Time’s Fun When You’re Having Flies

Some things in life are very wonderful, but some are very strange indeed. Take time for example. Go ahead, take some. Have you had enough time to enjoy the time you took? Well I certainly hope so. I know I have, at least most of the time. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I am not sure why; but I’m pretty sure that it’s not really fair. I mean, I am finally a retired person, but that also means I’m an older person. And for an older person, it seems a bit weird when time whizzes past your nostrils during an ice cream storm, because just a couple years ago it was 1972 when I just met my Beautiful Girlfriend and now we’ve been married almost 48 years and the kids are grown and the grandkids are growing fast and I think maybe tomorrow they’ll be asking their Mom and Dad if they can use the car and HOLY COW this run-on sentence could get REALLY BIG with all this time stuff but I think maybe it’s time to stop already!!

With the run-on sentence I mean.

Tomorrow is the 1st of May. Then we can all go outside and shout at the top of our lungs (or the entire lung region): “Hurray!! Hurray!! It’s the 1st of May!! Outdoor fun begins today!!” This was uttered by a friend of mine many moons ago; and it’s fun to say, but here in Beautiful West Michigan we’ve been playing outdoors for a while now. But again I say the HOLY COW thing because as of tomorrow, I will celebrate an entire year of being a retired person!! How is this possible?? I mean, I just handed in my badge and computer to the HR lady at work like a few months ago. Yeah, a few months right?? Like twelve months!! So how does one celebrate their first year of retirement?? I know, I think I’ll celebrate by not going to work… again. Ha ha, I laugh to you who are not retired yet.

Ha!

I remember the many moons leading up to retirement… I even tortured myself (and all my coworkers) with a countdown timer I installed on my computer. “What’s the count, Ken?” my friends would ask me. “Two years, 142 days, and 12 hours,” I’d reply. And yes I think I really did go back that far. Can you tell I was eager to retire? “Whatchya gonna do with all your free time?” they’d inquire. “I dunno, maybe try to sell some of my writing, hopefully grow a nice garden, maybe do some dabbling with solar energy…” and I’d trail off with some other ideas that were floating around inside my noggin.

So now it’s time to look back over the past year and list my accomplishments. Let’s see… I cooked a lot of meals. Oh and I cleaned up after a lot of meals too. Did a little laundry (not much, my Honey Pie hates when I mix stuff that’s not supposed to be washed together). Oh, and I took care of most of the household chores during the recovery time my Lovely Bride had to endure after she fell and broke her arm exactly one week after I retired. I did get some stuff planted in the garden but other chores kept me busy so the garden became a bit of a mess. “We always get food,” my sweet Honey Pie reminded me. And we did get plenty of food.

No solar projects, no selling of writing, no nothing new.

But you know what?? I wouldn’t trade this for anything. We are very fortunate people at our house. We have no debt, and have some extra cash in the bank. My wants have always remained simple. I’ve told folks numerous times that I only had three wants in life: the love of a beautiful woman, a house on enough land to grow some food, and a kick-ass stereo. I’ve been blessed with all those and much, much more. Time continues to zoom along much more quickly than I’d like; but I’m doing my best to stay grateful and actually enjoy every moment, one day at a time. And of course, I also enjoy having some fun describing that strange time-zooming aspect of the universe. I love reciting little ditties like, “Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.” And my favorite came from one of my bosses from long ago. He’d smirk and say, “Hey you know what the frogs say, right? Time’s fun when you’re having flies!!” Pretty sure my old boss guy was right. We live in a swamp, and there are many frogs.

As far as I can tell, they’re having a really good time.

Wanna Buy Some Weeds?

Spring is springing here in Beautiful West Michigan, and I even got some radish seeds (already up!!) and parsnip seeds in the ground.  Got my beds tilled, just waiting for a little warmth and rain to get cracking with the planting.

Friends and family know that organic gardening is permanently embedded in my soul.  Some of them think I’m a bit off when they learn that oak leaves are one of my primary soil building materials.  I also put all our coffee grounds, egg shells, veggie and fruit waste in a compost pile along with more leaves and garden waste.  Compost has become a very valuable fertilizer.  Gardening is a lot of work, but it’s a labor of love you see.  And there’s absolutely nothing more yummy than home grown food.

I simply love all of it to pieces.

I’m a bed planter.  No, that does not mean that I dig really large holes and put bedroom furniture in them.  What it actually means is that, because I like to make the most of my miniature farm, I plant in beds about 3 feet wide rather than many single rows.  Walkways between the beds are usually 2 feet wide.  I do a lot of companion planting; which involves a little “reminder research” each year; during which time I read up on what plants like to live with each other.

Rows are nice and tidy, and relatively easy to maintain.  However, I can get much more production from beds once they get established.  Of course, bed planting also invites weeds, and for the first several weeks of the garden season it can be a challenge to keep the “uninvited guest” plants out.

Most of you call these uninvited plants weeds.  No, I’m not talking about “weed,” although I’ve grown some of that in my time too (hey, I’m a child of the sixties) (and no, we don’t grow it anymore!!) (and yes I know it’s legal, but I guess I’ve “outgrown” weed) (anyway, enough of the parentheses awreddy!!).  I guess a weed, by at least one definition, is a nuisance plant.  Many weeds are useful and even edible, however.  My Dad introduced us kids to “sour grass” when we were very small.  It’s actually called sheep sorrel, and is sometimes used sparingly in salads to perk them up a bit.  I still munch on sheep sorrel occasionally, but one mustn’t eat too much because of its high oxalic acid content.

After my Beautiful Girlfriend let me marry her, my interest in natural foods grew and I started gathering books on native plants and such.  Friends still think I’m a little off when I stop in my tracks and pick some wild greens for munching.  One of my personal favorites is lambs quarters, which is actually quite nutritious.  Actually tastes pretty darn good too.  Then our friend Pam introduced me to purslane, another common “weed” that is packed with nutrients including omega 3 fatty acids.  And yes, we harvest it for food.

I know now that many weeds can be yummy and useful, but I have to admit that for many years I focused on keeping “weeds” like lambs quarters and purslane OUT of the garden.  Hey, I figured if I really want to eat them, all I have to do is do a little weeding, or else venture outside the garden a bit and find all I want.

A couple years ago however, our lovely, tree-hugging daughter (the nuts don’t fall far from the tree, so to speak) informed us that she spent $4.50 on a one gallon bag of lamb’s quarters at a local organic produce market.  Upon hearing this, I had to chuckle a bit.

“You bought lamb’s quarters?!?!?” I snickered.  “I’ll have a bunch soon… how much can I get for them?” I wondered aloud.  “Yeah,” she said a bit sheepishly.  “It’s the only fresh greens they had.”

Couple days later, I called her while I was weeding out in the garden.

“Hi, this is K&K Hansen Farm calling.  I have lamb’s quarters coming, I can sell you them for $2.50 a pound.  That’s a bargain  you know.  I have a produce scale in the shed… just weigh up what you want and leave your money in the jar.”

After the joking  and poking, I asked seriously if she wanted them (for free of course).

“I’m weeding right now… if you want some of these I’ll forget to pull them out of the ground and save them for you.”

So I did.  And I did something historic:  I ACTUALLY MULCHED AROUND THE LAMB’S QUARTERS TO HELP THEM GROW BETTER.  Never in my living life would I have guessed that I’d be mulching “weeds.”

Here’s a photo to prove it!! Lamb's quarters

Then to make things even more interesting, we brought some rhubarb to one of our favorite local restaurants, Mia and Grace, and were talking to our server.  A nice gent, probably around the same age as our lovely daughter.  He mentioned that he enjoys eating both lambs quarters and purslane.  So, I approached the owners, and by golly they actually welcomed my lambsquarters and purslane.  “Yeah, nobody else is doing that around here,” Chef Jeremy remarked. The restaurant closed down a couple years ago… we really miss their food and the staff.

To this day I cultivate these “weeds.”  I already showed you the lambs quarters, but here’s a picture of some of my purslane:PurslaneMaybe I’m on the cutting edge of a burgeoning market!!  Planting could be pretty simple next year.  Just make my planting beds and water, then watch the food sprout!  Actually if you go looking about on the interwebs, you’ll find gobs of recipes for both plants.  We eat both lamb’s quarters and purslane raw as well as cooked.  They both make great additions to things like green salads, soups or stir fry dishes.

OK, maybe I’ll also plant some beans, corn, and squash and such too just for the halibut (we also love fish) (but we don’t plant fish in the garden) (they don’t grow well in the dirt) (there he goes with the parentheses again).

We have a nice sized garden that provides lots of good food; but we have no livestock.  But if we did, I’m sure they’d all behave exactly like this…

The Banana Blobs On Vacation To India

Well here we are again, snacking on yet another “Happy Friday!!!” episode for which I solicited creative input from my grandsons. However, their contributions were notably smaller this week due to a condition my Beautiful Honey Pie has diagnosed as “Video Game Brain.” Her diagnosis is based on the fact that when they are at Nini (pronounced NEE-nee) (and she’s also my Beautiful Girlfriend) (and she let me marry her) (and enough with the parentheses awreddy!!) and Papa’s house, they get an extra helping of screen time with their handheld face blasters. I’m sure her amputation has gotta be very correct. I know that this is true, because when asked for silly ideas to help me write a silly story, both of them struggled to provide any hilarious shopping cart infections. In reaction to their lackadaisical scorch water infusions, my Lovely Bride asked them both, “what, do you both have Video Game Brain???” Since she is a nurse (and a very good one at that), I must defer to her reprehensible punctuality.

That being said, I’m largely on my own with the writing and keyboard bopping this week. Hopefully all of you will be defended; and of course if that is the case I shall broop and geschnibble until the Lower Moon sinks into the toilet tank. Besides, if you’ve ever slept inside a small spare tire, you’d be absolutely certain that molecules smell better outside than they do inside.

So there I was, writhing in great joy on the floor, and screaming at the bottom of my lunges for any suggestions they could provide. Gabe said, “Well, I have a title. How about ‘The Banana Blobs On Vacation To India’.” “OK,” I replied. “Any other silly sentences to go with that?” “Nope,” said Gabe. After a pause, Ollie tinkled his wifflets and said, “what’s that thing… the prime meridian?” “I think that’s 0 degrees longitude,” I answered in a scholarly cabbage surprise. “Yeah!!” said Ollie. And he continued, “Pomeranians eating pickles at the prime meridian.”

Perhaps noticing that my dendrites were choking on less than fashionable pajamas, Nini brashly but randomly chimed in with a poem:

Strawberries like horse meat to eat.
Strawberries think horse meat is sweet.

Ollie followed up with a shocking revulsion: “I’d rather eat a moose!!” This caused me to pose as if I was being sculpted with a large egg beater, then I flung out a very serious question to all involved: “Does a Heffalump have a whole lump or a half a lump?” Questions such as these could of course cause a run-on sentence unless they are kept in a well lit pantry for at least 12; but when crickets finally resign from their duties as auto mechanics, only the most critical crayon rashes can prevent a hummingbird moth from knocking on xylophone bones during The Great Pine Cone Races which are held annually each year with a spacing of 12 months at a time on the order of 1/10th of a decade and like, you know, sometimes but not really.

OK??

Yes, have some.

Alrighty then. I suppose I’ll just resume washing the television shows I very much enjoy while all the silly, battery operated concrete blocks jump wildly from lane to lane on the interstate railroads. Is any of this making sense to you? I hope not!! If you are having difficulty looking for a “hidden meaning” or some sort of “symbolic embolism” or perhaps are seeking a “rational radiator” in all of this, please mail $12.73 and 17 box tops to:

Yodel Screechers Anonymous
24-7 Wildebeest Way
Honkingtown, Indibraskalania 49001-5

Ask for Mr. Rumpkin.

I leave you now with some very undergrown words that I never but always am urging with complete indigestion:

It is always better to be you than for you to be me, and although you can count to it, “eight” is a word.

Peace, Love, and Fuzzy Earlobes,

Hyram C. Gilmore
Professor of Turnip Juice
Gutcramp University

And now for something completely different. Well, maybe not completely…

Bloop Is The Word

Some people need a word for the day to make the radio sauces slide briskly from under the toilet canopy. Well in my professional opinion, “bird” is not the word. No, rather the word for today (or any other day) is “bloop.” Sometimes it’s used as an exclamation, as in the case of dropping something in the water. An example: remember that one time I was with Uncle Bribblet on the dock at Zooper’s Pond? He handed me this awesome looking smellphone he just bought and went up to the house to get seconds on Aunt Meebee’s refried cabbage sticks. When he came back, I had some bad news for him: “Sorry… I had your new iPhone 27 held tightly in my grubby little mitts, but as I was leaning over the dock I was distracted by the freshwater hexagonal stickfish and BLOOP!! into the brackish water it went. I was able to get it out and I tried to dry it off in the fire, but it started to fizz and make weird popping noises.”

Uncle Bribblet was not amused.

Because I enjoy learning more about words and other household temperature measuring cups, I decided to scan the interwebs for any additional applications of the word “bloop.” Lo and behold, there was one I had never heard of before. According to Wikipedia, “Bloop was an ultra-low-frequency, high amplitude underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997.” Initially it was thought to have originated from a marine animal, but it was later determined to be sounds from glacial movement or by “seabed gouging by ice.” Well now that’s just plain fascinating!! If only I was there to enjoy the bloopening!! Perhaps I could have gotten an autograph from one of the underwater sound detection technician people persons!! Or not!!

Bloop also appears in baseball, when a batter smacks a ball just beyond the infield. And then there are bloopers in film or other video media in which mistakes are made and are presented to audiences for the humor of it all. And then there’s the use of bloop to describe a noise made by an electronic device. So yes, goys and birls, I’m stealing all these inflammable regressions from the webbernet dictionary website definition place things.

Being the drebnerflooted person I am, I have sometimes been known to utter a short, high-pitched, low volume “bloop!!” for no apparent reason. This serves no other purpose than sheer amusement for me and anyone nearby who happens to hear it. I’ve also been known to utter other inconomulous strebulations like “flarf!!” or “mozzbop!!” and perhaps even “hookonk!!” just to perplex my grandsons and any other young or otherwise height-challenged lifeforms that happen to be within earshot. Of course, few of the “words” you just read are real; but hey, if you can’t have fun langling manguage, I mean, why squish the Twinkies on the sidewalk? Right??

Of course it is!!

Lastly, but not in the least indivisible, is the (not very) famous poem that includes the bloop as a sound made from mergling.

Well there you go. These days, there are many things we could cry about, but sometimes it’s important to laugh with very big harroo while you have a big mouthful of macaroni and cheese. I hope you find a word for your day, whether it is “bird,” or “bloop,” or even something highly technical like “wozzpoffle.” In the meantime, may your nostrils be free of burrowing insects, and may your garments be forever stain resistant.

Peace, Love, and Blissful Antigens,

Hyram C. Gilmore

On the other hand, you have Betty Boop and Grampy…

Terminologization

Words can be funny. Four egg sample, eye in joy you sing words that sound like they should bee OK to gather, butt their really knot. And then you have words that people make up; which can be really funny. However, it’s probably not polite to laugh at folks when they do it; especially if it’s unintentional.

I enjoyed just such a scenario some years ago. A friend and I were talking at work… I remember work!  Work is the opposite of retirement!!  Anyway, we were commiserating about work and then we thought that instead we should be trying to help each other stay grateful and not allow negative things to rot our souls and Holy Moly are we fortunate or what and although I didn’t talk to him with a run-on sentence you can bet your bippy I’m doing it now to illustrate this event; and anyway he says that we both need to stay positive and push the negative garbage away and I said,

“Yes, it’s poison.” And he replied, “YES!! You know, I just love the way you terminologize things!”

So!! I just kind of brooped and houted and said “aw shucks,” and off we went to our jobfulness. Then, when I was looking for something to write about for “Happy Friday!!!,” I thought this would be fun. Just to be sure I did a search on a dictionary site for “terminologize,” and the result was “Word not found in the Dictionary and Encyclopedia. Did you mean: terminology. And I yelled with great varnashification at the screen, “NO!! DIDN’T YOU SEE WHAT I TYPED IN THE SEARCH FIELD? I WANTED TO KNOW IF TERMINOLOGIZE IS A WORD!! SHEESH!!

And of course the screen just sat there with that silly screenified look on its face.

Now in olden days, when I was much younger and much more crelbified with “Mr. Know It All” disease, I would have told my friend, “umm, I don’t think ‘terminologize’ is a word.” No, I’ve learned that kind of correctification only serves to demean my fellow humans. I’m trying to be a recovering Know It All, in addition to some other recovery stuff I try to practice.

Conversely (that’s a real word…), I enjoy making up nonsense words to make people laugh. Sometimes they don’t get and say, “huh??” but most times folks chuckle a bit and repeat the word back to me while smiling.

Had that very thing happen a couple weeks ago. I was at the gas station, and came in to pay for my fuel. Then I spied some of those yummy 2 for a dollar sausage thingies in the little dispenser. I went to get the little paper sleeve they provide to put your links in, and had a heck of a time getting my fingers to do my brain’s bidding. “I’m a bit clumsy this morning for some reason,” I chuckled. Then I added, “I think I need to declumsify. Don’t think that’s a word, but maybe it is now!” The nice cashier lady laughed and said, “hmmm… declumsify!! I like it!! Sounds good to me!” Then we bantered more pleasantries back and forth as I paid my bill. “My puppy loves these things,” I said, pointing to the sausages. “Thanks, have a nice day.” She smiled and answered, “thank YOU. And thanks for the new word!!”

One word that I didn’t make up, is doable. What a stupid word!! It’s pronounced as if it were three words: “do a bull.” Well that can be construed as being a bit naughty if you’re, say, 14 years old or above. When I look at it and apply pronunciation rules, I think it should be pronounced “doh – bull;” because when I see “o” and “a” together in other words, it’s pronounced with the long “o” sound. Four egg sample: coat, or boat, or foal.

Anyway, pleas enjoy your words, whether imaginary oar knot. Eye no eye dew!! I try to make at least one incroflabious word every day.

I think…

These two guys mastered the silliness that can be found with words that sound the same but take much different meanings…

Rocky Raccoon And The Heavily Worsened Clutter Bomb

Once upon a time, during a prehistoric era where no smellphones or even personal computers roamed Earth, there was a fine young couple who bought a house with a very nice unattached two car garage. They marveled at the amazing amount of prospective storage space that was found in this garage! They liked it so much, they slowly but surely filled it with very important things like motor oil, a wheelbarrow, a garden tractor, a 30 gallon drum for used motor oil, nails, screws, scraps of lumber, coolers (in the rafters), bicycles, a tent, some lawn furniture, more nails, nuts, bolts, washers, old electronic things that were “way too good to toss out,” brooms, rakes, paint, bags of concrete mix, a snowblower, saws, axes, splitting mauls, hammers, socket sets, drills, and many, many other doodads and thingamabobs that, if listed, would just serve to make this run-on sentence even more ridiculously long than it is already.

So then winter came.

“Hey, it sure would be nice to put cars in the garage during the winter!!” the Beautiful Wife proclaimed. “Yeah, it would,” the Sheepish Hubby murmured. However, there was simply no room for such a practical ideal to be implemented. “We’ll need to move some stuff out of the garage to do that,” he continued. “Not sure where we can put all the stuff!!”

Several years passed, and the fine young couple (OK, the Sheepish Hubby) finally got their hineys in gear and cleared enough room for cars to actually be inside the garage!! And they got a new garage door with an automatic opener and everything!! Wow!! What a cool thing to wake up on a frosty morning and not have to scrape either frost or bird poop off the windows!! Amazing!! Boy are we glad we did this!!

One might ask, “what happened to all the stuff??” Well I wish you hadn’t asked that. You see, being the frugal (or maybe fanatical) person I am (more like was, I’m better now… kinda), I did take lots of stuff to Goodwill, and some stuff went to the dump. But all the “useful” stuff got crammed into every nook and cranny. I carefully placed all these “goodies” in the shelves, on top of the shelves, under the workbench, on top of the workbench, on the shelf above the workbench, in the window sills, between the studs, and in the rafters above the cars. Initially it looked OK, but after several years of stuffing things, using things, and rearranging things (sometimes just tossing things), the innards of our poor garage looked as if a giant clutter bomb was detonated; scattering “useful” thingamabobs and doodads in every direction.

I’m retired now, and one of my goals for retirement is to clean the garage. Sounds like a commendable goal, right? Sure!! Great plan!! I can only imagine all the cool stuff I’ll find that I’ve completely forgotten about!! It will be awesome when it’s all done, even if it takes me a month or more (be nice now, it’s been a bit of a mess for several years).

Then a horrible thing happened: I left the garage door open last week, and an intruder decided to invade. I knew this was true, because I got up to go pee and saw that someone (or something) had tripped the light beam at the bottom of the garage door opener, which turned the light on. “Oh fobblecronk!!” I said to myself. OK, I may have said something stronger. I figured it was a stray cat or dog or something in there, so I pressed the button on the remote by the kitchen window (so we can open the door from inside the house) to open and close the garage door a couple times. I was hoping someone would come zooming out, but nothing.

The next day, I opened the garage door, and walked outside to hop in the car. My eyeballs popped out of my head, twirled around my ears a couple times, went to my stomach and came back to my eyeball sockets. The invader had obviously been trapped inside all night, and in an effort to escape, it knocked all the stuff off the window sills. Oh, and the stuff on the workbench was tossed around. Well, suffice it to say that pretty much everything that could have been disturbed had been. It was very apparent to me that we had a raccoon problem. I figured it must be hiding under the workbench, but no. I looked up, didn’t see anything. Moved the crap out from under the car so I could get out, went to the store, came back, parked, closed the door.

Day number 2: more mess. Bigger mess. MUCH bigger mess. “OK, where are you??” I thought out loud. Looked again under the workbench. Nope. Up above? Nothing obvious. Got on a step ladder for a better look, there he (or maybe she) was. Got down off the ladder and grabbed a fish net. Ha, ha ha on me! No way. Very silly idea. Instead, the critter easily evaded me and decided to curl up into the rafters next to where the roof meets the studs. Went inside and got my extra set of welding gloves. I’m gonna grab this thing and let it go. Ummm NOOO!!! BAD IDEA!! Yes, I did try to grab it, but it instantly started to bury its head and growl. Instantly, I envisioned my face being eaten off my skull by an angry raccoon; so I decided to step down and step back. Baited a live trap, set it in the garage, left the side door open. Checked in the middle of the night, no Rocky Raccoon. And yes, by this time I started calling it Rocky; after the Beatles tune you know. After a second late night check, still nothing in the trap. Took the trap outside, left the side door open, went to bed. Morning came and Rocky was not in the trap, but Rocky was gone!! Yay!! And for those who are not aware, Rocky is not necessarily a gender specific name: we have a dear friend named Richelle, and she goes by Rocky.

Our cars are not currently sleeping in the garage at night. I have my work cut out for me: oil spills, nails, screws, tools, cans scattered everywhere. The clutter bomb debris from days of yore would be a welcome sight right now. Oh well. I think maybe I’ll try to keep the garage door closed from now on.

Good plan, yes?

Well this week’s video contains some rather corny humor. This one is from 1970, back when many homes still had TVs from the Stone Age which only rendered two colors: black and white.

Monkeys On Their Bus Ride to England

Well there we were, snarfing some homemade assorted fried rice with green beans and garlic from the garden and lots of other veggies from the grocery store and some dead crustaceans (a.k.a. shrimp), dead chicken muscles (a.k.a. chicken meat) and also dead pig muscles (a.k.a. mork peat); when My Beautiful Girlfriend announced, “it’s time to give your Papa some ideas for Happy Friday!!!” so they began hurling (not food) sentences at me in the form of interview questions and now it’s time to switch to that idea rather than allow this run-on sentence to continue any farther.

When asked what the title of this silly story should be, Gabe quickly blurted, “Monkeys On Their Bus Ride to England!!” This quickly ushered in a mock interview session in which his older brother Oliver assumed the role of interviewer.

Oliver: “Where are they in the world when they get on the bus?”

Gabe: “They are not in the world they’re on Jupiter.”

Oliver: “Is the bus that the monkeys are on going so fast on Jupiter that it somehow broke through the atmosphere and landed on earth?”

Gabe: “Well no, they did not go fast in the bus to get out of the atmosphere. They built a ginormous ramp, and it took them one day to get to earth. They landed in a field 5000 million miles away from England. The field was floating on a ginormous balloon on the water. A balloon was there to keep the field from sinking in the water.”

Oliver: “What country were they closest to one they landed?”

Gabe: “They were closest to China and four different countries.”

Oliver: “Are there any cows on this island?”

Gabe: “No but there are a crap ton of pigs!”

Oliver: “These aliens are confused.”

Gabe: “These aren’t aliens, they are just regular monkeys.”

At this time my Lovely Bride interjected that she was wondering if these monkeys were going to do any sightseeing. Perhaps they would see Big Ben or perhaps the Queen?

Gabe: “They thought maybe they would go see big Ben and the queen but instead they chose to go to the Eiffel tower to see the other crap ton of pigs.”

Oliver started to resume the “interview,” but Gabe quickly took over. “I’ll question myself,” he said. “Where did they go after they went to the Eiffel tower and saw the other crap ton of pigs? They went back to the balloon to see the first crap ton of pigs! The End.”

We all had a chuckle while I e-mailed the results of the interview to myself so I could more easily transcribe the notes I dictated to my phone along the way. Afterward we all sat down to crunch on some delicious remote controls dipped in chocolate flavored motor oil and watched “Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring” until it was too late to keep our eyes open. So now I am sending this to all of YOU and that’s just all you get for this week, with the exception of course of the silly video I like to put at the end.

Thank you and good night.

P.S.: Hope the raccoon finds the live trap I set in the garage. I’m really tired of that critter tearing it up in there!!

Crybaby Cocka-roach… In Coffee?!?!?

So there I was, 639.8 feet above sea level (yes, I checked), no plane, no parachute, throwing firewood into the basement because I was trying to beat the rains and get the dry wood into the house so we could be nice and cozy warm and fuzzy with fireplace warmth and loveliness; when suddenly the guy on the radio stops between songs to tell me that there are bugs in my coffee, and of course that was a good excuse to write a long overdue run-on sentence because I haven’t done that in at least 14.82 milliseconds or maybe even more.

The announcer guy told me something I really didn’t want to know: when you buy a bag of pre-ground coffee in the store, you can expect to have a little roasted cockroach deliciousness added. Then my brain went straight to childhood (as it often does), and I remembered the chant, “crybaby cocka-roach nyaa nyaa na boo boo!!” This of course was used to taunt someone who was likely brought to tears from some cruel trick that was played on them. Now my childish adult brain is taunting me by repeating (albeit silently): “crybaby cocka-roach roasted in your cawww-feeee!!”

Gack!!

My wife and I became “coffee snobs” some years ago, or at least we thought so. Turns out there are many who are way more fanatical about coffee than we are. We bought a somewhat fancy grinder… did you know you can spend lots of money on those things?? Once we acquired the grinder we started seeking out all different whole bean coffees to see what we liked the best. Then one day we bought some 8 O’Clock whole bean coffee and loved it!! Very nice flavor and a pretty fair price. After several grinding sessions, we thought what the heck, might as well try the pre-ground variety. And guess what?? Tasted just as good. Upon that discovery we shelved the grinder with the reasoning that hey, why put miles on our grinder when the pre-ground is just as yummy?

Then I get this stupid announcement about the cocka-roaches. And yes, I know they are normally called cockroaches; but where we grew up on Long Island it was not at all uncommon to hear the much more endearing term “cocka-roaches” uttered instead. Anyway, I’m going to continue to buy the pre-ground coffee; and just keep telling myself, “8 O’Clock is a very good brand. They probably keep out the cocka-roaches… I hope.”

Before sitting down to write about this phenomenon, I hopped onto the interwebs for what was really a refresher course. Pretty much everything we eat has some kind of hitchhiker bug (or parts of them) in it; and it’s actually allowed by the FDA. There are various allowable percentages of insect parts and even rat hairs for many foods. Doesn’t that just make you hungry?? Mmmmm me too!!

Of course, food packagers don’t advertise this; ever. I am a dedicated label reader when I go to the grocery store. Because of this, I’ve changed some of my purchasing habits. For example, I rarely by shredded cheese, or the plastic cans of parmesan or Romano cheese you can shake onto your spaghetti or whatever. Why? Because packages of both shredded and grated cheeses usually contain an “anti-caking agent” which is often powdered cellulose, also known as sawdust. Hey, at least they fess up!! But in all my years of perusing food labels, I have never once seen any mentions like “may contain ‘2 or more 3 mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments, the aggregate length of insects or insect parts exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds’ ”; which, according to Wikipedia, is the allowable content of corn borer larvae in canned sweet corn.

Even though all this sounds gross, anyone who believes we humans can grow and eat as much food as we do and never eat any of the bugs that live on it is fooling themselves. It’s just a reality of being at the top of the food chain!! When we were kids, if our half eaten apple hit the ground, Mom would give it a quick rinse, hand it back to us and say “you gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die!!”

She never mentioned we’d also be eating bugs.

This week’s cartoon has nothing to do with food or bugs… but it’s one I’ve never seen.

The Brain – Hiney Connection And Other Senior Anomalies

This past Monday marked my 67th trip around the sun. That’s right folks, I’m starting to approach the older-than-compost mark of the big 7-0. Weird!! I mean where did all the time run off to? I distinctly remember when The Beatles came to the U.S. on the Mayflower… seems like just a couple years ago. Then suddenly I got married, had kids, and now we have grandchildren!! One grandson is 12 awreddy, and the other’s gonna be 8 next month!! Time is flying so quickly… this is a horrible thing to happen to gentle people like us (my Beautiful Girlfriend and me).

I’m told this is a common anomaly among seniors. And no, I don’t mean the high school variety. Well OK, during senior year of high school my Lovely Bride and I were planted next to each other in study hall. That was in January of… holy mazamookah!! 1972!!??!!That’s like 49 years ago!! This time whooshing phenomenon is lamented by many folks our age. We are all wondering who stole all the minutes. Gives a whole new perspective on the mantra, “try to live life one day at a time.”

I’m catching myself referring to my Sweet Honey Pie, me, and many of our friends as seniors. As in senior citizens. Old farts. Well OK, the men are the old farts, because everybody knows the ladies simply do not fart, right? Ummm… well never mind. So yes, we are senior citizens. We get discounts at restaurants, but since the nasty COVID came along we are not really interested in dining inside. Many of us are retired; and of course most of us are “enjoying” all the physical changes that make getting older so doggoned much fun.

Took a friend of mine to go get hearing aids at the Veteran’s Hospital today. He’s ten years older, and of course my mind started spinning about if (or more likely when) I’ll need hearing aids. I’m a veteran, so I was thinking maybe I could qualify for some assistance with such extravagantly expensive devices. I dropped him off at the door, parked the car, and went back inside to use the tinkle room. There’s another anomaly… old people tinkle. A LOT. Well some of us do. And even weirder, we talk to each other about it!!

So anyway, there I was, walking back inside to go tinkle, when I’m greeted by some folks behind a table. A nice lady lunged at me with a temperature doohicky and waved it near my forehead, and she began to quiz me: “Have you been sick?” “No,” I replied. She continued…

“Have you been near anyone who has been sick or has had COVID?”

“No.”

“Have you had or needed a COVID test recently?”

“No.”

“Do you walk to school, or carry your lunch??”

“No??”

Well OK maybe that last question was a fib. I mentioned that my friend (who had long left for his appointment) was getting hearing aids and that I might need some later on. Of course, I know I’ve had some hearing loss due to many rounds of ammunition shot during target practice when I was a kid, all of course with no hearing protection. “Better start the paperwork!” the nice lady said. Then she described what sounded like a few thousand pounds worth of forms that would be needed. Oh well, I don’t need them right now; at least not today. When I got home, my Beautiful Girlfriend was in her rocking chair, facing away from me, playing a game on her iPad when she uttered something like, “jermla brib da cam makka jaboo gleg HEARING AIDS??” “What’s this about hearing aids?” I replied. She repeated and asked if I thought the VA could help me get hearing aids. “I dunno, maybe,” I answered. “Don’t quite need them yet…”

My friend insisted on buying me lunch on the way home, and I had a nice Double Bacon Death Burger from a well known fast food joint. It was delicious but I was fully aware that I would soon fall victim to yet another senior anomaly: Instant Obesity. Something very unfair happened some years ago, when I noticed that whatever I ate almost instantly added pounds to my body. Not fair, not funny.

My favorite joking anomaly though, is the brain – hiney connection. I joke about it because I find it amusing, but it’s also a bit annoying at times. I’ll be sitting down, reading the paper or maybe watching the news, and then it occurs to me that I need to go to the pantry to get something for dinner. I get up, walk to the pantry, open the door, and stare blankly inside because I forgot why I needed to go the pantry. I go back to my sitting place, and as soon as I sit down I remember what I needed!! This strange brain – hiney connection is not limited to trips to the pantry, either. Sheesh!! Funny, but also frustrating at times.

Guess I’ll just keep being grateful for each successive trip around the sun. I really am fortunate, after all. I can still do pretty much everything I was able to do when I was 27; but often physical motion is accompanied by some snap-crackle-pop noises, and sometimes it hurts. My wife and I have some health challenges, but we are still basically doing very well. As far as material success, I’ve had all my wants fulfilled. Some of you have heard me say this before, but when I was a kid (20s or so) I stated to many friends, “all I want in life is the love of a beautiful woman, a home with enough land to grow food; and a kick-ass stereo.”

I have all those. Life is good.

One thing cool about being an old fart, I remember when they actually played movies like this on TV when I was very young. Still fun to watch in my professional opinion!!

Subscription Addiction?

I’m such a cheapskate.  No daily newspaper, no cable TV,  no super fast internet.

Say What??

Yep.  As I told you, I’m a cheapskate.  Well sometimes.  My beautiful girlfriend and I are in complete agreement about the newspaper and cable TV.  We used to get the paper, but it became a recycling headache.  We’ve changed from a fairly fat daily newspaper to a weekly local rag called The White Lake Beacon.  When we got daily delivery, the papers piled up and we kept paying for the paper lady to keep bringing more.  Then we quit and started gaining weight from the loss of regular exercise that came with hauling all that paper to the recycling center (a.k.a. “the dump”).

Well, OK, maybe that’s not really why be started gaining weight…

My Honey Pie and I have always agreed that TV should be free, like the radio. Then, way back in about 1992 or so; our family’s TV time dropped to a bare minimum. You see, that’s when our daughter decided to slack off on homework.  She started flunking math, but it was all our fault really. We would have the TV on when the kids got home from school; and it became a pretty important diversion. But when the school grades began to slide into the sewer; we tried rationing TV. We’d say really wise things like, “no TV till your homework’s done!!”  That gave both of our wonderful offspring remarkable energy, and they’d whoosh through whatever homework they had so they could catch their favorite shows.  Of course, the result was substandard work.  Better, but still pretty lousy.  Mind you, their very important programs came from our antenna, without a cable subscription.  Anyway, we ended up doing THE UNTHINKABLE!!  We laid down the law:

No TV from Monday through Thursday; unless there is some special event or a program that constitutes required viewing for school.  Video games are considered TV time.  Friday night and Saturdays are free time, Sunday TV depends on the amount of homework.

Needless to say, when we first uttered these bone-chilling rules the kids were mortified.  “Will you tape (remember VCRs?) our shows???” they pouted.  “OK,” we conceded, “but only if you promise to bring the grades up.”  So they did.  And after about a month, they quit caring about what was on TV.  And even more ridiculous, they started reading for fun.  Holy cow!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like vegging in front of the tube and I do have favorite shows.  But Mom and I both have addictive natures, and we are very much aware that if we actually paid for TV we would feel the need to watch more.  Speaking of vegging, I had to look up the spelling…  I guess I spelled it right but it looks like “egging” with a “v” in front to me.   English… whatchya gonna do?

Anyway…

Fast forward to 2004, when Aunt Joyce came to live with us. She got us hooked on NCIS and CSI.  CSI is off the air now, but NCIS has like 3 different flavors to choose from, and we love every one of them. Still; we’re talking free TV.  I do have to confess a bit here:  we upgraded our “high speed wireless” internet, which was slightly better than dial-up; to some screaming fast Comcast internet.  A whopping 25 Mbps!!  OK so that’s not screaming fast… but I’m a cheapskate, remember??   Then I made the mistake of getting a trial version of Netflix when my Beautiful Girlfriend was recovering from knee surgery.  We’re way past the trial period now; although we go for the rock-bottom rate of $8.99 a month.  OK… more confessions we do have a few dollars going out the door for entertainment.  With the internet, contributions to PBS, Netflix, and CBS All Access (sometimes channel 3 is naughty and won’t come in worth a poop), we pay a whopping $51 a month for more than enough TV.

As I listen to more and more folks talk about shows on platforms like HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney, and so on; I’m thinking there appears to be a growing subscription addiction in our culture.  More and more people are paying for more and more internet and TV stuff.  And of course there also seem to be lots of folks who simply must have the latest gadgets to watch their shows or play their games. It’s getting to the point where there’s really no need to go outside anymore with all the junk you can watch on TV or all the interactive gaming you can do in high-speed internet.  I also saw a report a while back (on TV of course) that more and more Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency.  So they’re rattling off all the ways you can get more vitamin D in your diet.  Well guess what folks, back in the “old days,” meaning before the internet and cable TV, vitamin D was called “the sunshine vitamin.”  In other words, your body actually makes vitamin D when you’re outside in the day time.   Is that a weird idea or what??  Going outside I mean…  But then, even when folks do go outside, you can see all too many of them fixated on their handheld doohicky thingamabobs.

Guess I’m a dinosaur.  I still love the Beatles and The Three Stooges.  We heat with firewood.  We grow organic vegetables.  We do stuff with friends that does not involve electronic gadgets.  And so far, I have not become so enmeshed in the habit of watching the tube that I have to worry about video-addictive behavior problems.  Perhaps recovery groups will spring from this trend… you know, places that are actually out of the home where people can discuss their multimedia dependencies with others, and maybe even have some real-time interaction with live bodies.  And if I ever become one of those who is hopelessly addicted to TV, etc., I hope I have the courage to change the things I can.  I’ll go to my first meeting, clutch my cup of coffee, and say the magically freeing words:

“Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a vidiot.”

When our grandsons have a tradition of watching cartoons before bed time.  Prehistoric cartoons, of course!!