High-Tech Dinosaurs

Well folks, we’ve gone and done it. We went High-Tech!! That’s right… we’ve stepped out of the 70’s and all the way into the 2000’s!! Well not completely… we still still enjoy some of the very old technical things. For example, I have this totally cool Grundig 960 up here in my office. Well, actually it’s a replica; but I love it. It’s one of those old fashioned AM / FM / Shortwave radio thingies with a dial that lights up and everything!!

Oh… and not to forget the recordings. LPs, cassette tapes, CDs… oh and for your viewing pleasure we have many selections on VHS and, yes, DVD. No Blue Ray yet though. And yes, I have equipment that will play all these things.

We still get much of our TV from an antenna. I mean really, who needs more than 34 channels?? Well OK since we got our Roku we can get some TV off the internet and get GOBS of channels; and somewhere along the line my Honey Pie even got addicted to Netflix. Truth be told, there’s probably way too much TV available at our house.

Some of these programs are highly addictive. Compared to some folks, we don’t really watch all that much TV; especially during the warmer months. Heck, in the middle of June we get a smidge over 15 hours of daylight here in Beautiful West Michigan. Who wants to be sittin’ in front of the idiot box when it’s nice outside?? But fall is here, and the days are quickly growing shorter; which puts us into a kind of hibernation mode. Our Aunt Joyce got us hooked on shows like NCIS when she was still with us… and we’ve become total junkies. My Beautiful Girlfriend got hooked on Once Upon A Time, and this year it is on at the same time as one of my favorites, The Simpsons.

What to do??

Until very recently we would tape one show while watching the other. This meant using the TV (of course), the VCR, the surround sound, and the digital tuner, because the TV output was not compatible with the surround sound. Four devices. Four remotes. Oy yoy yoy. We also got fancy a couple years ago and bought a Panasonic flat screen TV for the bedroom. Panasonic TV, meet Panasonic VCR. Same brand, two separate remotes. However: I was trying to tape Gotham the other day, and thought I had it all set. I had the tape machine all programmed and off we went to a friend’s house. Came back, hoping to watch Gotham and… nothing. Didn’t work. Why? BECAUSE THE TWO REMOTES AFFECT BOTH DEVICES!! So, you think it’s all set to go, then you nuke all your taping stuff unwittingly with the other remote.

Is that cool or what??

Sure, we have successfully recorded shows on glorious VHS, but as most of you out there in Technology Land know, magnetic tape kinda sucks when it comes to video quality. So yes, boys and girls, we took the plunge. We bought us a DVR!! Yay!! And because it has two tuners (yes, we’re still using the antenna), it will record two different shows at the same time!! Wow!! And it even has prehistoric RCA jacks so I can hook up my Paleozoic surround sound to its outputs!! Fantastic!! And it also has some cockamamie dealy called HDMI so I only need one cable going to our TV!! Holy Moly!! Oops I lied… the TV gets 3 cables: antenna, HDMI, and power. Oh well, you get the idea.

In case you’re curious about our Brand New, High Tech Dinosaur Machine; here’s a the model number with a link included. Click on the Magnavox MDR867H to see what it is. Had some fun finding a DVR that didn’t require a subscription of some sort. Had even more fun finding one that would connect to all my prehistoric electronics. I’m not a fan of Walmart, but they had it in stock and shipped it quickly.

The moral of this silly rant is that the High-Tech Dinosaurs are not the electronic toys we have at our house. Rather, we are the High-Tech Dinosaurs; and we’re not afraid to admit it. My Beautiful Girlfriend upgraded from a flip phone to a brand new, used iPhone 4s.  Works great. I work in IT, so you’d think I’d know better; but I made the mistake of taking my iPhone 6s for a walk in Lake Michigan. They don’t like that so good. However, an employee was leaving the company so I was able to snag their very reliable iPhone 5s before it was sent back to the home office. I’ll probably keep it till it dies or until I retire; whichever comes first. As far as our home electronic stuff, I try to spend a little more on quality so it lasts. Consequently, I have a 13 year old computer, and I think my stereo in the living room is approaching 20 years old. Both still work just fine. The home entertainment stuff in our bedroom is more in the realm of 9 years old… so that’s still young yet.

As for the VCRs… and yes, we will still have at least one that works in the house; hey, fuhgettaboutit awreddy!!

Perhaps we could get Betty Boop to drum up some cool inventions for our household amusement…

The Strange And Mysterious World of Domestic Physics

There have been some verrry strange happenings at our house.  We apparently live in a nether region where inanimate objects behave in ways not understood by modern physicists. Things I’ve observed over the years made me wonder whether there was a small possibility that our cat, our dogs,  and perhaps even the humans have influence over the physical properties of stuff.  But this cannot be possible, because all the living beings at the homestead have always vehemently denied any such involvement.

Here are some examples of the types of physical anomalies I’ve observed over the years:

1) Garbage cans have force fields over the opening that can selectively disallow trash from being deposited inside.

Proof of this presents itself in the form of garbage that lies all around the outside of the trash can, but the can is nowhere near full. Note to the reader: it may also be possible that the force field affects objects AFTER they have been placed in the garbage. Trash particles are apparently ejected on occasion, especially in “the bathroom zone.”

P) Garbage is often invisible until brought up in conversation.

This phenomenon was especially prevalent when the kids were still young and living at our house. Example: I’d arrive home from a hard day at the computer mines, and when I walk in, a plastic milk carton greets me at the door with that stupid plastic carton look. Lots of humans are buzzing about, and are completely unaffected by the milk jug’s very smug attitude as it lies there on the floor. As I wonder why it’s not in the recycling, I can almost hear its taunts… “ha ha, they can’t see me!” So, I say to my son, “why is this milk carton on the kitchen floor?” “I didn’t see it,” he replies.

9) Gravitational forces are much stronger on expensive, fragile objects.

Only the good stuff seems to get broken, for some unknown reason. Cheap junk made of the crummiest glass can zoom from atop the refrigerator and come away unscathed, while expensive candle holders and other fine breakables are destroyed in no time flat. Often these events of mysterious destruction occur when no one is anywhere nearby. Perhaps they are killing themselves in some obscure religious fanaticism that involves jumping off shelves shortly after purchase. However, I am more inclined to believe that this is either a strange gravitational phenomenon, or possibly the notorious Notme or Idunno rascals that Bill Keane described in “Family Circle.”

c12) Dog poop can camouflage itself, and hides insidiously as it waits for new shoes.

This is especially true of the poop from very large dogs, because although there is not a leaf to be seen on the lawn, humans can walk in areas that appear to be completely safe but are in fact quite hazardous. Unsuspecting pedestrians can take the most stringent precautions and still discover that the soles of their new shoes have been disgustingly soiled. However, I must admit that poop camouflage has amused me on more than one occasion, especially when I see that silly squint as the victim begins a frantic foot rubbing dance on “clean” grass.

Unless it’s me.

Well, as you can see, there are very frightening occurrences in our neck of the woods. I could go on and on, but that would spoil the book, which would of course be much longer than this here chunk of text. Be careful if you decide to come visit, as I am not able to verify the stability of anything these days. For all I know, at least two scenarios might be in store for you… maybe more. Either Notme and Idunno will plot horrible things in anticipation of guests; or gravity, the lunar phase and the aurora will band together to cause very expensive knick-knacks to self destruct for no apparent reason.

More on this as it develops… in the meantime, I’ll just have to take my chances in our small corner of this mysterious universe. Maybe put fly paper on the outside of the garbage cans so they will catch the trash as it tries to escape. Oh, and I think I’ll install pillows under my honey’s fancy shelf thingies.

May I have my medicine now?

Speaking of physics, these two gents had lots of fun bending the rules.

Rock The Vote!! Again, And Again, And Again…

Say what??  Many of us in the U.S. are already pretty sick up and fed with election crap, and really ready to leave all that junk alone and move on with life.  Doesn’t matter which side you’re on;  there is sure to be much more activism and mudslinging between now and November. Either way, political rhetoric has already reared its ugly nostrils and is sniffing in the deliciously annoying media compost bins.  Many of us will march to the polls and cast our votes, and some who complain the loudest will abstain (sigh).

As my good friend (not) Mr. Nixon would have said, “let me say this about that.”  We need to determine what kind of planet we want to live on, and more importantly, what kind of planet we want for our kids.  So, we all need to rock the vote.  Again and again.  Not just with ballots, but with each dollar we spend.  Now, I can’t tell anyone what to do, but here are just a few examples of how I “vote” and why:

Chemical Fertilizers, Pesticides:  I do not buy them.  Ever.  Why?  Fertilizer is available naturally in most places where plants grow naturally.  Composted leaves, grass clippings, and manure are good examples of soil building materials, and are natural fertilizers.  I do have to consume some energy to retrieve these things.  However, much more energy is consumed mining, processing, packaging, and shipping fertilizers and pesticides.  A lot of petroleum is used to support this industry in the form of fuel for energy, and petrochemicals for processing.  And let’s not forget how they are packaged, either in paper bags (bye bye trees) or plastic bags (petroleum again!). And even more wonderfully, the factories that manufacture these goodies pollute, and when it rains their products also pollute.  And don’t even get me started on “weed and feed.”   Our lawn gets mowed, that’s it.  The neighbors probably cry when my dandelions are in bloom.  We think they are pretty, and the bees love them.

In the garden, we get some pretty awesome veggies that we grow organically.  We do not spray any crops to keep the bugs off, but rather we use crop rotation and companion planting to keep insect damage to a minimum.  I’ve heard some folks say, “without fertilizers and pesticides you would not have all that wonderful produce you see at Meijer.”  Well that is simply a crock of moose juice.  Anybody notice the proliferation of certified organic produce at the supermarket??  Huh??  Guess what?  Those growers are doing pretty well these days.

Packaged Meals:  First of all, blech.  Sodium, ingredients I can’t pronounce, sodium, and more sodium.  Most packaged meals are packed full of chemicals, which are made by chemical plants.  Chemical plants consume energy and pollute.  More petroleum.   The chemicals they make pollute our bodies.  We try to eat fresh whenever possible.  Oh, and not to forget the packaging:  plastics and paper.  More dead trees, more dinosaur juice.

Automobiles:  One of my all time favorite hot rods was a Toyota Corolla.  I get 35 miles to a gallon, sometimes more.  When our son’s car died, I passed it along to him; albeit with a “serious defect”:  the odometer won’t go any farther than 299,999 miles.  It’s a known defect and the only way to change it is to buy a new instrument cluster.  The stupid thing still runs like brand new!!  My lovely wife has a Toyota Matrix, which will also get over 30 mpg.  Thankfully, these days I work closer to home so I don’t have to burn so much dinosaur juice.  Our planet has a finite supply of oil, and cars are just a small part of the consumption of it.  Call me a “tree hugger,” or whatever other radical environmentalist label you like; but Hummers and Escalades and the like should be illegal (in my professional opinion).

Electricity:  “Turn the lights off!!  Whaddya think, we own the Edison??  That’s what your Grandma and Grandpa would say ya know.”  My beautiful wife would shout this at the kids to remind them that power costs money.  She used “the Edison” to refer to the power company because when she was a kid growing up near Detroit, that was the name of the outfit that ruled the electrons.  So she echoed her mom and dad when yelling at our kids.  We must have raised them right, they both confess to be habitual light switcher-offers (technical talk).  Here again, electricity generation relies a lot on fuel, whether it’s coal or natural gas or whatever.  There is more and more alternative energy available these days but the percentage is meager compared to the output of fuel burning plants.  More demand equals greater dependency on petroleum, either directly (burning to generate power) or indirectly (shipping coal).  During the Arab Oil Embargo in the seventies, Mr. Nixon (holy cow, I mentioned him again) urged everyone to conserve.  Businesses were urged to turn off all lighting except that required for security or safety reasons when they closed up shop for the night.  Drive past any shopping mall and see if this is the case these days.  I think just a couple people are leaving the lights on!!

Think Globally, Act (buy) Locally: “Everything’s made in (expletive deleted) China!!” That’s the refrain my lovely girlfriend and I chant when we go shopping. Never thought I’d actually say it, but I do my best to buy goods that were made locally or at least as close to home as possible. And yes, I do find myself looking for the “Made in USA” label. Of course, we buy things that are made abroad, but having some awareness is vital. Keeping the dollars at home help our communities thrive.

Well, I could go on and on, and this could become a very very long Happy Friday.  Suffice it to say that I would see more people join a movement of “Let Every Dollar I Spend Send A Message.”  And yes, I’m sure there’s much more that I could do… I sometimes spend my money on crap just like anybody else.

Of course, I’m not so naive to think that voting with dollars is the answer. Rather, it’s the tip of a very large iceberg. Decisions we humans make have deep and lasting effects on our Mother Earth and all the Citizens of Nature (that includes all of US). There IS positive change in the works, but it is woefully under-reported by the media.

My friends, we need to stand up for what’s right, but learn to disagree without being disagreeable.  We can do this.  Together.  With Love!!

It’s not a new concept…

An Open Letter To All Humans

Dear Tinker Toy Handlers,

This is to inform you that our house is exploding and the bottle rockets have prevented me from listening to the stereo for 13 weeks. I know that you are the ones who forced me into this situation, and I demand immediate constipation. If you do not comply with this request, I shall be coagulated instantly while I sail off to Bermuda with a large tube of toothpaste. No one has the right to tell ME what to wear to the Chicken Festival! So please, before our relationship has been too greatly damaged, change that stinky underwear you have on! You should know by now that the brown and yellow crusties are a clue that wash day is past!

And another thing: every time I sit down, my butt makes contact with another thing! I wonder: how many times has my butt touched another thing without my asking the thing if it wanted to be touched? I’ve also learned that my butt and my brain appear to be  connected. I know this to be true because a) I’ve made some really embarrassing mistakes during my stay on this planet we call Rhubarb, and 19) every time I forget something, I sit down and instantaneous remembering occurs within 7 or 8 millirockens.

Now don’t correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure you cannot be allowed to stay in the country after those things you did with that flyswatter in the restaurant. I mean, people who try to eat soup with a used flyswatter are probably not going to be invited to my burping contest anytime soon. Unruly behavior will be rewarded with gentle slappings about the eyes and shoulders with the standard issue licorice flavored water balloons.

Please remember that the child within you needs to be nurtured,

and only YOU (and your Maker) can do it.

If you ever feel sad or lonely, you can take action on this by paying me some big bucks. I will gladly use the money for disturbance mechanisms which will not allow you to get proper rest. A few weeks of this and you will forget all about that whiny inner child; and you will sport a pleasant, robotic appearance. Another tried and true method of healing the inner self is to shame the heels that find you. In other words, whenever some schmuck tries to mess you up, grin politely and suggest that they eat bark and poop at the moon. They will usually be glad you were honest, and will mumble unintelligible affirmations as they briskly walk away.

Well, as you can see, there is no reason to panic. Nothing is all right here, and the world is coming to an end. Please understand that I have found some very effective ways to deal with the stress that Armageddon brings. Firstly, give yourself the treat of some good all around attention: walk through the mall without clothing on, and smile to all you meet. Second: stop in the restaurant and briskly apply jelly to your ears. Your eyes will get squinty, and you will laugh loudly at the lack of pockets for hankies to wipe it off. Next will come the overpowering urge to charge people extra for car repairs.

Nevermind. That may have been a dumb idea. Just try something else, ok?

If you question my sanity or the validity of any of the aforementioned delinquent parboiled Parthenons, I say to you, “tough beans, Mr. or Ms. Smartenheimer!!” Sheesh!! Being absolutely correct is one of my hobbies, and unless I am mistaken, I have never been totally accurate on any doggoned thing in my whole life!! Fortunately for me, however, I know now that the more I learn the less I know. I learned that… I think. Ya know??

So in silence, I grant you three wishes, none of which will ever come true so forget about it. Don’t push me into something I don’t understand. I have low self-esteem and you know it. I have been taking classes for this, and they told me the best way to talk to people about your problems is to lie about the weather and run away laughing.

Be friendly to all you meet, as you may wish to borrow their used cereal someday. Have a conversation with a foreign car. Sing loudly with a mouthful of spaghetti; you’ll quickly learn who your real friends are. Feed your fish some dust and see how they like it. Try drinking from the toilet, cats do it all the time. Carry fried food in your pocket and offer it to strangers. Lick a telephone pole for fun.

Above all else, please remember: GOD MAKES NO JUNK, SO LOVE THYSELF!! OK?

Thank you for being, it gives me great comfort to know that you are.

Also, thanks in advance for not eating the crayons.

Peace, Love, and AM Radio,

Forvis “Green Tongue” Marbleswapper

a.k.a. “Runs With A Flashlight”

Well, OK, that was weird.  But hey, anyone remember Gumby?  Pretty weird!!

Popcorn Thieves Are NOT My Friends!!

So there I was, minding my own business, 10,000 feet in the air, no plane, no parachute… oh wait, no, I wasn’t there; but I WAS in the garden and I almost cried and rolled on the ground when I noticed that the wind had knocked over some of my corn stalks; but no big deal, right, because we had some very big storms recently and the corn was OK it just needed to be stood up again and that went well but holy cow the next day I got so exasperated that I started this Happy Friday thing with a really long run-on sentence complete with sentence fragments because…

THE STINKIN’ RACCOONS GOT INTO MY POPCORN!!!! RARRRRGGGHHHH!!!

Well I can’t prove it was raccoons, but it sure looked that way, because somebody knocked over the stalks and was a-munchin’ on the ears. And this is not just regular corn mind you. Nooo!! It’s popcorn, and I even helped it have sex and everything!! Say huh?? Yes, boys and girls, I pollinated the corn by hand to make really sure it took. I usually only grow one row of corn; which doesn’t lend itself to thorough pollination without some help. That means that during “pollen season,” when the tassels are flowering, I need to make really sure some pollen reaches the silk on the cobs; otherwise the cobs won’t be full of kernels when the corn matures.

Since local yokels provide us with lots and LOTS of delicious sweet corn, I’ve decided to specialize in growing heirloom popcorn. It’s really pretty, multicolored stuff that resembles the so-called “Indian corn” that folks like to hang up for decorations. And the flavor, oh my… it really is true that there’s nothing like home grown food. I usually end up with about 10 pounds of corn each year; not too bad for a single row.

Needless to say, I was NOT happy when the stinkin’ coons got into my corn!! My son in law helped me put in a fence some years ago; which was a response to both deer and raccoons in the garden. Worked very well until this year when the popcorn bandits apparently scaled the fence and went in a-stealin’. So! Being the kind person I am, I went and doused each plant with some cayenne pepper. I was hoping that if they came back they’d get a nice snoot full and that would make them go a-runnin’ for some nostril relief in the creek or something.

No good. They came back and had more munching fun.

Next step: a live trap. Off I went to the local Farm and Home store and bought me a trap. The nice lady at the counter listened to my laments, and suggested some dog food for bait. So I got me a couple nice cans of dog food. I put half a can of dog food in a little plastic dish, then set the trap outside the garden; thinking I would catch the coon on its way to the corn patch. Raccoons are nocturnal critters, so I set the trap out just after sundown; with the intent of checking it before bed time.

I’m a bit of a night owl, so I took my trusty MagLite flashlight and focused the beam on the trap from my vantage point on our deck. Lo and behold, I saw the reflection of two shiny eyes looking back at me. However, I thought I also saw two fur colors: black and white. It didn’t look like a skunk… seemed too big. Regardless; I approached with caution.

When I got a little closer it was obvious I had caught neither coon nor skunk; but rather a very large kitty cat. As I got within range of the trap I scolded the captive, “You get outta there!! You’re not supposed to be in there!! I’m tryin’ to catch a raccoon!!” I lifted the door and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a cat move so quickly.

Although there was dog food in the dish, the kitty apparently wolfed it down; because there was very little left. We live in a semi-rural area so it was no surprise that a stray would come visit for a free meal. This one must be pretty good at finding food though, because he was a big feller. And no, I didn’t check to make sure it was a boy… but seemed like it.

I washed out the dish, baited the trap again and this time set it inside the garden. My garden fence may not be raccoon proof; but I’m pretty sure it’s kitty proof. Got up kind of early this morning to check the trap… nothing. Freshened up the bait again for tonight and I’ll be checking again before beddy bye. If I catch one tonight, we’ll be going for a little ride. We have this nice river just south of us, I’ll just drive it across the river and set it free. I’m thinking it’s not likely it will cross the river to get back to our house.

OK. So if you happen to run across any raccoons with popcorn eatin’ grins on their faces, please let me know.

I have a bone to pick with them.

Maybe I should get Pluto to help out… or maybe not.

Another Year Of Awesome

Well kids, I may be getting older. Not that I feel old, mind you. But…

I’m sitting here at the keyboard thing,

Just thinking and remembering

That back in 1972

There she was, eyes of blue.

Initially we were just friends,

But soon we were much better friends,

And then (and now) the best of friends

Sharing awesome love that never ends.

Let’s see… reality check… 2016 minus 1972 equals 44. HOLY MOLY, I’VE KNOWN AND LOVED THIS LADY FOR 44 YEARS!!! Can this be real? Who am I? What am I doing here?? Am I really 62 years old now?? Sheesh!! And then, as an added bonus, this beautiful lady allowed me to marry her on August 21, 1973. So like, this coming Sunday will be like an anniversary, like you know??

Like, WOW, MAN!!

Very wow!!

I’ve been telling friends all day at work, “if our marriage survives until Sunday, we’ll be celebrating 43 years!!” I asked my Beautiful Girlfriend if there was any chance our marriage would make it for two more days, and she gave me that “whadda you, nuts??” kind of look and said, “I’ll think we’ll be OK.” So… YES!!! We’re gonna be married 43 years this Sunday!!

Can you tell I’m pleased about this?

Now for you youngsters(of all ages), just want you to know that this marriage business did not always come naturally to us. It took many weepings and gnashings of teeth at times. Lots of give and take. Lots of goofs and forgiveness. Lots of problems, but thankfully, lots of working on solutions. There, I said it: it took work for us to get where we are today. And you know what?? I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

These days, it feels like we’ve been together our whole lives. We are both very OK with that notion. Heck, we’ve been best buds since were were 17!! Childhood memories are still there of course, but almost becoming a flash in the pan.

So I want to thank Heaven for allowing us to be so fortunate. Life is very good you see. We are not financially wealthy, but we certainly aren’t poor either. We are blessed.

As you can probably tell by now, I get a little mooshy around this time of year. I’m so SO grateful because I have everything I’ve ever wanted in life. I sometimes verbalize it to my Beautiful Honey Pie.  “Honey,” I’ll say, “all I ever wanted was the love of a Beautiful Woman, a nice family, a nice home, a little bit of land (we have 5 acres), and a kick-ass stereo.” I have all these now!!

The moral of the story: all the work is really paying off!! Again, financially we are not really wealthy, but I consider myself one of the richest people on the planet.

Lots of music has touched my heart over the years, and I often sing some of my favorite songs out loud to my Beautiful Girlfriend. Well OK, I sing them pretty much wherever I am.

For this week’s video fun, I’ve posted a couple examples.

Peace, Love, and Happiness to you All!!

Summertime Stab Candy

It’s almost the middle of August outside already!! That of course means something very sad: summer is on its way out. This makes me cry in my noodles, because although I have Norwegian blood in my toenails, I love summer time!! I’d rather sweat than shiver any day of the week. And these days, that means I can live outside and get mosquito bites so I can have the West Nile virus. Isn’t that nice. I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt…

Anyway, Michigan summers also mean there’s a lot of free food to be had in the woods and fields, and yes, even on the roadsides. And no, by free food on the roadsides I don’t mean that I encourage people to steal from roadside veggie stands. I’m talking about all the fruits and wild foods that sprout up around these parts.

I’m amazed (and grateful) at how many people miss them. Dunno about you, but when I go for walks, I keep my eyes peeled for snacks. That’s because I’m a food addict and I really love to eat. Once in awhile I find a half eaten McBarf burger or maybe half a bag of fries that someone kindly tossed out the car window. I generally do not eat those. Ok, I never eat those. But I have become pretty good at locating the berry patches and fruit trees that live near our house; and I make it a point to check on them occasionally to see what’s cooking. Strawberries are usually first, but there usually aren’t too many of those in the wild around here. Then come the black raspberries, then the red and yellow (yellow?? Yes, there are yellow ones too…) raspberries, and then the blueberries, and right now the blackberries.

The only problem with blackberry hunting is this: if you hunt for blackberries in earnest, you’re gonna get stabbed. Pretty much no likelihood that you’ll get away with no owies, unless of course you don’t want very many berries. So there I was the other day, in my protective berry pickin’ clothes: shorts and a tank top. I zeroed in on a marvelously loaded patch, and commenced to getting all nicely scratched p by blackberry vines.

I was in heaven.

I filled up a quart yogurt container in nothing flat; and stuffed my face with a few handfuls on my way out of the patch. Then the skeeters found me and wanted my blood, so just a few more handfuls before making a break for the car.

Berry picking just plain makes sense. You get outside, free and very healthy snacks go ploonk in your pickin’ bucket, and (in spite of a few pokey-ouches) and for this berry picker at least, it sets the mind free for meditation. When I’m out in one of my favorite patches, my mind is focused on just one task: picking. That gives my brain a much needed rest, and allows me to revisit the past when my Dad used to take advantage of our small size and send us into the thickets to get the big ones. Of course, Dad was always so intent on making jelly every time he heard there were berries ripe. So being the fine kids we were, the four of us soon learned that if we didn’t want to spend a whole day or two picking and cleaning wild fruits, that we might just forget to tell Dad that we found any.

I’m often astounded at the lack of knowledge out there about these natural candies. In previous years I’d go picking during my lunch hour and bring my bucket full of goodies back to the workplace. Upon my return, I’d offer friends and neighbors some berries. Some dig in, and others say, “what the heck are those??” Then I tell them, and they might ask something like, “are those washed??” “Well, Mother Nature washes them every time it rains,” I’d reply. After a few careful peeks into the bucket, several of my coworkers have shrugged and said, “no thanks.”

There’s only one logical response in such a situation.  I’d tell them, “that’s ok, that’s more for me!”

Well, I looked for a berry picking cartoon, but found this old barnyard classic instead.  This must be exactly how the critters interact down on the farm!!

The Meteors Are Coming!!

Meteors will be zooming about in large numbers this coming week. Please, if you go out between midnight and during a meteor shower, wear a heat resistant head bone protector. A nice metal bucket will work well, or of course you could go for better coverage and just carry a large hunk of sheet metal over head as you walk outside. If you’re adventurous, you could also wear a pair of steel reinforced oven mitts and try to catch some as they come zooming toward you. And of course there’s the old silly trick of deflecting some of them with a specially made tennis racquet.

That’s right friends, the annual Perseid meteor shower time is here again, with the peak viewing on August 11 and 12 (according to the interweb science peoples). Of course, you can do some star gazing before and after those dates but the 11th and 12th are supposed to be the best. This may be the best meteor shower all year, because if you’re willing to stay up late you may see as many as 200 meteors per hour! The meteor shower happens every year around this time; but usually only about half this number are expected. It got its name from the constellation Perseus from whence the meteors appear to originate.

Hopefully The Weatherman and / or The Weatherwoman will cooperate and keep the sky free of clouds so we can all enjoy this summer spectacular. If you plan to stay up late enough to enjoy the show, try to situate yourself in an area where there are few city lights. If you can see all 7 stars in the Big Dipper then you should be able to see lots of meteors. Those who can’t escape the lights of the city will probably still see some shooting stars, but not nearly as many as those who enjoy a dark night sky.

All these meteors are from the Comet Swift-Tuttle’s tail. Earth passes through the comet’s debris field beginning around July 13 and finishes up around August 26; so you may see shooting stars well before the peak time; which varies a bit each year.

So, get a nice lawn chair; sit somewhere dark; look into the northeast sky, and enjoy the show. And again, don’t forget to have some fun with it all… have your Heat-Away Perseid Oven Mitts ready to catch one as it plummets to Earth. Wear your Captain Zognord Protective Meteor Helmet. Be ready with your Deluxe Vector Brand Cosmic Comet Dust Bonking Racquet.

And above all, don’t listen to any of my silliness about protective gear and racquets and such. Just enjoy the cool show please.

Now for the cartoon… anyone remember Space Ghost?

When The Well Runs Dry

Here it is, Happy Friday time again, and my Beautiful Girlfriend asked me a couple times, “whatcha gonna write about?”  I couldn’t muster an answer.

Sometimes I just don’t have a clue what to write about. Ever have one of those times when you knew people were waiting for you to write a story for Friday but you had absolutely no clue what to write??

Well I’m having one of those times. God bless the working folks who toil many days in a row for a living. Tomorrow will be the 14th day in a row for me; which is not at all typical. So, my brain is fried. When that happens, I look to my archives for something I haven’t posted in awhile. After all, I’ve been writing “Happy Friday!!!” for many moons now; so I think I have the right to slip in a rerun every now and again.

So here’s one from 2005. I tweaked it a bit; but much of the original silliness remains:

Our son Nate the Great was over tonight again. This was a completely cool thing, because even though his primary motive may have been food, it’s always good to see him. I’ve been calling him “Dark Santa” because of his very dark, bushy beard. I sat on his tummy and told him what I wanted for Christmas just yesterday as a matter of fact.

Today I sought his counsel. “Nate, what should I write about today?” I asked.

“Marble poop cake,” he replied quickly. It was as if the topic was right on the tip of his tongue (gack).

“Marble poop cake??” I asked with a puzzled tone.

“Yes. Marble poop cake,” he quipped back confidently.

“How does one make such a cake?” I asked.

“You need cat poop, dog poop, and human poop, but it all has to have the same smell and size. It’s quite the rage in Bulgaria these days.” He didn’t blink an eye or even change his facial expression. I therefore had absolutely no reason to doubt his word.

“I see… and what kind of frosting do you use for marble poop cake?” I asked curiously.

“Brown preferably, although vanilla is OK too,” he asserted. At this point I observed two things: 1) that there was no mention of what flavor this “Brown” frosting was, and 2) we were pretty much done talking about marble poop cake.

So as you can see the nuts do not fall far from the tree at our house. Poor guy is afflicted with terminal sillyosis, and he got it from his old man. His sister is afflicted with it too. And some has also rubbed off on My Beautiful Honey Pie.

And it doesn’t wash off.

This was especially evident the time we were all coming back from the Coast Guard Festival one summer evening, and as we passed one of the upscale houses, my Lovely Girlfriend yelled out, “hey!! They have a two car kajar!!” “Two car kajar??” everybody laughed out loud and repeated that lovely phrase several times. We have deeply rooted silliness in all of our souls that is always eager to jump out for a laugh.

OK, so I still don’t know what to write about today. Sometimes you just have to take the marble poop cake by the pan and fling it where the sun don’t shine, whatever that means. I don’t really want to write about politics because it brings out the nasties in too many people. Because I’m an old hippie, I hope and pray that everyone on the planet will one day see some Light and just try to get along.
Another topic could be global warming… I could probably write some stuff about that. But these are not funny things, and Happy Friday needs to be funny at least some of the time.

So as I said, sometimes you just need a nice marble poop cake to brighten up your day.

And if you decide to try some, please make sure you brush your teeth.

OK… time for da cartoon.  Perhaps I’ll change careers and become a musical farmer!!

An Open Letter To Saggy Hands And All Other Tongue Owners

Dear Saggy Hands,

As you know, I’ve claimed a small part of the planet and have renamed it to suit my dog’s knees. It’s a quaint little place with hot and cold running wildly; and although clams are rarely served with dessert we could probably order out and enjoy the Mange of La Muncha while throwing fluffy red sculptures toward the full moon. In My New Country, of which I alone am In Charge; nothing will ever be achieved without the express permission of the Zagnut Flinging Champions and their two children, Smeeb and Grackzample.

Even though I’ve always refused to enter your home, you must comply with my reverse hospitality which dictates that I’m pretty sure you owe me a visit here in Tinkle Frost. Yes, that’s correct my friend. That’s the name of the New Land which has been Claimed By Me. Please consider yourself indignant and always keep a special place in your hamper for the Beautiful Newly Claimed Land. Keep in mind that only residents of Wrinkle Fist will have the privilege of snorking gravy up their noses while watching Fox News.

Additionally, please be aware that once you’ve become a citizen of Jingle Crust, you must extinguish all other amplified hacking and coughing that comes so naturally to those who run with a mouth full of lollipops. This is not only mandatory but is a requirement that must be blindly obeyed with full goose Bozo and thank you Uncle Eric. Once the clicking ritual consumes all your waking hours for the next 76 weeks, you must eloquently memorize your shoe size and call the Pineapple Salesman before washing ashore for the Great Beef Jerky Festival.

Finally, if you ever divulge the location of Wrinkle Dust to the Tax Man (or any other demonized ear wax removal tool), you must be banished to the Whisker Treatment Factory where the staff will make certain that you’re gradually recommended for a walk down Mammary Lane to enjoy the breast of times; and maybe even some wings or a thigh, and perhaps also the Chicken Nuggets that will be available in large packages of Drum Stick Yellow #7 or maybe even Giblet Surprise Pudding which of course is served not only with crackers but in some areas of the globe you can even buy tickets to watch this guy actually dress his dog to look exactly like Sir Reginald of Pringlesauce County, except this rendition is nothing close to the original because that would be too tacky and nobody would even care because it’s all a crock of moose juice anyways but because it’s been awhile since I wrote a run-on sentence I thought I’d throw one in here and I hope you found it inexcusable.

OK. That’s quite enough for this digestive illumination. Please, just make sure, as I requested earlier in this writing, to schedule your visit to Tangle Flask sooner rather than later. If you refuse to comply, I’ll remain your devoted friend and will shower your cat with condiments and other pleasant sundaes. I will conclude with a small amount of acrobatics, which I’m sure would amuse you if you were here to watch.

Yours in Seven Dimensions,

Grelben “Stinky Pores” Zortenfloom

a.k.a. “The Wheel Barrow Worm Rancher”

On the other hand, politics according to Gracie Allen was very similar to what we see today…