Just Mind Your Manners

So much sadness in the news these days. I mean, too many people are just being way too naughty! And then, some really naughty people are pointing fingers at those who were thought not to be so naughty but in fact admit to having been naughty; yet the naughtier people who deny their naughtiness seem obsessed with pointing their fingers at those who admit they’ve been naughty; and the naughtiest, finger-pointing folks seem completely clueless that if they insist on pointing fingers, well guess what… they’re gonna get pointed at all the more and probably cause complete disregard for proper paragraph construction and maybe even a pretty long run-on sentence!!

So there!!

I gotta ask… doesn’t anyone think before they act, or even speak?? Is the number of kind people in this world dwindling at an alarming rate? Are there any folks who care at least as much about others as they do themselves? Doesn’t anyone have manners anymore??

Sheesh!!

I’ll have to say, though, that lately the news has brought many people out from hiding who finally feel comfortable enough to stand up and say, “this is enough!!” Women have been treated terribly for millenia. Cultural intolerance has caused too many wars. Industry has sweetened existence for much of the human world but this too often came through harsh exploitation of less fortunate humans and of course Mother Nature.

Well, I may be a weirdo (no need to chime in on that…) but I think that yes, there still are many, MANY people who follow the Golden Rule much of the time. Maybe even most of the time. It’s very simple, yet complex: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I had that one drilled into my noggin in Sunday School at the Bayport Methodist Church. Well guess what? Muslims have a very similar version; and although I’m too lazy to research it I’m willing to bet that many other cultures do too. I’m convinced the reason we don’t hear much in the news about folks who live by the Golden Rule is that: a) they are probably us (you and me), and 12) the media reports primarily about the garbage because that is what sells. Sad, huh?

Well, not completely sad. I still cling to the belief that we’re going to be alright. Yes, there’s lots of bad news; and unfortunately we need to hear it. Otherwise we wouldn’t feel a need to change. It may take some time, but the conversation is changing, and I think for the greater good. For example, one hot talking point is that sexual harassment is never OK. And another that’s at least as important: our planet is being ruined by our human habits, but we can work together to change these habits.

Some of the discussions may be difficult. We all have a voice, we all deserve to be heard; but it’s also our obligation to listen. Even if it’s hate speech. We must stamp out hatred, and sometimes we may have to be firm. But again, we can be firm but still treat others with respect. Heated shouting matches are about as effective as fighting fire with fire. A dear friend of mine used to say, “we can disagree without being disagreeable.” It seems all too easy for folks to bark at each other; takes much more effort to stay calm and do our best to find solutions.

All we need to do is listen to Mom: “Just mind your manners!!” Anyone besides me hear that when you were growing up?

Anyway, I went hunting for a video about manners… this is what I found; hope you get a chuckle like I did.

 

Turkey Time Flies!

I was at the grocery store and saw that turkeys were on sale for 48 cents a pound. Holey Moly!! I can’t believe the holidays are zooming in already!! Wasn’t it September just a few days ago?? Got really cold here this morning… 19 degrees on the 10th of November!! A bit early if you ask me. Soon I’ll be slaving over the turkey hot dog casserole… and of course the obligatory mac and cheese. Maybe some cream corn and of course you need a few cans of cranberry sauce stacked up in the middle to give that elegant appearance. Some folks even take that stuff OUT of the can!! Then the dessert trays: all those Twinkies to unwrap and place “just so” on the pizza platter… And OH!! Not to forget the Hostess Sno-Balls and Moon Pies. Kool-Aid in fancy plastic cups… you know, the see through kind. A feast fit for a champion cow pie flinger!

HUH?? Oh wait, maybe that was the dream I had after those liverwurst sandwiches.

But seriously folks… I’m a very fortunate human. So long as I keep that thought foremost in my brain, life is really very good. I get annoyed at all the commercial hoopla this time of year. However, I’m getting much better at practicing the principle: “accept the things I cannot change.” I do my part in contributing to the family gift pile, but more importantly Thanksgiving kicks off a string of “gratitude days” for me. The holidays have a way of digging up memories of days long gone; and I get pretty mushy this time of year. For the past several years we’ve had the good fortune of spending Thanksgiving at our dear friend Ruthie’s. Holy Moly that girl can cook. Of course; one special person who will be missing from Turkey Day is our dear friend (her hubby) Lew. We all miss him terribly but enjoy Brussels sprouts made specially in his honor. When Lew was still here, he and Ruthie were over for dinner and I had prepared Brussels sprouts for dinner. I asked whether he liked them, and he used an expletive to describe his feelings: “F*%$ NO!!” Hence the honorary dish has been dubbed FN Brussels Sprouts; and we all get a nice chuckle while we fondly remember our beloved Lew.

Things have changed over the years… our daughter will probably spend Thanksgiving with her hubby and our grandchildren with his side of the family. Doesn’t matter, because we all get together on a day shortly after Thanksgiving when I make our traditional meal with all the trimmings. Believe it or not, I love cooking all that stuff. I do the whole shebang: turkey (duh), bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, pie. All from scratch except the pie crusts. I’m just too lazy for that pie crust monkey business. This year it will be pumpkin pie made from hubbard squash (punkins didn’t make it in the garden this year) with real whipped cream; and maybe even a “bluederberry pie” with vanilla ice cream. That’s right… bluederberry. It’s my nickname for pie with three cups of blueberries and one cup of elderberries. Pretty darn wonderful stuff.

The ritual of preparing all the stuff gives me lots of time to reflect. My Darling Honey Pie Beautiful Girlfriend Wife Person has been cranking the Christmas music since just after Hallowe’en; but I prefer quiet when I’m “in the zone.” Cook, reflect… cook, reflect. And now that we are “getting up there,” in our sixties… we have many memories. We’ve had lots of loss in our lives already. Both of us have lost parents, family, and friends. Seems like just yesterday we were caring for my Aunt Joyce, who has since gone to be with her son who died way too early from alcoholism. Just like his daddy. My mom and dad are both gone, my beautiful girlfriend’s mom is gone, our friend Lew, another friend Tommy… I could name more but you get the picture.

Anyway, we reflect not only on how lucky we are, but on how fortunate we were to have all these people in our lives. And in our own little way we honor many of them through dinner. Grandma Hansen’s stuffing and “stuffin’ muffins,” Grandma Bunny always had sweet pickles out for munching. Figs and dates (my mom again), Cousin John’s china and glasses, Aunt Joyce’s potato masher. Memories of my dad cutting the turkey. Then of course we still have the tradition of “forcing” our kids to talk on the phone to relatives. “We gotta call grammas and grampas!” I exclaim, at which point they groan. “Too bad,” I remind them, “It’s Thanksgiving!!” Typical kids. Even though they are adults now, they would rather sit like bumps on a log and watch the tube than actually communicate with anyone. Especially while in a “food coma.”

We are truly lucky humans. Plenty to eat, good jobs, cars that actually work! Pretty luxurious stuff when you think about it. I know it’s a bit early, but I sincerely hope all you turkey (and even non-turkey) eaters out there have a simply marvelous Thanksgiving.

And I truly hope that you are as blessed as we are.

One year our friend Ruthie treated us to “Turducken,” but I don’t think the “duck” part went quite like this…

Happy Holidays?? A Bit Early…

Seems very early to me, but according to the Giant Electronic Media Universe (GEMU), the Holiday Season has begun, and Christmas is just around the corner. And you know what that means, right? YES!! The GEMU wants you to spend money! Well, I have something I’d like to vonkulate that I believe is much more important than money. It’s a Holiday Letter For You, Whom I May Not Know But Love Anyway (even if maybe I don’t like you).  So without further ado, here is my first (but probably not the last) Holiday Hello To All Who Care To Receive It:


Hello Jingle Hair,

If you are reading this letter, please remember the following 3 reasons why I think that you, personally, the reader of this is just plain wonderful:

1) You are a special person.

R) You never called me on the phone to shame me after I sold all my compost to the Jelly Consortium, and

6) You have never put a swordfish in my car.

Therefore, I must urge you to receive the following heartfelt Season’s Greeting.  If you don’t enjoy and have a Happy Merry and Joyful Wonderful, I will squash. I’m telling you now and you can believe me later, you must have a nice Holiday and be with those who love you. Offer them soda and nice candy. Or celery with a nice fried radish gravy. Maybe you could go the extra mile and provide a plate on which to put the soda gravy and the fried radish candy. Whatever you end up doing, smile gently and belch often. This is the mark of a happy person.

Enjoy Christmas. Even if you are a Buddhist or like to sing about Harry Kirschner in the airport, please have a wonderful Christmas Time. That’s because Christmas is a time of great joy, regardless of who your Holy Mackerel is. I mean really, Santa has become pretty much nondenominational when you think about it. Please remember, though, that Christmas should be celebrated each and every day of your living life of being alive. That is my professional opinion. We must be nice to everyone we meet, especially kakaheads. Kakaheads are sad inside. Some of them are sad on the outside also, and may even have a bad odor. Love them anyway. The Big Holy Remarkable makes no junk. If you don’t believe me, well too darn bad.

Try to put resentments and grudges in the garbage before they begin to cause soul rot. Yes, that’s right, stuff those grudges in the trash, walk away, and don’t go digging them back out of there. Some folks think it’s a good idea to hold grudges. Some go as far as to hold a grudge for years even!! Well, as its name implies, a grudge is truly an unpleasant thing. I mean, its name doesn’t even sound pleasant, now does it?? “Grudge.” I just said it out loud for a test. Sounds like some one is having difficulty while sitting on the potty or something. “Grudge. Oooommppfff. Grrruuuddgge.” Yup, that’s just plain gross.

Took me a while to learn, but I no longer can hold a grudge for very long. Holding anything for even a few hours makes your hands sweaty at the very least. Sweaty things can be kind of disgusting after a while, so if you must hold a grudge for any length of time, please try to pause to wash it occasionally. You might find that after washing your grudges, they become so clean they won’t be very grudgey anymore. Then maybe you can let go of them. Put them down. Let them outside. Suggest maybe they play in traffic. Set them free, ya know???

I hear some folks say, “yesterday of several years ago, I was wronged and had much anguish.  Now I am sad that yesterday was so bad.  Everyone must hear me on this matter and pay attention to my misfortune.”  To these folks I say to you all now: yesterday has already oozed through the colander of life. You cannot rebuild it. The dirt fell off the yesterday wagon many flingles ago, and nothing anyone can do will bring yesterday back. Forgive those who wronged you and move along, lest you lose your place in the dessert line of happiness.

Some other folks say, “oh Holy Wah, tomorrow is gonna be horrible.  I just can’t imagine how horrible it will be.  I am pretty sure that since yesterday was gocky, tomorrow will be at least as bad, maybe even worse.  It could maybe be better but I sure doubt it.”  Well, I have never been able to smell anything from tomorrow yet, but God knows I’ve tried. When I was much younger than I am today, I was told that during a camping trip I sat up in my sleeping bag in the wee hours of the night and happily announced, “good morning everybody, it’s tomorrow now!!” Upon uttering this, I’m told, I snuggled back into my sleeping bag and zonked until the sun woke us all up. I had no recollection of this event. So even though I thought I smelled tomorrow, it was a dream. I think. One thing I’m sure of: tomorrow is not a given. No one can be absolutely sure it will come. We sure hope it will, but we can’t prove that it will be there. That being said, there’s no way in fooja-looga we can tell what’s gonna happen on the day after today.

So the point is this: today is a gift. That’s why it’s called “The Present.” Isn’t that nice and wizzly?? We get a new present each and every day. Very cool, because no matter how much money we have or don’t have, we still get at least one present every day. We can learn from the past, but we can’t change it. We all hope tomorrow comes, but that’s not a for-sure type thing. So, today is what matters. What we do with any given moment can change the past for the better, one moment at a time. We would all do well if we tried to fill each moment available to us with love. Sure, we are human and will fall short of such a lofty ideal, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Progress, not perfection, ya know? Unfortunately though, I’ve noticed that some people say that they care about folks, but go out of their way to stir up trouble. Sometimes they respond with love for awhile and then go back to the same-old same-old. Too bad for them. They are the lonely ones. We must pray for them, and help them if possible.

Then again, some of the lonely ones want nothing to do with changing their sadness. Then I am reminded of the words of Duane, the great philosopher (well OK, he’s a friend), who once told me: “Do not try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.” So what in the world does all this spewing and Duane the philosophering have to do with a Holiday Season Remarkable Hello?? Well, ok, I’ll stop with the floofing and bonkling. Just please go forth and be happy, jingly and cronkulous. Please don’t make your holiday crapulent, however. Too much crapulence is a very crapulent thing. And remember that it’s always better to be you than for you to be me, and that although you can number things 1 through 8, eight is actually a word. You can pick unripe radishes and they will still be red. Squid don’t require drivers licenses. Grapefruit are not really grape fruit. Well, ok, they’re fruit, but if they made grapes that tasted like the citrus stuff, well wine would be much different now wouldn’t it??

Have a great Holiday World. I’m going to sleep in a lot. That will be nice.

Jingle dee dee,

Ken

a.k.a. Monkey Head Jones

Maybe during one of my Holiday Naps I’ll venture off to Dreamland…

 

Hallowe’en Monster Mash

They dwell among us.

The undead.

They’re evil, wicked, mean and nasty.

KIDS!!!! AAAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!

All the little monsters are getting ready for the Great Sugar Rush to fill their headbones with sucrose and chocolaty mish mash moosh until they vow never to eat any more Mary Janes, Neccos, or Snickers. You can already catch the scent of candy in the plastic pumpkins. Wonderful sugar pushers are already bringing in the deadly stuff to the workplace. Horrible things like candy corn, miniature chocolate bars, malt balls, and even Neapolitan cookies!! Yeah, you know, those wafer things that come in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors.

Well, those people are all conspiring against me. They share a common goal: to cause me to binge on sweets so my britches will pop, my eyes will roll to the back of my head, and I’ll fall down in a nice pile of leaves with a big sugar-eating grin on my face. I have only one thing to say to all you sugar monkeys: I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH. COME LIVE WITH ME.

Ooops!! I said two things. That’s ok, I don’t mind. Two things are better than one. May I have another malt ball please?? Thank you. Now my teeth are brown with delight, and I shall never pressure wash them again.

Hallowe’en is a most magical time of the year, darn it. Young monsters roaming the streets, and gathering all those yummy remarkables. These days we take the grandkids trick or treating. Our own kids of course are older now, and I confess I miss the very important chore we had to bear as parents each Hallowe’en: to check the loot when they get home. Conversation during such safety checks went much like this:

“This Mr. Goodbar looks like it’s been tampered with. Guess I better taste it to make sure.”

“DAAaad!! How come it’s only the Mr. Goodbars that are defective?? That’s the thirteenth one you ‘tested’ so far.”

“Well, ok, they’re probably alright. Oooo!! Snickers! That one looks a little… yep! There’s a tiny hole right here! Gotta open it up…”

“Gimme that back!! MOM! Dad’s eating all my candy!!”

“SSSsshhh!! OK, OK!! Here!!”

Of course, as monster kids grow up, Hallowe’en activities change. One thing has remained the same though: we’re privileged to have them over to carve pumpkins. Nowadays that includes the grandkids, which of course is way cool. The traditional photo session at the end of all the carving artistry involves one picture with the lights on, and one with the lights off; while the flickering candle light of the jack o’ lanterns lights up our faces.

Before the kids were grown, past Hallowe’ens came with the traditional parental warnings: don’t harm anything. No eggs. No mayonnaise. Nasty stains with that stuff. No breaking things. Soap, shaving cream, now there’s some party favors! Our son once mentioned maybe plastic wrap might be nice.

“What, no toilet paper?? Anyhow, what the heck do you do with the plastic wrap?”

“Wrap up someone’s mailbox! Hee hee!!”

“Ummm, yeah, ok man, whatever you say.”

Sounded like fun to be honest…

After digging into my own childhood memory box I recalled when some friends of mine wrapped this guy’s motorcycle in MANY layers of hiney wipe. Poor dude parked his bike inside a gas station, where one of the pranksters worked. Right across the street from the grocery store. Talk about your supply and demand! So I was kinda keen on Nate doing a big TP job, because I never had the guts to do that when I was a kid. I was scared to death of my dad in those days; and I didn’t want the skin removed from my posterior.

At our house, we pretty much allowed harmless pranks. A well done toilet paper job is pretty cool, actually. Until it rains. Got a bit concerned once when our daughter informed us about some interesting plans, though.

“Where you goin’ tonight, Punkin?”

“We’re goin’ go to Ryan’s house and fork them!”

“SAY WHAT??!!”

“You know, you buy a few boxes of plastic forks and stick them all in the lawn!”

OK so that sounded like fun to me too! Can you imagine the parents waking up in the morning??

“Wake up, dear!!”

“Why, what’s wrong??”

“We’ve been forked!”

“O God, NO!!”

Hey, there’s lots worse these monsters can get into. We tried not to suppress their creativity, so long as it was harmless fun. In other words, we stayed involved enough in their lives to know what they were doing.

Anyhow, since they’re older now, trick-or-treating is slowly setting sail on the ship to Memory Island. But you know what? Sometimes I miss all those free “possibly defective” chocolate bars the kids used to bring home by the bushel. However, we have been known to mooch a little from the grandkids. We don’t do “safety checks” anymore, that’s Mom and Dad’s job.

I know, maybe I’ll dress up like a coffee table or something and go myself!! On the other hand, maybe I could go shopping!! Let’s see there’s all this candy; but wait… plastic forks, shaving cream, toilet paper, plastic wrap… Plastic wrap?? Yeah, why not??!!

Happy Hallowe’en, all you Flavorheads!! By the way, that Mr. Goodbar looks like it’s been tampered with a bit…

Well if you’ve ever visited this silly site before, you know I love old cartoons.  In keeping with the spirit of the season, here are a couple of my favorites.

Love Those Leaves!!

Oh fine, here we go with another story about leaves. Just what every red blooded Yankee wants to hear about this time of year, right? And by Yankee, I mean anyone who is far enough north to enjoy the massive seasonal leaf gathering festival we call “fall.” Each year, Mom Nature paints the landscape with the beautiful autumn hues we’ve grown to know and love. Yup, the leaves are already busy sninkling (huh?) down from the trees and chasing each other to and fro all over the ground. In fact, you could even say they’re in full-sninkle!

Well, maybe I’ll just say that… anyway, the colors sure are awesome right now!

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

Being an organic gardener, I have been a leaf collector for many years. People have given me strange looks when I pulled my trailer up to the curb and made off with their leaves. If anyone is around, I always ask first; and then they’d say, “Sure!” Then they’ll lead me to the other 195 bags in their back yard. Leaf collectors are becoming more numerous now; as more folks realize their value in the garden as fertilizer and mulch. Not only
that, a bunch of us leaf collectors get together at the old Breakfast Burp Cafe and trade leaves on Saturday mornings. My “prize leaf ” is a 1971 maple that really makes me proud. A nice bowl of leaves are really great with milk and sugar too! High fiber.

OK, I may be fooling…

As I’ve already mentioned, and much to my Beautiful Honey-Pie’s chagrin, I actually bring leaves from other people’s yards by cruising the neighborhood with my brand new 2001 Chrysler Towne & Country and trailer. I take every kind of leaves I can get my mitts on: maple, pine needles, and yes even oak. Contrary to popular opinion, there’s nothing wrong with oak leaves in your garden; especially when they are composted. After 35 years of building up what used to be basically beach sand, my garden soil is nice and black, thank you very much.

In the past, my Lovely Best Friend Wife Person would have a fit when I brought home a load of leaves. She never griped about the veggies we got, but I’ve heard her mumble about “all these &^%$ing leaves” when I come home with a trailer full. My Beautiful Girlfriend would then look at me with her beautiful baby blue eyes and say, “what, we don’t have enough leaves in OUR yard??” I’d always respond with, “when it comes to the garden, more is better.” She’d just grunt, shake her head, mumble some more and go about her business. After many years, though, she’s become much more accepting of the Annual Leaf Run. We do have a rule though: I’m not allowed to bring other people’s leaves home until ours are cleaned up first. Seems fair enough.

Sssshhh… don’t tell her but sometimes I sneak some in when she doesn’t know!

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

Every 212.35 Days

So there I was, minding my own business, wondering what I should write about for this week’s Happy Friday!!! thing, when a Facebook Friend posted a funny: “Friday the 13th – remember – it’s bad luck to be superstitious!” so I said “thank you” because I was wondering what to write about tonight and now I know so there!

Just for the halibut, I used The Google Thing (TGT) to find out how often Friday the 13th happens. Well that took me to The Wikipedia Thing (TWT), which says “On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days, whereas Thursday the 13th occurs only once every 213.59 days.” We get one at least once a year, but it can happen as many as 3 times in a year.

Isn’t that special?

There was a period of my life when I was convinced Friday the 13th came much more often. You know that old saying: “if it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” I’m hoping that doesn’t apply to me. Back in “The Before Times” I was certain my luck really stunk; but I gradually discovered that all the “bad luck” was really a set of consequences that I inflicted upon myself due to some rather poor choices.

Nowadays I consider myself extremely fortunate. Of course, I’m trying to make better decisions. It has been especially helpful to shed my youthful follies that involved too many intoxicants; my affinity for which helped me rationalize all too many actions that were very unacceptable and too often very unkind. I don’t think I really left adolescence until I was 35 years old. After much pain and suffering (again, self inflicted) I actually got to a point where I wanted to grow up. I’m still trying to learn better behaviors… to stay teachable. I try to be kind to everyone I meet, and I’m getting better at being kind to myself.

Although I didn’t really expect it, I guess this Friday the 13th got me thinking about all this stuff. As I said, I really am very fortunate. I can very much agree with what a friend of mine often says: “90 percent of the world would love to have the problems I have.”

Well my friends, it’s very late outside so I’m gonna make this one short and sweet. The grandkids are here, and as I’m plunking on the keyboard they are zonked out after watching very old (and very cool) cartoons until a very late hour. Therefore, I’m gonna plop some videos of a couple songs that have helped me “get better luck” over the years. They help me remember that it’s never too late to start all over again.

Even if I have to do it multiple times a day.

We Are, You Are Not, Nyaa Nyaa Na Boo Boo.

Dear Antenna Ranchers,

I found it necessary to let you all know that I am on vacation tomorrow, and you are not. Unless you are, then you are also.

On vacation.

Have I mentioned I’m not working tomorrow?? Oh wait… it’s Thursday, yet I’m writing this thing called Happy Friday. So that means it’s today already!! Which means: I‘m on vacation!!

And you are not,

Nyaa nyaa na boo boo.

Unless you are.

On vacation.

Deja Vu…

Ha ha on you who must work, I laugh to you. I bet your toenails are shivering at the thought of working for the next  days of working. This is very amusing to me indeed.

I plan to spend the next 4 days doing things that I do not get paid to do. This is why it is called vacation. OK, technically I only took Friday and Monday off, but that’s still 4 days in a row of no work stuff. Although it won’t happen THIS time, some of my favorite things to do are playing in the garden, sleeping longer than normal and maybe even forgetting how to shave my cat’s teddy bear baskets.  When I return, the garden must be carefully tilled with explosives and high pressure syrup hoses. Following that, I methodically mix all my veggie seeds together in a large five gallon bucket and fling them into the syrup explosion zones. Pancakes will be sprouting before June 48, 2193 if we don’t get any rain…

We are driving to Chicago this time, which is accomplished by rolling down the road while sitting on our hineys in a Brand New, 2001 Chrysler Town And Country we affectionately call, “Old Rattlebonken.” We go to hire comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short (OK, we are chipping in with many other people). Their show is called, “An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Lives.” And yes, that really is the name. Of their show. Without sentence fragments. I believe we may smile and perhaps even laugh until our nostrils fall out.

The most important thing is I will be with my Beautiful Girlfriend, and not at work.

On the other hand, I just ate a grape from Meijer that tasted like fish. I never knew they had fish grapes. Now I must try my hand at making fish raisins or maybe one of YOU could send me the recipe for fish wine. If I recall correctly, there are stories of a very famous person who could convert bread into water and fish into wine. So as you can see, fish wine is not a new concept.

However, regardless of how much fish wine you may care to produce, I will not be having any with your breaded water meal. I am a recovering fishaholic, so it might not be a very good idea for me to start drinking fish again. I’ll just have to enjoy the fish raisins, or maybe peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches with a glass of dehydrated coconut milk. A nice cup of flavored air to wash it down… mmmm life is good.

How many moles does it take to get a jar of molasses?? Those poor moles, running around with no hineys. They are brave to sacrifice their booty just so we can have our jars of molasses. Not sure why we civilized people even allow jars of molasses to be sold in stores. I mean, do you ever see jars of mouseknees, cricketlips, or even seagullstomachs?? Nope. Just molasses.

Dinner for every day during this vacation will be pizza and Snickers bars. Freshly squeezed fish grapes will be served up as a nice hot beverage with a dollop of whipped crab juice on the side. No farmers will be harmed in this extravaganza. It’s very possible I need a vacation.

Please have a safe and odiferous working time. Are you on vacation? No, you are not.

ME, not YOU.

My eyes have suddenly turned into olives!!!

Conko De Bonko,

Kenny Calibration
a.k.a. “Fossil Tongue Pete”

Someday maybe we will drive to Hawaii… but for now it’s just a dream.

Two Years, 5 Months, 1 Day

Well Boys and Girls, it’s been awhile since I announced My Retirement Countdown In Superfluous Capital Letters and Expensive, Imported Clarified Butter Catapults that not Only Fling Large Amounts Of Butter in ALL directions, but also find New Meaning in Donated Capillary Floss Finding Missions which of course have never been discovered yet so please let’s not talk about those.

Thank You.

Yes, it’s that time again which happens pretty much every day I’m at work: I reflect upon the number of years, months and days I shall have to wait before the Great Retirement Lever is pulled with glee, sending balloons filled with sand over the rails of highway bridges that traverse the El Flampo River in the southeastern corners of Northern New Mashpottle.

In fact, today at the movies we saw the preview for a flick that will be released on March 2; the day after my belly button was built. As the release date was announced, I leaned toward my Beautiful Girlfriend’s Beautiful Ear and whispered unto her, “when that movie comes out I’ll have 1 year, 11 months, and 29 days till I retire!!” She nodded about 723 times in the course of twelve seconds, which caused her cranium to fly about with great speed and camouflage. In other words, she kinda grunted as if to say, “ya, OK… awright awreddy!!”

She may have heard the countdown a few thousand times.

It’s getting closer… and the more I announce the years, months, and days, the more the years, months, and days are announced by me. This is the way of my talking face parts. At work, I’ve found myself saying things like, “yes, these computers are leased, and everything needs to be returned when the lease expires. The lease is for 4 years. However, in 2 years, 5 months, and 1 day, I will not care about such things. But hey, who’s counting??” “Sounds like maybe YOU are…” my friends say with a smirk. Then they show their happiness for me by throwing expired pudding on my shoes and writing funny sayings on top of my eyebrows with markers.

Feels like it did when I was halfway through my tour in the Air Force. I am a “Vietnam Era Veteran,” which means I received much of the benefits of having served during that time; such as the GI Bill which paid for my college. Also got a VA loan that enabled us to buy our home. I served stateside for my entire tour, so the sacrifices I made for our country were minimal indeed compared to many who lost life and / or limb. But when in the Air Force, your life belongs to your Uncle (Sam), and most of us knew our “getting out” countdown by heart.

These days, I cheat because I have an app that plops the countdown on the screen of my work computer when it boots up every morning. Sometimes it gives me hope, other times it makes me want to smear jellyfish on my sandwich at 2:37 AM just to relieve the stress of working all the time; and I work on computers and all the people in our department who know what they’re doing are either leaving the company for another job or retiring; and that leaves the rest of us holding the bag full of slimy technological marshmallow residue that will break at a moment’s notice and then people like me have to figure out who’s still here and can fix this crap and HOLY COW everybody is freaking out because they can’t print their reports and their screens are oozing melted cheese while internally there is purple smoke and Oh Jeez this is no fun anymore.

HOWEVER… in 2 years, 5 months, and 1 day, I won’t care AT ALL about slimy marshmallow residual technology.

I’m really glad it’s Friday.

How’s this for a diversion?

Absolutely No Complaints

Quite a journey, all this life stuff. Very easy to get frustrated, maybe even angry, and certainly sad about the crazy things people say or do; especially when you’re directly affected. For example, I’m in the midst of a giant “learning experience” right now; the result of being a bit too trusting and kind. I just can’t help it, that’s the type of person I am. However, there are people in this world who take advantage of trust or kindness; and the result is often not very pretty.

My Beautiful Girlfriend was on a camping trip with her friends, so I was a bachelor for the past few days. Normally I’m very OK with being alone, but I felt vulnerable, ignorant, insulted, hurt, and sad when I realized how far things can go before the brakes are applied on a situation that I thought was based on trust and mutual respect. And of course work has been a big mess lately. Then I made the mistake of watching the news. Too much bad juju going on right now with all the Global Storming and War Talk. Oh, and to top it all off my cat didn’t come home when I expected; so my magnifying mind projected that he’d been eaten by a coyote or some such nastiness.

I’m not too proud to say it, I had a good cry.

Thankfully, all was not lost. Not in the least bit. The cat came home (I hugged him and called him a stinky monkey). I reached out to friends, a couple of whom had experienced the exact same thing I’m enjoying. Very helpful. Then I contacted the person in question and let them know it was time to part ways. That went pretty amicably. Then I hung out with some friends again some more, and things got even better. Now, my Honey Pie is home; we picked up our grandsons for the weekend; and I’m right as rain.

Bottom line of all this venting is this: I have absolutely no problems in this world. After all that spewing of sadness, one might say, “ya right!! Doesn’t sound like it Kenny boy!!” Well, even though I was in the throes of despair, with a little help from my friends (oh, and especially those God People) (whoever they are) I was able to come out the other side with much gratitude and peace. Took some work to get there, but I’ve acquired some coping tools along the way of this marvelous journey we call Life.

Wasn’t always so. Not by a long shot. In the Before Times, I would run for intoxicants and poison my surroundings with angry utterances and breaking of things. I’m very VERY grateful that those times are long gone. And I’m especially grateful that no matter what the universe plops in front of me, I’m always keenly aware that I’m a very fortunate person.

I have plenty to eat, a nice home, a car that works well. I am blessed with the love of The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe. I’m blessed with the love of my children and grandchildren. I’m blessed with the love of friends, and yes, even the love of the stinky monkey kitty cat (he often greets me near the door when I get home from work).  And there are may more examples I could name.

So much awful stuff in this world when I watch the news. So many people suffering. So many more that will suffer if we can’t find a way to end war. So much. So you see, I have no problems. I have absolutely no reason to complain. But I’m human; so I probably will from time to time. I hope you will forgive me when I whine.

As a dear friend of mine used to say, “you want a little cheese with that whine??”

Well I may not like everyone… but I try to LOVE everyone.  Not always easy, but it’s all you need…

An Open Letter To Friends Or Others

Dear Service Warmers,

Thank you for ingesting both pots of crayfish broth during the Great Mustard Festival. After all, one can never be certain how long a 6 inch, foot long Sumpway Sand Witch will turn out to be; especially when it has long been known that TV antennas never make good Snackwonder Surprise.

Today I received reinforcement of my long standing belief that there is a neurological connection between my hiney and my head bone. This I have determined by venturing from my typing chair, this one here that I’m sitting on, in my writing room, where I am writing to you while typing and wondering what it was I should actually be telling you.

So there I was, approximately 676 feet above sea level (plus or minus 3 million miles), thinking that because I used my aging body in the garden today and it hurts in various places, maybe I should go downstairs and get some aspirin; so I got out of my chair, started out the door of my typing room (which I use for writing) (in addition to sitting) (and now the excessive use of parentheses in an already clunky run-on sentence), and lo and behold I completely forgot what for I was going down the stairs to get something; I have no idea what the heck it was. Shortly thereafter (well OK, my body didn’t get shortened because I was the same size, but it wasn’t very much time) I mumbled to myself out loud so my ear things could induce vomiting:

“What the…”

“What was I gonna…”

“Why was I going downstairs???”

I come back; I sit down, and VOILA!! My brain thing in my headbone was now retrieving memory information. I go for to put the aspirin into my mouth place and wash it down with some dihydrogen oxide. Therefore, the logical contusion is: my hiney and brain are connected somehow.

Please, no butt head jokes.

Unless you want to…

OK. So back to the original premise that all of you Wonderful Yankle Tramplers out there were so very helpful with drinking 72 gallons of crayfish squeezin’s during the Grape Custard Vestibule. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sell that stuff on the street corner?? After a few hours it begins to smell like someone was storing tuna fish salad in my sneakers. After only 47 minutes you can bet your sweet golf hammer I’ve filled my nostrils with marbles to prevent the barfstinkens from floating into my smellgrabber organs. And if you’ve ever heard “Inna Gadda Da Vida” on the smellgrabber organ, well you know you’ve been treated to some of the best doggone Snot Marble Surprise this side of Eastern New Sniffington.

Very well then. I must go find solace in my cat’s new molar polishing machine. In the meantime my friends, I leave you with the wisdom of that age-old someone whose circular germinations you may or may not have ever endured:

It’s always better to be you than for you to be me; and although you can count to it, “eight” is a word.

By the way, I work in the IT Department. Can you tell my week has been very snarbifulous??

On the other hand, you have the smellgrabber song…