Another Day Older

My belly button and I celebrated another birthday today. I think the rest of my body got older also… Don’t worry, everything still works. In fact, things may even be improving somewhat… at least in some respects. Life is pretty darn good. However, since I’ve been an official member of the AARP for awhile now, I’d like to share a few observations I’ve made about this “getting older” business:

Some down sides:

1) The hair in my ears, nose, and eyebrows grows better than the hair on my head. I figure if I lose too much more of my mop, I’ll just let all the other stuff grow out and comb it over. Anyone for styled eyebrows??

Q) My body stores fat more readily than ever before. I’m beginning to believe that all I really have to do is LOOK at food and I will gain ten pounds. Unless, of course, I’m looking at celery or carrots; they don’t fatten me. But it seems to take 430 days of drinking 34 glasses of water a day and eating nothing but bunny food to effect the loss of 1/2 pound or so. Unless I exercise. If I run 27 miles before I have breakfast, I might be able to lose another 0.001 pound.

9) I am older than many of the people I know and love! This has never happened to me before. They don’t seem to mind, though. Folks just humor me when I reminisce about when the Beatles came over on the Mayflower and stuff like that. “Remember the race riots in ’67? Oh, you weren’t born yet? Ok, you, shut up and go away. Wait… you gonna eat that Twinkie??”

F) The “good old days” consisted of obsolete technology. I’m not talking IBM 8088 computers or “new” calculators that would actually do a square root and only cost $60; either. I’m talking Univac, a huge computer built with vacuum tubes, and watching my favorite TV programs in glorious Black and White, because that’s all there was. Radios and TV sets all had tubes in them, and you had to wait 30 seconds for them to warm up before getting anything. Oh, and not to forget record players. Man, I’m getting ancient here!

But believe it or don’t, there really are some positive things about this aging business:

A) I don’t have the emotional roller coaster I used to ride around on all the time. Man, growing up was the pits!! Well, OK, not all the time. There was quite a bit of fun along the way. However, don’t know about you folks, but this boy sure spent way too much time weeping and gnashing his teeth. These days, I try to be grateful and count my blessings instead of whining and numbering all my troubles. Works most of the time. And I have more patience than I’ve ever had…

Take driving, for example. Used to be a daily thing for me to get totally ticked off at idiot drivers. Someone would cut me off, right? So I’d get an adrenaline rush, and catch up to them to yell something like this: “Hey Chicken Lips! Examine my angry red face while I display one of my more memorable fingers to your eye things! You have no brain! I question your ancestral heritage! I believe you are a bark eater!” All the while, my skin would be crawling with adrenaline goose bumps, and that funny metallic taste would linger in the back of my mouth. I didn’t really like the feeling, but it took quite awhile for me to put it all into perspective. Nowadays, if a stinky-face driving person does me some dirt, I mutter something like, “oh thank you, Flavorhead. See you in the obituaries.” They never get to see me lose my temper, and with any luck, I never see them again, anyway. This is probably a good thing, because you just never know who might have a bazooka or something lying next to their driver’s seat.

12) I still chase my wife, and better yet, she still lets me catch her. And it’s better than ever! Except for that one time she wanted to invite that camel over for pizza and fake wine (maybe that was a dream).

C5) In spite of the fact that we’ve had some health challenges, we are grateful and content most of the time. It’s not difficult for us to understand how blessed we are… there is always some poor soul who is much worse off then we are.

Perhaps the biggest bonus I’ve acquired along the path of this journey we call life is peace of mind. I’ve learned (albeit sometimes the hard way) to use a few coping skills that have helped me mellow out quite a bit. Like my reaction to change, for example. I’m not really fond of Dennis Miller’s brand of humor, but he said a pretty neat thing awhile ago: “Life is like riding the bus. It requires change.” Lots of stuff changing at home. And in the news?? Forget about it awreddy!! Stuff that used to make my brain explode now simply seems like an annoying little fly to be swatted out of my face. What’s that expression…? Don’t sweat the petty things. Or is that don’t pet the sweaty things?? You know, those two rules for stress management: 1) don’t sweat the small stuff, and 2) everything is small stuff.

It reminds me of a poem… maybe because I made it up:

Das Bizzyvink
by Me, the Person

The stress tried to kill me, but right now it’s gone.
I mowed all the garbage and dumped out the lawn.
I tried driving backwards, ’twas a new way to say,
“Hey all of you ninnies, get out of my way!”
When stress is a color, it’s probably red.
It burns up my innards and blushes my head.
It’s really much better to chill out, don’t you see,
So there’s not too much STRESS and too little of ME.
Ya shoor, in my head there arose such a clatter,
From stressing about things that really don’t matter.
But these days I’m much better, if you don’t mind my saying.
More fun I am having, more games I am playing.
Well, I’m hoping to take stuff less seriously now.
I’ve been here before, so I think I know how.
I’ll try to stay happy and whistle while working.
More “Happy Joy Joy,” and less “You are a Jerk”-ing.

Hey, even though I’m retired, there is still much work to be done. Well, this is me leaving now. Hope all of you had a nice time on my belly button’s birthday. And my friend Hyram C. Glimore has often said, “Please remember that it’s better to be you than for you to be me, and that although you can count to 8, “eight” is a word.”

One benefit to being older than dirt is I got to enjoy lots of funny, talented people from way back when. So hey, how about some funny stuff?? OK thank you.

Fore Pot Hominy

English is a subject many of us loved to hate while we were in school. Rightly so, I guess, because it’s awfully complex, what with all the rules and everything. But perhaps the toughest thing is when you try to explain English to someone who didn’t grow up speaking it.

One problem for our brethren and cistern of other lands is that English has too many words that sound the same but mean completely different things (homonyms). On the other hand, you have five fingers. You also have the words that don’t sound anything alike, but mean the same thing (synonyms). Consequently, even those who grew up with English as a first language can have a pretty horrible time at first.

Maybe I’m a sicko, but I actually enjoyed English as a kid. It just seemed to flow naturally for me. But so does fun, and early in life I often turned to scholars like the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges; and came to rely heavily on silly humor as a coping mechanism. Professors Groucho and Curly, among others, taught me to mangle the use of my native tongue for comic relief.

Some of my favorite fun is the destruction of sentences using various perversions of synonyms and homonyms. Sew, without any further a dew, hear comes the thyme during witch I’ll use words in a weigh that, hope fully, will give yew awl a chuckle oar to. Oar knot! Eye don’t no four shore. Of coarse, Eye may use sum “poetic lye sense” and get in two sum reel bad word mangling, just two make this moor fun. When Eye get in two a mood of this type, I yam knot very predict a bull. Eye simply type watt comes two my mind. And at thymes, my mind can bee a berry strange plays in deed.

Take the title, four instance. Pleas, jest take it away from hear! It contains words that are not reel homonyms of “Four Part Harmony.” But hay, Eye simply dew knot care. Eye thought it sounded funny, sew that’s wye Eye poot it their. Nor dew Eye care that “poot” is knot in the diction aerie (although diction and aerie both are). Eye, four won, no perfectly well that “poot” is slang for the release of intestinal gas. Sew, Eye gist through that in four the halibut.

Won sad fact, though, is their are two many folks who right this way awl the thyme, and think it’s nor mull. If there skills are egg stream lee bad, we cat a gore eyes them as “funk shun Ellie ill litter it.” They dew knot no how two right a reel scent tense. There reeding skills may all sew bee very pour. Knot awl of this is there fault, of coarse, butt it is the sad truth nun the less.

Oh Kay. Watt if wee found too people, driving threw town and talk king, and won was “funk shun Ellie ill litter it” and the udder new grandma pretty well, and was their four “litter it?” Wee mite here sum thing of this nay chore:

———————————————————————–

“Hay, Clem! Let’s go two the Ma Jest Stick Thee Ate Err two knight. Eye here their will bee fore fellows singing, each inn a different cord! With know instruments, neither!! Eye guess you call that type of singing, `archipelago,’ write??”

“No, Stewart, that’s definitely NOT `archipelago,’ it’s called `acapella.’ But hey, it sounds like a great idea. And by the way, when there are four singers like that, it’s called a quartet, you realize. I’m thinking they’re probably barber shop.”

“Oh Kay, Mr. Music Smarty Pants Person! Butt hay now, you don’t have to insult me! Four wye you call me `reel eyes??’ Pretty stupid name calling their. Anyhow, I’m really lookin’ foreword two that fore pot hominy. And yes, I am fully a wear that a bobber sharp quartet is a cinnamon four `fore pot hominy,’ Mr. Turnip Nose! There! How dew you like being called names?? Stop with the insults, already!”

“I think you mean synonym, although it isn’t really. And that’s four part harmony. Pretty sure you meant harmony. But hey, I don’t want to pick nits. And I didn’t call you `reel eyes,’ I said, `realize.’ Chill out, man!”

“Yore tellin’ ME to chill OUT?? I don’t half to take this! I mean, their you go again! Are you listenin’ two yourself hear? Eye SAID cinnamon! And Eye also said hominy! And if there’s any pit nicking gonna be done, I’ll do it myself, thank you very much. I was nicking pits before you was born!! And there you go callin’ me names again! What the heck’s the deal with this `reel eyes’ business? Anyhow??”

“Oh brother. Sorry. We’re obviously not communicating. But hey, let’s check out the quartet. What time? Eight?”

“Ate?? Heck know, I’m starved! Haven’t had thyme four dinner yet! Pick me up around 7:45. And watch out fur that `DEW KNOT ENTER’ sign! Oar don’t you understand traffic cymbals?? You ego statistical creep-headed octopus!”

———————————————————————–

Well, may bee such a talk wooden happen. Butt as yew kin sea, I like two play with hominy and cinnamon!

Here are two of my favorite artists who mastered the misuse of English:

Retirement – No Longer In Danger Of Capillary Kaboom

Once Upon A Time, I Used Capital Letters With No Regard For Proper Nouns. That’s Because If I Want To Mix It Up, I ShaLL, and NoBody CaN StoP Me; NoT EveN The GRAMMAR PATROL. So I plunk about on my merry Way, now too Lazy to Capitalize Every stinking word, because I am in control of the keyboard, and not you nor any other dust sniffing, flexible, purple and lavender Irish TV sales representative (who of course would find it very amusing indeed to spill bean soup into your brand new sock drawer) can prevent this run-on sentence; because what have we here now sure looks like a large chocolate bar with almonds which just happens to be my favorite kind, especially when I shave with it during all those silly bread movies that never arrive in a theater near you.

Blimp raisins.

None of this reminds me of the time when I was still working, and I had to have a physical exam because it was required by the LOI (Laws Of Insurance). It went like this…

The doctor told me, “Your blood pressure should not be this high… it’s 738 over 485 you know. And your pulse is 276. If you don’t stop trying to inflate your nostrils by blowing so hard, you could lose your navel from capillary kaboom!!” She also warned me that maybe my job might be causing me too much stress. I said, “Nah, I really don’t mind working in the noodle toss machine. It’s good money, and once in awhile they let me catch a noodle or two. Otherwise, I have to twirl around and allow the semi-soft noodles to coat my shirt and make a noodle coat, the likes of which you’ve never chewed. It’s very crinkly and barky bazoo. ”

Thank God I’m retired now. My likelihood of capillary kaboom is much less, and I also enjoy cookies whenever the chance arises.

However, I do remember the stern warning my doctor gave me. I listened to her coarse, scratchy voice as carefully as a dog who lost its railroad ties during the Great Flambonian Snowstorm of 1873. “But you only have your health once,” she said, grimacing. “You and your wife have skills… you can take them almost anywhere. You don’t necessarily want stress to the point where your eyeballs decide migrate to Albania.” I remember suggesting that perhaps I could sell homemade sinks, or even patent my long lost invention I call The Nostrilator. The Nostrilator removes unwanted booger residue with a small fixture connected to an ordinary garden hose. Oh, and I also reminded her that my Beautiful Girlfriend (a.k.a. my Lovely Wife) is an accomplished maker of finely crafted toothpick animals. People come from miles around to see her life sized models of Brontosaurus Rex and Tyrannosaurus Antler Cabbage. Sometimes she even peeled the noodles off me when I had a tough day at the noodle factory and did wonders in the art of noodleskins. She placed the noodles strategically and sporadically while remorsefully reminding me of the loss of Kronok, our favorite phone charger. All this of course generated income we never saw and shall never see again, because we never saw it in the first place.

As I was basking in the glory of my Beautiful Honey Pie’s Animanoodles, the doctor resumed the exam, which started with that stupid skin shovel. Oooohhh I do hate that thing!!! She runs from one side of the room and clobbers me with the shovel to get her samples. Fortunately it’s only a few millimeters wide… but nearly 7 feet long! She has a small wheelbarrow off to the side with little slots to keep other patients’ skin samples separate from mine. Finally she takes a large whisk and twirls them all about, carefully but indiscriminately mixing all the different samples. Whoever has the strongest DNA will enjoy an exquisite coating of aged cheddar cheese on the back of their neck.

I stinkily remember that for nearly 7 weeks following the exam, I was called Mr. Cheese Neck by our doctor’s staff… a title I proudly boasted to my friends in the Noodle Tossers Fraternity Of Lower Puffington. They were all truly fascinated by the snorking noise one makes when adorned with Cheese Neck Holy Moly.

Some of you who may actually have read this far may snicker at my propensity for verbicide. Well, I already knew what propensity meant, but never heard of verbicide until the day after yesterday. I guess one could say I have verbicidal tendencies. Or even worse, one could say I have vertical tentacles!!! Have you seen those things??!! They stick up out of my head bone!! It’s very embarrassing when I try to go through a low doorway and my tentacles try to hang on to the wall places!! They do help me keep my hat on during a stiff breeze, though.

I sure hope there are more cookies.

How about a cartoon now? OK? OK!!

Absolutely No Complaints

Quite a journey, all this life stuff. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I are in the midst of a giant “learning experience” right now. Our “golden years” have been tarnished a bit with some pretty intimidating health stuff. When we first discovered our challenge, my Lovely Bride would occasionally lament, “This is not what I thought retirement would be all about!!” The end appears to be closer… and one can’t help but ponder about what comes next, ya know? And can’t help but wonder what tomorrow will bring. Makes the phrase, “One Day At A Time” much more meaningful.

Sheesh, we’re working on one moment at a time.

But you know what? In spite of all our travails, we have absolutely no problems in this world. Seirously!! After that brief spewing of sadness, one might say, “Ya right!! Doesn’t sound like it Kenny boy!!” Well, even though we were in the throes of despair, with a little help from our friends (oh, and especially those God People) (whoever they are) we’ve been able to come out the other side with much gratitude and peace. Took some work to get there, but we’ve acquired some coping tools along the way of this marvelous journey we call Life. Believe it or don’t, we are content most of the time.

For me in particular, this wasn’t always so. Not by a long shot. In the Before Times, I would run for intoxicants and poison my surroundings with angry utterances and breaking of things. I’m very VERY grateful that those times are long gone. Had to look inward and work on some serious behavior changes. Wasn’t easy, but it surely has been worth it. And the lessons are by no means complete. To quote a line from my favorite Scrooge movie, “I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know I don’t know anything!!” I’ve learned to be especially grateful that no matter what the universe plops in front of me, I’m always keenly aware that we are very fortunate people.

We have plenty to eat, a nice home, a car that works well. And I’m so doggoned lucky because I’m blessed with the love of The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe. We’re blessed with the love of our children and grandchildren. We’re blessed with the love of friends, and yes, even the love of two kitty cats. And there are many more examples I could name.

So much awful stuff in this world when I watch the news. So many people suffering. So many have it much worse than we do. So many more that will suffer if we can’t find a way to end war. Not to mention global warming (I told you not to mention that!!). So much. So you see, I have no problems. I have absolutely no reason to complain. But because I’m human; I probably will from time to time. I hope you will forgive me when I whine.

As a dear friend of mine used to say, “You want a little cheese with that whine??”

No… Thank You.

No News Is (Sometimes) Good News

Once Upon A Time, there was so much information floating around on the TV and Radio (remember Radio?) and the Newspapers (remember Newspapers?) and the interwebs that when I tried to absorb all of it, I began to turn very pale and then I began to exhale stinky puffs of sauerkraut flavored nasty air because the amount of reported nasty news far outgrew any reports of good news; so I began to shake wildly and flail my hands about as if I were being shocked by 123,874 electric eels and perhaps you can tell that maybe all this news had some effect on me so maybe I better put a period at the end of this ridiculously huge sentence and come up for air awreddy.

~* Whew!! *~ That was fluffy!! And not in a good way.

Yes, Girls and Boys, there is simply not enough good news being flashed in front of our 3.4 millisecond attention spans any more. Now I know there’s good stuff happening out there, because I see it all the time. And thankfully I live in an area where the really bad news isn’t happening. By that I mean nobody is lobbing mortar shells in anyone’s homes; and by and large folks have enough to eat… stuff like that there.

My professional opinion is: 1) yes, we all should stay informed; but R) it’s probably good to at least occasionally unplug from all the news outlets for awhile. One could argue against such a flatulent (or would that be mucilaginous?) tactic, citing they’d miss stories like the Florida woman who married a 100 year old tree to try to save it from being removed to make way for development. Or maybe one wouldn’t hear about the time an18 year old who bought her very first lottery ticket on her birthday and won $1000 for life.

OK so maybe you might miss out on that stuff. But I’m thinking that what may be missing in our Technical Universe is contact with Nature. Nature is big you know. From microscopic critters all the way up to elephants… then our solar system, stars, planets, galaxies… well you know. Nature. Stuff you can see, hear, smell, and taste. And no, I’m not asking anyone to go around sniffing elephants or trying to hear what an earthworm is saying. I’m just imparting what I have found to be true: some of my most peaceful moments come when I have no devices anywhere near me.

I love to listen to the waves of Lake Michigan crashing into light poles as they whiz down the freeway. I love staring at the moon while lying on an ant hill… and when the ants come to visit, I often shake wildly with delight until they are gone. I love watching animals and birds while they have squirt gun fights during marshmallow eating contests. And of course I enjoy visiting with friends; and when they pull out their smellphones in the middle of a conversation, I casually blow my nose very loudly without the use of a tissue and then give them a nice pat on the back.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also very aware that technology can bring joy to a person’s life. I’ve been a retired techno-nerd for a little over 3 years now; and I admit I do derive some funzies out of watching cat videos and bopping around on the BookFace to see what my friends are doing. I also have an ancient artifact in my living room called a Stereo (remember stereo?) that I use to kick out the jams (remember “Kick Out The Jams” ? ) from time to time. You know what they say: “Music makes the toenails pop!!” Or maybe I just say that.

Anyhoo, I’m working on not reading so much news on the radio and listening to fewer newspapers. Sometimes I can smell the news on the TV and I run backwards to get away; but then I clunk the wall and all the knick-knacks fall down and I burp German words before fainting. I do tune in occasionally to see what Donald Rump and King Jon Loon are doing, but then I barf and decide maybe I should give it a rest for a couple milliseconds. This manic media monstrosity mishmash can make my head bone crackle; then the brain fluids leak out, that that in turn causes my writing to disintegrate into magnetic lag bolt compost droppings.

No news can indeed be good news.

Please pass the marshmallows.

Of course, in the future, technology will take care of EVERYTHING. We’ll see it at the World’s Fair!

My Squishy Bribble Hampers

A friend of ours once said, “Getting older is not for cowards.” Ain’t that the truth?? Our senior years are presenting us with challenges that our younger selves would never have imagined. Believe me, I am exceptionally grateful for the blessings I have received. And in spite of everything going on (and in spit of everything else), my Beautiful Girlfriend and I often take time to remind ourselves how fortunate we are.

But sometimes the stress gets to me and I try to use toenail clippers for a shovel. Stress, therefore and to wit (and also nitwit), stimulates a coping mechanism that flows out of my mind and into the keyboard. Yes my friends, I write nonsensical things as one of many tools for relieving stress. But those who really know me are very aware of that awreddy.

Lately the ham radio thing has brought a much needed relief from the intergalactic stress molecules that seem to have invaded our happy home universe. Ham radio has been a hobby of mine for many years; and I much prefer it to something like bacon television or salami CDs.

Stress is climbing in the window and steaming my watermelons. You know how it goes, you just get home from a long day at the soap regulator and you find out the dryer is broken. Then you get to eat all the dust inside in the effort to bring the dead motor out so you can replace it. This is a very happy time for a keyboard monkey, and when the cardboard is creamy enough you can smear light bulbs on the speaker sneakers. Now if you look carefully at the previous sentences, you of course will deduce that I have no problem dealing with stress. Why is my left nostril twitching, you ask? Why do I convulse while smiling? Why do I try to remember what day the lumber salad is due to arrive?? These are questions only a qualified sinus sturgeon may be able to distribute.

I am also grateful I can be of help to friends with technical matters. They all know I’m a Retired IT Geek Electronics Weirdo (RITGEW), and I try to assist when called upon. Although I would never scream epitaphs at my friends, sometimes I just want to shrug them off with a rant just exactly like this one:

I am really busy these days weeks months, so I will get to you as quickly as my foot things will let me travel. If that is not acceptable, please feel free to smell my toe jam molecules. I cannot help the fact that your smellphone provider wants you to enjoy asparagus ice cream. While you struggle with the all the computer happiness you are able to ingest, I will practice licking my eyebrows while I color all the walls a pleasant shade of cobble hobby maroo. Now please excuse me, I have to send e-mail to all the nice birdies in the tree over there. They are taking me to lunch today, and I don’t want anyone to try to impede my laundry design activities. Clothes are people too, you know!!

No, that would be both mean and naughty. I love my friends and family and I would never intentionally hurt their feelings in that way. I mean hey, how can they possibly know that my sock drawer is full of dust lanterns so thick you can hear them wiggling from 3/10 of a mile away? Am I right? So I refuse to be a Meany Moper Man. If I get overwhelmed (or perhaps just whelmed), I’ll politely ask them what the atomic mass of sofa sauce is and walk backwards while smiling as I head to my car.

As you can see, I’m coping really well. Never mind the fact that I can smell strange colors and my ears can see flying pine trees in the pencil sharpener. Did you know I’ve learned to use magazines for socks? Are you aware that nail polish makes excellent pudding?? From this day forward, I will try to greet everyone I see with great conflagration, and then wonder why they are staring at me with such flatulent potato modules. Breadsticks are in the bathroom and nobody can tell me why. I desperately need to get something from somewhere and find out just what the heck it really is.

As I said, I’m grateful to The Great Spirit for all the gifts with which I and my family have been blessed. But there are times when self care is necessary, and that can come in the form of chocolate and other nutritious snack food oscillations. No centipedes were harmed during the marking of this phlegm. I will continue to be as helpful as I can, especially at home, and iridescently with friends. I will endeavor to keep my chin up, regardless of the likelihood of sniffing spider webs that suddenly appear when my chin-upedness is pointing my eyeballs at the sky. I will seek out only the very best squishy bribble hampers to protect my tail lights while square dancing.

I will make some of the very best soup you’ve ever put in your wallet!!

May I have my dessert now?

Oh, and by the way, 7 x 13 = 28. OK??

The Origins Of Foods

We live in a very rich culture. This is illustrated by the number of different foods from which we may choose. Of course, our huge number of choices has also blurred the definition of food. Some of the things we eat are a far cry from the types of things Grandma and Grampa grew on the farm.  What has really happened, unfortunately, is this: the definition of food has been transformed from that which we eat for survival and health, to anything that we can eat without dying. Some “foods” we consume these days are interesting, to say the least. The origin of these interesting foods is at best mysterious, so this manuscript attempts to unfold some of these mysteries.

One example is Jell-O brand gelatin( I’m obeying the trademark laws by writing it that way). Interesting stuff, Jell-O is. Where does it come from?? Of course, it comes from mines. Deep in the caverns of the Earth, “jellite,” the raw material from which all dessert gelatins are made, is found in huge deposits in naturally cooled ice boxes.  Jellite miners are a happy lot, as they are constantly smiling and even laughing aloud because of the strange physics involved in harvesting the stuff from natural deposits. Imagine if you will a large mass of wiggly gelatin acting as if it’s trying to jump off your shovel!

Years ago, miners would eagerly look forward to lunch time, when they could indulge in a sport named “jellite jumping.”  Miners would find a tall jellite cart and dive off into the deposits, sometimes falling into the bouncy goop, and sometimes bouncing right off. Big fun. Food quality standards and health laws, however, brought a quick demise to “jellite jumping,” especially after the renowned case of Groznyk vs. Jellymines, Inc.; in which Frubert Groznyk sued the jellite mining company after finding shoelaces in his dessert.

Moving on, another interesting food item is corn flakes.  Corn flakes are, of course, corn dandruff. Specially selected corn plants are given shampoos far too frequently, and when the scalp dries to excess, corn flakes fall to the shoulders of the plant. Corn Flake Collectors (CFCs) are specially trained individuals who know exactly when the flakes will fall, and are ready with broom corn brushes to wisk the flakes into brand name containers. National cereal chains spend large amounts on their dandruff containers, sometimes even including reading material on the back. But flakes are flakes, so consumers can save a bundle by purchasing off-brand corn dandruff.

Chitlins are considered “soul food” by some folks.  Well, that’s a bit strange to me. We have two chitlins, a boy and a girl, and I don’t see myself going hungry enough to eat either of them. Unless of course they try to move back home. Not really! They’d be way too tough, anyhow. I’ve heard of folks eating anchovies on pizza and other dumb things, but eating my chitlins would be even Dahmer. Just never you mind about eating chitlins. OK?

Hot dogs have been an American staple for many years.  They have a very bad reputation, and are given pet names like “mystery meat,” or the ironically affectionate term, “tube steak.” The ingredients used to make hot dogs is a closely guarded secret, although it is said that any part of a meat animal that can’t be used otherwise is found in hot dogs.  Lips, noses, earlobes, and worse have been speculated as possible ingredients. Hot dogs also contain large collections of preservatives and flavor enhancing chemicals that have been linked to various digestive disorders, and may also affect the central nervous system.

 At this point, I must digress a bit to refute these claims. My mother served us hot dogs often when we were kids. They were used instead of more expensive meats as a main course. Hot dogs, macaroni & cheese, and spinach.  A simply magical meal that covered the three main food groups inexpensively.  In fact, I’ve carried this tradition on to my family, and we just had a nice Hot Dog Surprise Casserole for dinner. Neither I, my family, nor my siblings have ever had any digestive problems; and our central nervous systems are completely intact with the rare exception of vivid hallucinations and strange speaking patterns (oh wait, maybe that’s just me…).

Anyway, as far as central nervous system problems, aside from the occa#i0n9l typ1n6 error$, my brain and nervdes are fine, JUST FINE, OK?? Nice hot dog… come sit down here and we’ll watch TV. I’ll play you a song on my Oscar Meyer Wiener Whistle!! Say hello to Mr. Broccoli. Die Mr. Broccoli!! Die!! You better run!  I throw your face in the macaroni and cheese!! Ha ha ha ha… nice Mr. Broccoli.  Please pass me some more Hot Surprise Dogfood… Thanks!  So, now you all know how food mysteries prevent broccoli from removing sodium gronkulate deposites in jellite pig holders. Until next time, keep smiling at the candy wrappers, and be sure to invite me over when you folks have dot hogs. Or even florn cakes! Jellite for dessert, please; hold the shoelaces.  

Whoa! It’s after eleven o’clock! Do you know where your chitlins are??

So this week’s video has NOTHING to do with the origins of foods… but it’s interesting in a weird sort of way.

Holy Password!! My Crap Is Too Weak!!

A fun time was had when we were kids by blocking a doorway, and only allowing a person to enter if they knew the password. Of course, the password often didn’t exist until someone actually wanted to go through the door; but that was half the fun of it. Passwords often arose on movies and TV, and there was even a TV game show called Password. As the game began, two contestants would face each other and one would try to get the other to guess the password. In preparation, the TV audience would get advance notice when a voice (unheard by the contestants) would softly say something like, “The password is hummingbird.”

Fast forward to the present, with things like online banking and social media, all of which require passwords. How many of us have been hacked on BookFace due to some sleazebag guessing our password? As much as I hate to admit it, I have fallen victim to a hacker on FacePage and had to come up with an “unhackable” password. I exclaimed to myself, “Holy Password!! My crap is weak!!” And of course nobody likes to pass weak crapwords.Well this past week I’ve been examining my other online passwords and found a couple websites that have free password strength testers. I’m a retired IT guy, so much to my dismay, several of my passwords were terrible in strength.

“The password is rutabaga.” (No not really, I was just having a silly memory of the Password game.)

There are several password checking sites out there… for example:

Bitwarden – https://bitwarden.com/password-strength/

PasswordMonster – https://www.passwordmonster.com/

So let’s use what might seem like a strong password, and have bitwarden check it for us. How about Sniffme01! Hey, it’s longer than 7 characters, has numbers and a “special character,” the exclamation point. Bitwarden says the strength is good, but the time to crack it is only 2 days!! I checked the same with PasswordMonster and they said it could be cracked in 3 hours. So obviously, all password checkers are not created equal.

OK, let’s try something longer… how about: YouReallySmellBad!!

Yep, that one is considered strong, and Bitwarden says the time to crack is 64 years, but PasswordMonster says 2 days!! I think I’m trusting PasswordMonster a little better than Bitwarden at this point. So being the lazy person I am, meaning I don’t wanna change my stinkin’ password every two days, I wanted to come up with something that took a really long time to crack. So I got a bit more creative with something like this: Wh@t_K1nd0fJ3rkWants2B_a_H@ckrr?? Yes!! Bitwarden says that one won’t get hacked for centuries, and PasswordMonster says a computer would take 106 billion trillion years to crack that one. And they even give your password a review. For that one, they said, “Fantastic, using that password makes you as secure as Fort Knox “

So the moral of the story is: don’t use common dictionary words for passwords. Be creative and mix up some numbers and special characters. And of course, keep track of them somewhere safe. I keep my passwords in a spreadsheet on my computer, That way I can copy and paste them into various sites without having to memorize all of them. And of course I do not use the same password at lots of different websites. That’s “bad juju” as a friend of mine used to say.

OK kids… password strength class is over. And now for something completely different.

My 2024 Resolutions? Give Thanks And Be Happy About It!!

Hope all of you had a splendid Christmas, or whatever you may celebrate during this time of year. I say that because, of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Reminds me of a nice conversation I had a few years ago with a very good friend of mine who happens to be a Muslim. We were together during one of those Holiday Dinners our employer set up for us each year. I was fortunate to be able to sit next to him, which was great because he lives in Canada; and although we talked on the phone regularly we rarely saw each other live and in color.

“Does Santa come to your house?” I asked whimsically.

He chuckled and said, “I’ll be getting a few gifts while I’m here.”

Hey, last I checked, Santa was nondenominational! I’m grateful for the tolerance I was given when I was very young. My parents were very adamant that we treat people of all colors and creeds with respect. This attitude later brought me into contact with a beautiful, like-minded young woman when each of us were the ripe old age of 17. She allowed me to marry her two years later!! As we look back on our 50 years of wedded bliss, we find ourselves grateful that we raised “colorblind” kids who are keenly aware that we have absolutely no right to judge a person based on what color their skin is, who they choose to love, or how (or whether) they pray.

We’re grateful for a lot of things, and believe it or not we verbalize it pretty much every day. Sometimes we say it mockingly by uttering, “we are spoiled Americans.” But it’s true you know. Most of the time we’ll say “we are so fortunate,” or “thank you God for everything.” I dare say that anyone who is reading this is also spoiled to some degree. God bless those who are suffering from poverty, hunger, war, etc. Our family has been pretty much insulated from all these. We are blessed.

So here comes 2024, for cryin’ out loud!! Where did the time go?? Over the past few weeks my beautiful girlfriend and I have been reminiscing about days past…

“Honey, do you realize that this Christmas is our 50th?” I mentioned recently. “Oh my!!” she replied. “Well, you know what frogs say… time’s fun when you’re having flies!!” I quipped. And fly it does; and the older we get the faster it seems to zip along. That’s why we’re both trying to make as many pleasant memories as we can these days. Negativity often plagued in our early years… that’s just not the case with us anymore. In spite of some rather significant health challenges, negativity rarely rears its ugly head now. And I can’t remember the last time we pissed each other off!! We pretty much literally grew up together; and we’ve learned that negativity is rather poisonous for the spirit.

We don’t like poison.

Do we get sad sometimes? Maybe even annoyed? Of course!! But we do our best not to wallow in the muck. Compared to oh so many, we are immeasurably blessed. However, it also takes conscious effort to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,” as the old song goes. As we stumble along on this journey we call life; we try to replace negative thoughts with positive or at least neutral ones. We try to seek out activities that feed the spirit. We go to therapy. And we have a host of like-minded friends whom we can contact for support. All these tools give us a better chance or connecting to The Great Spirit and receiving some peace; and sometimes we even get some guidance!

So I think that’s my New Years’ resolution for 2024. For several years, I’ve stuck to the same resolution: “Try to do better.” I’ll still keep that in the mix, but I really want to ring in the new year (and subsequent new years) on a positive note. I need to do my best to keep the negative nasties out of my head. Negativity is painful, and I don’t like pain. As the famous philosopher, Henny Youngman said, “I went to the doctor, (lifts up his arm) and I said, ‘Doctor, it hurts when I do this!!’ So the doctor says, ‘Don’t do that!!’” I love using that as a funny analogy, but It really has become that simple for me. When my serenity alarm goes off, I try to quickly figure out what’s wrong and do my best to moderate my reaction so I can stay on an even keel. Didn’t happen over night, believe me.

If I can succeed at all this mood management; I’m pretty sure I’ll really have a Happy New Year. Well pretty much anyway. Friends and family who know the health challenges we face often ask us, “How are you doing?” I usually respond tersely with “Doing OK.” Lately I’ve been adding, “Well let’s put it this way: most of the time we are content.” And we are.

My hope for all of you is that you are at least as blessed as we are. And May Our Creators (whoever they may be) bless all of you, and please; have a Happy New Year.

I’m sure gonna try.

Speaking of Henny Youngman…

Scared The Dickens Out Of Me!!

Way back in 1843, Charles Dickens’ first edition of A Christmas Carol was published. Since then, numerous theatrical and film adaptations of the book have appeared over the centuries. My personal favorite is the movie “Scrooge,” from 1951 which starred Alistair Sim.

We watched it on TV when we were very young. According to Wikipedia, it was released in the US as “A Christmas Carol” and first aired on TV over WOR TV in New York City in 1954. We lived on Long Island and channel 9 (WOR) came in quite well, so we were treated to all sorts of entertainment ranging from live shows of the day to silent movies of the 1920s.

I’m not sure when I first watched the 1951 version of “Scrooge,” but I know I was very young.  I was born in 1954, but I’m guessing I missed the TV debut of the movie that year. However I’m certain I was much younger than 12, which is when our family moved from Noo Yawk to da great Nort Woods of Wisconsin don’tcha know.   The point of all this rambling is not to fill all of you in on our journey from the ‘burbs to the boonies, but rather a remembrance of the scariest rendition of Marley’s ghost in the universe. At least, that’s my professional opinion. Even in the original glorious black and white, this scene gave me goose bumps. Still does!

Back then, I got the message alright… Scrooge was a completely selfish jerk and got a chance to reform.   But the really important part of it all didn’t really hit me until much later in life. These days I cry like a baby when he wakes up on Christmas morning and experiences intense joy for what appears to be the first time in his life.   It hits pretty close to home; I spent way too much time in life devoted to selfish things… nearly lost my family as a result. I was also plagued by what I call “Mr. Know It All disease.” I was pretty confident that I was very smart, and would be very happy to tell you all about it whether you wanted me to or not.

Fortunately I received a “gift of desperation,” through which I acquired a willingness to take a look in the mirror. It was not at all easy but definitely necessary. These days I cling to Scrooge’s confession that “I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know I don’t know anything!!” I try to remember that the more I learn, the less I know; and I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut when others speak their minds. The changes I’ve been fortunate to have made have paid off handsomely; but the payoff has been spiritual rather than material. We have a very good life and are happy most of the time. So this time of year is a time of reflection, friendship, family, and gratitude.

So yes, when I watch my DVD of “Scrooge” from 1951, along with almost any other holiday classic, I often find myself crying like a baby at the “gooshy” parts.   And I’m still clinging to the belief that, in my professional opinion, this version of the Dickens classic holds the scariest performance of Marley’s ghost in the universe.

Click the link below to see for yourself!
https://www.youtube.com/embed/hW78zcIdCG0?si=tyWHU7XD_CZVZp9c