My Holiday Requirements for 2022

Hello my dear readers!

As we approach the Holiday season, many of you are scrambling to get gifts and goodies for your loved ones. Although inflation is making the gift giving bills sting a little this year, many of us are blessed with the ability to splurge anyhow. Please allow me to take this opportunity to wish you the very best shopping adventures, and of course, a safe and happy Holiday Season.

If you have been reading this silly blog for any length of time, perhaps you’re aware that this is the time of year when I jump on top of a large electronic milk crate to remind all of you that although you’re probably feeling some price pain this year, I feel it important to urge you to remember that I have some annual Holiday Requirements that are enumerated in “Happy Friday!!!” around this time on the calendar; and I must also interject that if you are not willing to fulfill my desires for material comfort I will of course be forced to continue this run-on sentence while wondering whether your cat ate any tinsel or perhaps your dog may have licked that ham that was on the platter just before guests arrived.

Gesundheit.

So without any further falderal, herewith I place my list of Holiday Requirements for 2022, which I’m sure all of you are eager to memorize to promote more efficient shopping.

1. I wish to obtain at least 12 winning Powerball tickets. One would be OK I guess, but if I’m going to have any chance of influencing global politics I will require at least 12. You may mail these to me… but if you choose to deliver in person I will gladly treat you to some of my famous grapefruit pie with a nice dollop of dingleberry ice cream placed somewhere near the plate.

N. I’m gonna need a Clutter Bomb Fallout Removal Tool (CBFRT… pronounced CABfart). Some jerk touched off a clutter-bomb in my garage, and there’s junk lying all over the place!! I mean ALL over… stuffed in the shelves, on top of the work bench… I think I still have an air cleaner for that old 1995 Plymouth Voyager!! Oh, and it’s still in the box in mint condition. It can be yours for a mere $297.14

9* Please bring delicious chocolate things. I mean unique stuff like those amazing chocolate earbuds nobody sells anymore. Those were delicious… but I’ll have to say the flavor is less wonderful once they’ve been coated with earwax a few times. Oh and not to forget those old fashioned chocolate covered pencils we never had in study hall. It was so much fun to watch bullies steal them and then take a big crunchy bite. I think you can still get those earbuds and pencils at Cracker Barrel.

7K. AAAaaahhCHOOO!!! Oh crap!! Hey, don’t sneeze with a mouthful of hot chocolate. After I get done cleaning my screen I’ll work on adding to my list of requirements. Oh GACK!! The marshmallows look like weird boogers!!! Gross!!

8X. Oh wow, they have some really cool Lego sets now, don’t they?? Star Wars, Lego Spider Man stuff, even a Lego City Train Station. Well I don’t want any of those. Instead, please let’s focus on the chocolate again please. Chocolate covered braunschweiger would be amazing, as would chocolate chip bologna I’m pretty sure. How about a nice box of chocolate celery brownie mix!! I love those combination packages. I open the box, flush the celery down the toilet, and stick my tongue in the brownie mix. This behavior really impresses my Beautiful Girlfriend. How do I know this?? Because when she saw me last time, she shouted, “Oh, Kenny!!” I was so surprised I sneezed and had to clean my screen again.

BQ. I need a gift certificate for some new hair seeds. You see, for the past… I dunno… 20 years maybe… some of my hair has been turning grey, and some has been turning loose. In other words, my mop is a bit sparse on top. I saw this cool thing on TV… not sure what the product was but they had this nice song: “Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!!” and they showed this cool thing where you spread seeds on a surface and VOILA!! Growth!! The one on TV shows plants but of course I would like the hair kind please.

Thank you.

So those are my Holiday Requirements for 2022. If you don’t have any willingness to comply with my urgent demands, well, I guess I’ll just let you know that I love you anyways. Whether you like it or not.

My real wish list is very simple… all I want for the Holidays is Peace, Love, and Harmony for all living things. Small request, right? Well of course I know I’m a bit idealistic to request anything like that; but I do pray for those very things pretty regularly. As I grow older, my other prayers have become pretty simple: I say “Thank You,” every day, I pray for the well being of others (but I let go of the results), and I ask for the ability to do the next right thing. I’ve learned (often the hard way) that I can’t change people, places, or things. All I can do is change how I react. I try my best to react with love whenever possible. You know, don’t sweat the small stuff; and of course everything is small stuff. I’m really hoping that more and more people will learn that LOVE is the answer. And of course we must get better at showing our love toward Mother Nature. After all, if we continue to injure Mother Nature, there will be no US.

May you all have a wonderful Holiday Season… cling to those you love and grieve the loss of those who have passed. Peace, Love, and Hugs to all of you.

And now, as was often said on Monty Python, for something completely different.

Thank You God For Everything

Here we go again, the holiday season is upon us. In the U.S. we start the ball rolling with Thanksgiving and continue on through Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Lots of celebration and material giving, lots of TV commercials, lots of crazy sales, lots of parties.

Personally, I find all this commercial everything just as distasteful as the political ads that lead up to election day. Now that I’m an old dinosaur 1960s hippie peacenik tree hugger geezer dude, the holidays mean a whole lot less about all the stuff and a whole lot more about all the people I carry with me in my heart, both here and on the Other Side.

I’ve finally made it to the point where I can delight in the good times of childhood and let the not-so-good times fade away. Although it took me way to long to understand, I get it now: our parents did the best they could with us kids. They did the best they knew how. I can honestly believe that today and miss them with love rather than hold on to resentments. Of course, I’m a spoiled American so I do indulge in the material gift giving. But as time marches on I find myself getting increasingly gooshy about how fortunate I am.

That’s right, I said it, SPOILED AMERICAN. That’s me. I have plenty to eat; a job, a home, family and friends who love me, even cars that work. When I focus on those areas I become very aware that I’m rich beyond measure really.

So this time of year I find myself saying Thanks to God, whoever THEY are. A good friend of mine once gave me a bumper sticker that read: “God is too big to fit in any one religion.” Well amen to that. When you look at the similarities in all the various faiths; it becomes increasingly apparent that we’re all praying to the same Divine Spirit.

Yes, I truly am an old dinosaur 1960s hippie peacenik tree hugger geezer dude. I “keep the faith” that we humans will eventually get our act together to wage peace rather than war, and harmonize with Mother Earth rather than rape her. I pray for these things often, and as one of my favorite people often sang, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

Here’s wishing all of my friends and loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope we can all take a moment to help those less fortunate than we are. Speaking for myself, I know that this Spoiled American could donate a lot more. Every little bit helps. Maybe put an extra buck in the Salvation Army kettle so the bell ringer can have something to do besides watch people walk past. Or maybe donate to the Red Cross. The opportunities are pretty much endless and the need is great.

Above all, don’t give up. Try to be happy, it’s what God wants for all of us. Work, pray, and vote for peace, love and a healthy planet. Embrace the Golden Rule. It’s never too late. Persistence will pay off, I believe this with every fiber of my being. And for those of you who think maybe I’m Somewhere In Dream Land; well I’ll just keep praying for youse, too.

Purple Soup And Other Delicious Items

Once upon a time, in a garden approximately 100 feet from where my hiney is sitting, there was a garden that’s still there and food was planted for eating, both human and animal. Wait… just to reassure you, I do not plant humans or animals!! Also, the animals did not eat the humans; but we humans have eaten some animals in our time. We generally eat only their muscles, milk, or eggs. However, some humans are known to eat muscle egg milk and many other animal parts. Those humans have (just now) earned the scientific name anymunchers. Those crinkly individuals eat lots animal pieces-parts that other humans do not consider delicious.

So in this aforementioned garden, I planted chards, beets, parsnips, lettuces, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, garlics, beans, (pop)corns, squashes, and members of the cabbage family: please say hello to Budding Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and Tiny Turnips (planted them a bit late), all of whom (along with their kaley cousins) are still in the garden and are very happy to live there even in the dead of winter. All of these items are very delicious indeed. However, chards and beets (both of whom are also in the same family), had to be harvested before the Big Freezes come, because they would otherwise be frozen to death and rendered non-delicious. Well the beet roots might survive a deep freeze (temperatures in the 20s or lower) but the greens, not so good.

And we do love beet greens.

We’ve eaten beet greens raw in the past… they are quite nice when picked very early and added to salad. However, our favorite way to eat beet greens is to simply steam them with about an inch or so of water in the bottom of the pot and blast the heat on high until the steam makes the top of the pot start to dance. The result is a very tender and delicious side vegetable that makes a fantastic addition to just about any warm meal. The other day we had some with some pig muscle (a.k.a. pork) steaks I had marinated and thrown on the grill. Mmmm barbecued, marinated pig muscles with hubbard squash and beet greens! Truly mondiferous! And mondiferous isn’t even a real word! One can get frightened after eating beets. I remember a beet laden meal from days of yore. The following day, while sitting in the bathroom, I arose and (may or may not have) shouted, “OH GOD!!! I’M BLEEDING!!!”

Nope. It was just the beets!

We have a waste not, want not policy here. If we have leftovers, they sit in the fridge for a day or two, sometimes a bit longer but usually less than 8 months. If we decide not to snarf them it’s time to toss them into the freezer. By the way, the only proper way to store leftovers in the freezer is to put them in a container and throw them with great force from a distance of at least 15 feet. Please do not judge us when you come to visit if you see splatter marks here and there from less than successful leftover tossings. Oh, and it’s always best to make sure the freezer compartment door is open before you toss. So umm… yeah, don’t judge from the numerous dents in the freezer compartment door on top of the fridge. The leftover tossing “accidents” give us greatly humorous laughing chuckles with the eyes squinting while we shudder with ha ha convulsions that confuse visitors and also birds who spy us from the outdoor feeder.

Most recently, we placed both some homemade stir fry and some leftover Chinese food in the same freezer container. Well OK, the homemade stir fry went in first, but there was enough room for the left over “Tofu With Vegetable” entree from our local Oriental Gardens cookery. Both sat in the freezer for about 17 weeks (or perhaps only 9 days) and I scratched my head with a rake (or perhaps my fingers) in an effort to decide what to do with this combo. Then I saw what was left of the beet greens. About a cup or so of greens, and maybe two cups of purple water from cooking. I said to myself, “Let’s have some purple soup!!” I removed the container with leftover stir fry / tofu stuff from the freezer, got on top of a chair, and PLOPPED the contents into the pot with the beet greens. Purple juice flew everywhere, ha ha, very humorous chuckling with eyes squinting and convulsive shuddering. The birds were not amused. OK, perhaps we don’t really throw food around like that.

But I tell you what, the purple soup was holy mackerel wow oh my word yum yum delicious!

Here are some interesting cooking methods you might find entertaining.

I Hate Computers

So there I was, minding my own business, 640 feet above sea level (well OK maybe a little more because my office is on the second floor of our house), surfing the interwebs, when suddenly I got a notification that my computer needed some Microsoft updates, but I was a bit leery of this phenomenon because my computer is rather old and I’ve had loads of enjoyment with similar scenarios but I figured “Oh well, hopefully it will be OK;” so I applied the updates well before I wrote this run-on sentence.

Did I mention that I was a bit leery about this? Did I mention I have an old computer? Did I mention that my printer is old also? No, I did not mention the old printer. Did I mention that the computer and printer worked fine for a very long time with no issues? No, I didn’t mention that; but guess what happened after I applied these marvelous Windows 10 updates? My printer is don’t working. All my icons are karploofenated. The weather, Microsoft Edge, and other crap I never wanted appeared on my desktop. My audio is also don’t working. I am not pleased. I am actually rather disgusted. So annoyed was I, all this fun caused me to repeat one of my favorite sayings that I often uttered during my tenure as a factory floor IT support guy: I hate computers.

I’ve been retired for a little over 2 years now, but I used that silly mantra so often during my work times that it spilled over into situations that often were not at all related to technology. For example, if I drop an egg on the floor, I’ll exclaim, “FLARN!! I HATE COMPUTERS!!” My wife will ask me what’s wrong, and when I explain that I broke an egg on the floor she just chuckles a bit and shakes her head. Let me be clear though, I only hate computers when they are being naughty. And I especially dislike them when an update comes to visit and makes “improvements” that render my devices useless.

Tried to restore the system twice times. No good. Then tried reinstalling drivers. Still no good. At least the network stuff still worked so I could dance around the interwebs looking for a solution to all this happy flangelboofen. Tried this, that, and the other thing. Still no printing, no audio. Revisited the “Recovery” option in control panel. No more chances for system restore, but a magical statement appeared: “If you’re having problems with your PC, go to settings, and try resetting it.” Well I sure didn’t want to lose any data, but I remembered I did a backup not too long ago. I reluctantly clicked the link, and was able to return my computer to a previous version. In other words, I got the option to bring Windows back to what it was before the stupid updates.

HOLY MOLY!! AUDIO WORKS NOW!! OK… let’s try to print. Nope!! Oy yoy yoy. Back to researching on the webbernets. Uninstalled, reinstalled the printer about 8 times. No worky. Not a darn thing wrong with the printer… it’s just old. More searching… found that I had to “fool” the computer into talking to the printer by saying it is a “USB Composite Device.” Then… holy flerking schnitt… the printer is working!! I made a little document about how to perform this little trick and saved it in the folder with the drivers. For good measure, I went into the bowels of the computer and disabled the automatic updates. That’ll show those Microsoft weenies!! Well no, it won’t, but it will hopefully preserve some of my sanity.

Have I mentioned that I hate computers?? Well OK, I’m not in computer hating mode right now because everything works. But hey, why can’t these Microsoft noodleheads leave well enough alone?? Ya know what I mean?? I bought this computer as a refurb with a one year warranty. Retailed for about $2000 when it was new, I paid $250 for it a couple years after it was released. Now it’s approaching 12 years old, but it works like a charm. And the printer is about the same age… and yes, it also works very well. Seems we could save the planet by making things last; but NOOOO… the manufacturers want us to keep buying the latest and greatest junk so the older, still working wonderfully junk can go into the landfill. This philosophy makes me to barf on the ground.

Oh well, lesson learned. No more automatic updates for this guy. Not with an old computer… that’s bad juju. Cortana can smell my toes, whoever she is. And I don’t need Edge, thank you very much. Bing also makes me to barf on the ground. None of these are present after all the tweaking I did to get this machine back to “normal.” No, I’m just very grateful I have the skills to resurrect an old computer after Microsoft tried to take it away from me. And yes, I will likely continue to grumble when just about anything goes wrong, technical or no, and blurt out my work mantra.

I hate computers.

I bet Charlie Chaplin would have hated computers too… this is one of my favorite scenes from the movie “Modern Times.”

This has nothing to do with computers, but it’s one of my favorite Three Stooges shorts. I have no idea how they came up with the title, but anyway…

If I Were King

Dunno about youse folks, but I’m completely sick up and fed with all the nasty political ads. In fact, I’m even sick up and fed with the nice political ads. And I’m truly disgusted at all the lies and completely made up stuff that some of these jokers are tossing around!! What ever happened to courtesy and respect? They seem to be dwindling all too rapidly. I fear for our democracy… you know, that weird system where people vote for their choices and the outcome is respected by BOTH sides?? But most of all, I am frightened by those who believe violence is an acceptable way to resolve differences.

Anybody listening? I truly hope we can all pull together. Lots of protesting in the streets these days by disillusioned citizens. While I agree with many of their sentiments, I can’t help but ask, “are you gonna vote??” 

PLEASE VOTE!!

So, enough about all that (for now). This is supposed to be another installment of “Happy Friday!!!” and from this moment forward, I’m gonna try to make it something that will produce a smile or two. Therefore and to-wit (that’s legal talk), I’ve decided to appoint myself King for a Day. Tomorrow, you can be King. Unless of course you’d rather be Queen; in which case you are probably much more powerful than a King because of all the cool moves you can make on the chess board. So the next day someone else can be in charge, and it will be a rotating kind of thing. Kings and Queens, Princes and Dukes; run around in circles till everyone pukes.

Now of course it’s time to steal some lyrics from a Three Dog Night Song:

If I was the King Of The World,

I’d tell you what I’d do.

I’d throw away the cars and the bars and the war

And make sweet love to you.”

Perhaps I wouldn’t make love to you; because I don’t even know you. Besides, my Beautiful Girlfriend has allowed me to be her lover for many years; and I don’t want to mess that up you see. She’s my One and Only. I don’t care how much candy you have in your glove box or how much pickled herring you “accidentally” left in my fridge; my lovin’s are reserved for my Honey Pie and nobody else. Get it? OK, cool. Yes, I’ll give you hugs and love you unconditionally. Just not in a married kind of way. Am I making myself clear? Do you get where I’m coming from?? Do you know who this is?? Do you know who you’re tawkin’ to???

OooK… sorry I got sidetracked. Alright… make-a-believe I’m King of the World. First order of business: everybody has to be nice to each other. NOW!! Don’t make me say this again!! Do I have to stop this car?? Do you want to go in the corner?? Whatsa matta wichyoo?? Anyhow??

Sheesh. Just be nice awreddy.

Second order of business: this home we call Earth is getting pretty doggoned dirty with human garbagey pollutiony thingies. Poisons! Broken stuff! Single use plastics!! Oy yoy yoy!! Time to clean up or no more play time!! You see these toys you like so much? Huh?? You wanna play with them ever again?? Well you better listen up and clean your room!! And yes, by your room, I mean Earth!!

That’s a pretty big room…

Third order of business: BE NICE TO EACH OTHER!! Oh wait… I said that awreddy. Well I’m sorry… but youse kids have me all fired up here and now you got me tawkin’ like I’m still livin’ on Long Island. Well OK, maybe not youse kids, but those violent KKK Nazi Oath Keeper Proud Boys people.  They make me to barf on the ground.

Fourth (and last) (for today) (I think) order of business: keep a close eye on all these elected official Bozos (and Bozettes). Remember that silly statement, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people?” That means us… it’s our responsibility to make things right. The people we voted for are merely representatives; and we need to keep them accountable. Sure that takes time and effort; but if we don’t do that we’re letting the foxes guard the hen house.

Ooops!! One more order of business (then I’ll let someone else be King) (or Queen): one of the strongest, most effective votes we have is how we spend our money. Buy locally, think globally. Pay attention to where your food comes from and how it was produced. Give the locals first chance at your dollars. We need to support each other!

Now is the time for the extra long sentence which I forgot to include in many previous “Happy Friday!!!” installments because I was either too cribbly boo or perhaps too forgetful to remember (oldtimer’s disease?) that such sentences often bring joy to those who like to see grammar mangled into a small moldy piece of cheesecake in the bottom left corner of the refrigerator; which of course reminds me of the fact that although I know how to pretend to spout off orders as if I were King, I don’t know anything; I never did know anything; but now I know I don’t know anything. I used to think I knew lots of stuff; but that was before I got learnified via the pains of growing older and wider (<— not a spelling goof there) and realized that the more I learn the less I know.

Knowing that I don’t really know much makes me wonder if I’m now qualified to run for office.

NO!! I just wanna be King!!

A Halloween Tradition

For many moons now, we’ve enjoyed the ritual of pumpkin carving prior to Halloween. Our son-in-law has been providing the gourds for the past several years from his pumpkin patch. My Beautiful Girlfriend puts on a big pot of her amazing chili, complemented by some delicious corn muffins. After dinner we spread newspapers all over the kitchen table, put a bucket in the middle for all the guts, and let our imaginations soar.

Once the jack o’ lanterns are complete, it’s time for the traditional group photos. We line up our artwork on the breakfast bar, and each carver sits behind their sculpture. I set my camera on a tripod, set the timer, and take a couple shots with the lights on. Finally we open the pumpkins to light the candles, kill the lights, and get a shot with each person’s face glowing in the night above their respective pumpkins. We’ve had some pretty cool photos over the years if I must say so myself. Here are a couple samples from this year’s carving fun.

We’ve also subjected our grandsons to annual viewings of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This is an old favorite of course, especially so in the case of my Honey Pie. Very important for her to watch that flick every year, and I have to admit that I enjoy it too.

Ollie, our oldest grandson is 13 this year, Gabe is 9. Both watched the movie politely and even enjoyed it… but Ollie mentioned he’d like to watch something a little more terrifying for Halloween. I mentioned Frankenstein, and his eyes lit up a bit. I followed up with a suggestion of Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein and a big grin brightened up his face. But guess who’s gonna enjoy trick-or-treating more on Monday?? If you guessed both, I’m thinking that’s accurate; although Gabe will likely be more pumped up about the whole deal. But this is part of the tradition too, and of course we’ll accompany them on their candy collection journey. As a bonus, it’s at least as much fun to enjoy the getups of other people’s kids (and often their parents) as we traipse through the neighborhoods.

As I began writing all this I couldn’t help reflecting on how blessed we are to have a loving family that enjoys such annual celebrations. I know “Happy Friday!!!” is often a vehicle for me to present a humorous spin on things (and often be just plain silly), but once in a while it’s good to let the gratitude fly out of my fingers and onto the keyboard. So Monday brings yet another Halloween, complete with walking a few miles while the grandsons go trick-or-treating. Doesn’t get much better than that.

And we might even mooch some candy!!

Now please to enjoy the seasonal video surprises.

Please Pass The Roots And Leaves… And Other Random Thoughts

Ohhh retirement!!  Such a joy!!  My stress level is much lower these days, although for some strange reason my calendar seems to fill up all too fast.  Thought I’d be able to kick back and do whatever I want but no….  And it’s very OK.  Certainly better than the before times while I was working.  One fond memory:  there I was, at work, in the industrial manufacturing stress pile that seemed to grow smellier with each passing hour, no plane, no parachute, and thinking about writing a run-on sentence, with no semi-colons but only commas, and probably grammatically incorrect; but that doesn’t bother me one little bit; oh wait, there are a couple of semi-colons back there.

One day at work, I was heating up my lunch in the nuking machine. My friend Jenise saw the vegetation in my Pyrex bowl and said, “what are you cooking today? Smells really good. ” I smiled and said, “yes, and today I have leaves, roots, and the flesh of a dead chicken.” I explained that I intended to consume asparagus, onions, Swiss chard, and some dead rotisserie chicken meat from Meijer, little sploosh of soy sauce, little floof of thyme. Mmmm-mmm yummy. After I finished the list of goodies, she said, “Oh, I would never eat that.”

At this point she ran screaming through the top floor window while her ’65 Mustang was in flames and all the propane tanks that were strapped to my safety shoes burst into an explosive conflagration causing the air to become very brightly orange but then black with smoke as the rest of the cars in the parking lot exploded one by one and the military came in full force to let the cat into the shower so she could drink off the floor while the Happy Friday Ken Guy wrote yet another run-on sentence with nary a comma or semi-colon to be found within the whole darned thing.

Our Beautiful Kitty, Nevvie (God rest her soul)… she loved to drink off the shower floor! We believe she was addicted to shower water. She lived to be 21 ½ years young and would broop and mee-roouu until one of us turned the shower on for just a bit. Then of course we had to let her know we were OK with her going in there to drink. It was a ritual you see. Shortly after she got her drink, the earth’s crust split open and large steel structures vaulted toward the sky while people were screaming and running for cover and toasters were flying sideways through the violent winds that were generated (of course) by the huge bats that arose from the bowels of the planet and OH MY GOD HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE get down and hide behind this big rock OH NO THE TREE MONSTERS ARE STEALING ALL THE ROCKS those dirty selfish stinkers they wish to protect themselves and who gives a flying mahookey about us, right, we should be grateful the trees are safe and there’s yet another run-on sentence with questionable (at best) grammatical structure.

OK. So, what have we learned from this week’s installment of “Goats On Parade?” Well boys and girls, we’ve learned that some guy who once worked at an explosion factory likes to eat leaves, roots, and dead rotisserie plastic button meat from Sneeb’s grocery in Moopah, Michigan. We could also possibly infer that the author of this week’s installment of “Radio Sandwich Dust Lanterns” is prone to writing run-on sentences. Also, a very likely possibility is that I, the author of this week’s “Happy Burger Filled Sock Drawer” very much enjoys nonsensical rants that have absolutely nothing to do with Stone Age Birthday Parties.

Therefore, I implore all of you: Please, if your job is stressful and ouchy, PLEASE remember that work is what you do for a living; but it does not necessarily have to define who you ARE. In my case, four egg sample, I was very grateful to have a job, but if I allowed the stress consume me I was no good to anyone at all (including myself). Hence, I would remind myself often of how blessed I am.  And I still do that regularly.  And I would find ways to help others smile at work.  I was often known as the person who sent instant messages and / or e-mails to his peers with the following content as an example:

My dustflute sings much better than our dog’s frozen trumpet.

At times, back in the good old days (ha!) I would receive audio from someone’s mouth parts as they asked, “Hey Ken, did you have a stressful week at work?” And of course I would reply, “Does a chicken have lips? Is a frog watertight??” The answer to both of these questions was, of course, 37.

When I got home, I relieved some stress by pulling a few weeds and (unintentionally) eating a few bugs.  It was truly constabulatory!!

Actually I still pull bugs and eat weeds.  But hey, I actually grow nice veggies for eating too!!  Gardening is my work now.  And it’s very good for my soles!

Retirement has given me a bit more time to observe wildlife.  I listen to the trees singing, and I love the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves of the birds.  The following video shows the exact methods our friends in the forest work hard during autumn to prepare for winter.  Please enlighten your friends after learning these amazing rituals.

Graupel? Hail No!

Been a bit soggy and cool here in Beautiful West Michigan lately. Guess that’s to be expected in mid-October, right? However, I didn’t really expect the thunderstorm we had the other night. And I really didn’t expect miniature globs of ice to fall from the sky yesterday. There I was, minding my own business, on the couch enjoying some coffee, when suddenly a dark grey cloud zoomed in from the west. “Oh, here comes more rain,” I thought aloud. Sure enough, it began to pour, but then I noticed the “raindrops” looked oddly large and were bouncing off the deck. That’s because it was hail!! No damage mind you. Just little globs of ice.

I took a few pictures and posted them on the BookFace. Several people reacted, some saying “Ohhh I’m not ready for that!!” I replied that one can’t really prepare for hail… it can come pretty much any time. Apparently they mistook the hail for snow, even though the top of my post stated that we “Just got a load of crunchy raindrops!” I’m beginning to learn that lots of people don’t read the text for posts at all, they just look at the pictures. So one of these days, I’m gonna post a picture of a bowl of ice cream and put some text above it like, “My wallet ran out of kidney beans last November.” Just to see if anyone actually reads.

Anyway, we really did get some snow sometime last night, as evidenced by a slight dusting on the deck and the tarp on the woodpile. More like snow globs… but snow nonetheless. At least that’s what I called it. Didn’t get cold enough last night for it to stay very long, but there it was, an unsettling reminder of what will soon be falling from the sky.

Called a friend of mine who is taking a paid separation from work. Cost cutting you know. Called me yesterday but I couldn’t talk. He did say he’s actually OK with it, but I just wanted to check back with him to make sure he was doing alright. The topic soon shifted to the recent weather changes. When I described the blobs of snow he said, “Oh yeah, they call that graupel.” “Huh?? I thought it was just sleet…” I replied quizzically. “Yeah, that’s the name of that kind of snow.” “OK,” I continued, “but I think I’ll just call it snow globs.” After we hung up, he texted me, “Look up graupel.”

So I did.

Sure enough, in the Merriam Dictionary (online) it’s defined as “granular snow pellets — called also soft hail.” While on the Merriam Dictionary site, I clicked on the little speaker icon and learned that it’s pronounced GROU-pel. This intrigued me, because my high school German classes told me that the “au” combination is always pronounced “ow” in German. Off I went to Google Translate, clicked in the box set for “Detect Language,” and typed in “graupel.” Google said that Luxembourghish was detected. OK… interesting right? On the other side of the screen, the English translation said, “hail.” But the snow globs from this morning didn’t look like hail. OK, now for some more fun. I set the language selector on the left to German, and then “graupel” was translated into some obscure English word called “sleet.”

THAT’S WHAT I SAID, DARN IT!! Too funny. So Mr. or Ms. Meteorologist Person, please forgive my desire to remain old fashioned. I will continue to refer to graupel with my favorite single syllable name for snow globs: sleet. But I do like snow globs better, only because it’s sillier. I like silly. Therefore, Ms. or Mr. Meteorologist, if you don’t like my animosity toward graupel, try sending us some better forecasts if you please. I still have lots to do outside and I don’t like getting clunkified by graupels or sleets or any other ice globule face biting frozen rain projectiles. I mean really, who ever heard of graupel?? Anyhow?? Although I can foresee a fun conversation where I will impart this newfound knowledge to my grandsons, and pronounce graupel with a very guttural rolling of the r.

In the meantime, I hereby reserve the right to call them snow globs.

Thank you.

Here’s an old classic about the weather we’ll be getting soon. Keep your wood dry!!

Goodbye Columbus!

No, I’m not gonna write about the book “Goodbye Columbus,” by Philip Roth; partially because I never read the book, but also because I never saw the movie by the same name.  Why I would write about what I’m not going to write about is not important either, so I hereby declare this paragraph completely unnecessary and I now pronounce you Macaroni and Cheese.

On the other hand, this coming Monday is a federal holiday.  According to the Google, the holiday is still called Columbus Day, although here in Michigan and other states it is celebrated as Indigenous People’s Day.  Our daughter just refers to it as “no mail day.”  I’ve never really been too fond of Columbus Day; nor have I ever really been amazed by Christopher Columbus and his band of merry men.   One does have to admit, however, that surviving ocean travel over such distances in the late 1400’s was kind of remarkable.

What bugs me is all this fuss about some Italian dude “discovering” America; and after listening to some news on the radio this past Monday I’ve happily “discovered” that I’m not alone.  Several communities in the US are dumping Columbus Day in favor of what’s been called Indigenous People’s Day in honor of Native Americans.  Rightly so, because after all, they were here first.

Besides all that, being of Norwegian descent I get a little snorked that the Vikings get little credit for sailing to this continent about 500 years before that Italian dude.  From what I’ve read they didn’t stay long; and ended up going back to Greenland after the natives made it very clear they weren’t welcome.  Anyhow, no celebration of Columbus Day at our house.  However, I do love to be a little silly at times (OK many times), so I hereby present you with my own version of a poem we learned when I was a kid in school:

In 1492

In fourteen hundred and ninety two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
If he hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, mynee, moe.

He took three ships, their names were these:
El Niño, The Pinto, and The Sack Of Cheese.
If he hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, mynee, moe.

I’m unreasonably certain that this poem will be adopted throughout the land.  Or perhaps it will be banned due to its homo sapiens innuendo and covert satanic referendum.  After all, it’s quite invincible that if you vociferously chant “Eeny, meeny, mynee, moe” during a full moon in the middle of an automobile recycling center (a.k.a. junkyard), you may want to remain somewhat motionless to avoid tripping over randomly placed hubcaps and / or transaxle assemblies.  Similarly, shouting “El Niño, The Pinto, and The Sack Of Cheese!!” seven times in rapid succession is likely to cause one to somnambulate during reruns of “Gilligan’s Island.”

Might be good not to even read that silly poem.  Not sure what effect it may have on your spirit, your aorta, or your Karmen.  What??  You read it already??  Well I guess the cravat is out of the bag then. 

So if you have Monday off, good for you.  I have every Monday off, because I’m retired and you are not.  Unless you are of course.  Retired.  But if not, thank you for keeping Social Security solvent for me.  And please, have a Happy Monday and a somber, reflective Indigenous People’s Day. 

Otherwise, I shall have no choice but to report you to the Inner Peace Police.

These have nothing to do with anything, but I found them rather amusing.

Some Things Don’t Make Cents

Inflation is so much fun, wouldn’t you agree? Hey, it happens. Been there, done that. If you’ve lived on the planet as long as I have, you’ve experienced numerous ups and downs in the economic universe. But I can’t help but think that retailers are taking advantage of the situation and using sneaky marketing to maintain profits. Oh wait… that’s just business, right?? Doesn’t matter if people are struggling to make ends meet. To quote Dr. Seuss’s character, The Lorax, “Business is business and business must grow, regardless of crummies in tummies you know.”

I have lots of suggestions on how to fix our economy, but for some reason the “experts” haven’t called me to ask what they are. For example: there’s a bench sitting near a walking path along M-120 near US31 that says “CONSUME” on the backrest. Ohhh I’d love to get some red paint and put a big circle with a line through it across those letters!! I mean, hey, I know we are consumers, and apparently that’s a big part of what keeps the economic engines humming. But some of the products involve too much packaging, which gobbles resources and contributes to climate change. And some are just plain harmful to our planet. And then there’s that next new gadget that everyone’s gotta have. I have a lot of old stuff. I try to spend a little more on quality things so they last longer. No wireless headphones… batteries don’t really recycle so good. Too much throwaway everything. A little less consumption would go a long way toward putting the brakes on climate change too, in my professional opinion.

As Grandma Loftus used to say, “That’s my two cents. Nobody asked me fer it, but I give it to ya’s anyway!”

So there I was, in full consumer mode, in the Meijer store, with a hankering for potato chips. A friend of mine referred to such snack foods as “flavored air,” due to the outrageous price versus quantity ratio. So I looked at the Kettle Brand chips, and they were “on sale.” Two for $6, but you had to buy two in order to get that price. Regular price: $3.18. So they want me to be fat I think. I already needed the chips like I needed a hole in my head, so they want me to save 38 cents by buying two??

I bought one.

Then off to the Dollar General on the way home for more goodies. Hey, it’s been a bit stressful around here these days, and we both admit that we turn to comfort foods in such times. After all, we are spoiled Americans, right?? I make joking there, but… well not really. Anyway, I wanted some Little Debbie Nutty Bars. Those things are just plain delicious. And guess what?? On sale!! Two for $5, but the sign says, “Must Buy 2.” Regular price: $2.55. Yeppers, I can save a whole dime on two boxes so I can make my belly bigger. Awesome!!

Again, one was enough.

Remember when Meijer had their “10 for $10” sale? There was a time when whatever was included in such a sale cost a buck apiece. The new ad is raving about a “7 for $7” sale, but if you don’t buy 7 then the item goes for regular price, whatever that is. And now there’s a relatively new term called “shrinkflation.” That’s where the product costs the same price but is packaged differently so you get less. One candy bar manufacturer actually insulted me (yes, I’m sure it was directed at me personally). There is this truly delicious chocolate bar from Germany, the brand name is Ritter Sport. Whole hazelnuts on basically every square centimeter of the bar. So what did they do? Same price, same wrapper, but they chopped a third of the candy bar off!! There’s literally an air pocket where the chocolate used to be for crying out loud!!

Sheesh!! I didn’t buy no any. Dirty stinkers.

Well to lighten the mood a bit, my Beautiful Girlfriend saved $5 today on her Target bill!! We were paying some bills online and she asked me to take care of that bill for her, so we got out her iPad and I signed on to her Target account (she doesn’t do the computer stuff). “I think the bill is $112,” she said. Once we got to her account, the amount due was shown to be $107 and some change. “Cool!! I saved five bucks!!” she said, smiling. “Huh??” I asked. “Yeah, I thought the bill was $112 but it’s only $107, so I saved five bucks!!” “Umm… I don’t think you saved anything,” I replied. Then we both giggled ask I handed her the iPad so she could play her games.

So hey, some things just don’t make cents, but then again, some do!! My Honey Pie saved 5 bucks!!

Too much greed these days. If only those Greedy Guys (or Gals) could get their just deserts like these punks.