If I Had A Million Dollars

So there I was, minding my own business when the Marvelous Company For Which I Work (MCFWIW) changed the vacation policy again and when I left my previous employer I had 4 weeks but could only negotiate 2 weeks and then I was starting to earn more vacation and they changed how quickly you can earn it so I had to wait for my 15th year anniversary to get my 4 weeks again but even though I was hired in February I have to wait till 2019 to take the 4 weeks and now they’re telling us that in the year I retire I no longer have 4 weeks at the beginning of the year; but because I’m retiring in March of 2020 I can take a whopping1/12th of 20 days which boils down to 3 1/3 days I can take before I retire and that makes me just a little bit annoyed; to the point where I even added yet more words to this run-on sentence which is beginning to fill the whole stinkin’ page.

Harrumph!!

Yes, I know I’m supposed to be grateful; and believe it or not, I really am. The job pays well and it’s close to home. Even though it’s a factory job, the place doesn’t stink. I’m not ingesting dangerous chemicals or licking any radioactive fence posts; I don’t have to run between furnaces that are running at 1400 degrees (I actually did have a job like that before) (the furnace things I mean). Nope, it’s just a lowly computer support job with lots of nice people who are doing their best to earn a living like me.

So I’m going to start playing the lottery and also take lots of quarters to the casino and maybe even try selling my nose hairs (I’ll tell folks they are clippings from really famous people) so I can get rich quick and not have to go to work anymore. Then I can afford the very best macaroni and cheese for dinner accompanied by a nice glass of vintage of Bear Swamp Tap Water (we really do have very good water); perhaps polished off with some Dingleberry Surprise for dessert with lots of fluffy cream and chocolate covered broccoli.

There’s only one problem with this plan: whenever I gamble, I lose. I’ve bought lottery tickets, and never even get close to the magic combination of numbers. I’ve also gone to the casino a few times. In those cases, I may as well just put some money in an envelope and leave it at the front desk or something. I haven’t tried selling my nose hairs; but I’ve never been very interested in bamboozling anyone so the “famous people clippings” idea would just be a lie that I’d probably suffer for somewhere down the road.

Nope, I’m just supposed to work a bit longer. There simply is no magical way out for me; and I’ve come to accept it. And that’s very OK… but I’ll still joke about it until I’m done. A nice young man once asked me, “hey Ken, how’s the job going?” I replied, “well, I’m too proud to be a bum; and I’m too chicken to be a criminal so I guess I’ll do this.” We both smiled a bit and went on our merry way.

It’s likely it would happen, but if I had a million dollars… well… I’d be rich!!

These guys elaborated on that point very nicely…

In Search Of Shabby Chic

A couple weeks ago, my Beautiful Girlfriend (you know, the one who let me marry her 45 years ago) asked me, “what do you want for our anniversary?”

“Nothing,” I replied. Well OK, I pretty much jiggled my eyebrows at her right after that, and she knew exactly what that meant. “You want that all the time,” she snorted. Yeah, I probably do. Hey, what man wouldn’t want to “tango” when you’re married to the Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe? Anyway, I reiterated that I really didn’t want for anything; so we picked out a ring for her and left it at that.

For a while…

Then I thought, well yes I think I do want something… a little getaway perhaps. Labor Day weekend is coming up, and and I had already put in for Friday as a vacation day. I thought it would be rather nice to spend a night at some local motel on the Lake Michigan shore. As luck would have it, Google helped me find just such a place. It’s called the Lakeshore Motel in Manistee, and the only thing between your room and Lake Michigan is sand. Considering the location, I was amazed at the price of a mere $110 for a night.

All the online reviews were stellar… very clean, very nice people, very comfortable. And we found out for ourselves that all that was indeed the case. One review cautioned that if you’re looking for a 5 star motel, this is not it. And we found out for ourselves that this was indeed the case. And yes I know I just wrote the very same sentence twice.

I’m pretty sure the motel was built around the time we were… meaning it’s gotta date back to at least 1960. And although it was very clean and comfortable, I’m not sure anything has changed much since that time. I was pointing out some of the more interesting “features” of the room to my Lovely Bride; and she says, “yes, this is called ‘shabby chic,’ it’s really popular these days.” “Dunno,” I retorted, “I’m thinking this might be just plain shabby.” So of course I had to go to Google and search for this “shabby chic,” and yes, my Beautiful Girlfriend was right, it’s a thing!! But I mean hey, check out this lamp (click on the picture for a better view)…

Weird…

Anyway, we really did love the location. And we really did have a comfortable, clean bed; and a cozy “shabby chic (?),” very clean room. And some interesting little melmac cups for coffee in the morning.

Who knows? We might just do it again!!

After all, it was nothing  “The Cobweb Hotel”…

Fast Lane Follies

Well I suppose I’m overdue to express my sadness by crying in my dog food about the driving ninnies. I’m really loving summer though… the lack of snow means we don’t have to worry about sliding into the ditch as we leave our driveway. No more hitting the windshield with a sledgehammer to remove those pesky chunks of ice. Nope… these days we can crank the windows DOWN and crank the tunes UP. Coolness!

Unfortunately, with every silver cloud comes a grey lining. Warm weather kicks in a well known ailment in some people. Officially, I just named this disease auto-idiotica, and many of you know this age-old affliction as, “hey you with the Cracker Jacks driver’s license!!”

You know what I mean. Stupid flameheaded wombats that believe they’re the only ones on the road. You’re in their way, so watch carefully. These people have dog breath and improper grooming habits, and are EVERYWHERE. Some symptoms are: weaving in and out of traffic, severe tailgate-itis, driving 130 mph over the limit, and passing on the right on a two lane road. At intersections. While honking. Although they are ignorant of the fact, idiot drivers have chicken lips, and are known to cavort with barnyard animals during Mardi Gras.

Used to be a time when moronic motorists were restricted to the male population. Unfortunately, however, women are learning from us dudes, and are beginning to do the “tailgate-till-you-move” dance when you’re going less than 85 mph in the right lane on the expressway. It never matters that you’re already going five over the limit and are sanely going past Grandma and Grampa Sightseer. But as far as numbers, dumdum boy drivers still far outnumber dodo girl drivers.

I’m still truly compressed by the number of mush-minded monkeys that try to pull the trim off my car as they fly past me on the expressway. Hey, the limit in Michigan is already 70. Nobody really needs to go more than 75, ok? It just ain’t safe! Sure, you can go, but try to safely miss that deer or broken car. Maybe I’m getting to be an old fart. At least some “kids” (30 and younger) would label me so. But because I’m over 60 I remember the high speed limits from the beforetimes. Before the Arab oil embargo (say wha??). A lot of people raced around back then, and ended up being “dead on time.”

Very sad, the road rage that is spreading these days. Too many people in a terrible hurry. And of course if you are “in their way” they will show the likes of you. Especially if you drive cautiously like I do; meaning I usually try to observe those crazy “Speed Limit” signs. I can almost hear them…

“Watch this, Mr. SlowPoke Minivan Cruise Control Person! Watch while I remove a few thousand miles worth of wear by vaporizing the surface of my tires! Watch how well I can ruin my transmission! Ha ha! I shall show the likes of you! I’ll accelerate wildly so I can tailgate the next jerkface who has the nerve to drive courteously!! Then I’ll pass on the right, and also on the left. But just to show you I mean business, I’ll wait for oncoming traffic and barely pull back in on time! Ha ha! I listen to the COOLEST music very loudly and am ruining my hearing with 92 inch woofers! Boy are you stupid!!”

Such intelligent beings are often mystified when they receive a ticket. After all, it was not their fault they were going 84 that day, because that cop is NEVER there! Or… they run the same stop sign all the time, BECAUSE THEY LIVE THERE and there’s NEVER ANY TRAFFIC. Oh, and not to forget the folks who weave and poke along like they’re drunk. Some really ARE drunk, but the others are texting.

I don’t want the reader to get any funny ideas about the possibility that reckless driving scares me or anything. It PETRIFIES me. Wanna know why? Because I used to be a Mr. Moron Motorist! Been there, done that! Thank God I never hurt anyone. I did, however, manage to rack up many tickets in younger days. Too many. But boy, the insurance company was happy with me!! I wanted to continue driving, and they were only too happy to take lots of my money in exchange for minimal coverage.

Lucky for me, I finally learned; albeit the hard way. Haven’t had so much as a parking ticket since 1982. This is a good thing. I can breathe much more easily, and so can my wallet. It’s always empty anyway, but at least it’s not red when I put a nice, crisp dollar bill in there.

So, I can spot ’em a mile away now, and know pretty much what they’re gonna do when they get up near me. I just let them go by. Safer that way. I paid my dues, and I’m sure they’ll pay theirs in one form or another.

Anybody seen the keys to my Slow Poke Minivan Cruise Control Zooming Machine?

Folks just need to chill out and slow down…

God Only Knows

It’s August outside, and if you have read any previous “Happy Friday!!!” snippets, then you might well be able to guess what I’m going to write about tonight.

Hints:

A) It’s August outside… hot weather… dog days of summer.

9) Tuesday will be the 21st of the month…. getting warmer?

Blue) The writing will be about what I believe is something really cool; and

6!) It’s something that always makes me happy.

OK… give up? Let’s see… August, hot weather, really cool… makes me happy. Hmm. Must be…

ICE CREAM!!

Ummm… No. Although My Beautiful Girlfriend just came back from the movies and we did get ice cream on the way home. Yes that’s right boys and girls, we still go to the movies. And we even like movies about comic book characters. Tonight it was “Ant-Man And The Wasp;” a simply marvelous Marvel film. Lots of fun. Oh hey, and if you’re a Marvel movie fan, you know that there’s always some fun little clips that follow the movie; and there’s often something after all the credits have rolled though completely.

Yes. We went on a spontaneous date. I came home from work, and was reminiscing about the little tiff we had the night before. You see, we inherited this rental duplex thing where our son lives and the rental side had The Tenants From Hell in there for way too long and their animals forgot that carpets are not for potty and maybe the people forgot that too we don’t know but it stunk to high heaven so we got some cleaner folks in there to try to make better and they tried their best but the carpet turned out to be too far gone so now we’re having flooring folks put new carpet and also some vinyl floor in and gee it sure would be nice if we could spend some money on our own doggoned house but first we gotta do this and it sure is making us both crabby and we start harrmumphing for no good reason and get a bit pissy and then we kiss and make up and HOLY COW I’m sure glad that kind of crap doesn’t last very long anymore like it used to when we were only a couple days / months / years married but we basically grew up together and I REALLY HOPE nobody is reading this run-on sentence in one breath because if you are we need to call the Guinness Book Of World Records People RIGHT NOW!!

Whew!! That was a big one.

So yes, our marriage flows much more naturally now; and our harmonious times are about 99.9% and our “leave me alone or I’ll bite you” only lasts for about 0.1 % of the time.  Probably less. I guess that’s what 45 years of marriage will do if you work at it.

WAIT!! That’s it!! The thing I was gonna have you guess about!! The 21st of August is our anniversary, and this will be 45 years for us!! Sheesh!! Where did all the time go??

God Only Knows.”

I capitalized “God Only Knows” and put it in quotes because it relates not only to my bewilderment at the very fast passage of time, but it also happens to be the title of a song we’ve been singing to each other lately. The lyrics are very simple, yet profound; at least in my professional opinion. I was reading about the development of the song by Brian Wilson (of Beach Boys fame) and Tony Asher; and they were worried that because the word “God” was in the title it would never get any air play. Brian Wilson believed that “God” could mean any interpretation of our Great Spirit; but the concern was that there would never be any popularity of a song with such a title.

Boy am I glad they were wrong.

The song was recorded in 1966; and here’s a more recent but very nice BBC music version I found on the You Tubes recently.  Sing along with me if you like… but I warn you… sometimes I get mushy.

Looking Forward To: Celebration Time!!

WARNING!!  THE FOLLOWING STORM IS LACED WITH LARGE DOSES OF
PURE NONSENSE.  IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ASSIMILATE SUCH COMPLETE
SILLINESS, DISCARD THIS DOCUMENT IMMEDIATELY, IF NOT SOONER.
*************************************************************

Many of you may know this already, but I’ll say it again anyhow.  I am married.  Not only that, I married The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe (FYI: all other women are The Second Most Beautiful), and we are very happy. This horrible marriage event occurred 44 years ago; and if we make it till August 21 it will be 45 years!! Is that crompulary or what?? We are best friends, and even love each other enough to smooch and all that other married people stuff. There appears to be no cure for our amplification.

So, on or about August 21, the date of our welding happen thing, we will probably go on our annual honeymoon. This reminds me of one of my favorite honeymoon outings at a nice getaway called the Hotel Frankfurter Hotdog Ranch, where you shell out $19.75 (or more, depending on the type of honeymoon suite you want) for a room, dinner and breakfast for two, taxes and tips all included in the bill.  Very nice.

Back in 1876, or perhaps it was another year, I don’t know, I had booked a Ranch Room 22 years in advance, as a surprise.  Finally the big day arrived.  There we were, in the 1971 Maverick we never owned, galumping along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and suddenly several policemen sang polkas to us while blue smoke from our tailpipe gases filled their eyebrows.  Then we started the engine and headed Up North to Frankfort ya shoor youbetcha by golly dere (dey are NOT yoopers dere… I just trew dat in for da halibut).

With an average speed of 12.7 mph, we made it to Frankfort in a record twelve days.  Several parts of the car were missing when we arrived, but we just figured the noises were from that funny rope we substituted for the fan belt back in ’83.  The hotel was everything we never expected it to be. Deep green clouds of putrid dust belched from the chimneys of the honeymoon suites.  We turned to each other and winked, knowing that it would soon be OUR turn to ignite those famous bricks of dehydrated pond scum.  At the main entrance, we backed up several yards and then ran through the masking tape barrier they put up to greet arriving guests.  On the other side, the staff greeted us in their traditional lizard suits, urging us to bring them insects from the nearby chocolate shop.

After checking in, we decided to take a stroll down to the pier before dinner.  There we found very sad fishermen chained to huge iron pilings.  To our amazement, that very moment they were sold into slavery and commissioned to teach giant squid how to read and write.  The squid plopped themselves on the pier and wouldn’t move to let us by, so we did our best to comfort the fish holders, who ate oversized jelly beans while they cried out for extra ballpoint pens.  Suddenly, I had a terrible sinking feeling…

“My Mom knew this would happen,” I uttered.

“What? She knew WHAT would happen,” Kathy asked.

“My left leg just turned into scrambled eggs,” I pouted.

Kathy scolded me, saying, “Kenny, get the heck out of that broken sewage line!!  This is no time for stink-o-rama!!”  I apologized diversely, and she promised to make some sock puppets when we got home.  She knows I’m a sucker for a bucket of removable training shingles (ching-ching!!).

We went back to the Ranch and waited in the basement to be called to dinner.  I must point out that this was my least favorite part of our celebration.  I couldn’t find the light, so of course I tripped over the giant rusty telephone and nearly fell into the washed popcorn they pulled from the dryer lint trap.  Our reservation was finally stained, and we were shown to our topsoil.

Dining at “The Ranch” is nothing short of elegant.  The long, dark hallway’s cracked cinder blocks are accented by the flickering light of Bunsen burners at each desk.  I had to sit on the side opposite the chair slide-in place, but that didn’t dampen my moisture.  I ordered fill-it magnum, and Kathy got shrimp on the half shell.  We shared and split the entrees down the middle with a chain saw and splitting maul.  Our waiter forced us to watch “Little Lulu” cartoons while we awaited the arrival of the meal.  But that was OK; because halfway through the 37th cartoon, Kathy’s mood had been visibly altered.  She gazed at me longingly, as if I was the next course, then began nibbling her napkin and pressing her butter knife flat against her eyebrows.  What a woman!!

Dessert, of course, was the house specialty, “Frankfurter Hotel Rocky Ranch Hot Dog Heaven,” made with fresh hot dogs that were caught the previous Wednesday.  They do magical things with mystery meat.  We were awestruck by the lovely appearance of the dish and the surprisingly delectable cherry sauce and imitation peppermint rice filled avocado pebble crunch with boat scrapings and black mold filter cream toppings.

After completely filling our tummies, the Rollers came and boofed us up the stairs to our room.  Special humor was exploding as they let us roll downstairs 23 times before the last upheaval; after which they finally shoved us into the room and slammed the room shut on us.  We laughed most jolly and tried to reach the pondscum fireplace with our bellies dragging on the floor, splinters in our garments and happy broken belt loops.  Needless to say, Kathy did the napkin-nibbling butter knife eyebrow thing the rest of the night, and I responded in turn by recycling the flypaper in the master cylinder accusation chamber.

You can bet we’ll be back again some other anniversary.  Until then, please deform all your friends and neighbors.  Their armpit hair, after all, will soon be converted into satellite receivers.  Now please pass those hot dogs!!

Oh… one last thing:  it has occurred to me that because I am older than most compost, many of you have never heard of nor seen a “Little LuLu” cartoon.  Well here’s one from 1945…

My Father Smelt Of Elderberries!!

OK, my father didn’t really smell of elderberries.  But he was the one who first told me about these lovely fruits of Nature when I was very young.  I remember when I first tasted them I found them a little less than wonderful.  However if you catch them at just the right time they are palatable.  Trouble is, the “right time” can slip away very quickly.  They ripen slowly over many weeks and then kaboom!! they explode on you as you walk along the trail.  Well OK maybe there’s no kaboom!! Seriously, they are only in their prime for a few days and then they become bitter.

Here in Beautiful West Michigan, elderberry bushes can be seen blooming everywhere. I see them every day, and some are making berries already. In a few weeks they’ll turn a dark purple, and they are ready to pick when the stems that support the cluster of berries also turns purple. The trick is to get them before the birds do… but I always leave some for the birds.

Elderberries have been used for eons, both for medicinal and culinary purposes.  Personally I’m trying to start a “revival” of the use of elderberries.  I say “revival,” because for many moons I would mention to people, “I picked a mess of elderberries over the weekend.”  They would smile politely and then ask, “what are elderberries??”  Many have heard about them in songs and whatnot, but it seems that the vast majority of people have not noticed them at all, much less picked them. Beautiful West Michigan is blessed with lots of water, and elderberries really like living near water.  You can see them along the roadsides (and elsewhere of course); large bushes with big white flower clusters that mature into the beautiful dark purple fruits.

If you ever get the notion to pick them, DO NOT be silly and try to pick them one at a time.  You’ll go crazy I tell you!!  You’ll be working for hours and get maybe a few cups of berries.  The best way I’ve found is to cut the berry clusters from the plant and drop them in your shopping bag.  Those plastic grocery bags from the store perfect for this, but make sure you take some that don’t have any holes in the bottom.  Bring a pair of scissors or maybe a sharp pocket knife and cut the berry cluster at the stem that connects it to the plant.  Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, please follow this very important rule:  always leave some for the birds.

Thank you.

Then take them home when you get your quota and prepare to spend at least an hour processing about a gallon of berries off the stems and into a container.  I find it good meditation to pick up the clusters one at a time and roll the berries off the stem gently with your fingers.  Your fingers get a bit purple from this, but it’s not permanent.  If you’re lucky like me you may have a beautiful and devoted spouse who will actually help process the berries. After we’re done, we just chuck them in the freezer. When you want to use them, just bonk them a little to loosen them up and then scoop what you need out of the freezer bag.

So why go through all this hassle?  Well folks, there’s simply nothing quite like elderberry pie with a glob of Breyer’s vanilla ice cream on top.  Making the pie is at least 197% easy.   First of all, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cheat on the crust.  I buy the crusts at the store from the dairy case.

Hey if you want to make your own crust, knock yourself out.  I mean that figuratively of course.  Wouldn’t be very pleasant if you really knocked yourself out.  Lots of people have told me that “crust is easy!!”  Looks to messy to me.  When it comes to making crust from scratch, I’m a lazy wuss, OK??

Other than that, I follow the same recipe for elderberry pie as I do for blueberry:

3 to 4 cups of elderberries

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoon of flower

1 drizzling of honey

Mix these up in a bowl and pour them into a 9 inch deep dish pie pan with crust.  Take a spoon and fill the rest of the pie with more berries until you’ve filled the pie pan.  Then drizzle the top with just a bit of honey, and this is because elderberries are quite tart and just a little more sweetening is a good touch but certainly not necessary.  Cover the pie with the other cheating crust and poke some holes in it so the steam will vent out.  Cook in the oven at about 350 or 400 till the crust is nice and brown, or about 45 minutes.

I’ve also been known to make what I call “bluederberry pie,” in which I mix 1 part elderberries to 3 parts blueberries. Oh my, that’s good!

Then the fun part:  STUFF YOUR FACE!!  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!

So enjoy your elderberries, but when they start to come, don’t delay, they’ll be gone before you know it.  And if you don’t want any of such silly treats, that’s just fine.

That’s more for me!!

Now, regarding my father.. he was a full blooded Norwegian, so he probably smelt more of lingonberries, or perhaps even cod.  However, one of my favorite “insults” that I occasionally repeat aloud comes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  One of my favorite movies of all time contains a boisterous proclamation from John Cleese:  “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!!”

Here’s a fun clip:

Berg Snerfles By Request

There’s a tradition at our house: when the grandkids are visiting, we watch cartoons till it’s late outside. My brain was running out of steam, so I asked our oldest grandson for some writing inspiration.

“What should I write about tonight, Ollie?” I asked, looking for ideas.

“Berg Snerfles that live on Mars,” Ollie replied.

“Bird snergles?” I wondered aloud.

Berg Snerfles,” Ollie retorted.

Once more, for verification, I asked, “Berg Snerfles??”

“Yes,” he said, “Berg Snerfles Who Live On Mars.”

“OK,” I replied, “I’ll see what I can do.”

So without any further ado, here goes…


Berg Snerfles Who Live On Mars

by Ken Hansen

Back in the day, which was the day before a few thousand days before today, on a Saturday, a large, pickle shaped meteorite fell to Earth with great screeching and flaming and smoke and kaboom. All the local folk saw it land in Clem Barfington’s corn field; and it seemed like just as soon as it hit the ground there was a crowd of curiosity seekers closing in to check it out.

Several minutes after the meteorite landed, there was still quite a bit of smoke floating up from the cornfield crater. However, the smoke was very strange… it was bright orange with green and purple stripes; and had a very unique odor. Cindy Tringletoes was pretty close to the site, and had been breathing some of this strange vapor as the crowd grew. Suddenly, her eyes opened really wide as she took a couple long, deep sniffs. Then her face kind of twisted sideways as she started speaking out of the left side of her mouth and said, “hmmm… smells like a combination of Zanga fruit and brope noodles!!”

After Cindy’s strange announcement, her Mom started to ask her what the HECK she was talking about; but was interrupted by a faint tapping noise coming from inside the meteorite. The tapping grew louder… louder… LOUDER and was quickly followed by a shrill noise as a part of the meteorite began to move. The movement continued and it quickly became apparent that some kind of door was opening out of the meteorite. The crowd gasped and stepped back quickly; and Steve Woofclank blurted out, “ummm folks?? This here ain’t no meteorite!!” Of course by this time the crowd was pretty aware they were witnessing something very strange.

The door opened completely and two strange beings climbed up from inside; and stepped out of what the crowd now knew to be some sort of space ship. A hush fell over the crowd as they stared in amazement. None of the townspeople had ever seen beings from outer space before; and the bright orange skin with green and purple stripes (very much like the strange smoke) fascinated them to the point that they all stood very still with their mouths open.

The beings sensed that the crowd was amazed, and maybe even a bit frightened by what they were seeing; so they quickly spoke through their cravnabs to introduce themselves. And yes, like every strange story about space beings, the visitors knew English…

“Hello Fellow Universe Beings!!” the first visitor said. “My name is Wognob, and this is my wife Bleeftok. We are Berg Snerfles from Mars, but I think we made a wrong turn near your moon. Hope we didn’t mess up your corn crop too badly when we landed.” After Wognob uttered his greeting, he turned to his wife and whispered, “oh my these strange beings are rather weird looking, aren’t they??” Bleeftok pinched Wognob’s cribnoot and whispered back, “the Creators made all beings in the Universe, we must not be rude to them even if we find them homely and smelling like Martian fish food.”

Then Bleeftok spoke up and said, “we need to get back to Mars soon because we’re missing the Celebration of Chiggles. But we’ll need some fuel and we hope you can help us.” Cindy Tringletoes, still very wide-eyed, walked up to them and asked, “I will help… what can I do?” “Well,” Wognob said abruptly, “we believe your Earth has just the fuel we need. We’ve been receiving your television signals for many years, and we are pretty sure that if we could get some of your Lucky Charms and a little milk that would help quite a bit.”

Very quickly, Bleeftok turned to Wognob with a puzzled look and asked, “how will that help our fuel situation??” Wognob’s face turned turquoise as he looked at the ground and said, “OK it won’t, but I’m hungry.” The crowd laughed, but Cindy and Steve took off and quickly returned with several boxes of cereal, some milk, bowls, and spoons. It wasn’t long before everyone was sitting down while munching on Lucky Charms and telling stories about their children and the upcoming Firefly Festival.

Bleeftok ate her share and stood up to thank everyone. “We very much appreciate your hospitality,” she said happily. “Now if we could just get a few hundred gallons of maple syrup and a pack of matches we can be on our way.” George Frocksnibble shouted from the back, “I have a load of syrup on the back of my pickup truck you can have!!” “That’s right neighborly of you, George,” said Bleeftok. So George backed his truck up near the space ship and Bleeftok jumped aboard and began slurping ALL the syrup out of the containers. Afterward, she got some matches from Brenda Shortsnout and pushed them into her left air sniffler.

Bleeftok’s head began to wiggle strangely as she ran back into the space ship. Suddenly, what sounded like a huge sneeze came thundering out of the belly of the ship; and very soon afterward the outside lights started flashing as a whirring noise seemed to signify that the spaceship was starting up. With a startled look, Wognob dropped his bowl of cereal and ran over to the door of the ship and shouted a few things to Bleeftok, who was still inside. With a few nods of his head, he turned to the crowd, smiled, and shouted, “sorry kids!! Gotta go!! Thanks for everything!!” Then he jumped inside and the hatch closed behind him.

The space ship shuddered a bit, then rose slowly as more orange smoke with green and purple stripes began to flow away from the landing site and over the crowd. Finally, there was a very large farting sound and the ship was gone. After getting a few sniffs of the weird smoke, the crowd all became very wide eyed and smiled broadly as they started reciting Martian poetry and did the Elbow Hooking Dance.

Wognob and Bleeftok were very grateful for all the help they received, and have been leaving messages of thanks on the insides of boxes of Lucky Charms ever since.

The End (…for now)

Tune in again some other time when another grandson requested story comes tumbling out of the Happy Friday keyboard!!

Sniff The Dog Wisely

Warning:  the following installment of Frappy Hiday contains large amounts of nonsense and intestinal worms.  Do not read any further if you are prone to sleeping with rubber bands in your cereal or have an allergic reaction to sense that makes no things. 

What the heck kind of title is that?  Anyhow???   Is this going to be one of those stupid dog butt sniffing stories?? Come to think of it, I’m not sure I know any dog butt sniffing stories.  I could maybe make one up, but there’s really nothing you can buy with three nickels anymore.  So why would I sniff the butt’s dog?  My friend Musky da sniffed a butt’s dog recently, and he seemed to be very intent with this activity.  Does this mean that sniff dogging is similar to wise wondering?

No, this is an adventure in stress relief.  You see, I’m being a bit indulgent here… and I’m going to just crack open a jar of petroleum jelly and a box of crackers, and make a nice snack that not only sticks to your ribs but lubes the bones and coats the skin with a nice shiny paragraph on Al Gore and his TV Dinners.  Then I’ll wash it all down with a nice tall glass of dry ice.   Work has presented numerous “challenges” of late, ok?  I placed “challenges” in “quotes” because there are some “people” who are getting on my “nerves” and I would love to “choke” them but I don’t want to go to “jail” just because the “kakaheads” are making me “crazy.”  You “know” what I “mean??”

Then there’s the “guy at work” who seems bell lent for heather to “drive me up a tree” and I don’t even have a seat belt for that tree or anything.  No air bags neither.  No smell phone to stick in my ear so I can drive like a zombie and crash into a giant salami.  I mean hey, if someone is determined to “tree me up a drive,” the very least that person could do is provide air conditioning and a hybrid engine that gets well over 93 miles to a gallon of ice cream.

Am I right or am I wrong??

Of course I am!!

I’m keenly aware that the only “solution” to letting someone “up me tree a drive” is to tune out their bullroni and strongly suggest that nasal cheese insertion be performed.  The instructions would come in a format very much like this:

“Hey you with the face!  For why you are asking for my resistance with these things you require yesterday or the day before, but you’ve jumped into this ‘project’ with no planning ahead or even knowing what the do you are hecking??  Are you in the want of pickled toilet paper?  I am now urging you vehemently to cram large cheese globs in your nose to enhance your breathing!!  And while you’re at it, why don’t you place your tongue in that electrical box over yonder??  That box needs testing, and you’ve just the tongue to do it!”

This, I am sure, is the only true way to diplomatically tell  flame-headed wombats just how wonderful you feel about  their actions.

Don’t you agree??

Of course I do!

I was also very compressed at the driving ability of one total bark-eating numbskull just yesterday.  There I was, careening down the boulevard in my 2014 racing Toyota Sienna, and going the legal speed limit or even less, and some tonk-mookler decided to pass me with less than 2 millimeters clearance between his bumper and my front fender with no regard for the safety of any insects or other humans.  I mean, this tampon-brain forced me into the evasive “holy cow” maneuver.  Then of course he (or she??) proceeded to cut off numerous other innocent sidebanders while zipping in and out of traffic.   Now THAT’S intelligence, don’t ya think?  Seedless to nay, I had a few opinions which instantly arose from my brain and out of my mouth as I flailed the steering wheel about while I tried to prevent the kersmooshing of metal objects and finely crafted petrochemicals.

Now, believe me, I understand that people don’t intentionally do things TO me, they just DO THINGS.  But sometimes I just let it get to me and then I go find a bug and try to teach it to sing karaoke.  I try to be tolerant of people who are less than wonderful…   I think I’m getting better at being nice these days; but while my eyes and mouth are being pleasantly neutral, my mind is screaming at the top of its lungs:

“HOLY MACKEREL, WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BREATHE ON THIS PLANET??  I’M BECOMING CONVINCED THAT YOU NEED TO EAT BARK AND POOP AT THE MOON!!”

This is not very kind, so I’m very grateful that I don’t often react with nastiness to those type of folks.  Anymore.  Used to be I would actually SAY  the things that my mouth wanted to spit, but then I’d have to apologize and offer expensive candy or something.  Maybe that’s part of getting old enough to remember when the Beatles came over on the Mayflower, I dunno.  But I DO know that stress is a very small pair of pajamas that seek dogfood in a jar of jellybeans.  So the next time I get angry, please remind me that there really is a bus that has one way tickets to Indianapolis.  I don’t really want to go there, but if I never run away again it will be the next time.

I had an ice cream cone today.  That was helpful. And in spite of the intense heat, most of this tasty treat went into my mouth.

Perhaps I need a new job. You know, where the stress is zero minus 173 and you get paid for loafing. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello did a nice bit about just that very subject…

The Miracle of Healing: Old Ouch vs. Young Ouch

This past year I turned 64, which of course makes me older than compost. When I was a youngster, dinosaurs still listened to radios with vacuum tubes inside them, and telephones had these weird things called “rotary dials.” Ahh, the good old days. I call them the good old days because when I was a kid it seemed like my body could really take a beating and bounce back for more.

No, this did NOT mean I was out picking fights. I was way too chicken for any of that monkey business. I’m talking about things like riding my big Columbia bike as fast as I could into a hurricane fence, just because I was convinced that this bike was the toughest thing on wheels. Of course, I became airborne when the bike stopped suddenly, but I got away with a few bruises and bumps and went on to the next self-destructive play adventure. Healing up didn’t seem to take too long in those days; and for the most part I could endure lots of bodily clunkings with little residual effect.

But now…

So like there I was, minding my own business, mowing the lawn, when I barely brushed past a wild rose bush; and it scratched my skin. Didn’t hurt much, I mean I knew I was coming up to some thorny stuff. Felt a little scratchy ouching, nothing very intense at all, and a few moments later my arm feels wet. I’M BLEEDING!!! AYYYYYEEEEEE!!! Well OK, I didn’t shriek… but I was amazed at how thin my epidermis has become. Sheesh!! In the “good old days” I would have had a few light scratch marks and maybe just a trace of bleeding.

Oh… and another time… I was playing with our grandson, and decided, “what fun it would be if I ran backwards in a very vigorous manner!!” I said this silently to my self in just that exact way. Or not. Anyway, the next day, my heel hurt like a Giant Squid had impaled me with a Huge Stabbing Thing while I was Using Capital Letters in a Silly and Ridiculous Rant. But seriously, it hurted me awreddy!! Finally went to a physical therapist after a few days, and they said, “oh, you have plantar fasciitis.” To which I politely replied, “Do what??” And they explained further, “yes, you injured the ligament in your heel. Do these stretching exercises and get some inserts for your shoes. In the meantime, be more careful and quit pretending you are 13 with the backward zooming ouch happenings.”

They may not have said it exactly that way… but after a few months… MONTHS… the foot thing finally healed up.

So there I was again, wrapping up a skid full of printers at work, going around and around and around and around (and I didn’t barf from being dizzy) with the shrink wrap roll thing, and on one of the around and arounds, I clunked the 1-inch thick glass table top with my shin bone; and I said many bad words, and began to walk in a limpy way, and thankfully not only did I have the inclination to describe this just now in a very long run-on sentence but I also had some ice in the refrigerator in my work cave (an old server room) so I could elevate my leg and put ice on it and Google what I did (and HOLY COW this can take weeks to heal???); and I’m SO GLAD I put ice on it right away because it helped a WHOLE LOT; but such an ouchy booboo can indeed take weeks to heal and the injury and swelling migrate downward toward your ankles more aspirin please OH GOD I’m gonna DIE from a blood clot, no I’m eating aspirin 2 or 3 times a day, breathe… breathe… and sheesh I think this may be the longest sentence EVER so I’ll stop now.

And it’s finally going back to normal after like 3 weeks.

OK. So the moral of the story is: young ouch is better than old ouch. Well sometimes… I suppose it depends on how big the ouching is.

But as the great Henny Youngman used to say:

“Doctor!! It hurts when I do this!! So the doctor says, ‘DON’T DO THAT!!’”

“Get Your Head Out Of Your A_ _ _”

Don’t be frightened by the title… this is and always shall be a “family site;” meaning no smut or cussing allowed. Believe it or not, if the letters were not blanked out; there still would be no cussing… if you look closely you’ll notice that the last word has 4 letters (the A plus 3 blanks) instead of the naughtier 3.

Anyway, ever admire someone even though you’ve never met them? Well, on my way to work each day I pass by the Glenpark Animal Hospital here in Beautiful Muskegon Michigan. They have one of those signs that allow them to change the letters; and they do so regularly. Sometimes the message is serious; like reminders for folks to treat their furry friends for fleas and heartworms. Other times, it’s rather amusing; like:

“STOP ANIMAL TESTING: THEY DON’T PAY ATTENTION AND GET WRONG ANSWERS.”

Or…

“FREE KITTENS AND MIRACLE CURES ARE FALSE ADVERTISING.”

There were many more funny ones, but those two stuck in my mind for some reason. My current favorite (which happens to be their current message) is:

“GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR APPS.”

That one made me laugh bigly; and even though I’ve seen “bigly” in use on the interwebs, it’s not even a real word; but then again neither is “interwebs,” but both of these fake words are fun to say and type, and additionally it gives me an excuse to write a long overdue run-on sentence that rambles along like a chicken with no DVD player; all the while using commas and semicolons in a most confusing but almost grammatically correct manner.

But who cares… let’s get back to the removal of one’s head from their apps. You see, I’ve been a computer flunky for many Earth years; and a techno-flunky before that. I’ve seen a few changes along the way… from state of the art vacuum tube equipment to the amazing solid state (that’s old speak for “no vacuum tubes”) stuff we have today. Have you ever smelled a vacuum tube? Don’t put it in your nose while it’s warm!! OUCH!! Oh yeah… the apps thing. I’m getting there…

As devices became more portable, of course more and more people started carrying them around. Got to the point where many folks wouldn’t go anywhere without their battery powered stuff. And of course a few more Earth decades passed; ushering more and more radical change as the Earth times became the now times.

Huh??

Yes; have some.

So here we are, in the digital age, where personal privacy is rapidly losing its importance. I say this because as more and more people install more and more apps on their phones; more and more information about their shopping habits, whereabouts, even recreational tendencies is being given away to be scooped up by marketeers and in some cases, fraudsters. Folks everywhere are seen with their noses nearly smudging their smartphone screens; and they are often so involved with their device that they’ve become oblivious to their surroundings.

So even though I laughed bigly at the notion of folks being told to get their heads out of their apps; I admire the Glenpark Animal Hospital for the urging. Might be a good idea for all of us in these “Modern Times” to pay less attention to techno-toys and more attention to each other.

Speaking of “Modern Times,”  I really need to watch that movie with my grandsons.  Here’s one of the technological “miracle machines” from that Charlie Chaplin classic…