The Puzzle Is Broken

There I was, minding my own business, enjoying retired life, when jigsaw puzzles began to invade our home. This was not a new phenomenon, puzzles have come and gone around these parts for several years now. But recently a crazy thing happened: my wife asked for a puzzle table. “What do you mean? What kind of table do you want?” I asked. She replied, “You know, a card table.” Well it couldn’t be just any card table, and rightly so. Why? Because it was to occupy a small section of our great room, and would probably remain for several years. So we went hunting online and found a pretty nice table made right here in the USA by the Stanhope company. Nice pretty wood, and we found some chairs that matched pretty nicely.

The first puzzle to grace the surface of the table was a 300 piece drawing of a fox. Not too bad as far as difficulty, I actually got sucked in several times and was able to find homes for some pieces and pop them in. We discovered that jigsaw puzzles can be rather habit forming… when one walks past a partially completed puzzle, gravity appears to change and you get inexplicably drawn to the project. Since the arrival of the puzzle table, there have been more than one occasion when I’d have to urge my Lovely Bride to “come away from there!!”

While my Beautiful Honey Pie has always been the Puzzler In Chief (PIC?), lately I’ve been helping out at times. After the fox picture was completed, yet another puzzle came in the door. This one had 500 pieces, and was a nice photo of a quart of strawberries. Much more challenging than the 300 piece puzzle. At times, each of us would spend several minutes before finding mating pieces. Nothing wrong with that, it’s not like we are in a hurry to put the puzzle together. But hey, when I get pulled into the puzzle due to all that table gravity, I’d like to at least get a couple of successes. After a few minutes of searching the pile, I announced, “This puzzle is broken.” My Sweetheart knew I was being silly, but she replied, “No, it’s not broken. You just have to look.” “I’m gonna go get my hammer.” I countered. She calmly reacted with a subdued “Oh really? Well OK.”

I took a short break, and when I returned I noticed she had made quite a bit of progress. I’m talking like 7 pieces out of this 500 piece monstrosity!! I examined her achievement, and blurted, “Oh fine!! Now you’re cheating!!” “No, no, I’m not cheating. You can’t cheat with puzzles.” she rebutted with a smirk. “No,” I said, “this puzzle is broken.” I continued, “I have a hammer and also a drill. If this puzzle doesn’t start working I’m gonna go get those!!” I stared at the whelming pile of pieces. Yes, I said whelming. I mean, hey, it can’t really be overwhelming; it’s just a puzzle right??

Eventually, I was able to help fill some empty spaces. As the strawberries became whole, our puzzle adventure moved along more rapidly of course. There was a silent race to see who could find the right pieces the quickest. Maybe she wasn’t aware of this race, but I was trying my hardest. Finally, she put in the last one, and we both gave out a subdued “Yay!” followed by an equally subdued high-five. The 500 piece recreational time burner gave us a mellow feeling of accomplishment.

I guess the puzzle wasn’t broken after all.

The first video has nothing to do with putting a puzzle together, but it’s fun in a weird sort of way. The others are the result of doing a search on songs with the word “puzzle” in the lyrics.

So there.

#Love ??

This coming Tuesday is of course Valentine’s Day; and many sweet people will buy their sweeties some sweets. We’re going to try to get our stash tomorrow at our favorite local candy store.  I’m guessing they will be busier than a cat trying to cover up poop on a tile floor.  It will be well worth the wait though… check out their awesome store by clicking here—> The Lakeside Emporium… truly a confectionery marvel.

With the passing years, Valentine’s Day has changed for me and my Lovely Bride (and yes, she’s also my Beautiful Girlfriend). We still look forward to it, but now instead of buying expensive gifts we exchange cards. Of course, I still bring home flowers; but we both love them so it’s really for the two of us. I’ve gotten smarter about that ritual over the years. These days I hit the flower shop at least two days before Valentine’s Day so I can beat the crowds and get a better selection. Plus I ask the nice flower people (that’s hippie talk…) which ones will last the longest, and then I just pluck a big handful of flowers out of the various vases in the cooler. Roses are pretty and are fun to sniff; but they’re a bit pricey and don’t last very long. Instead I go for the carnations, gerbera daisies, and asters, maybe a couple Peruvian lilies. I’m not afraid to admit it; I really like the process of picking out a nice bunch of posies for Favorite Female Lady Person.

Remember those Sweetheart candies with the little messages?  Well they’re still around and are now made by the Spangler  Candy Company, <— Click the link for more info.  Anyway, they have a new theme containing words of encouragement.   A few years ago I heard a story on NPR describing trendy messages like “TEXT ME” and “#LOVE”. Of course, my ears were listening to this story so “#LOVE” was read aloud as “hashtag love.” Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ve probably learned that the hashtag is a prefix used in Twitter. I’ve never really used Twitter, and I don’t really care to tweet with all the other twits. In fact, when Elon Musk became the Idiot In Chief at Twitter, I’ve deactivated my account.  But since I’m old enough to remember when the Beatles came to the US on the Mayflower, I also remember the “#” as being a “pound sign.” So an old fart like me who doesn’t know any better could easily read “#LOVE” as “pound LOVE.”

I’ll take two pounds of love please. More is better.

Anyway, my Gorgeous Girlfriend Wife Lady Best Friend Person and I are going to have a nice evening at home this coming Valentine’s Day. I’m going to make some sort of dinner… something romantic like dead pig muscles and fungus with roots in thickened bone broth (translation: pork steaks slow cooked in gravy with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and parsnips). Maybe some mashed potatoes to smear in each others’ hair. Then of course we’ll throw chocolates at each other from opposite sides of the room. If they get covered in dust bunnies or maybe some stray firewood particles, well we’ll just brush them off and keep tossing until they land in the mouth. Oh, and not to forget the “no snow in my pajamas again please” game. And last but not least; we’ll decorate each others’ foreheads with temporary tattoos of our favorite Disney characters. Do we know how to make whoopee or what??

Please have a nice Valentine’s Day. Know you are loved; even if you don’t have a sweetheart.

It’s true you know.

This being a holiday of love, I will likely have numerous romantic songs swirling about in my noggin.  And it’s not uncommon for me to belt out a line or two of my favorites while my Honey Pie is within earshot.  Here are a few examples.

When The Well Runs Dry

Here it is, Happy Friday time again, and my Beautiful Girlfriend asked me a couple times, “whatcha gonna write about?”  I couldn’t muster an answer.

Sometimes I just don’t have a clue what to write about. Ever have one of those times when you knew people were waiting for you to write a story for Friday but you had absolutely no clue what to write??  Oh and by the way,

Q:  What do you call a deer with no eyes?

A:  No eye deer!!

So I have no eye deer what to write today.  When that happens, I look to my archives for something I haven’t posted in awhile. After all, I’ve been writing “Happy Friday!!!” for many moons now; so I think I have the right to slip in a rerun every now and again.  Believe it or don’t, I’ve been writing “Happy Friday!!!” since 1993.  That’s 5 years before Google!!  In those days, if you wanted to reach a mass audience on the interwebs, you sent you stuff to a listserv.  I put a link there, so click on the word listserv if you want to know more.  Anyway, there were several of these around, and you just had to ask the administrator nicely if you could post your stuff, and then it would be sent around the globe via e-mail to the subscribers.  One of my favorite compliments was from a guy in the UK who told me he read my stuff on the train on his way to work.  Is that cool or what??

So yeah, I’ve got some archives to draw from when the well runs dry.  Four egg sample:  here’s one from 2005. HUH??  Yes, that’s what I said.  2005!!  I tweaked it a bit; but much of the original silliness remains:

Our son Nate the Great was over tonight again. This was a completely cool thing, because even though his primary motive may have been food, it’s always good to see him. I’ve been calling him “Dark Santa” because of his very dark, bushy beard. I sat on his tummy and told him what I wanted for Christmas just yesterday as a matter of fact.

Today I sought his counsel. “Nate, what should I write about today?” I asked.

“Marble poop cake,” he replied quickly. It was as if the topic was right on the tip of his tongue (gack!!).

“Marble poop cake??” I asked with a puzzled tone.

“Yes. Marble poop cake,” he quipped back confidently.

“How does one make such a cake?” I asked.

“You need cat poop, dog poop, and human poop, but it all has to have the same smell and size. It’s quite the rage in Bulgaria these days.” He didn’t blink an eye or even change his facial expression. I therefore had absolutely no reason to doubt his word.

“I see… and what kind of frosting do you use for marble poop cake?” I asked curiously.

“Brown preferably, although vanilla is OK too,” he asserted. At this point I observed two things: 1) that there was no mention of what flavor this “Brown” frosting was, and 2) we were pretty much done talking about marble poop cake.

So as you can see the nuts do not fall far from the tree at our house. Poor guy is afflicted with terminal sillyosis, and he got it from his old man. His sister is afflicted with it too. And some has also rubbed off on My Beautiful Honey Pie.

And it doesn’t wash off.

This was especially evident the time we were all coming back from the Coast Guard Festival one summer evening, and as we passed one of the upscale houses, my Lovely Girlfriend yelled out, “hey!! They have a two car kajar!!” “Two car kajar??” everybody laughed out loud and repeated that lovely phrase several times. We have deeply rooted silliness in all of our souls that is always eager to jump out for a laugh.

OK, so I still don’t know what to write about today. Sometimes you just have to take the marble poop cake by the pan and fling it where the sun don’t shine, whatever that means. I don’t really want to write about politics because it brings out the nasties in too many people. Because I’m an old hippie, I hope and pray that everyone on the planet will one day see some Light and just try to get along.
Another topic could be global warming… I could probably write some stuff about that. But these are not funny things, and Happy Friday needs to be funny at least some of the time.

So as I said, sometimes you just need a nice marble poop cake to brighten up your day.

And if you decide to try some, please make sure you brush your teeth.

OK… time for da video fun stuff.

Crying For Happy

I’m not afraid to admit it… I’ve become a complete mushball. I’ve never really aspired toward any macho malarkey that some boys my age seem to need. If anything, I’ve become more sensitive with age for some reason. Maybe because I’ve become pretty comfortable in my own skin.

Heart rending scenes in the movies or on TV make me all gooshy inside. One of my favorite gooshy moments comes at the end of the 1951 movie “Scrooge;” in which Alistair Sim (who plays Ebenezer) wakes up on Christmas morning and turns over a new leaf. Reminds me of some “fun” I had while growing up. Mind you, growing up took me a little over 35 years… I was a late bloomer. At the end of the movie, when Scrooge realizes that he can start again; and celebrates it, well I just get a big fat case of the weepenheimers.

And then there’s music. Talk about a complete tear jerking mechanism!! Not so much when I hear songs on the radio (although I get mooshy even then), but if I happen to listen to someone perform an old favorite, it can trigger something warm and fuzzy way deep inside.

Dunno about you, but when I was very small, home life was “interesting.” Music became a gateway to escape the not-so-happy activities that too often sprang up at Dysfunction Junction (our house). This escape mechanism was welcomed into my heart when I was 8 years old. That’s when the miracle happened: Grandma gave me an 8-transistor radio.  Little did I know that Someone Upstairs was working through Grandma to help my spirit heal.

That was way back in 1962, when Dinosaurs sold gasoline on TV (anyone remember Sinclair gasoline?). Of course I gravitated toward the popular music, and this was a time when you could actually understand what the words were. Even better, you could sing the tunes in public with no danger of being a potty mouth! Lots of awesome music hit the airwaves in those days; and it really helped many like me get through tough times. So strong was the effect on my spirit, these days when I hear and then start singing an old favorite, my eyes start leaking.

Sheesh… did I mention I’m a mushball??

Yes, just call me Kenny the Crybaby. I don’t mind, I can take it.  Often the waterworks will commence to flow completely by surprise.   An example:  my Beautiful Girlfriend and I were privileged to see The Who in concert back in 2017.  They were simply fantastic.  I don’t think they finished the first song without my tears streaming down my face!!  Another instance where their music helped me through tough times while I was a kid.  I just didn’t know how much they helped!!  

Many of the the musicians of the Baby Boomer generation left the planet way too early; whether from alcohol or other drugs; family disputes, or tragic accidents.  And of course, now that we’re all getting up in years, those who managed to stick around are slowly diminishing in number.  And yes, when I heard about the passing of David Crosby this past Wednesday, I did the mushball thing again. 

I cried.

So there you go. My confession is complete: even though I can be a pretty strong person when necessary (I think, maybe), there’s a part of me who’s not at all afraid to cry for happy. My professional opinion is there’s nothing wrong with that… if you don’t believe me, just ask me some time.

So here are some samples of the tunes that touch my head or my heart (or both).  Some for fun, some for reflection, some about love…   Hope you enjoy.

Blithering Idiocy

We stole the grandsons from their parents tonight. The parents were not at all opposed to this, pretty sure they like a little alone time every now and then. Most of the time, we pick the boys up on a Friday evening, which as you all know is the day I wrote a story. Once upon a time, when our grandsons were much younger and more frivolous, I would beseech them to give me fodder for silly “Happy Friday!!!” stories. Alas, that time appears to be waning. Whether it be maturity (Huh?? What’s that??), or some sort of societal influence, I just don’t know. But for whatever reason, tonight pulling silliness from their noggins was more challenging than usual. These days, they’re laser focused on video games. That’s OK I suppose, but if they had their own way the games would be on 22.4 hours a day, 7 days a week. The remaining 1.6 hours would of course be reserved for eating and going to the bathroom. Anyway, shortly after we got to our house I asked them a favor.

“Hey guys, put the devices down for a few… I need some nonsense sentences for Happy Friday,” I announced. Their response: crickets. Figuratively speaking of course. In other words, they didn’t give me crickets, but when they stared at me silently with glazed eyes, I thought maybe some crickets should be singing in the background. I tried to kick things off.

“My elbows don’t reach to the floor anymore;” I blurted. Both of them smirked and chuckled a bit.

“Cheese,” Ollie replied. Sounded like a good start… so I implored them to continue, but again, crickets. Then I suggested something truly fun (at least I enjoy it greatly): opening the Notes app on the iPhone, and instead of typing, one presses the microphone icon and utters gibberish. Apparently, both boys were aghast at such a suggestion; as they both floundered and were unable to say anything silly. So again, I led the way.

My gibberish was transcribed into, “Marcus, nap and phlegm painting and bad snow Chi Amo.”

Then Ollie chimed in with a brief blurb, which became “Matinee.” “Good!” I exclaimed. Got anything else?

More crickets.

My turn again: “There’s no excuse for zucchini it doesn’t look anything like sheep.”

Gabe finally ventured an unintentional contribution: “I don’t have a word in my brain right now.”

To my surprise, my Beautiful Girlfriend piped up, and the phone was sure she said, “Minewood beach chocolate strawberries.”

Then the phone picked up some random chatter: “Myrtle verbal I don’t think it’s talking anymore. Oh there goes.”

“The marsupial ate my friends lunch again,” I added. “And then the marsupial threw up,” my Lovely Bride continued. To prevent the momentum from diminishing, I hit the microphone icon again and pointed at Gabe. He was speechless. I interjected, “You’re frightened of the phone? My nostrils are full of splinters again. Both of my egg shells ran away with the cheese maker!”

Ollie busted out with some more gibberish, which was transformed to “Tap the top sick restart.” Then he paused momentarily and dug up something on his phone: “The top 16 words that start with H are hack, handy, holy, humane, hilarious, handsome, handsomely, halo, heartening, heavenly, hunk, honorable, hood, humble, heart, and husband.”

“My husband is a coffee pot!” I replied. And finished the composition with that old saying that everyone knows: Snake snot slithers silently, stupendously, and stinky.

Whew!! That’s enough for one day, don’t you think??

Well except of course for the video fun…

Who Bellied Me??

Awright… I’m asking all the people who are still cramming garlic bread into their pencil sharpeners: Who The Heck Caused My Belly To Be So Darned Big?? If you are knowing the answer to this very important jingle clamor; please send a postcard to Ribbit, my pet USB drive that hides under the inkjet printer surprise folders.

I mean, hey, all I did was enjoy the food that my mouth found to be very delicious. Is that so bad?? Oh, I may have accidentally had a small sandwich late last night. But I was told that’s OK so long as you put the mayonnaise back in the mailbox before December 34th of the following equinox. Then there was the time that I found some cake in the fridge and it jumped into my mouth while I was watching episode 917 of The Ninkle Family Jumps Over The Fire. Of course, the 940 calorie imitation milk flavored chocolate juice food may not have been such a good idea to use for washing the cake down.

I really like cake.

Did they ever get that low calorie pizza on the market yet?? Pizza is one of my favorite vegetables. Some dear friends of ours treated us to pizza just yesterday; and it even had stuffed crust!! Believe it or don’t, never in my living life have I had stuffed crust before. I’m quite certain it had zero or perhaps even negative calories. I say this because pizza tastes so doggoned good, so therefore it cannot be harmful to eat just as much as my mouth can get into it. I did exercise some restraint last night, however. As a defattening measure, I ate from the fruit plate. This practice, of course, will nullify the caloric impact of all the heavy carbohydrates and cholesterol laden meats and cheeses that are such important ingredients in a good pizza.

Cheese and meat are two of my favorite vitamins.

My wife forced me to eat a lot of chocolate during the Holidays. This of course was preceded by my purchasing several bags of chocolatey delectables. We very much enjoyed watching movies and snarfing on bonbons. After my stash was demolished into our eagerly awaiting tongue cabins, a few days later she came back from the store announcing that she had a craving for Reese’s peanut butter holy moly thingies. Word to the wise: if you get the seasonal Reese’s, you know, the ones shaped like trees for Christmastime and the ones shaped like eggs for Easter; well those are the freshest and most yummy. The “generic” Reese’s peanut butter cups have a shelf life of, I think, 271 days. In spite of this, I’ve never been sad when eating Reese’s peanut butter chocolate covered holy moly blobs.

Candy is good for your bones.

Least but not last, you have pumpkin (pronounced PUN-kin) pie. I never use pumpkin for such pies; because my personal opinion is that pumpkin has very little flavor. No, I grew some truly wonderful hubbard squash this past year, and that is my favorite for pie making. Even before adding anything, it tastes very much like sweet potatoes. I was forced to make 3 of these this past holiday season. Well OK, one was for the Thanksgiving time. Then we had a delayed “Friendsgiving,” so because I had LOTS of squash and pie crusts come two in a package, well I just had to make two pies (one stayed home). My friends ask, “OK Kenny, is this pumpkin pie or squash pie??” And I reply, “Well first of all, pumpkin is squash, but this is made from hubbard squash.” Then they snork and say baroo to me and enjoy the pie when I serve it. Of course, punkin pie must always be served with real whipped cream.

Pie has vitamin P for pep!!

With all the wonderful eatings during the holiday times, something went wrong with the gravity in our house. I know this because when I stepped on the scale the other day, it read way higher than I thought was correct. I’m pretty sure it’s not the scale, because we bought a pretty good one and it was reading OK in October. Nope… I’m pretty sure that either someone is messing with our gravity calibration or maybe it has to do with the phase of the Wolf moon. This gravitational anomaly has caused my belly to appear larger than normal. Not sure what to do about all this. I’ve heard horrible utterings like maybe I should eat less and exercise more??


My New Year’s Ruminations For 2023

Greetings to all on this almost the last day of 2022. I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday universe these past several week months. Many of us have endured hardships and loss, but I submit that anyone reading this is a very blessed person. For why I am say this, I am ask with terrible grammar?? Because hey, if you are reading this, that means you are able to access the interwebs, AND you have a device that allows you to open silly web pages such as this one. Therefore and two wits, you are much more fortunate than many humans on this globe we call Earth.

Me too.

So hey, if we are blessed, then we also have room for improvement, right? Well I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m very sure that there’s lots of stuff I could probably do better. It is in this spirit of improvement, therefore, that I submit to you the following list of revulsions I either do or do not intend to embrace as methods of improvements for the New Year.

OK, here we go…

1, I hereby promise that I will write shorter sentences when I am trying to express myself with written words on a screen, on paper, or even on the sidewalk, because I’ve noticed that if I write sentences that are too long then people have difficulty controlling their breathing while reading them aloud to their children or even their pets; and hey, who knows, they may even want to read something to their toasters or perhaps even a passing praying mantis who has absolutely no concept of English or any other foreign language, much less be willing to be bored by a run-on sentence which obviously this has become.

So there.

L! I will do my best to improve the appearance of my garbage and recycling. Perhaps I could arrange the recycling in complex yet attractive geometric patterns; and in regard to garbage, well it’s just trash so the heck with it… it can just sit there like the garbage it is. I mean, who’s gonna care really?? Oh… you gonna call the Gobbich Police?? Well fooey on you, by golly dere!

9? Remember all those times I talked about losing weight? Well of course you don’t, you weren’t there!! So if you don’t remember, well just forget about it!! And even if you were there, just forget it also too in addition even!! Do you know how hard it is to keep weight off when you love to eat??? I mean c’mon awreddy!! Whatcha gonna do?? Call the Gobbich Police?? Oh wait… that was from before. Never mind, please.

Y* It’s possible that I sometimes am silly. Well this coming year, I hereby promise to continue to be silly. I’ll try a little harder not to be silly at inappropriate times. For example, it may not be appropriate to put my fingers in the meatballs at a potluck and use the gravy to accent my eyebrows. No, that would only be OK if the meatballs were really good and you want to make sure nobody else will go for them.

q7$ I will refrain from writing nonsense. Maybe. I’m not sure. Perhaps I could just send nonsensical text messages to loved ones. I have been known to send notes like: “I’m searching for bandersnag seeds so I can make yummy casseroles to sell online. So:  if you know anyone who remembers Johnny Wumpo And The Fleebs, please keep it to yourself. Thank you.” Or perhaps a silly poem… something like:


Gravy in my armpits, syrup on my knees,

buckets full of macaroni hanging from the trees. 

Images of all these things will stick inside my head. 

Hope I have a different dream when I go back to bed.

Oh heck, who am I kidding?? I love to write nonsense. Please erase item q7$.

But seriously folk, invariably someone will ask me if I have any New Year’s resolutions. I’ve had the same resolution, yes, just one, for several years now: Try to do better.

So I will.

I sincerely hope 2023 brings all of you good fortune and good health. And if you can’t have those, I will keep you in my prayers. But hey, I was gonna do that anyway.

Peace, Love, and Hugs,


Und now for ze video addition zings… und I haff no idea vie I am trying to write in a strange accent.

Here’s one for my friend Kurt… hope all of you will like it too.

The Blizzard Of 2022

So there I was, waking up at the crack of 9:30 AM, because I’m retired and that’s what happens when there’s no BEEEP BEEEP BEEP of the alarm clock yelling at my ears, although I did actually get my hiney out the door the other day at the terrible hour of 7 AM because a friend needed some help; but that’s not normal and I really enjoy sleeping in now that I don’t have to work for “the man” anymore and of course now I’m in the process of truly believing that this run-on sentence has gone far enough, thank you very much.


One nice thing about being retired is I have much more time to do frivolous things like prepare for a storm. We heat with firewood, so I was able to get plenty of sticks in the house this past Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a relatively new gas furnace we could use, but wood heat warms the bones much more nicely in our professional opinion. I also did something really silly: I unearthed the snowblower and made sure it actually works. Is that crazy or what?? The thing was buried… no not in the ground!! I mean, hey, I have no resentment that would be strong enough prompt me to bury our poor 1996 vintage Ariens snowblower. At least not in the dirt. No, this machine was used as a catch-all storage appliance for a partial roll of chicken wire, some carpet scraps, some empty bird feed bags, my brand new windshield wipers (still in the packages) and anything else I just wanted to plop down; all of course with the promise that “I’ll take care of that soon.” And guess what?? I took care of all the bric-a-brac and even swept the garage floor!! Then I filled the snow flinger with rocket fuel (our pet name for 92 octane, no ethanol gas), checked the oil, plugged in the cord for electric start, and VOILA!! It fired right up, and even works like a piece of pickled radio sausage in a psychedelic cabbage patch (with onions).

Maybe even better!!

Oh, and remember those brand new windshield wipers that were still in the packages?? Yeah, I bought those last spring… and hey, it’s really weird, but they made a big difference!! I can actually see through the windshield more gooder now!! Isn’t science wonderful??

Unless you live in a cave, you’re probably being inundated with reports of a “bomb cyclone” that’s attacking much of the country. Well back in the day, if something was “the bomb” it meant it was like really far out, really cool man. Like, totally. Well excuse me, but I see nothing “bomb” about this “bomb cyclone.” It’s a cyclone of sorts alright… I see the snow whirling about and piling up, a little over a foot so far by the looks of it. More on the way (Moron?? Who you callin’ moron??). Low temperature was 5.5° last night. That’s chilly… but still tropical compared to the subzero temperatures my relatives are enjoying in Wisconsin. Haven’t fired up the snowblower today because, hey, I’m retired! And my Beautiful Honey Pie doesn’t work till Sunday! So I’ll wriggle into my old Carhartt snow suit and brave the cold… tomorrow afternoon. The old Carhartt has served me well for over 20 years. Not sure how long ago I bought it… but it is really nice for this kind of weather. But when I say I’ll wriggle into it… I do mean wriggle. The guy who bought this thing originally was a bit slimmer than the guy who’s gonna wear it tomorrow.

I really like food.

So go ahead, Old Man Winter. We are ready for you here in Bear Swamp. From what I’ve seen so far, it ain’t nothin’ like The Blizzard of 1978. We had a blast that year, literally. If you didn’t have a snowmobile, you weren’t going anywhere. Nowhere near that bad outside this time. We had grandiose plans of spending the night of the 23rd and waking up Christmas Eve morning to play Santa with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons. In olden days, I would have thought that my excellent driving skills would make a mockery of the “Please don’t drive unless absolutely necessary” warnings. Fast forward to today when a) we are a little bit wiser, and 12) we are very aware that we are just plain too young to die. Thankfully we are being safe and staying home.

Well that’s enough out of me for today. Oh wait!! I would like to wish you all a Very Happy Merry, and a Truly Joyful Wonderful. Here’s hoping your Holidays find you happy, safe, and warm. There’s nobody like you, and I thank you for being who you are. And as I’ve often… well never really often, but sometimes have written: It’s better to be you than for you to be me, and although you can count to it, eight is a word.

Peace, Love, and Hugs to you ALL!!

So how about some seasonal cartoon stuff, eh? Ya shoor, youbetcha by golly dere.

An Open Letter Pleading That You Beware Of The Crazy Winter Driver

Dear Ladles and Jellyspoons,

I have come to the conclusion that snow induces seizures in many automobile drivers. This I am knowing because of the spastic manner in which people navigate their jalopy zoomers as soon as the weather changes. Now the reader must appreciate the sheer folly of this, because we live in Michigan and snow is not exactly a foreign substance here. It comes to visit us every single year, and every single year many snow belt residents seem to lose all their winter driving skills and commence to having seizures behind the wheel just as soon as the snow arrives.

Of course, these seizures are self induced, a direct result of drivers only looking as far as the end of their noses while assessing traffic situations. This is coupled with the idiocy factor, which seems to compel people to navigate their street rods as if they are the only person on the road. The end result is truly dangerous behavior that becomes very unsafe for them and all who might be around them. Of course, the idiocy factor is present all year long. Then the weather changes. Autumn brings rain, and as autumn slides into winter, the rain begins to freeze and then VOILA!! Snow. What a shocker, huh? Ya right… this is very normal for Michigan and all the rest of the Snow Belt.

So you have all these clam-headed tringlenorks behind the wheel who drive as if they have absolutely no clue about a simple yet amazing concept: snow and ice make the road slippery!!! Now who would ever have imagined such nonsense?? Well it’s true!! And hey, you know all those road hogs who think they will never get where they are going unless they go 98.36 mph?? Well they seem eager to zoom around even when it’s winter outside. Consequently, we see many of them in the ditch; or even worse, they get to enjoy testing the structural integrity of their car by doing a nice rollover or two. Today we were heading home from Grand Rapids and some poor soul decided to park their truck face first in a rather deep ditch.  Hopefully nobody was hurt.

It’s rather scary at times. I do my best to avoid getting stuck in a chain of cars. That’s a pile-up waiting to happen. So I keep my distance and keep the speed at a safe level. Then comes Mr. or Ms. HineyHugger. I’m sure what appears to be going through their minds is: “Oh, now that the snow has arrived, I must try to lick your bumper with my hood ornament at every possible opportunity.” This appears to be the mantra of tailgaters; who very soon enjoy crying and rolling in the ditch when the person in front of them has to hit the brakes. And all too many hit the brakes because of something like: “Holy Mackerel I Can’t See With All This Blowing Snow!! Oh Gosh There’s A Deer Or Maybe Not!! Who Just Sent Me A Text Message?? Where Is The Rest Of My Breakfast Burrito??!!” Suddenly they are sliding wildly; which increases their enjoyment of the wintry drive. They are especially happy after learning the effect that saplings have on the underside of their car. Unfortunately, however, these yo-yos not only might suffer injury, but also may drag other unwilling participants into the ditch party.

So I would like to close with a plea: Please, no matter where you are, drive safely to and from your home and / or your non-home universe; especially if you live in an area that enjoys seasonally frozen precipitation (not to be confused with seasoned waffle fries) and misinformed people who think they are excellent drivers but are actually eels in a small bowl of Jell-O with a nice lint frosting which is complemented by a run-on sentence just like this one.

You will know the eel-people by their affinity for car hiney hugging. Let them pass so they can enjoy their ditch races. It’s ironically wonderful when they are hopelessly stuck and try to drive out anyhow. Oh yes, they do enjoy the drilling of their tires into the muck so the wrecker has to bend its winches when trying to remove them from their itchy ditchy playgrounds.

Also, please PLEASE PLEASE never fight with other drivers!! ROAD RAGE KILLS. It also makes dead people out of living ones. There are people on the planet who will actually use their car for a weapon! And still others who keep loaded weapons in their cars!  Please be careful!

OK, enough of my venting. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and lots of people are bringing wonderful things for the taste flavors of your face and mouth parts. Please enjoy your everything and especially that nice treat that Auntie Whosamajigger brought for Holiday Face Stuffing Day. I like to rub cookies on my belly. Very good enjoyment, I’ll say.

Above all, be kind to everyone you meet. Even the wacko driver ninnies.

Perhaps some of us could get out of our cars and meet at the skating pond…

Three Cheers For The Landline!!

Please take a moment and raise your glass of cheesewater in a toast to our landline. “One, Two, Three, Hurray!!” Thank you. Hey… remember landlines? You know, non-cellular telephones that work even when the power is out? Those who know me understand that even though I’m a retired computer / electronics boy, I’m still living in the stone age when it comes to my “toys.” We still use an antenna for lots of our TV. Never had cable… never will. My computer is 12 years old and works great. My stereo (remember stereos??) is 20 years old and is also in fine shape. And yes, we still have a landline.

Well let me rephrase: we kept our landline number; which is in our house via a wireless base courtesy of Consumer Cellular. It connects to our old portable phones with the accompanying answering machine, and instead of shelling out $54 a month, we have the “landline” number active for a mere $14.75 a month. Initially, we figured we would keep the number because many people have it memorized; and we didn’t want to make them sad when they tried to call us. But we also received a surprise bonus: because we give online vendors the landline number, all the telemarketer calls go there. Well 99% of them do anyway. The wireless base would barf if we lost power, but it does a fine job screening calls for us in the meantime.

Those who know me are aware a tradition at our house is to have a very silly greeting on the answering machine. The current greeting, for example, goes thusly: “It’s nearly winter outside, I hope your nostrils are ready for the cold weather!! Leave a message after the tone… OK fine!” Sometimes I use a very thick accent to utter silly things. Bottom line is, those who know us will leave a message in spite of the silliness. Those who don’t know us are sometimes annoyed by the silly greeting, so as far as I’m concerned those folks can go bite large pieces of broken concrete. We do have caller ID on those old portables, so if we don’t recognize the number we simply don’t answer the phone.

Our cellphones are relatively spam free. However, occasionally I get some interesting texts from scammers trying to pose as legitimate businesses. These are in broken or poor English, and I actually get a kick out of reading them. Like this one for example:

[Information} We have to canceled your membership account on Netflix. To using your account as normally, you need to update your billing address. Click link below to update your account:

Best Regards,

Netflix, Inc.

Of course I did not transcribe the link as it appeared on my phone… I don’t want to harm anyone. Hopefully all of you are aware that if you get something lame like this, never never never NEVER click on the link. That’s how identity thieves and credit card fraudsters do their dirty deeds. I’m pretty sure scammers do what they do because they have nonfunctional and / or tiny reproductive organs. Every once in a while, I will actually pick up a call from a scammer just for the fun of it. Instead of giving them any of my information, I ask how the weather is or how their family is doing. I try to keep them on the phone for a bit… they are graded on how long they are on the phone to make a sale. And if they are on the phone for extra time with no sale, well that’s no good for them.

I’ve had times when “Microsoft” called to tell me that my “Windows certificate is about to expire” and my computer will quit working. Sadly, friends of mine have fallen for the “hey we’re Microsoft” scam. Let’s be clear: Microsoft will never call you about your computer. At least, not unless you are an IT professional and have a case open with them. So when “Microsoft” calls, I plead with the caller’s sense of morality. “Hey,” I ask,”isn’t there some honest work you can find with the talents you have??” And the response of course is… * click!! *

Well OK folks… gotta go. Amazon has called the “landline” number about a fraudulent order I supposedly placed. I have to press 1 to speak with a representative. Oh, and there’s a problem with my Social Security Account!! Oh God!! Oh God!! Oh holy crap my Medicare is all messed up too!!! Yaiiiyeee!!! Umm… OK yes I really do get calls like these; but no, they don’t get to talk to me. Instead, they are asked whether their nostrils are ready for cold weather.

Three cheers for the landline!!

For the video… are you ready for telephones with DIALS??

How about a nice extension phone??

Or perhaps you’d like to go mobile??

This one has a classic scene of the Three Stooges answering the phone. A lot of slapstick so that if that’s not your thing, feel free to pass it by.