“Get Your Head Out Of Your A_ _ _”

Don’t be frightened by the title… this is and always shall be a “family site;” meaning no smut or cussing allowed. Believe it or not, if the letters were not blanked out; there still would be no cussing… if you look closely you’ll notice that the last word has 4 letters (the A plus 3 blanks) instead of the naughtier 3.

Anyway, ever admire someone even though you’ve never met them? Well, on my way to work each day I pass by the Glenpark Animal Hospital here in Beautiful Muskegon Michigan. They have one of those signs that allow them to change the letters; and they do so regularly. Sometimes the message is serious; like reminders for folks to treat their furry friends for fleas and heartworms. Other times, it’s rather amusing; like:

“STOP ANIMAL TESTING: THEY DON’T PAY ATTENTION AND GET WRONG ANSWERS.”

Or…

“FREE KITTENS AND MIRACLE CURES ARE FALSE ADVERTISING.”

There were many more funny ones, but those two stuck in my mind for some reason. My current favorite (which happens to be their current message) is:

“GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR APPS.”

That one made me laugh bigly; and even though I’ve seen “bigly” in use on the interwebs, it’s not even a real word; but then again neither is “interwebs,” but both of these fake words are fun to say and type, and additionally it gives me an excuse to write a long overdue run-on sentence that rambles along like a chicken with no DVD player; all the while using commas and semicolons in a most confusing but almost grammatically correct manner.

But who cares… let’s get back to the removal of one’s head from their apps. You see, I’ve been a computer flunky for many Earth years; and a techno-flunky before that. I’ve seen a few changes along the way… from state of the art vacuum tube equipment to the amazing solid state (that’s old speak for “no vacuum tubes”) stuff we have today. Have you ever smelled a vacuum tube? Don’t put it in your nose while it’s warm!! OUCH!! Oh yeah… the apps thing. I’m getting there…

As devices became more portable, of course more and more people started carrying them around. Got to the point where many folks wouldn’t go anywhere without their battery powered stuff. And of course a few more Earth decades passed; ushering more and more radical change as the Earth times became the now times.

Huh??

Yes; have some.

So here we are, in the digital age, where personal privacy is rapidly losing its importance. I say this because as more and more people install more and more apps on their phones; more and more information about their shopping habits, whereabouts, even recreational tendencies is being given away to be scooped up by marketeers and in some cases, fraudsters. Folks everywhere are seen with their noses nearly smudging their smartphone screens; and they are often so involved with their device that they’ve become oblivious to their surroundings.

So even though I laughed bigly at the notion of folks being told to get their heads out of their apps; I admire the Glenpark Animal Hospital for the urging. Might be a good idea for all of us in these “Modern Times” to pay less attention to techno-toys and more attention to each other.

Speaking of “Modern Times,”  I really need to watch that movie with my grandsons.  Here’s one of the technological “miracle machines” from that Charlie Chaplin classic…

Every Day Is Mothers Day

With Mothers Day on the horizon, I thought it important to yell a BIG GIANT THANK YOU to all the mothers in the universe. After all, without Mom, none of us would be where we are today. Actually, without Mom, none of us would be here at all!!

We have lots of “holidays” on the calendar that, in my professional opinion, should not be holidays at all. Sweetest Day? Ummm… no. Conversely, we have holidays like Earth Day, Mothers Day, and Fathers Day that exemplify principles we should embrace all year long. Nothing wrong with making a bigger fuss once a year, mind you. But let’s put the focus on this Sunday, which of course is Mothers Day. Considering the sacrifices our mothers made to raise us all the very best way they could; don’t you think Moms deserve to be special all year long?

God knows I could have done a better job appreciating Mom when I was a kid. Too soon old and too late smart seems to be bonking around inside my head bone a bit regularly these days. Hindsight is 20/20 though, as they say. I truly believe in my heart that every Mom does the very best they can; which of course is governed by their awareness. All Moms are human; and there’s no instruction manual. We all just need to take the good that Mom gave us and let it shine whenever we get the chance.

So for this week’s Happy Friday, I’m just going to be short and to the point:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for everything.

I love you with all my heart,

Me.

My Mom is in Heaven, but I send her loving prayers and I know in my heart they are heard. And to all of you other Moms out there, thanks to all of you also. You’ve blessed me with wonderful friends and loved ones who could never have been here without your help.

Take care, dear Moms, and Happy Mothers Day.

A lot of men are raising kids these days, but Gabby seemed to have a pretty tough time…

No News Is (Sometimes) Good News

Once Upon A Time, there was so much information floating around on the TV and Radio (remember Radio?) and the Newspapers (remember newspapers?) and the interwebs that when I tried to absorb all of it, I began to turn very pale and then I began to exhale stinky puffs of sauerkraut flavored nasty air because the amount of reported nasty news far outgrew any reports of good news; so I began to shake wildly and flail my hands about as if I were being shocked by 123,874 electric eels and perhaps you can tell that maybe all this news had some effect on me so maybe I better put a period at the end of this ridiculously huge sentence and come up for air awreddy.

~* Whew!! *~ That was fluffy!! And not in a good way.

Yes, Girls and Boys, there is simply not enough good news being flashed in front of our 3.4 millisecond attention spans any more. Now I know there’s good stuff happening out there, because I see it all the time. And thankfully I live in an area where the really bad news isn’t happening. By that I mean nobody is lobbing mortar shells in anyone’s homes; and by and large folks have enough to eat… stuff like that there.

My professional opinion is: 1) yes, we all should stay informed; but R) it’s probably good to at least occasionally unplug from all the news outlets for awhile. One could argue against such a flatulent (or would that be mucilaginous?) tactic, citing they’d miss stories like the Florida woman who married a 100 year old tree to try to save it from being removed to make way for development. Or maybe one wouldn’t hear about the 18 year old who bought her very first lottery ticket on her birthday and won $1000 for life.

OK so maybe you might miss out on that stuff. But I’m thinking that what may be missing in our Technical Universe is contact with Nature. Nature is big you know. From microscopic critters all the way up to elephants… then our solar system, stars, planets, galaxies… well you know. Nature. Stuff you can see, hear, smell, and taste. And no, I’m not asking anyone to go around sniffing elephants or trying to hear what an earthworm is saying. I’m just imparting what I have found to be true: some of my most peaceful moments come when I have no devices anywhere near me.

I love to listen to the waves of Lake Michigan crashing into light poles as they whiz down the freeway. I love staring at the moon while lying on an ant hill… and when the ants come to visit, I often shake wildly with delight until they are gone. I love watching animals and birds while they have squirt gun fights during marshmallow eating contests. And of course I enjoy visiting with friends; and when they pull out their smellphones in the middle of a conversation, I casually blow my nose very loudly without the use of a tissue and then give them a nice pat on the back.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also very aware that technology can bring joy to a person’s life. I’ve worked as a techno-nerd for over 40 years now; and I admit I do derive some funzies out of watching cat videos and bopping around on the BookFace to see what my friends are doing. I also have an ancient artifact in my living room called a Stereo (remember stereo?) that I use to kick out the jams (remember “Kick Out The Jams” ? ) from time to time. You know what they say: “music makes the toenails pop!!” Or maybe I just say that.

Anyhoo, I’m working on not reading so much news on the radio and listening to fewer newspapers. Sometimes I can smell the news on the TV and I run backwards to get away; but then I clunk the wall and all the knick knacks fall down and I burp German words before fainting. I do tune in occasionally to see what Donald Rump and King Jon Loon are doing, but then I barf and decide maybe I should give it a rest for a couple milliseconds. This manic media monstrosity mishmash can make my head bone crackle; then the brain fluids leak out, that that in turn causes my writing to disintegrate into magnetic lag bolt compost droppings.

No news can indeed be good news.

Please pass the marshmallows.

In the future, technology will take care of EVERYTHING. We’ll see it at the World’s Fair!

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…)

Just Mind Your Manners

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

So there!!

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

Sheesh!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Absolutely No Complaints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nonsensical Stress Filters

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 at work, and a lot has been going on in the news. 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 work week be no Oldsmobile to that incubation.

I was walking through the factory the other day, scowling inside my rib cage and doing my darndest to ignore all the noisy dirt. Soon I found myself saying, “hey Self! For why you are so poofely?? Don’t you agree that your employment status brings gas to your table and puts food in your car? Are you not, indeed, a very fortunate person who no longer requires adult supervision at most Twinkie eating contests?? And c’mon man! Get with the gratitude awreddy.”

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

The following morning, I smiled and decided not to be El Groucho inside my brain world any longer. 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 tried hard to not take work too poisonously. Sure, since my friend Reebo has retired and I inherited an extra work load my job has become inflamed with large pickles that fly violently in all directions. And yes, there is really no way to keep up with the demand, unless I find a way to successfully 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, which seems to come quickly when people at work allow their children to surf the web on their work computer, and then they come crying to me because they can’t get their computer to do anything except offer to fix horrible computer problems that don’t exist, and then I get to spend many minutes trying to kill the bugs when all they had to do was forget to allow their kids to surf the web with their work computer, and then I end up blasting the hard drive anyway so I can write run-on sentences with increased vigor and lengthy applesauce.

After all of that new grouchiness, I start my day over again with a new happy and grateful attitude. Then I get grouchy once more, but a little less, and keep practicing the gratitude thing. Then I go between buildings and sing happy songs 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 Americans don’t own this planet, although we seem to act like the whole thing is ours. These things make me become very figgy 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?

Pray for our Planet. Think Globally, Act Locally. Please??

Every Day Is (not) April Fools

So there I was, at the Egg Roll House Wonderful Chinese Restaurant Which Has The Best Chinese In Muskegon Michigan And It’s Been That Way For Many Years, waiting for my take out order (which would have been ready but I asked, “how long to add Shrimp With Vegetable?” and the nice lady said “Five Minutes!!” so I looked at the stack of Time magazines and the copy on top had, in big letters, “Is Truth Dead?” written on it and it made me think of all the total crap that finds its way into the media these days and some people actually believe it and so I thought “what the heck do I write about on the day before April Fools?” and this seemed like a good topic to go with so now it’s time to STOP WITH THE HUGE RUN-ON SENTENCE AWREDDY and tell everyone that I’m going to write about this here:

FAKE NEWS.

Now, I’m old enough to remember when The Beatles came to America on The Mayflower; so I’ve observed a few cultural changes over the years. When I was a kid, if you said something that wasn’t true, it was called a lie. Very simple. Everyone knew what that meant. Then, somewhere along the line, a word by the name of “misinformation” was introduced into our spoken and written language. It still meant that someone was telling a lie, but extenuating circumstances would often surround whatever the “misinformation” might be; and these circumstances were offered to create a smokescreen about the plain reality of it all: it was a stinkin’ lie.

The latest euphemism for a lie is the term “fake news.” Well the use of that term really bugs me. It’s kinda like someone offering me “turkey bacon.” Sorry friends, there is no way you can make bacon from turkey. There are companies who make something that looks like bacon, and maybe sorta kinda tastes like bacon, but it ain’t bacon. Bacon comes from dead pigs. Period. So when someone starts babbling about fake news; they really aren’t talking about news at all. They are calling someone a liar.

So quit with the euphemisms already!! A lie is a lie! Somehow, though, the printed word and the internet seem to give lies a life of their own; to the point that people who would rather not bother with checking facts will believe almost anything they see in print, online, or hear and see on TV and radio. And if a person is very important, and doesn’t like what they see or hear, and call it fake news, well guess what?? Because that person is very important (at least in their own mind), people will believe something that simply isn’t true!

What a world!!

So here I offer you some absolutely true facts that will hopefully help you in your search for the truth. I can vouch for all that follows, because you are reading it on the internet; and everyone knows that whatever is on the internet is absolutely true stuff.

True Fact #1: Russia is e-mailing 45 rpm records to unsuspecting music lovers; and these records contain secret DNA altering messages embedded in the grooves. So when you think you’re listening to an old Chuck Berry tune (God rest his soul); you’re actually absorbing molecular sound waves that will cause your eyebrows to grow completely together (Holy Unibrow, Batman!!).

True Fact #2: A new version of radical Atheism has sprung up in rural Minnesota. Harsh winters have produced fertile ground for these factions to adopt terrorist tactics that involve dumping large quantities of Cracker Jacks in ice fishing shanties. This of course confuses unsuspecting ice fishermen; who upon returning to their shanty, veer away from their faiths and compulsively gorge themselves on the tasty snack food. These fishermen disappoint their families when they come home with no fish but a very sticky face and huge sugar buzz.

True Fact #3: Honeybees are being forced into slave labor by the Air Force. Instead of using normal methods of jet engines for propulsion, bees will be harnessed to fighter jets to lift them off the ground in a very stealthy manner. This method, called “beezooming,” is difficult to detect by even the most sensitive monitoring equipment.

I could produce many more True Facts but I don’t want to bore you all with my amazing knowledge of things I just made up in my mind. You may never have heard of any of the previous 3 True Facts. That’s because although they are all true, those who have this information have been sworn to secrecy. All those “in the know” about these things are very aware that if they don’t keep their mouths shut about all this, I will send trained slime spiders to their homes at unpredictable hours.

Nobody likes slime spiders.

OK… hope you all have a nice April Fools Day. And please, know that just like those X-Files kids used to say, “the truth is out there.” Really it is… you just gotta dig for it sometimes.

Speaking of lies, though, here are a few fun lying thingies…

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

A horribly beautiful, terrible but remarkable, and yet pretty amazing thing happened last week: our water heater died. One may well ask, “how can the death of a water heater conjure so many adjectives in one sentence?” Of course, one (or even two) may not ask that at all. I mean who really cares, right? Water heaters croak… new ones are only guaranteed for 6 years and are expected to last for maybe 10 to 15 years.

So what’s the big deal? Well, we knew our 80 gallon Hotpoint water heater was old when we bought the house way back in 1982. This was when dinosaurs roamed the earth and people communicated over long distances with tin cans connected with string. What we didn’t know until this past Monday was that our trusty old water heater was built in 1952!!! I mean, this thing was born before us!! Sixty-five years ago!! I told the installer, “hey maybe we should keep it, it’s eligible for Medicare!!” One friend on that BookFace thing on the interwebs said it might be a world record for water heater longevity.

As I watched the poor “kids” (when you’re in your 60s, “kids” are anyone 30 years old or less) haul the disconnected monster out of the basement, I couldn’t help but reflect on the throw-away world we’ve built around us. Too many things have obsolescence built into them; because hey, business depends on sales, and sales don’t happen when things last forever. That may be good for sales but it’s not very good for our planet.

However, I do know from experience that there are a few companies on this planet who make things that last a long time; but in my professional opinion those are few and far between. Toyota is one of those companies. They believe that business should be sustainable; not just growth oriented. Toyota makes some of the longest lasting cars on the road; and that’s what brings customers back. They certainly sold me; the 2003 Corolla I bought brand new has well over 300,000 miles on it. We don’t know how many miles it’s gone exactly, because a factory defect for that model year prevents the speedometer from going any farther than 299,999 miles. The body is still in very good shape, and it runs like brand new.

Lots of folks chase the newest, shiniest toys: cell phones, cars, TVs, etc. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I are happy to live in the Stone Age with our old cars, landline phone, and antenna TV. So basically we are weirdos; and we like it. Our favorite thing about all our stuff is that we own it. We have zero debt. Nada. Zip. Nibbit. Blazoo. Well OK those last two “words” aren’t words, but as I said, we are weirdos. So now if my Honey Pie is reading this I’m gonna get in trouble; so let me clarify: she’s very practical and I’m the weirdo. After all, I’m the one who makes up silly words and flings them out on the interwebs for all to see.

I rather doubt this new water heater will last 65 years. Maybe, just maybe, it will outlive us; but I’m not counting on it. No, they just don’t make ’em like they used to… and sometimes that’s a good thing. They don’t make music like they used to either… and now it’s time for me to share some of my favorite “oldies” with you.

Enjoy!

Don’t Bee A Robot

Ever have a time when you think you’ve heard everything, then another weird announcement buzzes about on the news and the interwebs? A very sad announcement that came out recently was the addition of the rusty-patched bumblebee to the endangered species list. Unfortunately, climate change, the widespread use of pesticides, herbicides, and destruction of habitat does not exactly render this announcement as mysterious.

One of the weirdest follow-ups to the endangered bee story was the proposal to use robotic “bees” to aid in pollination of crops. I’m not kidding about this; there are actual efforts in progress to perfect a robotic bee!! This announcement made me even more sad than the prospective loss of bee populations. While some might find robo-bees to be a fascinating credit to modern science, my strong belief is that such inventions do much more harm than good to our environment as a whole.

Human nature, it seems, is always looking for a magical way out of difficult and complex problems. I’d much rather hear more information about how to save our bees; not replace them with machines. After all, our bees, along with many other species, are endangered because of the poisoning of our planet. All the man-made materials used to make robo-bees and other drone type flying machines are produced at no small cost to the environment.

One report I read speaks about using robo-bees in conjunction with real bees to achieve better coverage of crops needing pollination. Seems to me these “geniuses” are missing something very important: robo-bees have tiny propellers. What happens when they collide with a real bee? I’m guessing the bee loses a leg or two, or three, or an eye, or… well you see what I mean. So, we’re already losing bees to other environmental stressors, and now we have scientists who want to surround them with tiny little helicopters?? Oy yoy yoy.

Thankfully, when people learn that bumblebees are endangered, lots of folks want to know what to do to save them. At least, I sure hope they do. My Beautiful Girlfriend and I have been raising food organically for going over 40 years; so many of the techniques are second nature to us.

Here are some simple things everyone can do to help bees thrive:

  1. Buy organically grown produce whenever possible. This ensures that pesticides and / or herbicides were not part of the farming process. In the past, organic fruits and vegetables were an anomaly at the stores, now they’re very commonplace and price competitive. That’s because normal folk became interested in knowing how their food was grown.
  2. Plant wildflowers and / or flowering trees. Simple, right? Seriously, plant flowers, especially away from where you’re going to mow. Everyone knows that will help the bees. Try to be especially sensitive to the fact that bees need to feed all season long; so different types of flowers can be selected to ensure there is food available during the entire feeding season.
  3. Weeds can be very beneficial. Say what?? That’s right… a lawn full of dandelions or clover is a veritable buffet for bees. Many other, taller growing weeds have flowers that bees depend on (please refer back to item # 2).
  4. Do not use pesticides or herbicides in your garden or lawn. These are poison to many forms of life, of which bees are a small group. Too much of the public has been bombarded with chemical solutions for pest and weed management. Speaking from a gardener’s perspective, I would rather see a crop fail than to use poisons to control pests. However, by learning techniques like companion planting and crop rotation, I’ve been blessed with many beautiful harvests of all sorts of vegetables.
  5. Work to preserve habitats. You know that old hollow tree out back? Should have been cut down years ago, yes? Well maybe not: hollow trees provide shelter for bees and other pollinators. Bumblebees will burrow into the ground, so if there are any mounds or abandoned burrows from rabbits, etc., pay attention; the bees may be nesting there.

Long story longer, if we just take a little more time learning about what Mother Nature needs from us, we can help her stay healthy. And if our Mother Earth is healthy, there will be no need for robo-bees. So please, don’t bee a robot. Don’t assume that pesticides and herbicides are safe. If you don’t grow your own, learn where your food comes from and how it is grown. And by all means, let your representatives know your concerns about keeping our environment clean and healthy for all creatures.

Sorry, science kids, robo-bees are not natural!!

Maybe if all bees could be like the one who stood up to Donald Duck; they’d have a fighting chance…