Free Compost!! And All The Trash You Can Eat…

I love to grow vegetables. And my favorite way to grow vegetables is the “natural” way, which means I don’t put any artificial additives in the soil. There was a time when I relied on manure for fertilizer, but I’ve switched to pure compost.

Well, mostly pure.

We have a compost pile, and that receives all of our kitchen waste: vegetable snippings, coffee grounds, egg shells. Absolutely no meat… meat in the compost is bad juju from the nasty microbes that eat animal flesh. Fish stuff is OK if you put it straight in the ground before planting, but no bird or mammal meat. In addition to all the kitchen waste, a healthy helping of leaves and all the weeds I yank from the garden go into the compost pile. Some folks take a pitch fork and turn the pile occasionally to speed up the composting action; but I usually end up just letting the creepy crawlies chow down and make the compost for me.

This practice has turned me into an avid leaf collector. My “prize leaf ” is a 1971 maple that really makes me proud. A nice bowl of leaves are really great with milk and sugar too! High fiber.

OK, I may be fooling… But seriously folks, I used to traipse around the neighborhood and pick up bagged leaves in the fall. Many, many trailer loads. People tell me, “Oh God!! Don’t use oak leaves!!! They have too much acid!!” And I reply, “No!! This is bull mahookey old fairy tale nonsensical rumor badness!! There’s no such thing as bad leaves in the garden!!” And they cry and roll on the ground.

Or not.

Oak leaves have a high calcium content, and are pretty substantial compared to leaves like maple that break down more quickly. Earthworms LOVE oak leaves, and earthworm manure is alkaline, so a balancing effect occurs when oak leaves are added to the soil. Back to running around the neighborhood to collect leaves, these days I’m blessed with friends who bring me leaves from their yard and dump them out behind the garden for me. And if I go through all those (which I often do) I make “emergency runs” to the local transfer station, which we affectionately call “the dump.” People bring their leaves there, and the pile even gets turned regularly so there’s lots of compost available, free for the taking.

I have only one complaint about all these free composting items. Trash. There is always at least some trash in the leaves, whether they come from the dump or are given to me by my friends. Sometimes I find “interesting” items, like soda cans, candy wrappers, hunks of Styrofoam, even found the remains of a cell phone once. My very “favorite” type of trash are the fake leaves that get mixed in with the real ones. I’ll bet plastic leaves take a few thousand years to break down. Oh and on a side note: you know those little sticky labels on green peppers, avocados and the like from the grocery store? I’ve been guilty of forgetting to remove them before the remains go in the compost. Then of course I find them later, either while scooping compost during planting time or yanking weeds. I’m pretty sure those stupid labels will be here when the archaeologists come.

I’ll continue to use the dump as my primary source of compost material. So to my dear friends, and to all who bring their leaves to the dump, thank you. But please, keep the trash at home.

It doesn’t just doesn’t make good fertilizer.

And now, a video that’s not a video, but a song. Our grandson would express frustration on cartoon night when I’d slip in a music video; and his annoyed voice would ring out, “Papa, you like songs!!” Anyway, this is from a band from yesteryear called Spirit. The name of the song is “Fresh Garbage.” And the lyrics are…

Fresh garbage
Fresh garbage

Look beneath your lid some morning,
See those things you didn’t quite consume.
The world’s a can for your fresh garbage.

Just (Not) My Style

I am really enjoying retirement.  I am so comfortable, I can wear my “Sunday Go To Meetin'” garden grubs to the grocery store and not give a flying mahookey who sees me running around in dirty rags.  In fact, just yesterday I had to make a quick grocery run after I got done crawling around in the garden.  While I was grabbing a few necessities, I had something of a fashion flashback that happened back in the old days when I was still working.

So there I was, in a Hard Day’s Night, working like a dog, with no barking, walking around the factory after walking between the Work Buildings and having enjoyed the cool air of West Michigan spring while in my denim jacket, when suddenly I stopped to talk to some fellow associates; but not all that suddenly because I left no skid marks on the concrete floor or nothing, and long before I wrote this run-on sentence (because I was at work, not writing like I am now) a friend walked up to me with a large grin on his face and said, “Hey Ken, don’t you know that denim jackets have been out of style for 20 years?”

Being the good natured fellow I am, I smiled while shaking his hand and quickly replied, “I really don’t give a ship (or something like that…)!!” Then one of the other associates said, “You’re one of the good guys, you can wear whatever you want and it would be just fine.”  Well being thought of as a “good guy” was nice to hear, but being the silly fellow I am, I smiled again and said, “How about I put on a pink tutu and some OSHA approved safety ballet slippers?? Would that be OK??” One of the associates eyebrows kinda came together as he looked at the ground; but the one who called me “one of the good guys” chuckled and said, “Yeah sure!!”

Again at work, I had yet another instance of fashion consciousness. A friend of mine came up to me and said, “Nice shirt!!” Took a little pointing on his part for me to notice that he and I were wearing shirts with nearly identical fabric. “Oh!!” I said, finally getting the point. “Yeah, I’m guessing mine is a thrift store special.” He gave me a puzzled look. I thought about that much later, wondering if I insulted him. But we are good friends so I’m pretty sure he didn’t take it too seriously. Besides, he found it amusing when I said, “Yeah my wife buys all my shirts at the thrift stores. This one was probably 99 cents. Well OK it’s kinda nice, maybe she paid $2 for this one.”

As you may have gathered by now, I’m not exactly in tune with GQ or whatever that hoidy toidy men’s magazine is called. I just don’t give a hoot about fashion. Some proof of that is:

1) I just had to google “GQ” to make sure it still was what I thought it was; and

R) I still like having very long hair, even though it’s only growing well on the sides of my head (I plan to till the top under and try to grow a new crop); so that’s like 40 years out of style, and finally

&) I rarely paid attention to what the work shirt looked like in the morning. My fashion combo consisted of a pair of blue jeans and a “business casual” shirt.

And yes, Virginia (or Vern), I stuffed my shirt pocket with my smell phone, my eye glasses case, a pen, and maybe a small screwdriver. Oh and not to forget that’s where my badge hung.

People see me from miles away and say, “NERD ALERT!! OLD HIPPIE NERD ALERT!!!”

Guilty as charged.

I did, however, try to make sure all the buttons were buttoned, my fly was zipped up, and my “gig line” was straight. For those who were never in the military, a “gig line” is correct when the seam of your shirt, your belt buckle, and your fly are all in a straight line from top to bottom. If you didn’t have that just so in basic training, you got gigged. Nobody likes to get gigged. Funny how old habits stick with you.

So the oldest habit of mine that sticks with me is I just don’t care about fashion. Fortunately my Beautiful Girlfriend keeps my garments acceptably coordinated when we have to play dress up for a wedding or whatever. Fun to see the new fashion stuff sometimes though, kind of like going to the carnival!!

I’m just not hip, folks. I’m an old hippie who doesn’t care about hip. Not even sure what the current expression for “hip” might be!! And I don’t give a flying mahookey!! So there!!

As the folks from the Tower of Power said so eloquently all those years ago (1973 in the video that follows), “what is hip? Tell me, tell me if you think you know.” Then later in the song is my favorite line: “What’s hip today might become passe.”

So I’m just not in style and that’s very OK with me. My Beautiful Girlfriend, on the other hand, is “Just My Style.”

So kids, two videos today. Tower of Power with “What Is Hip?” is first but isn’t displayed like other videos I’ve linked to in the past.  That’s because I usually embed them here, but this time Youtube said “embedding disabled by request.”  So just click the link to get the Tower of Power.  Nice performance by them on Soul Train.

The second one is in honor of my Beautiful Girlfriend, who will always be “Just My Style” like this song from Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

Peace!! (Now that’s ALWAYS in style!!)

Click below for “Just My Style.”

Artificially Intelligent But Not Necessarily Funny

Well I finally done did it. I created an account on OpenAI, the website where ChatGPT lives. If you haven’t heard, ChatGPT lives on an artificial intelligence platform and is designed to respond when you send messages to it. Can’t say I’m a fan of all this artificial intelligence stuff. I do agree that it has great potential for problem solving and such, but I also worry about humans who would use its power for naughty purposes… that could be frightening. My apprehension has finally submitted to my curiosity. I simply had to try it.

Of course, being the kakahead I am, I did my best to get this robotic rhetoric regurgitator to make silly. Here are a few of the results of my frivolous fribbling:

Me: I’ve decided to cook some pencils and feed them to my bicycle.

ChatGPT: Feeding pencils to a bicycle is not recommended as they are not suitable or digestible for bicycles, and cooking them would likely render them inedible for any purpose.

Me: Why are ducks calling me Herman? Answer with one sentence please.

ChatGPT: Ducks are calling you Herman because they have associated you with the name due to repeated exposure or conditioning.

Me: There is a toad stuck in my armpit.

ChatGPT: Please seek immediate medical assistance for the safe removal of the toad from your armpit.

Me: Why would a cat put a crayon in a car’s gas tank?

ChatGPT: Cats typically do not intentionally put crayons or any other objects in a car’s gas tank, as their behavior is primarily driven by natural instincts and curiosity rather than specific motives.

Me: I’m thinking you’ve been drinking slug slime again.

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have a physical presence or the ability to consume substances like slug slime. My responses are generated based on a database of text and knowledge. If there’s anything specific you’d like to discuss or any questions you have, feel free to let me know.

Me: Click wildly as the mouse pointer glides toward the new toilet motor.

ChatGPT: It’s important to handle electronic devices and appliances safely and avoid any potential hazards. Interacting with a mouse pointer and a toilet motor in that manner could be dangerous and is not recommended. Please exercise caution and follow appropriate safety guidelines.

Me: What the hell is a toilet motor??

ChatGPT: I apologize for the confusion. There is no such thing as a “toilet motor.” I misspoke in my previous response. A toilet typically doesn’t have a motor, as it relies on gravity and water pressure for flushing. My apologies for any confusion caused.

(My thoughts: ChatGPT appears to be well versed in CYA.)

Me: Say something silly.

ChatGPT: Sure, here’s something silly: Did you hear about the mathematical plant? It grew square roots!

(I have to admit, that made me laugh.)

Me: You don’t seem to know what I mean by silly. Say something nonsensical.

ChatGPT: Burplefloofle snickerdoodle wobblepants gigglesnort!

(Sorta silly…)

Me: Landerponk zickleymargen broo-hickety sembtofe, bizzle cagiloopen!!

ChatGPT: Gobbledygook flibbertigibbet ziggity-zag, woggleflop blibber-blabber doodle-dag!


Me: Moochy?

ChatGPT: Hoochy-moochy, moochy-roochy, boochy-woochy!

(Copy cat!!)

So ChatGPT seems to think it can be silly… but I prefer to replicate my own syllables with orange meatballs and over extended soda crackers. You may have heard on the news that some scholars are using ChatGPT as a replacement for their own brain power to compose term papers, etc. Well not this guy. It was fun while it lasted, but I’ll be leaving ChatGPT in the dust of my nonsense while it grows up big and strong to take over the universe.

“Hoochy-moochy” indeed!!

So ChatGPT can either be amazing, or scary… or perhaps both. Like this for example…

Beans Think Onions Stink

If bean plants could talk, they’d ask the onions to leave the premises immediately. This is for real, people! They’d pinch their noses and shout thusly: “Hey! You wid da face! You’re pudding a big hurt od by doze! Gid oudda here awreddy! Can’t lib here wid dis stinking.”

The onions cry. After all, they can’t help the fact that they were born with a natural fragrance that bean plants find offensive. Not to worry, the cabbage family is happy to have onions in the neighborhood. Must like that Italian cooking, maybe?

Forgive me while I indulge in this good stink / bad stink talk. In these parts, It’s time to start the garden up, and I get to thinking out loud about who goes where in the dirt. Companion planting, the practice of growing plants that benefit from each other, is a cool thing for us organic-type gardeners. That’s because if plants can be happy together, they are much healthier. Having healthy plants means more yield and fewer problems with bugs and diseases.

Onions exude chemicals that prevent beans, peas, and other legumes from making nitrogen in the soil with their toes. If you’ve ever yanked a bean plant out of the dirt, you might have noticed the rhizomes (little round bumps) on the roots. Well, the beans do NOT have tumors.  The rhizomes are where the action is:  bean-friendly bacteria live there and make nitrogen for the bean plants and anyone else who happens to be nearby.  That is, unless the onions are in town. Then they just sit there, remaining all tiny and twiddling their toes.

Cabbage and its relatives (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.) love those onions, because they help keep the cabbage butterflies away, and also keep the aphid population down. Both of those bugs love their cabbage, but, like beans, many bugs also hate onion breath.

Another example of companion planting is when corn says thank you to the beans and peas for being there and doing the cool nitrogen toe jam thing. The beans and peas give the corn a high five for wind protection and some shade. Corn plants also make nice poles for peas and runner beans to grab. Between the corn rows, squash or pumpkins get the shade they like, and they in turn shade the corn’s roots and keep them cool. Everybody happy.

On the other hand, you have marigolds. OK, maybe you don’t; but those can go near anything. All the vegetable clans love marigolds, and they even stimulate growth. Not to mention the pretty flowers attract pollinators, so there’s a nice bonus for you.  My kinda plants!

Grandmas and Grandpas used to know lots of this stuff, and Native Peoples were very much in tune to companion planting. Farm and garden chemical companies would love for you to forget all about that stuff though. Those fancy commercials showing folks winning cool prizes for big veggies do tend to get one’s attention. Unfortunately, chemical companies are conveniently quiet about the nasty stuff flowing into our lakes and streams when herbicides and pesticides are washed out of our dirt during a good rain.

But fear not, organic produce are finally becoming more mainstream. People are “discovering” that when the pilgrims found the Indians were growing pumpkins in their corn, it was no accident.

Back to the beans a second (uh-oh, he’s gonna get weird again). I know some people who agree with beans about the onions. Some folks just can’t stand onions or the smell of them. If you like raw onions, your sweetie might say something like, “No kissy face for you until you brush them chompers!” Onions and beans are great food things. I love them together, and regard the combo as almost cosmic. Of course, there is a by-product of eating too much of either: methane. In its natural state, methane is colorless and odorless. When generated by human food eating machines, it is often released with a “PHOOT!!” noise and can have a rather diSTINKtive odor.

HOLY COW!! I JUST HAD A BRAIN-FART!! We may be able to achieve world peace with this combination! Get regiments of bean eaters, right? March them into enemy territory two or three hours after the whole bunch of them cram a few truckloads of bean burritos laced with onions in their faces. No troops in their right minds would try to fight against anyone during such a gas attack. We’re talking victory with no chemical weapons here! Peace could be had without firing a shot, except for the occasional audible report from those burrito eaters. The only hitch would be to strictly enforce an important rule, which would need to be posted with very large placards:


So the moral of the story is: if you must plant beans and onions together, plant them in your tummy, not in the dirt.

And please, always remember to visualize whirled peas.

So if you find any of these beans, please save a couple for me!

Harakiri Rhubarb And The Case Of The Lost Band-Aid

Pretty much everyone has heard of the Japanese method of suicide called harakiri. Lots of Americans mangle the word by pronouncing it “hairy-carry” but they mean the same thing. If you look it up on the interwebs (or something weird called a dictionary) you’ll find that it’s a pretty gruesome method of taking one’s life. And no, I’m certainly NOT suggesting anyone use suicide for problem solving!! But believe it or don’t, harakiri actually is relevant to this week’s silly blog entry.

You’d think harvesting in the garden would be a relatively safe activity. It should be, right? Picking vegetables, gently placing them in a nice woven basket, then toting them inside for delicious eating. No worries, right? Well yes, that’s true unless you have a very sharp knife in your hand. Rather important to be careful with sharp things.

But sometimes I get a bit carried away.

All I wanted to do was harvest some rhubarb… or “ROO-bob” as Grandma used to call it. Spring is definitely springing here in Beautiful West Michigan, so I thought I’d make a rhubarb-raisin pie today for when our friends came over for dinner. One might ask, “Rhubarb-raisin pie?? What the heck??” But yes boys and girls, I take the basic rhubarb pie recipe from our 50 year old Better Homes And Gardens cookbook and tweak it slightly. The recipe calls for 1 2/3 cup of sugar. I use 1 cup of dark brown sugar. I also add a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon for a little extra flavor, and yes I line the bottom of the pie with about a half cup of raisins, then put some more raisins on the top. It’s pretty darn good in my professional opinion!

I get the rhubarb from the garden, which is already producing nicely. Out I went to harvest some stalks, armed with my Swiss army knife and a plastic bag from Dollar General. My method of harvest is pretty simple: twist the stalk so it breaks away from the bottom of the plant, then use a knife to whack the leaf off the top. Then into the bag goes the stalk, and repeat until you have enough to make pie.

As I was working today, I was reminiscing about the time the in-laws were visiting from Florida a few years back. They were hankering for some rhubarb, so armed with my chef’s knife and plastic bag, I hustled out to make a quick harvest. Unfortunately, I was a bit careless with the knife and made a pretty good gash on my left wrist. Knowing the gash needed stitches, I asked my Beautiful Girlfriend to drive me to the ER. After asking her to please not go 90 MPH anymore on the way, we got the wound taken care of at the hospital so I could go back and finish the harvest (yes, I did harvest a bit more). Toward the end of the seven stitches, the nurse jokingly told me, “We do have a social worker on staff if you need one.” I assured her I wasn’t going to commit harakiri and we both laughed as I went on my way.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s weapon was my Swiss army knife. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but noooo… I was careless yet again, but this time much less damage was inflicted. A little cut on my finger… but it was bleeding enough to merit a Band-Aid. No big deal… although I silently yelled at myself for the goof.

OK. Time to make dinner. Spaghetti with meat balls from Mac’s Meats in Rothbury. Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce with added mushrooms, peppers, and onions. Homemade garlic butter (with homegrown garlic) for the French bread. And of course the rhubarb-raisin pie. Somewhere along the line, the Band-Aid was lost. I looked high and low but could not find it. Then a horrible thought crossed my mind and I blurted out, “I hope it’s not in the food!!” I stirred the sauce and stirred some more. No Band-Aid in sight. Is it in the rhubarb that was mixed in with the flour and sugar?? Not that I could see. “Oh poop!!” I grunted and moved on to the rest of the cooking.

Our friends arrived, and after the hugs and hellos I told them I had an announcement. “I lost a Band-Aid,” I told them. “Unfortunately, I lost it while I was cooking,” I continued. Then I dropped the bomb: “I don’t think it’s in the pie, but it might be! I don’t think it’s in the sauce, but it might be!!” They all laughed and showed no concern. Everything came out great, our friends and we were all stuffed with delicious food and dessert. At the end of the meal, my friend Dick said, “Hey Ken!! No Band-Aid!!” I sighed with relief and said, “Yes!! Thank God!!!

The moral of the story? Maybe something like this: if you’re gonna attempt harakiri with rhubarb, make REALLY SURE you know where the Band-Aid is!!

And now, as Mr. Cleese used to say, for something completely different.

Earth Day, Earth Month, Earth Year

Those of you who read “Happy Friday!!!” regularly probably read it on Saturday or maybe even later. Well, according to my calendar, tomorrow is Earth Day. I say tomorrow because as my fingers are touching this keyboard thing, it’s still Friday. So there. I must say I am not now nor never have been a fan of Earth Day. Those who know me might exclaim, “Kenny!! Are you tell me that with your tree huggyness and organic vegetable grow munching, that you are not of enjoyment from Earth Day??” And yes, I’m knowing that you probably wouldn’t say it that way at all.

No, I am NOT a fan of Earth Day. That’s because I firmly believe that EVERY DAY is EARTH DAY. So rather than “celebrate” Earth Day, howzabout we celebrate our Mother Earth every day, every month, every year.


So much climate but not enough change. Yes, good progress is being made. But every time I see a “Hello Fresh” commercial on the TV I want to barf toxic substances. So much packaging! So much delivery!! So much carbon footprinting!! Oy yoy yoy. I’d really rather see a public service announcement from Woodsy the Owl asking people to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!!” followed by some tips on how small lifestyle changes can make huge differences toward reducing the warming of our dear planet. Rather than lament about all the bad stuff, I believe I’ll devote the rest of this week’s blog thing to some suggestions on how to reduce our human footprint on this delicate orb we call Earth.

1 – Buy as much fresh food as possible; especially foods that don’t come in a container. Not always easy, I have to admit. I of course am guilty of buying packaged foods. But I do try to get stuff in recyclable or reusable containers.

R – Eat less meat. WHAT’S THAT YOU SAY??? Why that’s UNAMERICAN!! Well yes, actually, it is. No I don’t mean it’s bad to eat less meat, I’m merely pointing out that lots of cultures in the world eat less meat than we do. Raising animals for food is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gases in existence. I don’t even want to think about how much of our livestock is raised; because I too am guilty of eating dead animals. We do eat meatless meals, but not nearly often enough. So now that I’ve opened my mouth about it, I guess I better work on eating even less meat!!

7 – Do not ever spray for bugs, never ever, no, don’t do it, bad juju. I saw a BookFace friend post about spraying for mosquitoes recently; and I pointed out that sprays designed to kill mosquitoes are indiscriminate. They also kill bees, spiders, and may other beneficial critters. We do use insect repellent on our bodies when the bitey bugs are hungry; but we normally try to do outside things when they are less likely to smell us. Ever notice that skeeters are really hungry just before sundown? Oh and they like to stab me in the mornings too. So during the day, not so much. I try to avoid the repellent at all cost… I’d rather swat than put poison on my skin. But when I read about bee populations (along with other beneficial creepy crawlies) declining I am very aware that I’m doing the right thing by keeping sprays out of my tiny 5 acre piece of this world.

B – Mow less lawn. Mow less often. Or don’t mow at all. That is all.

Yeah I could go on and on and on, but I’m already preached to the point of “enough awreddy”. We still have a magnificent home here on Mother Earth. So my wish is to put a stamp that says EARTH DAY on every single day / month / year of every calendar. Then we can start our day thinking about what we can do to help Mother Nature survive all this human activity.

OK by youse??

Well I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t include some hippie freak tree hugger videos that honor our Mother, so here goes.

Springing Ahead But Falling Behind

There’s something in the air here in Beautiful West Michigan. Ahhh that smells good. The smell of Bear Swamp (where our yard is located) coming alive with froggies and toadies and buggies galore. The smell of daffodils daffodilling, the smell of rain just before a thunderstorm. And there’s free music too!! Birds of all kinds singing and talking to each other: red winged blackbirds, cardinals, ducks, geese, even sea gulls.

Oh wait!!

Question: Why do seagulls fly over the sea??

Answer: Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be called baygulls!!

But would they be delicious??  I’ve often snarfed bagels and they were truly delicious.   Perhaps we could smear some cream cheese on their baygull wings and munch on them while they struggle to get free so they can snatch french fries left in burger joint parking lots!  No.. I think that could give us a bad case of feathermouth.  Not to mention it wouldn’t be very kind to the seagulls or even the baygulls!!

Anyway, there I was during the last few weeks, 676 ft above sea level (I looked up our elevation), minding my own business, when big rains came to melt the last of the snow piles, and then the creeks and rivers were swollen but no flooding yet and oh jeez here comes more rain and now the water is very big and oh POOP the basement is leaking from under the floor again but we get that almost every year but it is still a pain in the hiney, butt that’s what we get for choosing a house in the swamp with an 83 year old basement that was never free of cracks so the water rises up through the floor but yes we have a sump pump and no the previous owners never did (what the HECK did they do with all the water??) and oh God oh God the lilac leaves are getting as big as a mouse’s ear and that means it’s time to plant peas and soon potatoes and onions but right now we’re busy helping our new furry feline friends get acclimated to their new home and I can’t believe one of them spent nearly 2 years in the shelter and HOLY COW I BETTER QUIT WITH THIS RUN-ON SENTENCE AWREDDY!!

Wow.  That was a big one!!

So this boy is a bit behind with preparing the garden for planting. And doing other Spring things. You know, like making. Sentence Fragments. Which make reading. Clunky. But you know, I’ve learned the hard way not to make plans for my free time these days, because things rarely work out as planned. And why should they?? If we are needed, we are needed. We are very fortunate humans and the very least we can do is give back some of our time to others who are not able to do for themselves. Someone very wise once told me, “if you want to make your Creator laugh, just mention you have plans.”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised… this happens every year. I usually have everything planted in the garden by Memorial Day or very shortly thereafter. I remember dreaming once that after I retired I’d have lots more time to get things done at home. Ha ha!!  This is now a funny joke!!  I can still hear what those old farts would say:  “Now that I’m retired, I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work!!”  Ain’t it the truth!!  So now I have less money, but more time. Oh but hey!! I’ve heard it said that time is money. So maybe if I have more time, I can cash it in for big dollars!

In the meantime, I’ll work very hard at remaining grateful. Life really is very good here in Bear Swamp!

For this week’s videos, here are some characters enjoying one of my favorite times of the year.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the cartoons are an exact depiction of what springtime is all about!!

Every Day Is (not) April Fools

What to write about today?? There’s lots of buzz in the news about some famous guy who is being charged with a crime. Like lots of famous guys, he probably won’t face much in the way of consequences… nothing at all like what you or I would encounter if we were being booked for a crime. So I suppose I could write about that… but instead of giving all of you something that would likely increase your blood pressure, I’ll circumvent it a little by just doing as a different famous criminal once said.

“Let me say this about that.” – Richard Nixon

So there I was, at the Egg Roll House Wonderful Chinese Restaurant Which Has The Best Chinese In Muskegon Michigan And It’s Been That Way For Many Years, waiting for my take out order (which would have been ready but I asked, “how long to add Shrimp With Vegetable?” and the nice lady said “Five Minutes!!” so I looked at the stack of magazines and the copy on top had, in big letters, “Is Truth Dead?” written on it and it made me think of all the total crap that finds its way into the media these days and some people actually believe it and so I thought “what the heck do I write about on the day before April Fools?” and this seemed like a good topic to go with so now it’s time to STOP WITH THE HUGE RUN-ON SENTENCE AWREDDY and tell everyone that I’m going to write about this here:


Now, I’m old enough to remember when The Beatles came to America on The Mayflower.   I’ve observed a few cultural changes over the years. When I was a kid, if you said something that wasn’t true, it was called a lie. Very simple. Everyone knew what that meant. Then, somewhere along the line, a word by the name of “misinformation” was introduced into our spoken and written language. It still meant that someone was telling a lie, but extenuating circumstances would often surround whatever the “misinformation” might be; and these circumstances were too regularly offered to create a smokescreen about the plain reality of it all: it was a stinkin’ lie.

One of my least favorite euphemism for a lie is the term “fake news.” Well the use of that term really bugs me. It’s kinda like someone offering me “turkey bacon.” Sorry friends, there is no way you can make bacon from turkey. There are companies who make something that looks like bacon, and maybe sorta kinda tastes like bacon, but it ain’t bacon. Bacon comes from dead pigs. Period. So when someone starts babbling about fake news; they really aren’t talking about news at all. They are calling someone a liar.

So quit with the euphemisms already!! A lie is a lie! Somehow, though, the printed word and the interwebs seem to give lies a life of their own.  And all too often, people who would rather not bother with checking facts will believe almost anything they see in print, online, or hear and see on TV and radio. And if a person is very important, and doesn’t like what they see or hear, and call it fake news, well guess what?? Because that person is very important (at least in their own mind), people will believe something that simply isn’t true!

What a world!!

So to help you enjoy April Fools Day, I will not lament any further about the woes of the world.  Rather I hereby offer you some absolutely accurate facts that will hopefully help you in your search for the truth. I can vouch for all that follows, because you are reading it on the interwebs; and everyone knows that whatever is on the interwebs is absolutely true stuff.

True Fact #1: Russia is e-mailing 45 rpm records to unsuspecting music lovers; and these records contain secret DNA altering messages embedded in the grooves. So when you think you’re listening to an old Chuck Berry tune (God rest his soul); you’re actually absorbing molecular sound waves that will cause your eyebrows to grow completely together (Holy Unibrow, Batman!!).

True Fact #2: A new version of radical Atheism has sprung up in rural Minnesota. Harsh winters have produced fertile ground for these factions to adopt terrorist tactics that involve dumping large quantities of Cracker Jacks in ice fishing shanties. This of course confuses unsuspecting ice fishermen; who upon returning to their shanty, veer away from their faiths and compulsively gorge themselves on the tasty snack food. These fishermen disappoint their families when they come home with no fish but a very sticky face and huge sugar buzz.

True Fact #3: Honeybees are being forced into slave labor by the Air Force. Instead of using normal methods of jet engines for propulsion, bees will be harnessed to fighter jets to lift them off the ground in a very stealthy manner. This method, called “beezooming,” is both relatively silent and very difficult to detect by even the most sensitive monitoring equipment.

True Fact #4:  Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation that cause sterilization.  That’s right kids!!  If you make a phone call using your cell, be careful not to hold it near your nether regions; unless of course you enjoy the tingly sensation of your reproductive organs being jiggled about at the frequency of 1900 MHZ.  Hey, some people get their jollies in weird ways.  Personally, I’ve been very careful to wear my aluminum foil britches when I talk on the cell phone.  Only problem with that is the heating that occurs while the phone is in use, but at least my innards are still firing on all 3 cylinders.

I could produce many more True Facts but I don’t want to bore you all with my amazing knowledge of things I just made up in my mind. You may never have heard of any of the previous 4 True Facts. That’s because although they are all true, those who have this information have been sworn to secrecy. All those “in the know” about these things are very aware that if they don’t keep their mouths shut about all this, I will send trained slime spiders to their homes at unpredictable hours.

Nobody likes slime spiders.

OK… hope you all have a nice April Fools Day. And please, know that just like those X-Files kids used to say, “the truth is out there.” Really it is… you just gotta dig for it sometimes.

Speaking of lies, though, here are a few fun lying thingies…



“We Have Met The Enemy…”

If any of you follow this blog regularly, perhaps you’ve noticed that I try to stay far away from politics when I send out Happy Friday!!! stories. Well I’m gonna veer away from that just a bit tonight, and jump on my soap box for a bit. Actually what I’m going to write about is really not a political issue, but it is, but it’s not. Politicians will play a role in it, but the bottom line is that all of us need to act. No exaggeration here, it’s a matter of survival.

Some of you may even remember reading this rant a while back. Well I cannot lie, this is a rerun. That’s because we just left our Michigan home to drive to Florida and back. And yes I know, the act of driving a car is also a contributor to global warming. But believe me, the problem is much bigger than just automobiles. We haven’t taken the trip in several years, but when we sojourned to visit family and friends we noticed that there appear to be way too many people on this planet. Farmland and wild areas are being gobbled up and being built upon.

All this starkly illustrates the abundant scientific evidence that we humans have caused many unwelcome changes in our Earth’s ecology. Our exploits are warming the globe and producing climate change; and unless you live in a cave, it’s likely you’ve heard of the young people protesting about it. One of the most well known is a young lady named Greta Thunberg, and she was seen on TV imploring U.S. politicians not to listen to her, but to listen to science.

The sad thing about all this is: scientists have been warning about the toxic effects climate change and pollution have on our ecosystems for many, many years. And no, I’m not just talking about all the hooting and hollering hippies like me were doing in the 1960s and 1970s. No, even the ancients knew that humans could affect local climates by actions like draining swamps or deforestation.

As economies evolved along with, and often because of technology, the degree we humans parted from Nature widened. The result: too much of our society is addicted to a lifestyle that has sprung from a dependence upon fossil fuels, consumer goods, and massive agricultural operations. In short, we’re addicted; and the consequences have been rearing their ugly heads. The consequences include an increased frequency of intolerable heat, powerful storms; and reductions in wildlife numbers. And until recently, not enough clamor arose to stop it. Not sure if you’ve ever met a heroin addict or maybe really learned what addiction is all about; but for practicing addicts one thing is always true: they engage in destructive behavior and ignore the consequences.

That is of course until they get caught.

Guess what? We’ve been caught. By children. Children!! All I can say is, Thank God for the Children!! Greta Thunberg started her activism at age 15!! That means that we hippies are indeed having an impact. How did I come up with that?? Well, these are our children’s children. That gives me hope that we can take pride in our legacy. Millions of young people around her age are loving what Greta has to say. And guess what again some more? They’re gonna be voting soon. This is a very good thing.

Some politicians and big business folks are trying to demonize anything that resembles a Green New Deal. And as my Beautiful Cousin pointed out while we were visiting in Florida, nobody is barking about all the rockets being launched into space. The launches have actually been mentioned as a tourist attraction on TV down there!! Don’t we have enough to do here on Earth without sending a bunch of space junk into orbit??

Thankfully, lots of clean energy initiatives are underway. But we still have a long way to go with preserving green space and protecting wildlife. However, I try to be a “glass half full” kind of guy. I’m trying to focus on the good that’s happening around the world, in spite of the media continuously throwing trash in my face.

When I was a kid, there was a wonderful comic strip called “Pogo” by Walt Kelly. I went hunting on the interwebs and found a couple frames from one of Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” renditions from Earth Day in 1971. Still very much applies today.

And now for some of those hippie environmental tunes. Some new, some old. All with the same message.

I Feel Fine

Well it happened. I just had my 69th birthday, and I’m rather astonished that I’ll soon be the same age as old people. Maybe I already am!! This reminds me of a poem that I never wrote before, so I will attempt to plop it in front of your reading eyeballs at this time.

I Feel Fine

by Me, A Name I Call Myself

I’m sixty nine and I feel pretty fine, if I must say so myself.

I’m grateful to be alive and well and not in an urn on a shelf.

No more angries, or ickies, no orneries or pickies,

All those nasty emotions just gave me the sickies.

I’ve worked hard to grow up… not much raises my hackles.

But when trying to move, something inside me crackles.

“Oh ouchy! Oh crap!” I’ve been heard to exclaim.

But I’d rather have ouch than be totally lame.

So I’ll just keep on truckin’, as the freaks used to say.

And look forward to what comes with the following day.

Thank you.

Yes, I guess maybe someday I’ll have to face the possibility that I’m getting old. How can this be, though?? My brain still thinks I’m in my 30s… maybe younger. Oh but I’m starkly reminded of change when looking in the mirror for example. I bring my young brain around with me and then I step into the bathroom to pee (again), and I catch the image of some old fart looking back at me. “What the heck happened to you??” I think… sometimes out loud. Yeah, I’m starting to get old.

I had hair once, right on top my head and everything!! I’m convinced that there is some sort of follicle migration occurring while I sleep. I mean, I have more hair on my belly than I’ve ever had. And it grows well in my ears too!! And my chest!! Never had hair on my chest before. And as all these hair villages pop up on previously bald parts of my body, the hair on top of me head diminishes. Not sure this is fair treatment for a gentle person like me.

And remember the crackles I mentioned in the poem from earlier up there above these other words where there’s a poem that I never wrote before but I did just a few minutes ago that was not part of this run-on sentence but it is now?? Well sheesh, I can hardly move any part of my body without some sort of Snap, Crackle, or Pop Rice Crispies, part of this nutritious breakfast!! Actually I don’t know how anyone can fool themselves into thinking that Rice Crispies have ever really provided much nutrition. But the commercials were fun now weren’t they?

I can’t complain really, even though I do. That’s a privilege of getting older, right? Old people complain about everything. Jeez I don’t wanna get old like that. But seriously folks, life is very good and I’m truly grateful. You’ve probably heard the old saying, or some version of it: “Getting old is not for cowards.” Well even though I’m a wuss I’ll do my best to age gracefully. I really am lucky… I can do most anything I could do when I was younger. Just takes longer sometimes… and sometimes it hurts.

But really… I feel fine!!