Cashes To Ashes

When we were quite young, my Beautiful Girlfriend and I were plucked from suburban lifestyles and thrown into the Northern Wisconsin Dingleweeds. Strangely enough, both of us ended up in the same small town called Rhinelander; which slapped each of us in the brainplace with some heavy duty culture shock. However, we met and then fell in love in that quaint little town. And if we make it to August, our marriage will have lasted a miraculous 45 years.

Pretty sure we’ll make it. Not sure how I lucked out, but somehow the Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe became my best friend. And then she let me marry her!!

Besides our relationship, a marvelous benefit arose from small town life: we both acquired a deep fondness of Nature and natural living. And no, by natural living I don’t mean residing in the bush with stone tools and strange, handcrafted clothing. I’m talking about farm life. Our huge (well, maybe not so huge) plot of 5 acres has given our children and us much joy and lots of delicious homegrown veggies over the years. A couple of creeks traverse the property; which provide an amazing playground for kids of all ages, and of course a unique environment for all types of living things. We very much enjoy seeing and hearing all the creatures with whom we share our small chunk of Paradise.

Another part of country living of which we’ve grown rather fond is the bone-warming feeling of wood heat. At first, burning wood was an economic necessity. Our home was built in 1940, and no thought was given toward any insulation at all. Consequently, the Oil Guzzling Furnace Monster in the basement was sucking money right out of our wallets. Thankfully, the chimney was originally built to withstand the burning of coal; so it was ideal for burning wood.

When we were kids, my brother and I were total wood slaves. Dad loved his fire, and we cut, chopped, stacked, and toted many tons of firewood to keep it going. Believe it or not, I actually began to enjoy all this manual labor. It was a great way for a frustrated teen to blow off steam without being destructive. Kept me pretty fit too. And little did I know that all those wood slave skills would one day ease the economic burden of keeping an old, uninsulated house warm.

Since I work full time, I buy most of our wood. Hauling it from outside to inside still helps me stay fit, and believe it or not, I’m still pretty OK with being a wood slave. We’ve greatly improved both the the wood burning appliances over the years and have remedied much of the insulation woes. This place is pretty darn cozy, even when it’s well below zero outside. The Oil Guzzling Furnace Monster has been replace with a high efficiency natural gas furnace; and it might actually be cheaper to heat with gas. But we are hooked on the wood because it warms the body much better.

When you’re a firewood customer; you run into some very interesting folks who cut wood for profit. To be honest, I’m not sure how they can make a profit after putting in all the work of cutting, hauling, and then delivering it to me for $180 a cord. We go through about 6 cords a year; so we have to find someone who works with large quantities of firewood. We’ll look through the newspaper, or maybe on Craig’s List, and give them a try with a cord or two. If we like what we see, we buy more. Always with cash… they gotta have cash. And who could blame them? However, we’ve learned that if a firewood guy says he’s coming on Saturday at 4 PM, that means he’ll probably be there on Saturday… but who knows what time. “Oh, I was on a different run so I thought I’d come early” one might say while we’re eating breakfast. Or perhaps they don’t show until 9:30 PM. And some of the trucks these guys own look like they’ve been in a demolition derby. Regardless of all that, I’ve never met a firewood guy I didn’t like.

Our current firewood folks are real weirdos. They wear clean clothes. They show up on time. They have a truck that’s older but it’s obvious they keep it in very good shape. They have all their teeth. They’re really, REALLY nice. And they have very nice wood.

We got pretty low, so I ordered 2 cords the other day. Most of it will still be with us in the fall. I went to the drive up ATM the other night to get the cash. Dunno about you, but this country boy don’t see $360 in $20 bills very often. Kinda dazzled me I guess. Anyway, the following morning I stopped at the gas station to get an orange juice; and I noticed my debit card was missing. Went back inside, but nobody found my card there. Started retracing my steps… Family Farm & Home. Called them. Nope, no debit card. Then I called Family Financial Credit Union where the ATM is. “Yes, it was shredded,” said the nice lady; and then she explained, “if you forget your card in the slot, it’s automatically shredded.” “Good!!” I said. Not because I was happy my card was destroyed, but I was relieved that it wasn’t lying about somewhere.

Oh well. As the old saying goes, “cashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Or something.

Medical Transformations

The medical profession is a wondrous field with many modern marvels; but at our house we’ve had some big changes slap us in the face lately. For example, I had my very first stress test. The whole idea scared me to pieces for some reason. Maybe I was afraid of a bad result; but one thing’s for sure, I feel a run-on sentence approaching.

So there I was, minding my own business, huffing and puffing on the treadmill, really eager for my very first ever stress to be done, being completely frightened by the radioactive isotope they injected into my body for imaging, and I’m thinking yes OK Doc you can please tell me to stop now, holy moly I’m starting to get a bit winded here… no big deal but you can turn this stupid thing off any time now, and enough with the slanting of the treadmill awreddy, and yes I’m fine, we can be finished now, OK wow thank you for ending the test because I was lusting for my clobber hand to whomp the big red button that they never told me what it was for but it seemed rather obvious it was the EMERGENCY STOP; but I didn’t clobber it because I wanted to go through the whole test; and when I asked how I did they said, “you’ll find out later, go lay down in the imaging machine thing.”

So I did.

You see, after many years of an upper chest pain that seems to come and go with stress; my doctor finally decided I should have an EKG. She was a bit concerned about the waveform, so she sent me off for a stress test. About a week afterward, I received an e-mail that “the first part of the test was within the normal range.” Then I asked about the second (imaging) part, and they basically said, “we’ll tell you someday when we feel like it.”

I’m guessing this is an unspoken, extra stress part of the test?

Anyway, tried to get an appointment to have my physical exam; which needed to be done before the end of March to comply with the Blue (I don’t) Care Network (a cheapskate version of Blue Cross Blue Shield) requirements. The doctor was booked solid so I settled for a Physician’s Assistant. Now it’s been many years since I’ve seen a male doctor. I dunno, I just prefer females in that profession. However, this guy was very thorough.

For example, he had me do the “pole jumping maneuver;” during which I had to balance a fishing pole on my chin while jumping on one foot. Some kind of coordination test I suppose. Then there was the blindfolded “taste this and tell test,” which involves sardines, Tabasco, Swiss cheese, broccoli, and maple syrup. Why those all needed to be mixed together I’ll never know… but I think I have a great idea for a new sandwich. Lastly he had me bark loudly into an empty metal waste basket. That was my favorite part.

Well OK, maybe none of that really happened.

Seriously though, he was a great guy and really went the extra mile with me. Don’t tell my doctor but I think I’d rather have him give me an exam next time. Of course, I pestered him about the final results of the stress test, and he said, “let’s pull it up and see. Hmm… you aced it. You aced it.” So these chest pains are part muscular, part psychological. Nothing life threatening.

Very nice news indeed.

The second really big, pretty ocky and unexpected medical change thing came in the form of my Beautiful Girlfriend’s job. Unfortunately, the wonderful man she’s been taking care of for 33 years was informed that his insurance company would no longer pay for LPN care. Mind you, he is regarded by us as more of a family member than My Honey’s client. Sadly, his doctor made a huge goof on some paperwork; giving the insurance company the shark bait they’ve probably been wanting for years. In their infinite wisdom, the insurance scoundrels made the determination that our friend needed only the help of nurse aides; not full-fledged nurses. When My Sweet Honey Pie called her nursing agency, they informed her that she could continue to work for our dear friend; but for nurse aide wages. In other words, she’d lose almost half her pay.

Ummm… she said no. Well OK, she said lots of other things for which she called back and apologized. But hey, that’s just plain unacceptable and she stood her ground.

There’s an old saying that “when God shuts a door He opens a window.” But after devoting 33 years to care for a person and the door closes abruptly, it makes very big ouchies in the heart. Very sad business. Our friend got his doctor to send the corrections to the insurance company, but only time will tell whether this will get corrected. In the meantime things are a bit different at our house (and I’m sure at our friend’s house too). I’ve also mentioned that insurance (and many other) companies treat their employees like the mob treats its members. Case in point: if the mob puts a hit out on your brother; it’s nothing personal, just business.

Might be that the window those God People are opening is in the form of Social Security. Weird to be able to say it, but it’s actually good that we’re both old enough to start receiving benefits now. I’ve told her not to worry, but to grieve all this and make whatever decision she feels is right. I’m being as supportive as I can.

However, I think I’m changing my mind about something I mentioned earlier. Don’t think I’m gonna go for that sardines / Tabasco / Swiss cheese / broccoli / maple syrup sandwich after all.

When The Cat’s Away, The Mouse Will… PARTY!!

I hope none of you are feeling sorry for me… my Beautiful Girlfriend (who let me marry her some years ago) has left me all alone for the weekend. She went to a women’s spiritual retreat for the weekend. Not sure exactly what they all do there, but of course my mind can make up some “rituals” that they likely “never actually do;” but I’m already dreaming up some “cockamamie silliness” and “using quotation marks” for “no good reason.”

For example, I’m thinking they’re doing “trust exercises.” One such exercise may (or may not) involve the Blindfolded Egg Toss. One person is blindfolded, and “trusts” the other person to toss them an egg. Nah… that could get rather messy. Perhaps a more likely (or not) trust exercise could be something like “Oatmeal Surprise,” which again involves a blindfold. The blindfolded person is instructed to hold out their palms, and as soon as something is felt on one palm or the other, the blindfolded person must clap the two palms together briskly. Oatmeal flies zoom kerblooey all over the place!!


Maybe they just talk and listen to speakers and help each other with life stuff… heck, I dunno.

Anyhow, being the red blooded, Spoiled American male that I am, I’ve decided to take full advantage of a raucous weekend with no adult supervision. Ooohhh yeahhh… this boy’s been PARTYIN’ already!! What did I do? Oh.. well, I went to the GROCERY STORE!! Yess!! And I bought my Beautiful Girlfriend some more miniature daffodils! Oh, and I got her a brand new obsolete DVD player so she could watch movies on her older, more obsolete, little tiny CRT color TV that also has a built in VHS player!! And yes this was in the same store (Meijer) where all the groceries are!!

And that’s not all!! Here comes the party part: I spent some money on myself in the form of pizza makin’s and one of those German chocolate bars with 7 million hazelnuts per square inch!! Well, lots of hazelnuts anyway… Ooohh!! I also got me a bag of Pure Michigan (very locally made) La Fiesta tortilla chips to munch on while making pizza!! Thought about buying a pizza but nobody can make it as well as I can (homemade is still best). Took some time but it was well worth it.

Then I poured myself some sparkling (non-alcoholic) pear juice into a very fancy glass to wash it all down. My Beautiful Girlfriend found two fancy drinking glasses at an antique store. Anyone remember when Welch’s put jelly in glass jars that became drinking glasses when all the jelly was gone? They had dinosaurs and Tom & Jerry cartoon characters on them. Very fancy indeed.

Just to illustrate how naughty I am… I actually ate 3 PIECES OF PIZZA!! And I might accidentally have more in the middle of the night!! And then, I might even drink some more sparkling pear juice right out of the bottle!! AND I might even watch some old movies from the 1930s in glorious black and white!!

Then tomorrow I get to take a load or two of garbage to the dump (yay!!). Oh and I’ll probably stack some firewood too… maybe clean up the vines and such in the garden to get ready for spring.

Am I partying or what??

Next time I may just go to Crazy Town!!.

64 Laps Of Joy (Well, most of the time…)

OK, more like 99.999% of the time. You see, yesterday I celebrated my 64th lap around the sun. In other words, I’m getting pretty close to becoming an old fart. As I just mentioned, 99.999% of the time I have been blessed with joy. Well OK, I’ve just been blessed, period. That’s not to say that I’ve had absolutely no sorrow or sadness. Don’t know how anyone can go this far on the road of Earth life without some icky stuff. But the blessings are real, the joy is very real, and those icky life things have nowhere near the power over my psyche they once enjoyed.

Life is very good these days. Sure, my wife and I still bicker at times; but those little roller coaster rides are very brief and always end up with us remaining best friends. She even lets me snuggle, and get this: I get to smooch her!! We even have silly conversations that make us both laugh with great bigness:

Me: “Honey, will you please tell the firewood downstairs to bring itself up to the wood stove?? I don’t feel like going in the basement right now. They need to start coming up on their own.”

Her: “Ummm… no… they know you are just going to toss them into the fiery furnace!!”

Me: “Oh! FINE!! They can just stay down in the basement… and I will call them really nasty names and stuff!!”

Her: “Well, who’s gonna be our friends???”

Don’t try to make any sense out of that. It was just an actual silly exchange we had the other day that gave both of us a good belly laugh.

Then today I composed a very silly instant message and sent it to many of my friends via good ol’ copy-and-paste:

I can’t seem to decide on the best type of arm pits to use. Peach? Plum? Avocado?? Any suggestions??

I got several nice replies, all of which gave me wonderful smilings. Hopefully my friends got a smile or two also. I confess I’m not always sure what this aging stuff is supposed to mean really. I feel great, I can do pretty much everything I could do when I was much younger, although sometimes it takes a bit longer and other times it hurts. But when I pass a mirror there’s some old geezer gawking at me like I’m the Hunchback of Notre Dame or something. When that happens, I stop and look the old fart straight in the eye; and say with a threatening sneer, “alright old man, what did you do with the body??”

But of course, it’s just me; a child in old man’s clothing.

I even went for my very first stress test after seeing our new doctor about some chest pain I’ve been plagued with for lots of years. Never have an difficulty while exerting myself; but it’s often given me pause about what might be happening. Our previous doctor heard about it too… but she after carefully checking me over she was convinced that my heart was not going to implode. I saw our new doctor about it very shortly after a friend of ours died suddenly of a heart attack. After an EKG, our new doctor saw an anomaly on one of the waveforms and she thought I’d better get a stress test. I went, I tested, and I figured I must have passed because nobody freaked out or sent me to emergency surgery or anything.

Although I thought I had an inkling, I knew pretty much nothing about the procedure of this test. Turns out the hospital staff isn’t allowed to tell you diddly-squat about the results. You get to wait for a few days. OK, so I got a message from the patient portal thingy that “the first portion of the test was within the normal range.”

That’s nice…

Then I replied to the message and asked, “so the second portion is the imaging?”

“Yes that’s correct,” was the reply.

So then I sent another message asking when the results of the imaging portion would be known. Mind you, this is 4 days after my deductible for the test increased my credit card debt to the tune of $670. Seems like I should be able to get results in a timely matter, right?? Well, the reply I got was, “the results have to be finalized and signed and we will let you know when that is complete.”

I found that to be a rather stress-inducing answer.

Breathe… let it go… breathe… (sheesh!!) Hey, looks like I’m writing so I guess I ain’t dead yet.

Well I must be doing something right, I got a very nice compliment from the Nice Restaurant Lady when our Beautiful Friend treated my Beautiful Girlfriend and me to dinner last night. The Nice (older) (as in older than me) (I think) (OK enough with the parentheses) Restaurant Lady said, “it’s your birthday?? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! How old are you? No!! Let me guess… 50??

I told her, “we can be friends!!”

For this week’s video I did a search on the YouTubes for some cartoons about aging, but found out about this lady. She made me laugh…

1 Year, 11 Months, 6 Days

I was wondering if I’ve ever mentioned that I’m really eager to retire. Yes? No? Well if you say no, then I must whisper loudly into your ears: I AM REALLY EAGER TO RETIRE.

Some have said, “Ken! For why you are don’t already retired being?? How long must you endure this work ouch when you could be playing checkers with English Eskimos Looking Snappy (E.E.L.S.)? Or perhaps you could relish an excursion to places like the booming metropolis of Enterprise, Wisconsin; with all its delights and exotic population density? Do you not understand that life is a bowl of deep fried ice chips waiting for you to savor the taste of rest and relaxation??”

Yes, each of them said it exactly that way.

To all who have urged me to retire yesterday or the day before, I must painfully remind you all that if I could have saved more money instead of doing silly things like cashing in a pension from a previous job and paying off debt and buying a car, or if I had maybe not withdrawn moneys from my 401K to pay off our mortgage and all other debt, or if I had just plain saved much more money in the before times rather than singing the blues about my small amount of retirement savings, or perhaps maybe making a run-on sentence that is becoming way too long, well then I suppose I could be retired NOW; (whew, I thought there’d never be a place for a semicolon) but I’m not, because as this run-on sentence reaches epic proportions, it would be economically stinky for me to retire earlier than the ripe old age of 66.

So I won’t.

But I sure do wanna.

Especially after having a fun day like today.

You see, I do computer support for a factory, OK? And sometimes these computers, well, they begin to do really stupid things that cause me to barf on the ground. Fortunately I wear safety shoes, so when the barf explodes into red, fiery puke flavored vomit nodules that scatter everywhere as I’m turning the air blue with my annoyance filled utterances, my toes are safe and warm in a stinky sock but barf free environment.

Yes my friends, I said bad words today while working on computers. A “fix” that should have taken minutes turned into hours; and all the while my hair was vibrating both vertically and horizontally as my frustration with all things technical manifested itself as large fluffy (but prickly) steel wool creepily crawling demons that entered my nostrils and filled my brain with caustic stress annoyance surprises.

Some of the things I may (or may not) have said are:

I am totally sick up and fed with these skunk cabbage eating electronic pus buckets.”

And: “I believe these devices lick the posterior areas of dead jellyfish.”

And not to forget: “These computers are total pig sniffing, possum smooching, booger eating bark biters with little or no respect for composted root beer, much less a poor IT flunky like me.”

Oh, and I really must proclaim now that Microsoft will never be invited to my house for dinner; and Windows 10 can please feel free to go jump into an active volcano directly after I toss slimy gobs of ant manure into its tangled, rotten, dead snake labyrinth of smelly old (yet supposedly new) bits and bytes. You see, Windows 10 is really just Windows 7 with a fancy new look; coupled with all the tools and doodads Windows 7 had but hidden in all kinds of weird places so IT flunkies like me have a heck of a time finding them (at least in the beginning). To use an automotive analogy, what used to be easily fixed by looking under the hood is now hiding under the virtual windshield wiper motor that is only visible if you shake your legs vigorously while operating a cotton candy making machine that doubles as a very annoying audio amplifier with “It’s A Small World After All” loudly looping into your brain.

Or something.

So yes, I am very much looking forward to my retirement; which will commence in 1 year, 11 months, and 6 days.

But who’s counting??

Well for stress relief, there’s nothing quite like the Marx Brothers. At least, that’s my professional opinion…

Happy Valentine’s Day To My Best Friend

With the coming of Valentine’s Day this Wednesday, I can’t help but reflect on the love I have been so fortunate to enjoy. This year brings a couple pretty big milestones for my Beautiful Girlfriend and me: a) the 46th anniversary of our first official date, and 9) 2018 also brings our 45th year of being hitched. What does that have to do with Valentine’s Day?


It’s like this you see: I became very VERY good friends with a lovely young lady when we were both 17. Then she officially became my Beautiful Girlfriend when we embarked on our first official date: May 19, 1972. Fortunately for me, she allowed me to marry her after we were completely mature enough (ya, right) to handle it at the ripe old age of 19. In spite of much adversity and weeping and gnashing of teeth, we showed up all the naysayers (well, OK, my Dad) and our marriage survived the storm. Actually, once we learned how to grow up a bit, our marriage has truly flourished over the past 28 years.

We got two beautiful children out of the deal. In spite of a few bumps in the road for each of us (at one time or another), we all love each other to pieces and are happy most of the time. We have magnificent relationships with our offspring… I know this may sound crazy but I think they actually even like us!! We are very grateful for it.

What can I say? I’m a complete mush ball; and I’m old school. I open doors for my Lovely Lady. And I’m one of those weirdos who believe marriage is for life. Yes, I know there are exceptions; but some couples give up way too easily. It takes some effort to live harmoniously with a person. Fortunately for us, after all the marital ups and downs; we’ve gotten pretty darn good at treating each other as if we were best friends (because we are).

Is this too mooshy for you? Well if so, too darn bad. It is my professional opinion that with all the garbage you hear on the news, we need to focus on what’s GOOD in our lives. So I’m doing that right now.

That being said, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I’d like to share some of the things I have said to my Amazing Lovely Girlfriend over the years. We love to laugh, so some of the things we’ve proclaimed over the years may cause the innocent bystander to wonder a bit. Do not be afraid… we are NOT crazy. If you don’t believe us just ask us some time… Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve said (and continue to say) to my Honey Pie on a pretty regular basis:

“I love you, how to say I don’t know what. I love you like a squirrel loves a nut.”
(My Lovely Bride’s reply to this: “I love you like the ice cream on the mountain top.”)

“Thank you for being my friend and letting me kiss you.”

“You are a beautiful young woman.”

“Did I tell you today I’m in love with you??”

“Come here and make with the kissing.”

“Your curves have always been just fine for me!!” (That one was awhile back when she announced she’d be starting a membership at Curves.)

“Thank you for making dinner!”

“Give to me the hug…”

Well you get the idea. But seriously folks, I really do say these things. And I really do compliment my Sweet Wife regularly on how beautiful she is. My professional opinion is that all women are beautiful, but none will ever be as beautiful as my Lovely Girlfriend / Honey Pie / Wife Person Lady.

It is simply not possible.

Therefore I hereby proclaim this to be the epitome of truth: 1) My Amazing Wife is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE, and R) all the other women in the universe are the second most beautiful.

So there.

Now… regarding compliments and such: I’d also like to make up a few other things I haven’t said yet. And guys (or even girls), feel free to steal these if the spirit moves you:

“Your lips are like redwood trees sleeping in a volcano.”

“You have such beautiful eyes… they remind me of a velvet traffic light.”

“I bet you can’t wait to kiss me to see what I just had for lunch!”

“What color would you like your mashed potatoes to be tonight?”

“Please allow me to honor you with the Electric Mixer Dance!”
(That would just be dancing around with an electric mixer in my hand.)
(Plugged in of course.)
(Running on HIGH.)

OK, maybe I won’t really say those things.

However, I have been known to sing to her; and here are some of my favorite singing songings:

Somebody’s Rich And It Ain’t Me

My Beautiful Girlfriend has a Bucket List that waxes and wanes as the years pass. We love going to concerts; for example. I have my list of “wanna-sees” and she has hers. Both of us like James Taylor, but I was content with the fact that we had some of his music on CDs and even vinyl. However, our last splurge was The Who, and whenever we leave from a fantastic show (and oh my, The Who was a fantastic show) we talk about all the artists we’ve seen. Of course, what immediately follows is an enumeration of the artists we haven’t seen yet.

James Taylor was recently added to my Lovely Honey Pie’s Bucket List. When the opportunity to get tickets arose; I signed up for the presale. Then the moment of truth arrived and I stationed myself at the computer and tried and tried and tried some more to get tickets. After some perseverance, I was able to get two very nicely placed seats for a reasonable price.

The latest addition to the Bucket List was a very different story. The radio and TV started buzzing about with ads for an upcoming “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour by Sir Elton John. Lots of news broadcasts got in on the act as well, since it’s been touted as his very last tour ever. Several famous artists have had several last tours; but Sir Elton isn’t getting any younger and he is rightfully interested in being a Dad to his young kids before it’s too late.

Anyway, I tried to sign up for the presale but no dice. Missed the boat by a day I guess. Then I tried and tried and tried and tried some more (also I made many attempts); but kept getting “no tickets found” or “an error occurred.” Then, after the presale time came and went, tickets started to appear at a couple nearby venues. Yeah… the cheapest was $300. For one lousy ticket!!! These tickets were labeled “verified Ticketmaster resale.” Hmmmm… I called my Amazing Wife Lady and said, “um… I don’t think we’re going to see Elton John.” When I told her the prices she readily agreed.

Apparently, Elton John is much more popular than James Taylor.

I’ve read about this phenomenon. There are less than scrupulous folks who’ve written computer programs that enable them to snatch up gobs of tickets; then scalp people by gouging them for ridiculous prices.

Tonight we watched the news… some kind of football game happening this weekend in Minneapolis I guess. What? Yes, I know it’s the Super Bowl, silly. But I honestly didn’t know until this morning who was playing on Sunday. Can you tell I don’t give a flying mahookey about sports? Anyway, the news folks were talking about all the hoopla going on over there in Minnesota; and they mentioned that the cheapest tickets were going for $3000!!! Is that nuts or what??

Well I found out who’s playing anyway… and all I can say about that is: GO EAGLES!! Yes, even though I have no idea who the players are, I don’t live in a cave. The Patriots have had their turns, so it’s the underdog’s time to shine. Or not.

I don’t care much. All I know is, some people appear to have way more money than me. However, even though I’m not rich, I’m definitely blessed beyond measure. I have a nice warm home, plenty to eat, cars that work and no debt. And that’s a very abbreviated list of things for which I am truly grateful.

What more can a guy need?

Well, I think I need to post some videos about money!!  (Ha ha, I make joking.)  (No, wait, not joking…)

The Kiss Of Death

There are some nasty bugs going around these days. People are dying from the flu for cryin’ out loud! Well my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have been getting our flu shots for several years now, and so far so good, I think. However, the flu shot doesn’t catch everything, so once in awhile something seems to slip past the radar.

Take last Wednesday, for example. There I was minding my own business, being unsick and feeling pretty good when my Beautiful Girlfriend started to come down with something nasty. Coughing, feeling run down, coughing, muscle and joint pain from head to toe, fever, chills, loss of appetite, and oh did I mention the coughing?? Yes, much coughing.

Being the loving husband I am, I gave her a kiss on the lips just before bed that night. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? OK, I know what I was thinking… I was thinking it’s time for bed and therefore I kiss my Honey Pie before retiring. Pretty normal for a happily married man to think, right? Well if any of you are in the medical profession, you know that kissing someone on the lips is not exactly “sterile procedure.” And even if you’re not, you probably know enough not to kiss a sickie on the lips.

But I did.

And almost immediately afterward, I thought to myself, “uh-oh.”

Well my Lovely Lady had some sort of nasty virus. And by kissing her I pretty much volunteered for what came next. Yep, a mere two days later I started feeling like crap. Both of us were in bed for several days, and at one point I asked her if I should call Hospice. I was of course making a “sick joke” (get it, sick… joke) but very quickly after the words came out of my mouth I thought of loved ones whom I’ve accompanied during their Hospice journeys and it wasn’t so funny any more.

After a few days we went to the doctor, and she gave my Lovely Lady a flu test. Negative for influenza. Well that was good! So of course we asked, “what is it then?” “Some other nasty virus,” she said. “Go home, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, and call if it keeps getting worse.” Sheesh! We were hoping for some sort of magic wand or something in the form of a medication or maybe a spell to drive evil spirits away. Back home we went, and I made yet another pot of soup with herbs and homegrown garlic in a vain attempt at killing whatever this damn bug was.

I’m getting better… slowly. She is too, but my Poor Baby is still coughing very hard. Oh, and my skin is starting to sprout little TV antennas every couple inches and both my big toes have flattened out to the size of ping pong paddles. Other than that and the glow-in-the-dark snot blobs that fly out of my nose when I sneeze, I’m doing fine.

Well in case you haven’t been sick yet, here are some instructions on how to catch a cold…

My (Late) 2018 New Year’s Revolutions

Please allow me to greet your face and hands with a very Happy 2018; and may all your wishes be sold to Smoked Fish Merchants (S.F.M.) in trade for Used Flip Flops (U.F.F.) while numerous soft yet Bristly Sock Monsters (B.S.M.) chew rapidly during the Great Raisin Gathering (G.R.G.) at the 134th annual Anonymous Snack Snarfers Hand Or Leg Egg Slappers (A.S.S.H.O… wait a minute!! No no… not gonna do that) chamber pot tossing competition.

So here I am, following my 1st annual run-on sentence with a (late) report what my New Year’s Revolutions for 2018 very well might be. I’m reporting these revolutions in a tardy manner because I simply had to pay tribute to Dick Orkin, the creator of “Chickenman” who passed away last week. And also, in addition, I say to you that these “might be,” my New Year’s Revolutions because I am unreasonably certain that I’m not likely to dig up enough used crayons to change the climate in St. Petersburg, Florida.

My really true and uncrompulated New Year’s Revolution has actually been the same every year for the last couple decades: Try to do better. But if I were to make new revolutions, they “might” go something like this:

A. I hereby resolve not to ever use superfluous exclamation points!! I mean, hey, that’s the least a person can do!!! Think about it!!!! So many people emphasize way too much with exclamation points!!!!! This rather diminishes the effect of using any exclamation points at all!!!!!! Don’t you think so?!?!?!?!?!?

U. My 14th resolution is to avoid using imaginary words that only I can infliborize. Sure, I sometimes use nonsense words for the sheer bagnaffley horkle tones of the contersneffeck. I probably amuse myself more than others with this style of vasherbinking, so perhaps I will cease and desist with the silly words awreddy.

$. Procrastination has always been a lingering hobby of my cat and other members of my corn field. Therefore, I herewith intend to stop procrastinating either today or tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll keep putting off the procrastination until I can’t avoid procrastinating any longer. Or maybe I could delegate my efforts to someone who can postpone them indefinitely. I’m not exactly sure. If one of you has any suggestions, please e-mail them to my garage and I’ll try to read them one of these days.

X12. Have you seen my new socks?? You know, the ones with the fancy frog nostril prints all over them. They really keep my toes happy.

M6. Please erase resolution “U.” above. I do apologize (no, really I don’t), but I am very fond of writing various ibblesnick tenterdoodles. My professional opinion is that with all the horrible things in our past and present world, a little silliness can be a very good stress relief cabbagehamper.

And finally:

O!2!: I plan to do my best to spread Peace, Love, and Hugs to everyone in the Universe. Of course, some people don’t want hugs. That’s OK, I will Love them anyway. And some people don’t want Love, but I will Pray for them whether they like it or not. And some people don’t even want Peace, and I will Pray for them even more. Now don’t get me wrong… even though the People Upstairs tell me I must Love EVERYONE, doesn’t mean I’m gonna like everyone. So I will beam Prayers of Love and Peace to the people who insist on being nasty; but it ain’t too likely I’ll be inviting them for dinner anytime soon.

Alrighty then. That’s what came out of my brain today for the Happy Friday!!! New Year’s Revolution thing. If you have made any, please don’t bonk yourselves or call yourselves bad names for coming up short.

All we can do is try.

Now let’s all scream our lungs out while we sing along with these “revolutionary” guys.

Farewell to Chickenman

I’m going to spend a little time shamelessly showing my age in this week’s edition of “Happy Friday!!!” I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m a Baby Boomer… born in 1954 and very OK with it. Growing up was a challenge at times, and in times of stress I turned to the entertainment media of the time which were TV (in glorious black and white) and of course AM radio. And yes, kids, AM radio is still alive and well; although the programming certainly has changed over the years.

TV was OK… it did provide a valuable escape from reality during childhood. When I look back on it, the words of the Talking Heads song, “Love For Sale” (<–click here) come to mind: “I was born in a house with the television always on…”

But when it came to real escape, for me anyway, AM radio was at the top of the heap. That’s because all the cool music of the day was being blasted to the masses all over the radio dial. Growing up on Long Island, New York gave us 24 / 7 access to stations like 77 WABC and 1010 WINS, which featured Disk Jockeys with names like Cousin Brucie and Murray the K.

However, a traumatic event happened to us kids in 1966. Our father took a job in northern Wisconsin. Not only were we experiencing a huge culture shock; but our music was GONE!! Well, OK it was still there, but we couldn’t get to it.  We had no money for records; and even if we got our mitts on a record, Dad’s stereo was strictly off limits to us kids.  So, the radio was our gateway to the musical universe; and the only AM stations available in the daytime played twang-twang country music or polkas.


There was hope… the ionosphere came to our rescue when the sun went down. “Huh??” you might say. Let me explain: the sun’s radiation energizes various upper layers of the atmosphere; and certain radio waves bounce off these ionized layers and are directed back to earth. It’s a phenomenon known as “skip;” and is somewhat reminiscent of a stone skipping on water. Anyway, after the sun went down, AM radio signals from Chicago would come in really well and voila!! our music returned to us.

Now we were listening to our rock ‘n roll primarily on WLS and WCFL, with DJs like Larry Lujack and Dick Biondi. Both stations were great, but WCFL brought us something extra: “Chickenman!!! He’s everywhere he’s everywhere!!!” Now if you remember that, you’re at least as old as I am. And if you’re as old as I am, I really hope you remember Chickenman.

Sadly, Dick Orkin, the creator of Chickenman, passed to the Great Beyond last Sunday; he was 84. An amazingly talented man, he also created “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy;” and went on to create wonderfully funny radio commercials. In honor of his awesome humor, I’d like to share of his work I found on YouTube.

So kids, for this week’s “video” I inserted a couple of fun entries:  someone created some animation to accompany an entry called “Chickenman, Episode 1.”  Each radio episode of Chickenman had the began with the shouting of “Chickenman… he’s everywhere!!!  He’s everywhere!!”

The video is followed by the album “The Best of Chickenman.” I hope you can sit back, relax, and let your ears drink the intoxicating humor that only Chickenman could offer.