Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No Subject

Anyone know how to restore the shine to a halo?  Mines been kind of dingy lately.  Hardly any glow to it at all.  At first I thought the batteries had died, but it doesn't use batteries.  I don't know what powers the thing.  Plus when I wear it, it wobbles over my head.  It shouldn't do that.  There is something definitely wrong with it.


In the news:
Texas students can now legally carry concealed weapons on campus.  Betcha the instructors think twice before handing out grades.

World Health Organization says cell phone usage may be linked to cancer.  Who would have thought that that crazy old drunk at the end of the bar had this right all along.

Steve Martin sells forged artwork.  Apparently the purchaser did not have Steve's sense of humor.  "Well, excuuuuuuse me."


Yesterday was memorial.  Only got partially schnockered.  Attended a barbecue and it turned out that I was the main course for every mosquito in Macomb County.  Its hard to concentrate on drinking when you're being constantly bitten.  But other than being itchy for over the past 24 hours, I must say it was a good time with some good friends.


"America's Got Talent" returns tonight.  The very first act of the first show has a unicyclist molesting Howie Mandel's head.  Left him speechless.  Hope the rest of the season turns out to be this funny.  Well, I'm gonna watch the rest, so bye bye for now.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Night Visitor

Several years back I awoke in the middle of the night with an uneasy feeling.  The items in my bedroom were shaded with black or dark shades of gray.  It was hard to determine where furniture ended and walls began.  All was deathly quiet, even Linda's breathing was hardly noticeable.  I struggled to hear any possible noise that could have disturbed my sleep.  After a few minutes I gave up and was about to attempt to go back to sleep when I heard the soft popping sound.  It sounded similar to when you blow softly through a straw into a glass of milk. The sound was coming from the darkest corner of my bedroom.  I tried to focus my eyes on the source of the noise without any luck.  The noise stopped suddenly.  I eventually went back to sleep and by morning had all but forgotten about it.  I would not think about this event again until a week or two later when it reoccurred.  This time with more detail.

There is a show on the Biography channel called "Celebrity Ghost Stories."  It would be more appropriately named "Celebrities Trying to Regain the Spotlight Ghost Stories."  I have never actually watched an episode.  I have only seen the previews.  If you ever wondered what happened to Ralph Malph from Happy Days, or Brian Wilson's daughter Carnie, or Elizabeth Rohm who portrayed the blond D.A. on Law and Order from 2001 to 2004, then this is the place for you.  The reason I never watched an episode is because I do not believe in ghosts.  Yet I have a ghost story of my very own.

Two weeks after first hearing the popping noise it happened again.  Just like the first time, I was awakened in the middle of the night.  The noise was coming from the same corner of my room.  When I stared at the dark space, this time I was able to see a faint shape.  It was spherical about a foot in diameter.  I could see through it more easily than focus on it.  If not for the noise, I would have just dismissed this as shadow play, a mere nighttime optical illusion.  I turned to Linda and shook her awake.  "What is that?"  I said as I pointed to the corner.

Linda never appreciates being awaken from a sound sleep to be frantically grilled.  Especially if the subject is about something of which she has no idea.  By the time she could wipe the sleep from her eyes and look to where I pointed, it was gone.  I slapped on the light switch.  This further aggravated Linda. The corner of the room  which I indicated held only a wooden chair with my prior day's pants and shirt laying on the seat.  The place where I had seen the sphere would have been about two feet over the seat.  I could not determine what in the bedroom could have caused the noise and shape.  Linda was yelling at me to turn off the light and go back to sleep.  I shut off the light, Linda returned to her slumber, but I sat up for the rest of the night waiting for the sphere to return.  It did not show up again for another two weeks.

The third time I saw the apparition, I was able to make out what it was.  I awoke to the bubble popping noise again.  Linda stayed undisturbed in her dreamland as I sat up in bed and looked to the corner.  The blurry sphere shape was there again.  This time it was glowing ever so slightly.  As I stared at it, I saw that there was something inside the sphere.  Three quarter of the sphere seemed to be holding water and floating at the top of the water was a goldfish.  Although there was a transparency to this ghostly image, I could still see the gills of the fish emitting the last of its oxygen bubbles as it died.  Then the fish and its bowl disappeared.  It would be another two weeks before returning.

The next morning I told Linda about the goldfish specter.  She insisted I was dreaming.  I couldn't convince her otherwise.  I was alone in this haunting.  I never had a goldfish.  Neither did Linda.  So why would the ghost of a goldfish show itself to me?  Then I thought about the people whom owned this house before me.  My house use to belong to a family named Smithers; Harvey and Joy, and their little girl, Pauline.  I wondered if they could have once owned a goldfish.

It was another two weeks before the fourth appearance.  This time, as I alone stared at the ghostly fish, it righted itself in its bowl and stared with its dead eyes directly at me.  I grabbed a paperback book off my nightstand and threw it.  The book passed through the phantom causing it to ripple like a rock tossed in a stream.  The rippling image dissipated into thin air. Linda's sleep stayed undisturbed.  The following morning I decided on a course of action.

I knew the Smithers had moved to Lansing, Michigan.  I called information and got their phone number.  Although it had been twenty years, Harvey Smithers remembered who I was right off.  We talked pleasantries for several minutes before I brought up the subject about pets.  Why yes, Harvey said, his little girl did once have a goldfish.  It was her responsibility, but being only 8 at the time, she neglected to feed it and it starved to death.  I asked how his daughter was nowadays.  He told me that Pauline had just got married a couple months earlier.  She and her husband were living back in my area, they bought a place in Warren.  I talked for a few more minutes with Harvey before ending the call.

Thinking over what I had learned, it seemed that Pauline's wedding and relocation to Warren coincided with the appearance of the ethereal goldfish.  Now I would have to find a way to redirect the dead pet to its former owner.  I needed some type of goldfish whisperer exorcist.  This all happened in the last millennium before Google existed.   So my main sources of research was to scour the Yellow Pages or visit the local library.  The Yellow Pages were useless, so off to the library I went.

The Center Line Public Library is not the biggest library in world.  The only book I could find for getting rid of evil spirits was "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty.  There were no books on goldfish whispering.  I did not think I could talk a Catholic priest to come over my house and perform an exorcism for a goldfish.  So my trip to the library was also fruitless.  It wasn't until days later, when I passed a certain restaurant, did I come up with a solution.

On the fifth and final appearance of the goldfish, once more I was awaken by its bubbling sound.  The bowl was shining more brightly than ever before.  The fish scowled its dead eye glare at me.  It even appeared bigger in size than previously.  I was not going to let this creature intimidate me.  I reached to my nightstand and grabbed the bag I had placed there for this occasion.  Showing it to the fish, I watched the ghost mouth the word "No" and tremble as it disappeared forever from my bedroom.  Satisfied that this episode of my life had ended, I opened the bag and enjoyed the crispy potato chips within.  No self respecting sea creature wants to end up as fish and chips.  Thank you Long John Silver for the solution.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Abbott and Costello Reanimated

Is there a current trend for bands to name themselves like newspaper articles?   Here are some recent band names:  Airborne Toxic Event, Panic at the Disco, Cage the Elephant, Death Cab For Cutie, The Dillinger Escape Plan, My Chemical Romance, Bowling For Soup, Bullet For My Valentine...

I decided to submit to you a list of band names over the past fifty years.  See if you can see how the names have evolved:

The Teenagers, The Monotones, The Coasters, The Flamingos, The Drifters, The Heartbeats...

The Mamas and The Papas, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Byrds, The Monkees...

Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, The Sex Pistols, The Detroit Wheels, Chicago, Boston, America...

Beastie Boys, Dire Straits, Tears For Fears, Iron Maiden, Guns and Roses, Public Enemy...

Alice In Chains, Rage Against the Machine, My Bloody Valentine, The Flaming Lips, Screaming Trees...

Death Cab For Cutie, Velvet Revolver, Five For Fighting, The All American Rejects, The Killers...

Lady Gaga...

Okay, I kind of fizzled out for the 2010's.  But the decade is still young. Did you know it possible to redo the old Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on first" with band names?


Bud:  Do you know who played "Roundabout?"

Lou:  Around about where?

Bud:  No.  The song "Roundabout," do you know who played it?

Lou:  Who?

Bud:  No. "Yes."

Lou:  No, yes?

Bud:  Yes.

Lou:  Well who was it?

Bud:  No. It was "Yes."

Lou:  Who?

Bud:  "Yes."

Lou:  "The Who" played around about?

Bud:  No.  "The Who" did not.  I can tell you what "the Who" played.  "I Can't Explain."

Lou:  If you can't explain it, then why say you're gonna tell me?

Bud:  Two different songs!  "Who,"  "I Can't Explain." And "Yes," they played "Roundabout."

Lou:  I don't know who played around about anywhere, or why...

Bud:  "Who" did not play "Roundabout."

Lou:  I don't know.

Bud:  I just told you.

Lou:  Lets say its around about Boston.  Now what song are you talking about?

Bud:  "Boston?"  Well they got "Hitch a Ride."

Lou:  I don't care how they get there.  I wanna know what is the name of  the song whoever you're talking about is playing.

Bud:  "Roundabout."

Lou:  What band played around about?

Bud:  "Yes."

Lou:  What is the title of the song?

Bud:  "Roundabout."

Lou:  The name of the song is "Roundabout?"

Bud:  That's what I've been telling you.

Lou:  Okay.  And the band who played it is named...

Bud:  "Yes."

Lou:  I'm talking about the band now...

Bud:  A song by "The Band?"  They had "Stage Fright."

Lou:  So they never performed?

Bud:  "The Band" performed for over a decade.

Lou:  They got over their stage fright?

Bud:  "Stage Fright" was one of their most requested hits.

Lou:  That's terrible.

Bud:  What's terrible?

Lou:  People wanting to see a band having stage fright.

Bud:  Why shouldn't they request "Stage Fright?"  It belonged to "The Band." You wouldn't see "Stage Fright" done by "The Who."

Lou:  Anybody.  I wouldn't expect stage fright at a concert.  If the band is too scared to play, then why would I want to see that?

Bud:  "The Band" was never scared to play.  You shouldn't start rumors like that.

Lou:  I'm not starting rumors.  I don't even know what we're talking about.

Bud:  1970 rock and roll!

Lou:  Forget the 70s.  No wonder you're confusing me.  Let's talk about someone current.

Bud:  Okay.  You want to talk about "My Chemical Romance?" or "Jane's Addiction?"

Lou:  No.  If you want to talk about you and your girlfriend's drug problems, you should go to clinic and talk to them.  I'm a goooood boy.


Okay, you get the idea.  One last note about music.  "Airborne Toxic Event" has a song called "Changing."  Do yourself a favor, if you do not know this song, go on you tube and give it a listen.  I think it's the cat's pajamas.  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Roger Ebert Am I

I watched "Water For Elephants" this morning.  Turned out to be a very good story about a doomed circus in 1931.  These are some of the things the movie covered: Murder, domestic violence, infidelity, prohibition, the Great Depression, a rogue exotic animal stampede and, of course, an elderly elephant that only understands Polish.  What more could you ask for in your viewing pleasure?  A disgruntle dwarf being killed? An exotic dancer disrobing down to spinning tassels?  Both are there.  The only disappointment was I had hoped to see a kangaroo singing the "Star Spangled Banner"  and not only did the kangaroo not sing, there wasn't a kangaroo.

Now that I think about; without the singing kangaroo, I don't believe I got my money's worth.  If they were not going to include a musical joey, they should have noted that on the advertisements and trailers.  Even Reese Witherspoon, when appearing on David Letterman to promote the film, made no mention of how they forgot to include any kangaroo scenes.  This brings down my opinion of her by 17 points.  I had thought she was a forthright person.  I was wrong.  She is devious by speaking in conspicuous absence.

I freely admit that not every movie needs a singing kangaroo to be entertaining.  Yet, try to picture "The Sound of Music"  without one.  Or how much better "All The Presidents Men" would have been if the whistle-blower "Deepthroat" had been played by a singing kangaroo.  Who can forget that memorable scene in "Iron Man 2"  when Micky Rourke is crying over his missing pet bird and Kelly the Kangaroo comforts him with song.  Micky's tear stained face turning up with a smile and joining Kelly to sing the refrain.  Now that was movie magic!

Anyway, if you are planning to see "Water For Elephants" thinking that there will be a big musical number featuring a singing kangaroo, don't waste your money.  Other than that, the movie deserves a screening.  I will give it a hesitant "thumb's up."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Year Later, Bobby Continues

In 2001 when Bobby the two-headed pygmy was seventeen, he left his monastery home in the Himalayas and came to America.  He landed at Kennedy Airport on September 10th and spent most of the day in the terminal gawking at all the travelers.  He may have known before his arrival that New York City was a melting pot of nationalities, yet he had not prepared himself to be immersed into a sea of all shades of people speaking a vast array of languages.  He was wonder-struck.  But not half as wonder-struck as the people seeing Bobby.  Two-headed pygmies were not as common as you would think.

The right head of Bobby was multi-lingual, French, Dzongkha and English being his strong suits, but still able to hold conversations in Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi and Urdu.  The left head of Bobby only spoke two words. The two words were in English and they were "Damn straight."  He would speak the words in distinct emphasis and mostly at apropos times, although it is uncertain if the left head knew the meaning of what he said.

Bobby was dressed in a monk habit and sandals as he roamed the airport. The habit had only one hood but it was large enough to cover both his heads.  This was his daily garb at the monastery, but after seeing so many people dressed in jeans, Bobby planned to buy a pair the first chance he got.  It was this desire that enabled Bobby to leave the airport and head to Manhattan.

Bobby had come to America to see all the sites.  For over a dozen years, he had been told of these tourist attractions by Brother Peterson.  Brother Peterson was so detailed and loving in his descriptions, Bobby hung on every word.  He longed to see the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, the St. Louis Arch, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, the Florida Everglades, Mt. Rushmore, the Worlds Biggest Ball of String, Disneyland, Old Faithful, the Petrified Forest, and so on and so on.  Bobby intended to spend the next ten years traversing America.

Close to midtown Manhattan, Bobby entered a clothing store and began looking through shelf after shelf of blue jeans.  Every pair he held against his legs were too long.  A clerk approached him and suggested that he vacate the Men's section and try browsing over in Boy's.  Bobby's left head said, "Damn straight," as if he had known this was the proper course of action all along.  In the Boy's section, Bobby found several pairs of Levis that may be the length he needed.  He brought seventeen pairs to checkout.  The clerk noticed that the waist size on these pants varied from small to extra large.  He spotted Bobby as a foreigner unfamiliar with shopping in New York, and asked him if he was buying for more than one person.

"No, just myself," Bobby replied.

The clerk then asked, "Did you try all these on?"

"Before buying?" Bobby asked.  "Is that possible?"

The clerk explained, "Yes.  That's why we have dressing rooms.  You can see if the clothes fit before purchasing them."

The clerk led Bobby over to a dressing room to try on pants.  Bobby was amazed.  What a wonderful country this America.  You could test clothes before buying them.  He wondered if that was also true for other types of purchases.

Two pair out of the seventeen fit Bobby.  Leaving the others behind in the dressing room, he took the two back to the checkout register.  As the clerk was ringing up his selection, Bobby asked, "Do shoe stores have the same policy about trying them on first?"

"Most certainly.  You never buy anything without trying it on first"

Bobby's left head said, "Damn straight."

Bobby paid for the jeans and went searching Manhattan for a shoe store.  He was surprised at how many he found.  He entered Haney's Boot Shop to seek out a pair of cowboy boots.  He had wanted cowboy boots ever since he saw Bronco Bob Benson wearing a pair. Bobby was only three years old at the time.  He had grown up thinking Bronco Bob his benefactor, but in the truth of the matter Bronco Bob tried to hide Bobby from the world by placing him in a Himalayan Monastery.   Bronco Bob's only contact with Bobby was over a three day period during Bobby's third year of life.

Bobby was named after Bronco Bob Benson.   Bronco Bob was a Texas billionaire who contributed to many research facilities all around the planet.  One of those facilities was a French institute of tribal studies; L'Institut d'Etudes Tribales.  Bobby was being housed there in 1985 when had Bronco Bob stopped by to see what his money was accomplishing.  Finding the two headed boy, and hearing how he had been named in Benson's honor, horrified Bronco Bob.  He immediately sought out the most remote location possible to place the child, and hopefully never hear about again.  Three days later he personally escorted Bobby to the Himalayan Monastery and left him in the hands of the monks.

Fourteen years later, Bobby was on the same continent as Bronco Bob, a mere five or six states away.  Unknown to either of them, they would soon be face to face to face.  But first, one of the greatest tragedies in American History would be played out.

Bobby, now armed with new jeans and cowboy boots, made his way to Central Park.  Bobby always enjoyed sleeping outdoors.  He found a cove of cypress trees and burrowed in for the night.  He would awaken at 7:30 a.m. on September 11th, 2001.  His intention for his first full day in New York City was to take in all the tourist attractions.  He would start with a visit to the tallest buildings in existence; the World Trade Center.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nearing the End

After decades of being a regular fixture on television, our small screen icon will soon be gone. Year after year we watched this celebrity have specials and give away prizes. We assumed that this person would be around forever. Who could have imagined that their career would end? And it does look like it is ending. Yes, I am talking about Ronald McDonald. It seems that Ronald's days are numbered. There has been an outcry to ban the McDonald clown from hawking his happy meals to children. Apparently tons of processed cows and chickens saturated with lard and salt are not good for the little ones' diet. Who knew? And now Ronald McDonald is being compared to the average everyday drug pusher. Gotta get those whippersnappers addicted to fast food as soon as they pop out of the womb.

Did you know the original Ronald McDonald was portrayed by Willard Scott? He's the Today show guy that gives out birthday wishes to people who have been alive for a century or more. None of those people started out life on the Mickey D diet. In fact, if they ever had fast food, it would have been after their fiftieth birthday. Fast food restaurants did not really take off until the late 1960s. There may have been a few before then, like McDonald's, Burger King, White Castle, but in the late 60s, they popped up faster than dandelions on an unweeded lawn. Suddenly on every main street in Anytown U.S.A. you couldn't go twenty steps without finding a Hardy's or a Red Barn or a KFC or a Little Caesars or a Taco Bell or a Mr Tony or a Top Hat or a McDonalds or a Jack in the Box or a Shields or a Big Boys or a A & W or a Churches or a Chicken Delight or a White Castle or an Onassis or a Taco Time or a Burger King or a Dairy Queen or a Popeye's or a thousand other names. The list goes on and on. I'm sure you can add a few yourself.

So it looks like Ronald McDonald will end up in the same retirement village as Smokin' Joe, the Camel cigarette mascot. They'll probably put him in the same room with Speedy Alka Seltzer and the Faygo Kid. Down the hall from that ward of people with all those Territon black eyes.

Here's something I haven't thought about before... When did they get rid of the word "sugar?" Sugar Crisps are now Super Crisps. Sugar Pops is now called Corn Pops. Sugar Frosted Flakes, still the same but minus the word sugar. I never was into sweet cereal, so the change of brand names went unnoticed to me. My breakfast cereal selection has remained Cheerios or Rice Krispies for more years than I care to mention. I would rather have a hot breakfast like corned beef hash and eggs or grits and eggs, but I am very lazy in the morning and it's easier to pour a bowlful of Cheerios than to fry eggs and fixings. As long as the milk doesn't clump out of the bottle, I'm happy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

For Wetter Or For Worse.

My clothes dryer went kaput. To be precise, partially kaput. It quit spinning. The heat still works, but it is troublesome to have to keep opening the door, give the clothes a quick spin, shut the door so the heat will kick on, wait for several seconds for the clothes to slowly stop tumbling, and then repeat to whole process. One pair of jeans and a t-shirt take around 4000 spins to dry. Your arm does get tired.

Since I watch the DIY network, I figure I should be able to fix the dryer like a pro. I dust off my trusty phillips screwdriver and begin dismantling the machine. Forty-seven screws later I am able to remove the top and front of the dryer. I can see all the parts that had fallen inside as I had unscrewed every screw I could from the outside. I wonder how I am suppose to find out where they belong when I try to reassemble. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The belt that wraps around the giant cylinder is okay. What I had thought needed replacing seems to be in fine working order. Linda has snuck up behind me ans asks, "Do you know what you're doing?" I grumble a few swear words and ignore her.

There are more screws inside that can be unscrewed. No sense going at this half cocked. I unscrew everything that I possibly can. I believe this thing was designed by Rube Goldberg. I have all types of parts and gears and filters and tubes and Linda says, "Is that gas I smell?"


So now I have to find the gas valve and turn it off. I don't see any such valve inside the box, so I pull it away from the wall and look behind. I see where the gas line is connected to the dryer, but no shut off lever. Maybe if I unscrew the gas line, the gas will stop coming out. At least that was my original thought. No, if you unscrew a gas line from a dryer, you get an uninterrupted flow of gas. For some reason, when you try to reconnect a gas line in a hurry, it does not go so well. It's almost impossible to line up the threads for fastening. And it is even harder when your eyesight is blurry from the gas.

I know there must be a shut off valve somewhere. I start tracing the gas line. At the basement wall where the gas line enters our house is a faucet type lever. I quickly twist it close. Back at the dryer, the smell of gas is still strong, but the serpent hiss has stopped. Looks like I wasn't going to blow up the house after all. I finish disassembling the dryer. Now I can look at every part individually to see which ones need replacing.

There are wheels inside a dryer that the tumbler rides on. The wheels in my dryer had been used so much, that the axle had eroded the hubs to twice there size. Instead of being a smooth turn like a toy wagon wheel, my wheels turned like hula hoops, off center. I needed to replace these. So to the appliance parts supply store I go.

The clerk at the store does not have the wheels I need on hand. He will have to special order them. He tells me that I could save money by buying an old dryer like mine and using it for parts. There is a place just down the street, he tells me. So off to the Used Appliance Store I go.

The Used Appliance Store has the exact same model I need. It is sitting right there in the display window. For a moment I think my troubles are over. What are the odds that a local store has the same 20 year old dryer like mine? Then I notice there is sign on it that says it has been sold. Why am I being taunted like this? The salesman comes over and I tell him what I need. He suggests that I may be able to purchase the dryer by offering the buyer a few extra bucks. How much, I want to know. He tells me that he sold it for $175, but if I offered $200, the buyer may sell. That's too much. I had hoped to repair mine for under fifty bucks.

The salesman tells me that they also repair appliances. If I brought in my dryer, and if all I needed was those wheels like I had told him, then he could get me back up and running for $50. I ask if he could come to my house and fix it. That would be an additional $75 for the house call. I tell him never mind the house call, I'll bring it in.

So now I'm back at home trying to remember where all these parts go. Every time I think I have it reassembled, I find another part and have to tear it down again. Why is there so many screws? I got one piece that may be a shirt button unless I can find a place it fits in the mechanisms. I'm half tempted to buy the identical dryer and take it apart to see where all the pieces go.

I'll figure this out later. Right now I am going to make a sandwich. I would prefer to fry a hamburger but the stove isn't lighting. I may try to fix that before the dryer. Just got to bring my screwdriver up from the basement.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Canapé Concoctions

Do people who are lactose intolerant eat their corn flakes with water?  I had a friend who one time ate his corn flakes with beer.  But he was drunk at the time so that was understandable.  When inebriated, the wildest food combinations can taste great.  I once stacked on top of a trisket cracker, a chunk of salami and a dill pickle slice covered with chocolate sauce.  It tasted wonderful at that moment.

Linda and I were friends with another couple named Mike and Cathy, and the four of us belonged to a King-Queen Bowling League.  Bowling gives you a legitimate excuse for alcohol consumption.  (Try to find a bowling alley that doesn't serve booze.)  And any time I have an excuse, I take advantage of it.  Our team was at the bottom of the tournament standings, yet we didn't care.  We were there to drink, not to keep score.  That is, all of us except Linda.  Linda doesn't consume intoxicants, so it was up to me to dispose of her share.  I have an excellent story about Linda and her humiliating bowling experience.  If I ever want to live in fear for my life, I will tell it.  So for now, I will continue on with the first story I started.

After the completion of our games for the night, we would continue on with the party over at Mike and Cathy's house.  Their home was closer to the bowling establishment than ours, so for the sake of not letting too much time elapse between drinks, we would drive straight there.  Once there, potent potables were distributed (Lemonade for Linda) and Mike would take on the chore of trying to destroy our eardrums with the latest addition to his record collection.  Mike had a sound system that when operated at full volume, it could make Pete Townsend say "Turn it down."  And at full volume Mike would play his records.

While within several miles windows were being shattered, we four would try to converse at the top of our lungs. At one point Cathy yelled to ask if anyone was hungry.  At least, that's what I thought she was asking.  I was only so good at lip reading.  In between songs I quickly said I could eat a sandwich.  The others nodded in agreement.  So Cathy staggered off to the kitchen to prepare sandwiches.  The sandwiches she intended to make were: Peanut butter and jelly, corned beef with mustard, and tuna fish with mayonnaise.  She may have intended those combinations but she mixed up the bread slices.  The bread with tuna was folded onto a slice of bread with mustard.  The corned beef combined with the jelly.  And the peanut butter got the mayonnaise.  Cathy presented us these sandwiches and returned to the kitchen to make one for herself.  We noticed the error of her ways immediately.

Instead of hurting Cathy's feelings by refusing the snack, Mike and I grabbed a sandwich each and devoured them.  I got the corned beef and jelly.  Linda was still holding her peanut butter and mayo when Mike and I had finished ours.  This is the trouble with tea totalers, they are not good with social manners.  She should have just eaten the sandwich and not say a word.  I'm not certain what her words were, the music blasting us as it was, but I know her words were not of approval.  I took the sandwich from her, ripped it in two, and shared it with Mike.  We both were smiling drunkenly with satisfaction over the strange food mix.  We wanted more.

Mike and I went into the kitchen and found Cathy eating a bowl of cold sauerkraut she had found in the fridge.  On the table where she ate was all sorts of food items: Wheat crackers, bread, chocolate syrup, a jar of pickles, various lunch meats, cheeses, bananas, grapes, a bowl of Jello, lettuce and more.  Mike took the last slices of bread and made a ham and cheese sandwich.  He went back to the living room to eat it.  I took a couple of trisket crackers and wedged between them cheese and pickles.  Before I ate it, I decided to top it off with a squirt of chocolate syrup.  Cathy watched me with close interest as I chewed my creation.  She mouthed the words, "Is that good?"  I nodded affirmatively.

Thus began the contest of creating palatable crazy food mixtures.  As I made another pickle/cheese smoore for Cathy, she piled sauerkraut on a couple of crackers, added slices of banana, and topped it off with whipped cream.  While Cathy tried mine, I ate her creation.  These were exquisite.  I washed down the treat with a few shots of bourbon and started making new varieties of hors doeuvres.   A banana pepper encasing a cherry gum drop covered with turkey gravy was a favorite.  A ball of cream cheese rolled in cookie sprinkles and Worcestershire sauce was also in the top ten,  Heinz 57 covered grapes made the grade. So did leftover spaghetti and powdered sugar.  Please note that all these entries were on top wheat crackers.

We tried and rated each other's appetizers, washing down each bite with alcohol.  Our slurred revues were always positive.  Neither of us denied the other kudos for the strange snacks.  After about an hour, Linda came into the kitchen.  She looked on in horror as we consumed ice cream and horseradish on crackers.  Linda suddenly did not feel very good and insisted we go home.  A quick glance at the last of the depleted booze bottles, and I agreed to leave.  We bid Mike and Cathy good night and we were homeward bound.  Mike's music followed us many a block as we drove off.in the wee hours of the morning.

A couple hours later, the phone woke me out of a dead sleep.  It was Cathy.  "You got to try mixing french fries and licorice in a bowl of cream of wheat with A-1 sauce!"   She hung up before I could reply.  My head was throbbing, my ears were ringing and it hurt to open my eyes.  I made my way to the bathroom and gave my reply there.  Linda looked on with smug satisfaction as I knelt before the porcelain throne.  Sometimes she can be a real party pooper.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gasoline Malady

Well I filled up the gas tank today.  Had to re-mortgage the house and promise to turn over one of my granddaughters.  The gas in my car is now worth more than my car.  But on the bright side, I finally have a day I can look back at with melancholia.

Let me try my hand at a few jokes:

In order to keep his fleet gassed up, Jay Leno has his Tonight Show salary direct deposited to Exxon.

The crime rate has increased with the price of gasoline.  I had to hire an armed guard for my lawnmower.

To conserve gasoline, car pooling has become car pushing.

Everyone complains about the price of gas.  Even Charlie Sheen has gone from "WINNING" to "WHINING."

Oh, well, I gave it a shot.  I'll never get a job writing for Laugh-In.  (You bet your sweet bippy, I won't.)  I got  twelve points for the first person to name the announcer on Laugh-In.  Plus an additional twelve points if you can tell me a connection between that announcer and General Custer.

Back to gas talk.  Forty years ago, I was in high school and was also a pump jockey for Kayo Gasoline.  I was paid the minimum wage, $1.25 hour, and the cost of gasoline was 35 cents a gallon.  Today, the minimum wage is $7.40 hour and gasoline is over $4.00 a gallon.  In 1971, one hour of work could buy you three gallons of gas and you'd have change left over.  Today, one hour of work will not purchase two gallons. If you want to take the time, you could compare 1971 prices to today's.  I guarantee you will find when you compare wages over purchasing power, that it's cheaper to live in the past.

So I have made up my mind, to the past I shall return.  I don't know how I'll get there, but at least I have a new goal in my life.  One of my favorite parts of the past, is that I am so much younger there.  I really like that.  I'll write more later.  Unless, of course, if I wake up in the 70's, then I will write more earlier.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Greetings

May 1st.  No maypole in sight.  What's with these kids today?  Too busy tweeting to dance around the maypole?  When I was a kid... (hmm?  Didn't have a maypole either.)

Well, when I was a kid, we wished we had a maypole, whatever that is.  I tell you, it wasn't easy growing up like it is today.  Television was in black and white.  And if you wanted to change the channel, you had to get up and walk over to the set and do it manually.  That's how I got my exercise when I was a kid.  I was my father's remote control.  And if you think that dial was easy to turn, you better take another think.  You had to put every muscle of your being into clicking that dial.  Life was hard!  Once you changed the channel, then you had to adjust the antenna.  You think a Rubic's Cube is complicated?  Ha!  Try fine tuning a television signal with rabbit ears.  You have to balance yourself like an acrobat on one foot, extending your other leg at a painful angle, while touching the aluminum rods in a very specific pattern; every other finger on one hand touching near the base, and thumb of the other hand touching the tip of the second rabbit ear.  The rabbit ears would have to spread at precisely 59 degrees and face in a north by north-east direction.  You would have to keep moving your extended leg back and forth to keep pace with the wavering signal.  And all that was just for channel 2.  The other channels all had different combinations.  And there were no instructions.  You had to figure all this out on your own.  In my case, I had to figure it out quick.  

Too slow tuning in a station and it was strop time.  You never had a spanking unless you were spanked with a razor strop.  These things were designed to sharpen straight razors.  My father had a strop, but not a straight razor.  The strop came from his father, who may or may not have had a straight razor.  I heard the stories of how my grandfather would take my father out to the woodshed for punishment.  We may not have had the woodshed, but Grampa did pass the strop down to my father.  Thanks a lot, Gramps.  Today, if you tried to spank your kids with a strop, Protective Services would be hauling your butt to jail before you could get the first whack in.  And it would be your own kid turning you in.  Who do you think he tweeted while you were looking for the strop?  He probably made some reward money off it, too.

So, the whole point of this post was to point out we have started a new month.  I got to quit going off on these tangents.  It's May!  The April showers should be over and flowers blooming.  We are at the height of Spring fever.  Love is in the air. (I always wondered about that expression.  Is that a reference to pheromones?)  The clouds are parting and the sun is smiling down.  Time to leave your coat in the closet and run barefoot across the lawn.  Yes, the weather is finally taking our side. Go outside and enjoy life.

I'd write more, but "America's Funniest Home Videos" is about to start.  Talk to you later.