Monthly Archives: May 2014

Downsize…Downsize…Downsize

It’s that time of year again. School is out, ice cream, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, swimming at the lake, fishing and all manner of fun stuff.

I’m speaking of none other than summer…….What’s that you say? Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June twenty-first. You’d be correct with that statement, but I’m not talking meteorology; I’m talking, good-timin-bombastic-blasting-crank-a-danken-smacka-my-head-till-the-sun-turn-it-red-funarama-in-the-middle-of-summer-ology. In layman’s terms: “Memorial Day.”

I would like to say that Memorial Day is set aside to honor the brave souls who gave it all so that we may enjoy the freedoms we are blessed with today–everything else is secondary.

God bless America!

The family vacation:My-wife-packing-for-vacation

We take a week each year to spend at the beach. Our grown children, one grandchild and last year for first time, we had the pleasure of my mother and father-in-law joining us for our yearly sojourn. This year, my mother plans to join us which will help even up the teams on our beach tackle football game.

Here’s a little bit of the preparation that goes into a week’s stay away from home:

Now, of course, we want everything in our home-away-from-home that we have in our home-not-away-from-home. This is easily accomplished if we will incorporate one word, “downsize.”

My wife and I eat very differently. So instead of one large freezer to house a week’s worth of food, we require two smaller versions to house our vittles in transit. When we get to our home-away-from-home, we will once again transfer, said vittles into a larger freezer to await our dining choice of the day. And it just so happens, purely by coincidence that several nearby grocery stores are ready to supply all the goodies that we didn’t bring from our home-not-away-from-home because we can obtain these products at the stores at our home-away-from-home.

Since we wouldn’t want to spend the week in the same clothes, we pack garments and such, accordingly. Of course, packing clothes for each day would take up entirely too much space which is why we are careful to rent a house with a washer and dryer. We bring along detergent and dryer sheets in small containers that we pilfer from the mother load, nestled in our home-not-away-from-home. No need in purchasing items from a store that’s close to our home-away-from-home, when we have plenty in our home-not-away-from-home.

Being a writer, I must have something that I can write on. A piece of granite and chisel?……Nah. A pencil and paper?…….Nah. A really, really good number two pencil and a really, really nice piece of paper?…….Nah. A typewriter?…….Nah. I know I’ll bring a baby computer that folds up and everything.

Let me see:

Have food to cook which generates dishes to wash. Have clothes to wear which generates more washing and drying. Have minicomputer–I’m all set to work. Have strategically placed grocery stores so that we can shop.

I do believe we have done it once again. Our home-away-from-home is just like our home-not-away-from-home…….Oh, there is one thing I forgot. At our home-away-from-home we get to deal with enormous amounts of sand on a daily basis…… There, now I’m done.

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I Got Stuff, You Got Stuff, All God’s Children Got Stuff

It’s nice to take a break from running, shooting, being shot at, killing,and being killed. And, if it’s not that, it’s all those nasty creatures and critters, interplanetary annihilation, and just plain “stuff”.running with the bulls

That’s what it boils down to, the “stuff;” it’s always in direct correlation with the “stuff.”

Oops! Maybe I should explain. I’m talking about paper. The words, sentences, paragraphs, pages…….You know…the stuff!

We gather all the stuff that’s printed on the pages and smash the pages together. Then we take two additional pieces of paper that are thicker. Now these two pieces are very special. We print special information and pretty pictures, then smash them in front and behind all the many pieces of paper that have previously been smashed together.

Now, if you’ re worried that I’m trashing trees, most of what I’m describing is virtual paper, the kind that pops up on your computer screen… Although, today trees are grown for the express purpose of making paper. It could be that if we don’t use them as such, someone’s just gonna come along, cut them down, and sell them by the truckload to heat people’s homes.  That gives us a couple of choices. We can write on it, wipe with it, or breathe it in.

…but back to the stuff.

Once the smashing is complete, the stuff magically transforms into a book…….whew!…….What started out to be a respite from the rigors of writing, became just the opposite.

Boy, I sure do enjoy taking a break from writing, in order to work on my blog and interject some humor and perhaps a bit of silliness into my and my reader’s lives.

I know…… I know, that last segue was a bit forced, but let’s keep going, it’s bound to smooth out.

I had a notion to bring up things that make no sense. Have you ever heard of the saying, “plum e’t up with the stupid”? And the first thing to come to mind was “linear tactics.”

british fighting linesNow, you’re thinking you don’t know what this is, but you do, and unless you’re an expert on silly ways to die, in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and the beginning of the twentieth century, you’ll more than likely agree with me.

Why in the world would you stand in a line, several men deep, facing another line in a more or less identical configuration and then take turns firing chunks of lead at each other, as if you were the next to volley a shuttlecock in a badminton tournament?

I have explored the reasons behind this particular battle tactic and when I think of the men in charge of the men standing on the line, I go running and screaming back to my safe word: “stupid.” Nuff said.

Our next lesson in, “I wonder why they do the things they do?”

This particular section is an all-encompassing series of events. For instance, what would possess an otherwise healthy group of young men to jump in front of a healthy group of 2000 pound bovines, equipped with ready-made weapons and run?

Well…… I don’t know.

By the same token another group of young men in a different part of the world jump on to what looks like a giant Sequoia that’s been stripped of its foliage and cut in half. Guess what they do then? Right, push it down a hill. Now about all I can glean from this carnage is to hang on, even as fellow competitors are falling off while others are trying to climb on, being dragged and run over, as this huge piece of unstoppable lumber continues downhill. That there’s fun with a capital ‘F’ and a double ‘un’.

What I am able to conclude from these two annual happenings is that everyone who doesn’t die is a winner and with an added bonus…… no compensation.log riding

I guess what it all boils down to is everyone has different ideas of what fun is…and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Just the same, I’m going to hang out with my safe word. You never can tell when a little bit of stupid may come in handy.

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Sometimes I Outta Keep My Mouth Shut!

If you follow my blog, you know that for the past few weeks I’ve been screaming down the bottomless pit of rewrites and edits. And for the last two weeks, words have been popping up randomly within the recesses of my tighty whitiesbrain and crawling forward at the most inopportune times. Thankfully, I’ve been able to successfully incorporate these words into my weekly posts .

This, however, will be the last installment of these rogue out-of-control words and phrases. For I have taken myself to task to install a small electronic device that will battle these words as they attempt to scratch and claw their way into the limelight. This device I have personally constructed and installed, (hopefully) attaching the leads to the proper brain synapses. The correct voltage is as yet to be determined (a watch battery having no effect and a household electrical plug blasting all the hair from my body and reducing me to a diaper wearing drool monkey for several days).

I am opting for eight Baghdad batteries which I also constructed from coconut shells, vinegar, clay, steel, rebar, and a zinc-coated nail. There are minor glitches in the system, so I may tend to…….I’m not really sure what I may or may not do…… We’ll deal with those as they arise, if indeed they come at all.

So let’s get started on our last time-bandit, one commonly referred to as “sleep”.

Sleep, the final frontier. Think about it. When else can you lie comfortably in your bed and experience the excitement of life in a dream, and most likely something you would never encounter in your day-to-day life?

Perhaps you are one who dreams of living life on the edge. There you are, just having conquered the summit of Mount Everest. However, your conquest is like no other. You completed this daunting task without oxygen, wearing swim fins, a speedo, tube top and a beanie cap complete with propeller.

You slip your carefully folded jet-powered hang-glider from beneath your beanie. Then, push the “no assembly required” button and you’re off from the top of Everest to the seashore of South Africa where you sell ice by day, wrestle great whites by night, and on your days off, enjoy tea and crumpets with the Queen.

Wait a minute…….Something’s feeling really wrong here, man…… If medicine balls weighed as much as a regular ball would the former medicine ball be known as the ball formerly known as a medicine ball?…….Ah ha, just a glitch I spoke of earlier…… Nothing to see here, just move along.

How about a trip to the moon? On a rocket? No sir, not for you. Why would you waste a perfectly good dream-scape on something as wimpy as a luxury metal tube when you can travel like a real man? I can see it now, you blasting through the cosmos on a rocket-powered swing-set, towing a team of gerbils and a three-legged, impregnated hippopotamus. You make a perfect landing and then ride the hippopotamus to meet the Queen for tea and gerbils. Of course, this get together is strictly BYOG.

I think I’m going to finish up this post with a question; in fact, quite the personal question.

Where is the strangest place you have ever woken up, with or without alcohol being involved?

I guess I’ll have to go first, after all this is my blog…… Unless someone or something has stolen my brain, transferred it to an immature pumpkin until it can be harvested for a Halloween celebration next fall………… No worries, just another glitch. So here goes!

Back when I was but a young whippersnapper, I was dating a girl who was originally from the mountains. On one of our winter trips to see her kinfolk, we stayed with her brother-in-law. Now, just as in my house today, if you’re not married and you and your main squeeze are staying with me overnight, plan to be squeezing on something besides each other until after sunrise.

The particular night in question was a bit on the chilly side, in the teen’s I believe. We had just said our good nights; then, it was boys to one room and girls to the other. I had probably been asleep an hour or two when I awoke not knowing where I was, but convinced I had to get out of that room.

After groping around in the dark for what seemed like hours I finally located my escape passage. This house, like most in the mountains, was built on an incline. In this particular situation, the front of the home was one story and the back nearly two. Needless to say the room in which I slept was at the rear of the house; so out of the window, two stories down onto the frozen ground in my tighty whities, I went.

There’s nothing like the feel of frost on bare feet to gently nudge a young man, such as myself, out of his slumber.

Imagine having to awaken someone by banging on the front door at 2: 30 in the morning, only to find you standing on the front porch with nothing more than a small thin piece of cotton between you and the Lord.

I do believe I have said enough for one day. I am now going to sit in the closet for a while.

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Bus-ted

As I have mentioned (more like over stated), I am currently neck-deep in the slurry that is rewrites, edits, and a third verb which escapes me at the moment, but more than likely is an expletive.buses

With no prior warning or even an inkling that something may be amiss, random words enter my brain, for what I can only assume is a search for a simple place to hang out. The first one to venture forth and enter my thought processes was the word, “typical.” This single word propagated paragraph after paragraph of ramblings that no sane individual should have to endure.

Unfortunately, as I was bringing last week’s lesson in futility to a close, another word seeking asylum in the recesses of my gray matter decided to bring its sad little self to the forefront. The word in question, “ridiculous,” has kept me chomping at the bit to resolve, in order to resume my necessary work. Thankfully, the time has now come.

How does this grab you? No smoking.

I used to spend my time traveling the country with various trade shows. It was in one of our great cities that I encountered this paradox. It seems that the convention center had been constructed with a roof at its entrance. This overhang extended outward far enough to allow buses, at least two maybe three abreast with five or six in each line, to idle in wait.

This barrage of large-scale transportation occurred each morning to deliver conventioneers and once again, every evening to haul away said conventioneers. In between the a.m. and p.m. deluge, buses would constantly move guests to and from the convention center, usually on a thirty minute schedule.

I don’t know, but it seems to me you took your life into your own hands just crossing this area without donning a hazmat suit, complete with oxygen and a full face-mask.

What I could not understand is that some bureaucrat making six figures that in actuality should have been working a job where only two words are necessary, “paper or plastic,” installed no smoking signs in this area.

Try to imagine, if you dare, a closed in area cocked full of idling buses. These behemoth transports sat spewing the sweet smell of diesel exhaust into the air. Who wouldn’t want to light a cigarette in order to breathe filtered smoke and diesel fumes until they could run the gauntlet of buses to the clean city air just outside of the overhang?

Please, don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I am a former smoker, but not a nicotine Nazi. I think it’s a deadly habit that takes too many lives and reduces others to an existence fraught with tubes, oxygen, and limited activity.

By the same token, if you’re determined to smoke, then by all means, burn’em if you got’em.

Now that we’ve explored the ridiculous, let us cross that fine line and move on to the ludicrous.

Bottled water.

Not so many years ago it would have been thought an enormous waste of resources to purchase what was readily available. Of course now, at least in my world view, bottled water is the best thing since they made a bottle to put water in. (No sliced bread here.)

I grew up on well water, but as an adult have learned that wells can contain all sorts of chemicals (arsenic) and little nasties (E. coli); therefore, I choose to drink water from le bottle. Of course, I don’t really know where the bottled water, I imbibe originates. For all I know they’re sucking my next case of H2O off the bottom of the Hudson right now. It all boils down to:  you gotta trust somebody sometime.

The brand we drink is tasty enough as far as water goes, but then the company (for what I can only assume to be environmental reasons) started making the bottles with less plastic than it would take to cover a gnat’s rear end. So thin in fact, that if you held the container tight enough to open, once the cap was removed, you would receive a gusher of water in places that no gusher should be.

The bottles also boasted a cute little convex bottom that would allow the container (at its own discretion of course) to wobble precariously or fall over, drenching important documents or maybe even the occasional laptop. If the plastic were any thinner you’d be grabbing a handful of water. Since then the practice has ceased and we have an acceptable chunk of polycarbonate to recycle.

Of course, if a plastic bottle covered with dirt doesn’t send you into delirium tremors you can always toss it into your local landfill, which by the way is why it’s there.

Well, that about does it for this week…… Please, no!…… Not again!…… Sleep…….Sleep…… Sleep…… Another week of head banging resolution!…… Sleep…….Sleep…… What does it all mean?……

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