64 Laps Of Joy (Well, most of the time…)

OK, more like 99.999% of the time. You see, yesterday I celebrated my 64th lap around the sun. In other words, I’m getting pretty close to becoming an old fart. As I just mentioned, 99.999% of the time I have been blessed with joy. Well OK, I’ve just been blessed, period. That’s not to say that I’ve had absolutely no sorrow or sadness. Don’t know how anyone can go this far on the road of Earth life without some icky stuff. But the blessings are real, the joy is very real, and those icky life things have nowhere near the power over my psyche they once enjoyed.

Life is very good these days. Sure, my wife and I still bicker at times; but those little roller coaster rides are very brief and always end up with us remaining best friends. She even lets me snuggle, and get this: I get to smooch her!! We even have silly conversations that make us both laugh with great bigness:

Me: “Honey, will you please tell the firewood downstairs to bring itself up to the wood stove?? I don’t feel like going in the basement right now. They need to start coming up on their own.”

Her: “Ummm… no… they know you are just going to toss them into the fiery furnace!!”

Me: “Oh! FINE!! They can just stay down in the basement… and I will call them really nasty names and stuff!!”

Her: “Well, who’s gonna be our friends???”

Don’t try to make any sense out of that. It was just an actual silly exchange we had the other day that gave both of us a good belly laugh.

Then today I composed a very silly instant message and sent it to many of my friends via good ol’ copy-and-paste:

I can’t seem to decide on the best type of arm pits to use. Peach? Plum? Avocado?? Any suggestions??

I got several nice replies, all of which gave me wonderful smilings. Hopefully my friends got a smile or two also. I confess I’m not always sure what this aging stuff is supposed to mean really. I feel great, I can do pretty much everything I could do when I was much younger, although sometimes it takes a bit longer and other times it hurts. But when I pass a mirror there’s some old geezer gawking at me like I’m the Hunchback of Notre Dame or something. When that happens, I stop and look the old fart straight in the eye; and say with a threatening sneer, “alright old man, what did you do with the body??”

But of course, it’s just me; a child in old man’s clothing.

I even went for my very first stress test after seeing our new doctor about some chest pain I’ve been plagued with for lots of years. Never have an difficulty while exerting myself; but it’s often given me pause about what might be happening. Our previous doctor heard about it too… but she after carefully checking me over she was convinced that my heart was not going to implode. I saw our new doctor about it very shortly after a friend of ours died suddenly of a heart attack. After an EKG, our new doctor saw an anomaly on one of the waveforms and she thought I’d better get a stress test. I went, I tested, and I figured I must have passed because nobody freaked out or sent me to emergency surgery or anything.

Although I thought I had an inkling, I knew pretty much nothing about the procedure of this test. Turns out the hospital staff isn’t allowed to tell you diddly-squat about the results. You get to wait for a few days. OK, so I got a message from the patient portal thingy that “the first portion of the test was within the normal range.”

That’s nice…

Then I replied to the message and asked, “so the second portion is the imaging?”

“Yes that’s correct,” was the reply.

So then I sent another message asking when the results of the imaging portion would be known. Mind you, this is 4 days after my deductible for the test increased my credit card debt to the tune of $670. Seems like I should be able to get results in a timely matter, right?? Well, the reply I got was, “the results have to be finalized and signed and we will let you know when that is complete.”

I found that to be a rather stress-inducing answer.

Breathe… let it go… breathe… (sheesh!!) Hey, looks like I’m writing so I guess I ain’t dead yet.

Well I must be doing something right, I got a very nice compliment from the Nice Restaurant Lady when our Beautiful Friend treated my Beautiful Girlfriend and me to dinner last night. The Nice (older) (as in older than me) (I think) (OK enough with the parentheses) Restaurant Lady said, “it’s your birthday?? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! How old are you? No!! Let me guess… 50??

I told her, “we can be friends!!”

For this week’s video I did a search on the YouTubes for some cartoons about aging, but found out about this lady. She made me laugh…

1 Year, 11 Months, 6 Days

I was wondering if I’ve ever mentioned that I’m really eager to retire. Yes? No? Well if you say no, then I must whisper loudly into your ears: I AM REALLY EAGER TO RETIRE.

Some have said, “Ken! For why you are don’t already retired being?? How long must you endure this work ouch when you could be playing checkers with English Eskimos Looking Snappy (E.E.L.S.)? Or perhaps you could relish an excursion to places like the booming metropolis of Enterprise, Wisconsin; with all its delights and exotic population density? Do you not understand that life is a bowl of deep fried ice chips waiting for you to savor the taste of rest and relaxation??”

Yes, each of them said it exactly that way.

To all who have urged me to retire yesterday or the day before, I must painfully remind you all that if I could have saved more money instead of doing silly things like cashing in a pension from a previous job and paying off debt and buying a car, or if I had maybe not withdrawn moneys from my 401K to pay off our mortgage and all other debt, or if I had just plain saved much more money in the before times rather than singing the blues about my small amount of retirement savings, or perhaps maybe making a run-on sentence that is becoming way too long, well then I suppose I could be retired NOW; (whew, I thought there’d never be a place for a semicolon) but I’m not, because as this run-on sentence reaches epic proportions, it would be economically stinky for me to retire earlier than the ripe old age of 66.

So I won’t.

But I sure do wanna.

Especially after having a fun day like today.

You see, I do computer support for a factory, OK? And sometimes these computers, well, they begin to do really stupid things that cause me to barf on the ground. Fortunately I wear safety shoes, so when the barf explodes into red, fiery puke flavored vomit nodules that scatter everywhere as I’m turning the air blue with my annoyance filled utterances, my toes are safe and warm in a stinky sock but barf free environment.

Yes my friends, I said bad words today while working on computers. A “fix” that should have taken minutes turned into hours; and all the while my hair was vibrating both vertically and horizontally as my frustration with all things technical manifested itself as large fluffy (but prickly) steel wool creepily crawling demons that entered my nostrils and filled my brain with caustic stress annoyance surprises.

Some of the things I may (or may not) have said are:

I am totally sick up and fed with these skunk cabbage eating electronic pus buckets.”

And: “I believe these devices lick the posterior areas of dead jellyfish.”

And not to forget: “These computers are total pig sniffing, possum smooching, booger eating bark biters with little or no respect for composted root beer, much less a poor IT flunky like me.”

Oh, and I really must proclaim now that Microsoft will never be invited to my house for dinner; and Windows 10 can please feel free to go jump into an active volcano directly after I toss slimy gobs of ant manure into its tangled, rotten, dead snake labyrinth of smelly old (yet supposedly new) bits and bytes. You see, Windows 10 is really just Windows 7 with a fancy new look; coupled with all the tools and doodads Windows 7 had but hidden in all kinds of weird places so IT flunkies like me have a heck of a time finding them (at least in the beginning). To use an automotive analogy, what used to be easily fixed by looking under the hood is now hiding under the virtual windshield wiper motor that is only visible if you shake your legs vigorously while operating a cotton candy making machine that doubles as a very annoying audio amplifier with “It’s A Small World After All” loudly looping into your brain.

Or something.

So yes, I am very much looking forward to my retirement; which will commence in 1 year, 11 months, and 6 days.

But who’s counting??

Well for stress relief, there’s nothing quite like the Marx Brothers. At least, that’s my professional opinion…

An Unimportant Announcement

Please note: you are reading this message because you are on a secret list that only the Cheese Vendors can access with toaster friendly amplification.

Hello Habbniferns,

I’m sure none of you are wondering by now whether the sky has been removed from the Ionized Bugle Machines (IBM). There’s probably a good chance that someday I can divulge the particulars of that molecular substation, but this is no time for soaking baby toys in cups of sesame oil.

I ate a bug once during the Warmer Weather Times (WWT). It had very little flavor, and devouring its body really was not as pleasant as one might surmise. This required minimal effort, however: I opened my mouth, a small insect flew in, and I closed my mouth again. I tried to pitoo, then kerchack, but when I said “orgkkk” my swallowing mechanism switched on and down the hatch it went as I Bit My Tongue (IBMT). Possibly there was some struggle on the part of the poor bug, as I was somewhat sure I felt griggling actions as the very small Insect Bit The Dust On The Way Down My Esophagus (IBTDOTWDME).

Now of course we must discuss this business of intermediate tree watering schedules. Please do not go there with me ever again. Why would you insist on watering the trees with that Jell-O dispenser I shall never understand. Don’t you know that pressurized prune skins can injure cats and other flying rodents? We really need to talk about your compulsion to slide wildly through the Baked Apple Rhubarb Fritters (BARF).

OK. I really must go to the store now. They have metal objects on sale, and one can never have too many metal objects. I’m keeping mine in the washing machine; they help spoons and radio antennas stay fresh and crinkly.

Thank you for not licking my car. Last time my car was flattened, all the tire juice ran sideways through the maple syrup. So again, thank you VERY MUCH for not flattening my cat’s toy water fountain. Unless you did. In which case I will stop. Writing in incomplete sentences. Which cannot be sentences at all.  Since they are incomplete. So therefore they must. Be sentence fragments.

So there.

Yours with no hair,

Abnick G. Wiffleponk

a.k.a. “Sgt. Lumpy, Underwater Greenskeeper (SLUG)”

Now the cartoon is about to happen, and this one should cause none of you to long for Jellyfish Bay.

Happy Valentine’s Day To My Best Friend

With the coming of Valentine’s Day this Wednesday, I can’t help but reflect on the love I have been so fortunate to enjoy. This year brings a couple pretty big milestones for my Beautiful Girlfriend and me: a) the 46th anniversary of our first official date, and 9) 2018 also brings our 45th year of being hitched. What does that have to do with Valentine’s Day?

EVERYTHING.

It’s like this you see: I became very VERY good friends with a lovely young lady when we were both 17. Then she officially became my Beautiful Girlfriend when we embarked on our first official date: May 19, 1972. Fortunately for me, she allowed me to marry her after we were completely mature enough (ya, right) to handle it at the ripe old age of 19. In spite of much adversity and weeping and gnashing of teeth, we showed up all the naysayers (well, OK, my Dad) and our marriage survived the storm. Actually, once we learned how to grow up a bit, our marriage has truly flourished over the past 28 years.

We got two beautiful children out of the deal. In spite of a few bumps in the road for each of us (at one time or another), we all love each other to pieces and are happy most of the time. We have magnificent relationships with our offspring… I know this may sound crazy but I think they actually even like us!! We are very grateful for it.

What can I say? I’m a complete mush ball; and I’m old school. I open doors for my Lovely Lady. And I’m one of those weirdos who believe marriage is for life. Yes, I know there are exceptions; but some couples give up way too easily. It takes some effort to live harmoniously with a person. Fortunately for us, after all the marital ups and downs; we’ve gotten pretty darn good at treating each other as if we were best friends (because we are).

Is this too mooshy for you? Well if so, too darn bad. It is my professional opinion that with all the garbage you hear on the news, we need to focus on what’s GOOD in our lives. So I’m doing that right now.

That being said, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I’d like to share some of the things I have said to my Amazing Lovely Girlfriend over the years. We love to laugh, so some of the things we’ve proclaimed over the years may cause the innocent bystander to wonder a bit. Do not be afraid… we are NOT crazy. If you don’t believe us just ask us some time… Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve said (and continue to say) to my Honey Pie on a pretty regular basis:

“I love you, how to say I don’t know what. I love you like a squirrel loves a nut.”
(My Lovely Bride’s reply to this: “I love you like the ice cream on the mountain top.”)

“Thank you for being my friend and letting me kiss you.”

“You are a beautiful young woman.”

“Did I tell you today I’m in love with you??”

“Come here and make with the kissing.”

“Your curves have always been just fine for me!!” (That one was awhile back when she announced she’d be starting a membership at Curves.)

“Thank you for making dinner!”

“Give to me the hug…”

Well you get the idea. But seriously folks, I really do say these things. And I really do compliment my Sweet Wife regularly on how beautiful she is. My professional opinion is that all women are beautiful, but none will ever be as beautiful as my Lovely Girlfriend / Honey Pie / Wife Person Lady.

It is simply not possible.

Therefore I hereby proclaim this to be the epitome of truth: 1) My Amazing Wife is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE, and R) all the other women in the universe are the second most beautiful.

So there.

Now… regarding compliments and such: I’d also like to make up a few other things I haven’t said yet. And guys (or even girls), feel free to steal these if the spirit moves you:

“Your lips are like redwood trees sleeping in a volcano.”

“You have such beautiful eyes… they remind me of a velvet traffic light.”

“I bet you can’t wait to kiss me to see what I just had for lunch!”

“What color would you like your mashed potatoes to be tonight?”

“Please allow me to honor you with the Electric Mixer Dance!”
(That would just be dancing around with an electric mixer in my hand.)
(Plugged in of course.)
(Running on HIGH.)

OK, maybe I won’t really say those things.

However, I have been known to sing to her; and here are some of my favorite singing songings:

Somebody’s Rich And It Ain’t Me

My Beautiful Girlfriend has a Bucket List that waxes and wanes as the years pass. We love going to concerts; for example. I have my list of “wanna-sees” and she has hers. Both of us like James Taylor, but I was content with the fact that we had some of his music on CDs and even vinyl. However, our last splurge was The Who, and whenever we leave from a fantastic show (and oh my, The Who was a fantastic show) we talk about all the artists we’ve seen. Of course, what immediately follows is an enumeration of the artists we haven’t seen yet.

James Taylor was recently added to my Lovely Honey Pie’s Bucket List. When the opportunity to get tickets arose; I signed up for the presale. Then the moment of truth arrived and I stationed myself at the computer and tried and tried and tried some more to get tickets. After some perseverance, I was able to get two very nicely placed seats for a reasonable price.

The latest addition to the Bucket List was a very different story. The radio and TV started buzzing about with ads for an upcoming “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour by Sir Elton John. Lots of news broadcasts got in on the act as well, since it’s been touted as his very last tour ever. Several famous artists have had several last tours; but Sir Elton isn’t getting any younger and he is rightfully interested in being a Dad to his young kids before it’s too late.

Anyway, I tried to sign up for the presale but no dice. Missed the boat by a day I guess. Then I tried and tried and tried and tried some more (also I made many attempts); but kept getting “no tickets found” or “an error occurred.” Then, after the presale time came and went, tickets started to appear at a couple nearby venues. Yeah… the cheapest was $300. For one lousy ticket!!! These tickets were labeled “verified Ticketmaster resale.” Hmmmm… I called my Amazing Wife Lady and said, “um… I don’t think we’re going to see Elton John.” When I told her the prices she readily agreed.

Apparently, Elton John is much more popular than James Taylor.

I’ve read about this phenomenon. There are less than scrupulous folks who’ve written computer programs that enable them to snatch up gobs of tickets; then scalp people by gouging them for ridiculous prices.

Tonight we watched the news… some kind of football game happening this weekend in Minneapolis I guess. What? Yes, I know it’s the Super Bowl, silly. But I honestly didn’t know until this morning who was playing on Sunday. Can you tell I don’t give a flying mahookey about sports? Anyway, the news folks were talking about all the hoopla going on over there in Minnesota; and they mentioned that the cheapest tickets were going for $3000!!! Is that nuts or what??

Well I found out who’s playing anyway… and all I can say about that is: GO EAGLES!! Yes, even though I have no idea who the players are, I don’t live in a cave. The Patriots have had their turns, so it’s the underdog’s time to shine. Or not.

I don’t care much. All I know is, some people appear to have way more money than me. However, even though I’m not rich, I’m definitely blessed beyond measure. I have a nice warm home, plenty to eat, cars that work and no debt. And that’s a very abbreviated list of things for which I am truly grateful.

What more can a guy need?

Well, I think I need to post some videos about money!!  (Ha ha, I make joking.)  (No, wait, not joking…)

An Open Letter to Mr. or Ms. TextNeck

Dear ScreenStarers,

I was watching a story on the radio today while listening to the interwebs about internet addiction behavior that is characterized by people tilting their heads to gawk at their smartphones when they really should be interacting with their friends or family; especially during dinner or perhaps in the middle of a friendly outing that implies personal contact but instead of talking and giving loved ones eyeball contact, these smartphone addicts are constantly checking BookFace or Twizzler or perhaps Funny Macaroni and Cheese videos while being stuck in a run-on sentence that really needs to end now.

A real physical ailment has arisen from smartphone addiction: text neck (<–there’s a link for you if you’re curious). It’s just another one of those whoopee, hibbledyboo happy times from too much technology in your soup toaster. If any of you have read my silly bagga-maroo on this crazy blog thing for more than two seebits, you are probably aware that although I work with computers; I pride myself in being something of a technical dinosaur… at least at home. That’s right kids, I still have a record player, VCR, CD / DVD player, I listen to AM radio (on a real radio…).  Although we do have an internet provider it’s pretty slow (but cheap).  And yes, boys and girls, we still get most of our television worm sauce from a weird fixture perched upon our roof, and it’s called an antenna. Cable simply costs too much and prevents me from having enough extra cash for important staples like pork rinds and Cabbage Cola.

So for this Happy Friday!!!, I decided to give some of my best bread particles a chance to sing louder than most jelly beans are able. In other words, if you invite me for ketchup and lavender; I will keep my phone’s ringer off and leave it in my pocket. Not just the ringer, but the whole stinking phone! Yes, and instead of staring at a screen while we are together, I will stare at those moles you keep hiding in your eyebrows. But don’t worry, I will smile politely while I wince occasionally.

My true indispensable moose hammer will not never need to be cleaned while we are talking neither, no. After all, once you’ve used a moose hammer to open a can of Jack Fluffington’s Floor Syrup; you’ll spend much more time cleaning your walls than clearing your moose nostrils. Upon opening the can, everyone within range will cringe and snort loudly as the syrup droplets coat their eyelids with a nice shiny glucose surprise.

I’m sure we can all find something better to do than check how many “likes” we have on the BookFace or the InstaTwit. Ha, ha ha… I’m having a fond memory of the time we all threw raisins on the floor at the mall, and Snippy and his girlfriend Euglena started walking on tiptoes and shouting, “arrggghhhh!!! Rabbits have been here!!!” Yes, that was just before we filled all those water balloons with tomato juice and… oh my never mind about that time. GACK. Perhaps you could help me finish my 17 year old project: the Lego garage!! It’s getting expensive, but once we finish it we’ll never need to paint the walls. Who knew it took so many Legos to make a building??

OK. In closing, I’m hoping some of you could maybe put the phartsmones away and just tawk ta people awreddy. Ya know what I’m sayin’? There are people very near you who deserve your undivided attention. Oh and here’s a weird eye-deer… if we are watching something other than a small screen, we might see stuff like birds and a very nice sunset or something!! Would that be cool or what?

I go now.

Peace, Love, and Straighter Necks,

Hyram C. Gilmore

a.k.a. MooseHammer McFluffington

Oh… speaking of obsession…

The Kiss Of Death

There are some nasty bugs going around these days. People are dying from the flu for cryin’ out loud! Well my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have been getting our flu shots for several years now, and so far so good, I think. However, the flu shot doesn’t catch everything, so once in awhile something seems to slip past the radar.

Take last Wednesday, for example. There I was minding my own business, being unsick and feeling pretty good when my Beautiful Girlfriend started to come down with something nasty. Coughing, feeling run down, coughing, muscle and joint pain from head to toe, fever, chills, loss of appetite, and oh did I mention the coughing?? Yes, much coughing.

Being the loving husband I am, I gave her a kiss on the lips just before bed that night. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? OK, I know what I was thinking… I was thinking it’s time for bed and therefore I kiss my Honey Pie before retiring. Pretty normal for a happily married man to think, right? Well if any of you are in the medical profession, you know that kissing someone on the lips is not exactly “sterile procedure.” And even if you’re not, you probably know enough not to kiss a sickie on the lips.

But I did.

And almost immediately afterward, I thought to myself, “uh-oh.”

Well my Lovely Lady had some sort of nasty virus. And by kissing her I pretty much volunteered for what came next. Yep, a mere two days later I started feeling like crap. Both of us were in bed for several days, and at one point I asked her if I should call Hospice. I was of course making a “sick joke” (get it, sick… joke) but very quickly after the words came out of my mouth I thought of loved ones whom I’ve accompanied during their Hospice journeys and it wasn’t so funny any more.

After a few days we went to the doctor, and she gave my Lovely Lady a flu test. Negative for influenza. Well that was good! So of course we asked, “what is it then?” “Some other nasty virus,” she said. “Go home, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, and call if it keeps getting worse.” Sheesh! We were hoping for some sort of magic wand or something in the form of a medication or maybe a spell to drive evil spirits away. Back home we went, and I made yet another pot of soup with herbs and homegrown garlic in a vain attempt at killing whatever this damn bug was.

I’m getting better… slowly. She is too, but my Poor Baby is still coughing very hard. Oh, and my skin is starting to sprout little TV antennas every couple inches and both my big toes have flattened out to the size of ping pong paddles. Other than that and the glow-in-the-dark snot blobs that fly out of my nose when I sneeze, I’m doing fine.

Well in case you haven’t been sick yet, here are some instructions on how to catch a cold…

My (Late) 2018 New Year’s Revolutions

Please allow me to greet your face and hands with a very Happy 2018; and may all your wishes be sold to Smoked Fish Merchants (S.F.M.) in trade for Used Flip Flops (U.F.F.) while numerous soft yet Bristly Sock Monsters (B.S.M.) chew rapidly during the Great Raisin Gathering (G.R.G.) at the 134th annual Anonymous Snack Snarfers Hand Or Leg Egg Slappers (A.S.S.H.O… wait a minute!! No no… not gonna do that) chamber pot tossing competition.

So here I am, following my 1st annual run-on sentence with a (late) report what my New Year’s Revolutions for 2018 very well might be. I’m reporting these revolutions in a tardy manner because I simply had to pay tribute to Dick Orkin, the creator of “Chickenman” who passed away last week. And also, in addition, I say to you that these “might be,” my New Year’s Revolutions because I am unreasonably certain that I’m not likely to dig up enough used crayons to change the climate in St. Petersburg, Florida.

My really true and uncrompulated New Year’s Revolution has actually been the same every year for the last couple decades: Try to do better. But if I were to make new revolutions, they “might” go something like this:

A. I hereby resolve not to ever use superfluous exclamation points!! I mean, hey, that’s the least a person can do!!! Think about it!!!! So many people emphasize way too much with exclamation points!!!!! This rather diminishes the effect of using any exclamation points at all!!!!!! Don’t you think so?!?!?!?!?!?

U. My 14th resolution is to avoid using imaginary words that only I can infliborize. Sure, I sometimes use nonsense words for the sheer bagnaffley horkle tones of the contersneffeck. I probably amuse myself more than others with this style of vasherbinking, so perhaps I will cease and desist with the silly words awreddy.

$. Procrastination has always been a lingering hobby of my cat and other members of my corn field. Therefore, I herewith intend to stop procrastinating either today or tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll keep putting off the procrastination until I can’t avoid procrastinating any longer. Or maybe I could delegate my efforts to someone who can postpone them indefinitely. I’m not exactly sure. If one of you has any suggestions, please e-mail them to my garage and I’ll try to read them one of these days.

X12. Have you seen my new socks?? You know, the ones with the fancy frog nostril prints all over them. They really keep my toes happy.

M6. Please erase resolution “U.” above. I do apologize (no, really I don’t), but I am very fond of writing various ibblesnick tenterdoodles. My professional opinion is that with all the horrible things in our past and present world, a little silliness can be a very good stress relief cabbagehamper.

And finally:

O!2!: I plan to do my best to spread Peace, Love, and Hugs to everyone in the Universe. Of course, some people don’t want hugs. That’s OK, I will Love them anyway. And some people don’t want Love, but I will Pray for them whether they like it or not. And some people don’t even want Peace, and I will Pray for them even more. Now don’t get me wrong… even though the People Upstairs tell me I must Love EVERYONE, doesn’t mean I’m gonna like everyone. So I will beam Prayers of Love and Peace to the people who insist on being nasty; but it ain’t too likely I’ll be inviting them for dinner anytime soon.

Alrighty then. That’s what came out of my brain today for the Happy Friday!!! New Year’s Revolution thing. If you have made any, please don’t bonk yourselves or call yourselves bad names for coming up short.

All we can do is try.

Now let’s all scream our lungs out while we sing along with these “revolutionary” guys.

Farewell to Chickenman

I’m going to spend a little time shamelessly showing my age in this week’s edition of “Happy Friday!!!” I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m a Baby Boomer… born in 1954 and very OK with it. Growing up was a challenge at times, and in times of stress I turned to the entertainment media of the time which were TV (in glorious black and white) and of course AM radio. And yes, kids, AM radio is still alive and well; although the programming certainly has changed over the years.

TV was OK… it did provide a valuable escape from reality during childhood. When I look back on it, the words of the Talking Heads song, “Love For Sale” (<–click here) come to mind: “I was born in a house with the television always on…”

But when it came to real escape, for me anyway, AM radio was at the top of the heap. That’s because all the cool music of the day was being blasted to the masses all over the radio dial. Growing up on Long Island, New York gave us 24 / 7 access to stations like 77 WABC and 1010 WINS, which featured Disk Jockeys with names like Cousin Brucie and Murray the K.

However, a traumatic event happened to us kids in 1966. Our father took a job in northern Wisconsin. Not only were we experiencing a huge culture shock; but our music was GONE!! Well, OK it was still there, but we couldn’t get to it.  We had no money for records; and even if we got our mitts on a record, Dad’s stereo was strictly off limits to us kids.  So, the radio was our gateway to the musical universe; and the only AM stations available in the daytime played twang-twang country music or polkas.

Gack!!

There was hope… the ionosphere came to our rescue when the sun went down. “Huh??” you might say. Let me explain: the sun’s radiation energizes various upper layers of the atmosphere; and certain radio waves bounce off these ionized layers and are directed back to earth. It’s a phenomenon known as “skip;” and is somewhat reminiscent of a stone skipping on water. Anyway, after the sun went down, AM radio signals from Chicago would come in really well and voila!! our music returned to us.

Now we were listening to our rock ‘n roll primarily on WLS and WCFL, with DJs like Larry Lujack and Dick Biondi. Both stations were great, but WCFL brought us something extra: “Chickenman!!! He’s everywhere he’s everywhere!!!” Now if you remember that, you’re at least as old as I am. And if you’re as old as I am, I really hope you remember Chickenman.

Sadly, Dick Orkin, the creator of Chickenman, passed to the Great Beyond last Sunday; he was 84. An amazingly talented man, he also created “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy;” and went on to create wonderfully funny radio commercials. In honor of his awesome humor, I’d like to share of his work I found on YouTube.

So kids, for this week’s “video” I inserted a couple of fun entries:  someone created some animation to accompany an entry called “Chickenman, Episode 1.”  Each radio episode of Chickenman had the began with the shouting of “Chickenman… he’s everywhere!!!  He’s everywhere!!”

The video is followed by the album “The Best of Chickenman.” I hope you can sit back, relax, and let your ears drink the intoxicating humor that only Chickenman could offer.

Happy 45 To Us, Happy Many More To YOU

When I got home today, my Beautiful Girlfriend had the stereo blasting Celine Dion singing “Another Year Has Gone By,” (← click to hear it). She always wants me to dance with her to that song; and since I really like being married to her, I quickly got out of my coat and embraced her as we shuffled about in the kitchen and both became completely mooshy.

As we danced, she blurted out, “45 Christmases… what the F*@# ?!?! “ And in case you’re wondering, yes, there was a very naughty expletive at the end of that exclamation. She wasn’t saying it out of exasperation or annoyance; she was merely letting loose her amazement at the fact that we’ve had 45 Christmases together. So many years, but it all went so very quickly!! There may be some of you out there in blog reading land that can relate; but for you youngsters…

Anyway, I’m writing this to wish that all of YOU a very Happy Holiday Season. I truly hope you are all blessed; I’m very sure that I am. As I was telling a friend recently, “I’m not rich, but I’ve been wealthy for many years.” In other words, for whatever reason I’ve been given the opportunity to become happy, joyous, and free. Took some years of growing pains to get there; but oh my goodness it has certainly been worth it.

Of course, I still know how to get my buns in a bunch when things don’t go exactly the way I would like. Lost my cool just yesterday actually; because I just got home from a business trip that “took 3 days from my chores schedule.” We heat with wood you see, and that means I move several loads from outside to inside to keep a constant supply of dry logs available. There was a winter weather advisory yesterday, and although we needed to do some last minute Holiday grocery shopping, I was freaking out about beating the weather. My poor Amazing Wife was very patient with me and my childishness… I was grumpy and hurrying to get home so I could throw some firewood into the basement before the rain or snow arrived. As it turned out, all my rushing was for naught; the Weather Goddess smiled on me. Thankfully I’ve learned to apologize for being a knuckle head much more quickly (and sincerely) than in the “good old days.” And yes, I meant “good old days” sarcastically.

My Lovely Bride and I have been soulmates since we were 17, for crying out loud. We were basically children when our relationship began. We pretty much grew up together; meaning we learned “how to adult” together. Sometimes it got rather icky, but we persevered with love and made it through all the crappy stuff. These days, our icky stuff is much less stinky and doesn’t linger very long at all. Our friendship, love, and devotion has never been stronger, and continues to grow.

Does that sound gooey or what??

Yeah, it probably does, but too bad. This time of the year has always given me pause to reflect on then versus now. We just got done watching two of our favorite Holiday movies with some dear friends: “Miracle On 34th Street,” and the 1951 version of “Scrooge.” Both flicks make me all mooshy… and with “Scrooge,” forget about it awreddy, I cry like a baby at the end. It’s all about transformation… and thanks to The People Upstairs, some 28 years ago I received an opportunity to start setting things right after blundering through life; attacking everyday problems like a raging lunatic with a chainsaw and a sledgehammer. Took me about 18 years worth of weeping and gnashing of teeth to see the light, but I’m ever so grateful for my life today.

My Beautiful Soulmate Girlfriend Wife person and I are blessed indeed. Our life just keeps getting better; and it has nothing to do with money or things. May All of You receive at least as many blessings.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!!

Hope Santa is ready…