Das IMAX Earschplittenloudenboomer

“Today I have good news und I have bad news. Die erste Hörster das nicht verstehen was ist jetzt eben gesagt haben; und die zweite Hörster weiss noch immer nicht was ein Earschplittenloudenboomer ist.” And so goes the introduction to the Steppenwolf song, “Earschplittenloudenboomer,” which is anything but an assault on the eardrums.

HUH??

Yes, it’s real. The rock band Steppenwolf preceded the the song with John Kay saying silly stuff, the beginning of which was English. “Today I have good news and I have bad news.” Then he broke into German, the translation of which is (roughly) “The first listener doesn’t know what’s being said right now, and the second listener doesn’t know what an Earschplittenloudenboomer is.” And yes, it’s a real song, but as I mentioned before it’s pretty mellow for a hard rocking band like Steppenwolf. So, speaking of IMAX. Weren’t we speaking of IMAX?? Well it’s in the title, right?? Pay attention!! Oops… sorry I’m grouchy but my ears still hurt from das IMAX Earschplittenloudenboomer!!

There we were, minding our own business, going to the IMAX in Grand Rapids to enjoy Moonage Daydream, the new film about David Bowie. We went to the 12 noon show to avoid the Covid crowds, and that was very successful as there was only one other couple besides us in the whole theater. So here come the commercials. Pretty loud. VERY loud. Ouch with the ears awreddy. Then come the previews. OH MY THAT’S TOO DARN LOUD!! I was sure the speakers in the place were about to spew their innards at us!! I called the theater on my smellphone and asked them to please remove the auditory anguish from our ears. The (not) happy theater employee grudgingly said she’d tell the projectionist, who apparently listened to our plea.

I know we are old retired people, but hey, we are Officially Receipted Volume Veterans (O.R.V.V.). All you have to do is take a gander at our album full of concert tickets. We’ve seen loudenscreamers like Slade, Joe Walsh, Hollywood Vampires, Foghat, and even David Bowie (twice times). And that’s just a small fraction of the list. So it’s not like we’re wusses or anything. We’ve had our cochlear hair cells flattened lots and lots of times.

For whatever reason, this time was different. Maybe it was the lack of bodies… previous noise kabooms could have been absorbed by the crowds around us to some degree. Maybe it was that we’re not getting any younger. Or maybe it’s just because the IMAX audio was just too damn loud! Lately, my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have asked each other to repeat things while we’re trying to converse; then both of us lament that our ears are still in shock. Typical conversations have been dismantled into nonsensical exchanges. For example:

“I’m going to the store, do we need any cheese?”

“Not sure why it matters but I brushed my teeth a few minutes ago!”

On the other hand, one of us will say something that is completely incomprehensible to the other. Solution: we get closer and face each other to watch lips move, then ask, “WHAT??”

Ah well. We very much enjoyed Moonage Daydream. We might go back to the IMAX some day, but we might also bring some ear protection. At least until I can call and ask for them to turn down the audio to avoid another Earschplittenloudenboomer.

This video has nothing to do with the film, but it’s quite an imaginative way to associate video with David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream.

Summertime Stab Candy

It’s almost the middle of September 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 cap raspberries, then the red and yellow (yellow?? Yes, there are yellow ones too…) raspberries, and then the blueberries, and then the blackberries.  Nearly all the berries are finished berrying by now, but there are a few blackberry stragglers left on our favorite walking trail.

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. Many times I’d find myself going on a hunt, in my protective berry pickin’ clothes: shorts and a tank top. I’d zero in on a marvelously loaded patch, and commence to getting all nicely scratched by blackberry vines.  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 of course I simply had to get just a few more handfuls before making a break for the car.

I was in heaven.

The next day, I was sitting with some friends and they asked me, “Holy Cow Ken!! What happened to your legs??”  I had to think a minute, then I remembered I was picking blackberries.  Might sound unbelievable but when I’m focused on getting Nature’s Candy, I really don’t notice the leg scratchings.  Well OK, sometimes I might yell “OUCH!!” during a berry picking excursion, but I continue on, oblivious to the status of my ouchy legs.

Berry picking just plain makes sense. You get outside, free and very healthy snacks go ploonk in your pickin’ bucket (in spite of those 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. Dad was always very intent on making jelly every time he heard there were ripe berries. 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 classic instead.  Here’s why you should consider planting onions in your garden!!

The Blender’s In The Oven, The Hummingbird Feeder’s In The Microwave

So there I was, using the Magic Bullet Blender Thing, making Cream of Half and Half Egg Soup for our poor hospice kitty cat, when I noticed that as I removed the blending doohickey all kinds of leakage was happening because I didn’t set the seal properly and Holy Cow what do I do with this now; the Soup is oozing out of the bottom of the blender motor thing so all the stuff seeped down into the motor machinery mishmash and how the heck-a-laney do I get that out but you know that’s quite enough of this run-on sentence that described a real event but is way too long and suffering from questionable punctuation.

I think.

What the hoodley-doo do you do with such a mess?? Anyhow?? Being the human I am, I thought to myself, “Self, I guess since the Soup went all the way through I should rinse it out, yes?” And my self answered, “Yes!” And I did. And the very hot water went from creamy pale white to clear. Then I noticed all the warnings on the side of the blender. In English. Numbered for your convenience. And of course the one (probably somewhat important) numbered item that I completely ignored was: “DO NOT IMMERSE IN WATER.” Well, technically I didn’t immerse the thing in water. I just flushed it out!!

After reading the “DO NOT IMMERSE…” instruction I began to wail loudly with hearty crying noises, which were followed immediately by my dropping to the floor, rolling about, and shouting, “OH GOD!! OH GOD!! WHAT HAVE I DONE?? WHAT DO I DO NOW??” Well OK maybe I didn’t really cry and roll on the floor. But I was of course a bit annoyed with myself by the whole thing. I’m pretty sure, though, that there are no electronics that would die from all this wibble-dee-boo. Not like you find in a smell phone for example. Therefore, I vigorously shook the blender thing to get as much water out as possible, then popped it in the oven at 1,750 degrees for 91 minutes.

NO!! Not really.

I found myself grateful that our ultra-precise (I hope a little precise…) electronic oven controller has the lowest temperature setting of 170 degrees. I placed the blender on the center rack without a baking sheet because I prefer a crispier crust. Oh wait, that’s pizza. But seriously folks, in the oven it went, and yes on the center rack. Turned the oven on and watched the preheat countdown until it was up to temperature. Then I turned the heat off and I’m hoping for the best. I’ll probably goose it with more heat before I hit the hay.

Speaking of hummingbirds… oh wait… who was speaking of hummingbirds?? Well we are now!! We love to feed them, and have a nice glass feeder made by Parasol. Here’s a picture for you… what is not shown is the little plastic container above the feeder. We keep water in there to prevent ants from getting into the feeder. Very effective!!

Also not shown is the raccoon who likes to pull the shepherd’s hook that’s mounted on the rail of the deck to bring the feeder down for its enjoyment. That’s because I’ve never gotten a picture of the rascal, I’ve just seen the feeder on the ground with one of the little red glass flower inserts broken. Fortunately, I was able to find replacement flowers; but needless to say I bring the feeder in when it gets dark now.

Remember that ant deterrent I mentioned earlier? Well it works great for the army of carpenter ants that patrol our grounds. We have several trees that are getting hollow but hanging on; and around our house trees don’t get cut down till they die. Carpenter ants, of course, love these dying trees to make their homes. But they are always on the prowl for food; and they often literally wait at our doorstep for a chance to sneak inside. Apparently, several of these little boogers were successful; because they like to crawl inside the hummingbird feeder when I set it on the counter for the night.

Because we are both tree hugging, Nature loving hippies, we have often caught any rogue ants and tossed them outside for another chance at life. However, after awhile this gets a bit old, so we ask Mother Nature for forgiveness and send them back to their maker (in other words, we squish them). I’ve made a sugar water trap for the ants; and that’s working pretty well. In the meantime, when the feeder is brought in, I stick it in the microwave to keep the ants out.

No cooking occurs.

Oh… gotta go check to see if the blender is done!!

Maybe I’ll ask Betty for some cooking tips…

Oh Well, And We’re All In This Together.

I remember the days of the Countdown Clock, a program I installed on my work computer about 2 years before my retirement date. My job in manufacturing IT support took me to all different areas of the factory. As I walked around the plant, those who knew me would ask, “What’s the countdown today?” “178 days,” I’d reply with a smile. “What are you gonna do with all that free time?? Won’t you get bored??” they’d inquire. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be OK,” I’d respond with a smile, “I’m just looking forward to doing what I want to do!” Well I’m a little over 2 years into this retirement gig; and I must say I really like it. And the best part is I get to do whatever I want!!

Ummm… no.

I had many grandiose ideas before retirement came. Maybe sell some of my writing. Maybe have a picture perfect vegetable garden… one that’s so nicely manicured it’s magazine cover worthy. Maybe get my amateur radio license back. Maybe travel and see the country. Maybe clean the garage. Maybe go through all my old (1930’s) radio stuff and sell some of it. Maybe… who knows?

I’m really glad I’m good at the maybe thing. Because you know what? I’ve learned that life gets in the way of plans. One of my favorite spiritual sayings is, “If you wanna make your Higher Power laugh, tell them you have plans.” Boy ain’t that the truth. OK, I did get my amateur radio license back. Now I just need to put up an antenna… Travel basically got thrown in the trash due to Covid. I’m not really interested in getting on an airplane, so any travel we’ll be doing will likely be by car. However, family stuff has kept us from really venturing very far, and that’s just fine.

Priorities change, circumstances change. I’m very grateful I’ve learned how to stay cool when things don’t go my way. Hasn’t been an overnight thing mind you. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I have been slammed with some rather interesting growth experiences over the years. Thankfully, we’ve embraced resources that have helped us react calmly to the challenges that people, places, and things put in front of us. We’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a bad feeling; but how we react to feelings makes all the difference in the world. Then there’s that Serenity Prayer, the “short form” of which is probably familiar to all of you.

God, grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

So yeah, that prayer and a regular review of my Gratitude List are among the tools that help me have peace of mind… most of the time. I’ve shortened the Serenity Prayer even further when life gets in the way of my garden work or whatever. I simply say, “Oh well.” Had a really high-class “problem” come up just recently that illustrates how things have changed for the better between my ears. And the example I’m about to relate also explains the “We’re All In This Together” part of this week’s title.

There I was, minding my own business, hoping to stain our deck. I bought a 5 gallon can of Armstrong & Clark stain (really good stuff), pressure washed all the crud off the deck, and did the 48 hour wait for the wood to dry. Then of course the rain comes. Have to wait another 48 hours. Then some family stuff came along. Can’t stain today. Next day, more rain. Then a dear friend got sick and died unexpectedly. Can’t stain today or the next day or the next. And yes, of course, more rain.

Oh well.

This past Thursday finally brought an opportunity to stain!! So I took the leaf blower to the deck to clean off the leaves and such, then proceeded to slosh some stain. I was very sad, however, to notice all the ants that did not get out of the way very well while I was running the roller. And yes, that really does touch my heart. I don’t roll on the ground and cry or anything, but I don’t like it. There was a Zoom meeting I needed to attend so I did that while staining. My friends didn’t mind; and with the miracle of electronics I was able to hear just fine and actually contribute. Toward the end of the meeting, I shared about my sadness at killing ants. “I’m giving them all a brown coat,” I joked. But I continued, “Believe it or not, I say a prayer whenever I kill something. We’re all in this together you know.”

And yes I really do send up a prayer when a creature’s life is abruptly shortened because of me. I firmly believe we really ARE all in this together, and our Creator’s creatures are ALL important. Don’t get me wrong, I swat mosquitoes and deer flies; but I do tell them I’m sorry. Then there have been times when I try to catch a spider who’s in the house and I accidentally squish the poor thing. I didn’t mean to hurt the spider… I tried to help it but this slipped and that slid and the spider got smooshed. I ask forgiveness and often follow it up with a small prayer.

Something like, “Oh well.”

Speaking of ants, I’m really glad I haven’t run into these guys!!

The 40th Annual Summer Mulch Run

Everybody ready for the 40th Annual Mulch Run?!?!? I’m pretty excited. Gonna get my refreshments (fill my water bottle), hop into the Toyota Sienna Racing Van, hook up the trailer, grab a seat, and GO!!!

And I always win.

Aaaahhhh summer time. The garden is exploding, and the weeds are doing really well. Seems like the seeds I actually planted just got going, and all the weeds I didn’t plant (not intentionally anyway) are growing so fast I can barely tell the beets from the purslane. Sure you can eat purslane, and I have. Pretty good in salads and even cooked in Chicken Cockamamie. But it volunteers itself all over the place along with lamb’s quarters and lots of other weedy greens; and if left unchecked the seeds I bought and spent so much time planting will be overrun.

Normal garden process at my house is:

1) Pull up the garden waste from last year in late fall or early spring. OK… usually early spring.

G) Till the garden as soon as the mud from the snow melt is dried a bit.

27) Let the ground dry a bit and also allow weeds to germinate.

*x) Till again, then

4L) Carefully plant the tomato, pepper, eggplant and marigold plants I adopted from the greenhouse; and finally

M#) Make the rows and beds and plant, plant, plant the seeds.

I’ve learned the hard way that if I mulch too soon, the slugs stampede (albeit very slowly) into the garden and chow down at night and hide under the mulch during the day. Not very funny.

So, I wait… then of course the weeds go nuts because hey, I have a life and can’t always get motivated to put my hiney in the garden after a day with friends or family.. That, of course, means I do “catch up” weeding and mulch as I go.

A few years ago, I used hay for mulch. Seemed to work pretty well but it was a bit expensive and I have this silly suspicion that many weed seeds from that year are STILL COMING UP. Straw works but it tends to rob nitrogen from the soil… not a good thing if you’re an old organic hippie like me who refuses to buy chemical fertilizer. Hay actually adds some nitrogen, but again, there’s that weed thing.

So it’s back to basics this year. For 40 years I’ve been gardening here… and have managed to turn sand into pretty nice soil. Primary reason: mulch runs. I had a truck for awhile but switched to a trailer many moons ago and that will probably be what I use until I can’t chew my milkweed anymore.

Or something.

For several years, I’d cruise around the ‘burbs and “steal” their bags of grass clippings and leaves right out from under the suburbanite’s noses. Most are very grateful I’m taking the stuff away from the curb. One year though, I had a strange encounter when I pulled up to a house that seemed to have the mother lode of leaves. A grumpy old man came out to his porch and barked at me,

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!?”

“I’m stealing your leaves,” I replied in an impish tone.

“WHAT’RE YOU GONNA DO WITH THEM??!!??”

“Well I’m gonna use them in my garden, which means I’ll be eating them eventually.”

“OH, alright…” he snorted. He lowered the volume on the last retort as I found my head spinning with ideas on how a person could get into mischief with stolen leaves.

“I’m sorry to alarm you,” I said in a more apologetic tone. “You want me to put them back?”

“No it’s OK,” he said as he went back inside.

Don’t look now, and I must apologize:  the 40th Annual Mulch Run has come and gone.  Numerous times!!  Sorry if you missed it, but there will be plenty more opportunities down the road if you’d care to join me.  In other words, I intend to go again because I’m an opportunist.  You see, I don’t need to cruise the neighborhoods anymore because lo and behold, the Dalton Township Transfer Station (a.k.a. The Dump) has many tons of leaves and grass clippings for the taking.  I bring my recyclables (and occasionally some trash) (because we try to recycle as much as we can so there’s usually not much trash) (oh and the veggie waste goes into the compost pile so…) (so… that’s way too much use of parentheses!!). 

One stop shopping!!

Much of what I collect is in the form of oak leaves, often mixed with other clippings.  There is a misconception among many that oak leaves are bad for the garden.  NOT SO!!  Contrary to popular belief, they do not make your garden soil acidic.  For one thing, earthworms love them and worm manure is alkaline.  The end result is really good soil.  And although gathering all this mulch involves a bit of manual labor with a pitchfork, believe it or don’t I actually find that rewarding.  I do a fair amount of manual labor in the forms of pitching mulch, digging in the garden, and stacking wood.  I tell my friends, “it’s my gym membership”.

I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings by not inviting you to enjoy a mulch run this year.  All is not lost, please feel free to contact me about Wednesdays or Saturdays and we’ll get together for a ride to the dump!  I will even provide some PRW (Pillon Road Water) and maybe even some snacks!!  Of course, you’re welcome to fill your pockets or other receptacles with just as much mulch as you can gather for your own garden.

In the meantime, please enjoy the outdoors!! But if it’s stormy outside, maybe Grampy can help you have an outing indoors…

Working With Controlled Substances

I’ve noticed that some every day items that are deemed harmless should probably be listed as dangerous if used incorrectly. Folks who know me well are aware that I have something of an addictive nature; and sometimes resisting certain substances can present a big challenge.

Mind you, I’m not talking about smoking alcoholic beverages, snorting LSD, or shooting up marijuana. There was a time in my life when I was “interested” in things along that line; but I became way too involved in altered states. Somewhere along the line I got help from The People Upstairs, so I no longer have any interest in having my mind bent artificially. Thankfully I haven’t had any intoxicants in my bloodstream for well over 33 years now (thank you God for Everything).

No, I’m talking about something much more insidious: I love to eat!! Well OK I guess most people at least like to eat. It’s kind of important, right? Yes!! But there are times when I like to eat too much. And there are other times when I like to eat “recreational foods.” Those are foods that are nutritious to some degree, pretty darned delicious, but basically on the naughty list if you want to stay healthy. I believe it’s OK to eat something recreational from time to time.  However, moderation is the key.  What follows is a short list of foods (or food venues)I like a little too much; and I joke to my friends (often seriously) that these should be considered controlled substances.

Pizza. Oh man I love that stuff. It should probably be added to the FDA food pyramid.  OK probably not!!   I love the stuff; and find it very difficult to resist.  We sometimes get it from Pizza Hut, which is OK I guess.  There’s a place up in Shelby, Michigan called The Pizza Factory which, in my professional opinion, makes some of the best pizza in West Michigan.   Sometimes we just cheat and get DiGiorno’s from the store.  My problem is:   I know deep down that if left alone I can eat almost a whole pizza.   Thankfully I have not done that… yet.  But if there are any leftovers sitting in the fridge, when midnight strikes I rise from bed and become Kenny The Pizza Vulture.  Truth be told:   I’m sorry… that stuff is addictive. Which brings another controlled substance to mind…

Potato Chips. Sheesh… do I really need to expound? I can eat a whole bag all by myself. We rarely buy them. Not a very cost effective food item, am I right?  Three dollars and change for a 10 ounce bag??  Holy Moly!!  That’s why my friend Rick gave such snacks the nickname of “flavored air”.

Peanut M&Ms. So what happened to those little like gumball machines like at the movies where you put in a quarter and if you wiggle wiggle wiggle the handle just right you get lots more than if you fling the little handle around quickly and if you’re really good at it you can get WAY more M&Ms with one, two, or maybe three quarters than you get if you spend a buck at the store??  Haven’t seen those in quite some time.  Probably a good thing.

All You Can Eat Buffets.  Not too many of these around anymore.  I’m talking about the ones for which you have to pay.  There have been times over the years where I’d hit the jackpot in the form of a wedding or some other catered event and I would pig out.  But the ones where I actually have to pay can be especially treacherous for me.  When I pay, I talk myself into thinking “I’m gonna get my money’s worth,” then I eat about 719 bazillion calories worth of goodies. I can never control myself at a stinkin’ all you can eat buffet.

I could probably list many more, but you get the idea. Fortunately, my Beautiful Girlfriend talked me out of my desire to go out for an ice cream this evening. We had watermelon instead.  Good thing too… I could stand to lose some flab. My best defense is to do something really weird:  eat fruit or maybe get some produce from the garden and some meat from the freezer and cook something healthy.  Actually have been doing more of that since I retired.  When I do that, I’m pretty successful at avoiding these “controlled substances.”

Sometimes.

Haven’t had a dream like this… but it may be only a matter of time.

How To Cure A Sinus Infection

Ever have a cold that just didn’t seem to go away? Well I once had one that started on October 13, 2125 at approximately 12:17 PM and lasted for a -9 years and 10 days. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration… but seriously folks, that “cold” stuck around way too long. My doze got stubbed up, add it stodded rudding, I coughed and coughed and coughed, and den I had to use up da whole box of tissues every hour; which became rather expensive.

The beautiful woman I live with shocked me after several days of this ordeal when she said, “Honey, your cold is lingering way too long. I think you have a sinus infection.” I’m not sure how she felt qualified to say such things. Just because she’s been a nurse for over 30 years and does in home care for people and knows a lot of stuff about healthcare doesn’t give her the right to make wild accusations about some lousy cold her husband might have.

Does it??

Being the enlightened man that I am, I decided to invent a number of methods that would be certain to bring any so-called “sinus infection” to its knees, so to speak. I thought I’d better pass these on to all of you because I’m sure you are interested in following my exact instructions.

Without any further ado, here are the methods, in order of magnitude.

1) Get an eighteen inch length of surgical tubing and shove it deeply into your nostril. Connect the other end to a faucet using an appropriate adapter. Turn on the water quickly, then off just as quickly. Be certain to turn the faucet completely on during this operation to apply maximum pressure. Repeat on the other nostril, then repeat the entire procedure at 3 hour intervals. This will flush out any germ infested mucus.

After 2 days, if symptoms persist:

R) Continue with the water flush, but after each flush use an ordinary toothbrush to clean each nostril. Be sure to remove any clingons from the bristles after each flushing operation. Discard the clingons in the usual manner: rub them on the underside of the sofa or flick them into an inconspicuous corner.

Still having difficulty? I see… try this:

9) Place a birthday candle inside each nostril. DO NOT LIGHT THE CANDLES!!! Whadda you, crazy??? Sheesh! Hold each candle between thumb and forefinger and apply inward pressure while twirling the candles back and forth. This will lubricate your nasal passages and allow clingons to be more easily removed in steps 1) and R)

Still hab a stubby doze?? OK, one more try:

@*) Request the assistance of a trusted friend or loved one. Hand them a ping pong paddle, have them stand behind you with the paddle held parallel to the back of your head. Have them be ready for “the signal.” Fill a glass with ginger ale and place two drinking straws in the glass. Insert a drinking straw into each nostril. Now you are ready to give “the signal,” at which time your helper should whack the back of your head with the paddle. This will cause an involuntary snorking of ginger ale deep into your sinuses; which will of course fizz out any congestive fluids.

I personally have not tried any of these methods, so once you’ve given them a whirl please report back to me as to their effectiveness.

So… remember that Beautiful Nurse Lady I mentioned earler? The one I’m married to? Well guess what she did?? She said, “Honey, you need to go to the doctor.” Now, we’ve been married for awhile and I’ve learned (too often the hard way) that all goes much better if I follow orders.

I went to the doctor. He said, “you have a sinus infection.” “Oh,” I replied. “What do I need to do?” “I’ll prescribe some antibiotic pills for you,” he answered.

I got the prescription filled for FREE at our local pharmacy!! Is that cool or what??

So I wondered, “what, do I just shove these up my nose???”

Could’ve been worse, Goofy got a bad one…

Another Silly Letter

Hello Marvelgrabbers,

May I be the first one to wish you!! Happy Friday, the world is still flat and all the flaming custard pies are of course!! Round as the day is long, and smothered in onions and dripping with gravy, the happy toast salesman changes his underwear more often than a bread flavored pair of zircon encrusted tweezers!! If any of the sentences in this paragraph are not complete!! Please use the localized amnesia to invigorate the invertebrates!! These superfluously punctuated exclamations not to be endured!!!!!

Now there may be a time when time is short, and at that time, please try either thyming or rhyming, depending on the length of your very own noodle fasteners. There may be hours of whistling ahead of each and every one of us. Just pucker your lips and kiss the lightning bugs before they turn left at that silly USB port over there. I don’t care if they insist upon recharging their hineys!! Don’t they know that bio-luminescence is fortified by part of this delicious breakfast??

Huck. Hucka Hucka! Apply Hucka Hucka fastener jelly each and every midnight on the bread and Holy Cow eat the darned thing before the dogs catch a sniff. I’m sure you all know what happens when sniff fasteners change lanes during a staple storm. In order to avoid the obvious need for renting electric staple removers, I wrongly suggest not using electric stables in the first place. After all, electric stay bulls will merely insight a rye out when Victor, the Prize Bull of Lockawanna County takes a whiz on that electric eel you so cleverly dressed as a butter sniffing clown.

Now I must go. Please don’t ask me to explain any of this. I merely had too many burrito molecules lodged in my sandals during the last 14 episodes of “Melvin The Mailman Makes Marinades.” As I’m sure none of you are aware, this week’s episode finds Melvin licking telephone poles and other small animals in search of that elusive Marinade Holy Moly. I’m sure once he discovers the incorrect ingredients, a very unsatisfactory Mystery Marinade will make even the sleepiest Great Blue Heron stand proudly in the swamp. Then, when his guests sample the finished product, there will be intestinal volcano in epic contortions. All will be delighted to induce vomiting during commercials.

In conclusion my friends, please remember that it’s always better to be you than for you to be me, and although you can count to it, eight is a word.

Please pass the gravy,

Kibble G. Wibnerdort

a.k.a. “Freebert Firesauce”

And now for some audiovisual amusement:

Hungry? Will That Be Sand Or Sawdust?

Mom always said, “you gotta eat a peck of dirt before you die.” That profound statement was usually preceded by a piece of partially eaten fruit jumping out of our hands and landing on the ground. God bless Mom, because she did the best she could to feed us on a tight budget. So the “peck of dirt” message really meant: 1) pick it up, we’ll wash it off, and 2) you ain’t gettin’ no more fruit till that’s gone.

Little did I know how true this “peck of dirt” idiom really was. For example: there I was walking through the grocery store, minding my own business, when suddenly I reached for the grated Parmesan cheese.  This was back in the day when we bought the shaky stuff in the plastic containers… a habit from how we were raised I guess. But foolish me, I had to read the label. Again. I’m always reading the stupid labels. I’m sorry, but I want to know what’s going into my mouth. At least, most of the time I want to know… sometimes I completely ignore the label when I reach for junk food. Anyhow, I noticed the Parmesan cheese ingredients include “powdered cellulose added to prevent caking.” And I’m thinking to myself, “hey self, isn’t cellulose like, wood??” So then I get home, and decide to look up “cellulose.” Well, it’s the material that makes up the cell walls of plants… and the dictionary goes on to say that it’s the raw material for many manufactured goods like paper. Oh… that’s nice. I remember reading about how paper is made. I’ve also seen many a logging truck pull into the chipping yard at the paper mill. So basically I was right when I was having that discussion with myself. They chop up wood to get that cellulose stuff for making paper.

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out: a) paper is made of cellulose, ok? 12) they chop up wood to make paper, right?? so therefore G19) the powdered cellulose in the Parmesan cheese is powdered wood. SAWDUST. Those boogers are putting sawdust in my Parmesan cheese! Mom never said anything about how many pecks of sawdust we had to eat before we die. But just for the heck of it, I looked at a different brand of Parmesan cheese. This one had a much fancier “anti-caking agent,” which they called “microcrystalline silica aluminate.” In other words, sand. Little teensy, tiny grains of sand! In the cheese! Dirt!! Mom was right!!!

What the heck has happened to our food?? Anyhow?? These companies take perfectly good food and pollute it with rocks and sticks. If I really want to eat sand or sawdust, all I have to do is go outside by the firewood pile and lick the ground. We have sandy soil, and I’m sure there are wood particles to be had, so there you go. Might even get some bugs, which of course provide protein and various minerals. But I’d really rather not, thank you. But this food pollution is really pervasive throughout just about everything you find in the stores these days. So long story longer, we don’t by that kind of Parmesan cheese no any more. The one with the wood in it. Nope, we’re high class these days and buy those fancy schmancy wedges of Parmesan from the Meijer Grocery Store House.

On top of all this, it seems like there are “foods” being invented just about every day. Take “turkey ham” for example. What the heck is that supposed to be? Where I come from, ham comes from pigs. Yes? No?? You don’t hear people going around offering you any “pork drumsticks” do you? Or how about “pig wings??” No, that sounds pretty silly. But wait!! Some local restaurant was advertising hog wings!!  And then there are “Buffalo wings” which are really chicken wings, but that’s because it’s a style of cooking that originated in Buffalo. Sheesh. A few years ago, some jive nurkeyhead came up with a “food” called “turkey bacon.” Sorry folks, no such thing. Look up “bacon” in the dictionary once. Mine says, “a side of a pig cured and smoked.” No turkey or other such fowl meat is mentioned.

I guess with all the health consciousness and low fat everything, turkey seems to be synonymous with all things nutritious. Well, have you ever taken a gander at the label on a package of turkey bacon? Chemical soup. I’ll eat the fat and take my chances, thank you very much. But if this silly trend continues unchecked, I can see an awful change in the language of dining coming down the pike. Something like this maybe:

“Hi Frank!! Hey glad you made it to the barbecue! What’ll you have??”

“Dunno… everything smells great. Whatchya got??”

“Well, we got tofu dogs, turkey pork chops, and imitation seafood protein conglomerate salad… OH! And I knew you’d probably be coming so I set aside some nice chicken filet mignon for you!!”

“MMMMmmmm!!! Well geez Ken, you’ve outdone yourself. Don’t mean to disappoint you, but I had chicken mignon last night at our company party. But that imitation seafood protein conglomerate salad sounds pretty inviting. Does it have any of that yellow #5 in it?”

“Nope! Not a drop of artificial coloring. Just good old modified soy proteins and hydrolyzed vegetable amino acids.”

“No yellow #5?? You’re absolutely sure?”

“Yep. I’m sure as I’m standin’ here.”

“Oh… bummer. Well, thanks… umm… guess I’ll go with the old style stuff and have one of those turkey pork chops. Could you please make mine… oh I dunno… I’ll be brave and go medium rare. Just a hint of neon green inside.”

“No problem dude. One medium rare turkey chop comin’ up!”

Doesn’t that sound yummy? I’m drooling all over the keyboard here. NOT!!  As far as the chemicals in food goes, I carefully read the labels these days.  If there’s anything naughty in the food it doesn’t come home with us.  Most of the time…

Pass the sticks and rocks please. Anybody seen the bottle of yellow??

And now for something exactly the same but completely different…

Amazing Food-o-synthesis(?)

OK, so there I was, outside planting my garden, enjoying the tingly sensation of mosquitoes sucking my blood and gnats chewing off the top layers of my flesh, and most everything that needed to be planted is growing nicely, but HOLY COW July is half gone awreddy and I shoulda got some peas in the ground and maybe some turnips but then I looked in the planting chart in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and it’s OK, it’s OK, it’s gonna be OK; unless of course I continue with this run-on sentence and then it’s maybe not gonna be so OK.

OK?

OK.

So yes, it’s gratifying to have most of my stuff in the ground. Now, those who know me understand that my mind is often wandering into strange territories. So today my mind was fizzing with ideas and I poofed out some “scientific” revelations that, if successful, will revolutionize gardening forever more. The “science” goes thusly:

A- Although I’ve transplanted tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings, much of what I plant are seeds (or in the case of potatoes, tubers).

9 – The seeds I plant are often the part of the plant that actually gets eaten during harvest. This goes for potatoes, too, in that although a “seed potato” is planted, one could actually eat it. However, you wouldn’t get any harvest if you ate all the seeds (ha, ha ha).

R) You can plant carrot tops and they will spout leaves and start growing again.  You can also replant celery, but of course you would plant the bottoms.

Therefore and to wit, my scientific infusion shall be proclaimed thusly: one should be able to plant other parts of other things we eat and grow more of them.

Try to keep an open mind here.  If we can regrow foods like celery and carrots, why couldn’t we expand that practice to just about any other food?  So my theory, which of course has to be true because it’s posted here on the interwebs, is that if we plant other food items we should be able to increase our original amount of food things via food-o-synthesis.

One example which seems like a good place to start is Meijer rotisserie chicken. Boy howdy I like that stuff. I’ll start by planting a couple this weekend some time. As with potatoes, the whole chicken would need to be in the ground. I can hardly wait to see what sprouts from this. Other ventures may involve a stick or two of butter, perhaps a block of cheese, and maybe a couple fresh fish.

I’ve also theorized that perhaps non-food objects like a could be planted. For these I’d use the “cuttings” method that is so often a popular way to grow various plants. Some things I’d like to try are: spark plugs (to grow a new engine for my rototiller), radio knobs (should grow a stereo I’m hoping) or perhaps a piece of glass or two for a new type of “cultivated windows.” The possibilities are only limited by the imagination, in my professional opinion. I mentioned these to my friends and was greeted with wide eyed smiles and joyful giggling. I can just tell they are excited for me!!

This weekend, I’ll be planting eggs, bananas, and a vanilla milkshake alongside a few metric socket wrenches and a couple rechargeable flashlights. I’ll let you know at a later date what my success rate is. In the meantime, I hope I don’t have the type of garden problems Mickey Mouse had.