Clumsiness Is Next To Oldliness

Yes I am aware there is no such word as “oldliness,” but guess what, I typed it into the title anyway whether you like it or not. So there. As some of you may have surmised, I am playing with that old 18th century saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” That’s because although I’m pretty good at staying clean, but it seems as I get older I’m becoming annoyingly clumsy.

Getting older… GACK!! What a pain in the hiney. And often literally!! Seems like every time I do a day’s work at the wood pile or in the garden, I can feel really good about what I’ve accomplished, but not so good about the fact that every joint in my body is yelling “ouch!!” at me. Mind you, I am indeed old enough to remember when The Beatles came to the U.S. on the Mayflower (I was not quite 10 when they landed in 1964… that tell you anything??). Nice thing is that I’m still in good enough shape to do pretty much everything. Sometimes it takes longer, and as I mentioned earlier all my body parts seem to enjoy screaming at me when I’m done.

Another “fun” thing about getting older, at least for me, is I seem to be getting clumsier. I get great “enjoyment” out of smacking my little toe on furniture a couple times a month. I’m surprised it’s not jutting out at a right angle from my foot!! Seems to happen most in the evening… could it possibly be due to low light levels at that time of day? Gee… maybe I should carry a flashlight to go to the bathroom or something. Nah…

On the other hand, you have the pepper grinder. Anyone else prefer their pepper freshly ground? My Beautiful Girlfriend and I are still using the same salt shaker / pepper grinder set we got for our first wedding anniversary. Is that cool or what? Of course, once you fill these, they eventually run out (duh). So this evening I had the pleasant experience of losing my grip on the jar of peppercorns when trying to fill the grinder. Did you know peppercorns can really travel?? I’m serious!! And once they get rolling, they do not travel together!! Very independent little rascals. I spent several minutes chasing down peppercorns. I know, they were not moving any longer, but it sure felt like I was chasing them anyway. Then of course when I figure I’m all done, out of the corner of my eye I see yet another peppercorn!!! Oy yoy yoy…

Now let’s visit the coffee pot. The old reliable, automatic Kitchenaid jobby with the wire basket for the grinds. No more coffee filters for us kids, ya know. I set the timer for the crack of noon (OK maybe a bit earlier) (I’m retired ya know) (there he goes with the parentheses again…), then get ready to fill the basket with fresh coffee. So there I was, minding my own business, with the first scoop of grinds, and HOLY CARP WHAT THE FLARN I TOUCHED THE RIM AND BONKED THE SCOOP AND NOW THE GRINDS ARE EVERYWHERE OH MAN THIS IS ANNOYING!!! Clean up time. Very nice indeed.

Have I mentioned that another cool thing about getting older?? My skin is now only 0.007 millimeters thick!! I mean sheesh!! All I have to do is walk past a rose bush and I have gashes all over me!! Not sure I even touched the darn thing!! Oh and I have these wire fence thingies in the garden I use to train my tomato vines. They have little stabby sticky-out parts that can really make me bleed if I brush against them. Oh and speaking of tomato vines, I had to replace one plant already because I accidentally stepped on its head and made it (and me) very sad.

So, for this boy, oldliness seems to be arriving with a little extra clumsiness. Hey I was probably clumsy like this my whole life. But now that I’m nearing the age of OLD PEOPLE, it just seems like all these delightful distractions are wasting precious time. Oh well. I know I’m not alone in this. Friends of mine talk about the same things. They say things like, “I hate this getting old business!!” And you know what I tell them??

I try to reassure them and say, “I like it better than not getting old!!”

Speaking of clumsy….

When “The Boss” Is Away

“Well I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.” If you remember that from a song, you may not want to admit it; because it probably means you’re as old as me. And as many of you know, I’m old enough to remember when The Beatles came to the U.S. on the Mayflower.

You see, my Beautiful Girlfriend is “The Boss.” And no, for you older people like me, I do not mean that my Beautiful Girlfriend is Bruce Springsteen!! Ock!! Ptoo!! No, I mean she really is the boss of me; pretty much… and to a much lesser extent, I am the boss of her. This wonderful compromise was reached many years ago in the interest of domestic tranquility.

“The Boss” is on a 3 day sojourn with two of her women friends. They decided to drive up to Mackinac City to enjoy the rain (pea sized hail from what I’ve heard).  Well, I’m sure the trip’s fun did not include rain, but that’s what they’re getting up there.  My Honey Pie mentioned she was looking forward to some caramel corn “because I’ll be on vacation.”  We have pretty much cut sugary stuff out of our diet these days you see.   Her anticipation of goodies got my mind whirling about a bit.  You know, like hey, I think it’s a good opportunity for me to enjoy some not-so-normal foodstuffs.  Anyway, there’s some old saying like, “when the boss is away the mouse will eat greasy foods and other delicious things.”

Or something…

My thoughts also started dashing about with ideas.  Some things like: “hmmm let’s see… what kind of FUN can I have while my Beautiful Girlfriend (The Boss) is gone?? OK… there’s still some tilling waiting in the garden.  Gotta get those potatoes in the ground, way overdue!!  Guess I better scoop the kitty box so Freddie the Freeloader (our used-to-be feral kitty) doesn’t get bummed out.  Maybe I’ll watch one of those 1930’s horror movies. OH FOOEY!!! My Honey left her lunch bag on the counter!!!”

She wasn’t due to leave on her trip until after work today, I’m sure she would have gotten a bit hungry in the meantime.  So what did I do when I saw that bag sitting there?  I grabbed it and hopped in the car for delivery!!  Twenty two miles round trip… and gas is not really cheap right now but hey, this is my Honey Pie we’re talking about!!

I’m very grateful that I don’t get irate about such things anymore. When I was young and foolish, that would have been fodder for a nasty exchange of crab sauce, which would have done little more than perpetuate the stereotype of male verbal flatulence. I’m not so young anymore but I still know how to be foolish. But no, I just basically left it at FLARN!!(or something), zoomed up to her work place, and continued dreaming of more fun stuff I could do while The Boss was gone. I mean, hey, this is party time!!

Let’s see… maybe get more tilling and planting done if it’s not raining… maybe get the trailer and go get compost from the dump… it’s free you know.  Oh wait, the politically correct term for the dump is “the transfer station.”   Oh and I’ll have to mow the lawn before she gets pack. Ssshhh don’t tell anyone but I sneaked up to the local ice cream joint and got me two scoops of Deer Traxx on a waffle cone.  Oh and I may have accidentally bought some garlic bologna and some salami from Mac’s Meats.  Oh and tomorrow… hold on to your hats kids… tomorrow I’m getting some take out pizza!!   Am I a party animal or what??   But hey, The Boss is gone, so I can party!! My party days may have shifted somewhat… believe it or not I’m looking forward to all of those things.

Well…maybe not that “scooping the kitty box” part.

Speaking of parties…  If you’re old like me, or even if you’re not, you can’t hold a candle to a Betty Boop Hallowe’en party.

Greens: Good For What Ails Ya

I love to cook. I especially like to eat good food, meaning fresh stuff.  As fresh as possible anyway.   Now that garden season is on the rise, the fresh stuff will be zooming into our kitchen and then our tummies.

I’m retired now, but while I was working my microwaved creations would rouse curiosity among my friends.  For example, a fond memory…  So there I was, cooking my food for the normal 2 ½ minutes. When I pulled my lunch out of the microwave, some friends got a whiff and expressed envy. “Wow that smells good!! Whatcha got in there??” I’ve been asked a few times. Then I rattle off the ingredients and I get that “deer in the headlights” look.

“Well let’s see,” I’d reply, “I chopped up some greens, some onion, peppers, tomatoes, a little soy sauce, a little sesame oil, then smoosh a little dead chicken meat or maybe some dead shirmp on top and nuke it for 2 ½ minutes.” “Greens? What kind of greens??” I get asked in return. “Oh just stuff from the garden,” I said, “some Swiss chard, wild cabbage, and pak choi.” More deer in the headlights lookings. Many folks haven’t heard of any of that stuff.  One nice lady told me she really loved the smell, but after she learned what the ingredients were, she gave me a chuckle when she said, “Oh I would never eat that.”

Can’t help it, I’m a weirdo. While we love our cukes, tomatoes, corn, green beans and such; my Beautiful Girlfriend and I have also become very attached to greens. Happened when we lived in Tampa, Florida for 3 years while I was in the Air Force. We got hooked on some southern foods like collard greens, for example. When we moved back north, I learned pretty quickly that greens are a perfect crop for our unpredictable weather. Collards, kale, wild cabbage (ancestor to kale and collards), all do very well all summer long; and they even survive the winter quite regularly. We also have been growing Swiss chard for many years now. That stuff is easy to grow and is also quite hardy.

More recently I’ve started growing pak choi (or bok choy as Americans often call it). It’s an asian vegetable in the cabbage family; and it’s grown for its white crunchy stalks and nice green leaves. All greens, by the way, are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pak choi is excellent in salads, and also great for stir fry dishes and soups. Unlike other greens, however, it does not freeze well (unless of course you like it mooshy).

We also eat “wild” greens like purslane and lambs quarters that are yummy and packed with nutrition. I put “wild” in quotes because both of these plants have been revered for their food value for eons. However, they are considered weeds by most farmers. Once we learned more about these, we began allowing them to share some the garden real estate with other crops. So yes folks, we are weed eaters.

The picture below shows, from left to right Swiss Chard, pak choi, and lambs quarters in the foreground. As I looked more closely I noticed some purslane in the picture too, growing on the edge of the bed. Aren’t they pretty??  Click on the picture for a better look.

pakchoi+swisschardWe blanch and freeze several gallon bags of greens every year. The quantity can, at first, be misleading; because a whole wheelbarrow full of greens will cook down to maybe 5 or 6 gallons of stuff for the freezer. The beauty of it, though, is we know we are getting very high quality food that was not grown with chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Greens, as Grandma Loftus (and of course our Mom) used to always say, “are good for what ails ya, and if nothin’ ails ya, it’s good for that too!!” And of course our friend Popeye says “I’m strong to the finich, ‘cuz I eats me spinach.” Speaking of which, let’s see what Popeye is up to… Or should I say was…

Random Silliness

Dear Pasta Snarfers,

Some or none of you may enjoy pasta snarfing, but regardless, I felt it was time to inject some laugh time into my (and hopefully your) day due to the crazy goings-on we are seeing on the radio and hearing on TV; and although you may not be aware of it, all that gives me the ability to insert a time-honored run-on sentence-with hypens-that don’t-really belong-where I’m-putting them-but I-really-don’t-care because hey, it’s just-for-the-fun of it, ya know??

Please be advised that I will rent you some chocolate ear mite remover if you vow to stop wearing
socks for 134 days. Nobody says any other removal tool will have any effect on plant life in
Nairobi. Nobody can convince me of any other software in these times of uncertainty
and battered hamster hocks. I don’t know who Nobody is, but I hope they’re happy!!

If you don’t want to focus on all the yuckity-poo news screamings, please remain calm and toast your noodles for an inexpensive treat, gently throw spoons to the dog, and use a dustmop for cleaning those hard-to-reach nasal passages. Personally, I really need to quit stuffing donuts in my ears. But they are so soft!!

At least 47 times I wanted to make music, but all I had was a bent kazoo and a drum made of an oatmeal container. The only song I could play was “Doot Doot Bonk.” However, during my years of practicing that broken oboe I was never able to find, I envisioned a small pepper clown foraging in the wilderness. Not sure what the pepper clown was seeking but I know from a complete lack of experience that hidden in the leaf piles there may be invisible ink with which to write secret recipes. I hope there are also returnable bottles available for spare change!! This would give a happy pepper clown great enjoyments of candy and other immune system sanitizers.

Looks like I’ll need to stop eating drywall chips. I thought they would help my tummy’s rancid reflux, but now my hiney seems to think it wants to be a building contractor. After the disintegrating drywall diarrhea disturbance, please come over to our house and enjoy some dust muffins we made several weeks ago. We’ll wash them down with a nice hot cup of Crampers Cream of Toenail Soup, giggle heartily, and run wildly to the nearest receptacle. We’ll have fun!!

Some of the finest cheeses are kept in my sock drawer. This serves two purposes: A) they are aging nicely and 12) they are giving my socks that “nicely worn” fragrance. Some of the best cheese I’ve ever eaten was not found between my toes. However, if I could learn to play guitar with my feet I could invite my musician friends to a Toe Jam.

Perhaps a poem should be inserted at this point…


by Me

Gravy in my armpits, syrup on my knees.

Buckets full of macaroni hanging from the trees.

Images of all these things will stick inside my head.

Hope I have a different dream when I go back to bed.

Please remember: You’ll never get anywhere in this life if you don’t go where you are trying to go. If you are already on your way, please stop at the nearest Caffeine Kaboom and tell everyone I said howdy. Also, please get me one of those fizzy cookies.

Thank you.

As you all know, this Sunday is Mothers Day. To all of you Moms out there, Thank You and God Bless You.

Grandsons On The Giggle

Well here we are on another late Friday night when the grandsons finally made it to our house. Because of Covid and other such nasties, we’ve been staying clear of them whenever they have any cold bugs or sniffles. We’ve learned the hard way that a bug they might have can turn into something more serious for us old farts. Last time we had a happy enjoyment of bronchitis!!

They are both getting older now, so bed time is not so easily achieved as it was in previous years. Rather than be the ogre I summoned them to contribute to Happy Friday!!! with a few random thoughts. I think they were a bit tired from a long day so getting ideas out of their heads was a bit like pulling cheese out of a broken saxophone (or something). Anyway, what follows is a composite of ideas, theirs and mine, in a mixture not at all resembling American Breadsticks And Gravy.

“Hey guys, if you can’t sleep, how about helping me with a few story ideas?” I asked. Silence followed. I waited. As they started talking I started typing.

“I had something,” said Ollie.

“I’m thinking,” Gabe said.

Ollie noticed I was typing every word, and exclaimed, “Papa, what are you doing??” Then an idea that was stirring vanished. “Dang it…!!!” Ollie uttered in desperation. Finally I typed furiously as the spurt of “creative” thoughts emerged.

Herman and Karle were two chickens whose favorite thing to do was eat a cheeseburger stuffed inside a pizza stuffed inside a turkey with butter on it, deep fried and covered in chocolate. “This is the healthiest food in the world, totally,” said Gertrude.

Any other time they weren’t eating this marvenkulous snack, they would be hunting down roadkill. Upon finding roadkill, they would poke it with frogs. The frog would try to hold its nose and would often yell while barfing, “ARGHHH why do you force me to poke these dead possums???” “Be quiet you toad, you are not allowed to complain per our agreement.” “I am not a toad, you overcooked poultry excuse for a human.” the frog bribbled.

When they got bored with poking roadkill with frogs, they would run through the aisles of the local Meijer with a fire extinguisher. Whenever they saw somebody they would hide behind the nearest row of pickle jars and giggle while trying their best to play songs on the fire extinguisher. “This is a brief concert in the key of no fire.” they shouted while giggling into the marshmallow bin.

Upon being discovered, they would yell “FINDERS KEEPERS!!” and run out of the store with the fire extinguishers hidden inside their sneakers.

What would you say to a cat that finally quit smoking?? Does anyone hear my silent motions?? I’m having great difficulty seeing in this small bottle with all the noise in the garage. Tonight the robots will be serving Wild Lego Surprise. Hold the whipped cream on mine please. And please don’t rub it in kale juice like last time. For myself, I have always known that zebra mussels are very yummy in cake. Proving this has not been easy; but when I have friends over for tea and slobberfood they smile sheepishly and say “What’s crunchy?” When I tell them they are snarfing down thousands of little zebra mussels in each bite, they say “O” and excuse themselves out the door very quickly.

Well I hope by now that none of you have learned your lesson. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s a bread whistle perched atop an inkjet printer with that smug “ha ha I’m a bread whistle” look. So if you ever come upon a singing centipede during your travels, please call the nearest Yo Ho Da Knee at your earliest inconvenience.

Thank you and please enjoy what follows; unless you’d rather not.

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:

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

Mole Meadows With Stick Orgies

Spring is trying to edge its way into Beautiful West Michigan. And of course, as the weather warms up, we’ll have to start mowing the lawn. There’s that contentious word… lawn. Well it’s contentious at our house anyway. It’s what I call the parts of the yard I mow every week or so. Curiosity drove me to look up the definition, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary online says, “ground (as around a house or in a garden or park) that is covered with grass and is kept mowed.” Doesn’t say anything about clover, dandelions, or the other myriad of plants that grow along with the grass in our “lawn.”

“We don’t have a lawn, we have a yard!!” So goes the lament of my Beautiful Girlfriend, who let me marry her many moons ago. “But I’m OK with a yard,” she adds pensively. It’s probably more of a meadow, and she knows very well that because we are both tree huggers, no chemicals will ever be spread on our lawn. That of course means that lots more than grass will grow. She’s very tolerant of it really; although if I could wave a magic wand and change the whole yard into a golf course quality lawn I’m sure she’d be tickled pink. My neighbors might like it if we had fewer dandelions. They’ve never complained, but I often wonder about whether they dread a bunch of little parachutes are lofted into their yards during a stiff westerly breeze.

We also get quite a few mounds that the moles like to give us as presents. The mole hills cause my Lovely Bride to engage in some really naughty proclamations. She’d love it if they would just stop; but she’d never go as far as our neighbor across the road who sets traps to kill the poor babies. She does, however, revel in the rare occasion when our cat is able to find one and yank it to the surface. She kind of makes a grunt of annoyed compliance when I mention that these makers of mole meadows eat lots of grubs that would otherwise turn into Japanese beetles. And yes they also eat earthworms, but we don’t seem to have a shortage of those.

Spring also zooms in with some rather blustery days, and since we have several trees in the yard, they have a tendency to drop some sticks. OK, many sticks. Many many sticks. Yesterday I came in from outside and tried to be as stoic as possible when I delivered some news to my Honey Pie. “ Honey, I have bad news. We have a couple sticks in the yard.” She bribbled and frooped a bit and then said, “Those sticks… they keep having babies!! They’re having stick orgies out there!!” “I’m way too young to think about such things,” I replied.

Aside from stick orgies and mole meadows, believe it or not the “lawn” we grow actually has some benefits. Dandelions have edible leaves and of course the blossoms feed the bees. White clover blossoms also feed the bees of course, and since clover is a legume it makes nitrogen that naturally feeds neighboring plants (yes, even grass!!). Plaintains (← click for more info) grow here and there, and are both edible and medicinally very valuable.

So yeah, we have mole meadows with free stick orgies. I haven’t watched these sticks carefully to see what kind of mischief they might be creating; as I mentioned earlier I’m much too young for such carnal kaboom. There just might be something to what my wife professes to be true, though. Those doggoned sticks just keep making babies!!

“And now,” as John Cleese used to say, “for something completely different.”

Subscription Addiction?

I’m such a cheapskate. No daily newspaper, no cable TV, no super fast internet.

Say What??

Yep. As I told you, I’m a cheapskate. Well sometimes. My beautiful girlfriend and I are in complete agreement about the newspaper and cable TV. We used to get the paper every day, but it became a recycling headache. Maybe it would be worth the effort if we actually read the thing often, but we just didn’t. So the papers piled up and we kept paying for the delivery person to bring more. Now, we get a little Podunk paper by the name of The White Lake Beacon. Comes out once a week and even has comics!! MUCH cheaper too…

Then, way back in about 1992 or so; our family’s TV time dropped to a bare minimum. You see, that was when our daughter decided to slack off on homework. She started flunking math, but it was all our fault really. We would have the TV on when the kids got home from school; and it became a pretty important diversion. But when the school grades began to slide into the sewer; we tried rationing TV. We’d say really wise things like, “no TV till your homework’s done!!” That gave both of our wonderful offspring remarkable energy, and they’d whoosh through whatever homework they had so they could catch their favorite shows. Of course, the result was substandard schoolwork. Better, but still pretty lousy. Mind you, this was without a cable subscription. Anyway, we ended up doing THE UNTHINKABLE!! We laid down the law:

No TV from Monday through Thursday; unless there is some special event or a program that constitutes required viewing for school.  Video games are considered TV time.  Friday night and Saturdays are free time, Sunday TV depends on the amount of homework.

Needless to say, when we first uttered these bone-chilling rules the kids were mortified. “Will you tape our shows???” they pouted. Remember tape?? “OK,” we conceded, “but only if you promise to bring the grades up.” So they did. And after about a month, they quit caring about what was on TV. And even more ridiculous, they started reading for fun. Holy cow!! Now, don’t get me wrong, I like veging (how does one spell “veging” anyway?) in front of the tube and I do have favorite shows. But Mom and I both have addictive natures, and we are very much aware that if we actually paid for TV we would feel the need to watch more.

Fast forward to 2004, when Aunt Joyce came to live with us. She got us hooked on NCIS and CSI, and we still love those to this day.  The only cable in our “cable TV” is the one that comes into the house from the antenna. My Honey Pie and I have always agreed that TV should be free, like the radio.  Times have changed since 1992 of course, so I have to admit, we do pay for internet now (oh wait, that make 2 cables), and subscribe to Netflix and Paramount Plus.  Netflix is the result of a “free trial” that came into our house when my Sweet Bride was laid up due to knee replacement surgery.  Paramount Plus was brought in because we can still watch channel 3 (CBS, where NCIS lives) if the antenna can’t grab it.

But we keep our TV spending pretty low if I must say so myself.  Let’s cipher a minute:

$30.00 for internet
$ 9.99 for Netflix
$10.00 donated to Public Television (a worthy cause and extra PBS stuff on the interwebs!)
$ 5.00 for Paramount Plus

$54.99 total monthly bill for TV stuff.  Not too bad, yes?

As I listen to more and more folks talk about shows I’ll probably never watch and apps I’ll probably never have, I’m seeing what appears to be a growing subscription addiction in our culture. More and more people are paying for more and more internet and TV stuff. It’s getting to the point where there’s really no need to go outside anymore with all the junk you can watch or all the interactive gaming you can do.  I also saw a report a while ago (on TV of course) that more and more Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. So they’re rattling off all the ways you can get more vitamin D in your diet. Well guess what folks, back in the “old days,” meaning before the internet and cable TV, vitamin D was called “the sunshine vitamin.” In other words, your body actually makes vitamin D when you’re outside in the day time. Is that a weird idea or what?? Going outside I mean…

Guess I’m a dinosaur. I don’t need super fast internet.  I don’t need cable TV.  I still love the Beatles and The Three Stooges. We heat with firewood. We grow vegetables “organically;” which is now referred to as “regenerative farming,” I guess.  We do stuff with friends that does not involve electronic gadgets. And so far, I have not become so enmeshed in the habit of watching a screen that I have to worry about video-addictive behavior problems. Yes friends, I actually know how to go outside without my cell phone!!  Perhaps recovery groups will spring from the screen addiction trend… you know, places that are free of electronic devices where people can discuss their multimedia dependencies with others, and maybe even look each other in the eye while speaking and listening.

If I ever become one of those who is addicted to TV, etc., I hope I have the courage to change the things I can. I’ll go to my first meeting, clutch my cup of coffee, and say the magically freeing words:

“Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a vidiot.”

So what am I gonna do now??  I’m gonna post a video for your enjoyment!   In the meantime, please take a minute sometime soon and actually talk to someone, OK?

Linguini On Parade

Hello My Fellow Pastrami Crinklers,

This is to inform none of you that all new banana recipes should be turned in to the Front Sniffing Room before 12:47 p.m. on Tuesday, August 72, 19127. This is to ensure the cranial vibration machines will be well coagulated prior to sailing off to Monster Island.

None of you may remember “The Hatchling Song;” the words of which were “stolen” by Gus Parbnackle during the Second Coat Hanger Revolt of 1924.

This enjoyable malady has been renewed during the last 28 microseconds and is now sung to the tune of “Inna Gadda Da Vida”:

Guess who barfed on my shoes today
Do dah, do dah
Hatchlings shouldn’t act this way
Oh do dah day…

Some may proclaim, “hey, that looks like it should be sung to the tune of ‘Camptown Races!!’ ” Well of course those who find that line of dingle berries fuzzy and warm will never be successful at launching pickles with catapults. No, rather they will wander aimlessly over hill and dale; squandering what was left of my 2nd grade lunch money.

I’d like a refund yesterday or the year before if you please.

If you find it necessary to rekindle the spirit which is found to be both blue and wormy; please run directly to your neighbors and ask them to return the crescent wrench your uncle borrowed shortly before dinner last Wednesday morning. Perhaps they are unaware that even inanimate objects yearn for their homeland; which is exactly why we intend to bury all wrenches back into the iron mines from whence they originated.

In summary, I must remind you not to rub sandpaper inside your mucous membranes. Fortunately, that practice has been abandoned long ago due to the over abundance of spaghetti in water fountains made by Mattel. Additionally, please stop putting duct tape sticky side up on my favorite Loaf Toasting Chair. I’ve been mocked numerous times during my grocery store excursions that followed some nice Loaf Toasting Sessions. If you Are Willing to comply with My Duct Tape Restraint Request (DTRR); I’ll also Be Willing to Cease the Use of Grammatically incorrect CapiTalization (UGIC).

MayBe. If I fEel liKe it. OK MaybE noT.


Thank you for being who you are. After all, if you weren’t you, you wouldn’t be. That would be very confusing to you now wouldn’t it??

My toes look like morel mushrooms again!!

Happy Bozo Express,

Zibnick G. Amplegrane
a.k.a. “Monty the Moth Rancher”

Without any further ado, here be this week’s cartoon.  Gotta love Betty!!  This one’s from The Internet Archive, so the player’s a bit weird.  After opening, click on the arrows in the bottom right corner to view it full screen.   Below the cartoon is a link to a rather silly song sent to me by a friend… never heard this one before and it shows that Bob Dylan has a sense of humor.

A Snibbulous Rant

Hello fellow peace loving creatures. Don’t know about you, but my week has been saturated with very crankular work challenges. It’s bad enough I didn’t win the lottery; mainly because I never played. But in addition to that hugely caripular disappointment; other things in my inside-the-house world have been bonking me in the noggin with large, monstrificous ouch hurtings. To quote some poet guy I never knew (nor ever quoted correctly):

Too much to do,

And not enough time,

Makes a man smelly,

Cranky and whine.

Please know, however, that I am very aware that not only was that a very bad (or perhaps nonexistent) rhyme; my woes are in all respects what me and my friends often call “high class problems.” In other words: I am a healthy young man, I have a nice home, a beautiful girlfriend (who actually let me marry her!!), we own cars that are paid off and actually work, we have plenty to eat, we have food in the garden we’re gonna eat later, and of course we have electricity that powers our stuff and lets us play musics and make coffee and other important foods and even sometimes we use our TV to watch important, spiritually uplifting programming like Saturday Night Live and NCIS, and we also have friends whom we love dearly, and in addition to all that, I have not used one single semi-colon in this run-on sentence and I’m not even sure that matters but holy cow this was a really long one; (oops, a semi-colon just crept in there) and the whole point of all this is:

If I keep a grateful heart

I’ll be much less likely to fart

On the surface of my blessings

Because I’m one lucky, lucky guy.

Yet another very bad rhyming thing there. I really am lucky you know. So why am I whining?? Because I’m human I guess. You see, our house is pretty much topsy-turvy right now. Topsy-turvy… now there’s an expression you don’t see every day, right? Please don’t confuse this with hunky-dory or especially pinkly-winkly, which may not even be a thing. What I’m trying to say that because of our high-class problems, our home is in great disarray.

Why, you may wonder, is this topsy-turvy disarray affecting our pinkly-winklies in such a painful manner? Well you see, it’s like this: we had the good fortune to spend some money on the innards of our house. Some very good painters came to do their thing, and that meant that we had to remove much furniture and bric-a-brac and even stuff we never knew we had from the room so they could work. And to add ink spots to ingenuity, we also decided to have new carpet installed. The result of these Spoiled American decisions was the “storage” of bookcases, shelving, electronic doohickeys, books, and all manner of possessions anywhere they could fit in other rooms. Walking through the resulting maze has become rather, um… interesting.

Then of course comes the “whatever pleases you my dear” conundrum. In other words, I’m a guy, OK? No, I really mean it. And my Beautiful Girlfriend is a woman. And because I’m a guy, my give-a-hoot about interior decorating is limited to the precise placement of stereo speakers. You know, important stuff. Well this Amazing Woman of mine has decided that this bookcase needs to go, and that armoire needs to have its head chopped off and reattached a few feet lower to accommodate a large screen TV to be mounted on the wall. So I get my saw and my hammer and drill thing and BLS (Big Long Screws) and commence to hacking and scraping and drilling and putting in the screws and OUCH my finger holy moly watch out for that sharpness oh crap I’m bleeding go get a Band Aid and back to work and what the HECK?? The stupid pull chain on the ceiling fan light bit the dust so now it’s the happy enjoyment of taking the thing apart to replace the switch and CAN I PLEASE GO HOME NOW I DON’T WANNA PLAY ANYMORE but oh wait, I’m already home but I’ll sure be glad when it’s all done and we can sit back and enjoy some leisure time of snarfing potato chips and drinking apple juice.

But guess what?? NONE of this stuff is a problem, really. We get to have our house painted and carpeted. We get to have too much stuff to move around. As I said before, we have a nice home with no bombs exploding or invaders invading. We are, in short, very, very grateful. Hope life is good at your house.

I think I’ll end this snibbulous rant with just one more poem, the theme of which has no bearing on any aforementioned anything, but it might make you smile:


Bring your friends to Wally’s house

Because he’s really Super Mouse.

He fell down twice and did not break,

And he can swallow half a lake.

He always eats his super cheese,

But now he’s getting Super Fleas.

The End

And now for some fun that also happens to be set to music.