Peepers and Peeps

‘Twas the 1st of April, but no foolin’, we heard our first peepers. Now we’re coming up on Easter and several more have awoken. That, of course, means that if it ever warms up this month, we’ll be hearing a chorus so loud we’ll have to raise our voices each evening in order to communicate. I said “if it ever warms up” with a smidge of sarcasm; but not really, but maybe yes, I just don’t know, but this seems to be as good a place as any to inject an run-on sentence and whine about the cold nights and HOLY COW it’s supposed to be in the 30s tonight which means any peepers that may have awoken will go back to bed but it’s also supposed to be near 60 tomorrow and then the rains are gonna come and oh boy howdy the peepers will really start singing then!

For those who are unaware, peepers are frogs; and are a welcome sign of spring here in Beautiful West Michigan. Of course, they usher in springtime elsewhere too. But I don’t live elsewhere, I live here, so I’m always a little giddy when the peepers sing. If you’ve never heard peepers, well that’s just too bad. But because I love them so, I hereby include a recorded them for you so you can enjoy their songs. Now the sounds in this recording are from two different species:  peepers and toads (the peepers are the ones shouting, “PEEP!!”).  Just turn on your speakers, click on the little triangle thingy, close your eyes and open your ears. Why close your eyes? Well that’s because the peepers sing at night, and to be honest I’ve never seen them except on TV!! OK, here we go…

And now for something completely different: Peeps. You know, those marshmallow candy chickens that appear in the stores during Easter time. When I was a kid, peeps only were yellow and chicken shaped. The name and the shape went well together; because hey, they kinda looked like little baby chickens. And little baby chickens say “peep” a lot. I’ve never eaten a real baby chicken, but I suer have had my share of Peeps. Now I would never intentionally harm a baby chicken. But regarding Peeps, well just never you mind all the naughty things that went through my mind when the Peeps arrived in my Easter basket.

I admit it, I have squished their little heads. I place my forefinger on one eye and my thumb on the other, and press them together until the Peep’s head looks like one of those cartoon characters that had a very bad accident. I have also decapitated them with great delight. Usually their heads are removed with my teeth. In fact, I don’t think I can ever remember eating them any other way. I’ve never forced them to joust though. Seems like a waste of Peeps if you ask me.

Joust?? Yes, I’m not sure I’m happy to know about it; but a friend once told me about “Peep jousting.” Of course, I just had to ask what the heck-a-ma-hookey that was all about. “Well you get two Peeps and place a toothpick in each one. That’s their lance, you see. Then you put them on a plate and pop them in the microwave; hit the juice and watch them stab each other as they expand. Really cool in a microwave with a rotating plate inside.” Ummm no. Rather boring really. Yes, I tried it, with family watching.

We were not impressed.

Back the peepers… there’s a song about them that has been a jazz standard for many years. It originated back in 1938, and below is a clip with Louis Armstrong playing his horn and singing it in “Going Places,” the movie for which the song was written. When I grew up during the Mesozoic Era, this song was still being played somewhat regularly and was often featured on an extinct brand of TV program called the “variety show.” The second video is a 1958 recording of Louis Armstrong swingin’ it on “The Gary Moore Show.”

Feeding Dirt To The Ant Roaster

My Beautiful Girlfriend and I bought a home here in Bear Swamp back in 1982. In those days, for the exorbitant price of $36,900 we were able to purchase a 1940 vintage home with 5 acres of land. We probably could have done a little more research before buying. For example, as I mentioned, we live in a quaint area known to the old timers as Bear Swamp. We bought the place in the summer, when the two creeks that traverse the property were flowing nicely, the grass was nice and green, and the basement was dry. “Did you ever get water in the basement?” we asked the sellers. “No, no” they replied, “no problems.” The following spring brought lots of snow melt that made the creek REALLY wide. And something strange happened: water in the basement. Just enough to let us know we live in a… um… swamp. And these folks didn’t even bother with a sump pump!! We fixed that of course… still get a little water that comes up through the cracks in the concrete, but not nearly as much as before the sump pump was installed.

Looking back I also remember asking, “heater works well?” we queried. “Oh yeah, keeps us nice and warm in the winter.”

Well that’s nice.

Winter came, and our ½ tankful of fuel oil was gone rather quickly. No biggie… didn’t really know what to expect. We filled the tank, and it was gone again in less than a month. Not so good!! Fortunately, the chimney was originally built for a coal furnace, so I knew it would be OK for firewood. Got us a cheapie wood stove and started burning wood. Lots more work, but saved us a bunch of cash.

Since I work for a living, I don’t want to spend all my free time cutting wood; so we buy most of it. Lots of folks out there who want to sell us firewood. Some are better than others. Now my Dad kept me and my brother very busy with firewood when we were kids; so I know a little bit about this wood heating stuff. One of the cardinal rules: seasoned (dry) wood works the best. Sounds like a no-brainer right? And lots of folks say they have seasoned wood for sale.

With wood suppliers, we’ve had good luck and we’ve had bad luck. Good luck is when we get nicely seasoned wood, predominantly oak; nice clean load of logs. That’s the kind of luck we’ve had for the last couple years; but this past time we got about 40 % oak and 60% beech. Oh, and we also got at least 2 cubic yards of soil that I don’t recall ordering. Apparently the front end loader they used to scoop up my wood went just a smidge too deep. I was not very happy when I literally had to use a shovel to get some of the logs out of the pile. And when I bring the logs in the house for the fireplace (actually a furnace with glass doors and fake bricks for pretty), it’s pretty dirty and leaves a nice little mess.

Really bad luck is one of those “learning the hard way” experiences. We ran out of wood a couple of winters ago, so I found a guy who said he had some nice, seasoned oak. Well the wood was green, and about 10% of the logs were full of ants. Can’t really bring logs full of ants in the house… they crawl around while wondering what the heck happened to their home (poor kids…). Well guess what? After exhausting all the logs from the dirt pile, I answered a Craig’s List ad for seasoned oak. Called the guy and he knew who I was!! Then he told me who he was, and I was apprehensive.

“So… your ad says this is seasoned oak? Ready to burn?” I asked. “Yep!” he assured me. So I went ahead and bought two cords. He delivered it after dark, so I didn’t get a good look at it. I did notice it was a bit heavy; and the following day I realized why. Green wood. And just like last time, about 10% of the logs were full of ants.

So this year our wood stove started out eating dirt logs; and when the dirt logs were gone I started roasting ants. I know it sounds cruel to burn the ants. Seriously, my spirit hurts when I embark upon the selfish journey of heating my home with ant infested logs. I keep the logs just outside the door and bring them in only when they can go straight into the fire. And I say a little prayer for the ants.

Needless to say, two of our local firewood suppliers have lost my business. I bet they don’t even know the log driver’s waltz!

If grandsons had silly names, this would be: An Open Letter To Picklefoot And Roodlebop

Dear Shibbles,

As you probably don’t remember, both of you have never squeezed oatmeal until birds joyfully used their clang whistles to welcome home the Screaming Sauce Warmers. Oh my, those were the days, right?? NO!! And additionally, I’m really glad neither of you were tossing laundry baskets at passing water buffalo. I mean, you know about that one time when Larry the Giant Goose Tickler sneezed into his milkshake, right?? Yep, all the raccoons cheered for days. After they smeared peanut butter on their eyebrows, their happy faces looked very silly; but soon they were all telling jokes in French during the Sweet And Sour Moon Dance.

Once I taught a turnip how to blow bubbles with a rake!! Oh wait… maybe that was a dream. If you eat too much cat hair during a nap, you often tend to dream strange things. Very polite tapeworms keep sneaking into my stereo system; which of course makes my vinyl records sound very squirmy. The scissors found a way out of the sewer while they were traveling to Snorktown; so none of us worried that they would miss any meals. Besides, every time a notebook jingles its paper clips, a tape dispenser sings very purple mustard sandwiches.

I’m starting to use crayons instead of my cellphone. This works rather poorly but at least my ears have nicely colored plywood manure samples. Half of my head has raisins, the other half has little tiny beetle caves that glow loudly during the Software Surprise Vertical Lip Licking Contest. All prizes are sold to the loudest burper. Burps can be flavored for nicer color, such as Yellow Strawberry Mist or perhaps Animal Cracker Fuzz Fog. If they are ziffled with a musical tone, burps can relieve Belly Kaboom; which is severe stomach pressure caused by too much gravy in a very small jar. A little prevention, however, is a good way to suggest that everyone leave the room before the onset of Intestinal Volcano (it’s very bad for the noses).

I’m sorry to say I’m crying right now. The laughter from building all this nonsense is making my ankles longer to the point that water is leaking from my eyes. Seriously, I guess maybe it’s good that my own nonsense makes me giggle very bigly, but for some reason all this very silly text has caused my toothbrush to start calling me Crab Neck. And I don’t believe Crabs even know how to order pizza!!

So my dear Molecules, if you’ve read this far, I hope you’ve enjoyed at least a smile or two that you can slide out of your shoes and into a brand new Automatic Bread Roasting Crinkle Toilet. The Moisture Monsters will certainly be pleased that nobody remembers their “fling snail juice in the sock drawer” tricks. We can only hope that none of this information is used to remove stinky earphone grease from speaker cabinets.

Peace, Love, and Lamplicking,

Zabblefoot W. Broopwonkle

a.k.a. Herman The Soup Blaster

How To Change The Weather


If you live in Michigan, you’ve been enjoying a remarkably mild winter this week month of the year time day. I can offer a simple explanation for this constabulary indigestion: I threw coat hangers at the sun all last week. Yep, I threatened the sun within an inch of its life. Much yelling and flinging, yelling and flinging. When you embark upon such an ambitious goal, it’s very important to be loud and repetitious. As you can see it paid off. Now we can all be happy that the sun will listen to me when I shout.

My beautiful girlfriend, Zonikula, was completely compressed at my perforation. I know this to be true because she would often fling open the door and shout, “boy, you’re really something, aren’t you??” during some of my sun training routines. At this point I would look toward her and smile, and she would then say a few more words while shaking her head. Of course I took that to mean, “oh, the poor sun has no idea what it’s up against with this hubby of mine.”

She is so proud of me.

Disfortunately, however, the weather cribbled from Holy Moly Cold to What The Hoochie?? Warm. This of course brought Very Big Rain and Very Fast Snow Melt, which of course brought water into our basement and many other armpit caverns. Roads have been washed away, buildings badly damaged, Too Much Warming Too Darn Fast. I very much apologize to my friends and all those whom I’ve never met for my meterological coat hanger amplification.

I will do some fancy dancing tomorrow in an effort to make Nice Weekend Weather. You see, it’s rather important to me that we have nice weather this weekend because I plan to get off my butt and rent a blanex. I have been putting it off way too long; I need to recover the hammer sand that keeps purging my swamp honkles. The window of opportunity is very gummy and full of decomposing marble trays; so if I don’t get this done before the tingly science filters arrive I’m sure I’ll be living in the boathouse.

I mean seriously, do you ever expect the train to stop on time? Nobody sees that far. Please, just resimplify twenty three percent of your milktoast warblers and bark moonly at the wild. After all, there’s really no certainty that Calvin the Edible Plastic Spoon Vendor will be able to click in the parking lot for more than 12 milliseconds.

So my friends, you can obviously confer that changing the weather is easier than pushing a large oak toothpick into a deliciously prepared cast iron jelly donut. If you ever have any doubts as to the antiquity of my animation, please amplify your pencil sharpener with short, regular spritzes of vinegar and moose dust.

If none of those calibrations deplete your catatonic sofa concerto, simply stuff your mouth full of corn bread and sing at least 3 verses of “The Rhyming Song.”

A Secret Party That’s Not Really Secret

It’s that time again… my Beautiful Girlfriend is away for the weekend. She and several of her friends have embarked upon a Women’s Retreat; and of course boys are not invited. That’s OK… I had chores to do. I took advantage of the sunshine today and brought in some firewood to warm our bones. We do have natural gas heat but we like the way wood feels much better. And it’s pretty in our “fireplace” (it’s a furnace that looks like a fireplace, with glass doors).

Anyway, there I was, earlier in the week, scheming about what I was gonna do when my Baby left for the weekend. There was a time when I was young and much more foolish when I would seize such an opportunity for drinking too much herbal stuff and smoking too much beer (or something like that…). Thankfully, those days are long gone; but I still have a propensity to spoil myself with goodies that I don’t normally eat too much anymore.

One of the first treats that always seems to pop into my noggin is pizza. I mean, hey, that stuff should be classified as a controlled substance. It’s right up there with fried chicken, potato chips, and butter pecan ice cream. I like all that stuff way too much. Good thing I limit my intake, or I’d soon weigh 793 pounds. I’m no skinny boy mind you, but I’m not a complete Harold Honk-A-Doodle either. And yes, Harry Honk-A-Doodle is a name I just made up and that would be on my shirt if I ate all the goodies in the universe until my skin exploded.

But once in a while is OK, right? Well I can convince myself of that. And yes, my Lovely Bride knows full well what I’m up to this weekend. I toyed with ordering pizza tonight, but I like lots of sauce. Seems like every time I ask for extra sauce, the opposite occurs. And here in Michigan pizza is often cut into squares. Don’t they know you’re supposed to cut it like PIE??!!?? Pizza… pie!! Hello!!!

The more I mulled it over, the more I kept going back to the same conclusion: if you want something done just right, sometimes you gotta do it yourself. Got me a Boboli crust, poured almost the whole jar of Classico pizza sauce out and spread it on the crust. Cooked up some Italian sausage; laid some chunks in the sauce. Then on went the cheese, and on top is onions, mushrooms, black olives, green pepper and uncured pepperoni (no nasty chemicals). I actually read the directions on the Boboli crust package: preheated the oven to 450 and popped it in for about 10 minutes. The final product was magnificent!! Oh, and had to wash it down with a Coke from Mexico… they use glass bottles and real cane sugar.

Am I naughty or what?? But wait, there’s more… I might accidentally eat some ice cream later. And you guessed it, butter pecan. Haagen Dazs no less. A little container. I had to do it you see, it will nicely complement the last piece of carrot cake that’s left over from my birthday.

My Beautiful Girlfriend will be home Sunday some time; so that means I’ll need to chill out on the goodies beforehand. Why? Well no special reason, I just don’t want to greet her while I’m spacing out from a food coma. Probably would be a little weird… eyes like little slits, walking badly, nodding off during conversation, burping, mumbling unintelligibly… yeah I’ll need to avoid that scene.

Good thing she’s only on retreat once a year!!

This week’s video has nothing to do with the story… but it’s a hoot.

50 What Now??

So there I was, minding my own business, enjoying life, the universe, and everything (42 for those in the know) (nudge nudge, wink wink), and oh yeah by the way I’m fixin’ to enjoy my 65th trip around the Sun; when suddenly some radio guy says an astonishing FaceTalking thing: this summer will ring in the 50th anniversary of Woodstock; and I can’t believe it because, hey, I was 15 that year and I would really liked to have gone to that magnificent experience but there was no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks that was gonna happen so I listened intently to every piece of music on the radio that had anything to do with all the concert action and HOLY MOLY this run-on sentence is OUT OF CONTROL!!

*Whew!!*

This aging stuff is so crazy!! I consider myself very fortunate… my health is good; and I can pretty much do everything I was able to do when I was much younger. The only difference is that sometimes it hurts or sometimes it takes longer. Apparently I don’t look to worn out. I was setting up a computer for one of my very new coworkers; and I mentioned that I had a “big birthday” coming up. She asked, “oh, are you going to hit 50?” My immediate response was, “we can be FRIENDS!!Not sure if she was sucking up for some future special computer help or what… OK probably not; but I took it as a nice compliment.

Saw my doctor the other day, and we chatted about my upcoming retirement next year. She urged me to make a plan, because “some people have a difficulty with too much time on their hands.” Umm… no problem for this kid!! I have a few million things I want to do, so hopefully I’ll actually get to do maybe a tenth of what’s been floating around in my mind for the past several years. I love to grow food, and I also enjoy writing. I think I’d like to try my hand at teaching food how to write. Perhaps we could use beet juice for ink!! That would involve some “bloodletting” from some “volunteer” beets. Now that I think of it, I’ve never heard beets volunteer for anything. And thankfully, I’ve never heard beets cry when they are bleeding.

I’m often asked, would we be doing any travel? Well we sure hope so. One of the big things on the agenda, though, is to clean up the mess in the garage that’s the result of that giant Clutter Bomb exploding in there. A Clutter Bomb simply has to be what caused that mess. I mean, I walk around in the garage and I fall to my knees and scream “where did all this crap come from??” Then I get up and remember where the hammer is and oh yeah there’s my drill and HOLY CARP I found that door hinge I buried in the back of the shelf about 12 years ago!! So OK, the Clutter Bomb exploded very gradually… over the course of the 37 years we’ve lived here.

There are, of course, other parts of our little universe that have suffered Clutter Bomb explosions. I’ll get to those too… just have to chip away at it. I really do plan to stop procrastinating. That will happen either tomorrow or perhaps a couple weeks after that.

I hope.

Maybe.

In the meantime, I can hardly wait  to see what advances lie ahead for the travel scene…

Imaginary Florksnibbles

Dear Lumpflatteners,

Please enjoy the clam sandwiches currently available at the Old New Dehli Deli.  You will find the sam clandwiches right next to the Belly Jellies, in the frinkle sauce department of a Kolibbik store near you.

You may qualify for a package of used cheese.  Please do not write to the following address to see if you have entered your name in the North American Bilge Experience (NABE):

Log Turner Contest
24Cx Bugsnot Blvd.
Chiclet, MI  44404

Please call 1-800-555-1212 for the number.  Ask for Phlegm.

Be advised that all nickels will be collected by a rodent during the coming drainy season. Do not worry about any plugged drains, for as we all know if a plain gets drugged there are more than enough socks to prevent the chafing.  Hey!!  What’s that gourd doing with the cat food now??

Now of course you can be happy to know that I have more paper for sale than ever before.  Some of it is useful. If you want some, send $23.70 in dickels and nimes to my pet dirt clump over there in the hedgerow.  Upon receiving the money, I will send you your 43 tons of compressed paper. Please make sure the car is not in the garage that day.

If any of this makes sense to you, make sure you contact your local Hamper Salesman by July 27, 2019 .  There are also community resources on which you can rely, such as the Cribbled Office Of Pie Stashers (COOPS) and the Ceramic Octagon Plucking Society (COPS).  Neither of these entities will run to your aid.  Therefore, if you understand any of what has been written heretofore, you are basically toast.

Enjoy toast with all your might.  Remember, the toast you crave may be on loan.

Happy Bortinkulars to you, and may the sand never fly into your cereal.

My eyes are lamps,

Kebbic G. Fefflewonk
A.K.A. Harvey Ticknoodle

P.S.:  Thank you for changing the tire leggings last night.  I’m not sure my car would have tolerated another month of “swish – swish KABOOM!!”

Moooo!!!

Dirty Rotten Cyberthieves

I cry, I weep, I gnash my teeth. Some flame-headed goat poop sniffing slime licker (or maybe lickers) stole from me.

There I was, minding my own business, going to Walmart because the local Meijer removed 8 O’Clock coffee (in the big bags) from their shelves. I really don’t like to go to Walmart, because they have a history of treating their employees rather badly. Not sure if that has changed over the years but the whole premise is indelibly burned into my brain cells and so I would rather not support them, thank you very much.

So… as I was saying … there I was minding my own business, with my Beautiful Girlfriend, buying my coffee at Walmart, and thinking, “yay!! We scored 4 big bags of 8 O’Clock coffee!! Enough for several weeks!! This is most marvelous indeed!” We happily put the bags of coffee in the pantry and sang songs of caffeinated joy. Well OK maybe not. But we were glad to get our stash.

I used a debit card for the purchase, which I do quite often. I rarely carry cash, you see. This is due to a strange phenomenon called spontaneous wallet depletion. In other words, in the “good old days” before debit cards, my cash seemed to disappear pretty quickly. Not sure if using the debit card changed that, but at least now I’m able to keep track of where the money goes a bit more easily. I get online regularly and check to make sure all is well.

However, this time I didn’t check for several days; and my checking account shrank by an extra $317 over the course of about a week. Very shortly after I used my debit card at Walmart; someone somewhere somehow hacked something and started using my debit card info at a Walmart in Elk Grove, Illinois; which is a bit over 200 miles from here. Little nibbles… $35 here, $35.36 there… carefully staying under $50 which I guess is a threshold that starts to raise flags.

I was not very happy.

Dunno what it is about Walmart, but a similar fraud thing happened to me with my credit card after making a purchase at Walmart.com ! Very cool indeed, right?? I lost the use of my card for a little over a week after reporting it stolen. At least I had the debit card. Now I’ve lost the use of a debit card for 7 to 10 days, but at least I have a credit card. Fortunately, our credit union took care of all the fraud and even refilled my checking account with the amount that was stolen. I’ve since learned of an app called CardValet; which apparently can stop this. Once the new debit card arrives, I’ll enter it into the app, and when I’m not using it, I can use CardValet to turn the card off. I guess it works with credit cards too.

Guess what? For the time being, I’m carrying cash again. And no, I’m not paranoid about using electronic payments; but you can bet I’ll be using the CardValet app regularly.

Oh and by the way, regarding the cyberthieves: not only are they flame-headed goat poop sniffing slime lickers, but they also pee themselves in public places but just sit there with a silly grin. I’m sure they also enjoy eating other people’s boogers; and I would also not be surprised if they smear dog snot on their eyebrows.

They are not my friends. Time to call Superman.

The Radio AM My Friend

Such a dinosaur I am; and very happy to be that way. I’m something of an oddball regarding technology. Although my job in computer support takes me on lots of journeys with new devices and gadgets; my love for simplicity keeps me grounded in an “antique” world. My job can get rather stressful at times; so in an effort to take care of myself I’ll often seize the opportunity to take some quiet time. Meditation if you will. I keep it simple, I just step away from all the gadgets and reflect on what I’m grateful for; and then ask The Great Committee In The Sky for guidance.

Then of course there are other times when I’ll turn to technology for a diversion. Maybe I’ll play a CD… or a record! That’s right folks, I actually said I listen to records!!! And some youngsters actually think records are way cool!! Oh God Oh God… So yes I’m a dinosaur and I’m not afraid to admit it.

So there, nyaa nyaa na boo boo!!

I’m one of those weirdos who thinks paying for satellite or cable TV is a waste of money. There’s lots of stuff still available for free… for example, we actually use a TV antenna for most of our viewing pleasure. I say most, because we do have access to the interwebs and get TV stuff from our Roku. But no cable or dish. Nope.

I also love a very archaic device called the radio. My TV antenna looks like a giant fish skeleton on a pole, and not only does it work well for television, it also does a great job of grabbing lots of FM stations. Much of my FM listening revolves either around NPR or music. NPR is great for staying informed, but when I hear all the reports about war and suffering and cockamamie government shutdown stuff with climate change mixed in for good measure, I get a really heavy heart. So when I’d rather hide on the harsh realities of the world I seek out some good old rock ‘n roll. Unfortunately most commercial radio stations seem to have their music selections stuck on AC/DC, Bob Seeger, and Lynard Skynard. WAY too much repetition. WAY too much repetition. WAY too much… well you get the idea. That’s when I’ll look for those oddball “community radio” stations.

On the other hand, you have AM radio. Say what??? Anyone besides me remember AM radio? May sound like a silly question, but with all this “subscription addiction” (satellite radio, cable TV, etc.) lots and lots of people are amazed to “discover” AM radio.  AM is short for “amplitude modulation,” which is the oldest method of adding audio to a radio signal so it can be broadcast. The technology dates back to 1906, which is why many radio hobbyists refer to it as “ancient modulation.” For more info click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AM_broadcasting

AM radio was pretty much all we had available for music when I was a kid. So for me, it’s like an old friend; and I’m very thankful that it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. We live in an area where Chicago stations come in all day long, and I still find myself clinging to ancient stations with only 3 call letters. WGN (720 on your AM dial) is one of my favorites… those kids seem to have a great time being on the radio and they make me laugh. And now, West Michigan has its very own Public Radio Oldies Station!! Say wha??? YES!! Commercial free oldies, 24/7!! And what’s even more awesome is they stream it to the whole planet here: http://www.wgvu.org/realoldies/

Now that it’s winter outside, I leave for work when it’s dark. And of course, it’s pretty much getting dark again when I get home. Something magic happens to the AM radio band after the daylight goes bye bye: SKIP. Skip is a very old radio term that describes when radio waves are sent from the earth and into the sky, then bounce back down again. If you could watch skip happening, it would look somewhat similar to when a well tossed stone skips across water. Skip is especially prevalent on the AM band between dusk and dawn. Sure, the AM radio is plagued by noise and fading, but there are many high powered stations that provide reliable listening over a very wide geographical area.

In my professional opinion, this boils down to just plain fun. So when I’m driving around in the dark, especially during a long drive, I really enjoy frolicking about on the AM radio band. For example: I recently tuned to 540 AM on the way to work and was listening to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) out of Regina, Saskatchewan. A mere 1000 miles away!! Never bothered to check down on that part of the dial before.

Another time: on our way down to Florida to celebrate my Father-In-Law’s 85th birthday, it was getting late outside and we were really ready to be done driving. Just a few miles from the Florida border, we heard on one of the local FM stations that the Chicago Bears were playing against the Philadelphia Eagles, and that they might actually have a shot at the playoffs. Well normally we don’t really give a golly gosh darn about football. But the Bears haven’t been in the Superbowl for a loooonnnnggg time… so we thought we’d try to catch the game. Tuned around FM… nothing. Then I tried one of my presets: 780 on my AM dial, and lo and behold, WBBM was coming in clear as a bell out of Chicago!! So we got to listen to the game, live from Soldier Field. Cool, huh??

So my friends, I invite you to give this very old medium a whirl. You just might accidentally have some fun! There are lots of listings on the internet for AM radio stations if you care to check out other areas of the country and / or the world. If you find one you like, you might also be able to stream it from the webbernet if the snap crackle and pop starts to bug you. As far as broadcasters, I found nice listing here: http://www.northpine.com/broadcast/50kwam.html

I leave you with a very short list of stations that are pretty easy to pick up between dusk and dawn, especially if you are here in the Midwest:

650 WSM Nashville, Tennessee (Check out the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday Nights!)

700 WLW Cincinnati, Ohio

720 WGN Chicago, Illinois (Home of the Chicago Cubs! Lots of other entertaining stuff too.)

740 CFZM “Zoomer Radio” in Toronto, Canada (Wonderful music variety, excellent sound quality.)

750 WSB Atlanta, Georgia

760 WJR Detroit, Michigan

770 WABC New York City (This was a big rock ‘n roll station when I was a kid growing up on Long Island, NY. Mostly talk now… ah well).

780 WBBM Chicago, Illinois (All news all the time.)(I use this station for an “alarm clock” when I take a nap at lunch)

830 WCCO Minneapolis, Minnesota

840 WHAS Louisville, Kentucky

880 WCBS New York City (News Radio.)

890 WLS Chicago, Illinois

990 CBW Winnipeg, Manitoba (CBC Radio)

1020 KDKA Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (One of the oldest stations on the dial.)

1030 WBZ Boston, Massachussetts

1040 WHO Des Moines, Iowa

1060 KYW Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1140 WRVA Richmond, Virginia

Take care and Happy Listening!

My Meatball Muffins Moved My Mustard

As the title of this story may or may not indicate, our grandsons are visiting this weekend; and my duty of making up a very silly story is being fulfilled with large buckets of animal crackers lightly seasoned with crayon shavings and Captain Kaboom Dust Flavored Saxophone Sauce, rolled into a run-on sentence that of course invites all the truly masculine garbage cans to disguise themselves as tiny triangular toaster tables that shimmer in the darkness of our new Radio Ranch Wiggle Worms.

Yes.

Perhaps none of you have often been asked, “what do you think the most delicious color of the alphabet sounds like??” I never have been asked that either, so of course my very first answer I never supplied was, “Snurch Lip Surprise!!” After saying that out loud for the 347th time, nobody will ever again ask me what time the Peanut M&Ms will be flying in from Antarctica. After all, while Penguin Pete and Silvia Seal drive their go carts to the laundromat, we all will be learning new recipes for Shrimp On The Half Shell and maybe even Chopped Cat Food Surprise.

Mmmm Chopped Half Shrimp Shell Cat Surprise!! Remember the good old days when we stored that in the basement for 23 weeks? Oh my, the smell was bigger than a bag of toast that’s been sleeping in the sewer with all the other fizzy, candy coated ice cream handle bar polishing brushes. I never realized just how much shampoo would be wasted on such a gigantic pile of paper when it explodes out of the sock drawer!! My socks cried for days after powdered sawdust was added to the salad dressing. I was finally able to receive their radio lunches in a less than dignified way… all I had to do was tilt my head back and watch the moths sharpen their antlers on the ceiling fan.

These days, life is much more gribbly, and what I mean by that is we all have to put pudding in a friend’s shoes before they leave on a long trip. This will allow them to squint while they walk, and each step will be a squishy adventure. Who would have ever discovered that lawn ornaments could learn to play hockey with soup ladles? It just proves that we can always use a nice refreshing cup of shoelace extract to help us make friends with all those crazy grasshoppers that hang around at Walmart. Why else would those happy railroad clowns hide their flashlights? Everybody knows that green toilet paper makes the very best substitute for parsley flakes when nobody’s looking. Yes, those removable elbow shields you sold me came in very handy during my last trial run in the “Slide Until You Stink Competition.”

In closing, I’d very much like to make an important announcement.

But not right now.But not right now.