Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I’m pretty sure this is the weirdest thing you’ll see all day. Let me know if I’m wrong.

“Provide two (2) forms of identification …” That parenthetical aside has always bugged me. Always. I’ve had a long, weird admiration for legalese since I learned how to write, but the addition of that parenthetical numeral has never made sense to me. If there are people who didn’t understand the sentence with only the number written out, but the light bulb suddenly came on when their eye passed over the numeral, I haven’t met them yet.

Sunday morning brain vomit | 8:31 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013

The song stuck in my head this morning is the saccharin-sweet teen ballad Loving You by Debbie Gibson Minnie Riperton. It’s been playing on a loop for hours. I want to die.

Next-day edit: I eventually got this song out of my head without killing myself, but it came back the next day. Not only that, I had the nagging feeling that I couldn’t blame this song on Debbie Gibson. That bugged me so much I had to ask the Google who sang it. Turns out to be the hit song that crowned the career of Minnie Riperton, a 28-year-old singer who had lapsed into semi-retirement when she was discovered by a recording studio that signed her on to record this and other songs for the record Perfect Angel. So the song that made her a star is the one that makes me want to hang myself. Kinda makes me feel like a grinch.

Wait, it gets better. Three years after she hit it big with that song, she was dead of cancer. And as if that wasn’t enough to make me feel guilty about hating this crappy, crappy song, it’s based on a lullaby she made up to sing her daughter to sleep. There. My total shittiness is now complete.

Kill Me Now | 12:16 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, music, random idiocy
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Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Baby, The Rain Must Fall, the song in which Glenn Yarbrough uses weather as a metaphor to tell his gal why he wants to boink other women, has been playing on a loop in my head ALL FREAKIN’ DAY!

Memory is a cruel thing. In thirty years I probably won’t be able to remember my own damn name, but I’ll bet the nursing home orderlies will all think Baby, The Rain Must Fall is my favorite song, coz why else would I sing the chorus over and over all day long?

this is your brain on drugs | 3:30 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, entertainment, music, play, random idiocy
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five dollar billAt the grocery store the other day, I walked in just as a guy was backing a shopping cart out of the rack and passing it to his daughter, who appeared to be about five years old. “There you go,” he told her, “get all the germs off.” The little girl obliged by taking a wet wipe from the dispenser at the front door and giving the handle of the cart a few swipes before she lost her hold on it, allowing the wet wipe to fall to the floor. She quickly picked it up and resumed wiping. So, not as germ-free as dad had hoped.

A little later I spotted the same little girl sitting in the fold-out chair of the shopping cart while her dad ordered from the meat counter. The little girl was chewing on the corner of a five-dollar bill. I can only guess that her germ-hating dad had been looking for something that would distract her long enough for him to talk with the butcher, so he gave her a bill that only several thousand other people stuffed in their sweaty hip pockets, slapped on top of sloppy restaurant tables or bars and otherwise fondled with their unwashed hands. The irony was piling up fast.

fiver | 7:28 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy | Tags: ,
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Saturday, August 31st, 2013

How to make a baby…

…the rest of the series at My Modern Met.

how-to | 4:13 am CST
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Thursday, August 29th, 2013

thoughtful chin strokeWith a thoughtful chin stroke, I proclaim the following:

All public toilet stalls shall from this day forward be installed with big, red fire bells that shall clang and clang and clang until the users thereof shall flush their dookie, because yuck.

War with Syria. What could go wrong? I mean, seriously, what could possibly go wrong? We send in the carrier group, we release the robot drones, then we rent video of the missile strikes on pay-per-view. What red-blooded American wouldn’t pay to watch that? Socialist ones, that’s who. I say, stop dilly-dallying around and let’s get this party started. I can’t wait to see my children in uniform, parachuting into yet another country that looks like a cat box to save the world for democracy.

State representative Paul Tittl is the most brilliant man alive. Tittl wants to raise the speed limit on Wisconsin’s highways from 65 mph to 70 mph so people can get home faster to spend more time with their families. That would definitely work for someone who was commuting from Milwaukee to Superior, giving them almost a whole 45 minutes to play with the kiddies, while commuters between Milwaukee and Madison will get an unbelievable 9 minutes more. Thanks for pointing that out, representative Tittl! I didn’t pay attention during math class, either!

If I had an articulated glove of stainless steel armor, all I would do is think deep thoughts like these all day, every day. Please send your donations to: Oh God Dave Please Metalically Stroke Your Chin, c/o Harvey the Wonder Hamster, PO Box 07734, Monona WI 53716

thoughtful chin stroke | 7:40 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Maybe I’m missing something …

[Texas] state agencies described resistance from some fertilizer companies in trying to inspect their facilities. The Fire Marshal’s Office has identified 153 facilities in the state that are believed to store ammonium nitrate. Since Texas doesn’t have a state fire code, the fire marshal lacks the authority to conduct inspections if the company resists.

Texas has a fire marshal, but it has no fire code? Pardon me for asking, Texas, but isn’t that like tits on a bull?

code red | 6:12 am CST
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Monday, August 26th, 2013

hothothotWell, the temp is already 75 degrees at five o’clock in the morning, so the heat, how hot it is, and sweating like a pig is all anybody will be talking about today …


hothothot | 5:30 am CST
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Friday, August 23rd, 2013

While listening to a recording of “Jumpin’ At The Woodside” by Count Basie, I asked My Darling B, “Does this song make you think of a man with a paper bag on his head?”

She looked at me like a puzzled puppy.

“Gene, Gene, dancing machine!” I said, thinking that this would explain things. It did not.

Well, then:

woodchoppers | 9:12 pm CST
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Thursday, July 25th, 2013

lonely cell phonesThese are two of the loneliest cell phones in the world.

Before last night, these cells went everywhere with their owners, but that was before the smart phones came along. Now, they sit untouched on an end table, gathering dust while their owners download apps, tweet and play Angry Birds.

Poor little cell phones.


lonely | 7:56 pm CST
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Saturday, July 20th, 2013

WASHINGTON D.C. (UPI) – Both houses of Congress worked through an all-night emergency session that began yesterday afternoon to pass sweeping legislation to bar Christians from holding public office, serving in the armed forces, carrying firearms or operating any kind of motor vehicle or aircraft.

The legislation began as a bill introduced only yesterday afternoon in the House by Speaker Eugene Sheisenbach (R-Mich) after considering an e-mail he received only that morning.

“It was a message from a close personal friend,” Sheisenbach said. “I usually don’t open e-mail with a subject of ‘FWD:RE:FWD:SUBJ:FWD: IMPORTANT!!!!!’ but he’s not the kind of guy to send junk mail so I checked it out.”

The e-mail was a link to a video depicting three people discussing the Christian phenomenon known as “the rapture” as they rode in a car. In the video, two of the car’s occupants, both Christians, abruptly disappear, leaving the third in the back seat, evidently a non-Christian, gaping in astonishment.

“When I considered the metaphor of a driverless car as a leaderless America, the implications were staggering,” Sheisenbach said. “Imagine the chaos our country would be plunged into if our president and a majority of congress were to vanish without warning!”

“And that’s only the beginning,” Sheisenbach went on. “How many of our soldiers and sailors might suddenly be called to heaven? What about our police officers? Fire fighters? This is a threat to the safety and security of our country, and we’ve been ignoring it for generations! Global terrorism pales to insignificance in comparison!”

After making his born-again chauffeur pull over and driving his own limousine into town, Sheisenbach began immediately conferring with his colleagues and found that, among those who did not profess to be Christian, few had given the matter more than passing consideration.

“The Christians in the House,” Sheisenbach said, “informed the rest of us that when they are called away, the world would be plunged into such chaos that crashing planes and burning buildings would be the least of our worries.”

“Well, of course it’ll be chaos!” Sheisenbach surmised. “With the police force gutted, the military incapacitated, planes falling out of the sky and cities burning out of control – who wouldn’t call that chaos?”

“It quickly became apparent to all of us that only an entirely secular government would provide for a safe, secure America after the rapture,” Sheisenbach concluded.

“I had to admit he had a good point,” admitted Rep. Rusty P. “Stephen” Wackenhut, the Speaker of the House and a born-again Christian. “Not only that but, thinking it through, it was more than a little irresponsible of me to hold a position of such importance in the House when I couldn’t say I’d be in for work tomorrow. Heck, I could’ve vanished before legislation was enacted without so much as a ‘Gotta go!'”

The sweeping legislation, unanimously approved by all members of the House and again shortly afterward by the Senate, not only barred Christians from any office or job from which their disappearance would endanger others, it went further to forbid anyone but atheists from assuming those positions. “What if we open it up to Muslims or Rastafarians or Scientologists, and then it turns out they’re going to go ‘poof!’ too?” asked Sheisenbach, only a bit rhetorically. “And there were those guys who got swept up by a comet a couple years ago.”

“We weren’t even going to take a chance on agnostics, or anybody else who might go all wishy-washy,” Sheisenbach said. “Who would want anybody but an earth-bound atheist doing their colonoscopy? Just imagine being face-down on the examination table with that sticking out of you and nobody around to remove it. Gives me the willies.”

Yeah, it’s a repost, but it’s one of my favorites. Sue me.

poof | 7:19 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Monday, July 15th, 2013

A fender washer is a circle of steel about the size of a half-dollar with a smallish hole in the middle. I had one in my collection. I needed four, so I pocketed the one as I got ready to jump into the O-mobile to head down the road so I could save big money at the hardware store.

But first, a bit of fun.

“Do you have any of these?” I asked My Darling B, showing her the washer. She frowned at it for a long minute. It almost looked as though she were thinking, Now, darn it, I know I had a bunch of those. Where did I put them?

That’s not what she was thinking, though. What she was thinking was what she said about a minute later: “Um. No? I don’t have any … metal donuts?”

fender | 9:12 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, My Darling B, O'Folks, random idiocy
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Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Who hasn’t needed this guy to save the day at least once in their lives?

Mighty Mouse | 9:05 pm CST
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Sunday, July 7th, 2013

If you read nothing else today, you should devote fifteen minutes to Eyeball of Providence unless, providentially, you have an appointment tomorrow with a doctor who will slice your eyeballs open and you’re feeling at all anxious about it.

… if you have to have cataract surgery and have not seen “Un Chien Andalou,” the classic short film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, which famously features the slicing of an eyeball, you might skip it until after the procedure. You might also not like to know that in modern times the idea for intraocular lens implant surgery got going in 1949, when one Sir Harold Ridley observed that Plexiglas fragments from exploded Spitfire canopies had not led to infection or rejection in the injured eyes of Royal Air Force pilots. You might also wish you weren’t reading this. Too late.

One of my instructors in college taught a film class where he showed them “Un Chien Andalou” and said that, even after he told them exactly how the special effect was done, they didn’t want to see it again. I still regret not signing up for that class.

The idea that trained medical specialists can slice open your eyes, then put them back together so they work properly, has fascinated me since my father went to the doctor with cataracts and came back with artificial lenses that had a creepy sparkle when the light hit them just right. I didn’t know until today they were made of Plexiglas. Fascinating!

“Eyeball of Providence,” Daniel Menaker, The New York Times

Plexi | 8:38 am CST
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Sunday, June 30th, 2013

With about fifteen minutes between chores this morning, I started folding clothes from a basket that’s been sitting on the floor in our bedroom all week, a common-enough sight in our house. We can wash clothes like the pros, we’re just not so good at folding them or putting them away. Sometimes we go a whole week picking shirts and underpants to wear out of a basket of unfolded clothes. Yeah, we live like a couple of frat kids.

I was only going to fold up the t-shirts so they wouldn’t wrinkle. I like folding t-shirts. I can grab one by the hem, give it a twirl in the air to flatten it out, catch it by the hem and fold it into quarters in no time. I’d folded up nearly a dozen t-shirts when I noticed a distinctly musky aroma coming from the one that was twirling in the air before my face. Catching it, I pressed it against my schnozz and took a deep whiff. Gahhh!

I picked up the basket, leaned in close and took another whiff. Double-gahhh! Those were not clean clothes.

So much for trying to be productive.

what’s that smell? | 11:16 am CST
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Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

In every movie I’ve ever seen about the war in Viet Nam, there’s always one scene where it’s raining like it’s never going to stop raining. That’s how it’s raining here today. If a visitor from another planet landed in my backyard today, he would nickname this planet Rain.

Monstrous Red Rain | 7:00 am CST
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Friday, June 21st, 2013

Oh My God We're All Gonna Die, Aren't We?Not biking to work today. Woke up to thunder and was greeted by spotty rain drizzling down when I opened the front door to let the chipmunks tease the cats. And there was also a monstrous red blob coming in from the west on the satellite map when I checked the National Weather Service. I don’t mind getting rained on coming home from work, but I try to avoid getting rained on when I’m going to work. That would really torque my crank.

Monstrous red blob means probably rain all weekend. So it’s going to be a stay-inside weekend, then. Oh well. I got some more brewing equipment in the mail yesterday so it was already likely I was going to spend a big part of the weekend in the basement making a mess anyway.

monstrous red blob | 6:08 am CST
Category: commuting, daily drivel, random idiocy, work
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Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

He was wearing jeans that were pulled all the way up to his waist and properly belted so there was no chance they were going to sag, ever. And over the jeans he wore triple-XL plaid boxer shorts.

Oh yes. It can always get worse.

under effen wear | 6:35 pm CST
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Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Biking to work today, I slowed down at the spot where the bike trail crossed Blount because a Budweiser beer truck was coming up the road. He was moving pretty slow but I’m pretty slow sometimes too and I didn’t want to get smooshed like a bug, so I stopped.

I had to wait a lot longer than I thought I would for him to get to the crossing. Just as he got there, he hit the brakes and waved me a cross.

What I should have done then was shook my head and waved him across. Either that, or moon him. But I was in a hurry, so I went.

I’ll have to file that away in my “Just one more reason not to like Budweiser” scrapbook, I guess.

No, after you | 6:28 pm CST
Category: commuting, daily drivel, random idiocy, work
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Monday, June 17th, 2013

The cats came so close to realizing their nefarious plan.

For weeks, they’ve been waking me up a little earlier each day by standing at the foot of our bed mewling, or jumping on my head, and I’ve been obliging them by getting up and feeding them, thinking that with a little food in their bellies they’d leave me alone and I could go get a little more sleep.

Only I don’t get more sleep. If I wake up after four or five o’clock in the morning, I’m up for the rest of the day. Well, until, say, eight o’clock that night, anyway. So this has been a game of diminishing returns, and this morning it diminished even further: Damn cats woke me up at four o’clock.

I didn’t get up because I knew it was pointless. I could have fed them, but I wouldn’t have been able to get back to sleep, so I laid there for maybe twenty minutes before I got out of bed to make some coffee and gobble down a bowl of oatmeal. And ignore the cats. They tried everything they could think of to get my attention, even that thing where they wind around my legs and sit down right in front of me while I’m walking across the dining room, but I managed not only to ignore them but also to avoid concussion after tripping over one of them and falling on my face.

They’re more than a little puzzled by this, wandering around in a bit of a daze. He didn’t feed us. That never happened before. And occasionally they get tangled up with each other, resulting in a swatting match that’s oddly satisfying to watch. But they still haven’t been fed, and won’t be until I’m ready to leave for work. And that’s the way it’s going to be from now on.

cat plan | 5:33 am CST
Category: Bonkers, Boo, daily drivel, O'Folks, random idiocy
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Sunday, June 9th, 2013

This is Oolong the rabbit, who was apparently an internet meme about ten years ago.

Ten years ago I hadn’t even heard of internet memes.

I have so much catching up to do that I’d never be able to catch up if I could afford to make it my full-time job. I’m pretty sure this means I’m at the age when all I can do is putter.


Oolong | 10:51 am CST
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Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

The automatic doors at the co-op don’t open for me. Maybe I’m some kind of technological-age vampire.

I don’t mean to say they won’t open for me. I can make the door open if I back up a few steps, then walk toward the door again, or wave my hands in the air over my head, or do something else that makes me look almost as dorky. The vampire hypothesis is not proven, is what I’m saying.

Even though I can eventually make the door open for me, when I first approach it, it doesn’t seem to know I’m there at all. The first time it happened I wasn’t all that weirded out by it, but now that it’s happened almost every time I’m feeling more than a little weird.

It’s not so bad when I’m on my own, but when My Darling B is with me, I feel like I’m being picked on. On the plus side, the doors open as soon as she steps up.

am I a vampire? | 8:59 pm CST
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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Bonkers was – it’s another post about my cat, folks. Spare yourselves. Turn the channel now.

(Does anybody still say “turn the channel” anymore? I haven’t been paying attention. It used to make sense when there was a dial on the front of the television that you had to grab and twist, but even though I still say it, it’s been at least thirty years since I’ve turned an actual dial to another channel. I feel as though I’m already one of those fogeys that kids snicker at.)

Bonkers was making lots of licky-slurpy noises this morning, and he was camped out right next to my head. Right. Next. To. My. Head.

He stopped for about thirty seconds after I gave him a quick poke with my elbow, but then started licking again. Noisily. And he smelled like cat spit.

I poked him again. Again, thirty seconds of quiet before SLURPY-SLURPY-SLURPY.

*poke!*

Silence.

SLURPY-SLURPY-SLURPY.

This went on for far too long before I finally gave up, rolled to the edge of the bed and shut off my alarm clock, resigned to getting up early because I sure wasn’t going to get anything like satisfying, restful sleep while Mister Puddles washed himself.

And, of course, he jumped down off the bed and left the room as I was getting up.

I’m going to boil and eat that cat one day.

slurpy | 6:28 am CST
Category: Bonkers, daily drivel, O'Folks, random idiocy
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Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Trash day. Gotta remember to put out the recycling, too. Am I the only one who thinks that the garbage truck and the recycling truck both end up in the same place? I said that once to one of my coworkers, who was horrified at the thought. She apparently never doubted that the guys who picked up the recycling actually recycled it. I’ve always wondered, but I’ve never been concerned enough to follow the recycling truck to its destination. If I followed a recycling truck back to its home, how weird would that be? Would that be considered stalking?

trash day | 6:02 am CST
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Monday, May 13th, 2013

laundryday3It’s Day 3 of Goddamn Laundry Hamper Week and, as you can see, the damned thing is nowhere near empty even though I’ve washed three extra-large loads and a regular load of clothes that I pulled from it last weekend, so I’m definitely not crazy and these pictures prove the goddamn laundry hamper can refill itself when nobody’s looking. Prove it without question! So, yeah. I’m sticking to my story.

goddamn laundry hamper 3 | 6:10 pm CST
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Sunday, May 12th, 2013

image of goddamn laundry hamperIt’s the second day of my attempt to catch our goddamn laundry hamper refilling itself. Here’s what it looked like this morning after yanking three extra-large loads of dirty clothes from it (third load was all the towels). It’s not heaping full, as it was yesterday, but it’s still suspiciously plump. I’m about to yank more from it, the reds this time, I think, but I don’t think I’ll be able to pull another load this afternoon because there’s a mountain of washed, unfolded clothes that’s almost blocking the way to the wash machine, so I’ll have to put a dent in that before I can wash much more. This is when the goddamn laundry hamper usually replenishes itself. I’m gonna catch it this time, though!

laundry day 2 | 11:13 am CST
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Saturday, May 11th, 2013

One big-ass load of whites. Possibly the biggest ever. The wash machine is making noises like an old guy straining on the toilet.

Hey, I warned you I was going to do this. You thought I was kidding?

biggest damn load of whites ever | 12:44 pm CST
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image of our goddamn laundry hamperSo, this is our goddamn laundry hamper. I used to think of it as our magical laundry hamper because, no matter how much we took out of it to stuff into the wash machine, when we came back it was still just as full as before. But that’s not magical, is it? “Magical” is fun. Washing clothes forever is not fun. So over time I’ve come to think of this as our goddamn laundry hamper.

I took a photo of our goddamn laundry hamper so I could perform a little experiment: I’m going to liveblog the O-laundry. Really. It’s the internet, people. You know there’s stuff out there that’s as bad or worse than this, so I don’t even want to hear your flames.

So this is the goddamn laundry hamper on day one, full of more clothes that two people can possibly wear in a week, or at least that’s my story and we’re going to find out if I can stick to it. Shortly after I took this photo, I sorted the darks from everything else and stuffed as much of the darks into the wash machine as it could hold. That’s one load done. Hoping to wash at least two more loads today. Watch this space.

goddamn laundry hamper | 8:27 am CST
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Thursday, May 9th, 2013

I just wanted to note here that we did not drink beer tonight. Rocks your world, I know, but we needed a night off from Madison Craft Beer Week to recharge our batteries and get ready for the weekend. We’re not spring chickens any more, y’know.

My Darling B commanded grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with tomato soup for dinner, and what My Darling B commands, that is what she shall have. Probably shouldn’t have eaten the potato chips, too, though.

night off | 9:01 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, My Darling B, O'Folks, random idiocy
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Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Seems as though there was a city-wide garage sale going on since Thursday and it ended today, which means that, even though My Darling B and I drove around the neighborhood to see if there were any deals to be had, all of the good stuff was probably gone at about seven or eight o’clock Thursday morning, because all that we found at the houses we stopped at were heaps of baby clothes, legions of Hummel figurines, row upon row of pilsner glasses and enough toys to send the most jaded tot into an apoplectic fit.

I did take home a coffee grinder for just two dollars that I managed to get working. It hadn’t been cleaned since the Regan administration and required a thorough scrubbing in battery acid and lye, but even so I always have hours of fun with a new coffee toy, so it was two dollars well spent.

sale | 5:15 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Brushing my teeth in front of the bathroom mirror the other day, I noticed a coffee stain on the front of my shirt. I didn’t remember spilling coffee on myself recently. When you can’t remember spilling coffee on yourself, that means you’ve been wearing a shirt with a coffee stain on it for weeks, possibly months.

spill | 6:47 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

No trouble at all getting to sleep last night. Matter of fact, when my alarm clock started bleeping this morning, I felt as though I could’ve used a couple more hours of it. My Darling B and I were waltzing like a couple of overcaffeinated Viennese dance monkeys. No, I don’t know what those are. I just made them up. Couldn’t think of something else that dances like a great big crazy dancing thing. Anyway, we were dancing a lot, and before that I rode my bike home from work, which of course means that I rode my bike to work, and that’s a lot of legwork for a guy who doesn’t do a lot of legwork in a typical day. I was bushed. Fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. That kind of thing. If I make it through the day without dozing off during my breaks or lunch hour, or the meeting with whoever I have a meeting with, I’ll be freaking amazed. Looks like an all-day coffee guzzle fest. But at least today is my Friday.

legwork | 5:54 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

A typical truck driver taking a corner, like the one we saw turning on to First Street from Atwood Avenue, both two-lane city roads. The inside wheels of the tractor truck climbed the curb because he cut the turn way too close, not that he was aware of that; a quick flash of the brake lights ratted him out. Then the outside wheels of the tractor ran over the median he hadn’t left enough room to avoid. More brake lights. Finally, the inside wheels of the trailer humped over the corner curb stone again as he lurched around the turn with all the grace of a hippo dancing a ballet. It’s dickheads like this guy who make me pissed that trailer trucks are allowed to use city streets.

On exactly the same street the day before, but one block north, we saw an example of the kind of truck driver who I stand in awe of. He was headed southbound on East Washington Avenue, a six-lane arterial road into the city, and at first I thought he’d switched on his left turn signal by mistake as he drove almost all the way through the intersection before cranking his wheel hard around and folding that big rig like a jackknife. I grabbed the gear shift of my own car out of reflex and glanced in the rear-view mirror to see how far I could back up if I had to, but there was no need. This truck driver was a real artist. The outside wheels of his tractor cleared the curb with room to spare, and the trailer, an oversize sway-back rig loaded down with an excavator or some other piece of heavy construction equipment, never really came close to the outside fender of our car. And he never hesitated, he just glided right into that one lane next to mine and kept on going.

Truck | 7:52 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy, yet another rant
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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

B in her gardenWE’RE SO CLOSE TO SPRING!

About a week ago, when winter finally showed the first signs of letting up on us just a bit, My Darling B went out to her garden to paw through the snow cover, searching for sprouting garlic but, so sad, couldn’t find any.

This week, it’s been even warmer, and today temps crept into the 50s for the first time. As soon as we got home, B slipped into her mud-caked gardening shoes and was out in the back yard again, looking for sprouts.
Still no luck. Damn. But just look at how much of the ground you can see! Two months ago the snow was hip-deep. Two weeks ago it was was knee-deep. And now …

A few of the people I work with were complaining about the rain and the gray, dirty snow. I couldn’t stand it. What, are you kidding me? I shot back. It’s raining! Let me put it another way: It’s not snowing! And the snow on the ground is melting because of the rain! I just don’t get people sometimes.

so close | 7:14 am CST
Category: coworkers, daily drivel, My Darling B, O'Folks, random idiocy, work
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Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up:

Saturday

Farmer’s Market: A delicious breakfast featuring a pesto Monte Cristo with bread pudding, mushy granola & cranberries, and apple quarters mixed up with some kind of sweet potato stuff. I loved everything except the sweet potato stuff.

Saint Vinnie’s: brought home copies of Henry Hitchings’ Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary and Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman: A Tale Of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. A lexical twofer!

Nap Time: It was good!

Dinner: Fired up the Weber to grill a couple of ribeye buffalo steaks. B served with baked potatoes. Bliss!

Movie: The Informant! — funny as hell.

Bedtime: Late. Slept sound and long.

Sunday

Auction: A total bust. Didn’t see one thing we thought was worth staying for, so we didn’t. Home before noon.

Furniture: Moved it. I’ve been saying for weeks that I would get around to setting up an office in what used to be Tim’s room so B would have a desk with a filing cabinet so she could work on finances. Finally did that. Still have to put up book shelves and get a day bed for visitors, but it’s a good start.
Furniture again: Built it. My desktop computer, upon which I bang out these words, formerly sat on the desk that is now upstairs in our gonnabe-office, so before I could move it I had to have an emergency back-up desk on which to set up my computer. Lucky for me I saved the door that used to be in the wall that I knocked out of the basement work shop. Put four legs on it and voila! a desk. Wobbles a bit, but I think I can fix that.

weekend wrap-up | 7:34 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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If one billion people on this planet drink a cup of coffee every day, and one billion people drink a cup of tea … it’s probably way more than that, but you get the idea … then where is all that coffee and tea coming from? How’s it even possible that people can grow that much coffee and tea on this planet?

Same with corn. Every can of soda pop has high-fructose corn syrup in it. Everyone I know drinks at least two cans of pop a day. Where in the world do they find the room to grow all that corn?

If they’re growing it on this world. Maybe it’s coming from outside our world, and there’s a massive corporate cover-up going on to keep us from realizing that we’re dependent on alien worlds for our food supply.

It kind of boggles the mind, doesn’t it? It boggles mine. Discuss.

food for aliens | 7:33 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

When I retired from the military and went on the job hunt, I was offered a job at a bank and took it, thinking it would be pretty financially secure because, you know, that’s where the money’s at. In banks.

Or maybe not.

And when we went shopping for cars, I was dead set on buying a Toyota because they had an awesome reputation for dependability and held their value.

Well, not quite.

Is there another shoe? No, that’s two. Maybe the shoes are done dropping for a while. I hope so.

shoes | 9:57 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Our dish washer’s broke, so we had to call Sears to get a technician out here to look at it and it’s one of those service calls they can’t give you an exact time for because timetables embolden the terrorists and endanger national security. So I took the day off from work to sit in the front room all day and watch for the dish washer repair guy.

It’s sort of like being a house cat. I could curl up on the sofa and doze while I waited, getting up from time to time to stuff kibble in my face and poop, if I wanted to make it exactly like being a house cat. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea, if only I weren’t on my second cup of coffee already. Won’t be doing much dozing right now.

The view out the front window is of a yard and street freshly covered in a light dusting of snow. I’ll have to forgo dozing to shovel that off the front steps so the service man doesn’t track it through the house on his boots. Or not as much, anyway. There’s still a gentle sprinkle slowly sifting down upon us. Unless I go sweep the stoop every ten minutes, there’s no getting around that.

Once the technician’s on the road he’s supposed to phone to give us an idea when he might be coming around, but no call yet. Or maybe he’s not going to ring us until he’s at the house before ours and just finishing up.

Pensively waiting …

pensive | 9:55 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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gun-totinA gaggle of gun-totin’ self-defenders gathered at a Starbuck’s in Sussex yesterday to pick up some java before demonstrating at the headquarters of the State Patrol. Starbucks corporate policy allows people to pack heat in their stores if state law allows it.

I love the quote from Krysta Sutterfield, one of the protesters, who generalized sweepingly, “If people see a gun, they immediately think ‘criminal,’ but criminals don’t wear their guns in holsters.”

What, seriously? They never holster their guns? So they just carry their guns around all the time in their hands, then? Isn’t that sort of inconvenient? Actually, Krysta, I’m pretty sure you’re wrong. I haven’t googled it yet, but I’ll bet there is plenty of evidence to prove that criminals use holsters at least occasionally.

And when I see people walking around with holstered guns, the first thing I think is not, “criminal.” The first thing I think is, “Wow, paranoid!” It’s one thing to keep a gun in your home for self-defense. I can almost get behind that. I think it’s dangerous, but it’s your home and if having guns in it will make you happy, then go for it, so long as you keep them there and you don’t discharge them when I’m around.

But to feel so afraid for your personal safely when you go out to Starbucks for a latte that you resort to not only packing a pistol in public (I love alliteration) but that you also have to have it hanging out there on your hip for all to see, that’s just sad. Sad and paranoid.

IN THE COMMENTS: Pete added, “Really? Paranoid. When I see a gun enthusiast, paranoia is not what I think about. I think about somebody who is just itchin’ to shoot somebody legally. Go ahead … make my day.”

itchin | 9:50 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Tonight’s talk radio was full of metaphors. Bad ones. Really bad ones.

It started off with a discussion on the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Waziristan and all those other stans. There were quite a few bad actors on that stage, one of the listeners called in to say, and another one called in to venture the opinion that the conflict started with bin Laden. “When you look around that Monopoly board,” he began with a lead-in that made us wince, “he’s the goose that laid the golden egg.”
Geeze. Even wet cement doesn’t get that mixed.

It shouldn’t have been able to go any further downhill than that, but it did when a librarian called in to tell an author that she couldn’t keep his books on the shelf. “They’re flying like hotcakes,” she told him.

Flying. Like. Hotcakes?

Hmmmm. They’re flying … like … um, I don’t know … something with wings … that flies …

“Birds?”

No … you know, those flying things …

“Airplanes?”

… hmmm … no … it’s right on the tip of my tongue …

“Paul McCartney?”

… oh, I know! Hotcakes!

Sorry, license to use the English language revoked!

flying hotcakes | 9:28 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Here’s something that’ll keep My Darling B awake all night: STREET LEGAL BUMPER CARS!

street-legal bumper cars!

More street-legal bumper cars at CoolThings.com and this Flickr page.

bumper cars go bump | 9:26 am CST
Category: daily drivel, damn kids!, random idiocy
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Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Ah, Saturday morning: When I can wake up at a reasonable hour, when I can lay in bed for a while after I wake up, when I can sit on the sofa with my morning coffee until I decide I’m ready to start the day. And even then, “start the day” means take a long, hot shower, dress in comfortably shabby clothes, and head into town with My Darling B to visit the farmer’s market, then stop at the thrift store on the way home to pick up some bargain books. I love Saturday morning.

I might add that Saturday afternoons aren’t too bad, either.

Ahhh | 9:37 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy
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Friday, February 5th, 2010

image of an AARP cardAARP sends me an invitation to join their club about once a month and, to show they really mean it, they enclose a thick, plastic – but fake – AARP membership card. Some day I’ll stop shredding these things, but today, it’s confetti.

I think because I’m officially retired from the Air Force, the Aid Association for Retired Persons thinks I just sit in the front room in my rocking chair reading dime novels all day while I wait for the mail carrier to bring me another one of their trial membership cards.

The most useful thing I can do with them right now is keep the teeth on my shredder sharp, because they’re too thick for bookmarks.


AARP wannabe | 9:29 pm CST
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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

image of my stocking feetNotice anything missing? I didn’t, until I got to work yesterday. It was like that dream where you’re in a big crowd of people and you suddenly realize you’re wearing nothing but underwear.

My coworkers were very understanding about it. All day long as I padded around the office I expected somebody to say something to me, but they never did. Nobody so much as smirked. Maybe it’s happened to them, too.

It’s not like I walked to work in my stocking feet, I’m quick to point out. I put on a pair of snow boots before I leave the house in the morning. Then, when I get to the office, I change into a pair of brown leather shoes that I usually keep under my desk. But, the day before yesterday, I took them home with me because I thought we’d need them for our dancing lesson. I didn’t. We danced in our stocking feet. It was sort of a foreshadowing of my day at the office yesterday.


stalking | 9:36 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, office work, random idiocy, work
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Monday, February 1st, 2010

image of ashtrayIt is an ashtray, but I haven’t taken up smoking.

It’s an ashtray exactly like one my parents had for years and years. For all I know, Mom might still have it. Or, this might be that very ashtray.

I was wandering the aisles of Saint Vincent de Paul’s thrift store on Willy Street when my eye happened to fall on this. Not literally. That would be pretty yucky. I’d have to find a way to wash it off and stick it back in, and I’m pretty sure I would be too panicked to do any of that.

My hand reached out to pick it up without my having to tell it to. It had made up my mind for me. I was going to buy this ash tray.

There are some little baubles that take you back, aren’t there? Even when it makes no sense at all. I mean, an ash tray. Really. I’m guessing my parents would grimace at the notion that an ash tray would remind me so powerfully of my childhood, but maybe not. That was back when everybody smoked and there were ashtrays everywhere. And this one was in our house. Or one just like this one.

Footnote: I wonder if I’m the only American over forty who’s never smoked? I asked The Google, but it doesn’t know.

bauble | 2:25 pm CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy, story time
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Friday, January 29th, 2010

table sawHere’s a photo for my Mom, who’s a little worried about me using a table saw. See that gadget in the middle of the board? That’s actually three separate gadgets, two of them made out of cold steel, that have the sole function of keeping my fingers away from the blade. I’m not saying it’s impossible to cut myself with this thing, it’s just very, very improbable.


miter sawNow this monster is the one you have to worry about…


monster | 8:52 am CST
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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said on NPR this morning that everyone who paid taxes last year ought to receive stock in General Motors in order to get the federal government “out of the automobile business.”

This is what’s wrong with the federal government. Dorkwads like Alexander think we want them to shower us with shit. Like I want some worthless stock in a crappy car company.

Now, offer me stock in a good car company and maybe you’ve bought my vote.


how to buy my vote | 8:59 am CST
Category: daily drivel, random idiocy | Tags:
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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

photo booth film stripRemember photo booths? Plunk a buck and a half’s worth of quarters in the slot, climb into the crowded booth with every single one of the people you were out drinking with and poke each other in the eye while the flash went off at the worst-timed moments. Three minutes later the machine barfed up a slimy strip of black and white photos in which you might be able to recognize maybe one face in your party.

It seemed to me that a lot of the goofiest faces we made were wasted while one of the guys was running to the cashier to get change for a dollar.

My brother and I used to duck into these things wherever we found them. A lot of the time we went out of our way to find them, prowling the farthest corners of a forgotten Kresge’s store until that Eureka moment. Most of the time, though, we didn’t have to look much. You couldn’t help tripping over one of the damned things wherever you went. There must’ve been one in every department store in Wisconsin.

cheese! | 9:03 am CST
Category: entertainment, play, random idiocy
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Monday, January 25th, 2010

BiomutantsI am me. He is Rick. The other he is Jim. We are the Biomutants.

We’re wearing pillow cases for shirts. I made the emblems by cutting a stencil out of card paper and spray painting the designs on. With spray paint. From a can.

I don’t know what we were supposed to be about, other than freaking weird.

I suppose it goes without saying that we had a little too much free time on our hands back in our college days.

biomutants | 10:11 am CST
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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

stuffed penguinsWhen you see a pair of toy penguins in Santa hats in the window of Grampa’s Gun Shop you’ve just got to stop and snap a photo. I think you do, anyway.

santa penguin | 2:07 pm CST
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