Omicron OhNo

Dunno about youse, but this boy is sick up and fed with the Covid awreddy. Is this crap ever gonna end? SHEESH!! It makes me to barf on the ground. Both me and my Honey Pie are fully vaccinated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t catch anything. I mean, hey, we just had a nice bout of bronchitis in our house. Thankfully it wasn’t Covid; but holy MOLY it knocked us in the dirt. Now our poor grandson does have Covid; so our scheduled visit for this weekend has been postponed (dang it!!). And I’ve been hearing more and more reports of friends who got the nasty Covid bug.

We don’t want no any omicron, thank you very much. Therefore, our “bubble” just shrank (again) to a very few people who we know are fully vaccinated and free of symptoms. Heavy on the free of symptoms; mind you. My Beautiful Girlfriend already has a lung disease, and we don’t want to know what omicron will do to us. Dr. Fauci was recently quoted as saying that “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.” Is that reassuring or what??

Nope!!

So here we go again. I’m truly grateful to be retired, because there have been numerous times when I picked up some icky microbe at work. We just need to focus on staying safe. Along with washing or sanitizing our hands, we’ve learned more about masks during the course of this pandemic, for example: a) cloth masks are often pretty but ineffective, 4) disposable surgical masks are not as good as we thought, and R) N95 masks are best but no fun to breathe through. We want to stay safe, though, so as of today we’ll be wearing N95 masks in public.

All this omicron stuff is beginning to wear on us, ya know?? Would be fun to go to a rock concert, but no… Would be fun to go to the movies, but no… Would be nice to eat in a restaurant with friends, but not right now. So we support out local restaurant with take out orders and bigger than normal tips. We support the movie makers by streaming their products online. There are lots of cool concerts available on YouTube and also on PBS in the form of Austin City Limits. And the best part of all this isolation is that my Lovely Bride and I are best friends; and we are OK spending a lot of time together. We also know how to venture off to a different part of the house for some space.

I keep trying to remember the saying, “This too shall pass.” Not sure when it’s gonna pass, but I hope it will eventually. Hey, maybe not! Maybe this is what many have called the “new normal.” I pray that is not the case, but if it is, well I’ll just have to roll with it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reminding myself to go through my Gratitude List each and every day. It’s a very powerful tool that was offered to me by some friends many moons ago. Basically, when my head starts to hurt from all the rotten toe cheese people, places, or things in the world that try to yank my serenity out of my noggin; I recite at least 5 things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I say these out loud to friends or my Sweet Spouse Lady. Sometimes it’s as basic as, “Well I have a safe and warm place to sleep, plenty of food, cars that work, the love of a Beautiful Woman, and so far I still live in a free country.” Then I’ll point out that some folks live under a bridge, and some don’t even have the luxury of any shelter at all. When I focus on the good, life is good. But no omicron for me please.

Thank you.

Well here are some doctors I remember from my childhood. Warning: lots of slapstick!

It’s A Bird!! It’s A Plane!! It’s SOUPERMAN!!

Before I forget, I’d like to thank our grandson for bestowing upon us a very big hacking bug. He and his younger brother came to spend the weekend with us on December 21. He had a nice cough at that time, but we just figured it was one of those nice colds that kids get from their schoolmates. Shortly after he arrived, we began to feel a little funny. You know, like a cold was trying to invade our bodies. We broke out the zinc lozenges and the probiotic fizzy stuff but alas, within a week the bug not only took root, but evolved into some very nasty bronchitis, which we are still fighting.

My Beautiful Girlfriend was due for a Covid test on December 26, to prepare for an upcoming procedure she had scheduled. When the lady at the desk heard about our hacking and barooping, she sent my Lovely Bride back to the car. Both of us needed a Covid test. Thankfully we were both negative; and yes, we’ve both been vaccinated and boosted. But the barking cough; stubbed ub dozes (clogged snotlockers), and yukka pitoo continued on. She was prescribed antibiotics, some prednizone, and some cough suppressant gel caps. I was prescribed Flonase (which I still like to jokingly pronounce Flay-nose). And of course, the usual recommendations of fluids and rest.

Some of our fluid intake has been herbal tea. Sometimes orange juice (pronounced AH-rinj juice) (I’m from Noo Yawk) (I can’t help it, it still comes out) (OK!! Enough with the parentheses awreddy!!). Otherwise, one of the best remedies for a nasty bug like this is: SOUP. And that’s what we’ve been eating. For dinner: soup. For lunch: soup. Sometimes for breakfast!! SOUP!! Some of it starts as canned soup. Other times I start from scratch. To either I add goodies like garlic (from the garden), rosemary (also from the garden), parsley (yep I grew that too), thyme, onion, maybe some sage. Oh and again from the garden: carrots and most recently the last of the Brussels sprouts.

In years past, this combination of veggies and herbs would kick the nasty affliction’s hiney in a few days. This bug, however proved to be particularly persistent. So back we went to the doctor; and she said to continue what we were doing; and unless there’s a fever there’s nothing more they could do. She did, however, recommend Basque garlic soup. I mentioned I’ve already used some garlic, but she urged us to give this Basque (a region in Spain) type of soup a try.

So home again, home again, jiggety jig; to search for a recipe of soup we could swig.

There were several Basque garlic soup variations on the interwebs; but they all had one important commonality: the recipe used about twice as much garlic as I was using. Mind you, I’m not bashful with garlic when I make my famous “Kenny’s Cold Killin’ Soup.” Never hear of my famous soup? Well it’s mostly famous at my house. Anyway… all the recipes called for an entire bulb of garlic. 8 to 10 cloves!! That would be OK with store-bought garlic I suppose, but the Purple Italian garlic I grow gets really big. I limited my garlic to 5 cloves; which is still probably more than what’s found in store-bought garlic.

I’ve been relying on garlic for many years to smack cold bugs in the bazooky. But during my search for Basque garlic soup, I also wanted a refresher course of garlic’s medicinal properties. Lo and behold, I ran across a study from Penn State University. The study states that allicin, which is a powerful medicinal component of garlic, is activated by chopping or crushing the garlic and allowing it to sit in the open air for 10 minutes.

I never knew!!

I learned something!! Gave me a flashback of when I asked the politically incorrect question of “Hey Ma, how old are you?” She’d reply, “Old enough to know better, young enough to learn, but you’re too dumb to teach me.” This quip was always followed with a twinkle in her eye and a chuckle. I would never tell anyone they’re “too dumb to teach me;” but I’m grateful that I’m “old enough to know better” but young enough to learn. Hopefully I will always remain teachable. Meanwhile; although we’re on the mend; we’ll continue with the herbal teas; OJ (AH-rinj juice); and yes, I’ll be making soup, soup, and more soup.

Perhaps I’ll change my name to… Souperman!!

Time’s Fun..

My friend Duane had a way with words. When talking about how quickly the years fly past us, he often said, “well you know what frogs say: time’s fun when you’re having flies!” Boy ain’t that the truth. Now that I’m an old fart, I can mention stuff like that to new parents.. “You know, now that you’re a Mom, your life will flash before your eyes. She’s 7 weeks old now, but the day after tomorrow she’ll be asking for the car keys.” I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever had kids can relate. They grow up almost instantly; or so it seems.

So here we have 2022 on the horizon. Sheesh!! Seems like just last month The Beatles were arriving in the US on the Mayflower!! And they were on TV in glorious black and white!! No cell phones, no personal computers, just crazy stuff like record players and radios!! HOW DID WE EVER SURVIVE??

We did pretty well really. By today’s standards, life seemed much simpler. Communication was much different; because people actually listened to each other rather than texting and talking at the same time. If someone texted while driving in those days, it meant they were writing something while at the wheel. Just as bad an idea as today’s cell phone texting really. Probably even worse! If you crashed, besides all the other owies you could end up with a pencil stuffed way up inside your nostrils!! Anyway, in spite of all the changes in technology; things haven’t really changed much. We just hear about it all much more quickly.

Oh!!  And there were these things called science and facts.   People knew the difference between truth and lies.  And when scientists and doctors warned us about stuff in the interest of our safety; we believed what they said.  We trusted them to give us the real deal; because we knew they really cared about us.

Anyway, rather than bore you with too much “then vs. now” nostalgia or crying about all the woes of the world, I’d like to throw out my newly printed, fresh off the press New Year’s Revolutions that I may or may not try to practice during the upcoming year.  So here they are, and I would strongly encourage all of you to examine these carefully and then run away laughing (or screaming, depending on your mood):

1) Since food is my current drug of choice, I resolve to go to the store and buy it. Well OK, I’ll go to the farmers market a few times too… Oh, and I still have some carrots and German Smooth Kale (fancy talk for wild cabbage) out in the garden; those should be pretty yummy. I’m just gonna eat, OK?

T) This is the year I’m gonna try something different!! I just don’t know what it is yet.

1a) Remember that food thing I was talking about? I really like food. I was wondering if you’d please sign me up for the Pizza of the Week Club.  As a gift, you know… where they bring you fantastic brick oven baked pizza every week.  What??  Nobody does that??

FINE!!  Let’s move on…

9) Do you remember that one time when we said we were gonna do that one really cool thing? Boy that was a great time, wasn’t it? You remember?? Um… neither do I.

Blue) I really need to quit wearing my undies on my head in public.

&) When the robins come back, I will welcome them nicely rather than telling them tasteless jokes like last year.

0#) Did you ever find the term “jelly beans” amusing? Me neither. But I’m determined to discover just where they come from. My experiment for this year’s garden: cross pollinate pole beans with a few jars of strawberry preserves. I’ll keep you informed.

And least but not less:  Here’s a real one.  I’ve already started this really…

pX) I’m going to spend less time on social media (like BookFace) and more time facing actual people in real live social ways while living my life in a state of electronicless bliss.  At least some of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love checking in on my friends’ posts on the interwebs.  Unfortunately, however, some folks that I have known and loved are hell bent on embracing conspiracy theories and ignoring truth and science.  Because I love them, I will not “unfriend” them.  Rather, I employ a mental health technique and “unfollow” them.  This allows only friendly vibes to appear on my BookFace feed.  But hey, too much is too much.  I’m pretty good at the too muchness; so less much I think is much better for me than too much muchness.  I’ve encountered folks who think they told me about something and I didn’t hear it; and then they harrumph a little and say, “I messaged you about it on BookFace!!”  Well that makes me feel kinda sad… for them!  Sorry kids, but I’m not gonna allow social media to run my universe.

Just sayin’…

Well I could go on and on, but I’d better stop there I think. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that you have a very Happy New Year. If that greeting is too politically incorrect for you, please just have a Happy Merry and a Joyful Wonderful.

Peace, Love, and Jelly Beans to all, and to all a good night.  And speaking of social media… here’s a little thingy that you can give a loved one who spends too much time with their eyeballs glued to a screen.

One More “Christmas:” A Final Ha-Ha-Holiday Letter For YOU

Dear Burgerbakers,

It seems like there was a ferocious calcification during much of December, and then there were holidays. They are looming large on the horizon now, but I certainly hope all of you will enjoy the holidays as much as we will. I’ll spend many hours licking the Christmas tree. Often our family will reinvent clothing while sleeping in the snowy ditch that does not even come close to our driveway. Our sump pump drains in there. Every time I would begin to dream of krumkaka, water would bloosh its way into my hair and nostril regions. Needless to say, I have developed a twervous nitch what haves defected my typinggn.

A flock of camels came to our garage and we asked them politely. To stop eating my tools, someone had to go up on the roof and yell with a ferocious growl. No, I didn’t. Mess up that sentence! Mess it up I tell you!! Do you think that just because Santa brought you the brand new macaroni flusher that you have the indecent formula for pie with no armpits? Well I’m here to tell you, that type of attitude will get you into concerts for free.

Actually, the Maine reason I am writing to you is because all of you are who you are, and I am not who you are. This is very good for me, as I am already plenty confused without trying to learn to navigate in all of your houses. Especially when the lights are off and the dog is eating the cat food and hey you please get out of the litter box oh gack you’re eating those stupid cat Tootsie Rolls again.

Oh wait.

That’s what used to happen at my house!!

Oh those were the days when Musky Da Husky’s appetite was not quite satisfied. He’d come out of the utility room, licking his chops. Then I look into his beautiful brown eyes and he looks back as if to say, “What??” At this time I’m pretty sure he’s been having hors d’ouvres from the kitty box. Then, he’ll turn around very nonchalantly and go right back in there, at which time I say very vigorously, “Git outta the poopie box you stupid dog!! NO!!! NO KISSING ME!!! arrrrgggghhhh  Get away with the kaka breath awreddy!! Oh, and ummm… you have litter particles on your nose. Ha ha, I laugh to you!!”  He eventually quit enjoying cat logs; and we miss him terribly.

OK. For real now, I really am truly writing to all of you out there because each and everyone of you are special, and that’s very special to me. So I’m especially writing to wish you all A Happy Merry And Joyful Wonderful; and please don’t leave my mud custard in the basket of fried onion seeds.

I’m very much allowed to write all this because we have get to have more than one “Christmas” to celebrate with twinkling earlobes this year.  After all the sell abrasives, we can use the chainsaw to fizzle the brand new naturally flavored artificial Christmas tree with Liberty and Justice for All.

But none of this is your fault. If it was, I would feel no need to reprimand you for that silly incident with the very loud flatulence last Tuesday in the grocery store.

So as you can see, I’m in real need of pickled herring resistance. Please send lots of money and an oversized piece of rare cheese to:

Amblenern Frammizackton
45U7 Odor Oh No
Gibbik, Larbonia 29&z1

Thanks, and may all your tweezers function properly.

Gibble Dee Boo,

Ken Arbelgarben
a.k.a. Mr. Toast-On-A-Stick

P.S.:  Peace, Love, and Hugs to You ALL!!

And now for one of our very favorite cartoons for this time of year.

My Christmas Tradition – Presents and Procrastination

Here we go again. Another year almost to an end, another Christmas time almost upon us. And every year friends ask that same question again and again, “you ready for Christmas??” When I ask this of my friends, some say “oh yeah!!” To those lovely stinker heads I jokingly say, “Oh FINE!!” Then they ask me if I’m ready, and I snort, “HECK no!!” Well, OK, maybe I use a stronger term than HECK, but this is a family-type column so all my 4-letter naughty bits will be kept away from the keyboard, thank you very much.

I am spoiled rotten by my Beautiful Girlfriend; she gets most of the stuff for our kids and the grandkids. For the most part, all I have to worry about is stuff for her. Sure, I get a few stocking stuffers for the kids… kippered herring and jerky for the big kids, candy and goodies for the little kids. I was smart enough to get my wife’s “big” present some time ago… all I have to do now is remember where I stashed it. Then I also got her this cool book she asked for… I think I know where that is…

Being the excellent procrastinator that I am, though, I normally wait to find the “little stuff” with my last paycheck (which is now Social Security) before Christmas. This year is no exception. This weekend I’ll be dashing about the store at a very fast pace; maybe looking for fancy foo-foo juice (my Dad’s term for cologne) for my Lovely Wife Person and maybe some earrings or some of those snap-on Groucho Marx eyebrows or how about a gold plated lint brush with matching shoulder reflectors oh and WOW there’s one of those cool hand-crank radio/flashlight/tire pump/grease gun combination things oh wait she won’t want that but she might like these yellow socks but hey who am I kidding I can’t buy her any clothes Holy Cow there’s that CD she’s been looking for but oh FOOEY the case is cracked oh what the heck maybe a few bags of peanut M&Ms and some fluffy stuffed frogs I just don’t know OK to heck with it here we go I’ll just get the foo-foo juice and WHADDYA MEAN IT’S $150 PER MILLILITER?? OY YOY YOY!! NEVERMIND AWREDDY!!

On the other hand, you have all the baking. Yes Virginia, I really do bake around this time of year and of course I haven’t started any of that monkey business yet neither. It seems like it was November just a few days ago!! And yes, I am fully aware that frogs always say “time’s fun when you’re having flies;” but that doesn’t help me right now does it?? HmmMMM?

Breathe… breathe…

OK. I’m not gonna stress out about all this. Just gonna do the best I can and probably stay up way too late wrapping all the stuff I got. But that’s all my fault. All I need to do is quit procrastinating.

I’ll do that either next year or the year after that.

Please enjoy the Spirit of the season, which has absolutely nothing to do with all the gifts and face stuffing. Rather, as you all know, it has to do with peace and love. So I hope all of you enjoy your Holidays, as I’m pretty sure we will.

In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to watch “A Christmas Carol,” that was made in 1951 and starred Alistair Sim. I found the black and white version on YouTube… it’s in mono so don’t worry that only one of your speakers is working (hey, can’t beat the price!).  There are many film versions of this story, but this one has always been my favorite. Every time I watch it I get all gooshy; because I can really relate to the main character.   Although I’m not proud to admit it, there was a time when I was badly afflicted with Mr. Know-It-All disease, and I was all too angry and selfish all too often. Took some emotional and spiritual pain, then time and hard work to grow out of this dark time in my life; but I’m very grateful to say that my “Mr. Jerk Face Know It All” days are long past. I’m grateful especially to The People Upstairs and all Their Messengers who showed me the way.

Well back to the film:  my very favorite part is near the end when Scrooge realizes he has a second chance at life (at 1 hour and 8 minutes into the film if you don’t want to watch the whole thing).  Makes my cry (for happy) like a baby every time.  And I thank the makers of this film for giving me a mantra I repeat somewhat regularly:  “I don’t know anything. I never did know anything.  But now I know I don’t know anything!”

My Toes Are Curling!!

This getting old stuff is not for cowards. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I have so far enjoyed 67 trips around the Sun, which is pretty cool really. But we’ve noticed that as we grow older, our bodies continue to undergo some “interesting” changes. We often joke about these changes, which when lumped all together aren’t really all that funny. But hey, ya gotta laugh, right?

One of my “favorite” anecdotes about aging involves what I’ll abbreviate here as the “B.H.C.,” which stands for the Brain/Hiney Connection. I’ve joked to friends and relatives alike about it. When the conversation drifts toward the “joys” of growing older; I’ve been known to say, “I’m pretty sure my brain and my butt are connected somehow.” Then I get a few giggles and silly looks, and I go on to explain, “When I go into a room, I can’t remember why the HECK I went there. Then I go sit down, and AHA!! I remember now!!” The silly looks turn into more giggles, accompanied by, “I can relate!!”

On a more physical note, we’ve found we’re becoming increasingly thin-skinned. No, I don’t mean our feelings are hurt easily. Nope. But brush against a hard object with your arm and guess what? A booboo!! And not just a little scratch neither. What used to be a small encounter with an immovable object will now draw blood in one fell swoop. Just last weekend I went to the basement for an armful of firewood; and this light switch that’s mounted on the concrete wall jumped out at me and bit my arm in a very brash manner. Even though I wasn’t happy about the encounter, I said “Excuse me,” and continued on to the wood pile. The really cool part: I hardly noticed the owie. I mean I felt it, but shrugged it off because I didn’t think there was any damage. Then I go back upstairs and notice this dime-sized gouge in my arm that wants to bleed pretty nicely. Time to reach for the triple antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids!

Getting up off the couch has become a symphony of groans and the old Kellogg’s refrain of “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” Joints get “stuck” when trying to reach for an object. A little wiggling sets the joints free… so far (hopefully that will continue). And then there’s the change in position of various body parts. “My toes are curling!” my Lovely Bride exclaimed today while we were lounging with our feet up. “And they’re spreading apart!!” “They look OK to me,” I replied. “Well you don’t have to live with them!!” she retorted. “I dunno Honey, I’ve been living with your toes for a long time now.” I snickered.

We both had a nice laugh.

And why is it that hair grows better out of my nose, ears and eyebrows than off the top of me head?? I think maybe I could start a new senior fashion trend by letting my eyebrows grow long and just comb them back for more hair on top. And perhaps the nostril hair is an invitation for beneficial insects to have free lodging. Am I hearing more poorly because of all the hair in my ears?? And why is there less hair on the noggin and more hair on the belly and chest?? A rather strange phenomenon, don’t you think?? I think I’ll call it “FM” – Follicular Migration. Yes, I’m beginning to think those mischievous little hair follicles are in a plot to give me an increasingly shiny scalp; and they band together and do little parades from my head bone to other parts of my body. The scalp gets balder and the belly and chest get little fuzz forests that were never there before.

This aging stuff!! These are all terrible things to happen to gentle people like us!!

In spite of all the weird changes, we continue to enjoy more trips around the sun. Each birthday is, of course, a bigger number and leaves us a bit awestruck for a bit; but overall we are very grateful. Of course we have some health challenges in our house, but we often give thanks that we are very blessed. We are basically in pretty good shape. And believe me, our prayers go out to those who face greater health challenges than we do.

So if you’re still a kid (under 50) and reading this, get ready for a really interesting ride!! We’ll be rooting for ya!! When we’re not laughing, I mean.

Well when I grow up, I wanna be like Grampy!!

My 2021 Holiday Requirements

Holy Moly, it’s that time of year again awready!! Time to light the mistletoe, hang the eggnog, and trim the Holiday Picker Bushes with multicolored shredded aluminum foil and LED soapsuds lights. Yes, I can already hear the neighbors’ chickens cackling with delight as they forage in my wife’s flower gardens.

If you have read this silly blog over time, you’ll also know that all the upcoming festivities are all true signs that The Season Of Giving Ken Wonderful Presents is upon us. Yes folks, it’s that time again; when I list a set of “suggestions” for gifts that I had better receive. Please keep in mind that, as always, I’m very aware that you need to take care of your family and closest friends first. However, I must also stress the importance of me receiving each and every thing I ask for from Santa; because hey, I’m sure you don’t want to watch me crying in the corner while I drown my sorrows with multiple jars of pickled herring while our cat Fred rolls around in the catnip I tossed all over the floor during my extreme anquish and OH MY GOSH WHEN MY WIFE SEES THE MESS SHE WILL BE ANNOYED and well, you know, I think the consequences of me not getting everything I demand will be very much like forcing people to read a run-on sentence out loud without taking a breath or even getting a potty break but I would never force anyone to do anything; but perhaps you could just nod your head and pat my shoulder and say something accommodating like, “we’ll see what we can do, you spoiled little punk.”

So without further ado I hereby present to you my List of Holiday Requirements for 2021.

1. I am in dire need of a R.C.C.B.O.R. I think you can still get kits for those at Radio Shack. Just ask Melvin about whether she got any Remote Control Clutter Bomb Organizing Robot kits. I believe they sell for the rock bottom price of $14.38 and are on sale until Saturday, December 34. You may wonder what purpose such a robot serves. Well you see, someone detonated a clutter bomb in my garage; and since the mess is overwhelming I am convinced that only a remote control mechanical lobster (or perhaps octopus) robot can work on it. Please make acquiring this your top priority.

R. I could really use a replacement Kandy Klobarn KOVID Prevention Kit. Of course, my wife and I follow the science and have been vaccinated and even boosted. We mask up in public and sanitize or wash our hands regularly. But that extra protection in the Kandy Klobarn KOVID Prevention Kit just gives me extra peace of mind. Good old Kandy Klobarn… he really knows how to uplift a person’s spirits in these stressful times. I follow the directions closely, but I’m running out of eyebrow mustard and vinegar scented ear candles. My wife is not really in favor of me running around with crusty yellow eyebrows, and she makes sure she is upwind when I light the ear candles; but she keeps reassuring me by patting my shoulder and saying “it’s OK babe, I still love you.”

2X. Who stole my anchovy and banana sandwich??? Darn it!! I had it here on the counter and now it’s gone!! I was looking forward to munching on it with a nice tall glass of lizard milk while watching that new series “Compost Wars” on Nutflex. Oh wait… oh jeez… yep!! I stashed it in my sock drawer again. Hey, I don’t want anyone stealing my snacks!!

&!. You may not believe this, but you know that Universal Translator you never bought me last year? Well guess what: it fell in the toilet again. The first time this happened it was no big deal, it just sounded a little gargly. But now when I ask it to translate the Crognovian greeting, “may your knees never clunk the spikes of my snow tires,” the Universal Toilet Translator is almost unintelligible while saying with a raspy, gurgling voice, “maybe your trees river dunk Ike’s no wires.” As you can imagine, this would be very embarrassing in a social gathering. Please make this one your top priority. What?? I said that for item 1 ?? Umm… oh.

6K. Oh, please, don’t forget this one: I need some new toothbrush varnish. I’m almost out you see, and I don’t want my toothbrush to lose its luster and shine when guests first come in the door and wipe their feet off on it. I mean, how can I keep dirt particles out of my mouth after that?? I’ll tell you how: toothbrush varnish. That’s how.

Well folks, that should suffice for this year. If you have any trouble meeting these demands, please keep in mind that all I ever REALLY want is two simple things: Love and Peace. In my professional opinion, all of us have a responsibility to make those happen. We can start by being loving and kind to those we know; and we can spread it further by being kind to everyone we meet. And of course we mustn’t forget those who are in need. Even small donations can go a long way if we all chip in just a little.

I know it’s a little early, but I’d like to wish all of you a Very Happy Merry and a Truly Joyful Wonderful. Peace, Love and Hugs to You All.

“And now,” as Mr. Cleese said during many a Monty Python show, “for something completely different.” Although it’s not really that different… just “different.”

Rodential Resentment

What kind of resentment is this now?? Rodential?? What the… ??? Well you see it’s like this: there I was, minding my own business, stringing the Christmas lights around the rail of our deck. Pretty much becoming an annual thing. The strings go up shortly after Thanksgiving, them come down… um… later. Sometimes just before Easter!! Hey, we have them on a timer and they come on just after sunset and go off before midnight. Then they come on again at 5:30 AM for a couple hours so my Honey Pie can see better when she heads to work a couple times a week.

When the lights are done for the season, I stash them in an old woven wooden basket all nicely placed so they’re easy to pull out the following year. There’s also enough room for the timer and a couple extension cords. Convenient, right?? Well this year I plugged the lights in, and began to string them up. As I was running my fingers along the wires, I got a pretty good poke!! A shock!! Electric ouch awreddy!! I let go quickly, said some “magic” words, and then went in for a closer look. Looked like some of the insulation had been scraped off the wire. No problem, I thought, I’ll get out the trusty electrical tape and fix the problem. As I continued on, I got shocked again. And again I shrugged it off, saw the minor damage to the insulation, taped it up and continued on.

Third time is a charm, I’ve heard. Well it wasn’t very charming to receive a third shock. This time a substantial amount of wire damage was evident. Then I looked in the bottom of the basket where the remaining lights were waiting for their turn out of the basket. Shavings. Green shavings. The “scrapes” on the insulation were not scrapes at all, the wires were being nibbled by mice!! Rodents!! So I got rather annoyed.

Hence the term: rodential resentment.

Wasn’t sure if rodential was even a real word, so in my search for a catchy title for this week’s silly story I went hunting on the webbernets and found a definition.

Rodential: of or pertaining to a rodent.

Well my resentment definitely pertains to a rodent. Probably several. My Beautiful Girlfriend suggested I lay some traps, but hey, we live in the dingleweeds. Pretty sure the number of mice is far greater than any number of traps I might set. “No,” I told her, “the lights need to go in a mouse-proof container.”

A similar event happened earlier this year but with carrots. I love to grow vegetables, and after much labor I was able to convert a weed patch into a pretty nice carrot bed. But something was nibbling the greens… kinda weird because the greens were being snipped off about 8 inches or so above ground. I couldn’t see any varmint tracks, but I figured maybe chipmunks or squirrels were the culprits. A couple days and few more carrot plant munchings later, the small live trap I set in the garden proved useless. “Must be meeces!!” I said to myself, remembering that cartoon cat Snagglepuss. I set several mouse traps near in the carrot bed and sure enough, I got one! The next day, another! A grand total of 6 over the space of a week or so. Traps stayed in the garden until the mice quit coming.

I consider myself something of a veteran mouse trapper (if there is such a title). After trying several types of traps over the years, I’ve stuck with the old fashioned Victor snap traps. The key is to put something on the bait pan that reliably springs the trap. Nothing is more frustrating than baiting a trap with peanut butter only to find the bait has been licked off and the trap has not sprung. My tried and true method now is to take a hunk of walnut and tie it to the bait pan with several loops of sewing thread. Mice simply can’t resist that big hunk of walnut, and they have to tug at it to get their reward. Unfortunately for them, their “reward” is a quick trip to Mouse Heaven. I really don’t like killing them… but I really don’t like them eating the carrots I worked so hard to get!! So when I remove their little mouse bodies from the trap I say a little prayer of apology for them. I mean hey, they’re just doing what meeces do (as Snagglepuss might say).

The carrots are sleeping now… they get covered up with a healthy layer of leaves to keep them from freezing during the winter. Then I go out and uncover what I need and carefully put the leaves back to keep the soil from freezing. I’ve also learned (the hard way) to mark where I left off harvesting. Not much fun to dig for carrots in the snow only to find out that you had already dug there!! Not sure if the mice are sleeping… but I hope so.

So if any mice are reading this, please be warned: Christmas light damage is annoying… but if you mess with my food, I’ll be setting out a deadly surprise for you.

I just hope they don’t find a way to fight back like these did…

Slurp The Soup and Kill The Bugs

So much paranoia about COVID these days, and rightly so.  Hopefully everyone who’s reading this has been vaccinated.  If not, well I’ll keep you in my prayers.  My Honey Pie and I have both had our shots, but we still mask up in public places and are diligent about keeping our hands washed and / or sanitized.  Neither of us really enjoy being as careful as we are; but hey, it’s paid off.  Neither of us has been sick in a very long time.

We’ve been getting our flu shots every year for some time now; but of course, there will probably be a few strains that will fly around under the radar.  Then people will bring them to work or other public places and spread them around for all of us to enjoy.  Coughs and sneezes spread diseases ya know.  Are you suffering from a cold?  Do you hab a stubby doze?  Or maybe you feel achy all over and are trying to cough your head off?  Then please do the rest of us a favor:  stay home and get well.   While the flu is attacking, please fight back so the rest of us don’t get sick.

In other words, IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!

I’m enjoying retirement these days, but while at work I would always warn all my friends who were looking for their normal hug or handshake that I’ve had the flu.  After looking up how contagious the flu crap really is, I felt it was my duty to let them know.  I really don’t want to make anyone sick.  Not even people I don’t like.

Now, if you are achy and hab coughing and stubby doze, you probably  are getting attacked by a virus.  So that means that if you go to the doctor and ask them for an antibiotic, you will get better, right?  Wrong… antibiotics are for bacterial infection.  They just don’t work on the flu.  The onliest thing that will kill the flu is YOU… in other words, your immune system.

Maybe some of you have seen this before, but I’m resurrecting this here Happy Friday installment so I could pass gas.  NO!!  That’s not it!!  I wanted to pass along some tactics that have really helped our family fight the “cold wars” over the years.  We’ve learned from grandmothers, friends, and yes, even those “weird alternative medicine magazines.”   One of my favorite weapons against flu bugs is garlic.  Lots of it.  Sure… people say, “ya, kill the cold and those around you!”  Well, I’m married, and my wife has promised not to divorce me over garlic breath.  This is a very good thing, because we both eat lots of garlic even when we don’t have a cold.  One thing many people aren’t aware of, though, is that if garlic is boiled, it loses a lot of its cold killing power.  Also, fresh garlic works best.  “OK,” you may ask… or not… “how can I use garlic and not boil it??  Anyhow?  You expect me to eat it raw or something you crazy person you??”

Well yes you can…but it’s a bit harsh, don’t you think??   Instead, cook it gently without boiling.  In fact, one of the best cold killing methods we’ve ever found is:

A) Mince 3 or 4 cloves of fresh garlic (maybe two… depends on the size of the cloves).

5) Prepare one can (or about 20 oz.) of your favorite soup according to the directions, and stir in one teaspoon of ground sage, and also one teaspoon of thyme leaves

L) Heat until it just begins to boil, then reduce heat.

9) Simmer while stirring for a couple minutes, and finally

!!) Remove the soup from the heat, add the garlic, stir well, and cover.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Eat the soup all gone just before you go to bed and you will kick the germ bugs in the booty.  Might be a good idea to repeat the procedure, or maybe make an extra big batch so you can enjoy the soup for a couple days.

Then, after you wake up, make with the vitamin C, the zinc lozenges, and lots and lots of water and stuff.  We’ve also had good luck with the generic equivalent of “Airborne.” which has all kinds of good immune system kaboomenheimers.  Oh, and not to forget the echinacea tea!!  Blecch you say?  Well it isn’t that bad ya know…

On the other hand, you have an ounce of prevention.  You know, eat yogurt several times a week.  Have generous portions of green vegetables and fruit.  And then there’s that nasty “E” word (exercise).

Of course, if you’re sick, you’re sick… but the things I just described will help shorten the duration and severity of the attacking germ booger animals.

Back to this garlic monkey business: call me crazy if you want.  I like garlic.  I eat it even when I’m not sick, because as my Grandma used to say, “it’s good for what ails ya.  If nothing ails ya, it’s good for that too.”   I like yogurt.  I like green vegetables and fruit.  I like… well, ok, sometimes I even…  once in awhile, um…. exercise is good.  I need to do more of that “E” word.  Yes, I am a very sick man.

Come on over some time and we can have a garlic milkshake and some avocado flavored yogurt with a nice salad of lima beans and bananas.  Then we can take turns on our combination treadmill / electric generator and we’ll not only get fit, but you can help us keep the electric bill down.

We try to be hospitable, you know.

And now for something completely different but also the same… this same video was tagged at the bottom of when this Soup Recipe Happy Friday Thing (SRHFT) was first published.  I’ve watched it a few times… still amuses me.  And the message “This Too Shall Pass” gives a sick person hope that maybe someday they won’t need a box of tissues with them 24/7…

Old Fashioned Video Fun Stuff

Grandkids are here for the weekend. Ollie is 12 going on 17, Gabe is 8 going on 12, and holy MOLY time is flying!!  We are horrible grandparents:  we buy them disgusting things like milkshakes on the way to our house, and then we torture them further by allowing them to play video games until 9 PM.  Then it’s time to brush teeth and settle in for our traditional ritual of…

CARTOONS!!

And yes, for those of you who may be concerned, yes, they are required to put the video games down for several hours at a time and do really weird things like read books.  Ollie is pretty accomplished at reading; but Gabe is still learning so I decided to have a little fun with him tonight.   He was holding my Beautiful Girlfriend’s iPad, to which I can send messages from my phone.  While he was exploring the various apps I began to send him messages.  He very much enjoyed my surprising texts, a few examples of which are:

“Gabriel smells really bad.”

“I’m trying to lick my eyebrows.”

“Do not try to sniff the couch, it may bite you.”

“If I put potatoes in my ears, it may sound like potato chips.  Then my ears will be crunchy.”

“My legs are made of vanilla chicken worms.”  And of course,

“My nose is full of bedroom furniture.”

Gabe was able to read all these with very little coaching; and a hearty giggle erupted with the completion of each sentence.  Then it was time for The Brushing of the Teeth and The Going to the Bathroom; followed by funny videos.

We’re not talking Sponge Bob or Minions either… no no. Papa (that’s me) goes for the good old fashioned cartoons that were around long before computer animation. Superman. Popeye. Betty Boop. Gabe has become hopelessly hooked on Chip and Dale.  Ollie’s tastes are broadening as he matures.  Both enjoy pretty much any old cartoon I manage to dig up from my childhood on YouTube.  They have even had some good belly laughs from the likes of Laurel and Hardy.

Of course, slapstick and fake explosions were considered funny stuff back in “the old days.” I really loved “the old days,” primarily because I was able to live through many of them. Many of our favorite cartoons were made long before we were born; but these were the ones that were on the TV when we were kids. To some, the humor could perhaps be considered too violent. To us, the gags were outlandish and silly; and the cartoonists simply had a way of throwing them all together in impossible situations that made us laugh.

I like to interject a few funny music videos before the cartoons. The grandsons groan at first… Gabe asks, “is this a song??”  Then I explain that since Ollie is learning the saxophone, this is a really cool example of what he might be able to do someday.  The example came in the form of a rather entertaining group of folks who call themselves the Leningrad Cowboys.  Following the music, the cartoons must flow; and at least one Chip and Dale episode is mandatory viewing.  I watch the time during all this and try to get their hineys to bed at 10 PM.  Inevitably, when I announce that bedtime has arrived I hear the refrain, “one more Papa??  Please??”  And of course I give in.

So here are a few of our favorites for your enjoyment.  If you want more, just say “one more Papa!!”  and search on YouTube for something for your inner child.  OK… here goes.