Antergloanian Agriculture

Hello Friends,

I remember when I decided to retire I was really looking forward to spending more time in my garden. Well I have had plenty of time to do that, thankfully; and I’ve also learned a few things. Some of these things are simply amazing and wonderful, but some of them are completely antergloanian.

And antergloanian is not a word.

You see, I never expected the parsnips to crowd the eggplants and peppers to the point of near extinction. It’s been several years since I’ve planted parsnips, and for whatever reason, this year the parsnips appear to be eating Super Grow Holy Moly Plant Vitamins. They are growing so well, their leaves have prevented that oh – so necessary sunlight from hitting the peppers and eggplants. Consequently, the eggplant and pepper plants are pretty wimpy and probably won’t do much this year.

I mean, the foliage on these parsnips is simply huge!! I do have distant memories of trying to grow parsnips; but when I planted them, very few actually sprouted. Those that did were rather puny, and the roots were not very large. I seem to remember that they were tasty, but hey if you don’t get much it’s not as much fun. If the foliage on this year’s monsters is any indication, the roots should give us enough enjoyment for Rooftop Salamander Surprise; which is an ancient recipe handed down to me by my Viking ancestors that involves scaling a rope ladder with the guidance of an English speaking salamander (by the name of Loogersnotten) and attempting the deep frying of parsnip tentacles during a raging snowstorm that only occurs during a run-on sentence.

Or perhaps that was a dream (the recipe part I mean).

So there I was, minding my own business, walking near the popcorn and along the fence, admiring my cucumbers, and OH MY GOD MY LOVELY CUCUMBER VINE IS DYING!!! What the HECK-A-MA-HOOKEY is that all about?? Well it’s likely some burrowing animal happily digging its way around looking for grubs. Upon discovering this sad revelation, I knelt down, put my face close to the base of the dying vine, and shouted “YOUSE STINKING DIRT SNORTERS HAVE KILLED MY POOR CUCUMBER VINE!! I will NOT put you on my Holiday Gift List!!! SO THERE!!” Nah, I didn’t do that really. Hey, burrowing animals gotta eat too, right? Well, I may have muttered a few naughty words under my breath.

Thankfully I have two more vines, one of which was a volunteer that I transplanted out of the broccoli / Brussels sprouts / beets / Swiss chard bed. It seems to be doing OK; and has even started to produce. The other one just kinda popped up a few feet away from the dying vine. Probably a result of flinging an oversized cuke in the compost last year. Oh yeah… I get volunteer squash, melons, tomatoes, and even beans from stuff that somehow survived all the creepy crawlies that feed on veggie waste in our compost pile. Wherever I put the compost, there is often a “surprise” seedling or perhaps 19 of them. Some are welcome, most get executed (yanked out by the hair) and tossed back into the compost.

Hey, remember that one time I put a very small catnip plant in the garden? Boy, did I think that would be fun for our feline friends!! And yes!! It really is a lot of fun for the kitties. But guess what?? If you plant catnip in the garden, it spreads. And if you like how the flowers attract all those bees and butterflies and such, and then the flowers make seeds, well, then you get GIGANTIC PATHES OF CATNIP THAT REALLY LIKE MY SOIL. And why shouldn’t they? I’ve spent 39 years turning beach sand into very rich topsoil!!

Oh, and remember that one time I allowed a milkweed to flower in hopes that the Monarch butterflies would start to make babies at my house?? Well now there’s quite the milkweed patch in the southwest corner of the garden. Those things not only spread by those fluffy, featherlike seeds that float around in the air, they also are very good at spreading by roots. The pop up all over the place. Again, some of them are welcome; most get executed and sent to the compost pile. Lots of Monarchs (and many other pollinators) are starting to take notice though!!

So my friends, there’s never a dull moment in the garden. I’ve renamed it “The Garden Of Weeden” due to the large population of uninvited plants that are scattered about. That’s very OK though, because believe it or don’t the biodiversity that’s present when the weeds are visiting actually keeps veggie munching pests at bay. They provide a habitat for predators (like spiders), and their presence also confuses the “radar” of pest insects. Seriously. You see, growing veggies organically means no pesticides or other man made chemicals are allowed in or near the garden; Growing huge fields of one crop basically screams “come get me!!” to pest insects. So mixing it up is an effective way to minimize damage from those veggie munchers. As an added bonus: even when you yank them, there are lots of roots left behind that decompose and therefore build the soil.

Anyway, when I start the parsnip harvest later this year (fall and winter), I’ll make sure to invite all of you over to participate in the preparation for Rooftop Salamander Surprise.

Or maybe we’ll just have potroast.

And no, I DO NOT garden like Mickey Mouse!!

Ummm I’m Thinking

Maddie is here with our grandsons Ollie and Gabe, and as is customary I begged them all for silly input for this week’s Happy Friday!! Well, all of them are growing up way too fast, and it seems that they may be a bit more hesitant to contribute than they were when they were very young. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to have them talk into my phone while I have the microphone enabled than it is to try to transcribe every utterance. No, instead I beseech them to speech themselves into my phone and I e-mail the words to myself so I can copy and paste them here.

What follows is the result. Keep in mind that sometimes the iPhone “translates” speech as it sees fit, often with rather bizarre wordings.

I started off by asking, “OK… can you guys give me some silly stuff for my story tonight?”

“Ummm I’m thinking…” Gabe replied.

“Moo! Monkey!!” was Maddie’s knee jerk reaction. Then Ollie chimed in: “The elusive South American moose feeds on a diet of chicken nuggets and tater tots.”

Gabe added, “It also eats elephants and giraffes and lions.” Ollie got close to the phone and uttered some gibberish, which the phone took to mean “Rumor Scab on her head back and he told Jen bong famous stars will Bhupathi if the hour! Violets room or a scab on her head back and told Jen famous stars will see if the hour!” The phone is apparently upset about the hour…

Maddie then retorted, “A dragon dog went into the castle somehow even though it’s humongous and ate Gabe.” The phone also seemed to think it needed to insert some “colorful” words, over which I backspaced and told the phone “no we’re not gonna put that in the story.”

Gable replied, “No thank you why is everybody what do I say book movie game.” And Maddie responded with “Marblehead slope nerve connection or come out sooner give me so much. Oh Bubba Bubba Bubba boo-boo boo-boo!!” Ollie snapped back with “Lava Duper Duper yes Schnapp and Oceanaire. I will sing and a good day to you sir!!”

Suddenly, all of them started talking in rapid succession: “I am your biggest fan snoops you so I’m sure bicycle. You sir I eat hamburgers in seconds hi galaxy hi now before me. Meds for snag a bargaining and travel booth no sub Nube. El Bruegel France mentee Brock Fruge mend toes are now negative rude move out move that big buddy ham I like ham house ouch it’s food yay flip-flops guys flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop flip-flop!!”

That concluded the phone dictation session, as I was unable to keep the focus on anything other than flip-flop; but we all laughed with big harroo and soon we all ran dentfully through the carpet grease while chickling all forms of animated toast wobbles. That of course brought our cat Flegmop to his knees, which is difficult since cats’ knees are basically elbows; and we ain’t talking macaroni neither!!

So my friends, if you ever want youngsters to dictate nonsense into a smart phone, please be aware that the transfer will often be very silly and cause hickles and froopening during zixerstorms. After reading the copy and paste banana sauce, I then of course revonkulated the snettidge even further with more norvalian cribbelletto.

I want some toast now. Please change both dandruff closets into small TV rooms.

Thank you,

Kenny Prigflorten

a.k.a. “Lenneth Loghopper”

Next will be a cartoon that none of you will ever try to infuriate.

Soon We Will Celebrate!

Hello My Fellow Emu Ranchers,

Please send large amounts of cash and donuts to my home. This of course is in honor of our upcoming anniversary. I am truly blessed to be married to my best friend and soulmate.

Yes, next month my Beautiful Girlfriend and I will celebrate 48 years of wedded blisters. Those of you who know us are also aware that the last 32 years have indeed been crispy and fresh, with a nice bouquet of happy hello and very little yelling.

The 16 years prior to the last 32 were, as we like to affectionately call them, the “Great Adjustment Period,” or GAP as the silly fashion people say. One thing nice about our marriage these days is that we no longer find the need to secretly spit in each other’s coffee (OK maybe we never did). Nor do we purposely use the laxative chocolate bar trick, or even the “lemme shove this carrot up your nose while you sleep” gag. And I cannot remember the last time we raised our voices in the praise of the “hey you stupid crap eater” tone.

No, these days everything is sparkly and new, except our bodies, and someone keeps stealing the hair on top of my head and transplanting it into my nose and ears; and never mind about the donuts because they may as well just be put straight on my hiney and/or gut because that’s where they end up when I eat them; butt I still like to chase my girlfriend when she exits the shower and also at other times; and it’s fun when she’s turned away from me at the store and I surprise her by “accidentally” placing my hand on her derriere and boy does she jump, ha, ha ha; then she gives me the “whatsamattafayou??” look and I cower a bit but look for another opportunity later in the shopping adventure while trying to catch my breath from reading this totally ridiculous run-on sentence. You see, it’s like this: I just can’t help it. She is, after all, The Most Beautiful Woman In The Universe. But in spite of my childish tendencies, she permits me to smooch her often; and in general This Lovely Lady spoils me rotten.

I don’t deserve to be this happy, but I can’t help it.

Life is good.

Our anniversary is next month, and although I’m sure all of you are truly fine people; none of you are invited to sleep in our bed with us. It’s only a full size bed for cryin’ out loud!!

Well folks, I will smell you all later. Some of you may be smellable from quite a distance, but this is not my problem.

Happy Day To You All, and please remember to enjoy Michigan Produce.

Bibble Dee Bip,

Kenny Snackwonder

a.k.a. “Herr Burgerburner”

And yes, even after nearly 48 years, we still make beautiful music together.

Office Finger Supply Realignment

Hello My Friends,

I’m writing to tell you that my fingers are broken and can no longer type anything that requires typing. Please refer to your Fronkle’s Universal Dictionary for a new and soil proof container for your unwanted dander.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you very much for being. I know you all are, and I’m truly grateful that this is. I have been for a very long time, and I hope to be much longer than now. In the future, I’ll be there when I’m not here, and then today will of course be yesterday. Then I can look back on all the days I’ve been, and say with great warbly yodels, “ahh those were the days!!” However, if for some reason I am no longer able to be, please send 23 cents and 17 boxtops to:

Solgarian Sandwich Flatteners

c/o Glippy Zoonerbonk

333 44th Street

Crabfoot, Nymobia

So!! Who the heck put all those nasty sandspurs in my sock drawer?? Anyhow?? I mean, whenever I put my tootsies inside a sock, all I can think of is screaming YOUCH!! Then of course I do the familiar hopping and screaming dance we’ve all groan to endure. In what soon will be a very long run-on sentence I will describe how I intensely remember the happy first time I ever wore flip-flops in our lush but very barren Florida lawn when we were renting a house near MacDill Air Force Base because we didn’t want to live on the base and we didn’t really qualify anyway and unless you spend a crap ton of money on your lawn all you get is this crazy quack grass (which neither quacks nor is it very nice grass) that makes sandspurs and when you walk through a patch with uncovered footsies for the first time because you are a dumb Yankee you get very bad ouchfoot and holy CARP these stupid things are making my toes bleed!!

I mean, it hurted me awreddy!!

Now it’s time for me to remind all of you to please enjoy your life with every breath of air your pet Goose Marble can imbibe. This method of enjoyment merely requires you to be grateful for being, as was mentioned in an earlier section of whatever the heck this writing glob of words is supposed to be. If you are reading this now, you likely live in North America; which means you are among some of the most privileged people in the world. And that’s no joke you see. I for one am very grateful to the Holy Mackerel People Upstairs In The Universal Remarkable, because whoever They are, They have blessed me more than I could have ever imagined.

I even get to eat snacks!!

Very well then. You see, it’s like this: If you do not enjoy this upcoming weekend, or any other day for that matter, I shall be forced to report you to the Inner Peace Police. Believe me, they do not mess around. They will comfort you until you barf cotton candy with fairy dust that twinkles in the moonlight. So try giving each of your office supplies a name and tell them jokes often with a very big voice; especially when you’re near lots of people. This activity will very will very quickly let you know who you can trust.

Now I will go back to my finger realignment. Please call my veterinarian and find out if my lunch is still there.

Thank you,

Abner L. Pignibbler

a.k.a. “Mr. Kaboom”

And now for some feelgood type music things. Here are some of my favorites ( I have many, many favorites…).

Retirement Is Hard Work!

So here I am, working at what I’ve always worked for all my life, being retired, not needing to take any jobs to make ends meet, and now that it’s been a little over a year I can really relate to what the “old timers” used to tell me: “I am so busy now I don’t know how I ever had time to work!!”; and now I wonder do I put the semicolon inside the quote or outside because this run-on sentence is big but I needed to include the exclamation marks because hey, I wanted to emphasize that I often find myself with no time!!

Whew!

I had no idea what retirement would bring. My only goal was to be able to coast as long as possible without “working for the man” (or the woman) (besides my wife of course) (and now there are too many parentheses) (but I don’t care). So far, I’ve been able to be just fine without doing any work stuff for supplemental income. I am very grateful!!

Something is wrong, however. The days are zooming past my nose with great zippy fast kaboom all gone the days of quick time passing already!! And that may or may not even be a good way to describe it!! But I don’t care because I enjoy using words to make funny!! So there!! I mean, yesterday it was COVID outside, and today I hugged several friends at a gathering. Another example of how time has flown.

I have been vaccinated… I hope all of them have been too!!

My career as a “techie” has paid off in many ways, but it has also posed some very interesting challenges during retirement. For example, have any of you had the splendid experience of teaching an 86 year old neighbor how to use an iPhone? Much repetition. Much repetition. Much repetition. Also, I find myself repeating the same lessons over and over again. Additionally, I’ve been showing him how to recurrently do the same thing he did 2.4 minutes ago over and over again. No, he doesn’t have dementia. He has just never played with such technical things. Have I mentioned that I’ve been helping him with repetitive lessons on the same stuff multiple times? And he didn’t even get his landline ported over yet!!

Oh God oh God.

On the other hand, you have the vegetable garden. Makes my hands very dirty and I love every minute of it. I am an organic gardener, meaning I do not use any manufactured fertilizers or pesticides. All the soil building materials come from the dump. Yep. I put garbage by the trailer load in my dirt and wait for it to stop stinking. NO!! No, that’s wrong!! I do go to the dump (the politically correct term is transfer station) for fertilizer: free mulch in the form of leaves and lawn clippings. After 39 years of adding these to what was basically beach sand under the turf, I’ve been able to convert very sandy soil into a rich growing medium. And no, there is no such thing as “bad leaves” for the garden. When the worms are happy, the soil is happy.

Anyway, gardening can be very time consuming if you want to get a decent harvest. It’s always been a labor of love for me; and before retirement I had grandiose dreams of having a picture perfect garden. Guess what?? Uh uh. Nope. Sure I’m gonna get lots of food: snow peas, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beets, Swiss chard, garlic (lots of garlic), popcorn, hopefully some squash… to name a few. But there are some unruly corners of the garden that are infested with catnip, milkweed, lambs quarters, purslane, even some clover. But you know what? It’s very OK. If I had nothing else to do, my garden may (or may not) be free of weeds. People think I’m nuts when I tell them that “weeds are guardians of the soil.” It’s true you know. Their root systems prevent erosion while adding organic matter to the soil. Weeds provide habitat for spiders and other beneficial creatures. And when the catnip is flowering, pollinators of all sorts come a-runnin’. Ever see a hummingbird moth?? So amazing!! And not to forget the milkweed that feeds Monarch butterfly caterpillars. We’ve even enjoyed the fact that plants like lambs quarters and purslane are very edible.

Since we are social people, our calendar has filled up quickly. That’s good, right?? Better to be wanted and loved than to have people shudder at the mention of your name! Of course there are lots of other things that keep me occupied on this 5 acre homestead of ours. Maybe someday I’ll even get brave and clean up the clutter bomb that exploded (very slowly) in my garage!! Or do something really radical like declutter my office!! Are you picking up on a clutter pattern here?? Oh well, retirement really is awesome. And yes, “I’m so busy now I don’t know how I ever had time to work.”

And I really like it!!

We don’t have a lot of money, but we have enough. We are blessed really. Here’s one of my old favorite cartoons about a bad egg who got way too greedy.

Thank You (for nothing!!) Mr. Trouvelot

Our poor trees here in Beautiful West Michigan. So many of them must be terribly embarrassed these days. That’s because this year we literally have acres and acres of naked trees. In the middle of summer no less!! This horrible phenomenon occurs every 10 years or so due to infestations of that nasty import: the European Gypsy Moth.

And yes folks, these little stinkers were actually brought from Europe on purpose; by a guy named Étienne Léopold Trouvelot. I did some digging on the interwebs and learned that he fled France with his family to Medford, Massachusetts during the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851. Then in the 1860s he thought it would be really cool to raise some gypsy moth caterpillars in the forest behind his house. His goal was to raise a disease resistant caterpillar for the purpose of silk production. So he got some egg masses from Europe and brought them here for hatching. Unfortunately, several of the caterpillars “escaped” to nearby woods and the rest, as they say, is history.

This is by no means the first time people have transplanted invasive species from one part of the world to another; whether intentional or otherwise. One relatively harmless example is the introduction of mulberry trees into the U.S. in 1733, again with the intent of kicking off a silk industry. Mulberry leaves are a favorite food of silkworms you see. Well, the silkworms didn’t do so well, but the mulberry trees are doing just great, thank you.

Anyway, back to these doggoned gypsy moths. I admit that I mistakenly believed they only love oak trees. Well turns out they’ll readily munch on about 300 different species of trees and shrubs. A variety of control methods are being used with some success. One of the most important is not to travel around with firewood or other woody debris that may be infested with egg masses. Big no-no!! There are also sprays that target only the caterpillars; and there are traps that can be made. And yes there actually are a few natural predators like deer mice that actually love to eat the creepy crawlies. I’ll put a couple informative links at the bottom of this so you can educate yourselves if you like.

Don’t despair, this terrible sight of naked (and most likely highly embarrassed) trees will improve after a year or two when the populations collapse due to disease and other factors. Unfortunately, however, it looks like these boogers are here to stay. All we can do is learn to cope the best we can.

So here are a couple of very informative links for you:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/Invasive_species/Gypsy-Moth/gypsy-moth-around-home

https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/gypsymothinwisconsin/

And now, as Mr. Cleese used to say, for something completely different:

Ummm Umm I Don’t Know

Our grandsons are visiting again, and as is the tradition for Friday night, I’ve asked their input for some Happy Friday!!! story ideas. Often I can’t transcribe their bantering quickly enough, but tonight I had to do a significant amount of nudging. I asked Gabe first, and his immediate response was, “ummm ummm I don’t know.” Ollie didn’t have much to offer either.

Then, I illustrated the magic of “talk to text” on my iPhone. I opened Notes, and hit the microphone icon and started talking. This can be quite a lot of fun for a silly child like me, because if I utter complete gibberish the phone does its best to translate my weirdness into actual words. Example: after saying a slew of nonsense I just now got Giovanni on Christo room act able to roam if Nick and eat Cambord on Fandor me qua Dodd both back.

Not sure if “qua” or “Dodd” are words. I’m still a child in old man’s clothing so I actually engage in this silliness while texting to friends or family. Some renditions are much funnier.

Anyway… I thought I’d try to get the brainstorms rolling by telling my phone: “My cat is doing a science project on me and it’s preventing me from sleeping properly.” Ollie’s face lit up a bit, and he immediately replied, “your cat’s name is Boogle by the way.” Then I asked him to continue, again with the microphone active on the phone. “I can’t think of anything but that is not what I thought of,” Ollie said.

“What kind of magazines do snakes eat?” I asked. Ollie replied, “mice flavored or other small rodents. But the flavor’s not really actual mouse flavor, it’s more like like fake banana flavoring or fake cherry. Not really an actual fruit flavor.”

Then I turned to Gabe. “Really right for you how many pounds of dog food do you eat every day?” is apparently what the phone thought I said. Gabe answered, “25.” Then I mentioned that 25 pounds is a lot of dog food!!

Next (although she didn’t know it) was my Beautiful Girlfriend’s turn to talk. “Which planet would you like to marry from??” I asked. “None of them, I’m married to you!” she replied. Then I noticed Gabe was trying to “hack” into Nini’s (my Beautiful Girlfriend’s Grandma name) iPad. “What do I do it here what is the password for?” Gabe queried. “How much baloney can you stick in your nose?” I asked. “25 phones,” Gabe replied.

Back to Ollie. I wondered aloud, “When radios calibrate themselves what color are their nostrils?” The phone was sure that Ollie’s answer was: “I see you like a mix between Hughes and a sky blue!” I continued the query: “What are spaghetti molecules made of ?” Ollie said, “well I mean I don’t know but they’re rather delicious. Not sure I want to know.”

Gabe finished up the discussion with the following: “If you find the sheet of paper with the password put it in the Lego box.”

So my friends, these are the types of discussions that never occur at our house. Please do not try to derive any hidden meaning from this small box of brownie mix, it will merely confuse your pets and they may even try to teach you molecular mapping during your nocturnal napping.

Or not.

On the other hand, you have the old masters…

Back To… Normal??

We just watched Stephen Colbert’s Late Show from June 14, where he was able to enjoy his first live studio audience in 15 months. Being the mush ball that I am, I admit I shed a few tears of joy when I saw all the excitement. So much love, so much positive energy!! It was really refreshing. Almost like… normal!!

So what is “normal” anyway? Several years ago it was not unusual to hear someone say, “normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.” Ha ha… well maybe not… maybe actually profound. The pandemic has certainly turned pretty much everyone’s “normal” upside down. Now that it’s diminishing, in much of the U.S. at least, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

At least for now.

Here in Michigan, masks are still required in medical facilities, but most businesses seem to have removed their “No Mask, No Entry” signs. I’ve actually been to the grocer and other stores without a mask, and at first it felt rather strange. I’ve even eaten at a restaurant a couple times! Again, no mask. But I still sanitize my hands as soon as I get back in the car.

Still not ready to go to the movies yet. However, here in Beautiful West Michigan we have a very safe place to watch a movie on the big screen: The Getty 4 Drive In. That’s right folks, the drive in has been thriving here for some time, and especially during the pandemic. I actually have a date to go with my Beautiful Girlfriend tomorrow (I’m writing this on Thursday night).

We are both still pretty careful really. God only knows what kind of variants will show up in our midst; and whether the vaccine will actually prevent us from being infected. I certainly hope so… scientists have assured us and I feel fairly confident we’ll be OK. But just in case, when it comes to close personal contact as in hugging or even a handshake, our “normal” involves only people we know are vaccinated. And we pray for those who choose not to get the vaccine.

We pray for their safety.

Thankfully, I was able to retire just as the pandemic was beginning to rage. My Lovely Bride still works a couple days a week, but we are basically in retirement mode. Over the years, we talked about checking out Europe or maybe even just Hawaii when retirement came around. However, quarantine has blessed us with the ability to be grateful and content at home. So our dreams of foreign travel have been forever altered. Currently, our idea of a long trip is driving all the way to the distant land of Wisconsin later this summer. Although we’ve heard it’s fairly safe, neither of us is interested in getting on an airplane. We’ll probably drive to Florida some time, but I just looked at the latest COVID map and there are still some “hot spots” between here and there. Guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So whatever “normal” is will continue to change for us I suppose. And that’s very OK. The bottom line is that we really are very blessed; and have learned to make gratitude our attitude. If anything, COVID has strengthened our resolve to be thankful for what we have, and our list of wants has lost importance. I mean really, who’s to say that there won’t be yet another pandemic down the road?

We certainly hope not, but God only knows!!

And now some more mush ball stuff. I would not be able to imagine what it would be like to lose someone close to me from COVID (God bless those of you who have).

This song tugs my heart. And this version is truly exquisite.

Who Cares About Whom?

There are times when Happy Friday!!! jumps out of my fingers and into the keyboard; and there are other timing fingers not have word jump out. It’s almost as if they are fighting for something to breathe in a sea of oxygenated bread molecules that have never seen the blight of clay. In other words, they’re are sum thymes when I gist can’t stick an idea on the end of my nose thing and launch it into a narrative of weekly infestation.

Four egg sample:  tonight I was very late in the garden removing pesky weeds from one of my beds (not the kind I sleep on, I have only one of those).  So when the darkness arrived and I noticed how late it was outside, I knew I’d probably better dig up something out of the archives, massage it a little, and present it to your eyeballs to enjoy; hopefully without greatly flammable pencil warts.  Yes friends, there are times when I look back at the Holy Cow I Have A Lot Of Stories (HCIHALOS) and “recycle” one; so tonight I cheated and dug up one from 5 years before the day we’re having now.

So to continue with the “I have no eye deer what to write” crackle sauce:  when trying to discover a topic or idea for a Happy Friday!!! thing, sometimes a friend will tell me something that jars my cookies like no other fried banana milkshake could ever induce a nice warm cranberry casserole with fuzzy coconut thimbles mounted atop a psychedelically decorated Mambo Contest. This is a moment of inspiration from which I become most eviscerated with a nice piece of antimony topped with a small dollop of crème brulee.

Therefore in the spirit of my Grandma who never gave me any Grammar lessons, I hereby renounce this run-on introductory somnambulism; which was precipitated in a conservation in witch, once upon a time, approximately 5 years ago, in a land very near to my home, while riding in an automobile very near to my hiney, in a smell phone very near to my ear, my dear friend Dave Gordon, whose first name and last name are really both First Names; this Dave Guy he said unto me, “I think you should write something about whom. You know, like everybody says ‘who do you love,’ when it really should be ‘whom do you love?’ “

“So!” I said to myself while listening to this Grampa talk Grammar; “so now I must look this up, as I am ashamed to admit that although I try to indemnify my audible colonoscopy with good usage; there are times when I fall short, much like many U.S. citizens who seam to have difficulty with both spelling; usage; punctuation!, and the correct contextual use of the word “both.”

Its time’s like these when a much younger me would get all bent out of shape when a person would use an apostrophe to write plural’s rather than showing possession and / or when used in a contraction. Of course, many women who have given birth would probably rather not remember the contractions. However this is no excuse to vary from the rules of Grammar, or Grandma either for that matter. Ignorance of the Grammar rules may sabotage your chances of getting a job, while disobedience of Grandma rules may sabotage your chances of getting more cookies. Nay, I say unto you, I no longer flatulate over the lack of knowledge of “proper English grammar.” I do shake my head at times when I see it on billboards or in sentences written by college students; but it is not for me to judge. Mine is but to sing songs loudly and belch boastfully when my belly is full of delicious rock salt pudding.

Our son once pointed out a well documented fact that “who” was a word that was invented by owls. That of course is obvious to anyone who may have listened to owls asking that question over and over and over and over again. We may not know to whom they are posing this age-old question. That does not matter; because, of course, they know. And since they only use “who,” and never have I heard them use “whom;” well that just illustrates to me that they understand (and probably invented) the following rules that I just stole from www.grammarly.com:

Whom is an objective pronoun; it should be used to refer to the object of a sentence. If you’re stuck, you can try this formula: if the pronoun can be replaced by he or she, then use who. if the pronoun can be replaced by him or her, then use whom (you can also look for the preposition).”

OK… so let’s have some “reverse fun” with that rule and substitute bass-ackwardly:

“Who are you?” could be switched to “He (or she) are you?” and…

“Whom do you love?” could be noogled to “Her (or him) do you love?” and perhaps one of my brand new, just now favorites…

“To whom it may concern,” could be flinkled to “To him (or her) it may concern,”

So in the case of a preposition like “to,” then whom is to be used, and please, try to remember that a preposition is a word one should never end a sentence with. You may wonder why anyone would object to such usage, but the object is missing so don’t go there with me you silly baroopy noise making person you!!

Oh I could go on and on with this, don’tcha know. None of those examples in the “reverse fun” substitution calamity are correct usage, but guess what? I don’t care!! Ha ha!! I laugh to this!! I am now chortling! Chortle chortle!! Guffaw guffaw!! Or if Popeye were laughing, “OCK ock ock ock ock ock!!” Weird laugh…

Anyway, although I used to be very persnickety about such things, I try hard not to snip and gribble about someone’s grammar, nor their Grandma. One thing I’ve learned during my sojourn in this plane of sentience is, to quote Ebenezer in my favorite Scrooge movie, “I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know I don’t know anything.”

Sew their.

And now for something completely different…

Is Anyone Out There?

Seems like some Earthlings have been obsessed with a very old question: is there life on Mars? I pondered this myself for what seemed like hours, just before hitting my head on the pillow last night.

Well, DUH! Bet those science folks spent some big bucks researching this no-brainer. Of COURSE there’s life on Mars!! Lots of other places, too. Folks in Hollywood have known this for years. My good friend Vexor the Sarganian laughed openly about the stupidity of Earthling scientists, and has often helped movie makers get the real picture. “Lobster Men from Mars,” for example. Lots of diffent kinds of folks out there on the other planets. Earthlings are just too arrogant to embrace that idea. Or maybe we’re just chicken!

Vexor is, of course, from Sargan: the 5th planet of Sector 23vx in the Skoldern Galaxy. A pretty cool dude, and he’s been around, if you know what I mean. Got that 479 Megazip Crambo-Leaper a couple yargons ago, and he’s been tearing up the Interstellar Speedway ever since. He took me for a ride once, but I get starsick; and, well, I’ll just be staying on Earth for a while (I barfed on his crystal- regulated zoomophone).

Anyhower, he’s known about life “out there” for years. When I asked him about Mars, I think it upset him, though at first he just got this blank look on his face. Then he scrunched up his eyes, and blurted out, “Where the heck ya think all those chocolate candies come from?? Says `Mars’ on the back, don’t it?? Jeez, man, don’t you pay attention?” I sat there, dumbfounded, as he continued to illustrate my cosmic ignorance.

“You can even smell them making the chocolate from here,” he ranted. “All you have to do is go to Hershey, Pennsylvania and look through a telescope at the beautiful Red Planet. Before you know it, you’ll smell chocolate.”

“What’s so special about Hershey… hey, wait a minute,” I said, grinning. “That’s where the Hershey bar factories are, you Moogle Framer! Ha, you got me there. Ha ha.” Vexor laughed too, and slapped me on the back playfully with his dretzel. Then he put me in my place again by noting that he hadn’t been called a Moogel Framer in over 43 durns. I guess I used an obsolete expression. “Nice try, though, you silly Zoff Pinkler!” he chortled. He thought that was pretty darned funny, but I was getting a bit impatient. Vexor picked up on my frustration pretty quickly, and being the sensitive Sarganian that he is, he returned to Mars as the focus of the conversation.

“Yep, you may remember reading in the National Globe Star Enquirer that Elvis is alive. He’s making records on Mars, and doing quite well, thank you. His favorite candy is his own creation, the Hunka-Hunka bar. Some kind of cross between chocolate and a peanut butter sandwich.”

“What, no Snickers??” I asked this of him with a pretty strong tone. I was a bit shocked that Vexor hadn’t mentioned what I considered to be one of the best chocolate bars in the universe. “Of course,” I continued, “they are becoming the amazing shrinking candy bar. Something happened with the size lately, and they’re not quite as big as they used to be. Still cost just as much, though. Perhaps they should be renamed `Sneakers’.”

Vexor started tapping his pedplarbs and fidgeting with a small piece of croob. When I quit rambling, he started anew. “You wanna gab about junk food or you wanna hear about Mars??” He was almost shouting at me, so I shut up. “OK. Now, where was I?” he continued. “O yeah. Elvis. He bought one of those fancy belts from Leroy, too. Helped him bring a lot more folks into his concerts at the Martian Mosh Pit there in New Kramia.”

I was puzzled. “Leroy??” I queried. “Who’s this Leroy?”

“Duh,” Vexor chided. “Don’t you Earthrats know anything? Leroy Aster! You know, the inventor of the Asteroid Belt! All those shiny things on his custom made belts really bring in the crowds. Gotta have good technicians to train the lights on them just the right way, of course. Those Gleebnoogles from Jupiter really go nuts for that stuff. Spend thousands of smoglards just to get a peek!”

He had a great time reminiscing. He paused and tilted his head back, rolled his eyes and shook with laughter as he recalled some of the fun he and his girlfriend Vosk had at some of those Elvis concerts last month. Wasn’t long before I was being treated to his best bag of dehydrated skunyon and a tall glass of brak-ma-gar.

Then the alarm clock went off…

But wait!! Perhaps it wasn’t a dream!! I forgot about Marvin!!!