogram.

Fortunate Son

I wondered if it was wrong to push my children to become fans of the Philadelphia sports teams when it’s caused me so much misery. My only hope is that they’ll be luckier than I was.

This post is also notable for featuring a picture of me wearing Jams.

The Movement

The first (but certainly not the last!) time I discussed one of my children’s bowel movements. I’m not sure exactly why I keep writing about my kids’ poop, but then again, I’m not sure why I write anything.

If you don’t like reading about poop, the post also talks about a really trippy Friskies commercial.

I Am Not My Brother/I Am Not My Sister

They shared a womb, they share a birthday and a bedroom; but they are two very different people. I wasn’t sure – and I’m still not – if by doing what is best for both of them, that we aren’t giving either of them exactly what they need.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance!

Not every comic book movie can be a huge blockbuster that everybody loves. Some of them are just crappy sequels with Nicholas Cage. Some say my Cage conversation is too similar to what Andy Samberg did on Saturday Night Live. Did they ever consider that Samberg was ripping ME off?

The 4th Annual Christmas Day Interview with Michael Buble

The Buble interviews are usually fun, and this time, Michael brought (a possibly insane) Idina Menzel along for the ride.

Bill, I Believe this is Killing Me

Sleepless nights, stressful days, and hallucinations; these are just some of the joys that come with infant twins. There were times when I wasn’t sure I would survive the process, and in hindsight, I’m not entirely sure I did.

Long time readers: Are there any glaring omissions?

Posted in Randomness | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A Very Special Visit From Michael Bublé

Only a few more weeks until election day! It can’t come soon enough, because the longer this process goes on, the more pessimistic I’ve become about the future of America. It seems hard for me to believe that so many people support a man who seems to not only be tremendously unqualified for the presidency, but seems to be an awful human being to boot.

As it turns out, maybe his awfulness is exactly why he has so much support. It feels like this election – and Trump in particular – have made it obvious just how many people in this country have racist and bigoted views.

So what are you going to do? Move to Canada?

What the? Is that…

Yes, it’s me, pop superstar Michael Bublé!

What are you doing here? We usually only talk on Christmas.

I know, but I have something important to say, and it can’t wait until Christmas.

And so the Christmas season begins even earlier! (Not that I’m complaining!) But anyway, what’s on your mind?

You were talking about the election, and I agree: It feels like America is pretty divided; even more than usual in election years.

Sigh…I know. I wrote about that a couple of years ago, and it feels like things are getting worse.

Did you consider that you might be part of the problem?

Huh? I’m a part of the problem? How?

I know, you think you’re accepting of other ideas and I believe you are…to a point. The problem may be that you don’t know what you don’t know. For example, Hillary Clinton famously declared many of Trump’s supporters to be “deplorables.” Do you agree with that?

I do think that there are a lot of bad people who support Trump. The alt-right, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis…

I’m not going to tell you that there aren’t evil people in the world. But to automatically assume that all Trump supporters should be lumped in together seems a little presumptuous. Do you really believe that almost half the country is “deplorable?” That they’re just awful people who need to have their opinions rejected by proper society?

No, but it’s disturbing just how many people apparently share these views. I mean, it isn’t comfortable seeing just how much antisemitism is out there.

Here’s a question: What if you were poor and had been taught that Jews controlled all the money? You wouldn’t have the greatest opinion of Jewish people would you?

But that’s…that’s not true.

You never believed something that wasn’t true just because your parents or teachers said it was?

Some people believe that this is how Jewish people live. (Image source)

Some people believe that this is how Jewish people live. (Image source)

I have! And that’s why I’ve said that people need to stop believing everything they’ve been taught and think for themselves.

What would you have them do – read your blog? Why would they care what you have to say? What do you know about them or their life? You’re just an elitist who likes to talk down to them. Why would they listen to your opinion when it contradicts beliefs that have been part of their family and culture for years?

It’s easy for you to say that people should think for themselves; You had the freedom to do that. But what if thinking for yourself meant going against everything you had been taught and put you at odds with your family and friends?

Yeah…I guess that would be tough.

Didn’t you used to make a lot of gay jokes when you were younger?

What’s that got to do with anything?

Listen, I know you’ve changed, and that’s a good thing. But why did you change?

Aside from becoming somewhat more mature as I’ve gotten older, I also got to meet and become friends with gay people.

You’ve been lucky to have such exposure. You left your hometown and went to college on a diverse campus and spent years living in a diverse city. Not everyone has that opportunity.

I know I’ve been given a lot of advantages in life. I’ve openly admitted that.

I don’t think you truly understand how deep that goes. It was always a given that you would go to college. For a lot of people in this country, college isn’t realistic. For many people, leaving their home town isn’t even a possibility.

Speaking of those home towns, remember that many of them are small towns where the economy is based off of one industry. So how would you feel when politicians start talking about shutting down that one industry because it’s causing “climate change.” Even if climate change was real – and a lot of people say it isn’t – what do you care about more? The sea level getting higher in a few decades or being able to feed your family next month?

And when you’re struggling to make a living, who are you going to vote for when one candidate says he wants to lower your taxes and the other wants to raise them? They talk about helping people go to college, but chances are that money isn’t helping you or your kids go to college! While the extra few dollars in your paycheck can mean actually filling your car up with gas each week.

Okay, okay. I get it. So what are you saying?

I’m saying that you might never agree with these people, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely disregard their opinions. Understand that there might be a reason why they believe the things they do, and that to them, voting for Trump isn’t as stupid as you might think.

Everyone should also remember that even if Hillary wins the election, those people aren’t going to go away, and they’re probably going to feel even angrier than they do now. Simply writing them off as “deplorables” isn’t going to do anyone any favors.

You know, this conversation hasn’t been what I expected. I certainly didn’t expect to hear all this from you. Are you sure you’re really Michael Bublé?

After five years of talking to me on Christmas, I thought you’d have realized that Michael Bublé is whoever you need him to be at that point in time.

Yes, I suppose you are. So, I’ll talk to you again in a couple months?

I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. This is the last time we can ever speak.

What? Why?

Once again, you’re asking a question to which you already know the answer.

So what will I do with myself on Christmas?

I don’t know. Spend time with your family? Relax? Move forward with your life? You know what you want to do with yourself, it’s just a matter of doing it.

Yeah, I know.

Good bye, Cutter.

Good bye….and Michael?



And with that, Michael's work was done. (Image source)

And with that, Michael’s work was done. (Image source)

Posted in Guide to Fixing America, Randomness | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Preparing for My High School Reunion

My high school class is holding its 20th year reunion this Saturday. When I first heard about it, I didn’t know if I would attend. Beyond the logistics – which haven’t been easy to figure out – I wasn’t entirely sure I really wanted to reunite with people from high school. As I’ve written before, there are a variety of reasons why I feel somewhat uncomfortable seeing people from high school.

The reunion will assuredly be exactly like this movie which I never saw (Image source)

The reunion will assuredly be exactly like this movie which I never saw (Image source)

The last time I attended a reunion was fifteen years ago, and I was underwhelmed by the experience. At that point, not much had changed for most of my classmates; Everyone was only a year out of college and either attending graduate school or just starting a career. By the end of the night, I found myself mostly congregating with the same people who I had hung out with during my school days.

But I didn’t want to let past regrets keep me from enjoying new experiences. And since – Facebook aside – I don’t regularly keep in touch with people from high school, I figure this will be a great chance to reinvent myself.

You may wonder why I want to reinvent myself. After all, I certainly don’t have anything to be ashamed about in my current life. I have a wonderful family, have a good job, and thanks to my youthful appearance, I probably look better than most of the people who will be in attendance.

On the other hand, my list of accomplishments is missing a “wow” factor. I need something to brag about that will make people say, “We really misjudged you in high school. We should have realized what an awesome guy you were and given you the proper respect and adulation.” So it looks like I’m going to have to make some stuff up.

The presence of Facebook makes this a little trickier. I count a few high school classmates among my Facebook friends, so if I make any claims that are too outlandish, people will be able to easily call me out. (I also realize that some people attending the reunion may be reading this post. If so, I ask you to be cool and just go along with it!)

At first, I was going to pretend that I helped invent a famous website or app, but I realized that I’d need to do some research on the app in question. Inevitably, one of my “techier” classmates would ask some sort of question which I wouldn’t be able to answer, and the ruse would be up. I also considered saying I was a YouTube celebrity, but I assume that everyone will have a smartphone, and would quickly be able to uncover my deception.

Ultimately, I decided that the best way to impress these people was to claim that I had sex with a celebrity.

I can picture it now: Everyone is talking, and a few people have mentioned some of the interesting things they’ve done or accomplished. And that’s when I would cut in by saying, “Ha ha, yeah. That was a terrific story, but would you like to hear about the time I had intercourse with a famous person?” I imagine I would instantly become the most interesting person in the room.

I consulted with a few friends to figure out what celebrity would be the best name to use. Here were some names suggested and why I didn’t think they’d work:

Minka Kelly – Way out of my league. Maybe if I was a bad boy (with a heart of gold!) football player like Tim Riggins, I’d have a chance, but in real life? No way.

Kristen Stewart – While believable in terms of acheivability, she’s too young. I’ve been married for nine(!) years which means that unless I was unfaithful to my wife, this encounter would have had to happen before 2007 when K-Stew was only 17. I want to impress these people, and I don’t think they’d be very impressed by either an adulterer or a pedophile.

Alison Pill – She’s a hit on the age and level of attractiveness, but I don’t think enough people have heard of her. It lessens the impact if everyone has to check Wikipedia just to figure out who I’m talking about.

Lindsay Lohan – Too obvious.

Brittany Murphy – She’s the right age, and seems JUST around the right level of attractiveness. Unfortunately, she’s deceased, and it would seem wrong to speak ill of the dead in such a manner.

Yeah, I might have a chance. (Image source)

Yeah, I might have a chance. (Image source)

Finally, I settled on Anna Faris. She’s the right age, and while she’s an attractive lady, she’s not so hot as to be unbelievable. Plus, she wasn’t that famous back in the early 2000’s, so maybe she felt like slumming one night?

I’m sure that once people hear about my tryst with Anna, they will be super impressed with me. In fact, I’ll probably be the hero of the reunion!

And if any of my classmates are reading this, once more, I ask you to be cool. If you can keep your mouth shut, I’ll make sure to acknowledge your presence, and allow you to bask in the reflective glow of my greatness.

Posted in Trips and Events | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Seasons Change, Eras End

Time passes, seasons change, and the years roll on. My Jewish readers surely know that Rosh Hashanah began last night, which means that a new year of the Hebrew calendar has begun. (Happy new year to you all!) Marking the end of another sort of year, yesterday was also the end of the Major League Baseball regular season.

Baseball’s Opening Day often brings a sense of optimism. No matter how bleak your team’s chances appear, it’s tough to not get at least a little excited when the start of the season rolls around. Opening Day is also a sign that Spring has arrived, and that warmer weather is likely soon on its way.

Before you know it, the calendar has switched to October. The baseball season is over, and you’re left with a much different feeling. Unless you’re a lucky fan of a team that has qualified for the postseason (and the Phillies most assuredly did not), you’re faced with the reality that you won’t have a real rooting interest in a baseball game for another six months. And much like Opening Day heralds nicer weather, the season finale often brings colder, Fall weather with it.

Yesterday’s game was sadder than most season finales, as it was almost assuredly Ryan Howard’s final game in a Phillies uniform. Howard is one of the greatest players in Phillies history, as he ranks second in all-time home runs and he’s also near the top of the leader board in several other offensive categories.

Ten years ago, Howard was wrapping up perhaps the greatest single season ever by a Phillies’ hitter. He hit a team-record 58 home runs and won the MVP award. Although the Phillies missed the postseason for the 12th straight season in 2006, thanks largely to Howard, that streak would be broken the following year.

The Phillies would win the National League East for five straight seasons, and that stretch included two National League titles and one World Series championship. While those teams had plenty of great players, I always felt that Howard was the key to their offense. When he was hitting the ball well, the Phillies were the most dangerous offensive team in the league.

In his prime, Howard would periodically go on extremely hot streaks, and during those times, you never wanted to miss an at bat. Every time he came to the plate, you felt like a home run was imminent.

In 2009, I was walking through a shopping mall, and came across a television showing that afternoon’s game. I saw that Howard was due to come to the plate, and I remarked to another man watching the game that Howard was going to hit a home run. Sure enough, Howard sent a ball into the stands, and I exchanged an enthusiastic high five with my fellow game watcher.

Sadly, thanks to an injury to his Achilles tendon suffered in the 2011 playoffs, Howard’s play dropped off dramatically in the following years. He has spent a lot of time on the disabled list, and his production has been greatly reduced when he was able to play. Sure, there was the occasional hot streak, but his at bats were no longer “must watches.” It isn’t a coincidence that the Phillies haven’t been back to the playoffs in the five years since.

Howard’s contract is now up, and he will attempt to revive his career with another team. He was the last remaining member of the 2008 World Championship team, and with his departure, that era of greatness is truly over.

But enough dwelling on the past. As mentioned, today is the start of a new year, and with it, I have a renewed sense of optimism. Perhaps the next baseball season will be the one where the Phillies find their next superstar and the next era of greatness can finally begin.

Posted in Sports, Trips and Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and the Michael Bayification of America

Looking at the presidential election from a distance, you’d probably be surprised that most polls have the race as being close. You’d probably wonder why this is even a contest considering one candidate seems to be insanely qualified for the job, while the other is an unethical businessman and television host with no experience in politics.

The first debate went about how I predicted. Most of my friends (thankfully) agreed with me that Hillary Clinton was the winner of the election, but based on social media, it’s clear that plenty of other people disagreed. According to some, Trump was “forceful” and “took over” despite spending much of his time promoting un-Constitutional policies, admitting he doesn’t pay taxes, and making fun of Rosie O’Donnell.

The real threat facing America! (Image source)

The real threat facing America! (Image source)

I understand that no matter how incompetent he may seem, Trump is always going to have supporters. Any Republican candidate is going to get his share of votes simply because of party loyalty. And the more conservative leaning candidate will also get people to vote for him out of fear that the Supreme Court will soon get loaded with liberal judges who will make it easier for homosexuals to marry and carry out other immoral behavior.

Trump is also getting support from bigots, white supremacists, anti-Semites, and people who can’t stomach the thought of a woman actually being in charge of our country. (Hello, deplorables!)

If those groups were the only ones supporting Trump, this election would be the landslide that it should be. But it seems that Trump has a good deal of support from the non-deplorables as well.

I tried to figure out why Trump has so much support among people who seemingly aren’t . Yes, he talks a big game, but to me, he sounds like the “Italian Guy in Any Given Situation” from Family Guy:

He promotes big ideas that sound great (“We’re gonna stop ISIS!), but rarely provides any actual details about how he’s planning to execute these grandiose plans. He’s full of energy, but upon even minor scrutiny, it becomes obvious that there’s no substance to these claims.

Regardless, many Americans are eating it up. Are we really at the point where people just want loud noises and spectacle from our chief executive?

Sadly, the answer to this is probably yes. Want proof? Just check this out:

Rank Title (click to view) Studio Gross / Theaters Opening / Theaters Date
1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen P/DW $402,111,870 4,293 $108,966,307 4,234 6/24/09
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon P/DW $352,390,543 4,088 $97,852,865 4,088 6/29/11
3 Transformers P/DW $319,246,193 4,050 $70,502,384 4,011 7/3/07
4 Transformers: Age of Extinction Par. $245,439,076 4,233 $100,038,390 4,233 6/27/14

There have been four live-action Transformers movies released, and the quality of them ranges from, “That wasn’t too bad” to “Why are they doing this to us?” None of them have been great movies, and in most cases, a sensible plot has been tossed aside in favor of SLOW MOTION ROBOT FIGHTS and EXPLOSIONS!!!!!

Has that stopped the American people from plunking down their hard-earned money to see these movies? Not at all. I can understand the first movie doing well, because nostalgia sells, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited to see a movie in my life. Even after that was somewhat of a disappointment, we still had hope that the second movie would make everything better. (SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t)

Despite having no reason to think that Michael Bay would stop ruining our childhoods, we still lined up eagerly to see the third and fourth installments. In my defense, I saw the fourth one on Netflix. Perhaps it was the lowered expectations or the fact that I didn’t really spend any extra money on it, but I thought it was the most enjoyable of the bunch. Or maybe it’s because they finally gave us what we really wanted: The Transformers fighting Kelsey Grammer!

So the bad news is that thanks to Americans’ preference for loud noises over coherence, we’re probably headed for four years of President Trump. The good news is, we’ll be able to escape our worries by seeing Transformers: The Last Knight! In theaters on June 23rd, 2017!

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Top Five Week: Best Things Associated with Fridays

Sadly, we’ve come to the final day of Top Five Week. I hope you’ve enjoyed these lists. Since today is Friday, I’ll wrap up the week by discussing the top five things associated with Fridays.

5. King Friday XIII

King Friday XIII (Image source)

King Friday XIII (Image source)

On Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, they’d often visit the Neighborhood of Make Believe, which was ruled by the benevolent King Friday XIII. It says a bit about Friday’s humility that he called it the “Neighborhood of Make Believe” and not the “Kingdom of Make Believe.”

Mr. Rogers was my favorite show growing up, and I know it was a sad day for my mother when I outgrew it and began to call the show “lame.” Sadly, I realize it won’t be long before my kids start outgrowing things too. Heck, it’s already happened with the Cutlet. Her obsession with princesses has largely faded, and she says she doesn’t even like the movie Frozen anymore. Sigh…moving on…

4. Endless Apps

TGI Friday’s introduced their Endless Apps promotion a couple of years ago. You could pick one of their appetizers and get endless refills during your stay. I have never actually partaken in this promotion, but from what I’ve heard, this may be one of those things that sounds better in theory than in practice. Honestly, why not just go to the superior Ruby Tuesday, and take unlimited trips to their excellent salad bar?

Speaking of salad, there’s been some debate in the Cutter house about what makes a good salad. To me, if you want to have a classic salad, you need broccoli, cheese, egg, and if you’re really feeling adventurous, sprinkle some croutons on top. Other people in my family just fill a bowl with cabbage and a few cucumbers and call it a day.

3. Jason Voorhees

Jason, the villain from the Friday the 13th series, gets a lot of hype, but is it deserved? After all, he’s really somewhat of a generic “monster.” Yes, he’s difficult to kill, but aren’t all movie monsters? All he does is walk around slowly and cut people. The only thing distinctive about him is his iconic hockey mask, and he didn’t even start wearing that until the third movie. Heck, he wasn’t even the killer in the first movie! (Sorry, SPOILER ALERT if I ruined a nearly 40 year old movie for you.)

Compare that to Freddy Krueger who had all sorts of cool powers and was somewhat funny. When the two of them squared off, it should have been a one-sided battle. But apparently, it ended in a standoff. That’s bulls***.

2. Bob Saget

Back in the day, Friday nights were often spent in front of the TV watching ABC’s TGIF lineup. We all have fond memories of watching Full House as Danny Tanner taught his children – and by extension, us – important life lessons.

As everyone probably knows, Danny Tanner was the complete opposite of the persona Bob Saget used in his standup comedy. Here he is explaining that his Full House character – despite plenty of evidence to the contrary – wasn’t actually gay.

1. Ice Cube

I actually didn’t like the movie Friday when I first saw it. Due to my love of rap music, everyone assumed I’d love it, but I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t hold that against Ice Cube, as he’s a great rapper, and the titular song from the movie’s soundtrack was pretty good:

Speaking of Cube, I thought one part of the movie “Straight Outta Compton” was kind of strange: Ice Cube was famously portrayed by his son, and in one scene, Ice Cube Junior had to kiss the actress who was playing his mother. That seems uncomfortable.

Then again, by that point in his life, Cube Junior probably wasn’t fazed by much. After all, in “Today was a Good Day,” his mother was described as being able to “f*** all night.” How many times do you think he heard about that on the playground?

That concludes Top Five Week. I hope you enjoyed it, and hope you all have a happy Friday!

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Top Five Week: Favorite Nintendo Entertainment System Games

For today’s “Top Five Week” entry, I’ll take a look back to the glory days of video games: The era of the Nintendo Entertainment System. I’ve never really been much of a “gamer,” so the NES was the last console I was really into.

While there were many classic games released for the NES, these are the five I enjoyed playing the most.

5. Tecmo Super Bowl

Some people prefer the original Tecmo Bowl – and while it does have its charm – the sequel is clearly superior. They made the game slightly more realistic, while maintaining the easy and fun game play that made the original so popular.

They also got an official NFL license so unlike the original, all of the NFL teams were included. This was important because it allowed you to play as one of the greatest video game athletes of all time: QB Eagles.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

Adaptations of arcade games to home consoles have been hit or miss over the years. (Check out Atari’s version of Pac-Man if you don’t believe me.) Considering how awesome the Ninja Turtle arcade game was, the NES version had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, they came through, and turned an incredible arcade game into a very fun version for the NES.

The original TMNT game for the NES had major flaws, and this game was a huge improvement. The graphics were fun, game play was easy, and back when it was released I was super into anything involving the Ninja Turtles. I remember spending many afternoons with my friends playing this game while listening to Vanilla Ice. (Ah, the early 90’s!)

3. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

Punch-Out might be my favorite arcade game of all time. The NES wasn’t a direct adaptation – there were several differences in game play – but it was still a great game.

Mr. Sandman (image source)

Mr. Sandman (image source)

Despite Mike Tyson being the headliner, I consider Mr. Sandman to be the toughest opponent in the game. Tyson is obviously tough, but he’s actually pretty beatable once you figure out his patterns. For some reason, I could never get the timing down for Mr. Sandman, and even when I beat him, it was always a close call.

I downloaded this game onto my Wii, and found Sandman even tougher to beat. I’m not sure if it’s a delay caused by the HDTV or the Wii remote, but getting past Sandman is near impossible.

2. Baseball Stars

This was easily the best baseball game for the NES. I know there are fans of RBI Baseball out there, but this game is superior.

One of the reasons it was so great was because you could build custom teams. I spent a lot of time creating a replica of the 1991 Philadelphia Phillies and building up their stats. The real life 1991 Phillies might not have been a powerhouse, but their video game counterparts were awesome. I think about six players in their lineup had 40 home run power.

Some of my fondest memories involve beating my sister’s boyfriend repeatedly at this game. And I’d even let him play with the special “Hall of Fame” team.

1. Super Mario Bros.

This game was the main reason why I – and many other people – wanted to get a Nintendo in the first place. In some ways, Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior (but definitely not SMB2 – that game kind of sucks), but I still prefer the original.

I’m not sure what makes it so much fun. It’s just a plumber running around smashing bricks and stomping on turtles. But it’s near impossible to play it and not have a good time. Heck, I played it just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s still a lot of fun.

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Top Five Week: Favorite Chappelle’s Show Skits

Top Five week continues as I take a look back at the short-lived but much-loved Chappelle’s Show. I considered putting at least one Chappelle’s Show episode on yesterday’s list, but it was tough to narrow it down to one definitive episode.

Every week throughout its glorious two season run (I know, there was kind of a third season, but it doesn’t really count), the show would seemingly deliver at least one classic skit. But which were the best? Here’s my opinion: (Be warned, most of these videos contain at least some NSFW material)

5. Mad Real World

Maybe I just like the skit because it features a character named Tron. To this day, if somebody asks me what kind of drink I’d like, I often ask for a banana cognac. (And to this day, I’ve never actually received one.)


4. Frontline – Clayton Bigsby

Featured on the first episode, I remember watching this and getting the same feeling I did when watching The Ben Stiller Show ten years earlier. I knew that if they could keep this up, it would be awesome.


3. Wayne Brady – Training Day

Maybe I’m just a bit twisted, but watching Wayne Brady snap a police officer’s neck is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.


2. True Hollywood Stories – Prince

The Rick James THS skit got all the hype, and admittedly, it is awesome. But I think it may have gotten a bit played out. You can only hear people say, “I’m Rick James, bitch” so many times before you get tired of it.

I always found the Prince edition to be better. From fruity picks to “game, blouses,” there’s just so much greatness to be found here:



1. Kneehigh Park

Back in the good old days before Squinty moved to Las Vegas, we would often watch this skit during halftime of football games. And despite knowing what was coming, I’d still crack up every time.

Avenue Q got all the hype for their Sesame Street parody, but really, this came first and probably did it better. After all, Avenue Q didn’t feature Snoop Dogg.


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Top Five Week: Favorite TV Episodes of All Time

Continuing with Top Five Week, today’s list will be my “Top five favorite TV episodes of all-time.”

In my almost 40 years on this planet, I’ve watched a lot of television. Most of those shows and their episodes barely made an impact and were forgotten as soon as they were over. For one reason or another, these five episodes made a lasting impact on me.

5. The Cosby Show – Happy Anniversary

I know we’re probably not supposed to talk about the work of Bill Cosby in glowing terms anymore, but it’s tough to deny that The Cosby Show was one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. I’m curious: When Cosby dies, are we going to give him the Michael Jackson treatment, in which we sort of ignore all the shady stuff, and just reflect on his brilliant work as an entertainer?

This episode featured the Huxtable clan trying to wish Cliff’s parents a happy anniversary. The episode was just okay until the end when the family did an elaborate lip sync routine to Ray Charles’ “The Night Time is the Right Time.”

4. The Simpsons – Last Exit to Springfield

Season four of the Simpsons may be the best season of a TV series ever. Just about every episode is a classic, and “Last Exit” is probably the best of the bunch.

It’s hard to remember, considering he turned into somewhat of an irredeemable jerk in later seasons, but early Homer was an overall good guy. He was still an oaf, and still uncouth, but he seemed to mean well. He often ended up doing to right thing, if only by accident. This episode probably sums up that version of Homer.

Despite being horribly outmatched, Homer becomes head of the labor union, and somehow ends up winning the standoff with Mr. Burns. There are so many good moments in this one, including the classic Lisa at the dentist/Joker scene.

3. Family Matters – Laura’s First Date

Steve Urkel (Image source)

Steve Urkel (Image source)

Family Matters began as a spinoff of Perfect Strangers. At first, it was a generic sitcom about the life of the Winslow family. And then came this episode, in which Laura Winslow needed a date to the dance, and one potential suitor was her nerdy classmate Steve Urkel.

I re-watched the episode recently, and sadly, it hasn’t held up that well. But I assure you that at the time, I have never laughed as hard at a TV show as I did when watching this.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Urkel – intended to be a one-off character – was soon brought back, and eventually made the main character of the show. Sadly, this soon led to overexposure, and Urkel eventually became one of the most annoying characters ever. But his debut? That was comedy gold.

2. The Ben Stiller Show – Pilot

The Ben Stiller show was before its time. Had the show debuted in the You Tube age, it might have had a chance to build up a following via viral sharing of clips. Unfortunately, in 1993, a sketch comedy show on Fox didn’t have much of a chance to build a huge following.

I remember seeing the pilot episode and being blown away by just how clever it was. First, they had a great mash-up of Cape Fear and the Munsters:

Next came a “Rockumentary” that combined U2 and The Patridge Family. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does:

And this might be the best non-Yankovic song parody ever made:

The rest of the show’s one season run was good, but honestly, I always felt a bit disappointed after watching it. The pilot episode was so good that they set a standard that was almost impossible to match.

1. Transformers – Heavy Metal War

Devastator remains one of the coolest things I've ever seen (Image source)

Devastator remains one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen (Image source)

The Transformers were my absolute favorite toy/pop culture phenomenon (and is there really a difference?) growing up. I thought season one of the tie-in cartoon was the pinnacle of entertainment. And then, in the final episode of the season, they somehow managed to raise the bar even higher.

The episode introduced a new group of bad guys: The Constructicons. Normally, I’d say there was nothing special about robots changing into construction vehicles. After all, we already had robots who changed into planes and guns. But toward the end of the episode, they did something unexpected, and it just about blew my mind.

The Constructicons were fighting the Dinobots (And don’t think I wasn’t already pretty pumped about seeing robots who changed into dinosaurs) when they combined into a giant robot named Devastator. My seven-year old brain just about overloaded. I was watching robot dinosaurs fight a super-robot, and it was the awesomest thing ever. And that is why it remains my favorite episode of all time.

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