Sixty Eight, Ain’t It Great?? Ummm… Sure!!

Something weird is happening today.  I’m reflecting on Life, the Universe, and Everything ( the meaning of which is embedded in the number 42 for those in the know).  A most remarkable occurrence sprinkled itself into my life earlier this year. I turned 68 for the first time in my living life!! Well OK, this will be the only time I’ll turn 68 as far as I know. There was a time when this boy pondered the likelihood of living more than one life on this Earth; but I’ve long since veered away from the concept of reinfestation.  Or is that ream in carnation?  I dunno… my wife likes carnations.  Perhaps if I lived many lives I’d be reinfested with carnations?

On the other hand, a completely different occurrence showered itself into my life in 1962: our grandmother gave me an 8-transistor radio for my 8th birthday. That has absolutely nothing to do with being 68, but that event did indeed change my life forever. That beautiful receiver opened up a world of music to me, specifically rock and roll, which was all the rage in those days. Our father hated rock and roll, he was a classical music junky. Didn’t make him a bad person or anything… but his FM receiver really didn’t get much else in those days; and that’s the way he liked it.

I distinctly remember falling asleep with the radio carefully perched on my head so the speaker was right on my ear. Sounded much better than the earphone, and you didn’t have to turn it up very high to hear well. However, too often I’d wake up to a dead battery. That would have been a very sad thing; but Mom always seemed to make sure I had a battery for my radio.

For us kids, growing up on Long Island meant that there were two radio stations that really mattered: 77 WABC and 1010 WINS. We’d listen to DJs like Cousin Brucie and Murray the K with just a touch of echo added to their voices as they spun the latest records to our waiting ears. Artists like Bobby Vinton, Chubby Checker, Dion, The Everly Brothers, Elvis, Little Eva, and The Shirelles were just a few of them… and a couple years later a new band called The Beatles entered the scene. The 1960s evolved into a decade of immense social changes, and of course the music often reflected the spirits of us young punks. Some of us became hippies, some of us kept the hippie spirit alive deep inside but entered the work force to raise families.

So all that to say how happy I am to be 68 years old?? Well I could probably write a book about all of this stuff, but suffice it to say that this old hippie guy is, believe it or not, very happy to have traveled around the sun a whole 68 times. I mean hey, I’m blessed beyond belief with a loving family, amazing friends, and a debt-free retirement.  One thing that haunts me a bit though, is that 68 is getting powerfully close to 70.  So I think at that time I’ll officially be an old fart.  Maybe I am already!!

So my friends, here’s to old age. It ain’t so bad!! Life is very good for us really. Oh… and you know a cool thing about living for 6.8 decades?? We got turned on to lots of really good music. Not just rock.  When we were growing up there was lots of stuff on TV and radio from the 1920s, 1930s, and so on. Some pretty cool stuff back then!! And yes, today too!! This week, I’m posting a very small samples of music I’ve grown to love over the years. Music is a magical thing in my professional opinion.  Helps keep the blues away.  Soul food, ya know?  Hope you have a chance to check these out.

PEACE, LOVE, AND HUGS TO YOU ALL!!! You young whippersnappers!!!

Let’s see… how about a little Cab Calloway from 1934…

Maybe some Laurel and Hardy…  HUH???  Just watch.

Anybody remember Judy Canova?

Carmen Miranda… oh my I had the hots for her…

Like Peter, Paul, and Mary, I Dig Rock ‘n Roll Music.

Mojo Men… with a woman drummer in 1967!!

Oh and there’s other band I mentioned earlier… you may recognize them.

Here’s one I sang at work some times… Devo says it’s Time Out For Fun

Maybe by now you’re saying, “Lord!!! Enough already!!”  OK… one from Lorde, and that will be enough already.

A Grateful Heart Has No Tonsilitis

Quote

Dear Ninks and Semmerflubens,

I am writing to all of you from the back yard where no children are stuffing bread into the worm holes. This week has been especially stressful in This Universe, what with televised evidence of the attempted democracy destruction and war and inflation and stuff like that there. Therefore, in the interest of clam flavored desserts, I feel the need to remove my corporate tortellini. Those of you who know me are aware that some stressfully sprinkled donuts prompt me to write letters to fire hydrants.

Let this past century of my 13 day week be no Oldsmobile to that incubation.

Four egg sample: I decided to purchase gasoline today. Thought $4.96 was a bargain!! I never thought I would think that the thought of thinking that gas less than $5 a gallon was a thought to be thought of. But I was grateful (?) to get the “bargain.” After I put over $70 into my Toyota Sienna Racing Van (which, by the way, gets about 30 mpg if I go just a smidge less than 65 mph), my Lovely Wife Person made a rather sacrilegious exclamation. As I opened the door to get back in,  I turned my back toward my Beautiful Girlfriend and asked, “Honey, is my hiney bleeding??” We left the gas station with a Holy Mackerel Price Rash, but soon found ourselves saying, “We must remain grateful that we are still able to pay our bills, and put gas on our table and put food in our car!!” After all, we are indeed very fortunate people who no longer require adult supervision at most Twinkie eating contests!! So yes, we are not happy that the oil companies are robbing us, but the bottom line is that we needed to get with the gratitude awreddy to prevent our heads from exploding.

My Self agreed that grouch makes ouch. I decided I really ought not allow this universe to remove my ventricles or extinguish my lapis lazuli.

Thankfully, I’ve acquired some tools during this Journey Called Life that give me the ability to cope with the smell of rotten eggs and other people who seem bent on ruining our everything. I smile and decide not to be El Groucho inside my brain world. At least not for 27 minutes, then I could reevaluate and perhaps even continue another 14 milliseconds. By golly, that may have actually worked. I try hard to not take the horrible events of the world too poisonously. Then perhaps I may also sprinkle some nonsense into the Happy Friday Writing Thing to make myself chortle and breep and hopefully help others to chuckle Chiclets while changing their socks. Of course I could take the alternate route and vehemently complain until my forehead has become inflamed with large pickles that fly violently in all directions. This of course would serve no other purpose than to unsuccessfully clone my onion rings before Hubert The Closet Painter arrives from Denderflaven. If he gets here before the sauerkraut capsules are fully declawed, there is absolutely no guarantee of the existence of any newly sharpened Jell-O forks.

And we all know what that means!!

So, I’ve decided to just be happy until I feel grouchy again, and thankfully The Grouchies are much fewer and farther between than previous infections. I’ve learned that I can start my day over again with a new happy and grateful attitude. Then if I get grouchy once more it will hopefully be a little less, and I keep practicing the gratitude thing. Then if people continue to get on my nerves, I’ll merely sing a pleasant song to them when their ears are not looking. Something cheerful like…

Leave me alone or I’ll bite you

Your ears are made of sticks

Why do you talk to ME like that

I’ll send you cat logs in the mail.

This of course is sung to the tune of “Leave Me Alone Or I’ll Bite You.”

Finally, and least palatable, is what seems to be an attitude of “Hooray for Me and to Hell with YOU” in our nation of freely expressive greedy stinkbottoms. I mean hey, I’m very grateful we live in a free country and hey, you know, when it comes right down to it, most of us are spoiled Americans compared to many folks on this planet. You know, hey? It’s just um… what troubles me, is um… you know, like um… wait a minute, let me hold my smellphone and text someone while you’re trying to talk to me and um… you know, this “America First” stuff seems to be causing a lot of resentment in the world and last time I checked, if a person is silly enough to proclaim himself King Of The Mountain then someone is gonna want to knock them down off the top of that mountain with a giant Tootsie Roll or something much more explosive.

Greed is harming all of us; and it ain’t no good for Mother Nature neither. We humans don’t own this planet, although we seem to act like the whole thing is ours. These things make me become very figgly and bickety-boo! So then I start getting more with the Grouch Ouch, and I want to go bite a bark flavored tricycle!!

Then I laugh at my silliness and life is once again refreshing and full of new opportunities to enjoy fruit and perhaps even the occasional flying insect.

Sometimes I restart my day 479 times or more.

So, how was YOUR week?

I think this cartoon was made when gas was just a wee bit cheaper than today…

Talkin’ ‘Bout My (Re)Generation

I’m a little bit concerned about Earth Day. Not because I think it’s a bad idea; it’s just that I have this silly conviction that every day is Earth Day. Of course it’s a wonderful thing to raise awareness about our ailing planet. But once a year is probably not often enough. Maybe we could increase the frequency and make it a monthly event!

Even though I’m an old hippie tree hugger peacenik guy, I’m also a consumer; so that of course means that I am not completely innocent of crimes against Nature. But I also try to do things to give Mom Nature a helping hand when I can. For example, I try to buy stuff that’s made as close to home as possible. I tend to seek out U.S. made products, even if they cost a bit more. Here in Beautiful West Michigan, we have a good selection of produce; especially during the warmer months. Lots of the extras are stored, so when I go for apples, I buy nothing other than Michigan grown apples. Same with potatoes. I’m sorry but I think it’s a bit silly to buy apples from Washington state or potatoes from Florida.

My wife and I have been eating veggies from the garden since we first were married. Back in 1973, the type of horticulture I practiced was called “organic” gardening. That meant no herbicides or pesticides. No commercial fertilizer. At the time, those products were shunned by “organic” gardeners because of their toxicity. Now that we are a bit more carbon conscious, we also understand that since anything that is mined, manufactured, packaged and transported makes an ever growing carbon footprint; it also makes good environmental sense to avoid such substances.

A friend of mine and I were talking about the term “organic” recently, and she surprised me a bit when she said, that “Organic is a capitalist term.” I’d never directly associated capitalism with the term “organic” before she said that; although I was keenly aware that when food products are labeled as “Certified Organic,” it means there were some strict administrative criteria (as well as a healthy outlay of cash) that had to be reckoned with. Hence, many growers at farm markets can say their stuff was grown “organically” but don’t have to jump through the certification hoops.

The new term for the type of gardening I and many others do is called regenerative farming. And yes, even though my plot is a mere 70 feet long by 30 feet wide, I raise quite a bit of food and have even sold some. So hey, as an old song goes from The Who, “Now I’m A Farmer.” (And thanks to my friend Ed who first turned me on to the song.) So one might ask, “What the heck is regenerative farming?? Anyhow??” Well even if you didn’t ask, I’m a gonna tell you about what I do anyways; because that’s a big part of how I celebrate every day as Earth Day.

I grow food in beds, not rows. Beds are 3 feet wide, walkways are 2 feet wide. By using this method, the soil is not compacted so the roots are able to flourish more easily. By careful companion planting you can grow much more stuff in beds than in rows. Companion planting?? OK you didn’t ask about that either but that’s where you learn what grows well together. Some plants complement each other, like lettuce and beets. Some hinder each other like onions and legumes (like peas or beans). Companion planting makes for healthier plants, making them less prone to damage by pests and disease.

As far as fertilizers, I use two basic ingredients: leaves and compost. There is no such thing as bad leaves for the garden; and yes that includes oak leaves. Friends bring me leaves from their yards; but I also pick up as much as I want at the local transfer station for free. Leaves are tilled into the soil and boy do the earthworms love it. When the worms are happy, the soil is happy. If I plant something that needs an extra boost, I dig a hole and fill it with compost, then plant right on top. Then I take more leaves and use them for mulch around all the plants. That keeps the weeds down, preserves moisture, and the creepy-crawlies that dine where the mulch meets the soil make even more happy soil. And when the soil is happy, the food plants are happy.

Weeds are tolerated and sometimes eaten. HUH?? Yes that’s right, many “weeds” are actually very useful plants that folks have simply chosen not to learn about. Of course I remove any weeds that are competing with what I’m trying to grow. If they are too close to the plant I’m trying to save, I simply lop them off right at the soil level and the remaining roots die off and add organic matter back to the dirt. A friend of mine freaks out when she sees creeping charlie in her garden. I pointed out that as long as it’s not choking any food crop, I let it grow because it provides a living mulch. I also let purple dead nettles live in my planting beds for awhile, because they’re one of the first plants that bloom in the spring and the bees love them. And yes I let the dandelions bloom (much to the chagrin of my neighbors I think maybe), as well as the white clover I planted in the lawn. I cringe every time I mow; I’m always on the lookout for bees so I can try to miss them. (If I wasn’t married I would have much less lawn, but that’s another story.) Of course I intentionally plant lots of sunflowers and other flowers to encourage pollinators.

And what kind of regenerative farmer would I be without giving huge credit to my friends the bees, the brown and black beetles, ladybugs, praying mantis, spiders, butterflies, robber flies, soldier flies, centipedes, millipedes, sowbugs, and moths, to name but a few?? They are the composters, the pollinators, and the predators of pests. All are welcome in the garden and of course the yard.

I could probably type several hundred more words about all this; but I’ll hop off of my soap box for now. Suffice it to say that I really do try to celebrate Earth Day every day. If you’re curious about some of my other garden adventures, you can find some here: www.kennysgarden.com

In the meantime, please be kind to Mother Earth each and every day. She’s the only planet we have.

Been There, Done That

Hey, did you know that gas is up over $4 a gallon?? And food is more expensive than it was a couple years ago? And hey, come to think of it, pretty much everything costs more these days? There are a few million reasons for all this I think. And no, it’s not the President’s fault!! Just ask any economist. I mean hey, the President has no more control over the economy than a yodeling kitty cat has over a bowl of ice cream slathered in spaghetti sauce with sprinkles and Elmer’s Glue.

And I have absolutely no idea what the previous sentence even means!

I hear much whining, brooping, and guckamaroo being fribbled about these days. All too many folks are upset about how much gas costs, yet they are not interested in changing their driving behaviors. Because I’m older than most compost, I fondly (not really fondly) remember the Arab Oil Embargo that was very enjoyable (not really enjoyable) during 1973 and 1974. This was the wonderful period during which OPEC decided to quit supplying us with oil due to our support of Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

So what did our government do? Well, one memorable action was that those stinkers in Washington imposed a national roadway speed limit of 55 mile per hour! This had horrible consequences: energy was saved, pollution declined, and traffic deaths went down substantially. Also, measures were introduced to shift our energy needs to more sustainable, environmentally friendly sources. Sound familiar? The environmentally friendly stuff I mean…

Hey, I like having the ability to travel pretty much whenever I want. After all, I’m a spoiled American. We have two vehicles: a Toyota Sienna and a Toyota Corolla IM. Guess which one does better on gas?? When my Beautiful Girlfriend and I did a road trip to Grand Rapids this past Monday, we decided to take the Corolla. I set the cruise control for 70 and voila!! We averaged just short of 36 miles per gallon. I’m sure it would’ve been better if we throttled back a bit. In fact, I was cruising in the same car at 50 MPH (the speed limit) on a local road a few weeks ago and I was getting over 48 mpg. Not bad for a non-hyrbrid car!

So I said to myself, “Hey Self!! Bet you can get decent mileage in that Monster Minivan if you slow down a bit.” And yes, boys and girls, if I cruise on the highway at 65 MPH I can get 28 mpg and maybe a little better, depending on the terrain. Once I was “playing” with the speed on the way home from our daughter’s house and going about 62 on the highway (during little or no traffic), and got a whopping 31 mpg. Pretty darn good for a little truck!! And yes I know I said I had a minivan, but I call it my truck.

As far as paying too much at the stores, well, at our house we just are careful about what we buy. The impact on our wallet hasn’t been that horrible; but then we are dinosaur cave people. In other words, we don’t rush out for the newest gadget when the stuff we have already works just fine. My wife and I have smell phones but both are iPhone 8; which is an old model by today’s standards. They still work like new, so why change?? Oh, and one of my favorite toys is a Yamaha HTR5490 stereo receiver I bought in 2001. We don’t buy 20 year old food, but we pretty much stay away from processed foods; so that keeps the grocery bill (and doctor bill) down. We quit buying soda and other sweets; not because of price but just because it simply is no good for us. And we always try to buy as locally as possible.

The moral of all this worblesnarken is: Easy Does It my friends. It’s all gonna be OK. Do something weird like slow down on the highways. Eat more sensibly. Resist the “keeping up with the Joneses” nonsense. Our spending habits are really the same as voting with money; meaning that how we shell out our dollars tells the corporate universe what kind of Real Universe we’d like to have. Oh and let’s try spreading some kindness around instead of spewing venom. And above all, please treat all those amazing folks in the service world with kindness and respect. None of them have any more control over the prices than our President does. So yeah, those of us who’ve been on the planet for a several decades have seen all this corporate caca before. Been there, done that.

And you know what? We’re very fortunate humans. We’re doing OK.

And now it’s time to make with the dinosaur hippie protest songs.

Daylight Craving Time

“What to write for tonight?” he wondered (OK, he is actually me). There’s a war going on, a nasty one too. But I doubt anyone wants to hear about that on Happy Friday!!! I’m praying for Vladimir Putin to eat some toxic Twinkies and keel over with a stroke but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. And yes I know prices on pretty much everything are rather nuts right now, but all I can say about all that is this reminder to all my friends: We are spoiled Americans. We live in a safe place and a free country (so far). “So again,” he wondered, “whatchya gonna write tonight??”

“I know!!” he (OK it’s really me again) exclaimed, “I’ll whine about the loss of an hour of sleep when we change the clock again!!”

So here’s how happy I am about the clock change. Some of you may remember a similar version of this rant from a couple years ago. I apologize for not producing something fresh and twinkly, but my heart really hurts right now for the people of Ukraine.

Anyway, here’s my whining:

Daylight Craving Time – Spring Ahead

Here we go again. An hour of sleep lost in honor of “springing ahead” into Daylight Savings Time. I thought about writing some cockamamie jab at the history of Daylight Saving Time, but there are so many convolutions that I ran away screaming. If you’re really interested in that stuff, Snopes has a pretty good page that describes it all in a nice little nutshell, here:

http://www.snopes.com/science/daylight.asp.

Any who how, even though our biological clocks get their springs and gears all wompified, most of my friends here in Beautiful West Michigan are very OK with the concept of Daylight Saving Time during the summer. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy having daylight till 10:30 PM? Days are already getting longer, and the birds are playing their electric guitars while squirrels, possums, and racketycoons jump up and down to the beat. Deer are looking at us with that “What??” face while they munch on our lawns. Starlings and grackles empty the bird feeders pretty much as quickly as we can fill them. And yep, pretty soon the peepers will be peeping and the thunder will be thundering.

That’s very nice I’ll say.

However, I’m really sick up and fed with the change. It really seems quite unnecessary, don’t you think? Let’s spring ahead just once and frickin’ leave it that way!! I mean, I need to reiterate how spoiled we are here in Beautiful West Michigan during the summer!! Summer, after all, is my favorite time of year; and we get very long days. I really love being in the garden until it’s too dark to see; and as I mentioned earlier that’s almost 10:30 PM here during part of the warm months.

I try to remind myself of being spoiled, because I’ve experienced the other end of the toaster handle. When I was a kid growing up on Long Island, it was dark outside not too long after we got home from school. In those days, our local fire department touched off a siren every day at precisely 7 PM. Now, when you’re a little kid who has to be heading home “when the 7 o’clock whistle blows,” you still can have lots of fun with hide-and-seek because it’s dark outside at about 5 PM. We’d eat supper, go outside and play, and have gobs of fun running around “at night.” So in that regard, falling back to Standard Time was kinda fun.

I’m a couple days older now, so I’m not really a fan of changing the clocks at all. I’m very OK with living on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, so we can squeeze every last minute of daylight out of the setting sun. Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe all this saving time nonsense. I’d be OK with that, so long as we keep Daylight Saving Time.

Please write to my congressman and woman to make this happen. I’ll give you $3.40 up front for an incentive, and I’ll even bake you an Apple Surprise pie (Surprise!! I put raisins in there too!!). If you can get this done before Sunday, I’ll even make you an Apple Surprise Surprise pie (Raisins and walnuts!!) !!

Well, it’s time for me to quit writing about time now. There was a time though, back in 1973 when I had a very nice time, listening to these guys. All I could say then (and all I can say now), was WOW!!


Omicron OhNo

Dunno about youse, but this boy is sick up and fed with the Covid awreddy. Is this crap ever gonna end? SHEESH!! It makes me to barf on the ground. Both me and my Honey Pie are fully vaccinated, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t catch anything. I mean, hey, we just had a nice bout of bronchitis in our house. Thankfully it wasn’t Covid; but holy MOLY it knocked us in the dirt. Now our poor grandson does have Covid; so our scheduled visit for this weekend has been postponed (dang it!!). And I’ve been hearing more and more reports of friends who got the nasty Covid bug.

We don’t want no any omicron, thank you very much. Therefore, our “bubble” just shrank (again) to a very few people who we know are fully vaccinated and free of symptoms. Heavy on the free of symptoms; mind you. My Beautiful Girlfriend already has a lung disease, and we don’t want to know what omicron will do to us. Dr. Fauci was recently quoted as saying that “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.” Is that reassuring or what??

Nope!!

So here we go again. I’m truly grateful to be retired, because there have been numerous times when I picked up some icky microbe at work. We just need to focus on staying safe. Along with washing or sanitizing our hands, we’ve learned more about masks during the course of this pandemic, for example: a) cloth masks are often pretty but ineffective, 4) disposable surgical masks are not as good as we thought, and R) N95 masks are best but no fun to breathe through. We want to stay safe, though, so as of today we’ll be wearing N95 masks in public.

All this omicron stuff is beginning to wear on us, ya know?? Would be fun to go to a rock concert, but no… Would be fun to go to the movies, but no… Would be nice to eat in a restaurant with friends, but not right now. So we support out local restaurant with take out orders and bigger than normal tips. We support the movie makers by streaming their products online. There are lots of cool concerts available on YouTube and also on PBS in the form of Austin City Limits. And the best part of all this isolation is that my Lovely Bride and I are best friends; and we are OK spending a lot of time together. We also know how to venture off to a different part of the house for some space.

I keep trying to remember the saying, “This too shall pass.” Not sure when it’s gonna pass, but I hope it will eventually. Hey, maybe not! Maybe this is what many have called the “new normal.” I pray that is not the case, but if it is, well I’ll just have to roll with it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reminding myself to go through my Gratitude List each and every day. It’s a very powerful tool that was offered to me by some friends many moons ago. Basically, when my head starts to hurt from all the rotten toe cheese people, places, or things in the world that try to yank my serenity out of my noggin; I recite at least 5 things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I say these out loud to friends or my Sweet Spouse Lady. Sometimes it’s as basic as, “Well I have a safe and warm place to sleep, plenty of food, cars that work, the love of a Beautiful Woman, and so far I still live in a free country.” Then I’ll point out that some folks live under a bridge, and some don’t even have the luxury of any shelter at all. When I focus on the good, life is good. But no omicron for me please.

Thank you.

Well here are some doctors I remember from my childhood. Warning: lots of slapstick!

No News Can Be Good News

I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie. Been that way ever since I can remember really… I even remember when Berlin Wall was being built. I was the ripe old age of 6 at the time. Unfortunately, most of the news we see in the media is not very pleasant these days. Maybe it never was. Regardless, I think I’ve been paying a little too much attention and it’s starting to hurt me. There really is lots of very good news in this world, but sadly not nearly enough of it is reported in the mainstream media.

Therefore I’ve decided not to focus so much on what needs to be changed in the world, but rather try to focus on what needs to be changed in me. Specifically, I may (or may not) try to distract myself by squirting copious amounts spicy brown mustard into my nostrils every time I get the urge to watch the news. There’s actually a clinical name for this method; which I just made up. Yes my friends, I’ve named it “No News Mustard Nose.” This is not to be confused with The Beatles’ song “Mean Mr. Mustard,” although I really do enjoy that tune. However, when my nostrils are full of mustard I simply do not feel very musical.

In order to further my journey into serenity and good mental health; I’m also doing my best not to indulge in negativity. Perhaps I could achieve this by loudly blowing bubbles in a glass of chocolate milk every time someone wants to utter sounds of prejudice, racism, or misogyny (to name a few). I could even try using a straw!! This could be enhanced by humming loudly into the straw; and thereby making some very musical bubbling action. If the negative yammering continues, I could take a quick break from the bubbling and loudly proclaim, “My Musical Milk Makes Me Most Merry!!” And of course I would resume with the brightly bubbly ballad; only much louder.

I’ve heard that some folks find happiness by purchasing things. Well I already have too much stuff; but perhaps I could go shopping for such luxury items as chocolate covered herring fillets; or maybe some nonexplosive macaroni and cheese for a change. I’ve always disliked macaroni explosions. Takes weeks to get the stuff out of the crooks and nannies of my kitchen. Of course I could instead try to find something useful like a solar powered paper clip dispenser; or there’s always that right handed / left handed (for those who are ambivalent) matching set of metric screwdrivers I’ve never wanted. Maybe I won’t go shopping at all, but rather treat myself and My Beautiful Girlfriend to an elegant dinner of Fish Head Surprise with Mama Baloopa’s Banana Gravy. Oh and let’s not forget the famous Cinnamon Raisin Eggplant Pie Ala Mode for dessert!! I hear it’s the latest thing in the suburbs of Sasquatch, New Yingleton.

My friends, I decided to make silly tonight due to the advent of a noteworthy anniversary of a truly horrible event. There will be lots of opinions given about why the attacks occurred on September 11, 2001. Lots of memorial ceremonies, but also, sadly, some hate speech will likely be strewn about during all the inevitable commentary. I will watch none of it. I will simply wing up prayers for those who lost loved ones, and I’ll continue to pray for all of us on this planet. We’re all in this together after all. Perhaps there will come a time when humanity can really make love and not war. Being the idealist that I am, I’ll continue to cling to the hope that we can learn from history rather than continuously repeat it.

Until then, if you’re at my house when the news comes on, just look the other way when the mustard starts to flow; and maybe plug your ears when I reach for the chocolate milk and my straw. Then stick around for the Fish Head Eggplant Pie Ala Mode!! It’s um… well it’s really pretty disgusting.

On the other hand, you have very silly diversions…

Acronyms? No!! OMG!! WTF??!!

It seems nobody uses complete words anymore. At least, this has become normal while texting or instant messaging. TY means “thank you,” OMG means “Oh My God,” and then there’s the naughty one of WTF, which of course means “Where’s The Fish,”… or something. Many people say these are acronyms; but last I knew, an acronym was formed when you used the initials of several words to make yet another word. Being the curious noodle head that I am, I had to look it up. If you can’t make a real word, then it’s at least something with vowels and consonants mixed together into a form you can actually read and pronounce. NATO, UNICEF, and UNESCO are some examples.

So things like OMG and LOL are actually examples of initialism; of which I had never known until I started writing this “Happy Friday!!!” I’ll probably continue to refer to the text thingies as acronyms, because if I call them initialisms, people will probably wonder if I’m some sort of subversive nerd clown geek bug biter weirdo person.

Anyway…

I’m retired now, but we used an instant messaging program at work pretty extensively. It could also be a source of amusement, for me at least. I used it as a stress buster and sent obscure ditties to my friends like: “I probably won’t put my nose in the toaster today,” or maybe “Listen!! Do you smell something?? I can’t even see in here with all this noise!!” I copy the first line and send it to a friend; then paste it into message windows for several other friends. Must help them smile, because I’d get yelled at when I got too busy to send out the sillies. “Hey Ken,” they’d complain, “where’s my silly text for today??”

The chat program can also have legitimate work purposes, like gathering information. I used it regularly to ask quick questions. Most people were pretty considerate and answer quickly; but one of my favorite times was waiting for the other person to reply and they’d say, “brb,” for “be right back.” And then of course they forgot about you. So, I found myself texting people more and more often with the words: “OK to call?” Don’t get me wrong, texting can be useful, but many, many times it is more useful to actually speak into a phone. Much faster too really. Dunno about you, but even though I can type quickly, I can say the words way faster than I can type them.

Then you have the people who use abbreviations (initialisms? acronyms?) so frequently that communication grinds to a halt. For example, I was trying to pick a cohort’s brain about a computer problem. I typed what I thought the solution was, and his reply was, “imho, yes.” “Imho?” I typed back. Then I teased him and texted, “mgype? E I E I O??” Finally I broke down and asked him what “imho” means, and he replied “in my humble opinion.”  Sheesh!! So is this the way of the future? People are just gonna make up stuff in short hand and expect the other person to understand? I mean, Oh My God!! Where’s The Fish??

I still send out silly stuff; but since I’m no longer at work I enjoy sending messages to friends and family.  You know, important texts like, “My nostrils have been coated with varnish again,” or maybe, “why don’t we go out for a nice cup of cabbage and celebrate the arrival of the New Dust Amplifiers?” I’ll shy away from the abbreviations, thank you very much.

If you don’t like it, SMT!! (Smell My Toes!!)

And now for something… completely different:

Don’t Wait!! (Some Things MUST Be Said…)

I consider myself a very fortunate person. Not sure why I’ve been given so much in this Life, but I’m very grateful for all of it. I have a Beautiful Girlfriend who loves me (she even let me marry her!!) and gave birth to two Beautiful Children. I have friends who love me. I have a warm place to sleep at night, and plenty of food. Cars that work and are paid free and clear. I could go on and on, but that would just keep me at this keyboard for many hundreds of years.

I don’t want to type for that long. At least not without a break or two.

I’ve received 66 trips around the sun, so I’m getting pretty close to being an Old Fart. Hopefully, I’ve learned a few Important Things along the way. By Important Things, I’m not referring to the stuff I had to know for my job (I’m retired now, so nyaa nyaa na boo boo to you, ha ha ha!).  The Important Things I’ve learned are basically Important Things that I’m still learning:  how to get along with others.  Some examples:

1) How to Be a Friend.

R) How to Set Boundaries.

4.9) How to Forgive; and of course

Q!) How to Love.

These Important Things did not appear to me in a dream; nor did I magically learn them by osmosis, or by reading any manuals. No, instead I went to several Schools of Hard Knocks; and many of these Knocks were directed at my Hard Head. I had to have experiences and make many mistakes before getting any good at items 1 thru Q! above. Made some folks very sad and probably very angry with me. And some folks made me very sad and angry at times.

After several years of Hard Knocking, I slowly began to learn how to wear Big Boy Pants (and no, I didn’t steal them from the restaurant guy). I learned that striving for love and peace is much more rewarding and valuable than striving to be terminally correct while yelling “I think you eat from the cat litter box!!” at people.  I’m working at keeping my “Mr. Know-It-All Disease” in remission by often repeating some lines from my favorite Scrooge movie:

“I don’t know anything.  I never did know anything.  But now I know I don’t know anything!!”

Maybe just being an old fart has caused me to mellow. Maybe I just got tired of being an angry stinker punk all the time. Whatever the case, I’m finally catching on to the fact that our time here is limited; and that every thought and action really counts. As a friend of mine recently said, “the human mortality rate is 100%;” meaning we’re all gonna die; so there’s no time like the present to make our world a better place.

I truly believe one of the easiest and most effective ways for me to help make the world a better place is through love and understanding.  I need to work on expressing love to everyone I meet, regardless of where they might be on Life’s Journey.  If I remember correctly there are some religious texts that say weird things like “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Well maybe even better than thyself.  So I really do try to love everybody.  Does that mean I like everybody?  Um… no.  If I find you icky I probably won’t invite you to my house for a delicious bowl of raisins with gravy followed with a nice grapefruit milkshake for dessert.  I believe The Creators want us to be kind; regardless of whom we may encounter. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean I need to like them; just need to realize that we are all part of the fabric of humanity.

I think it’s really crucial to do these things quickly and gracefully, because none of us knows how much time we have left here. I’m learning how to disagree without being disagreeable. And I’m learning that procrastination, when it comes to saying “I’m sorry,” or “I Love You,” is not very helpful at all. So, I try to mend fences with kindness when I run into conflict. And I say “I Love You” often to those who are near and dear to me.

I don’t want to drag my feet with the Important Things ever again if I can help it. So to all of you out there in Happy Friday Land, I Love You. If you don’t believe me, just ask me some time.

When we turn on the TV or the radio we see and hear all kinds of really bad news. That, unfortunately, is because bad news, for some weird reason, has become more profitable than good news.  Our country is going through some very tough times right now.   The spreading of lies and the sowing of distrust have caused all too many of our fellow humans to lose sight of facts.  In my professional opinion (worth about 3 or 4 cents on the open market), those who have gone so far as to stage an insurrection have been driven to a sort of madness by all the lies and deception they’ve been absorbing.  So much hatred.  So much intolerance.  So much focus on horrible things, real or imagined.

You may have to look under the headlines, but with a little effort you’ll find that there really is good news out there.  My friends, it really is a Wonderful World we live in.  Many of you are aware that there’s even a song about it; and here are my two favorite versions.

In my professional opinion, both should be played loudly.

Save The Country: The Truth Shall Set You Free

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech that rocked the nation. The first sentence is indelibly burned into the memories of anyone who has even a slight knowledge of American history: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date that will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” These words, of course, were delivered to the country the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Very shortly afterward, we were launched into World War II and our citizens worked together in toil and sacrifice to defeat the evil foreign empires of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Another “date that will live in infamy” is September 11, 2001; when al-Qaeda terrorists attacked our country in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

And it is with great sadness that we must now add January 6, 2021 to the list of dates that will live in infamy. However, for the first time in our history, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by a mob of our own citizens; and what adds insult to injury is that this mob was urged to do so by the words of President Donald Trump. Many of us dreaded that such a day might come; but I believe in my heart that those of us who were experiencing such dread were also not surprised.

Shocked, but not surprised.

In 2016, our citizens lawfully elected, to our nation’s highest office, a man with a long history of deceit and complete disregard for anything or anyone that did not yield him personal gain. In the midst of growing distrust in politics, he presented himself as a savior; and boasted promises of cleaning up what he labeled a completely corrupt federal government by “draining the swamp.” And while some of his assertions were true, his favorite methods of effecting change involved spreading falsehoods about and then demonizing anyone who stood in his way. Prior to his entry into office in 2016 he spread false assertions about the integrity of our elections; stating that he would accept the results of the election “…if I win.” And of course, he again attacked the integrity of the 2020 election several months prior to Election Day; spreading lies about “irregularities” that did not exist. Upon losing, he launched numerous unsuccessful legal battles to overturn verified results.

Sadly, a number of his supporters both in and out of government were willing to enable President Trump’s behavior, and even publicly agreed with lies that were being blasted to our citizenry over the airwaves and in social media. And after numerous verifications that he lost the 2020 election, rather than accept the will of the voters, our President and members of his circle instead chose to continue lying about nonexistent voter fraud and proclaim publicly that the election was stolen from him. In a final fanfare of desperation, he urged a mob to march on the Capitol, and of course the resulting coup attempt will forever be a stain on our democracy.

Thankfully, after the Capitol was once again secure, our Congress was able show the world that our democracy did indeed survive; and they performed what should have been a ceremonial acknowledgment of the results of the Electoral College: that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be the new President and Vice President of the United States. Of course, Democrats and Republicans alike were shaken. Democrats spoke up. Thankfully, a number of Republicans also spoke up. And while a minority of the Republican party still seems willing to perpetuate false claims made by the President, I was very grateful for those who expressed disgust at the result of Wednesday’s rally.

If you’re old like me, you may remember that Mitt Romney ran for president against Barack Obama in 2012. I didn’t vote for Senator Romney back then. Although I didn’t agree with much of his platform in 2012, I’ve always very much admired him as a man of honor. Honor. That’s what’s missing in too many of our elected officials. Not all, but even one is too many. Truth. All we ask is that we get truth when our elected officials speak to us.

Below is a copy of the speech Mitt delivered to the nation this past Wednesday night after Congress reconvened. I very much agree with every word he spoke during that historic session.

“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.

“The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen. Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen.
The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership. The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President’s own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.

“We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes. In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?

“Leader McConnell said that the vote today is the most important in his 40 plus years of public service. That is not because this vote reveals something about the election; it is because this vote reveals something about ourselves. I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

Thank you very much, Mitt!!