When Silly Jumps Out

Dear Snail Dance Participants,

There was once a time when I would sit for hours on end. Then I would stand up and realize my end was getting numb from sitting so long. This is no way to extract naturally sweetened stapler receptacles from small pink laboratory telephone handsets.

You may well wonder, “what the HECK-A-MA-ROONEY are you trying to say?? Anyhow??” Then again you may well not wonder that well at all. If you do enjoy going to the Wonder Well, you may have already noticed that this has absolutely nothing to do with the German Chocolate Cake that was left outside to shiver during that last forest fire that never happened in my back yard. On the other hand, you have a small insect crawling carefully away so as not to awaken the dreaded Ritz Cracker Ejection Robot.

Now I know that sometimes I may have been known to write completely silly things. There have also, of course, been other times when I was not known at all. Ah, those were the times… You see, there are things that make us cry, and there are things that make us wish cars would run on jelly beans. I prefer smiling over crying, although crying can be helpful if I need to wash my soul. After the soul washing, however, it’s time to get out the lint brush and get on with life as we know it here on Amplo-Snavorkey (that’s the Crelbian name for Earth, The Cosmic Dirt-Water-And-Air-Blob).

147 years ago, when I was still working, friends would receive a very strange Instant Message From Me, And Only A Few Words Would Be Capitalized. For Example, I’ve Been Known To Send Such Crazy Sentences As: “My ears are full of sand again. Can you please pass me the bread wrench?” That one just caused me to laugh at my very own writing, which may be cause for alarm.

No, I must say this about that: it would be much MORE alarming to go through life without laughing at all. Even though our world is being attacked by The Corona Monster, I’ve determined that I need to keep two things in mind:

A) I must always be grateful because I am blessed in so very many ways.

34) I must try my best to be happy (or at least pleasant) while I’m also being alive in this plane of existence, and

H2) I must never say I need to keep two things in mind when I really meant more than two; and of course

9x)  I sure do love those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy Things you can get at the store during The Great Anything Festival in the robust community of Milkwater Flatulence Ridge.

One thing I’ve learned during my 70 trips around the Sun is that people would really much rather be happy than sad. Therefore, I have tried my best to spread smiling on the walls of peoples toenails (and shoe horns) whenever the dog manure jumps out of the spider webs. Sometimes I tell a joke. Sometimes I make a silly face. Sometimes I dash into the kitchen and whip up some roasted kitty dander with a nice garnish of avocado pit puree. After 13 other methods of jocular animation my friends will have quietly left the building and I don’t have to worry about them being sad, at least not around me.

So my friends, as you can see, my brain still maintains a goodly amount of chowder dust in the depths of its ammonia flavored barnacle snack bars. Nothing that was written here tonight will ever have anything to do with Cream Of Flamingo Soup or any other nuclear missile lobotomy. All I ask is that if you are interested, please try to smile once in awhile. And if you can do that, please send one (or more) of the aforementioned smiles to a friend or even a stranger!

Sincerely Yours,

Hyram C. Gilmore

Captain of the Royal Licorice Cabbage Brigade
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OK, now for da cartoon thing.

Completely Untrue Yet Scientific Observations About Muskegon

Warning: This message contains nonsense and may destroy your porcupine salad.

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Hello My Dear Frame Handlers,

Although most crustaceans were not aware, I’ve lived in Muskegon for approximately 932. So I must say, thank you for visiting us while we were not at home. Perhaps you have never asked me, “How is Muskegon?? Anyhow??” So I’m probably not overdue for an answer.

So, just how IS Muskegon?? Or even better, where is Muskegon?? OK I will keep you in suspenders no longer: Muskegon is located directly near the area that is obscured by amplified latitude and longitude reverberation, which occur at least semi-annually in the deep dark continent of WatchyaDoin which of course is surrounded by the Sea of Magnetosis; directly south of Haliboocheny.

So how is Muskegon?? Oh wait, you already asked that. Well, here are some of my own scientifically based observations: Muskegon is like a chicken with no milk for cereal. All the trees are planted upside down and one has a difficult time finding shade under the roots that stick up in the air. The squirrels are very large and strong, which is partly due to their diet of car parts. Wild dogs run the streets in packs of 12 – 20 ounce containers. Cabbage hammers often get lost during their walk home from the movies.

Many small children grow their own toys.

You’d think that in a large town as small as Muskegon there would be a library and perhaps even a delicatessen. Well, unfortunately the only service provided here is curb dusting on Wednesdays between 12 a.m. and 12:03 a.m. So obviously there’s no delicatessen, but rather a small collection of street vendors who, for a small fee, will abstain from throwing long expired food at you while you walk along the freshly dusted curb.

All the fire hydrants have been painted with invisible ink. Nobody knows why, and now of course they cannot find any of them; so the 1973 Dodge Ram 1/2 ton Firetruck and its 14 man crew must rely on many reused bottles of Dasani and / or Aquafina for fire sprinkling enjoyment.

Muskegon prides itself on the “high quality” paving jobs of the city streets. The primary paving material is zebra mussels. The shells are crunchy and fun to drive on; and the bodies of the mussels are soft and gooey. Once a big layer of mussels is applied to the avenue, a steam roller flattens them to make Instant Road. Nose clamps are freely available at major intersections during “The Great Paving Festival” in early August. While they enjoy the festival, residents wear their nose clamps while singing that old time favorite paving song, “Holy Moly Bad Stink Oh My Gosh Wow.”

Well, I could go on and on, but then I’d soon be forced to join that self-help group, “On And On And On-Anon.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please, by all means, abruptly give yourself a swirly; and then think carefully about what it is you expect to hear from the likes of me.

Got it? OK, that’s fine. Please don’t ever again accuse me of refusing to disseminate this information.

Yours in Two Trains,

Gigglefoot B. Floopenhosen
a.k.a. “The Great Wide Giblet Hunter”

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School’s almost out!!

In Servitude To Felines

Once upon a lifetime all my living life from as long as I can remember until now, I’ve lived with cats. Domestic cats, of course. Nothing exotic like lynxes or leopards that some crazy people seem to think is OK. Of course there were dogs sprinkled in with the mix, but the cats far outnumbered them in our family. My Beautiful Girlfriend had a similar upbringing, although I’m not sure her family had as many cats as we did back in the day.

We love cats; and when we married and made our own home, my Lovely Bride brought her kitty NoName from Wisconsin to Florida where I was doing my Air Force thing. NoName ran away for two weeks shortly after we all settled into our apartment. That of course prompted us to answer an ad for “free Persian kittens.” Upon arriving at the “Persian” kittens’ home there was only one kitty left for adoption. Agrisby Anne, as we named her, was anything but Persian. More like a tortoise shell colored, short haired gremlin with fleas that were nearly as big as her. So we brought her home, got rid of the fleas, and did our best to satisfy her insatiable appetite.

Then NoName came home.

OK so now two cats. No big deal right? I mean, cats know where to go potty, and they don’t need you to go with them. They’re pretty independent creatures and we like that. And if you treat them right, they love to snuggle with you. We’ve always been the types to let them outside, but that has hazards; not the least of which is automobiles. And yes, we’ve lost some that way.

Fast forward many cats later, to autumn of 2022. Freddy the Freeloader, our last indoor / outdoor cat, died of natural causes. He was one very cool dude, a feral that My Awesome Sweetheart fell in love with as he roamed about outside our home. She started feeding him outside, and although I knew the end result, I resisted allowing him in the house since we already had two other cats and a dog. In those days he used a plastic kiddie pool we had leaning up against the back of the garage for shelter, and since we hadn’t seen him for a couple days we feared the worst. On my way out the door for work, I lifted up the kiddie pool to see if he was dead or injured and found he was very much alive, as he shot out of there like a rocket. After he slowed down a bit I saw that he walked like he was very drunk. I told my Amazing Best Friend, but since I had to skedaddle for work she was left with the time consuming chore of getting him into a carrier; and then whisking him off to the vet. The vet shot him up with antibiotics and told us to keep him indoors for a couple weeks; after which we let him out thinking we might not see him again.

Turned out Freddy liked our house and us enough to come back, and he was Mr. In and Out for 13 years with us. In fact, he was the last of the indoor / outdoor cats in our line of many, many others. Both of us, of course, were very saddened by the loss of our pal Fred. My Beautiful Honey Pie solemnly pledged, “I don’t want any more animals for a year!!” Within about 5 months we were knocking on the door of the Noah Project, a local no-kill shelter. After proving we were worthy, we came home with Ivy Anne and Luna. Ivy was about 14 months old, 2 of which were spent in the shelter. Luna was 6 when she was dropped off at the shelter, and stayed there for 10 months!! Poor baby.

We love these two rascals. They are indoor cats, an experience we’ve never dealt with before. And in our personal opinion, shelter cats are weird. We’d love to let them outside but both of them would be roadkill in nothing flat. And you know what else? The litter boxes fill up a lot faster. Huge surprise, right? Indoor / outdoor cats actually prefer to do their business outside… unless of course the weather is nasty.

Since my Lovely Lover is not really able anymore, I’m the Lone Cat Rancher these days. I feed the cats. I clean the shit box. I clean the water bowl. I wash the food bowls. Then comes the afternoon feeding. And evening. Then it’s time to clean the water box, feed the shit bowls, and wash the food all over again. And again. And again. Oh and not to forget trying to keep them amused with toys and play time! But due to our serious devotion as foster parents, we do all this with love.

Yes, we really do love our cats, but sometimes we wonder who’s really running the show.

Where’s My Phone??

So there I was, 650 feet above sea level (I looked it up), getting ready to head off to a meeting and see some friends, and I took my phone out of my pocket because it needed to charge a bit so I was gonna plug it in to the car charger thingy and off I went but when I got a few miles down the road I didn’t see my phone but I thought I heard it ring and then I realized that HOLY COW this sentences is way too long; I better stop it right now!!

So I did.

I stopped the sentence I mean.

Because it was too long.

The sentence.

So now I’m making sentence fragments.

Oh wait, that was a sentence…

Anyway so yeah, I hear my phone ring. But I’m looking around the car and it’s nowhere. Between the seats?? Nope. Under the seats?? Nope. HEY LOOK OUT FOR THAT CAR!! OK.. quit hunting and resume driving. But what the heck?? Anyhow?? “I know,” I says to myself, “I’ll use the bluetooth to make a call to see if it’s OK.” And yes, the bluetooth worked fine, so the phone should be fine. But I’d really like to know where it is though, ya know??

“I hate computers.” That’s my refrain when anything goes awry in my universe. Why do I use this encrypted phrase for everything? Well during my many years as a technology guy, it became a kind of vocal therapy on the fly. For example: a software update is applied to some important software everybody uses. Then the system goes kerblooey, and nobody can do their job. I am the service guy. My phone rings off the hook. So I tell them, “Not to worry, we are working on it. And just so you know, I hate computers.” My friends would then tell me, “Well maybe you[‘re in the wrong job!!” And I’d reply, “It’s a good living, but the computers are not my friends; unless they play nice.” So now it’s almost automatic for me to blurt out “I hate computers,” even when I drop an egg on the floor.

So where the heck is my stinkin’ phone?? I hate computers!! It really is a computer you know. OK… I drive the 11 miles and arrive at the meeting place. I look again. On the seat… under my book maybe?? Nope. Between the seats?? Nope. Under the seats?? Nope. I see a friend in the parking lot. “Hey man, will you call my phone?? I can’t find the damn thing.” “Sure,” he says. I hear my ring tone. I follow the sound… and… HOLY CARP!! IT’S ON TOP OF THE CAR!! SHEESH!!! Let’s hear it for the old Otterbox Defender phone case with the rubber jacket that apparently likes to grab the roof of my car when it’s going 60 MPH!! Did I mention that I hate computers?? Oy yoy yoy!! But I’m glad I found my phone. I mean hey, it wasn’t the phone’s fault, so we can still be friends.

For now.

How Now, Chocolate Cow??

My Beautiful Girlfriend and I were talking about Cousin John today, and how we miss the guy. He was Brooklyn (NY) born and raised, and he and his mom (Aunt Joyce) would come visit with us when we were kids on Long Island. Many moons and a couple moves later, John and I reconnected in a very big way; and the same became true for Aunt Joyce. So what does all this have to do with a chocolate cow? Cousin John and Aunt Joyce are both living in the Great Beyond now, but I think both of them would react to the next part of this story with an emphatic, yet puzzled, Brooklyn flavored “Oh my GAWD!!”

Several years ago, a survey asked the question, “Where does chocolate milk come from?” Apparently, a thousand people were surveyed and 7 % of the people believed that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Oh my GAWD!! I wish I was fooling you!! This of course subsequently spread across the pond via the interwebs. Much of the world probably thought we’re a nation of noodleheads.

Now I don’t know what sample of our population was surveyed; but you can bet it wasn’t anyone involved in agriculture. Unfortunately, there appears to be a large amount of ignorance regarding where our food comes from or how it’s produced. Perhaps this is due to the declining number of people directly involved with raising food. There has been small progress over the years, but it seems to be creeping along all too slowly.

I’ve actually had some interesting (saddening?) first-hand experiences with this. I’ve been an organic gardener for over 50 years now; and I often grow more than I need. That gives me the freedom to share some of my harvests with friends. One time I remember vividly was when I asked a friend if they’d like some of my heirloom, organically grown popcorn. “Sure,” they said, “where did you get it?” “From my garden,” I explained. “Oh!!” they answered, wide-eyed, “I didn’t know you could grow popcorn!! How did you grow it??” “Well,” I replied, trying not to giggle, “I stick the seeds in the ground and they grow popcorn plants.” Then I couldn’t help but ask, “Where did you think popcorn came from?” One person said, “I just buy the microwave kind.”

End of discussion.

Well kids, for your horticultural edification I hereby bestow upon you some fun facts of my very own which may or may not be true but I’ll put them here anyway for the fun of it and you know it’s been a very long time since I composed a run-on sentence but I figured it was long past due and I didn’t even use any commas or semi-colons and if you can read all this in one big breath I’ll give you a quarter!!

OK… here are some spillages from my brain area:

1: At least 50% of all ladybugs are not ladies. However, I think it’s good to keep calling all of them ladybugs, because one might be accused of sectional harshment or gender indivisibility if you said something like, “Hey everyone!! Look at this cool manbug!!”

R: Eggplants do not produce eggs. Heck, the fruit doesn’t even look like eggs. And it sure doesn’t taste like eggs neither. So, like, what’s up with the name? Anyhow??

27: Now we come to another totally silly name for a food: grapefruit. Does anyone seriously think those look like grapes? Or taste anything like grapes?? Last I knew, they didn’t grow on grapefruit vines neither. Sheesh!! So if we ship many of them to market at the same time, is that considered grapefruit group freight?

OK, that’s probably enough for now. Oh wait… an old favorite:

Maybe we should all go hang out at Betty Boop’s farm for a “reality” check!

Zooming In The Giant Squishmobile

Well, you can sure tell summer’s coming.  Why?  Simple:  dead bodies everywhere!!  Raccoons, possums, woodchucks, birds, squirrels, and deer, and deer, and deer.  Here in Beautiful West Michigan, lots of deer carcasses adorn the roadsides in varying stages of decay. Seems like some of them could be picked up for fresh venison maybe?? The warm weather has lots of critters in mating mode, and they are moving about like they own the place or something.  Well, ok, they do own the place.  Or at least they used to...  

To show appreciation for all of the Creator’s flora and fauna, humans have chopped up their habitat and shot roads through the parcels.  Then to add to their excitement, we drive through these zoomophone lanes with big metal and plastic monsters at 70 mph or more.  Most animals aren’t quite equipped to get across the road when a four wheeled zipmobile is coming at them out of nowhere.  So, we see lots of babies “sleeping” on various parts of the road.  Makes me sad for them… I try hard to slow down when I see animals near the roadway.  Sure, I have been guilty of assassinating some of those poor babies with my own four wheeled killing machine.  When I’ve been unfortunate enough to kill one of Mother Nature’s babies I have an immediate reaction:  being the big, strong man that I am, I cry like a baby and ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness.

Ok, so now it’s out.  I’m a big wuss.  I’m the idiot who stops on the expressway because I see a turtle trying to make its way across.  I turn on my flashers, pull off to the side, and dodge cars to whisk the little booger off the road and out of harm’s way.  Then I carry it about 50 yards from the road and stomp my feet until it lumbers off in the opposite direction of the traffic lanes.   As a preventive measure, furry and feathered friends get the horn.  Most animals will run from the horn if you use it in time.   By “in time,” I mean at least 50 feet before you get to the animal.  Otherwise, if you honk when you’re right next to them, they’ll often freak out and run erratically.  Then you end up hitting them anyhow.  If I spy a critter approaching the road and there are cars behind me, I pump my brakes. That serves as a warning, but of course I’m also hoping they will follow my lead and give the critter the right of way.

On the other hand, you have dead bugs.  Sometimes literally on the “other hand”… there’s nothing more rewarding than sticking your mitt out the car window on a warm day and having a bug go kersplat in your hand while you’re playing airplane.  Oh and by the way, no, I don’t swerve to avoid bugs.  Especially not on the expressway… I may be crazy but I ain’t no fool.  If I have time (which means at lower speeds), I try to miss beneficial insects.  You know, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, and of course wasps.  But even now, with the weather still fairly cool, you can tell that my windshield has already sent quite a few insects to Bug Heaven.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big wussy boy, and I get sad when I see beneficial insects bite the dust because of my Toyota Sienna Racing Van.

When I’m behind the wheel, I can rationalize about a “good” outcome resulting from killing bugs. I mean hey, I may be feeding some birds with my car!!  At least indirectly.  You see, one of the miracles of Creation is that living things adapt, sometimes in strange ways.  Believe it or don’t, there are birds who have actually learned how to pick up insect road kill for a quick meal.  I first noticed starlings doing this several years ago.  Red winged blackbirds, who travel with starlings during migration, have also learned this trick.  And they must be sharp cookies, because I have yet to see a squished starling or blackbird on the road.

Perhaps all is not completely lost when mammals, birds, and even turtles are executed by cars.  This much I’ve learned through the existence of things like “The Road Kill Cookbook,” which is a humorous rendition about an actual activity in the more rural areas of the country.  Yes, there really are people who eat road kill.  And why not?  Farmers raise hordes of animals every year and they are killed for our consumption.  Can’t get much better at recycling than eating road kill.  Not that I’m eager to do it mind you.  But if it’s freshly killed, a road kill turkey (for example) would be lots healthier food than one you buy from the store.   

No artificial anything!

I’ll stick to the store-bought animal flesh, thank you very much.  I was a hunter years ago, and I do not relish the idea of filling my tummy by killing and cleaning furry or feathered beings. In the meantime, I’ll try to be wary and keep my roadkill count to a minimum.

Speaking of roadkill, this week’s cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with it.  But it’s fun…

Um… I Dunno…

Happy Friday!!  Let’s all play an exciting game of Muffin Toss… which is played by teams of 2 people.  One pitches and the other swats with a canoe paddle. Could you even imagine the number of AAA batteries that are never required for such frivolity?? Perhaps it could be a cure for writer’s block…

So there I was, sleeping under the coffee antenna when an eerie thought came to my mind: “What if I can’t think of anything to write about tonight??” Well of course this quickly turned into a self-imposed invitation to gather nonsense particles and blast them from my consciousness to my fingertips and then to the keyboard and then to the screen and then to my eyeballs and then I realized that I was repeating the words “and then” way too much. I almost failed at this miserably when I mistakenly connected a window screen to my computer rather than a LED monitor screen thing.

Takes some doing!

After a few gluffenings, I bringled through my Tangled Old Archived Silly Text (T.O.A.S.T.) in order to bring some words to the actual electronic screen thing so perhaps you could wince or smile or flail your arms wildly in some sort of “Reader Protection Dance” (R.P.D.) so as not to be in any way crankulated about the fact that you’ve been reading a run-on sentence that really needs to end awreddy!!

Whew!! That was morkulous!!

Um… I dunno… you see it’s like this: I’ve been writing nonsensical verse for many, many yargons now… and because it seems to bathe my spirit in calming waves of constipation, there will probably be a 3 gallon container of stretched almonds oozing gelatinous gunk from the refrigerator’s mucous membranes. This could possibly be attributed to my post-retirement practice of yodeling loudly at various times. When I yodel in the grocery store, people’s expressions change.  When I yodel in my sleep, an elbow is jammed into my ribs.  Guess I’ll stick with the grocery store yodeling…

I must now pause to inform you that while writing the previous paragraph, my laughing face engaged in ha ha with shaking belly muscles; and this has become a form of stress relief for me in various times of need. Right now, however, I really need to know why my window snakes can’t jump anymore. That being said, on a scale of 1 to 34, the odor of root beer sounds like my favorite color of the alphabet.

For those of you who’ve read this far, please be grateful I didn’t go ranting about one of those political ice cream adventure sagas that often cause carrots to explode without warning. The way I figure it, if politics can cause your shoes to boycott small seedlings during an evaporation rampage, things that are far more irresponsibly delicious will soon decay in your ceiling fan’s software upgrade incisions. If that should occur, gargle with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and fried linguini during a hail storm for the best inferno.

But seriously folks, I refuse to be serious because when typing to my friends, my irregular text is regularly consistent with an inconsistent regularity. If anyone is trying to make sense of these silly scribblings, please refer to Gorfle’s Atlas of Crunchy Klinkles (G.A.C.K.) p. 74, paragraph 19; which emphatically states, “Don’t.” 

Also, my nose itches.

An Ecliptical Birthday Present

This coming Monday is a very important date. That’s right folks, if you’ve been listening to the news at all, you probably didn’t hear anything about why this Monday is important… to my brother. You see, way back on April 8 of 1956, my brother was born into this world. So he’s getting a solar eclipse for his 68th birthday!! Is that cool or what?? Of course, neither he nor I will be watching the eclipse in totality, unless we hustle our hineys southward; but that’s not likely to happen. I found a pretty cool website that tells you how much eclipse you’ll be able to see, and when. So here in Beautiful West Michigan (Muskegon specifically) we’ll be enjoying a 91.81% obscured sun. and it will max out at 3:31 PM Eastern time.. My bro lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, or “Winedance” as Grandma Loftus used to call it. There the sun will be 78.6% obscured at 2:08 PM Central time. Still should be dark enough at both locations to be quite fascinating. Here’s the site I used to get this info. I clicked on the magnifying glass icon (search) near the top right corner of the map, then typed in the town to find the statistics.

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2024-april-8

Last one like it for the U.S. was way back in 2017. I’ve heard that lots of folks are traveling toward our nation’s heartlands to be in the path of the umbra, which is the shadow that’s cast from the moon completely blocking the sunlight’s path to Earth. You can see a map of where the umbra will be experienced, along with lots more information here:

https://science.nasa.gov/eclipses/future-eclipses/eclipse-2024

My Beautiful Girlfriend (the Lovely Lady who let me marry her) and I will not be traveling, but will instead be bathing in the glory of the penumbra here at our house in Beautiful West Michigan. Since we’re retired, we’ll be worry free of any work obligations interfering with our eclipse viewing. The only thing that might become an issue would be the lovely Michigan cloud cover we all know and “love” around this time of year.

Supposed to be sunny… we’ll see.

And hopefully all of you know to please be a responsible viewer and DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN during the eclipse. You’ll fry your eyeballs out of your noggin. Eyeball goop will be all melty and run down your face like gooey mascara during a rain storm. Maybe not. But you’ll damage your sight, and there are plenty of safe ways to view the eclipse. Here are some tips:

Hurry to your nearest public library. Many are giving out “eclipse glasses” for free. I got mine today. Other coolness: one of the most remarkable things I remember from the last event was the appearance of shadows during the eclipse. My favorite treat is to enjoy the shadows cast by leaves on trees. So if at all possible, try to find a nice shade tree that allows some sunlight to pass through it; and sit or stand underneath during the eclipse. The shadows cast on the ground give an almost surreal light show during this time… and it’s truly special if there’s a light breeze to move the leaves around a bit. Although it’s early springtime here, I’m looking forward to seeing what effect the obscured sunlight will have on the shadows of twigs and branches. I’ve also been known to punch a pin hole into a piece of cardboard to project an image of the eclipse on a table or something. For more fun, make numerous pin holes… you’ll get lots of eclipses projected onto your favorite viewing surface.

Yes my friends, this eclipse will be special indeed. The weather forecast is looking like partly sunny. Hopefully we’ll have enough clear sky to enjoy the darkest eclipse we’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. And hey, to my brother, Happy Birthday Eclipse to you. Hope you enjoy your gift!!

In case you’re wondering how sunshine is made, check this out:

You Gonna Eat That??

Holy CARP!! It’s SPRING OUTSIDE!!! And I have many, many garden chores waiting for me. Not to mention sending out a seed order before planting time (I told you not to mention that!!). My role as a caretaker likely will limit the garden to be a bit different this year. Previous growing seasons found me planting a little bit of almost everything: garlic, Swiss, chard, delicata squash, hubbard squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, very old ancestor of kale, pole beans, beets, pak choi, parsnips, popcorn, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, asparagus, rhubarb, parsley… sunflowers, nasturtiums, zinnias, marigolds, catnip.

Oh and we have an asparagus patch and a patch of rhubarb (or ROObob as Grandma Loftus called it).

I was rattling all this (well, much of this) off to a friend a while back. Then he tickled my funny bone by asking, “Do you eat everything you grow?” “Well,” I replied with a smirk, “we give some of it away.” I couldn’t help smiling a bit more as I visualized myself eating ALL of the produce in one big snarfing session (what can I say, I get amused easily). “No,” he wondered, “I mean do you eat all the kinds of vegetables you grow?” “Well sure!” I responded with a grin. By this time my warped mind silently kicked into silliness overdrive with possible responses:

“Well, we like to plant all kinds of weird, disgusting foods so we can watch them mature and them mow them down with the tractor.”

Or…

“No, I just like busting my hiney to grow food so I can make some kick-butt compost with it!!”

Or maybe…

“Whadda you nuts?? Vegetables are disgusting!!”

Seriously though, yes we do indeed eat what we grow; and I’ve gotten better at planning the garden according to what my Beautiful Girlfriend and I both like to eat. That’s not very difficult since we both pretty much like any vegetable put in front of us. She’s very tolerant when I plant different things for the fun of it. Ground cherries are one example of a home run with my Honey Pie, she really loves those things. Well OK, I like them a lot too!!

A byproduct of living the first 3 years of marriage in the south was that both of us are smitten by greens. Kale, wild cabbage (the heirloom kale ancestor), Swiss chard, and beet greens are some of our favorites. We eat them steamed as a side vegetable; mixed into a stir fry; or added to an egg “scramble” (sauteed mushrooms, onions and other veggies cooked into scrambled eggs with a little shredded cheese on top).

In case any of you are wondering, yes, we did consider ourselves vegetarians early in our marriage. We ate eggs and dairy products, but no meat. Why? Health reasons of course, but our belief system was evolving too. We didn’t like the idea of killing so we could eat; but then we watched shows like Wild America and Nature. Those programs illustrated the fact that all animals, large and small, are part of a diverse tapestry of beings that will either eat or be eaten. Kind of flushed the killing stuff in the toilet for me… and besides, to paraphrase a bumper sticker, if our Creator didn’t intend for us to eat animals, they should never have been made of meat!! I did my share of hunting when I was a kid, but would rather not do that anymore. I am grateful for those who kill the animals for me so I can eat their delicious meat molecules.

And no, Jeffrey Dahmer did NOT speak from the grave to have me say that!!

To this day we still eat a lot of veggies, and we really don’t eat very much red meat at all… our animal protein comes mostly from dead fish and dead birds like turkey or chicken. So if it’s a vegetable, yes we are probably “gonna eat that.” We still eat meatless meals occasionally, and we have not suffered from a lack of protein. We learned years ago that when cooked together, of beans and rice (for example) provide the necessary amino acids our bodies need to make complete proteins. Could we be OK with being vegan? Probably.

Do we wanna? Ummm… no.

Ahh… Springtime. We will soon be seeing stuff just like this, right??

Nonsensical Stress Filters

Dear Ninks and Semmerflubens,

I am writing to all of you from the back yard where no children are stuffing bread into the worm holes. This week has been especially stressful at our house, and a lot has been going on in the news. Therefore, in the interest of clam flavored desserts, I feel the need to remove my corporate tortellini. Those of you who know me are aware that some stressfully sprinkled donuts prompt me to write letters to fire hydrants.

Let this past century of my living week be no Oldsmobile to that incubation.

I was walking through the house world the other day, scowling inside my rib cage and doing my darndest to ignore all the negative everything that comes with life challenges. Soon I found myself saying, “Hey Self! For why you are so poofely?? Don’t you agree that your retirement status brings gas to your table and puts food in your car? Are you not, indeed, a very fortunate person who no longer requires adult supervision at most Twinkie eating contests?? And c’mon man! Get with the gratitude awreddy.”

My Self agreed that grouch makes ouch. I decided I really ought not allow these life challenges to remove my ventricles or extinguish my lapis lazuli.

I therefore decided to embrace the tools I’ve acquired during this marvelous journey called Living, andnot to be El Groucho inside my brain world any longer. At least not for 27 minutes, then I could reevaluate and perhaps even continue another 14 milliseconds. By golly, that may have actually worked. I tried hard to not take things too poisonously. Sure, my Beautiful Girlfriend is ailing, but unless I find a way to successfully clone my onion rings, the firewood will likely expire before Hubert The Closet Painter arrives from Denderflaven. If he gets here before the sauerkraut capsules are fully declawed, there is absolutely no guarantee of the existence of any newly sharpened Jell-O forks.

And we all know what that means!!

So, I’ve decided to just be happy until I feel grouchy again, which seems to come at the most unexpected times, like when I’m doing my best to cook the laundry or wash up some dinner that may or may not be cooked with Credit Card Takeout Holy Mackerel (or at least edible) so I can write run-on sentences with increased vigor and lengthy applesauce.

After all of that new grouchiness, I start my day over again with a new happy and grateful attitude. Then I get grouchy once more, but a little less, and keep practicing the gratitude thing. However, because I am human, there are times when I get wibbly and sing happy songs like:

Leave me alone or I’ll bite you.

Your ears are made of sticks.

Why do you talk to ME like that??

I’ll send you cat logs in the mail!!

This of course is sung to the tune of “Leave Me Alone Or I’ll Bite You.”

Finally, and least palatable, I will commence to jump on a soap box for no apparent reason. I’m saddened by what seems to be an attitude of “Hooray for Me and to Hell with YOU” in our world of freely expressive greedy stinkbottoms. I mean hey, I’m very grateful we live in a free country and hey, you know, when it comes right down to it, most of us are spoiled Americans compared to many folks on this planet. You know, hey? It’s just um… what troubles me, is um… you know, like um… wait a minute, let me hold my smellphone and text someone while you’re trying to talk to me and um… you know, this “America First” stuff seems to be causing a lot of resentment in the world and last time I checked, if a person is silly enough to proclaim himself King Of The Mountain then someone is gonna want to knock them down off the top of that mountain with a giant Tootsie Roll or something much more explosive.

Greed is harming all of us; and it ain’t just an American thing; it appears to be a global thing, and it ain’t no good for Mother Nature neither. We humans don’t own this planet, although we seem to act like the whole thing is ours. These things make me become very figgy and bickety-boo! So then I start getting more with the Grouch Ouch, and I want to go bite a bark flavored tricycle!!

So here again is a time to pause to be grateful rather than grind my toenails or yell at unsuspecting Jinkle Birds. I can also maybe try to spread some kindness by thanking retail workers for keeping stuff on the shelves. Perhaps a donation to the rescue mission is in order. Dang it, I just need to try to spread joy rather than be all grumpy-dumpy. I mean hey, do I have control over people, places, or things?? No, not so much. Just gotta let go, ya know?? Then I laugh at my silliness and life is once again refreshing and full of new opportunities to enjoy fruit and perhaps even the occasional flying insect.

Sometimes I restart my day 479 times or more.

So, how was YOUR week? I think it’s time for some cartoons…