Pancakes

Reading a recent post by Sala, on her grandmother and food, got me thinking about pancakes. Like most boys, my brother and I weren’t really that interested in cooking. We could do cereal in the morning, sandwich at noon, but anything else was strictly in the “where’s Mom? I’m hungry” category. Except for pancakes, an occasional weekend treat at our home. Maybe because it involved a hot griddle, maybe because we’d get to help my Dad cook them, maybe because we’d been up since 6am watching cartoons on a Saturday morning and couldn’t understand why the parental units didn’t jump up out of bed at 7am to get breakfast going (Geez, the nerve of those people!).

In any case, we’d jump to help with the preparation. Flour was first up. That had to be sifted through a hand sifter that had a handle you squeezed to rotate blades inside. There were screens inside the sifter, to not only sift the flour but also probably to protect the fingers of curious kids like us. The flour was sifted onto wax paper to collect it, as well as on to other parts of the counter, the floor, and the “chefs”. Looked like a White Christmas sometimes in that kitchen. Then it went into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, to be mixed with a hand held electric mixer. Since this was a power tool, and we were guys, we did our duty and tried out all speeds and angles. The mixer would occasionally become our “six shooter” that we lifted out of the mix while it was running, and pointed toward our partner in crime in a classic high noon shoot out. Mom usually failed to realize the beauty of our cinematic re-enactments, and we’d soon hear cries of “what are you doing?” and “put that back in the bowl!” ringing out. Having her counters and cabinets decorated by flying dough was an added benefit that she didn’t seem to appreciate either. Go figure…..

Once the prep work was done, the artistry began. Ladling the batter on the grill, we’d vary from big circle to small, long finger to attempted shapes and letters. Any mistakes could be eaten away, and we never seemed to have a shortage of those. When we were full, two hours and 437 pancakes later, we look down at the concrete ball that was now inside our stomach and think, “You know, I think I’ll just sit here at the kitchen table another hour or two until I regain consciousness.”

On some weekends, we’d be at my grandparents’ house (Mom’s side) for breakfast the following day. Accompanied at times by the leftover batter from the pancakes the day before. For THAT, my friends, signified another important event. Second Day pankcakes.

My grandfather was a simple cook, in a way. Having lived through the Depression, he could throw a couple of things in a pan, add some seasoning, and come out with something that was simple yet tasty. Soups or sausages or eggs or beans. Didn’t matter, everything was good. It was relaxing just sitting in the kitchen watching him work, and then eating the result.

For pancakes, he would take our batter, and make pancakes on his own grill. My brother and I kept up a constant commute between the griddle and the kitchen table, waiting for them to cook, and trying not to drool on the floor. He was slow and methodical, or maybe just methodical as I’m sure we were wanting those pancakes done in 15 to 20 seconds. I can’t remember if he ever added anything to the batter, but I still remember the taste of those pancakes to this day. They never tasted like the ones we made at home……Never. They were always better. Whether other pancakes were eaten at restaurants, camping trips, or friends’ houses, they never came close to my grandfather’s. While he’s long gone, those pancakes and memories will occasionally be served up in a Sunday morning breakfast of the mind.

Mother’s Day

Across America, and perhaps a few other parts of the world, thousands and thousands of families are gathering today to pay homage to the shining light they grew up around. One that always provided comfort and advice, taught them about the world, sent them love and laughter, heartbreak and tears.

Uh…….no, it’s not the family TV……….now get away from that thing and put down the remote!

As drivers everywhere try to remember just exactly where she lives nowadays, after fighting through the line at the flower stand, they look at their watch and wonder how long this is going to take. Then they remember…….they forgot the card!…….Damn,…..back to the store…….

Next, it’s time to bundle dear old Mom up into the car and take her to a overpriced, not so good Mother’s Day Lunch or Dinner, at a jammed restaurant full of other people with THEIR mothers.

As the offspring disgorge their gifts, Mom smiles and says thank you.

Underneath, she’s gritting her teeth. You know what she’s really thinking?

“I want my 20 something vagina back, along with a Chippendale with a hard-on the size of Manhattan.

“I can’t believe I gave birth this person. Is it too late to send them back?”

“I wonder if I can try and trade with one of these other families?”

“Did I remember the teeny bottle of brandy in my purse?”

“Uh, oh, is that spilled water or are my Depends leaking?”

“Wonder when I should tell them I blew their inheritance in Vegas?”

“I should have forgotten about having kids and just had a few more dogs.”

“At least if I have to visit them I can steal some extra Xanax from their medicine cabinet.”

“To hell with flowers, I need a good set of earplugs for this bunch.”

If I think back on dear old Mom, one incident stands out. My sister was fully into her headstrong teenager years, and in a full blown argument with Mom. At one point, dear sweet Mom got so mad she picked up a pound of hamburger and threw it at my sister. Now, being the athlete that she was, her arm sent that hamburger about two feet from her before skipping across the kitchen counter toward Sis. My brother and I, usually the troublemakers, watched in amazement. “Wow, Mom’s never done THAT before!” Years later, none of us remember what the argument was about, but all of us remember that hamburger skipping across the counter. Forever embedded in the family lore.

She was also quite Don Quixote-like in her eternal optimism that our family could have a “nice, quiet, peaceful family dinner”. With two teenage boys at the table……..oh yes, a monumental challenge. For us, at times, it was not dinner, but instead an opportunity to work on our class clown routines. My Dad was a relatively easy mark, as he had a good sense of humor and could easily start laughing. My Mom,…….well, that was a tougher nut to crack. First there was usually a polite plea from her to “settle down and let’s have a nice dinner”.

Now, for us, that was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Game On! The next level was to force her up to a Level 2 response, which consisted of her trying to keep a straight face and remain a stern disciplinarian. As the seconds went by, you could see her straining as you increased your rapid fire delivery of jokes and remarks. Sometimes you went down in a ball of flame, but other times you saw the veneer cracking and falling away, then the smile and laugh, and you zoomed off into the stratosphere, another notch on your wings.

One other thing I remember from those high school years is the time I was involved in a school fundraiser. There were about 30 kids in the room, kicking ideas about what food to offer at a benefit dinner. Spaghetti came up at one point, and the amazing thing was that almost every single kid in that room said something to the effect of “My mom makes the BEST spaghetti”. Almost EVERY kid. I still feel that response is maybe less indicative of how well the moms cooked, and more indicative of the love that was served along with that spaghetti over the years.

So Mom, Happy Mother’s Day, and you too, make the BEST spaghetti!

The Friendly Skies

A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the chance to fly through Toronto on vacation, and all I can say is “What’s up with those Canadians?” Every time we stopped, looking up and around at signs or deciding what direction to take, up popped a Canadian telling us, “Follow me”, and leading us onward. They were popping up like gophers, every couple of minutes, complete with wide smiles and friendly voices. Walking out of one area, we found one of those terminal golf cart limos stopped directly in our path. Not to fetch us, mind you, but the driver stopped along her way just in case someone (like us) needed a lift to where she was going next.

It makes me think that if Canada were ever invaded, the intruders would be met at the shore or border, with a pot of hot tea and some scones and cookies, along with maps, blankets, and a chorus of voices asking “is there anything else we can do for you?” This stands in stark contrast to some other areas of the world, where the natives treat those that need some help as either lunatics, idiots, or cockroaches that have crawled out into the light.

The downside of this vacation was air travel, and lots of it. Taking an hour or two hour flight is pretty fun, sometimes even exciting. Taking a 5 to 10 hour flight is quite a different story. Walking off the plane, you pass row after row of empty cups, food wrappers, bottles, newspapers, pillows and blankets, all strewn about. It looks like you’re passing through a war zone. And in a sense you are.

It starts early, with the enemy booking those precious aisle and window seats. The next step is boarding, where various combatants attempt to stuff suitcases the size of Cadillacs into the overhead bins, delaying your entry and in some cases risking damage to your carry on luggage. Once in the air, the enemy will slowly lower their seatback into your territory. Do not let this transgression go unchallenged. Either start pushing the touchscreen in their seatback repeatedly, or lean close to them and say “Where the hell are those air sick bags? I think I might have to throw up”. Victory will see that seatback raised soon after.

You will also have to fight off so called allies, that will smile and sit next to you, but before you know it they are staking claim to the armrest between you. Judas is alive and well and sitting in 22B.

After a few hours, your legs and butt will start to revolt. To stop the pain, you try and shift in your seat, move your legs, stretch…….all to no avail. Waterboarding begins to look like a more comfortable alternative. So you decide to head back to the restroom. Unless you’re lucky enough to be on an aisle, you need to begin by tapping your neighbors on the shoulder, and pointing a finger indicating you need to leave the area. Be sure to avoid using the middle finger, however tempting that may be, as it tends to result in black eyes and spilled drinks. Upon receiving your signal, your neighbor begins the long process of moving out of the way. Drinks put down, earphones removed, seat belt unfastened, book tucked away or video put on pause, blanked removed, pillow placed on seat……it may take 5 or 10 minutes for the process to be completed.

You then proceed to the restroom, hoping to find some refuge, but instead you find remnants of the monkey cage at the zoo. Scraps of toilet paper, fluid on the seat, and maybe a momento in the bowl. Reality crashes down hard. So you clean up a little and do your business. Flush and get up to wash. Glancing down, you see toilet papaper stuck in the bowl. So you flush a second time, and see the tissue stay exactly where it was. Somewhere down on earth, you know the toilet bowl designers are laughing their heads off at your plight. Fighting the temptation to reach down and move it, you wash up and exit. Only to have the cute girl in 17C be standing in line next, entering as you leave. And you know her first thought is, “What kind of pig was in here?”. You find yourself wondering if those emergency exits work in mid air……..

On the plus side, inflight movies are a lot better now, with more choices and individual screens. Except when they’re interrupted by announcements by the crew. About seat belts. About flight time. About food service. About drink service. About duty free shopping. About the weather. About the crew. In English. Maybe in French. Maybe Spanish, Russian, German, Portuges, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and 10 or 20 other languages. Accompanied by the drumbeat of passengers beating their heads against their screens in frustration.

Upon reaching your destination, you walk off the plane and head toward the local gambling hall, otherwise known as baggage claim. Behind the scenes, baggage handlers are shooting a game of craps. “Snake eyes,….damn….okay, that blue bag gets sent out to Honolulu, and I’ll take your New York bag for the next Cleveland flight…….Let’s roll again…..Hey, send some of yesterday’s flight bags up there so the people have something to look at while we figure out where their bags are.”

The Last Outsourcing Frontier

She came up slowly, like a thief in the night. A hint of a sore throat and fatigue. Just enough to start the alarm bells ringing in the back of my head (and no, there was no echo, contrary to what my wife may have told you). Enough time to make some calls and clear my schedule a bit, for this vixen could not be ignored. As she later settled in, the fun began. Her entertainment with the man in the house consisted of giving him alternating hot flashes and occasional cold sweats. Apparent payback for some comment I undoubtedly made in the past about Mrs. Dolphin’s “change of seasons”. This was followed by demonstrations about how quickly the nose can alternate between its rendition of “A River Runs Through It”, and it’s impersonation of the Hoover Dam.

As the Kleenex flew through the air, and my nose began its audition for the part of Rudolph in the nex Christmas play, I kept thinking there must be a better way. If Instacart can do your shopping for you, and TaskRabbit can run errands for you, why isn’t there something for sickness?…….Wait no more!

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 DEBUT OF PARTNERS IN PHLEGM

A revolutionary approach to handling illness. Just load the app into your phone and you’re ready to go. At the first sign of illness, you book one of our specially trained hosts. Within 1 hour, they will be at your door and begin the process. Once both of you are hooked up to our patented high polarity positive ion flux capacitor, they will transfer the virus or bacteria to themselves. You’ll be back to your old self in 30 minutes or less.

Our hosts are carefully selected in their 20’s for high immune response systems. Not only will they suffer less than you would, but they also are building their immune systems up for healthy Golden Years. We also are proud that our program will make a significant dent in the unemployment rate for 20 somethings, as well as provide them a way to pay off those pesky student loans.

Prices are reasonable for the standard colds, while flu is somewhat more. Extras will be charged for any of the following:

Pesky in laws hovering in your home.

Pesky children that want to play with our host.

Food poisoning

Illnesses of more than 4 days

The Plague

Malaria and any other tropical viruses

Cancer

liebsteraward-e1439238598144

In her kind benevolence, or perhaps just in a confused drunken stupor, J Awkward Prufrock has nominated me for a Liebster award. If you have ever wondered why “awkward”, “dating”, and “relationships” are often found inhabiting the same sentence in life, you’ll want to grab some popcorn, grab a seat, and check out her blog:

https://jawkwardprufrock.wordpress.com

Now, according to internet lore, the Liebster originated in Germany, and is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. Liebster supposedly means “dearest, kindest, nicest, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, etc etc etc”. Really?

Of course not! If you look in the official Klaus Frankfurter Teutonic German Dictionary, you’ll find that Liebster means Hampster. Yes, hampster. Say it out loud. Liebster, hampster, liebster, hampster, liebster, hampster. See the similarity yet? Think about it. Are you always running on a wheel, never getting anywhere? Of course you are! Would a German use the words “dearest, kindest, lovely, cute”? Of course not. What words would they use?

”Dr. Schneider, I vant to conduct an experiment on hampsters who blog.”

“But Fraulein Muller, vee do not have any hampsters who blog”

“I know Herr Schneider, but vee could use Americans instead. They obediently stare at their device screens, whether at home, work, on the bus, or even walking down the street. Just like those hampsters and the sugar water experiment we did last year.”

“Ah, das is ein excellent idea, Fraulein. We shall call it….. the Liebster Experiment. They will be too lazy to check the name, and it sounds cute to the American ear. If we could only include a picture of a kitten or puppy in the logo, ve vould be in total command. But how will we motivate these bloggers? Ve cannot just send out cheese to every participant.”

“Don’t worry, Herr Schneider, they respond well to things called “followers”, and especially to something called “Likes”. And the NSA and Google are offering huge discounts on monitoring users this month.”…………….

So on to our experiment….. While she did provide a list of questions for nominees to answer, Ms. Prufrock apparently had me in mind with her question #7:

“Describe your writing in three words”. I answered with the first three that came to mind….

not very good……..

Uh, ….hmmm….awkward pause here. Maybe I should move on to my list of questions:

1) Are there any commas or exclamation marks in the Periodic Table? Or just periods?

2) Why is there so much blue sky and so little blue food?

3) How many writers do you know with logorrhea?

4)

5) Please explain why you have not answered question 4.

6) If question 1 was on a westbound train going 50 MPH from Chicago, and question 3 was on a train going 60 MPH north from Atlanta, what topping would be put on an ice cream cone made at 2pm in New York’s Central Park?

7) If you are a writer, please explain in 18 words or less how the Jurassic Period can explain the Roaring 20’s, and how Karl Marx is responsible for Global Warming.  Include footnotes.

8) Why have you still not answered question 4?

9) If red wine goes with beef, and white wine goes with fish, what beverage goes with Ben & Jerry’s?

10) Should mastication be allowed in public?

Now,dear readers,…….yes, I’m talking to both of you. Pay attention. The official Liebster rules are:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  • Create 11 questions for the nominees.
  • Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

Or, just lock the doors, draw the blinds, pull out the 12 gauge, and administer frontier justice to the the next award that comes your way. I’m not big on the 11 questions, so skip that if you wish. I think in all seriousness, the nice thing is to promote some of the blogs on WordPress that don’t get so much attention, yet are still worthwhile. Here’s a couple for you to check out, all worthwhile with under 100 followers. I will probably do another post in the future with additional ones, since I don’t want to overload people all at once.

https://fromchildtofather.wordpress.com/

Writings of an engaged, loving, supportive dad, as he journeys through fatherhood.

http://baltimoreblackwoman.com/

I stumbled onto her blog after the Baltimore riots, and stayed. Well written, well worth reading.

https://howtobe50.wordpress.com/

If you need a laugh about getting older, this might be it. Has me laughing out loud at times.

https://clcurriedotcom.wordpress.com/

Happiness is pulling out the iPad, settling down on the couch, and getting lost in one of her essays.

http://denelecampbell.com/

Part history, part crusading social justice warrior. I really enjoy reading her well researched posts.

Now, Fraulein Muller, ……when do I get my piece of cheese?…….

A Beacon of Light

It dawned upon me slowly, like the instant you realize something is different about your wife, but you don’t know exactly what. So you ask her, and hear “You’re just noticing now? I changed my hairstyle 8 months ago?” (Yes…that’s me….guilty as charged). Anyway, I finally realized that the spot on my forehead never really healed. I thought it was just a case of occasionally hitting it on something, and by chance hitting the same spot. You know how you get busy and can’t remember things? I’d think to myself, “Did I hit it again? Or did I hit it 2 weeks ago? Or 2 months ago?” Who knew? So then, in keeping with the glacial pace of all men (page 37 of the man code), I decided I’d go see a doctor.

Looking for a dermotologist reminded me a little bit of looking through the personal ads, trying to figure out the person:

Personality:

“Are they brusque and short with patients, or do they listen and seem to care?” (I’m skating on a thin line here. Too much caring, listening, hugs, and talk of feelings could get my man membership might be revoked….)

Family:

 “How is the receptionist? Does the billing dept curse patients who owe money and show up at their door wielding baseball bats? Does the staff laugh behind our backs and post pictures of botched surgeries to Facebook?”

Education and Skill:

“Did they graduate from medical school? Do patients rave about the end result?” Or is there only a mention of how the doc started out at eight years old carving the family turkey, and later deciding to get into dermatology and surgery, with a new nickname of “Scarface”?

Age:

Are they fresh out of school, full of excitement and enthusiasm, ready to practice……..on YOU!

Or are they about ready to retire, with shaky hands ready to carve zig zags on your face?

I ended up, like a few other men in history, with my mom playing matchmaker, sending me to her dermatologist. So I went. The first visit was to take a biopsy. Walking into the office, the first thing I saw was the huge wall poster declaring “Certified by Benihana!” It had a picture of the smiling doc, yielding a cleaver the size of Nebraska. It was about an hour later that they finally dragged me out of the closet of the dentist’s office down the hall. They claimed I was screaming and leaving claw marks on the rug, but that’s probably just heresay.

Once the results came back positive for skin cancer (slow moving, limited, so hold off on the condolence cards), it was back for the excavation. I never knew dermatologists were such big fans of Black & Decker. As she dug away, she kept smiling and saying, “It’s just like the coal strip mining we used to do in West Virginia!” Stopping just short of providing me with a full frontal lobotomy, she then cauterized the wound. This is when the assistant puts a vacuum hose next to your scalp, as you notice the faint smell of something burning……YOU!!!!!

Once the fire department had finished hosing me down, she followed with some stitching (now I know why docs never buy new socks), and finally a pressure bandage. For those of you who don’t know what a pressure bandage is, it’s a very, very thick bandage that they tape onto your forehead. Sticking a good 2” up, you officially now look like a Unicorn. Put some white flourescent paint on it, and you have a headlamp. Someone asked if I had a transplant done and if now I was going to be an official dickhead. I felt a little bit like Elephant Man, to tell you the truth.

After 32 hours, it was time for the bandage change. Collecting the official list of materials (Gauze, neosporin, non stick pads, tape, Q tips, hydrogen peroxide, whisky, hammer, chainsaw, the full collection of Encyclopedia Britannica, and a roast beef sandwich), I was ready to begin. You first peel off the bandage and tape, doing the man version of a Brazilian wax. Who knew men could scream in such a high pitch? This is followed by the view of your forehead, when you realize that you are absolutely ready for a Frankenstein Halloween costume. So you clean the wound with peroxide, and your pride with the whiskey. Then some more peroxide on the wound, and some more whisky in you. I still don’t understand it, but when the wife came home an hour later, she failed to see the humor in me wallpapering the bathroom with gauze, and playing army with a horde of Qtips glued to the floor…..

Here’s the Beef

Ran across an interesting article back in 2011, about how they were beginning to use DNA and tracking systems to keep track of where beef came from as it moved through the food distribution network. The technology was more widely used in Europe than in the US, but that appeared to be changing. Originally touted as a means to cut recall times down to hours instead of weeks, it was also going to start being used for marketing purposes. So here’s a peek at what future menus will have:

RALPH’S STEAKHOUSE IS PLEASED TO OFFER THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS:

TEXAS TENDERLOIN:

A monstrous cut of beef, since it’s a fact that EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas. Our cattle are raised on individual farmer owned land. No government handouts, no government regulations, no big corporation pinheads in fancy suits. Our beef is tough, raised out on the open range with no fancy pants barns, and kept lean with our unique Friday Night Football games with local schools. Sure, a player may get gored occasionally, but that’s life, and that’s Texas.

When it comes time to slaughter the beast, Joe Bob gets in his 73 Chevy pickup and hits the open range. The kill shots are delivered by Joe Bob at 200 yards, with one arm tied behind his back and with a blindfold on. From there it may be the chain saw and Bowie knife, or in extreme cases a stick of dynamite for a really tender burger.

CALIFORNIA CUTLET:

From the moment a new calf arrives in our low light birthing room, surrounded by running waterfalls, aromatic candles, and indigenous rain forest music, it is wrapped in a loving, caring process that will help it achieve its full potential. All young cattle are closely monitored for any signs of aggressive behavior, bullying, or unresolved emotional issues with their parents. We have trained counselors available at all times. As the calf develops, we surround it with love no matter what the gender, faith, color, body shape, or heritage it has. Transgender surgery is available if needed.

When it comes time to say goodbye to our dear, loving friends, then all staff members gather in the Farewell Room, to view a slide show celebrating our guest’s life, deliver the final goodbye hugs and kisses, and achieve closure to this very painful, emotional moment. Then our guests are given a final vegan meal with a strong sedative that lets them achieve that final sleep that they so rightly deserve.

KANSAS RED BEEF:

Here in Kansas, we consider ourselves a Red state through and through. We don’t go for any of that Sodom and Gomorrah Blue state stuff. Our cattle are bred from our “Certified Heterosexual Cattle” parents, and raised on good Christian ranches. We prohibit our cattle from accessing the internet, to protect them from all that porn and filth. Each Sunday, all ranches conduct Sunday Services, using bullhorns to deliver that day’s sermon to the animals.

On the day of their Dispatch to Heaven, the animals arrive at our House of Worship, where they are given a chance to confess any sins and re-affirm their faith in the Lord. Then they are dispatched to the World Beyond, unless we have any heathens or homosexuals to dispatch first.

NEVADA BLACKJACK BEEF:

Every 21st package of beef comes with a $1 casino token hidden inside, perfect for starting your vacation fund. Double bonus if that annoying mother in law gets it caught in her windpipe and your inheritance arrives earlier than expected. All beef cuts are stamped with our unique red or black playing card imprint (except for the Clive Bundy Beef, which is red only, no black allowed). In limited distribution areas, we offer our Area 51 beef, which glows a wonderful soft green in the dark. Any E coli contaminated beef is limited to our unlucky 777 beef packets, which seem to be popular gifts to give to the aforementioned mothers in law, as well as rude co-workers, nasty bosses, and those pesky neighbors with the noisy leaf blower.

Our slaughterhouses have a unique feature. As the animal proceeds inside, they step on floor plates that will spin an adjacent slot machine. Should all cherries pop up, the blade swings down, dispatching our friend to their destiny. Any other combination on the machine will let our friend proceed to the next plate. Oddsmakers display odds of the Grim Reaper arriving, and all betting and video is accessible from our Vegas casinos.

WASHINGTON DC BEEF:

Our beef is unlike any other you will find in any other state. Your first surprise will be when you bring it to the cash register, and find your $4.99 package of beef has ballooned up in cost to $345. Next, upon opening it at home, you will find it to be a small piece of beef that is laden with pork. Lots of pork. Pork with the names of your neighbors, fellow citizens, and a few large corporations stamped in it. Once you find the specific piece of beef with your name on it, you will find you paid $345 for an ounce of beef. You also find you owe $35 in beef consumption tax (as listed on the inside of the wrapping), and by unwrapping the package you have inadvertently agreed to send the title on your car and the deed to your house to our Washington Beef headquarters.

When it is time to dispatch our animals, they are ushered into the production facility and met at the door by one of our impeccably dressed and coiffured Congressional officials. Declaring “I’m from the government and I am here to help you”, they proceed to dispatch the animal before it has a clue as to what is happening.

To Do Lists

Going through a stack of papers on my desk, I came across a To Do list. I was almost ready to put it on the bottom of the pile when I saw the date………..2009………Ooops! Apparently, I did not quite finish that one. (understatement of the day).

 Looking at the list, I was struck by how many of these unfinished tasks were not really that important in hindsight. Would we be better off applying that “If you only had a week to live” idea to our To Do lists, to only put down the things are more important or critical? I wonder. It seems as though To Do lists are almost like New Year’s Resolutions. You write down this, you write down that, and a year later you look at your list and only a couple of them are done. In the meantime, the unfinished tasks are like a sword hanging over your head, dropping some guilt onto you every time you review them.

On the positive side, trying to get things done, and working to improve yourself and your life, are both commendable things. So I’ll take 3 seconds of solace for that. In a perfect world I would be independently wealthy with a personal assistant to do some of this stuff, or retired with 20 or 30 hours a week to get all these things done. Since there are no recent phone calls from the Trumps or the Kardashians, neither of those appear to be on the nearby horizon. Therefore, the lists remain on my desk. Watching me……..Waiting……… Cooking up more guilt. Waking me up from my sleep once in awhile for good measure. Just to remind me who’s boss.

So today, I fight back. Donning my sword and armor, I ride forth to fight the good fight. Until I hear a siren song in the distance. I look around and see a refuge shimmering in the distance. It’s the couch, ready to welcome me with open arms and soothing comfort. So I take my pencil and add “clean up the To Do list” ……to my To Do List….. Sigh…..

Rising Moons

Back in the good old days, when men were men, women were women, and the sheep were scared………Oh wait a minute,………. wrong story line……

Anyway, back in my younger years, it seemed that there was more order in this world. Everyone had their place and their role in life. Men worked at jobs, women were mothers at home, kids were playing carefree out in the backyard, and the milkman made several visits a day to Mrs. Murphy’s house……… All was well.

Things have changed nowadays, and that was brought home to me last week. I was driving along the street, stopped for a light, when a bicyclist passed me on the left. As she passed, my eyes did the obligatory check. She had nice long brown hair, average upper body size, and a nice firm pair of jeans. As my eyes slid down toward them, I got the shock of my life………

THE MOONS WERE RISING!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Venus One and Venus Two were both surging out above the jeans, seeking a little light and exposure.

While at first I thought maybe it was either a bad nightmare, or a one time aberration, my worst fears were confirmed later in the week when I looked over at a young lady bending down to get something out of her car, and saw this nightmare shot again. Seared into my brain, I’m not when this haunting vision will go away.

Over the years, I have come to expect this view from the local plumber or refrigerator repairman. The cheeks, the hairy moons, the crack……..it is indeed an awful sight. However, you knew ahead of their visit to prepare yourself, and as they worked you could avert your eyes and gaze elsewhere in the kitchen. You paid by check, so as not to risk the chance of a stray coin disappearing down the Crevice of the Creature, and you having to fish it out. Plumbers Butt is a terrible sight for the eyes and should be contained in isolated areas, sort of like hazardous waste.

It would be one thing if the pants showed a sliver of decorative derriere. It is a far, far different thing when you see massive angry moons threatening to explode to the sky. If the young women of the world have appropriated this dangerous weapon for their own use, I fear for society. An innocent appreciative glance will run flat smack into Nightmare on Main Street, and Trauma on Aisle 5. No amount of therapy or counseling will be able to repair the psychological damage. Will hairy chests and beer guts be next?

Labels

It seems like every week I get a solicitation in the mail from some charity group, usually accompanied by a sheet or two of address labels. Apparently the thinking is that this is a useful gift that will make me so appreciative that I immediately grab my checkbook and fire off a large check. It makes a lot of sense………except for two things.

First, in the age of the internet, people are increasingly sending emails instead of letters, and paying bills online instead of mailing checks. Second, unless these groups never venture out of their offices, don’t they notice that every other charity on the planet is also sending me address labels? How many letters and bills do they think I mail, and just what exactly am I supposed to do with hundreds of labels? Save them on the off chance the post office will still be there when I emerge from the fallout shelter after Armaggedon?

After some thought, I’ve come up with some ideas on what we can do with all those labels, and what the charities could send out instead.

NEW USES FOR LABELS:

Paste them on the forehead of your wayward spouse to reduce the chances of them cheating. No need to sneak a peek at the left hand to check for rings, or inch closer to look for the telltale white band where a ring sat a few hours earlier. Just a quick glance at the forehead and you’re done.

Paste them on wedding gifts you send, so they can be more easily identified and returned when the couple breaks up. For added entertainment, the stickers could have a time release glue formula, so that after 1 year, 3 years, or 7 years, the sticker would pop open to reveal a “We bet you’d break up in 2021” (or whatever year you picked). If you guessed the correct year of the breakup, you’d get your gift returned and collect the pot of money.

Paste them on the nearest telephone pole, mailbox, or table at Dennys. Just to mark your territory, like Fido does.

Require donors to paste their sticker on the politician they buy, so the rest of us can figure out who’s beholden to who.

Paste them on the bumper of any fancy sports car you see. If the owner ever can’t be found, the first sticker gets dibs on the car.

Paste them on your kids, just before you send the kids off to the address shown on your chain letter. In 7 weeks, you’ll receive a new set of kids. Since we all know kids are better behaved when they’re at someone else’s house, every parent is happy. After a week or two, you repeat the process. More advanced users will be able to swap spouses and in-laws via the chain, as well as Aunt Mabel’s holiday fruitcake.

WHAT SHOULD THE CHARITIES SEND OUT INSTEAD OF STAMPS?

Since advertising is targeted to certain customers, the charities could do some targeting themselves. Send an attractive young man/woman and a bottle of champagne to the single folk, a new saw to the home improvement guy, a new pet to someone else, and some Ben and Jerry’s to the girl who just got dumped. Almost anything’s better than a label.

Early warning systems would be of far greater value. Phone or email alerts to tell us the neighbor is headed over, would be especially appreciated if we’re home in pajamas, unshowered & unshaved, looking like a police mug shot. Or to alert us that the relatives are heading in for visit, our kid’s boyfriend/girlfriend is headed over, or that Jehovah’s Witnesses are in the neighborhood. Another option is an alert ot our car as we drive home, letting us know that the kids/spouse/parents are in a BAD mood, the house is a mess, and the dog/cat just barfed inside the front door.

For those charities working in a foreign country, I’d be much more inclined to donate if my donation resulted in them taking a relative of my choice for a year or so. Preferably to some remote outpost. Preferably one that has no communication and no choice for return. Bonus donations would be given if they take two relatives instead of just one.

Lotto tickets in selected mailers would be a good idea. That would give us an incentive to open them.

If they’re gonna be staying with labels, at least send us somebody else’s labels. They’ll come in handy when we’re sending that obnoxious gift or unwelcome item to our rude boss, irritating co-worker, or despised family member or neighbor. Imagine being able to blame it all on Alice Smith, 114 Locksley Lane, Portland, OR. Just the thing when you want to send your boss the head of a mop, labeling it as “New Hairpiece”. The possibilities are endless………