Saturday, October 17th, 2020

As I type these words, it’s seven o’clock in the morning and the sun still hasn’t risen. I asked the internet when the sun will rise and it told me 7:14 am. Then I looked out the window into utter and complete darkness and looked back at the internet. Refreshed the page. It still told me the sun will rise in fourteen minutes. I think the internet is having a little fun with me.

Read the rest of this entry »

absolute and total drivel | 8:34 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

I finally had enough of long hair, so I asked My Darling B to mow my head. I had not had a haircut since mid-February so it had grown so long and so thick that it was starting to feel like wearing a horse blanket on my head. The “before” picture doesn’t show how much hair I have tumbling down the back of my neck. As the temp and the humidity today climbed into the high eighties, I decided to grab the clippers and give myself a shearing. I’m not as flexible as I used to be, though. No matter how many different ways I tried to reach the back of my head, I wasn’t entirely confident I could get it all. And there was an awful lot of hair back there.

So I asked My Darling B for some help. She really didn’t want to do it on account of The Big Hair Oops of 2001. She used to trim my hair between haircuts until one afternoon just before I had to be at an important meeting she took a divot out of the hairline just above my neck. Luckily, I was able to catch the barber as she was closing up shop and talk her into taking one more customer. She was not surprised at all by the story I told her. “It happens all the time,” she said. “I’ve seen much worse.”

Today’s clipping turned out much better. I snapped a #8 comb on the clippers and promised that was as short as I wanted to cut it. It was still a lot of hair to cut off. “Are you sure?” she asked, more than once. When I finally managed to convince her, she swept the back of my head with one stroke, then stopped and said, “Oh my god that’s a lot of hair!” I started to say, “Good,” to encourage her to go on, but she didn’t need any more encouragement from me. “Too late to turn back now,” she added, and dove in again. After a dozen or so strokes there was enough hair on the floor to stuff a pillow. All I had to do after she finished was trim around my ears.

I could probably get away with not cutting it for another six months, but having it this short is like my own personal air conditioning so I’ll probably give it another mowing in a week or two.

clipping | 6:40 pm CDT
Category: barber, random idiocy
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I used to work with a guy who was, shall we say, a teller of tall tales. Any story he told would start out believable enough, but would quickly morph into such an outrageous and obvious truckload of manure that after hearing only a few of them, I would often roll my eyes or smirk at him but he would never waiver from claiming he was telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

An example: He told me a story about growing up in the Philippines that ended with he and his father fighting off pirates until they each came marching home with severed heads to spit on pikes over the front door of their house. The story he told might not have ended exactly like that – my memory’s not so good any more – but it was so close as to make no difference at all.

So when he ambled up to me at work one day, opened a tupperware full of cat turds, and offered me one, I didn’t feel I was being rude at all by refusing. He had about a dozen in there, on a bed of kitty litter. It’s like he didn’t even trying to disguise them.

“They’re really tasty when they’re fresh,” he said.

“I’m sure they are, but I just couldn’t.”

“You don’t like shark?” he asked.

“It’s all right,” I said casually, leaning a bit closer to the Tupperware and sniffing. “What’s that?”

“It’s shark,” he said, rolling his eyes as if I were stupid.

I had a good, long stare at them to confirm to myself that they were clearly cat turds. “Is not,” I said.

He seemed taken aback. “Sure, it is. Pan-fried.”

I took another good, long look. I ran through the situation in my head. They looked like cat turds. Tex was known to tell stories. And he was, after all, a Navy guy. I never met a squid who wouldn’t relish telling his buddies how he got a zoomie to eat a cat turd. “C’mon, buddy. Those are clearly cat turds.”

He appeared to be genuinely shocked. “It’s shark. My wife’s recipe. They’re delicious,” he said. He did not, I noticed, pop one in his mouth to prove it.

“No, thanks.”

“But it’s just shark!” he insisted, somewhat desperately, I thought.

“Thanks anyway.”

I guess it could’ve been shark, and even though I like to give most people the benefit of the doubt, I’m still glad, looking back on it now, that I didn’t find out the hard way.

akula | 4:49 pm CDT
Category: My Glorious Air Force Career, random idiocy, story time
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Sunday, August 9th, 2020

I was listening to “Paper Doll” by The Mills Brothers the other day when I thought, “Hmmm, it’s been a while since I ruined a song.”

“Paper Doll,” when sung by The Mills Brothers, is one of my favorite songs ever. It might even be one of my favorite songs when sung by other groups, but I wouldn’t know because The Mills Brothers sing it so well that I haven’t gone looking for recordings by other groups. The harmonies, the pace, the phrasings are all just flawless. It’s a lot like Nat King Cole’s recording of “Stardust” – why would I go looking for recordings by other artists when I’ve heard the one, true performance?

“Paper Doll” is the classic heartbreak story: Guy feels so bad about his recent breakup that he swears he’s through with women forever, so what he’s going to do – and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is just poetic license – is get a paper doll to replace the girl who left him, because a paper doll wouldn’t leave him. Of course it wouldn’t – it’s paper. Paper dolls are also usually no more than eight inches tall and literally two-dimensional, so other than the total fidelity it’s not going to be a very satisfying relationship.

I’m going to buy a paper doll that I can call my own
A doll that other fellows cannot steal
Then all the flirty-flirty guys with those flirty-flirty eyes
Will have to flirt with dollies that are real
When I come home at night, she will be waiting
She’ll be the truest doll in all this world
I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle-minded real live girl

Okay. Seems a little sulky, but who hasn’t been there? I’m sympathetic.

I guess I’ve had a million dolls or more
I guess I’ve played the doll game over and over

Hold up a minute – you’ve had it with women because the ones you know get stolen by flirty guys, but here you are telling us you’ve had a million dolls or more? I’m suddenly a lot less sympathetic.

I just quarreled with Sue
That’s why I’m blue
She’s gone away and left me, just like all dolls do

Listen to this guy – he’s had a million dolls, all of which have left him, and he thinks they’re the problem. I have to wonder.

I tell you, boys, it’s tough to be alone
And it’s tough to love a doll who’s not your own

I’m not sure what’s going on there. It’s tough to be alone and to love somebody else’s doll at the same time?

I’m through with all of them
I’ll never fall again
Hey boy! What you going to do?

At this point I’m thinking: If he’s had a million dolls or more, he’ll definitely fall again. Statistically, it’s got to happen.

paper doll | 2:05 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, music, play, random idiocy | Tags:
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Friday, August 7th, 2020

the radical left agenda

take away your guns
destroy your second amendment
no religion
no anything
hurt the bible hurt god

he’s against god
he’s against guns

he’s against energy, our kind of energy

ah

I don’t think he’s gonna do too well in ohio

radical left agenda | 6:46 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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Sunday, July 26th, 2020

You want to know what’s been stuck in my head on a loop all morning? Probably not, but I’m going to answer that rhetorical question anyway:

person woman man camera TV

I went paddling on the lake this morning. I put in early, before all the bleepheads started roaring around in their power boats, so I could enjoy the stillness. And I did. It was very quiet, very calming. And the whole time, my brain kept repeating:

person woman man camera TV

I paddled around for about two hours, paddling across Wicawak Bay after putting in on Frost Woods Beach. I used one of the channels through the Belle Isle neighborhood to get to Lake Monona, turned south to cut back across the mouth of Wicawak Bay to the southern shore, then followed the shore to the Yahara River. All around the bay I enjoyed the sight of ducks with their ducklings, turtles basking on logs in the sun, herons sweeping through the skies after launching themselves from low-hanging branches, and

person woman man camera TV

godDAMNit!

I just want a little peace and quiet on my day off. A day where the idiot in chief doesn’t mess with my head. I guess that’s not possible now.

I even dreamed about him last night. I dreamed we were watching him on TV. He was falling from a great height, many hundreds of feet. I don’t know what he fell out of or why, but the cameras were zoomed in on him tumbling through the air. He wasn’t flailing or yelling or doing any of the dramatic things falling people do in movies; he was falling like a sack of potatoes, tossed one way, then the other by the passing wind. Then, just before he hit the ground, the camera pulled back. We could somehow hear the thump he made, even though he was quite a long distance from the camera.

I turned to My Darling B and said, “You realize this means Pelosi is president now.” She nodded, speechless because of what we had seen. (I don’t remember any part of the dream that would have explained what happened to Pence.)

The dream was so startling that I woke up right after that, and it was so vivid that I almost woke up My Darling B, still slumbering next to me, to ask her, “Did Trump fall out of a plane or something today?” But I was also still so confused by the sudden juxtaposition of my dream on reality that I simply laid there thinking about it for several minutes, and it eventually dawned on me that it was only a dream and Trump was still very much alive.

And probably still bragging to anyone who will listen about passing that stupid test two years ago.

pwmctv | 10:36 am CDT
Category: current events, dreams, random idiocy, sleeplessness, yet another rant
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Friday, July 24th, 2020

Dear 15-year-old me:

I’m 59-year-old you and this is the sort of thing we do to pass the time while self-isolating during the pandemic. Yeah. The pandemic. I don’t want to jump straight into that, if you don’t mind. I mean, I’m not going to totally blow it off; I’ll get to it eventually. Just not right now. Baby steps.

I don’t know how these things are supposed to work. Does this letter show up under your pillow on some random day after your fifteenth birthday? Or does it show up in your mailbox like a regular letter the morning of your fifteenth birthday? The fact that I don’t know doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I can’t remember a lot of things that happened when I was fifteen, so first things first: Keep a journal. A diary. Whatever you call it, get something to write on and write something, anything at all, every day, even just one sentence about that day. I can’t tell you why yet, but trust me, you want to do this.

Speaking of things you want to do, start working on your dad to chip on the flying lessons. He’ll do it if you sell it to him the right way. Like, you know how he wants you to go to college? You absolutely should go, so promise get a 4.0 GPA if your parents chip in 50% for flying lessons. They don’t have that kind of money, but they’ll chip for some fraction of your expenses if you deliver good grades, because your mom thinks it’s pretty great that you want to learn to fly. She’ll talk your dad into helping you out, and anything is better than nothing.

Here’s an FYI about that 4.0 GPA: you’re not that smart. I mean, I’m not. Maybe *you* could be that smart, I don’t really know. I didn’t try very hard for good grades. Sort of the point of this letter, right? To warn you not to make the mistakes I made? Well, I know how much you hate to study, believe me, and I know how much you want to piss away the afternoon playing pinball instead of doing your homework. But promise good grades, hen work your ass off for at least a 3.4 – that’s an attainable goal. Even I managed to do that. And guess what? Mom and dad were happy with that.

Why am I talking about college in a letter to 15-year-old me? Because you’re taking flying lessons now, and you should keep on taking them, but you have to get better at math to fly. Ugh. I know. You think math sucks. Well, it’s not math, it’s you. You suck at math. I don’t know how to say it any other way. I still suck at math, but I’m better at it because I had to be. I had to learn math years after high school – pretty basic stuff, stuff I would have known if I gave it more attention in high school. You’re gonna hate it, but you won’t hate it as much later on if you just pay attention now.

Speaking of paying attention, you should not only give your full attention to your flight instructor, you should try to be his friend, because he’s a pretty great guy, which you’ll realize years down the road. He seems a little odd now, but all adults seem pretty odd, don’t they? Like, really weird? Yeah, that doesn’t change as you get older. Everybody just gets weirder, and avoiding them doesn’t help you get over it. And Bill’s not the weirdest guy out there. Really, he’s one of the best guys you know right now. Learn everything he can teach you about flying, learn all his dad jokes, ask him how he’s doing today, *talk to him,* he’s really very interesting. And keep in touch after you move on from this place in your life.

Your best friend’s dad, the guy who gave you your first ride in a plane – you should keep in touch with him, too. You’re going to not want to, and I’ll tell you why in another letter, but if you do, he’ll appreciate it in ways you can’t comprehend right now. Okay, that’s going way past the line I wanted to stop at in this letter. The fact that he introduced you to flying is a rock-solid reason to stick by him and learn from him, and from all his friends who have planes, and especially his friend Don who builds planes in his garage. You should spend as much time with them as possible. Hang out with them a lot more when you go to the fly-in. Drooling over high-performance planes is fun now, but show them how much you’ll work to get behind the stick and they’ll draw you into their circle, teach you everything they know. That’s how Pete Conrad went from sweeping hangars in exchange for lessons and worked his way up to walking on the moon. You don’t know who Pete Conrad is, do you? You only thought you were smart about the moon landings. Go look it up.

By the way, there’s a space station, and I mean A SPACE STATION with an international crew of six people orbiting the earth as I type these words. It’s not impossible that you could be part of that crew – *if* you learn math and *if* you learn to fly, and those are not impossible things to learn. Believing you can work on a space station seems like science fiction to you now, but reality has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Like for instance, I’m living in a world-wide pandemic is kicking the shit out of the United States because American voters thought it would be a good idea to elect a con man president who rose to fame because his television show was a hit in spite of the fact that he couldn’t find his ass with both hands, a map, and a flashlight. Sounds like a Phillip K. Dick dystopia. Which reminds me: Get your hands on all the Phillip K. Dick you can find. I discovered him too late to appreciate him. I think maybe 15-year-old me would have loved him.

Well, 15-year-old me, this has been fun but I have to clean the bathroom. Sorry, but I let it go way too long and it’s pretty gross now. I still put everything off until way past the last minute. Maybe that’s something you can try to stop doing. Just an idea. I’ll be back with more later, promise.

dear me | 2:53 pm CDT
Category: current events, damn kids!, Life & Death, random idiocy, this modern world | Tags:
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Friday, June 26th, 2020

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but “Trump cannot lie his way out of a pandemic. And the pandemic keeps reminding him of that” is not a hot take I can gin up a lot of enthusiasm for. Call him a two-bit grifter all you want, but he did in fact bullshit his way into the highest office in the land. I don’t admire his ability or hold it up as an example to be imitated; I’m only acknowledging he has a history of failure after failure, and after each one, he has lied his way back into a position of power. He’s proven he can effectively lie his way out of any debacle he’s ever been involved in.

There’s the tiniest chance the pandemic might possibly turn out to be the one huge fuckup he can’t lie his way out of, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

damn lies | 6:20 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a single copy of “The Thorn Birds:”

A few minutes later, two more books have been added to the stack:

  • “The Thorn Birds 3: Things Be Getting Tornier!”
  • “The Thorn Birds 2: More Thorns”

The stack gets a little higher in the next scene with an all-anagram stack of “The Thorn Birds,” including:

  • “The Borsht Rind”
  • “The Third Borns”
  • “The North Birds”

Then the stack becomes a lollapalooza of goofy free-association versions of “The Thorn Birds:”

  • “The Born Turds”
  • “The Torn Shirts”
  • “The Sworn Words”
  • “The Thin Boards”
  • “The Shorn Brads”
  • “The Corn Nerds”

And finally, the stack turns into a random pile of books we’ve seen in previous episodes, including:

  • “The Thowd in the Bone”
  • “A Blockwork Thornge”
  • “198Thourn”
  • “The Picture of Thornian Bray”
  • “The Thord of the Rings”
  • “Thorntnoy’s Complaint”
thorn birds 6-25-20 | 12:01 pm CDT
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Wednesday, June 24th, 2020

Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a stack of books on the end table:

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Sword in the Stone
  • 1984
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Thorn Birds

A few minutes later, “A Clockwork Orange” has been transformed into “A Clockwork Thornge.”

After that, “The Sword in the Stone” becomes “The Thowd in the Bone”

Then “1984” becomes “198Thourn”

And finally, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” becomes “The Picture of Thronian Bray.”

thorn birds 6-24-20 | 11:50 am CDT
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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Woke up from a dream this morning in which I was taking turns driving a truck. I was supposed to be off-duty, catching some sack time in the back, but the guy driving the truck needed help navigating, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined him in the cab with a map.

The cab of the truck was more like the bridge of a cargo ship. Really big. I was standing next to the driver with lots of dead air between the top of my head and the roof of the cab. There was enough floor space to play hockey. It was a big cab.

The map I was using was full-size. Scale was 1:1. I mean, I was looking at a map that was the same size of the road we were driving. It was like I was in a plane looking down at the countryside, only I was in the cab, looking at a map I could hold in my hands that was the actual size of the world. Even in the dream, this seemed a little outlandish to me.

full-size | 3:47 pm CDT
Category: dreams, random idiocy
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Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Today’s episode of “A Closer Look” starts off with a single copy of “The Thorn Birds” on the end table:

In the next scene, a copy of “The Bourne Identity” appears on top:

Next, “The Thorn Birds” and “The Bourne Identity” seem to meld into a single copy of “The Thourne Identity.”

And finally, “The Torn Birds” reappears:

thorn birds 6-22-20 | 12:03 pm CDT
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Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

There’s a section of the social media web site REDDIT called “Am I The Asshole?” in which Redditors will spell out a sticky problem they’re experiencing and ask everyone to either validate their righteousness or dump on their pettiness. Because everything on the internet is a TLA (Three-Letter Abbreviation), you can answer YTA (You’re The Asshole), NTA (Not The Asshole), ESH (Everyone Sucks Here), and a couple other things I’m forgetting right now and am too lazy to look up.

This post is typical:

AITA for not sharing coffee with my husband who refuses to ever make coffee?

Quarantine woes. I (28F) work upstairs and my husband (35M) works from our kitchen counter. Every morning he refuses to put the kettle on or help make the coffee. He says, “I don’t want coffee but if you make it I’ll have some.” When I make it he then wants a full cup! As of late I take the entire french press with me back to my work station and refuse to share with him since he can’t be bothered to even turn the knob on the stove for the kettle. AITA?

So much to unpack here.

First, there’s a lot of backstory missing. Wife and hubby are obvs not getting along AT ALL. Missing is everything leading up to the coffee-making.

Second, lots of passive-aggressiveness going on here. Hubby says he doesn’t want coffee but he does. Wife makes coffee, takes it all upstairs with her. I’d pay to watch that webcam.

Some of the posts describe situations so outrageous they’re would’ve been hard to believe as little as a year ago. As weird as reality has become lately, though, I’d believe almost anything.

AITA | 4:02 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy, this modern world
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Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Trump graduated from grumpy old codger and joined the tinfoil hat brigade today when he tweeted: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Trump referred to an incident caught on video in which a protester was roughly pushed aside when he approached a line of advancing police officers wearing riot gear. He had a phone in his hand, which Trump apparently thought was a “scanner.”

The protester lost his balance and fell to the ground, cracking his head on the pavement. One police officer turned and reached for the protester as if to help, but another officer in line hustled him along. The image of police stepping over a 75-year-old man lying on the pavement bleeding his wounds triggered outrage that Trump apparently couldn’t help commenting on.

If a friend of mine tweeted stuff like this, I’d take him aside and say, “Dude, this is the kind of talk doctors combat with powerful antipsychotic drugs. You need to tone it down.” And if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be my friend any more.

tinfoil hat | 6:00 pm CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags: ,
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Thursday, June 4th, 2020

I typed the word “rigamarole” into an email the other day and got one of those red squiggly lines underneath telling me it was misspelled.

That’s interesting, I thought, because I’m pretty sure that’s a bullshit made-up word. [Turns out it’s not. It’s a word with a long history. – ed] [There is no editor.]

So I right-clicked on the word to find out how my computer thought it should be spelled and found out the all-knowing spellcheck god wanted me to type “rigmarole” instead.

Well. I’m not doing that. Because that’s just flat-out *wrong.* Even though all my dictionaries say I’m wrong, this is one time I’m not going to budge. It’s been “rigamarole” all my life and nobody’s going to gaslight me into changing it to “rigmarole” now. It’s the totally stupid hill I’m willing to die on.

rigamarole | 6:00 pm CDT
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Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Author Chuck Wendig asked: “Tell us about something unexplainable that happened to you – your own “glitch in the Matrix” –?”

I was about to set the needle on an LP record track (kids, ask your grandparents) when, just before the needle touched down, the right-hand speaker very clearly said, “Cheeseburger.” I was so surprised that I turned to the speaker and said, “WHAT?” It did not, thank dog, repeat itself.

This is as close to a supernatural experience as I have ever been. Other people have told me they saw ghosts or spoke to god. I heard my stereo component request a cheeseburger. As supernatural experiences go, it was startling at the time but I would have to rate it as totally underwhelming in the great scheme of things.

glitch | 6:30 am CDT
Category: random idiocy, story time
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Author Chuck Wendig asked: What’s something totally stupid and/or dangerous you did as a kid?

When I was in fifth grade – what is that, ten, eleven years old? – one of the kids in our town with a less than shining reputation set fire to our school. It was a solid three-story brick building with granite stairways and hardwood floors; I’d guess it was built in maybe the 30s or 40s. The fire department responded quickly enough to put out the blaze before it gutted the building, leaving behind a wreck that was never used again and eventually torn down, BUT before they did that, I went exploring with my friends. We climbed stairs strewn with nails all the way to the top floor where most of the damage was. We crossed sagging floors that should have collapsed to send us plunging to certain death, or at least permanent disfigurement. I don’t know how we didn’t at least get tetanus from poking through all the broken equipment in the science lab. I’ve done other things that came close to being that dumb, but that was probably the dumbest I’ve ever been.

stupid and or dangerous | 6:13 am CDT
Category: Life & Death, random idiocy, story time
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Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

I dreamed I was back in Bedford, England, the town I lived in when the Air Force stationed me at the nearby Royal Air Force base, Chicksands, in 1985. I had just arrived, one might almost say materialized in the apartment I used to live in, which I somehow recognized despite the fact that it looked nothing like my apartment. For a start, it was way too clean. Not that I lived in a pigsty, it just wasn’t painted an antiseptic white on all surfaces. Also, the rooms were only half the size they should have been, so that I could barely move around and had to walk hunched over. Finally, it was on the third floor, and I know damned well I lived on the second floor. Several people I didn’t know were in the apartment with me; I gave them the nickel tour, then went for a walk.

I thought it would be neat to take a look around Bedford, to see if I could recognize anything, so I climbed on the first bus that came along and rode it through town. Couldn’t recognize a thing, but stayed on the bus anyway because it was such an enjoyable ride. Not even a little sarcastic, there; I was genuinely enjoying myself. About halfway through town, though, I realized I didn’t have any money to pay for my fare. I moved to the front of the bus and told the driver, who pulled up in front of an official-looking building and said, “Go find the room marked ‘Medical,’ they’ll take care of it.” I asked him to repeat that, to make sure I’d heard it right. I had.

I stepped off the bus into the lobby, because it was parked in the lobby. A big lobby. I crossed the lobby floor and found a door marked ‘Medical,’ stepped through it and walked up to the counter, showed them my ticket and explained my predicament. One of the ladies behind the counter took my ticket while another listened to my story. They both disappeared immediately after I finished my tale and I never saw them again.

I waited while the rest of the clerks left and were replaced by other clerks. Day passed into night. I asked one of the new clerks if this was the night shift. “Night shift,” she scoffed, but didn’t explain any further. I wandered around in ‘Medical’ but couldn’t find anyone who would help me straighten out my by-now irrelevant gaffe, so I left.

Walked around a little bit in a neighborhood I didn’t recognize, got on another bus and rode through town a bit more. Ended up at the airport where I ran into some old friends from language school. And this is where I started to wake up, so the dream because less chaotic and more like random memories of people I knew in language school.

bedford | 6:15 am CDT
Category: dreams, My Glorious Air Force Career, random idiocy
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Monday, May 11th, 2020

Weijia Wang, correspondent for CBS News: “You’ve said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing. Why does that matter? Why is it a global competition to you if, every day, Americans are losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”

Trump: “Well, they’re losing their lives everywhere in the world, and maybe that’s a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me, ask China that question, okay? When you ask them that question, you may get a very unusual answer. Yes, behind you, please.”

Wang: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically, than I should ask China?”

Trump: “I’m telling you. I’m not saying it specifically to anybody. I’m saying it to anybody that would ask a nasty question like that.”

specifically | 5:41 pm CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy | Tags:
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Sunday, May 10th, 2020

WHAT THE WHAT

snow is forecast today

i give up | 6:05 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, weather | Tags:
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Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Author Chuck Wendig asked: “What is a weird or prominent dream or nightmare you can still remember vividly no matter how much time has passed – a real dream, from sleep, not an aspiration or metaphor?”

When I was about five years old, I used to stay up past my bed time to watch whatever television show my parents were watching. It was hard for them to stop me, because my bedroom was right off the living room. All I had to do was sit in the doorway and peek around the corner.

One night, they watched the old Twilight Zone. When I saw the introduction, it scared the shit out of me. That crazy music, weird things floating around in a dark void, a slowly-opening, disembodied floating eyeball – A DISEMBODIED FLOATING EYEBALL!

I had nightmares about eyeballs staring at me from out of a dark void for years after that. YEARS. My screams woke up everyone in the house.

Not long after that, my grandmother innocently got me one of those clocks that looks like a cat with a tail for a pendulum and eyes that wig-wag back and forth as the clock goes tick-tock. My mom hung it in my bedroom because, you know, it was a gift and she wanted to show my grandma we appreciated it. It was on the wall just one day and part of one night. Those big, round eyes constantly scanning the dark room, looking for a soul to eat were too much for me. Screamed for mom, who took it down and probably had to spend at least a few hours with her arm around me, trying to get me to stop crying.

Twilight Zone opening still gives me the shivers.

oldest nightmare | 7:18 am CDT
Category: dreams, random idiocy, sleeplessness, story time
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There is no way she is not aware of the significance of this phrase.

There is perhaps the tiniest of chances she is unaware that Governor J.B. Pritzker is Jewish, but given the significance of the phrase, I would not believe her if she said she didn’t know that.

anti-lockdown protester holds a sign reading ARBEIT MACHT FREI

significance | 6:43 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Thursday, April 30th, 2020

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)

A tightly packed crowd of protesters, some carrying rifles, attempted to enter the floor of the legislative chamber, and were held back by a line of state police and capitol staff, according to video footage posted by local journalists.

One Democratic state lawmaker posted a photograph of men with rifles standing in a gallery yelling down at lawmakers below. “Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them,” the state senator Dayna Polehanki wrote on Twitter.

“Armed protesters demonstrate against Covid-19 lockdown at Michigan capitol,” Lois Beckett writing in The Guardian, 4/30/2020

 

Michigan terrorists | 12:44 pm CDT
Category: current events, Life & Death, random idiocy, this modern world | Tags: , ,
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Saturday, April 25th, 2020

There’s a song about growing old with a verse that goes:

“A box too full to shut
A cardboard papercut
The bleeding edge of
a picture of your parents
when they were cool”

I was looking through a box of pictures like that today.

This is my dad, having that dream where you’re out in public in your underwear.

And this is my mom, looking like she could be maybe one beer over the line.

cool parents | 4:26 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy
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Friday, April 24th, 2020

So
supposing we hit the body

with a tremendous
whether its ultraviolet
or just very powerful light
and

(I think you said
that hasn’t been checked
but you’re going to test it)

and then I said
supposing you brought the light inside the body
which you can do
either through the skin
or in some other way
and

(I think you said
you’re going to test that, too)
sounds interesting
right

and then I see
the disinfectant
where it knocks it out in a minute
one minute
and
is there a way we can do something like that
by injection inside
or
almost a cleaning

because you see it gets on the lungs
and it does a tremendous number on the lungs
so it would be interesting to check that
so that

you’re going to have to use medical doctors
but it sounds
it sounds interesting to me
so we’ll see

but the whole concept of the light
the way it kills it in one minute
that’s pretty powerful

trumpoem #10 | 12:52 pm CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

Our favorite restaurant in town reopened two weeks ago after a fire gutted their kitchen. Took them almost a full year to rebuild. They announced their reopening just as the governor closed everything down, so they had to scramble to set up an online ordering system that would allow them to provide curbside service, like all the other restaurants in town.

Of all the restaurants in Madison, they have our favorite Friday fish fry, so when they announced their first fish fry would be available on April tenth, we were dizzy with joy, until we logged in to their web site and discovered they were sold out. After noodling around in social media a bit, we further learned they sold out fifteen minutes after they put the fish fry on the menu that day.

So last week when they offered fish fry again, I clocked out of work early after making special arrangements to flex time with my boss. They added the fish fry to their menu at 3:03 pm; I know because I started hitting the refresh button at 2:59 pm and didn’t stop until the fish fry showed up. I added an order for two to the shopping cart and went straight to checkout. The last thing I saw was a message telling me it would be ready in twenty minutes, which is just about the time it takes to put on a pair of shoes, hop in the car and drive to the restaurant, so that’s what I did.

Turned out it would take them a little bit longer than twenty minutes for the fish fry to be ready for me to pick it up. When I pulled into their parking lot a little after three-thirty and dug my phone out of my pocket, I found a message in my voice mail from them saying the earliest my order would be ready was four o’clock. Well, okay. Not a big problem, I guess. I’ll just sit here and listen to the radio for a while.

I don’t remember what I noticed was wrong with the dashboard, but one of the displays looked screwy so I turned the key to fire up the engine so all the displays would be lit up. Well, they lit up, all right, but the engine wouldn’t crank. Turned the ignition all the way off, waited a few seconds, then turned the key all the way on again – lots of pretty lights, but nothing from the engine compartment. All the way off, then all the way on again (because three is a magic number) – still nothing. And now the clock said one-ten and the date was 1/1/2015. Not a good sign at all.

I had to pop the hood, get out and stare at the engine for several minutes, because that’s what you do when something like this happens. Don’t know why. It’s not like maybe there’s a big neon arrow pointing at the problem or something like that. Didn’t see any obvious problems; it all looked very mechanical. Tried starting it a couple more times and got the same results, but now the panel displays were all dark, including the clock.

I most likely had a dead battery, because why wouldn’t I? Car runs perfectly for years but the first time I drive anywhere in a week and I’m in the middle of a pandemic, it craps out. Of course.

I called a local garage, and they sent a wrecker out to give me a jump, which showed up at about quarter to five. After the guy got my car running and as he was running my credit card, he said let the engine run at least a half-hour to charge up the battery again, and warned that I might want to think about getting a new battery (I did, the next day). About five minutes later I got a call from the deli, saying my fish fry (remember the fish fry?) was ready to pick up. They’d been hugely overloaded with orders once again so it took them a little longer (!) than they thought it would.

dead batt | 6:43 am CDT
Category: food & drink, random idiocy, restaurants, story time | Tags:
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Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

I’ve got to stop watching videos of the orange menace right before bed time. Or even after supper. Maybe at all. It’s not helping. I already know he’s a menace. I already know he comes up with a new way every day to demonstrate what a menace he is. Watching him do it does not add to my knowledge of how corrupt and awful he is, but it does keep me up at night.

But while I scanned through the news last night, my heart was gladdened when I saw the Wisconsin supreme court judge backed by Trump lost to his challenger, and I laughed out loud when I saw how the newly-elected mayor of Wausau, Wisconsin, reacted to the news of her victory:

image of twitter post: Katie Rosenberg tweeting Holy Balls

turbulent | 6:14 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant
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Monday, April 13th, 2020

I sincerely believed I would not live long enough to hear a president of the United States declare he has the absolute power to tell the individual states what they could and could not do.

Q: What provision in the constitution gives the president the power to open or close state economies, and then —

Trump: Numerous provisions. We’ll give you a legal brief, if you want.

Q: What happens if you say, ‘We want states to reopen’ but California or New York do not open?

Trump: Well, I think everyone wants to open. I guess, you know, that could happen, but I don’t think that would happen.

Q: It’s been states that have ordered schools to close, it’s been state that have ordered businesses like restaurants —

Trump: That’s because I let that happen, because I would have preferred that. I let that happen. But, if I wanted to, I could have closed it up. But I let that happen. And I like the way they’ve done it. And the seven that remained in a sort of semi-lockdown, if you look at those states, they’ve really done a very good job. They’re very much different from a New York, or from other places where they’ve been hit very hard.

Q: There are two consortiums of states today – California, Oregon, Washington on the west coast, northeastern states – in total representing one-hundred million people, who’ve said they’re going to cooperate and decide when to reopen —

Trump: Well, they can decide —

Q: Does that underminee what you’re trying to do?

Trump: No, not at all. Let me just tell you very simply, I’m going to put it very simply: The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The president of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the states, you would’ve had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before. We were here to back them up, and we more than backed them up. We did a job that nobody ever thought was possible. It’s a decision for the president of the United States. Now, with that being said, we’re going to work with the states, because it’s very important. You have local governments, they’re pinpointed; it’s really, you talk about, it’s like a microchip, they’re pinpointed. We have local government that hopefully will do a good job, and if they don’t do a good job I would step in so fast but, no, they can’t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States.

Q: Just to clarify your understanding of your authority, vis-a-vis governors, just to be very specific, for instance, if a governor issued a stay-at-home order —

Trump: When you say, ‘my authority’ – the president’s authority, not mine; because it’s not me. This is, when somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total.

Q: Your authority’s total?

Trump: It’s total. And the governors know that. You have a couple of bands —

Q: If a governor issues a stay-at-home order, could you rescind that order?

Trump: You have a couple of bands of ‘democrat’ governors, but they will agree to it. They will agree to it. But the authority of the president of the United States, having to do with the subject we’re talking about, is total.

Q: You said, when someone is president of the United States, their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that is true?

Trump: Okay, you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to write up papers on this. It’s not going to be necessary, because the governors need us, one way or the other, because, ultimately, it comes with the federal government. That being said, we’re getting along very well with the governors, and I feel very certain that there won’t be a problem.

Q: Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their state opens back up?

Trump: I haven’t asked anybody, because I don’t — you know why? Because I don’t have to.

Q: But who told you that the president has the president has total authority?

Trump: Enough.

Q: On this question of constitutionality, I’m just wondering what changed your view, because —

Trump: No, nothing changed it. I know exactly what you’re going to say. Nothing changed it. The fact that I want to rely on states, or maybe will, or maybe have, and the fact that we’ve got — that’s one thing. The fact that I don’t want to use the power, that’s another thing.

Q: But you said, from the standpoint of the constitution, you thought it should to be up to the governors —

Trump: Yes, constitutionally, constitutionally, you can look at constitutionally, you can look at federalism, you could look at it any different way. John, the fact that I don’t want to exert my power is much different. We have the power. You asked, ‘Does the federal government have the power?’ The federal government has absolute power. It has the power. As to whether or not I’ll use that power, we’ll see. I would rather, John, I would rather work with the states because I like going down to a local government. That’s why with, I guess it’s now seven states, not eight, because South Carolina did you know they went away from what we discussed the last time, so that’s why I looked at the individual states. They’re doing a very good job, they’re really doing a very good job. I’d rather have them make the decision. Now, the fact that I’d rather have, that’s fine. But I have the absolute right to do, if I want to. I may not want to.

And just to put the icing on the cake, the vice president agrees with the president:

Q: It sounds like you think his power is a little more circumscribed than ‘total?’

Pence: In the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary [complete power; without limitations; absolute].

I will not sleep well tonight. I’m not sure I will ever again.

tin pot | 9:19 pm CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, this modern world | Tags:
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Sunday, April 12th, 2020

Got my bike down from the rafters, pumped the tires full of air and took a ride around Lake Monona yesterday morning – an eleven-mile circle, the shortest route I could make – and it just about kicked my butt; the first ride of the summer season usually does. After a couple more rides I’ll start looking for longer routes, but I won’t be riding today because it’s cold and rainy and not otherwise inviting in any way. I think I’ve mentioned more than once I’m a fair-weather biker.

And except for the walks I’ve been taking around the neighborhood, that was the first time I’ve been out and about in three weeks – not counting two day trips I made to the office, and even then I didn’t go anywhere but straight to the office and straight home after work; no noodling around in town to sight-see or stop for provisions – and it was the first time in three weeks I’ve been in what I would rather loosely describe as crowds of people, really pairs or trios out walking, jogging or riding their bicycles. The only time I felt as though other people were crowding me was on John Nolan Drive, the causeway connecting the Monona area with the isthmus of downtown Madison. The trail along the causeway has always been a popular jogging and cycling path in The Before Times, and although there were fewer people on it yesterday, there’s not a lot of room to spread out, so even a dozen people bunched up together in a short stretch of the trail feels crowded. I had to follow several joggers at a discreet distance, waiting for an opening before I could pass, but after the causeway there was plenty of room again and I rode the rest of the way home without having to thread my way through clots of people.

Funny seeing all the masked people now. Some have what appear to be genuine N95 masks – where the heck did they get those? – but most are wearing home-made masks of one kind or another: simple bandannas, scarves, balaclavas, shemaghs, and one woman had what appeared to be several yards of fabric, possibly a bed sheet, wrapped around and around her head, leaving only the smallest of gaps for her eyes.

I myself did not wear any kind of mask at all, partly because I did not think I was close enough to anybody to warrant wearing a mask and partly because I don’t know that wearing anything less than a mask fitted to seal around my nose and mouth like an N95 mask would do any good. I don’t have an N95 mask but I still have the M17A2 gas mask issued to me while I was in the Air Force – the chemical warfare gear they issued to me was so old they didn’t want any of it back, and I threw everything out but the mask as a keepsake. If I wore it now, I think it would freak people out, which might be fun, in the right setting. Can’t imagine right now what that setting would be.

I unwrapped my kayak from its winter cocoon of Visqueen and stored the tarp the corner of the patio where I thought it might stay dry until I can clear a place for it in the garage – of course it got rained on before the day was done. Maybe that’ll teach me (but probably not). I briefly considered taking the kayak out for a paddle because the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm in the back yard, but after thinking it over I realized it would very likely be uncomfortably cold out on the lake. The raised seat in the kayak would keep my butt from freezing but my lower legs rest against the hull below the waterline, and I’m pretty sure the surface water is not all at all warm yet. In a couple of weeks it’ll be like bath water; I can wait a couple of weeks.

And I’m still washing dishes by hand because I don’t want to even think about what might be wrong with the dish washer yet. When it’s switched on, the water doesn’t circulate inside the tub and it makes a noise like something broken is beating or grinding against something stationary; I’m thinking maybe an impeller blade got snapped off and wedged inside a pump, possibly breaking the pump’s drive shaft. There must be a second pump to evacuate water from the tub, though, because I was able to drain the tub. I considered buying a new dish washer just so I wouldn’t have to even try to fix what’s wrong with the old one, but the cheapest new one is around three-hundred dollars and I don’t want a cheap one. I’ll have to figure out what to do soon, or just keep on washing dishes by hand, which, as it turns out, is not the worst thing in the world. I wash them at noon and again before bed, and at that pace I can keep up with whatever piles up. And it’s a big sink, so even when My Darling B uses every last pot, pan, and spatula in the kitchen to prepare a meal, the pile of dirty dishes is manageable.

what’s going on | 11:28 am CDT
Category: bicycling, daily drivel, hobby, housekeeping, Our Humble O'Bode, random idiocy | Tags:
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Monday, April 6th, 2020

I’ve been up since 5:30 this morning. This gives me plenty of time to shower, make coffee, and just generally come to life, which can take a while. I always wake up early, whether naturally or by an alarm clock, but I’m not fully functional until I’ve been upright & awake for a while.

My Darling B takes a more relaxed approach to working from home: She sleeps in until about a half-hour before she clocks in, gulps a hot mug of coffee, and then shambles away to her computer. I could do it that way, but I’d be pretty much useless for at least the first half-hour.

time lapse | 6:58 am CDT
Category: random idiocy
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Sunday, April 5th, 2020

This is how the conclusion of Trump’s prepared remarks for yesterday’s press briefing were scripted:

I want to thank the American people most of all for the selfless sacrifices that they are making for our nation, and I want to encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on slowing the spread. Sustaining this war effort is the patriotic duty of every citizen. While we may be more physically distant for a time, we’re closer together in the heart and in the spirit, and through this great national unity we will conquer the disease and restore our nation to its full and glorious might.

Setting aside for the moment how much that sounds like something Mussolini’s speech writer might have come up with, it would have been a pretty solid conclusion even if Trump had delivered it in his usual bored monotone.

Here’s how Trump’s ad-libs watered it down to a weird hash of run-on sentences, barely glued together with “but” or “and” or sometimes a vaguely muttered “um”:

I want to thank the American people most of all for the selfless sacrifices that they are making for our nation – I know it’s not pleasant, although some people have said they’ve gotten to know their family better and they love their family more than ever; that’s a beautiful thing; they’ve actually gotten to know them; they’re in the same house with their family for a long time; I guess it can also go the other way perhaps, but we don’t want to talk about that – and I want to encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on slowing the spread sustaining this war effort is – and that’s what it is, it’s a war effort – it is the patriotic duty of every citizen while we may be more physically distant for a time we’re closer together in the heart and in the spirit and through this great national unity – it’s happening; we’re having a great unity developing that a lot of people didn’t think would be possible to develop like this – we will conquer the disease and restore our nation to its full and glorious might – and we’re doing really well, and I’m very proud of everybody out there; we’re very proud of you; it’s something that nobody could have ever projected; it’s been over 100 years that a thing like this has happened, and the problem with this one is that the contagion, it’s so contagious; nobody’s ever seen anything like that, where it’s so contagious; you can be feet away, and just talking to somebody, and catch it, you can catch it, you know how long it can live on surfaces; so things that nobody even thought of, the level of contagion; so we’re getting there; we’re going to make sure that it’s over soon; and just keep going; it’s not going to be long; and thank you very much.

Listening to it was even worse than having to read it. Most of the time he seemed bored, and frequently he seemed hardly lucid, like when rambled, “the problem with this one is that the contagion, it’s so contagious; nobody’s ever seen anything like that, where it’s so contagious; you can be feet away, and just talking to somebody, and catch it, you can catch it, you know how long it can live on surfaces; so things that nobody even thought of, the level of contagion.” That kind of babble from any seventy-three-year-old crank would make me slowly back away as I nodded agreement, “Sure, yeah, so contagious, it really is, well, it’s been nice talking but I’ve got to go …”

the end | 9:49 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Tim tipped us off to a show he watches on You Tube called Hot Ones. In it, Sean Evans interviews celebrities while they eat hot wings that get hotter as the show goes on. Some of the celebrities bail out before they get to the hottest wings, earning themselves a place on the Hot Ones Wall of Shame. Others press on to the very end even while they regret every moment of it. A few endure the experience with a calm stoicism that is truly impressive to watch.

We had our own Hot Ones challenge last night, using the lineup of hot sauces the show featured in Season Nine. Well, okay, not the entire lineup. I ordered the first five sauces because, while I enjoy spicy foods, I wasn’t entirely sure I could endure the whole lineup of ten sauces, so I decided to try the bottom half to see just how hot they got.

I like a little hot sauce on my eggs and had been dabbing them with The Classic, which has lately been the first hot sauce in the Hot Ones lineup. It’s tasty and not quite as hot as Cholula, which is the hot sauce I had been dressing my eggs with because that’s what the waitress brings me when I ask for hot sauce in a restaurant. I have to say I favor The Classic over Cholula because I think The Classic is tastier and I like that I can put more of it on my eggs because it doesn’t set my mouth on fire.

I ordered The Classic from Heatonist, a store in New York, which sells most of the sauces seen on Hot Ones, and while I was on their web site I also ordered the bottom half of the lineup so we could do our own home-grown Hot Ones challenge one day. Well, that day was yesterday after dinner while Tim was visiting. B heated up some chicken nuggets and we dunked them in a dab of each of the sauces, working our way up to number five. All of them are just delicious and even the hottest one, Los Calientes, was not quite as hot as some of the Indian food we get for take-out, although all were respectably spicy.

Then, there was Da Bomb, the famously superhot hot sauce that takes down all but the most seasoned guests on Hot Ones. I think probably the best response any of the Hot Ones guests had to Da Bomb was best voiced by Trevor Noah: “It’s just pain! What? Why? This is not ‘da bomb,’ this is trash.” (His complete thoughts on Da Bomb start at 14:10 and they’re hilarious.)

I never intended to ever try Da Bomb because almost all of the guests on Hot Ones were virtually unanimous in their condemnation of it, but My Darling B bought a bottle of it when we first started watching the show and she dug it out of wherever she was hiding it and put it on the table with the rest of the hot sauces last night. It was practically a double-dog dare. I’m a great big chicken who can back away from a double-dog dare with no regrets, but I was thinking the other sauces were tolerable; how much hotter could Da Bomb really be?

Imagine filling your mouth with gasoline, then setting it on fire with a flame thrower, then instead of putting the fire out you hit yourself in the mouth with a red-hot poker while you let your face burn. That would be almost as hot as eating something with Da Bomb on it. I have never eaten anything that hot before and with any luck, I never will again. It didn’t only burn my mouth, it cranked up my heart rate, gave me the shivers, and sent my brain into orbit. I’m getting a little dizzy just recalling how hot it was. I felt the way Tom Arnold looked by the end of his Hot Ones interview. At the peak of Da Bomb’s spiciness, I had to drink ice water constantly just to keep my head from exploding. I would slurp up a mouthful, slosh it around until it was a little warmer than ice, swallow, slurp up more, slosh, swallow, et cetera. I did that through three pint glasses of ice water and I only stopped at three pints because I wasn’t sure I could hold any more.

My Darling B, the cocky little wench, had to immediately spit out her mouthful of Da Bomb and for a few harrowing moments she was sure she was going to throw up. “It tasted the way natural gas smells,” she very accurately described it.

Would I do it again? Hell no. I’m sorry I did at all. Gonna try some of the other hotter sauces featured on the show, but I’ll never try Da Bomb again. I don’t know how Sean Evans eats that crap every week.

Just FYI, we grabbed things from all over the kitchen looking for an antidote to Da Bomb and it turned out that sucking on orange wedges helped a lot. I ate the wedges because the pulpiness seemed to help mop the fiery heat off my tongue as I chewed them up.

hot ones | 11:11 am CDT
Category: entertainment, food & drink, random idiocy, television | Tags:
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

I’m wearing my first-ever pair of bifocals now. Well, not right this minute. I’m nearsighted, so I don’t need corrective lenses to see a computer screen that’s right in front of my face. There are times, though, when I have to look at someone else’s computer screen and it gets weird because to get close enough to read it, I have to invade their personal space. Some people don’t mind so much, but some people do.

There are also times when I’d like to be able to read the various dials and readouts on the dashboard of my car. Some readouts I can look at and know what they’re telling me without actually reading them; the speedometer, for instance. I know when it’s pointing at “60” instead of “50.” But sometimes I want to know the name of the song on the radio, or read the map display, and to do that I would have to tip my head way back and peep under the lenses of my old prescription.

I don’t have to do that now, but it’s a bit of a struggle overcoming the muscle memory. I keep peeping under the lenses when all I have to do is dip my eyes to look through the lower half of my new lenses.

bifocals | 6:00 am CDT
Category: falling apart, random idiocy, TMI Tuesday
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Sunday, February 9th, 2020

He purred me to sleep.

Cat Nap

cat nap | 2:42 pm CDT
Category: random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

I fired up the snow blower for the first time last weekend.

I’ll say that again: For the first time this winter, I used my snow blower. In mid-January. It finally snowed enough to get the snow blower out of moth balls. It snowed a couple times before last weekend, but just barely. All but once I didn’t even bother to shovel it off the driveway. It’s been a disappointing year for snow, if you love snow. Which I don’t. I could easily do without it, and it looks increasingly like I’ll be able to do just that.

But not because of climate change, because climate change is a hoax.

Just kidding. Climate change is real and we’re all going to die.

Just kidding. We’re not going to die. It’ll only feel like we’re dying.

Don’t mind me. I just woke up. Haven’t even finished my coffee yet. Go back to sleep.

first blow | 6:18 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, weather, yet another rant
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Saturday, January 11th, 2020

I kinda had to do this. It was getting to be too much trouble to take care of. I let it grow out in the first place because I was too lazy to get it cut, so it only follows that I’d get it cut because I’m too lazy to take care of it properly.

time to get those hairs cut

I really had no idea it was so long. I mean, obviously I knew it was long but until I saw the photos my stylist took I didn’t realize just how long it had grown (and how much it made me look like the creepy bald guy in Rocky Horror). I was also pretty clueless about how long it had been since I stopped getting it cut, too. I searched through my camera roll to find a photo of myself with short hair to show to the stylist and had to scroll back more than two years! Honestly, I thought it had been maybe a year, year and a half tops.

The stylist was not sure at all I knew what I was getting myself into when I told her how short I wanted her to cut it and showed her the photos of me before I stopped getting it cut. I had to virtually sign a waiver and pinky swear that I would not hold it against her after she cut it all off. She started by whacking about six inches off just so she would have room to work, issuing little declarative statements like “it’s not going to look pretty,” which made me laugh and evil laugh. “I was just thinking,” I said, “that if I really wanted to be mean right now, I’d start blubbering ‘no, no, stop!'”

Best part of the night: she washed my hair with a special shampoo that apparently had spicy peppers in it — is there nothing they won’t turn into a mole these days? The conditioner she used after the wash was similarly spiked and kept my scalp tingling through the rest of the haircut.

The rest of the cut took about a half hour to forty-five minutes; altogether I was there about an hour and a half, and I have to say it was the best part of my day. I can see why My Darling B likes going there. I’ve already set a reminder in my calendar to go back next month for another wash and cut.

hairs cut | 8:42 am CDT
Category: barber, random idiocy | Tags:
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Tuesday, January 7th, 2020

The house was naked when we got home last night. All the siding had been ripped off it. That was expected. There are no roving gangs of vandals stripping the siding from houses in our neighborhood; we actually hired a contractor to pull all the old siding off, then put new siding on. Nothing to worry about here.

What was worrisome, though, was the sound of running water we heard after we entered the house. It seemed to be coming from the kitchen, so My Darling B went straight to it. She opened the dish washer, thinking maybe I had loaded it up in the morning and it had somehow gotten stuck in the rinse cycle, but she could quickly see that it wasn’t running, so she checked under the sink. No sign of anything amiss under there.

We shared a significant look just then, and I could tell she was thinking of the deluge, too. We had a little accident a couple years back when an overflowing toilet flooded the basement so catastrophically that we had to call in a small army of people to clean it up, and damned if that “running water” sound didn’t sound a lot like this.

As I ran down the stairs to the basement, I could hear the sound of water splashing, gushing, cascading and otherwise doing what would be described using words that would generally denote a more cheerful activity than the one that was happening in our house. It didn’t take long for me to find where the water was coming from, but the leak was behind a panel I would have to tear out to get to it, so I ran back upstairs, changed into grubby clothes, and got to work.

And while I was racing around, I was making several phone calls to the contractors who had ripped the siding off my house, because what had happened apparently was this: There’s a faucet for the garden hose out back of the house. A pipe from the house runs out through a hole in the siding. From what I could tell, when they tore off the siding, they pulled the faucet off, too. Weirdly, they put the faucet back by stuffing the broken pipe back into the hole, as if that would somehow fix things. I conveyed all this information to the contractors, who called a plumber, who arrived at our humble o-bode later that evening, by which time I had shut off the water main and cleaned things up a bit.

The plumber examined the broken pipe, made two quick cuts with a nifty powered tool that removed a two-inch length of pipe so he could get in there with his hand, then fished a small brass cap out of his pocket which he fit over the end of the pipe and pounded it home with the heel of his hand. “You want to turn the water back on?”

“Don’t you at least want to hit that with a hammer?” I asked, because I believed he would at the very least have to solder the cap in place. He insisted it would hold, so I opened the main water valve, expecting to hear the sound of water spraying gaily all over the plumber as he yelled for me to turn it off again. No such thing happened. I stared in wonder at the little brass cap and asked him what the hell it was, because I wanted a couple of them on hand for the next plumbing emergency.

Monday flood | 5:58 am CDT
Category: adventures in plumbing, Our Humble O'Bode, random idiocy | Tags:
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Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

melted coffee pot“Do you smell something burning?” My Darling B asked me the other night as I was watching something on television.

I put the program I was watching on pause, because that’s how you smell things better, and sniffed the air.

“No,” I answered, “but then I can’t smell much at all right now.” We’re both getting over headcolds that were so bad they would, in the middle ages, have been characterized as some version of the plague, or at least a witch’s curse.

B went back to doinking around on Facebook and didn’t appear to be too concerned, so I continued watching television for exactly one and a half minutes, stopping when B looked up again, sniffed the air and said, “Something *is* burning.”

I paused the video again and sniffed the air. Nothing. I looked around for signs of smoke, but didn’t see anything like that, either. B waited about ten seconds for me to get up and look around, but my feeling was that if she wasn’t concerned enough about the smell of something burning to get up herself, then I wasn’t too worried, either, particularly when I didn’t smell anything at all.

She went through the dining room into the kitchen. “Oh, SHIT!”

Well. That’s probably not good.

After finally levering my butt off the sofa and joining B in the kitchen, I found that the coffee pot I set on the stove top when cleaning up after dinner was leaning at an angle toward the small burner in the front corner which was, coincidentally, still switched on at a very low setting but still hot enough, evidently, to melt the plastic base of the coffee pot. We have a stove with one of those flat black ceramic tops that heats up pots and pans by way of magic. We frequently use it as extra counter space because our kitchen is so small, even though we know that’s probably not a good idea, for obvious reasons. I rescued what was left of the coffee pot, then fetched a putty knife from the garage and scraped as much of the melted plastic as I could off the stove top.

We were still going to need the coffee pot in the morning, so I whittled down a cork from a wine bottle and hot-glued it into the gap melted out of the bottom of the pot, giving it a pirate’s peg-leg so it could stand upright on the countertop in the morning. It’ll serve until its replacement arrives in the mail sometime after the holidays.

And for the foreseeable future I guess I’ll have to jump whenever B asks if I smell something burning.

sniffing the air | 10:47 am CDT
Category: fun with electricity, housekeeping, random idiocy
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Sunday, November 24th, 2019

I think a shower couldn’t possibly feel better than right after I’ve been cleaning the toilet, unless it’s after cleaning the toilet and dredging great big greasy blobs of hair out of the drain in the bathtub.

Our Little Red House is sixty-four years old, which means I’ve been through some pretty gnarly adventures in plumbing because sixty-five-year-old plumbing gives a house a lot of personality. The bathtub, for instance, drains into a drum trap, which means it tends to fill up with hair spiders and gobbets of grease. A drum trap has a lid you can remove to clean it out, but I’m not doing that because yuck, and also because the trap is above a finished ceiling I’m not going to cut a hole in just because some hair balled up in the bathtub drain. What I do instead is run water down the tub’s vent while I use a toilet plunger to plunge the drain. The scary-looking crap that come up out of the drain after I vigorously plunge it a dozen or so times would make you scream for your mama.

Compared to the grunginess I feel after plunging out the tub’s drain, cleaning the toilet is relatively benign, but it’s still a toilet and the brush still sprays my arms and sometimes my face as I scrub out the bowl. I would pay so much money for a toilet brush that didn’t spray, but what I’d really like to spend so much money on (and I know I’m sounding like a broken record about this subject) is a toilet that cleans itself. Landing on the moon is cool and all, but a self-cleaning toilet is what I would consider the epitome of technological advancement.

So after covering myself in the grunge from the bathtub drain and getting sprayed with toilet water, I took an almost indecently long, scalding hot shower and enjoyed every second of it like I’ve enjoyed only a handful of showers in my life.

most enjoyable shower | 2:36 pm CDT
Category: adventures in plumbing, housekeeping, Our Humble O'Bode, random idiocy, scrub-a-dub-dub, yet another rant
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

We were wondering the other day if there’s a word or phrase to describe songs you’re done with. I mean, other than the phrase I just used. I was thinking maybe there’s an already-established phrase, or one of those mile-long Latin words. That’s what we were wondering about. But “songs you’re done with” will work just fine, too.

I don’t remember which song came on the radio to make us think about this, but for instance: “Another One Bites The Dust” is a song I’m done with. I still think it’s a perfectly good song and I’m not suggesting it should be banned from the airwaves or anything like that; all I’m saying is that I’ve heard it approximately forty-two million times, so I’m done hearing it. If I’m flipping through radio stations and I hear it, I don’t even pause. There is no desire to stop. I’m done hearing it. The audio teleomere in my brain that marked the number of times I would ever want to hear that song (among others) has been set to zero.

Oh, I remember the song that started this conversation: Frank Sinatra’s recording of “My Way.” In a story on NPR yesterday morning they claimed that this was the most-requested song at karaoke bars and funerals, just one more good reason to avoid both, in my opinion.

songs you’re done with | 6:05 am CDT
Category: entertainment, music, random idiocy
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Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

In a recent Twitter post, Matt Haig asked: “What is the most controversial opinion you strongly hold, and could bet your life on, and don’t mind people knowing? Mine is: astrology isn’t real.” He almost immediately followed that post with, “I regret this tweet,” which I thought was the funniest thing I read on Twitter all day.

My most controversial opinions, in no particular order, are:

Milk chocolate is an abomination. This opinion is controversial only in the fact that almost no one I know will pass up milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate forever! That I ever ate milk chocolate is a shame I can never erase from myself.

Vaccinations should be mandatory. Also, they should be free. That vaccines have become controversial truly saddens me. My wife has a smallpox scar on her arm; I don’t, because smallpox was wiped out by vaccines. Same with polio. I don’t understand how people do not see that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Organ donation should be mandatory, too.

People aren’t heroes just because they served in the military, and the way the general public seems to worship anyone in military uniforms is truly creepy.

And I also believe that astrology is about as real as alchemy or phrenology.

most controversial | 5:28 am CDT
Category: random idiocy, yet another rant
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Monday, November 4th, 2019

Wide awake at three this morning, dozed on and off until I gave up & rolled out of bed at four. It’s not insomnia, it’s my internal clock failing to adjust to the tick-tock clocks falling back. It used to be I was wide awake at four, dozed until five. It’ll take my internal clock at least a month to completely transition to this new time frame.

I thought we got all the tick-tock clocks reset yesterday — B even managed to reset the clock in the car, and it took her less than a minute to do it! — but I missed the one in the thermostat, which is timed to turn down the heat at ten o’clock in the evening, then crank it up again at five o’clock in the morning. And that’s why my head asploded when I woke up at three, figured out why I was awake an hour early, rolled out of bed at four to take a shower, then heard the furnace and whiplashed temporally back into daylight savings time for a few minutes until I figured out why the house was warming up an hour earlier than it should have been.

Have I mentioned yet how much I hate daylight savings time?

lagged | 5:16 am CDT
Category: random idiocy, sleeplessness, yet another rant | Tags:
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Sunday, October 27th, 2019

I just ran across another one of those “asteroid passes uncomfortably close to earth” stories and I have to ask: Why are these stories nearly always written as if asking the question: Why keep track of asteroids when the so-called smart people are obviously crap at keeping the asteroids away from earth? But I know why they’re written that way. It’s because the kind of people doing the writing are the same kind of people who go outside when there’s a hurricane to tell you there’s a hurricane.

And “uncomfortably close” is an odd way of characterizing the path of an asteroid that never got within a couple million miles of earth. I’d call it uncomfortably close when I can SEE it and the sonic boom it makes as it slices through the atmosphere shatters windows. THAT would be uncomfortably close.

near miss | 7:10 am CDT
Category: random idiocy, weather, yet another rant
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Monday, October 14th, 2019

I was today years old when I learned that the game where you throw beanbags at a board with a hole in it is called “cornhole.” That is not a word I have heard used in polite company before. My father sometimes used that word, not in public, to refer to an act of sexual intercourse that was not allowed by law when he was a younger man.

But I found out today that this is a fairly common name for the game I have always called “beanbag toss” or just “beanbags.” I found out from an email I got at work for an annual fundraiser called “Partners in Giving.” The email subject was “Partners in Giving cornhole tournament.”

“Partners in giving cornhole” was not a phrase I ever expected to see in an inter-office email.

All but one of my coworkers refer to the game as “cornhole” so they didn’t think it was as odd as I thought, but they got a good laugh out of the surprise I got from the email, which means I’m not wrong about the name meaning something else. And after visiting several web pages to see if I could figure out how this game went from being named something as innocent as “beanbag toss” to being referred to as “cornhole,” I learned that a beanbag left on the board is called a “woody,” while tossing a beanbag so it rolls over a blocking beanbag to go into the hole is called “going through the back door.” So it seems more than likely to me the game was renamed with a sly wink, and maybe some alcohol was involved.

beanbag | 5:53 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, games, random idiocy
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Saturday, October 12th, 2019

I paid cash for my lunch at the grocery store the other day. Didn’t expect the high school guy at the register to count back my change the way cashiers used to, but I did expect him to be able to add up the values of the coins as he was making change, which he was apparently having a lot of trouble with. He started by digging out a couple of quarters, which he obviously added up in his head, then thought long and hard about whether to grab another quarter, decided not to, dug a couple of dimes out of the till and mentally added them to the quarters, then stared at the display while trying to decide how many nickels he needed. It won’t be too much longer until the register displays the change graphically: dollar bill, dollar bill, dollar bill, quarter, quarter, dime, nickel, penny, penny.

making change | 9:10 am CDT
Category: damn kids!, random idiocy, this modern world, yet another rant | Tags: , , ,
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Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

When I came home from my walk the other day, I dug into my pocket for my key ring, selected a key as I climbed the stoop to the front door, then depressed the “unlock” button on the ignition key for our car.

From the garage, the car answered with two beeps. The front door did not respond in any way.

open sesame | 6:33 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, falling apart, random idiocy
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Saturday, September 28th, 2019

I was investigating some fraud earlier this week, because that’s what they pay me to do, and I had to find out which bank used a certain routing number, which is the number that’s printed at the bottom of your checks, if you still write checks.

Luckily, I work right next door to the office where they do a lot of accounting and I figured they used some super-official web site to look up routing numbers all day long, so I walked over there and asked one of the accountants if she would look up the routing number I had.

“Oh, I just google that,” she said. “Just type in, ‘which bank is routing number 12345’ and it will tell you. It’s public knowledge; they don’t keep them secret.”

Not only don’t they keep them secret; banks publish their routing number all over their web sites. After I found out which bank I was looking for and I went to their web site, it was printed right at the top of the page with the name of the bank.

And now you know.

no secret | 8:13 am CDT
Category: office work, random idiocy, this modern world, work
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Saturday, July 27th, 2019

We got a letter in the mail last week, an actual hand-written letter which My Darling B opened because who even writes letters any more? The only handwritten mail we get now is the occasional birthday card from close family. We get a lot of letters soliciting donations that appear to be handwritten but at second glance are obviously printed using a font that looks like handwriting. Not the case with this letter we got last week: The handwriting was cramped and our last name was crunched up against the edge of the envelope.

The letter itself was written on blue card paper and read in its entirety:

Hello – our names are Mike & Rose – We really like the location of your house on (name of street). If you have any interest in selling please give us a call. Thanks!

It’s not unusual for us to get offers from realtors who want to buy our house. We probably get one a month. The housing market in Madison seems pretty hot and many of houses in our neighborhood have new owners. What’s unusual is that this particular letter was addressed by hand instead of printed and the envelope was affixed with a real first-class postage stamp, not one of those fake-looking bulk rate stamps.

My Darling B and I talked it over and decided the best possible reply to this letter would be:

We accept your kind offer on the following conditions:
1. We will vacate the house in 1 week.
2. You take possession of the house & everything in it.
3. Price of the house is not negotiable: $500,000.00 cash, paid in twenties.
4. By accepting this deal you waive all rights of rescission.
5. No questions asked.

If you accept these conditions, leave the cash in a green canvas duffel bag on our doorstep Monday morning at 6:00 am. We will vacate the house by the next Monday & leave the keys on the kitchen counter.

If you attempt to contact us in any way other than leaving the cash in the duffel bag, the deal is off.

It was so much fun to come up with this offer that, if we weren’t fairly certain we’d have the police at our door, we’d answer them just to see what else might happen.

offer accepted with conditions | 11:07 am CDT
Category: entertainment, Our Humble O'Bode, random idiocy, this modern world
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Trump’s bigoted rants aren’t going to stop. He’s going to keep on ranting and he’s going to get more offensively racist with each rant. How much longer are we going to put up with a blatantly racist president?

DRT rants about Cummings 7-27-29

infested | 4:30 am CDT
Category: current events, random idiocy, yet another rant | Tags:
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Sunday, April 28th, 2019

the great Paris accord
how is Paris doing lately?
how is Paris?
how is Paris doing?

send all the money to countries that the people never heard of
and raise their taxes

I ended that one, too

I thought I was going to take a lot of heat on that one

a lot of heat | 11:02 am CDT
Category: Big Book of Quotations, random idiocy, this modern world | Tags: ,
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