Beans Think Onions Stink

If bean plants could talk, they’d ask the onions to leave the premises immediately. This is for real, people! They’d pinch their noses and shout thusly: “Hey! You wid da face! You’re pudding a big hurt od by doze! Gid oudda here awreddy! Can’t lib here wid dis stinking.”

The onions cry. After all, they can’t help the fact that they were born with a natural fragrance that bean plants find offensive. Not to worry, the cabbage family is happy to have onions in the neighborhood. Must like that Italian cooking, maybe?

Forgive me while I indulge in this good stink / bad stink talk. In these parts, It’s time to start the garden up, and I get to thinking out loud about who goes where in the dirt. Companion planting, the practice of growing plants that benefit from each other, is a cool thing for us organic-type gardeners. That’s because if plants can be happy together, they are much healthier. Having healthy plants means more yield and fewer problems with bugs and diseases.

Onions exude chemicals that prevent beans, peas, and other legumes from making nitrogen in the soil with their toes. If you’ve ever yanked a bean plant out of the dirt, you might have noticed the rhizomes (little round bumps) on the roots. Well, the beans do NOT have tumors.  The rhizomes are where the action is:  bean-friendly bacteria live there and make nitrogen for the bean plants and anyone else who happens to be nearby.  That is, unless the onions are in town. Then they just sit there, remaining all tiny and twiddling their toes.

Cabbage and its relatives (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.) love those onions, because they help keep the cabbage butterflies away, and also keep the aphid population down. Both of those bugs love their cabbage, but, like beans, most bugs also hate onion breath.

Another example of companion planting is when corn says thank you to the beans and peas for being there and doing the cool nitrogen toe jam thing. The beans and peas give the corn a high five for wind protection and some shade. Corn plants also make nice poles for peas and runner beans to grab. Between the corn rows, squash or pumpkins get the shade they like, and they in turn shade the corn’s roots and keep them cool. Everybody happy.

On the other hand, you have marigolds. OK, maybe you don’t; but those can go near anything. All the vegetable clans love marigolds, and they even stimulate growth. My kinda plants!

Grandmas and Grandpas used to know lots of this stuff, and Native Peoples were very much in tune to companion planting. Farm and garden chemical companies would love for you to forget all about that stuff though. Those fancy commercials showing folks winning cool prizes for big veggies do tend to get one’s attention. Unfortunately, chemical companies are conveniently quiet about the nasty stuff flowing into our lakes and streams when herbicides and pesticides are washed out of our dirt during a good rain.

But fear not, organic produce are finally becoming more mainstream. People are “discovering” that when the pilgrims found the Indians were growing pumpkins in their corn, it was no accident.

Back to the beans a second (uh-oh, he’s gonna get weird again). I know some people who agree with beans about the onions. Some folks just can’t stand onions or the smell of them. If you like raw onions, your sweetie might say something like, “No kissy face for you until you brush them chompers!” Onions and beans are great food things. I love them together, and regard the combi as almost cosmic. Of course, there is a by-product of eating too much of either: methane. In its natural state, methane is colorless and odorless. When generated by human food eating machines, it is often released with a “PHOOT!!” noise and can have a rather diSTINKtive odor.

HOLY COW!! I JUST HAD A BRAIN-FART!! We may be able to achieve world peace with this combination! Get regiments of bean eaters, right? March them into enemy territory two or three hours after the whole bunch of them cram a few truckloads of bean burritos laced with onions in their faces. No troops in their right minds would try to fight against anyone during such a gas attack. We’re talking victory with no chemical weapons here! Peace could be had without firing a shot, except for the occasional audible report from those burrito eaters. The only hitch would be to strictly enforce an important rule, which would need to be posted with very large placards:

ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING ALLOWED.

So the moral of the story is: if you must plant beans and onions together, plant them in your tummy, not in the dirt.

And please, always remember to visualize whirled peas.

So if you find any of these beans, please save a couple for me!

Sixty Two And Not Very Blue

A most remarkable occurrence sprinkled itself into my life this past Tuesday. I turned 62 for the first time in my living life!! Well OK, this will be the only time I’ll turn 62 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 62, 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 stayed entered the work force to raise families.

So all that to say how happy I am to be 62 years old?? Well I could probably write a book about all of this stuff, but suffice it to say that this old hippie working guy is, believe it or not, very happy to have traveled around the sun a whole 62 times. First of all, I’m blessed beyond belief with family, amazing friends, and a pretty decent job. Secondly, I’m getting closer and closer to retirement; which to me means: FREEDOM!! Yes!! And if I lose my job tomorrow, I’m old enough to start collecting Social Security!! Is that cool or what??

Never thought I’d hear myself say that…

Went to a retirement party today for a friend and work. I am very happy for her, and also very jealous. My turn will come. I’d love to work a few more years yet, but that may not happen. No such thing as a sure thing these days.

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 decades?? We got turned on to lots of good music. Not just rock, but 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 some samples of what I’ve grown to love over the years. Hope you have a chance to check them 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!!

Here’s one I sing 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.

 

Just Trying To Help

Corporate greed seems to have become a global phenomenon. In too many corporations here and abroad, the people who call the shots seem to live in a different universe.  They really don’t care much about the average family person who is trying to make a living.  They may say they do, but they really don’t.  Otherwise, jobs in this country would not be moved to other countries.  Sure, if we kept the jobs here it would “cost more to do business,” which mostly seems to mean that the Really Big Shots wouldn’t get their millions.  Well maybe they don’t need millions.  Does anybody really need more than a million dollars??  Not me… so they can just give me a million and I’ll quit complaining about corporate greed.

Or not…

Anyway, since I know people whose jobs are in jeopardy, I thought maybe I’d try to be a helpful with this week’s Happy Friday thing.  I have been the victim of corporate downsizing in the past; so I’ve been there and done that.  It wasn’t the end of the world.  Actually it was the beginning of a pretty cool journey.  I explored some alternative career ideas and got to know myself and my family better.  And finally after many moons of being out of work, I got a job.

One thing I’ve learned is:  probably the most important ingredient of a good job hunt is a resume.  Keep it to a single page.  Emphasize your strengths and achievements, and especially focus on the skills you have that an employer needs.  What I ended up doing was keeping a general resume “on file” and modified it to suit the particular job I was targeting.

Another good tool is an introductory cover letter.  For a guide, I dug an old one out of my archives and thought I would share it with you.  You have my permission to steal it and alter it in any way you see fit.  This one may (or may not) be the exact same letter I sent to Ludmilla Sunkenchin, who was HR director of Blammo Manufacturing.  So without any further ado, here it be:

——————————————————

To Whom It May Concern,

This is in response to the advertisement for a Working Type Person. I understand that you were accepting money up front, to get people jobs and stuff like that. I intended to respond sooner, but a small cow has been telling me things and forced me to listen. Please consider this as a letter of application because I need a stinking job.

The jerks I have been working for at XYZ Industries these past 27 days have laid me off ; and I’m sure I don’t need to tell a person like you how that makes me squirm inside.  However, I believe that I the skills I acquired there were probably useless, but that doesn’t really matter now does it??. I’m really good at taking breaks, and I know how to impress the best of them. I figure that if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull manookey. I worked on various types of equipment during my career at XYZ, but most of it was pretty old and always screwing up, so I don’t really know how to run anything without a large hammer in the immediate vicinity.

I have computer experience… after all, I do own a Sony Playstation.  Them video games have really increased my ability to react quickly under stress. There goes a fly! HA! Got it!!  See what I mean? As for my ability to interact with others, I enjoy meeting new people, especially when they give me money. Those are the nice ones, ya know?

Please let me know the exact date upon which I can expect to apply my skills at your place of employment. I am available for an interview, and would enjoy the opportunity to give you $20 up front and more if I get the job. I will be “checking in” frequently with you to keep tabs on your progress in hiring me.  Get back to me soon, or else you may soon find some “souvenirs” from my kitty’s litter box in your mail slot.

Ha ha, just kidding I think maybe.

Thank You,

ME (you will learn more about me during the hiring process, and especially when I have learned of my start date)

P.S.: I can’t work where women are present, because I usually have pretty offensive gas.  Also, if there are men around, they should stay away from me, because they normally have even worse gas than me.  Other than that, I can do work real good unless I don’t feel like doing what you ask me to do.  In cases like that, just ask me what I feel like doing that day and I’ll probably get right to it.

——————————————————

Well my friends there you have it.  As I said, feel free to use this cover letter in its entirety if you wish.  Or maybe tweak it a little… but I think it stands on its own merit.  If you find it useful, please let me know very soon; as I also have some bridge property for sale at reduced rates for special people like you.

Hopefully, your next interview won’t go like this…

So Sick Of Corporate Ick

Our department got some pretty sad news this past Monday. Jobs that currently belong to nine of my work friends will be outsourced beginning early next year. Wasn’t really a surprise to me. After working in the corporate universe for nearly 40 years; one acquires a feel for such things. The sad result, of course, is the disruption my friends will experience. And I, being a caring kind of guy, feel very badly for them. Call me idealistic, but in my professional opinion, it doesn’t have to be this way. Corporations can make their money and still make employees feel valued. With rare exception though, this is not the way of the corporate world.

But what do I know??

At least my friends are getting a couple months notice. That could be considered kind. I’m sure there will be a cost savings to the company to have an outside service replace these employees. In the process, the Upper Crust always seems to make sure their pockets are nicely lined with large bonuses. Of course, this isn’t unique to our company, it’s become common all over the world. Importance of profits far outweigh any concern for the employees’ well being. If it weren’t for labor unions, we underlings would be treated even worse than we are now.

Reminds me of the Dr. Seuss book, “The Lorax.” The character called the Once-ler is confronted about the damages done by the rampant growth of his business. His company’s fortune thrives on materials taken from Truffula trees, which also happen to be the primary food source for creatures called the Bar-ba-loots. As the Truffula trees are over harvested, the Bar-ba-loots begin to starve, and suffer from “Crummies in tummies.”

The Once-ler’s response: “…business is business! And business must grow, regardless of Crummies in Tummies you know.”

Business is business… ain’t that the truth??

Of course, those of us whose necks missed the chopping block can’t help but wonder who’s next. Nobody loves these kinds of changes, including me. However, I’m getting a little better at keeping the negative fire storms out of my head. Being annoyed and sad is already uncomfortable enough. My magnifying mind can, if let loose, really run with all this and build a grudge that becomes harmful to me and those around me. Fortunately, over the years I’ve learned that if I allow anger and resentment to fester in my heart, I’m basically poisoning myself. Being livid about things over which I have no control is about as effective as eating a poison pill and expecting someone else to die.

I’ve been talking to my friends at work about all this stuff. When I consider out loud about if (or more likely when) it will be my turn; they offer suggestions like finding an IT head hunter or maybe doing computer consulting work. Bless them… they’re concerned for me. When they’re done I mention that I’ve been a slave to technology for over 40 years. I thank them warmly and let them know in no uncertain terms that I’m really ready to do something a little different. I’d like to do something that may pay less but will feed my soul. Perhaps somewhere like Goodwill, and help those less fortunate than me become a bit more self-sufficient. Possibilities are only limited by how open my mind will be.

In the meantime, I’ll show them (the corporate big shots)!! I’m gonna continue to work at the job and try to be happy!! So there!! I’m going to try to avoid dipping into the poison pot about corporate dysfunction. After all, the only thing I have any control over is how I react to all these “wonderful” things that are changing at the workplace.

When my serenity alarm goes off, I need to remind myself to run through my “gratitude list.” I am healthy and I have the love of a beautiful woman. She even let me marry her! We have cars that work, a nice home, plenty to eat. We have loving relationships with our offspring, relatives and friends. Life really is good in our universe.

No poison pill for me thanks. We all have the right to be happy, and I’ve been taught the only way to achieve that is to take care of myself.  I need to make gratitude my attitude.  I need to say “thank you” to The People Upstairs (whoever they are) regularly.  Sometimes it takes a bit of work to pull it off, but life is much more peaceful when I succeed.

Can you tell I’m practicing?

OK.  Time for a chuckle… I did some hunting and found this gem by Monty Python.  Definitely relates to the topic!  But again, that’s just my professional opinion…

Daylight Craving Time

Here we go again. A few weeks of getting used to the early darkness is on its way. 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, 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?

But now Autumn has invaded and the days are getting shorter and shorter. Gets dark about 7 or so now. And of course when Eastern Standard Time comes back, we gain an hour of sleep but the darkness comes to visit with the 6 o’clock news.

That’s icky.

Foist of awl, I’ve never really been a morning person. Sure, I get up in time to go to work each morning: I set the alarm for 6 AM and then snap out of bed… after I slap the snooze alarm about 3 times. Some folks try to soften the blow by saying things like, “well, it will be light a little earlier in the morning.” WHO CARES?? I’m going to work!! I’m not gonna play in the daylight at 7 AM even if I’m not working!! Sheesh.

Second of awl, 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 even though we haven’t turned the clocks back just yet, and even though I now live on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, I’m already craving more daylight. Not gonna happen till April, I know. Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe all this saving time nonsense. I’d be OK with that, so long as we were able to 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!!

Goodbye Columbus?

No, I’m not gonna write about the book “Goodbye Columbus,” by Philip Roth; partially because I never read the book, but also because I never saw the movie by the same name.  Why I would write about what I’m not going to write about is not important either, so I hereby declare this paragraph completely unnecessary and I now pronounce you macaroni and cheese.

On the other hand, we again had Columbus Day.  And we again had a federal holiday so we got no snail mail.  And again there are folks who consider it a holiday.  And again one more time, I’ve never really been too fond of Columbus Day; nor have I ever really been amazed by Christopher Columbus and his band of merry men.   One does have to admit, however, that surviving ocean travel over such distances in the late 1400’s was kind of remarkable.

What bugs me is all this fuss about some Italian dude “discovering” America; and after listening to some news on the radio this past Monday I’ve happily “discovered” that I’m not alone.  Several communities in the US are dumping Columbus Day in favor of what’s been called Indigenous Peoples Day in honor of Native Americans.  Rightly so, because after all, they were here first.

Besides all that, being of Norwegian descent I get a little snorked that the Vikings get little credit for sailing to this continent about 500 years before that Italian dude.  From what I’ve read they didn’t stay long; and ended up going back to Greenland after the natives made it very clear they weren’t welcome.  Anyhow, no celebration of Columbus Day at our house.

Well I guess there’s a small amount of joy:  our mailbox didn’t get stuffed full of junk mail this past Monday!

OK… time for something a little lighter I think.  Perhaps some Chilly Willy… just for the heck of it.

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 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 (and also my commercial) 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.

So there I was, was walking through the factory the other day, minding my own business, 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?? Are you not aware that many many people and other animals on this planet are much less fortunate than you? I mean c’mon man! Get with the gratitude awreddy.”

My Self agreed that grouch makes ouch. I decided I really ought not allow neither this job nor the news media to remove my ventricles or extinguish my lapis lazuli.  I prayed to the Creation Committee (whoever They are) for help.

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 my cranial dust molecules and perhaps even continue ungrouchifying for another 14 milliseconds. By golly, that may have actually worked. And I only practiced this13 times!  Maybe even more!  I tried hard to not take this crazy world too poisonously. Sure, I am “blessed” with way more work than I can ever get done; so quite often my job is inflamed with large pickles that fly violently in all directions. Therefore and forthwith, I must proclaim that 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!!  No, really… please tell me what it means.

Anyway, I’ve decided to just be happy until I feel grouchy again, and since I am a Computer Flunky I get several opportunities to grouch around like when people take their work computers home and allow their children to surf the web, and then they come crying to me because they can’t get their computer to do anything except try to sell them really cool games like Magic Snackwonder or maybe Jedi Pudding Merchants; or perhaps they are plagued by an 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, fragrant applesauce undergarments.

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. Over and over again.  Perhaps I may even interject a song or two; some that have actually been played on the radio or maybe some I make up, like this one:

 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.”

After such ha ha indivisibilty, I laugh at own my silliness and life is once again refreshing and full of new opportunities to enjoy fruit and perhaps even the occasional flying insect (just walk through our yard with your mouth open).

I’ve learned that if I’m having a bad day, it’s usually just me reacting in a stinky way toward what’s going on between my ears.  Long ago I was also told by people wiser than me that I can start my day over any time I want.

Sometimes I restart my day 479 times or more.

So, how was YOUR week?

Here’s the cartoon… nothing to do with anything except that I’m also grateful I’m a country boy….

 

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 61 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 have to know for my job. Rather, I’m talking about how to get along with others:

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 to strive 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.

Maybe the prospect of leaving this Earth place has caused me to mellow. Maybe I just got tired of being an angry stinker punk all the time. Whatever the case, I finally caught on to the fact that our time here is limited; so 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.

This evening I left a local Hospice House to which a very dear friend was admitted this past Wednesday. She and her spouse have been very close (extended) family to us for many moons now; so we have been privileged to be a part of her journey to the Other Side Of Life. Of course, many other friends come to visit; which gives us a chance to reconnect with folks we love dearly but don’t see very often.

Our friend probably won’t be with us much longer; and during all this I can’t help reflecting on Life, the Universe and Everything. While reflecting; a light bulb came on inside my head bone. I’ve been saying “I Love You” a lot more frequently these days. I’ve also been trying very hard to work through any icky situations that may exist between me and any one with whom I’ve had conflict.

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, with 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” to those those with whom I share mutual, unconditional love. I believe The Creators want us to be kind; regardless of who we may encounter. 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 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.

Well my friends, it really is a Wonderful World we live in. Here are two of my favorite versions of one of my favorite songs about that very wonderful thing.

In my professional opinion, both should be played loudly.

Pennies From Heaven (More Is Not Necessarily Better)

Once upon a time there was a dog named Musky Da Husky who is still alive and sheds enough hair to upholster 3 or 4 minivans with a nice layer of Fido Fluff. The family who adopted him has been driving a brand new, 2001 Chrysler Town & Country minivan for a little over 5 years. There was nothing special about this vehicle, but it served the family well and it became known as “The Mutt-Mobile” because it was the only car in which Musky Da Husky was allowed. And boy howdy did he do a good job of shedding all over the seats. Holy Dog Hair, Batman!!

Riding in the summer was always interesting, because the only air conditioning the Mutt-Mobile employed was the old reliable 4-60 (4 windows open at 60 MPH). When it was a nice sunny day and the windows were first opened, a very visible swirl of Musky’s Mop Fibers would dance around the interior of the car. Sometimes the fluffy tufts would brush past our nostrils or mouths; which would commence an interesting round of “ptoo!” “Flarf!” and maybe “Pllleethhh!” in vain attempts to expel the fibers from our air passages.

We became pretty accustomed to the fuzzy cyclones for the most part. Because the van was not exactly pristine, we could really give a rip about the status of the seats, etc. Once in a great while we’d embark on an outing with friends, and because we had the largest car I would have to break down and spend an hour or so with the shop-vac to try to get a few bales of hair out. Husky hair is amazing stuff, though, and it seems to burrow into the upholstery. Therefore, no matter how much one tries, there are always some residual strands that seem to jump out and cling to your friends’ coats as they take their seats.

Ah well, they love us unconditionally. I think…

When one buys a used car with 130,000 miles on it, sooner or later some trouble can be expected to surface. We had to take care of normal stuff like tires, exhaust, serpentine belt; you know, stuff like that there. However, during these past few months some much nastier automotive demons have reared their ugly heads. One of our “favorites” was that age-old problem that seems to plague many Chrysler products: the transmission started to flake out. Our friendly service person at Z Transmission Service was able to give it some extra life for a whopping $80; but he warned me not to drive it too far from home. That was about 3 months ago; and even though it would act silly it got us where we wanted to go. But we are not completely naive, and we vowed that the next big repair bill would signal the demise of the Mutt-Mobile.

So there we were, minding our own business, on our way to have dinner with friends, when the Mutt-Mobile she cough and snork and sputter and now I think my engine will die and you better get over to the side of the freeway and no I’m not gonna start no more I’m dead I tell you, I’m dead already, and sure go ahead and try it, ha ha on you the battery is crap, don’t you remember you didn’t want to replace it but you need those extra crankings now you silly man and it doesn’t matter this piece of Dog Doody ain’t gonna go no more so nyaa nyaa na boo boo; and those of you who read this silly blog thing were maybe wondering if Kenny was ever going to slide in another run-on sentence so there you go and wow it was a long one!

Our wonderful son came to our rescue, and after unsuccessfully trying to jump the van; we all hopped into the alternate Mutt-Mobile (my brand new 2003 Racing Corolla) and the 3 humans met our friends for dinner while Musky Da Husky slept in the car. After dinner I got on the phone with a towing company I’ve used for years; and $75 later the Mutt-Mobile was parked in our driveway by the nice wrecker driver. Just before he left, he asked, “what year is that?” “2001,” I replied. “I might want to buy it for parts if you’re just gonna junk it.”

Well that’s nice!! So I told him I’d go to www.damagedcars.com and see what they would offer. Their price was a whopping $230, which included pickup. I talked to several friends at work about the ordeal, and they said, “you can get more than that from a scrap yard!” But then of course I’d have to get it to the scrap yard somehow.

As it turned out, my wife knew the nice man who delivered our dead Mutt-Mobile to our driveway. Well she knows his wife anyway. If he can use the van for parts, it’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned. Sure I could have finagled a better deal… maybe. But we are firm believers that what goes around, comes around. More is not necessarily better.  In other words, we were very aware that all the events to this point made it very clear that The People Upstairs were taking care of us. It was only right that we should help someone else if we could. So the fact that we were able to get $200 was, in reality, pennies from heaven.

At least, that’s my two cents.

So just to emphasize how old I am, here’s one of my favorites.  Well OK, two of my favorites… the song and the singer!

 

Columbus Corruptus

Happy October to all the boys and girls in the Gregorian Calendar Universe!! Whether you’re a cat or an ant lion, I hope you all have a wonderful October; and may the Great Pumpkin bring you lots of presents on Halloween. But, hey, if you really ARE a cat or an ant lion, it’s not likely you’re reading this, so just nevermind. Go eat some antmice or something.

For all youse reading-type beings, Happy October already. Pretty soon we get to enjoy Columbus Day, and I don’t get the day off, so don’t invite me over for Columbus Cobbler with Moosetracks ice cream and small waffles dripping with olive oil. OK?? I don’t need any of that stuff, anyhow. My midriff is already becoming large enough to store unused motor oil. Wanna go get a Whopper? They’ just remodeled the Burger King down the road, so everything must be much better now!!

So this coming Monday is Columbus Day. I remember hearing about Columbus when I was very young. Most of you probably do too; you know… he journeyed over here in 1492 in three ships: the Ninja, the Placenta, and the Hanna-Barbera. Or something…

Now that I’m an old fart and have learned a few things, I’ll have to say I’m a bit confused about the fondness for Columbus Day. Well, I understand how the Italians think it’s pretty cool; he was one of theirs, after all. But when I was a kid, the teachers lied to me with their faces. They told me that Columbus discovered America. This makes me cry inside. They even made us learn that stupid poem:

In fourteen hundred and ninety two,

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

If he hollers let him go,

Eeenie, meenie, myenie, moe.

Pretty weird poem. Even though I may have it a little wrong, my revised version makes about as much sense as Columbus “discovering” America. Sure, he was able to talk Isabella into financing a voyage to look for a new route to India. He basically got lost and ended up in the Caribbean, in what later became known as the West Indies.

Eventually he figured out where he really was, so he made several more trips and got the ball rolling for Spain to conquer Central and South America. Then lots of Europeans were catching on to the riches in “New World.” Bad medicine for the folks who were already here for several thousand years. Not so good for the Africans, either. The white folks were sure they lived in a Superior Universe, and they had the weapons to prove it.

My ancestors were vikings, but that’s not your fault. They were here about 600 years before Columbus, and even tried to settle in a place they called Vinland. Didn’t work out so well, so they went back home. Guess they were happier chasing whales and herring.

There lots of others who came to visit the Americas before Columbus, too, and we don’t hear nearly enough about that these days. Don’t seem to get much information on the history of the Native Americans, either. But hey, why should we? We stole this continent from them fair and square!

Can you tell I feel strongly about this?? I mean, Columbus didn’t discover ANYTHING. Lots of folks knew about this place before he did. When I was a younger kid, I’d rant and rave about this stuff like there was no tomorrow. Get really emotional and all that. Veins protruding from my neck, pale face turning into red face. With freckles. I’m not so sure that’s healthy. Now I that I’m a bigger kid, I can do something REALLY weird. I try to pay attention towhat’s going on, and vote. Change the things I can, accept the things I can’t.

Sure, I love living in a free country and having the luxury of owning too much junk. But I try to be sensitive to those who were here first. I still get mildly irked about all the Columbus Day hoopla, but it’s numbed out substantially. Basically just another day when I don’t get mail.

However, I noticed the colors of the trees are getting pretty close to peak. Now, THAT’S something to celebrate for a Happy October!! Fresh apples and lots of other fall harvest goodies are ready and waiting for us at the farmers markets and in the stores!!

Well, it’s getting late, there’s supposed to be frost on the pumpkin tonight, and the doggie wants in. He’s barking at something (probably the lawn) and telling me to get off my hiney and let him be warm with us.

Guess I’ll go outside and “discover” cold air!

Oh, and remember when I mentioned that one of Columbus’s ships was the Hanna-Barbera?  Well, here’s one of their earliest cartoons!!