Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cowpocalypse averted!

Do you avoid drinking milk? Well, let me thank you. Our gracious overlords - sorry, our federal government has reached at least one agreement today and avoided a potential cowpocalypse.

Yes, federal taxes will take more of your hard-earned money. But it's not like you were spending your dollars on dairy products.

So consumers of that delicious moo juice thank you for the sacrifice of your idle funds. Now, milk-drinkers won't have to hand over extra moolah to pay $7 a gallon for their favorite beverage.

You have this country's udder gratitude!

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Enjoy the decline.

When Being Down Is A Good Thing

The other day I caught my dog chewing on my feather comforter. I was going to yell at him but he already looked a little down in the mouth.

Oh well. Time for a new comforter filled with the best insulation possible. Not that pink stuff you fill your walls with - it tends to give me hives. No, it has to be the best insulator possible - down. Ever see a duck wear a sweater? I rest my case.

For the moment, with the cold weather here, I trying to cover up with my dog. Still, I need a soft, warming blanket that won't whimper when I'm trying to sleep. Besides, it's difficult to fluff a dog. But not as difficult as taking a comforter for a walk ... more like a drag. (Even though cleaning up afterwards is a cinch!)

So I begun shopping and have learned one thing: You know inflation is bad when the price of down is up!

Friday, December 28, 2012

True story ... mostly

I think the eye doctor at Walmart is purposely messing with people. At his entrance way in the parking lot, he's placed a billboard advertising his services. The words are the same sized except for the last item. It's printed twice as big as and reads “foreign objects removed.”

As I walked by this sign, a good ol’ country boy behind me pipes up in an inappropriately loud voice. He asks his companion, "Does this mean the doc’s gonna remove the Mexicans?”

Upon hearing this, two approaching Hispanic guys slow down. They stare at redneck with the friendliness of "do we need to kick your ass?", then they read the billboard. One amigo says to the other, “Si, what a good idea! I hope they start with my mother-in-law.”

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Veteran Salutes a Sad Good Bye to You, Norman Schwarzkopf

RIP to America's last great general: Norman "Stormin'" Schwarzkopf. When "Shock and Awe" was more than lightning and kittens (awww).

Ban Movies to Prevent Violent Behavior

Recently, the news is full of everyone wanting to save the world by banning their favorite vice. Among the top ten near-criminal behaviors are images flashed into your innocent eyes - movies.

Yes, we all know that watching movies causes violent behavior. But what do you expect?

On one hand, you surrender 2 hours of your hard-earned income, another 2 hours of your brief life watching a badly-made movie that has no refund. Who wouldn't feel a tad frustrated? Especially when you could have stayed home and watched bad over-the-air television for free.

Or, you listen to your best bud say that only a moron would sit through your favorite flick. Who can blame you for winging a DVD or two at their empty noggins?

Forbidding movies would probably help the world become a better place. But then what else would we blame our bad behavior on? Pictures of our parents?

At least, I tried.

Every so often, promotes a writing exercise called "Scene Stealers:Telling a Story". They give you a opening scene; you try to mold it into a story (or at least a plausible introduction) of 350 words or less.

I took Monday's challenge and entered my attempt. I hoped that someone would give some needed direction or constructive criticism. So far, nothing.

No criticism is the worst. Your efforts weren't good enough for Pulitzer Prize, or bad enough for the death penalty. At best, your efforts earned a "Meh" of indifference, but nothing motivating enough for a couple of key strokes in your direction.

And so, for all of the Russian visitors this blog has been getting this past week, here was my entry. I ran out of my 350 word limit, so all you get is an intro.

All comments are welcomed.

Monday's exercise was: "Ron etched another line in the wall of the mud hut that had been his home for the last 31 days. When would the nightmare end?"

Ron etched another line in the wall of the mud hut that had been his home for the last 31 days. When would the nightmare end?

Certainly not today as the hatch on the top of Ron’s muddy confinement opened. In dropped another body to share the misery of Ron and 12 others in the dank cell.

“Hi, I’m …,” said the new arrival. He was immediately interrupted with a grumbling “Ron. Yeah, we know.”

Everyone in the cell was named Ron. In the spirit of bureaucratic efficiency, the prison system kept those with the same first name in the same cell.

“I used to lived with idiots”, thought Ron angrily. “Now I’m surrounded by mo’Rons.”

But what could he expect? These are the days of A.P.P.L.E. – Agency for the Protection and Promotion of Leafy Edibles.

A.P.P.L.E. originally began as a Federal department dedicated to regulating and taxing vegetables. After the latest round of elections, A.P.P.L.E. had an expanded role: They could inspect your house for signs of plant abuse.

For example, any potted plants found over or under watered earned you a few weeks of “reeducation”. Reeducation meant a muddy confinement in the ground so you would come to appreciate your photosynthesizing brethren.

If dead plants were discovered in your home, you spent the rest of your life in the ground. Then you were buried to become plant food as a fitting retribution.

You could escape arrest. These enforcers of A.P.P.L.E. were rotten to the core. Paid with enough greenery showing Benjamin Franklin’s stern face, these corrupt investigators would look the other way. But a quota – either arrest or personal funds – was going to be made.

They caught Ron with a dusty, dirty, faded plastic fern in his apartment. When he couldn’t pay the extortion, the unsmiling A.P.P.L.E. police jailed Ron for “the simulation of an unnatural act towards living vegetation”.

31 days later, Ron made another line in the muddy wall. The lines didn’t count his time stolen by idiotic political whims. Another line simply added itself to Ron’s escape plan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

But what! There's more!

It wasn't like I was watching during the late-night times - those wee hours when you're open to all sorts of suggestions. It was mid-morning with a mind already sharpened by a fifth cup of coffee. Yet there it was on the TV: a sleek, seductive infomercial offering incredible solutions at impossible low prices. And it promised to help me overcome a decade's long inconvenience.

10 years ago, I woke to a house full of smoke. The wiring in my then 40-year-old stove had shorted out. The burner had begun a threat to quick-fry itself and my home into a crispy, crackly crunch. I jumped out of bed in time to introduce the stove to the fire extinguisher. Ten years after flipping the stove's circuit breaker, I've fed myself very well using an old two-burner hot plate and microwave oven.

One of the downsides living is watching dependable objects become less dependable. Besides my body, I mean. My two burner hotplate has become a one burner, finicky heater. My microwave still works as well as long as you add in a few extra minutes for cooking, and hang around to reset it every so often.

That's why the infomercial for the Nuwave inductive cooker caught my attention. The ad had me at "but wait there's more!"

They started with a single high-tech burner making five star chef out of a fry cook for just three easy payments $33.95. Plus shipping and handling - an unmentioned extra 30 bucks.

"But wait, there's more!" They also would throw in several pots and pans at no cost.

"But wait, there's more!" If you call now, they would throw in a second inductive cooker. As long as you pay the shipping and handling of another $30.

"And if you call in the next few seconds…", They would "give" you another set of pots and pans. Again, as long as you pay yet another shipping and handling charge of 30 bucks.

Thank goodness for the Internet. I did little research on the Nuwave offer. The company has an excellent reputation for delivering the first inductive burner. As for their "but wait, there's more" enticements, not so much. Fortunate for my bank account, I read several recent reviews and complaints of unshipped merchandise and of customer filings with the Better Business Bureau.

That's the seduction of infomercials – a good one makes you think you found the easiest, cheapest solution to your most nagging problem. But a little research keeps you, and me, from getting burned.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is what we should ban.

Forget guns, ban bullets. Yes, you can make guns illegal. But some idiot will figure out how to use Legos to fire bullets at the innocents. Then we will have to ban Legos, depriving children of yet another evil influence that we adults survived.

So, with bullets illegal, guns will be nothing more than expensive clubs. Can I get an Amen!

Not that psychos will stop using guns to hurt people. But when those psychotic bullies attack, THEN we can ban guns without worries from the NRA. Then we can forbid all manners of club-like objects, such as hammers, large twigs, and small, overweight dogs. Even fuzzy toys won't be able to escape legislation (I'm sure you'll agree that Tickle-Me-Emo was not meant to leave bruises).

All this banning gets us closer to the source of problem: unstable idiots. Of course, we can't forbid all fools. That would wipe out almost all of our bureaucrats. Where would our country be without the irresponsible telling the responsible how to live their lives?

Still, our goal lies in detecting and controlling unstable individuals. Since most of us want easy answers and simple solutions, let's go with band-aid options. Let's fix a symptom instead of the problem. The sooner we ban bullets – including that gateway projectile: BBs – the sooner we can think we are living in a safer world.

At least until the next horrific incident.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wendy Liebman tweeted:

"Slept like a pig today."

That happened to me once when I was camping on the ground. A storm passed through during the night and I awoke in mud puddle, squealing.

Anyway, I hear mud is great for the skin. Blemishes rarely touch pig skin. Of course, the same can be said of this year's Kansas City Chiefs. With their 2-and-11 record, maybe their avoidance of the pig skin is a religious decision.

Friday, December 14, 2012

One of Today's pseudo-americans: Roy A. Cooper

It's official. The North Carolina Supreme Court ok'd their government to arrest you for gambling on video sweepstakes. However, you are strongly encouraged to play NC lottery.

I want to thank all of those pseudo-moralists: those dedicated to an American version of the Taliban. Thank you for watching out for me and my fellow citizens. A big thanks to you, Roy A. Cooper, NC Attorney General, for leading the fight to protect us from ourselves ... except in times when it benefits the state's revenue.

Heaven knows I'll easily succumb to those evils of gambling that aren't link to those sacred words, "North Carolina Education". (Is it ok to use that titillating word, "succumb"? At least, until you ban it.) So, praise be to the NC General Assembly and their supporters for all of hypocrisy legislated under the name of freedom.

I'm taking a gamble by posting this. Will I offend? Gamble or offend, either brands me as a criminal under NC law.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How To Dodge A VERY BIG Bullet.

As I type this, a three-mile wide asteroid 4179 Toutatis is whizzing over our heads at a scant 4,000,000 miles.

You probably know that the moon is almost 240,000,000 miles away. So, on the planetary scale of things, we dodged a bullet.

If you would like to thumb your nose at Toutatis (or moon the asteroid), you can go online to the Virtual Telescope where they have real-time view of this ballistic rock.

But wait! There's more. In 2015 and 2029, the asteroid 99942 Apophis will zing over your scalp. If its path varies by as much as 2000 feet, then the year 2036 will be a treat you won't forget. Imagine the excitement as you watch the gentle impact of planetary bodies - equivalent to a few thousand atomic bombs.

Notice I said "you" instead of "we". Given my family's history of lifetimes under 70 years, I have a better chance of building my escape pod than I do of being around to shake your hand and say, "Well, it's been nice knowing you."

Of course, by 2036, humanity might have solved all its differences. The people of the world will live as one universal love-fest. Then it's a simple matter of getting everyone - especially those even mildly considering a membership with Weight Watchers - to shift over to one country and jump up-and-down. Repeatedly. With the force of almost 10 billion people madly stomping on Spaceship Earth, our planet could shift ever-so-slightly out of the way.

And on a collision course to the sun.

I guess I should shake your hand now. Well, it's been nice knowing you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Guess why today is special.

The Inter-web is a-buzz with news of those magical numbers 12/12/12, which happens to be Kiam Moriya's birthday. Today is extra special because Kiam entered this amazing world at 12:12.

But wait, there's more! Today is his 12th trip around the sun. WOW!

Not only that, his favorite number is ... 5. 5? He ought to lose a present over that. Maybe that $12 check from Grandma.

Anyway, I'm hoping he has dozens and dozens of happy birthdays - which is 144 - which a gross ... way to wish someone happiness.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Happy National Gazpacho Day.

I didn't know until I read Peewee Herman's tweet: Today is National Gazpacho Day. He asked his readers how they would celebrate.

Well, armed with this vital knowledge, I had to do my part. So I left a can of tomato soup in the cold. But it is winter; the can froze and blew out an opening in the side.

Lucky for me, I have my handy-dandy repairman friend - Gus. He filled the perforation in, and I celebrated Gus-patch-hole day.

MaƱana, y'all!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Another day. Another hero gone.


It played sounding simplistic, even with its convoluted time signature of 5/4. Still, in 1959, Dave Brubeck, along with Joe Morello on the drums, created that catchy tune "Take Five" that jazzes on today.

Dave died today, having aged only to 92 - in that brief time signature of 1/1. He had no idea about his music influence on me. I never got to thank him.

Thank you, Dave.

Monday, December 03, 2012

What to give new parents.

For the new parents in your life, and only $7.99!
When their little tike hits the ground running at that precious age of 3, you can then give the proud parents a gift of the ultimate baby sitting tool: the hamster wheel attachment.