Save The Country: The Truth Shall Set You Free

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech that rocked the nation. The first sentence is indelibly burned into the memories of anyone who has even a slight knowledge of American history: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date that will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” These words, of course, were delivered to the country the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Very shortly afterward, we were launched into World War II and our citizens worked together in toil and sacrifice to defeat the evil foreign empires of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Another “date that will live in infamy” is September 11, 2001; when al-Qaeda terrorists attacked our country in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

And it is with great sadness that we must now add January 6, 2021 to the list of dates that will live in infamy. However, for the first time in our history, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by a mob of our own citizens; and what adds insult to injury is that this mob was urged to do so by the words of President Donald Trump. Many of us dreaded that such a day might come; but I believe in my heart that those of us who were experiencing such dread were also not surprised.

Shocked, but not surprised.

In 2016, our citizens lawfully elected, to our nation’s highest office, a man with a long history of deceit and complete disregard for anything or anyone that did not yield him personal gain. In the midst of growing distrust in politics, he presented himself as a savior; and boasted promises of cleaning up what he labeled a completely corrupt federal government by “draining the swamp.” And while some of his assertions were true, his favorite methods of effecting change involved spreading falsehoods about and then demonizing anyone who stood in his way. Prior to his entry into office in 2016 he spread false assertions about the integrity of our elections; stating that he would accept the results of the election “…if I win.” And of course, he again attacked the integrity of the 2020 election several months prior to Election Day; spreading lies about “irregularities” that did not exist. Upon losing, he launched numerous unsuccessful legal battles to overturn verified results.

Sadly, a number of his supporters both in and out of government were willing to enable President Trump’s behavior, and even publicly agreed with lies that were being blasted to our citizenry over the airwaves and in social media. And after numerous verifications that he lost the 2020 election, rather than accept the will of the voters, our President and members of his circle instead chose to continue lying about nonexistent voter fraud and proclaim publicly that the election was stolen from him. In a final fanfare of desperation, he urged a mob to march on the Capitol, and of course the resulting coup attempt will forever be a stain on our democracy.

Thankfully, after the Capitol was once again secure, our Congress was able show the world that our democracy did indeed survive; and they performed what should have been a ceremonial acknowledgment of the results of the Electoral College: that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be the new President and Vice President of the United States. Of course, Democrats and Republicans alike were shaken. Democrats spoke up. Thankfully, a number of Republicans also spoke up. And while a minority of the Republican party still seems willing to perpetuate false claims made by the President, I was very grateful for those who expressed disgust at the result of Wednesday’s rally.

If you’re old like me, you may remember that Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama in 2012. I didn’t vote for Senator Romney back then. Although I didn’t agree with much of his platform in 2012, I’ve always very much admired him as a man of honor. Honor. That’s what’s missing in too many of our elected officials. Not all, but even one is too many. Truth. All we ask is that we get truth when our elected officials speak to us.

Below is a copy of the speech Mitt delivered to the nation this past Wednesday night after Congress reconvened. I very much agree with every word he spoke during that historic session.

“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.

“The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen. Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen.
The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.

“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?

“Leader McConnell said that the vote today is the most important in his 40 plus years of public service. That is not because this vote reveals something about the election; it is because this vote reveals something about ourselves. I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

Thank you very much, Mitt!!

Happy 2021 to YOU!!

Dear Earthlings,

At this time I would like to wish you a Very Happy Merry and and Extremely Joyful Wonderful. New Year. To you. In 2021. With sentence fragments. Batteries not included.

Thank you.

Holy MOLY 2020 was a very cronkulous year, no? Well it really was, because I just wrote it back there. In that previous sentence. Which was not a sentence fragment. Like I’m doing now. And if you’re not familiar with the word “cronkulous,” that’s likely due to the fact that I invented that silly word. You see, it’s like this: the German word for “sick” is “krank (pronounced cronk).” Therefore, since there was much blech and baroop and yukkity-poo during the year we cronkulously refer to as 2020, I took it upon myself to again take liberties with words and language in an effort to both amuse you and get you to agree with me that HOLY MOLY I’m kinda glad 2020 is not here anymore; in spite of my continued use of run-on sentences (which I don’t plan to discontinue from this silly column any time soon).

Very cronkulous indeed.

But now we are forging ahead into 2021, which for some reason I’m having difficulty typing. I keep typing 20201 and having to backspace to correct it to 2021, but that’s no fault of yours. A new year will hopefully bring relief from this deadly virus; and perhaps will also bring a few rays of sunshine into an otherwise cronkulous atmosphere of government barfwater and complete disregard for scientific yodeling and other forms of vertical Zoom sessions.

It is therefore in the spirit of greatly remarkable (and hopefully NOT cronkulous) personal betterment that I inflict upon all of you some of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2021. Please keep in mind that I may or may not achieve these lofty goals, but I will state them nonetheless, with hopes that I either succeed in my improvement endeavors or just go hide behind the compost pile until 2024. So without further ado, here are some of my resolutions.

1) I hereby proclaim that I will announce the declaration of my intent to disclose and therefore publicize communications to reveal and make known that which I shall divulge in a public manner. In other words, I’m gonna say stuff to people. Out loud. Nice things only.

*7) Remember that one thing I was gonna do the other day and I completely forgot my cat ate the little pieces of cheese I left lying on the counter? Neither do I. Sheesh, I wish I could find my electric crayon sharpener!!

H) There’s gonna be a reckoning around our house, I promise!! The dishes will be taught to wash themselves and crawl back into the cupboard at the snap of my fingers. You don’t believe me? Well you just wait!! I’ll call you when they start stacking up, and you can help me with the cleaning overload stinky surprise!! That oughta teach us!!

9x) One project I’ve never started and also never wanted to pursue is to learn how to sing Don McLean’s famous song, “American Pie” in reverse, and also in Swahili. Should be very flatulent!

Q@) What the HECK is that digital clock doing in the pantry again?? Doesn’t it know neither the potatoes, nor the flour, nor the macaroni have any idea of how to tell what their countries of origin are? Very indisputable. Very indisputable indeed!!

5i) Someone stole my pickled herring!!! Oh man, this is terrible. It was right there last night when I awoke at 3:15 AM to go tinkle and then I went on the hunt for a snack. And yes, of course I washed my hands!! Oh wait, it’s on the other shelf in the fridge. WHEW!!

Well, perhaps you all get the idea by now. All my New Year’s resolutions are extraordinary and completely disreputable, and will only serve to enhance my reputation as a rapscallion. However, one resolution I really do embrace each and every year is this: try to do better. And to complement that idea, I’ll throw in another: treat every living creature with kindness and love.

And yes, that includes all of YOU.

I sincerely hope 2021 brings good fortune to you and your loved ones. Hey, it’s gotta be better than 2020, right?

On the other hand, there was George and Gracie…

All I Want(ed) For Christmas

If I had one wish to make for this Holiday Season, it would be for everyone in the Universe to be as blessed as we are. We are safe and warm in our home. We have plenty of food. We have cars that are paid for; and we’re healthy enough to drive them. We have family and friends whom we love dearly. We are happy most of the time; and when we have struggles we’ve been able to work through them or at least accept what is happening.

In other words, we are wealthy (but not rich).

I remember being asked what I wanted out of life when my Beautiful Girlfriend and I were first married. Although we were strongly advised against it, we married at the ripe old age of 19. Due to some rather distressing challenges from our parents we were ready to strike out on our own, come what may. And we were very sure we’d make it through thick and thin. Having grown up during the 1960’s, we were repulsed by rampant consumerism; and often referred to ourselves as “spoiled Americans.” Actually, we still say that. So my pat answer to the question, “What do you want out of life?” has remained the same since the very early days of our marriage: “all I want in life is the love of a beautiful woman, enough land to grow some food, and a kick-ass stereo.”

I’ve acquired all those wants many moons ago. I’m very grateful to say that the Beautiful Woman who has put up with me for the past 48 years is still my One and Only. After 47 years of practice (we dated a little over a year before marriage), we’ve become pretty good at this soulmate stuff. Yes, we made it through thick and thin; but over the years our thin selves have gotten a bit thicker, if you know what I mean.

Hurray for comfort food!!

So I have no wants. And all my needs have been met many times over. As I mentioned before, I consider myself a “spoiled American.” Some of us get together from time to time and discuss life, the universe, and everything. Gratitude is often one of the topics, and a friend of mine likes to say, “98% of the world’s population would love to have the problems I have.” Well maybe his math is a bit over the top, but suffice it to say that there are way too many folks out there who are not nearly as fortunate as we are.

As I sit here writing this in my comfortable home, I’m sending prayers out to all who are suffering; whether from the pandemic or any myriad of life’s other challenges. This time of year inevitably finds many of us in reflection; whether we’re chuckling from a happy memory or crying our eyes out during one of our favorite tear-jerking Christmas movies.

I sincerely hope all who read this are well; and that the coming year brings better times. If we all work together and do our best to spread love and kindness, 2021 can turn out to be a pretty amazing year.

Speaking of tear-jerking Christmas movies, this has been my favorite since I was a child. And yes, at the end, I cry like a baby.

My Holiday Requirements for 2020

Dear Delightful Human People,

If you’ve been reading “Happy Friday!!!” for as long as I’ve been writing it, please accept my apology because I never meant to harm anyone; and if I’ve made you smile once or twice I consider that my privilege and I hope to continue provoking smiles and perhaps even laughter by writing silly and sometimes not so silly things until Herbert, my pet fountain pen, can no longer hit the keys of my computer keyboard thing to write all the things that are stuffed into a run-on sentence that is way too long.

Whew!

So yeah, like if you’ve been reading this silly thing for more than a year, then perhaps you know that this time of year inspires me to issue a mandate to all mankind regarding the items I expect to receive during the Holiday season. Perhaps you may find it a bit greedy of me to demand that I be showered with gifts; but that’s OK, because as long as everyone gets me everything I’m about to list there will be no need to worry about the safety of the sawdust piles that lurk in the ditches of my sock drawer.

Or something.

Very well then. I shall now commence to issue the list of things I’m sure all of you will agree are required for me to receive this year.

A) Please send 347 fifty gallon containers of that new “Corona Oh No” juice I saw on TV during my dream last Wednesday. I guess it works really well; and what you do is pump up the included spray canister and zap anyone who’s not wearing a mask when they come near you. It really gets their attention and has the added benefit of glowing in the dark so others will be alerted when the lights go out.

G1) I’m definitely gonna need some new battery operated spice jars. My current ones are unreliable, and yesterday my Lovely Wife complained greatly when our breakfast had too much oregano in the oatmeal. I’d like to stay married, so please make sure I get the new kind with the solar amplification modules.

11) As you all know, COVID has most restaurants basically only doing take out these days. I like take out. However, I don’t understand why some of my favorites don’t show up on take out menus. I mean, you can’t even get regular stuff like sardine sandwiches, Soup on a Stick, or even Chicken Cockamamie. What is this world coming to??

&) This year I’ll need many more bags of potato chips please. Yes, I know the ones from last year are all stacked neatly in my garage; but in my professional opinion, there’s simply no such thing as too many potato chips. What? Why didn’t I eat the old ones? Do you know how difficult it is to stack bags of potato chips 14 high and have the pile be presentable?? Sheesh!!

Red) Oh yes, I’ll need you to special order me some Peter Pumpernickel’s Pickled Herring Pot Pies. That brand is the very best, you see. Of course, if you can’t find those, I’ll settle for Oscar Olafsen’s Chocolate Covered Oyster Candies. Mmmmmm those are disgusting.

z5) OH WOW!! I remember where I left the spare tire for my minivan!! Hope that guy doesn’t mind me driving through his cornfield again…

4b) Just saw an ad in the paper!! The new X-Box with the power assist cheese slicer is on sale this week for a mere $376.29 at all local mattress stores!! Get one today!! Oh and get me one too!! And what’s up with all these extra exclamation points?? Oh and now it’s extra question marks?? What the heck!?!?!?!

Tell you what: instead of wracking your brain trying to figure out what to get for me; I’ll make it very simple: just sell all your stuff and bring me the money.

Thank you.

OK, that should keep you all busy for a few microseconds. But seriously folks, all I really want is the same old thing I’ve always wanted for every Holiday I can remember. I just want Peace, Love, and Kindness to be the guiding principles for all of us on the planet. And of course that means that we must all treat our dear Mother Nature with Love and Respect too. Dunno about you, but at our house we are blessed in so many ways. We try to give back, and hope that if any of you out there can afford it that you would please give to charities or somehow help those in need.

And as always, if you’ve actually read this far, thank you for being you. And 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.

Und now we go to da Grampy cartoon awreddy

SO Much Turkey!

The turkey is gone!! The turkey is gone!! May the bells chime happy clanging of no more turkey!!

Dunno about you folks, but at this house we really love turkey. So of course, the Thanksgiving meal is always welcome around here. We had ours last Sunday; and as usual I was the chief cook: sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes and gravy, Brussels sprouts from the garden, stuffin’ muffins, a relish tray of black and green olives, sweet and dill pickles, and even some pickled okra for a little variety, and of course pumpkin pie.

Oh, and there was this 21 pound bird…

I may have overestimated a bit this time. I figured with all 7 of us, which included two rapidly growing grandsons, we’d need some extra meat. Well some extra is OK… but HOLY MOLY we had a lot left over! I surmised that all that surplus turkey would be very enjoyable in the form of “Leftover Delight,” as Mom used to call it. Well when I got all done deboning the bird, it was quite obvious that my Beautiful Girlfriend and I would get just a wee bit weary of eating turkey for 13 days in a row.

After the initial turkey dinner leftovers; I tried to switch it up a bit. You know, turkey salad sandwiches, stuff like that. However, I apparently pushed my poor Honey Pie over the too-doggoned-much threshold and when I asked if she wanted any turkey the other day she shot back with an emphatic “Noooo!!!” Understandable… so we took a break for a couple days. Well today we had the last of the turkey. And yes, it was in the form of turkey salad.

Perhaps next year I could try branching out a bit with the turkey entrées. Some ideas that rattled around in my silly brain today are:

Pickled Turkey

Turkey Waffles

Turkey On A Stick

Wild Turkey Surprise (a nod to Bugs Bunny)

Turkey Omelette

Peanut Butter and Turkey Jelly (yuck!!)

Turkey Ice Cream

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Imitation Turkey (exactly the same as imitation crab, only with turkey!)

Turkey Kaboom (turkey with a surprise firecracker)

Those of you who know me are aware that I could go on and on, and of course the “dishes” would become sillier and sillier. So I’ll stop now. Please forgive me. Or don’t!! But whatever you do, please don’t tell my Lovely Bride that there’s still some of that leftover turkey in the freezer.

At least, not for awhile.

Well this week’s video has nothing to do with turkey. I switched it up you see… to um… chicken.

Smiley Face Headphones And A Balloon Ride To Mars

Our grandsons are visiting, and as is customary I’ve requested their assistance with writing this week’s Happy Friday!!! installment. As I’ve done before, I’ll put their contributions in bold italics to differentiate them from the silliness that jumps out of my brain.

**WARNING!!** This story may be a bit silly. OK, here we go…

Smiley Face Headphones And A Balloon Ride To Mars

During a recent snowstorm, Sir Bobbington was found sleeping on the bathroom floor with the electric toothbrush jammed up his left nostril. Of course, such a traumatic event would at the very least cause strange dreams. For Sir Bobbington, this was no exception. And when he woke up he said, “I don’t know! I didn’t know my foot was bleeding this much! I didn’t feel it!” Then he went on to say some really strange things, apparently inspired by his dream. He bribbled and florped, then said, “This coming Sagnerday I will illegally change my name to Frapzak Mizzlepop, which of course was never a Native American name meaning ‘Slumbers With Chowder.’ Used donuts and apple chowder vinegar will be served in celebration.”

We used our garden tractor to get the toothbrush out of Sir Bobbington’s nose hole. It worked pretty well, but now there is a trail of gooey stuff all over the driveway. That should not be a problem because it will be winter soon and the snow will cover it up. Besides, it sealed some the cracks in our concrete quite nicely.

I asked him if he was OK after this ordeal. I mean, there was no blood or anything, and his nose was still functioning normally as far as I could determine. He assured me he was fine, but when I asked how in the hibbledy-boo he got that thing lodged inside his nostril, he said, Well that’s even harder making a story. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!” I gave him a funny look and he quit talking. Both of us just figured the horrible event caused him to talk a bit squirrely.

Well it didn’t end there. Next thing I knew I was also affected by all the excitement and began reminiscing about all the green dust I found in my shoe bottles during last year’s amplified crust removal incidents. I told Sir Bobbington, “I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to please have a Happy Merry and a Joyful Wonderful. Personally, I’m very much looking forward to the Cream of Mustard celery toppings and the Dead Snake Surprise desserts!!” Then of course it was his turn to give me a weird look!

We decided to maybe try to change to some more intelligent conversation; so we took a walk over to Peach Pit Park to enjoy a relaxing walk. There we noticed Sir Frinklefoot; who was often seen in the park doing some “interesting” things. You see, every time Sir Frinklefoot went to a park or other public place where there were benches he would feel underneath to see if there was any gum. This time we got brave enough to ask him why he always collected used gum; and he said he wanted to make it into a hot air balloon and fly that to Mars.

Sir Bobbington and I just didn’t know what to make of all that… so as a measure of desperation, we kind of quickly looked around for a way to steer the conversation elsewhere. I spied a pair of headphones lying on the bench next to Sir Frinklefoot… and my imagination kicked in as I pointed at them and blurted out, “look at the headphones, it’s a smiley face !!” Sir Frinklefoot gave us a puzzled look and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “OK, whatever.”

We said goodbye to Sir Frinklefoot; and started briskly walking away. As we made our way down the sidewalk, I remembered an experience I never had that I just knew would impress Sir Bobbington. I told him, “Many of my enjoyments have wriggled right out of Mars and other parts of the Aurora Borealis.  I hope my cat learns to speak German soon.” Both of us stopped walking, shook our heads and roared with laughter.

Then we went for ice cream.

The End.

Here’s To F.N. Brussels Sprouts And Deer With No Eyes

I always get a little gooshy around this time of year. With the holidays upon us, I can’t help but reflect on past years. I have much to be thankful for, and even though I’m grateful most of the time, the holiday season deepens the appreciation somehow. A cultural thing I guess.

After turning 18, I entered into “party hearty” mode. That lasted for 17 years… what began as “having fun” evolved into fun plus problems, and then finally my partying habits produced very little fun but very large problems. Considering all the “fun” I had literally poisoning myself, I’m pretty lucky to be alive, let alone happy and healthy. Amazing how much better life got after I was finally willing to grow up!!

These days, I still “party hearty,” but it has absolutely nothing to do with intoxicants. Nope, none of that monkey business anymore. Instead, sharing a meal with close friends; maybe watching a movie with them, now those are good times. And of course with all these good times, very happy memories are made.

Thanksgiving kicks off a season of remembering too. I once heard it said that the best way to honor the dead is to love the living. Another way, in my book anyway, is to relate a story about a lost loved one that makes others smile. One of my favorite stories I tell around this time of year is when our dear friend Lew and his Beautiful Wife came over for what turned out to be his last Thanksgiving on this Earth. It was my turn to make Thanksgiving dinner, and Lew noticed I was cooking Brussels sprouts.

“Oh Ken! I see you’re making Brussels sprouts,” he said.

“Yeah Lew, you like Brussels sprouts?” I replied,

F*&% NO!!” he exclaimed; at which point we all burst into laughter.

We’ve had Thanksgiving at his Beautiful Wife’s house every year since then, and every year she’d make “F.N. Brussels Sprouts” in honor of her dear departed hubby. We use the initials because there are grandchildren, you see.  This year, however, because of COVID, we’ve agreed that it might not be too safe to dine at our Beautiful Friend’s house.  Holy POOP I hate this damn virus!!  Hopefully next year we can resume the tradition.

Another dear departed friend is our friend Tommy, who passed away all too suddenly a few years ago.  He too had a marvelous sense of humor, and I’ve been honoring his memory thusly:

“What do you call a deer with no eyes?” he asked,

“I give up,” I said,

“No eye deer!!” he chuckled; and continued: “how about a deer with no eyes and no legs?”

“Dunno,” I smiled.

Still no eye deer!!” And of course the grand finale: “How about a deer with no eyes, no legs, and no genitalia?”

“What?” I asked.

“Still no f*&%ing eye deer!!” and of course we both laughed. Naturally only “big people” get to hear the last part of the joke, and I always ask permission before telling the naughty part.

As I relate these stories, my memories of other loved ones lost over the years flood into my brain. Mom and Dad, grandparents, even cousins… and of course friends and yes, even children of friends. These memories, coupled with all those mushy holiday movies, will often make my eyes leak at the drop of a hat. Memories and gratitude. That’s what slams home the holidays for me. I’m so doggoned fortunate it’s ridiculous.  Thank you God for everything.

I sincerely hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.  And if you are able, please donate to your favorite charity so they can help those who are struggling.

Now for the silly video.  This is an oldie but a goodie from Tex Avery about a turkey who outfoxed the hunter; but they both got it in the end…

I Love Those Leaves!!

Here in Beautiful West Michigan, Autumn is starting to wane a bit.  Most of the leaves have fallen; so there are quite a few naked trees running around.  Well OK, maybe they’re not really running; but most are definitely naked.  If you have a lawn, Autumn can be a very frustrating time.  Seems like we get a batch of leaves off the grass, everything looks nice, and then BOOM!! a hefty wind shows up and blows another gob of leaves all over the place.  Then we get our rakes, blowers, garden tractors (and if you’re lucky leaf vacuum trailer thingy) and go clean up the mess.

When I was a kid, seems like everyone burned their leaves. Not only a big waste of wonderful fertilizer, but a big source of air pollution. I remember when I was little, I lost much hair and eyebrows when I jumped into a leaf pile my father made. He sternly warned me to jump in BEFORE the fire was set next time! OK, maybe I didn’t really do that.  But hey, anyone remember leaf smoke filling the autumn air? Those were the good (?) old days when no one was very particular about particulates. Leaf burning is somewhat rare now. Instead, many of them are bagged up for the gobbich man. Hey, nobody asked me, but my two cents is that leaves are NOT gobbich, man!

Being an organic gardener, I have been a leaf collector for many years. Before I discovered the magic gold mine of free compost at our local landfill transfer station (affectionately called “the dump”), I would pull my trailer all over the neighborhoods and gather up bagged leaves.  Some people gave me rather strange looks when I parked my trailer in front of their house to make off with their leaves.  When someone was in the yard, I’d always ask first; and then they’d say, “Sure!” Then they’ll lead me to the other 195 bags in their back yard.

Leaf collectors are becoming more numerous now; as more folks realize their value in the garden as fertilizer and mulch. Not only that, a bunch of us leaf collectors get together at the old Breakfast Burp Cafe and trade leaves on Saturday mornings.  All of us wear masks and are socially distanced, of course.  My “prize leaf ” is a 1971 maple that really makes me proud. A nice bowl of leaves are really great with milk and sugar too! High fiber.

OK, I may be fooling again…

As I’ve already mentioned, and much to my Beautiful Honey-Pie’s chagrin, I would actually gather leaves from other people’s yards.  I’ve learned my lesson though; and in the interest of domestic harmony I make sure our yard is leafless before I go looking for more.  However, we do have some friends that bring me their leaves!!  This is a wonderful thing!! Initially they expressed concern that “we mostly just have oak.”  I reassured them that I take every kind of leaves I can get my mitts on: maple, pine needles, and yes even oak. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s nothing wrong with oak leaves in your garden; especially when they are composted. After 38 years of building up what used to be basically beach sand, my garden soil is nice and black, thank you very much.  This year, all the leaves in our yard got ground up nicely with our garden tractor / leaf bagger combo.   I put them directly into the garden, and got pretty much the whole thing covered with a nice layer of mulch.  Also tilled several loads into one of the beds; into which garlic will soon be planted.

Call me loony if you must, but yes, when Autumn arrives I really do love leaves.  I love them so much that I’ve unofficially renamed Autumn “Fertilizer Season.”  Whatever doesn’t get tilled into the soil is used for mulch; which keeps weeds at bay and prevents the soil from losing moisture.  I’ve also learned to spread a healthy layer of leaves over a bed of carrots to keep them fresh through the winter.  I just mark the bed with sticks before the snow flies, and when I want carrots I carefully shovel the snow off first, then scoop off the leaves, and pick carrots.  I get a couple more sticks and mark where I left off; then cover the rest back up with the leaves, and also put the snow back.  I’ve used this technique to enjoy carrots “on demand” several times, and when I have a good year I can have fresh carrots pretty much all winter long.

Well, cold weather will be here before we know it; and I’m absolutely certain that this is exactly the way all the woodland creatures will prepare…

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

Say what??  Most of us in the U.S. are pretty sick up and fed with election crap, and we’re really ready to move on with life.  Doesn’t matter which side you’re on;  there is sure to be much more activism and mudslinging pretty much forever; or so it seems.  Lately, political rhetoric has reared its ugly nostrils and is sniffing in the deliciously annoying media compost bins.  And although this election saw one of the highest turnouts on record, some who complained the loudest decided not to vote at all(sigh)!  No excuse for that if you ask me…

As my good friend (not) Mr. Nixon would have said, “let me say this about that.”  While voting at the polls is a vital responsibility for those who wish to live in a democracy, there is also a type of voting all of us should really embrace as a way of life.  We need to determine what kind of planet we want to live on, and more importantly, what kind of planet we want for our kids.  So, we all need to rock the vote.  Again and again.  Not just with ballots, but with each dollar we spend; and every action we take.  Now, I can’t tell anyone what to do, but here are just a few examples of how I “vote” and why:

Chemical Pesticides, Fertilizers:  I do not buy them.  Ever.  Why?  Foist of awl, pesticides are poison.  Pretty good reason not to buy them, right?  Unfortunately, most pesticides often kill beneficial creatures like wasps and spiders; not to mention the harmful effect they have on humans and other animals (hey!!  I told you not to mention that!!).  Food crops can be grown with companion planting to minimize pest damage; and there are many other Nature-friendly ways of keeping plants safe from pests.

Fertilizers offered by Mother Nature are available in most places where plants grow naturally.  Composted leaves, grass clippings, and manure are good examples of soil building materials, and are natural fertilizers.  Because I grow a fairly good sized garden, there are times when hook up my trailer and  jump in my automobile to retrieve these things.  Usually all I need is available free at our local landfill transfer station (fondly known to us as “the dump”).  However, if I were to go to a store to buy even organic stuff, much more energy is consumed mining, processing, packaging, and shipping fertilizers and pesticides.  A lot of dinosaur juice (petroleum) is used to support this industry in the form of fuel for energy, and petrochemicals for processing.  And let’s not forget how they are packaged, either in paper bags (bye bye trees) or plastic bags (petroleum again!). And even more wonderfully, the factories that manufacture these goodies pollute, and when it rains their products also pollute.  And don’t even get me started on “weed and feed.”   Our lawn gets mowed, that’s it.  The neighbors probably cry when my dandelions are in bloom.  We think they are pretty, and the bees love them.

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

Packaged Meals:  First of all, blech!!  We prefer fresh food and home cooking, thank you very much. Package meals are intended to be convenient, of course, but holy MOLY the ingredients are poisonous awreddy!!  Sodium, ingredients I can’t pronounce, sugars, sodium, and also more sodium.  What I’m saying here is that packaged meals are chock-full of chemicals, and many of these are known to damage our bodies.  Of course, all these nasties are made by chemical plants.  Chemical plants consume energy and pollute.  More petroleum.  Oh, and not to forget the packaging:  plastics and paper.  More dead trees, more dinosaur juice.

Automobiles:  One of my all time favorite hot rods was a Toyota Corolla.  I got 35 miles to a gallon, sometimes more.  When our son’s car died, I passed it along to him; albeit with a “serious defect”:  the odometer won’t go any farther than 299,999 miles.  It’s a known defect and the only way to change it is to buy a new instrument cluster.  The stupid thing is 17 years old and still runs like brand new!!  My lovely wife has a  15 year old Toyota Matrix, which will also get over 30 mpg.  Although we’d love to have electric or at least hybrid cars, we at least can drive vehicles that don’t burn so much dinosaur juice.  Our planet has a finite supply of oil, and cars are just a small part of the consumption of it.  So although I don’t have the bucks for an electric or hybrid car (yet) I do like the fact that the cars we own have a track record of lasting up to 20 years.  Call me a “tree hugger,” or whatever other radical environmentalist label you like; but Hummers and Escalades and the like should be illegal (in my professional opinion).

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

Reuse, Recycle:  Reusing objects is pretty much the norm at our house.  Cloth grocery bags have really been a nice way to keep all those plastic bags out of the house.  Of course, we do buy disposable things like food storage bags (for example); but we wash and reuse them regularly.  There is a limit to this, of course, but plastic freezer bags can be washed and reused several times before they go into the trash.  We also we also do weird things like reuse plastic half gallon ice cream containers from Country Dairy.  When I make too much soup, I scoop it into the ice cream bucket, put a small hunk of tape on the lid, label it and date it, and into the freezer it goes.  Glass jars make very nice containers for dry beans, corn meal, popcorn, and the like.  We have very little trash left over after composting our veggie waste and recycling the plastics, cans, and glass.

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

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

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

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

It’s not a new concept…

Daylight Craving Time

“What to write for tonight?” he wondered (OK, he is actually me). Let’s see… there’s Hallowe’en coming tomorrow, but COVID has made us very unwilling to go house to house trick-or-treating in the middle of a pandemic. Instead, we’re meeting our grandsons and their folks at a cemetery to play “hide the candy on the kids.” This was our daughter’s idea… sounds like fun!

“But hmmm… what to write for tonight?” he (me again) continued to wonder. Well, there’s an election coming up… but nah. Folks are getting pretty tired of everything political about now. I use the mute button on the remote quite a bit these days when political ads hit my TV. It’s OK to be tired of all of it… BUT PLEASE VOTE!! We done voted already. But we’ll be very happy at our house when we start getting a little less junk mail. Well, OK, Christmas is coming; so the junk mail will still make the mailbox bulge, there will just be different ads.

“I know!!” he (OK it’s really me again) exclaimed, “I’ll whine about the loss of daylight after we turn the stinkin’ clocks back again!!”

So here we go again. A few weeks of getting used to the early darkness is on its way. I thought about writing some cockamamie jab at the history of Daylight Saving Time, but there are so many convolutions that I ran away screaming. If you’re really interested in that stuff, Snopes has a pretty good page that describes it all in a nice little nutshell, here:

http://www.snopes.com/science/daylight.asp.

Any who how, most of my friends here in Beautiful West Michigan are very OK with the concept of Daylight Saving Time during the summer. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy having daylight till 10:30 PM?

But now Autumn has invaded and the days are getting shorter and shorter. Gets dark about 7 or so now. And of course when Eastern Standard Time comes back, we gain an hour of sleep but the darkness comes to visit with the 6 o’clock news.

That’s icky.

Foist of awl, I’ve never really been a morning person. Sure, I used to get up in time to go to work each morning: I’d set the alarm for 6 AM and then snap out of bed… after I slap the snooze alarm about 3 times. But hey, I’m retired now.  I am don’t liking the alarm clock thing, OK awreddy?  My Beautiful Girlfriend still works twice a week, so the Screaming Alarm Clock Thing still yells at us at 6 AM, but thankfully only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And guess what?  It’s on my side of the bed, so I get to slap the snooze (usually about 3 times) for my Lovely Honey Pie.  Oh well.  She IS the most Beautiful Woman In The Universe, so I oblige.  Some folks try to soften the blow by saying things like, “well, it will be light a little earlier in the morning.” WHO CARES?? I wanna sleep!! !! I’m not gonna play in the daylight at 7 AM!!  Sheesh.

Second of awl, I need to reiterate how spoiled we are here in Beautiful West Michigan during the summer!! Summer, after all, is my favorite time of year; and we get very long days. I really love being in the garden until it’s too dark to see; and as I mentioned earlier that’s almost 10:30 PM here during part of the warm months.

I try to remind myself of being spoiled, because I’ve experienced the other end of the toaster handle. When I was a kid growing up on Long Island, it was dark outside not too long after we got home from school. In those days, our local fire department touched off a siren every day at precisely 7 PM. Now, when you’re a little kid who has to be heading home “when the 7 o’clock whistle blows,” you still can have lots of fun with hide-and-seek because it’s dark outside at about 5 PM. We’d eat supper, go outside and play, and have gobs of fun running around “at night.”

So even though we haven’t turned the clocks back just yet, and even though I now live on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, I’m already craving more daylight. Not gonna happen till March 14, I know (I just looked it up). Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe all this clock switching nonsense. I’d be OK with that, so long as we were able to keep Daylight Saving Time.

Please write to my congressman and woman to make this happen. I’ll give you $3.40 up front for an incentive, and I’ll even bake you an Apple Surprise pie (Surprise!! I put raisins in the apple pie for the fun of it!). If you can get this done before Sunday, I’ll even make you an Apple Surprise Surprise pie (Raisins and walnuts!!) !!

Well, it’s time for me to quit writing about time now. There was a time though, back in 1973 when I had a very nice time, listening to these guys. My very first rock concert in my living life.  All I could say then (and all I can say now), was WOW!!