Thursday, June 30, 2005

Honey-Doings: Part VII

When I went to bed last night, I knew today was going was to be day four of my Honey-Do vacation. When I woke up this morning , I knew it was day four. At 8:30 this morning, yeah I got up early today, I was having my customary cup of coffee it dawned upon me. It was day four!!

Over the second cup of java I contemplated what had to be done this day. Before anything else, the second coat of paint will have to be applied to the window casement and the bathroom door. Last night I had visualized that the time after the second coat was on would be some much deserved down time. I would actually have some time of my own that wasn't otherwise spoken for. I really have to something about those cataracts that inflict my mind's eye.

Only too often the reality of things are clouded by the rosy outlook of one's dreams. Although it was an integral part of the agenda for the week, any thought of it had been brushed aside ever since Part II. It wasn't under my nose, but it was over my head. Remember that free time I was going to have after after the second coats of paint? Kindly disregard that fleeting flight of fantasy. After the second coat painting exercise, the first coat of paint had to be rolled onto the ceiling! How could I have forgotten the ceiling? Oh yeah, it was over my head.

Taking a break around 12:30, I took in some groceries in the form of some left over KFC. (My finger-snapping buddy is happy he wasn't on the menu. And the dancing one, well she didn't quite make the grade.) Deciding to get some fresh air, I stepped outside to check the mail box. Whew! It was another hot and humid day. I assumed that it was probably hot enough to slow down the mailman, for the mail box was empty. Lest I too slow down, I returned to the air-conditioned confines of the house.

I looked up at the bathroom ceiling, it looked good. Why, I might even luck out and a single coat might suffice. I wasn't going to count on it though, it was still wet. Testing the paint on the window casement, I was pleased to find that it was dry. It was time to reassemble the window. In barely fifteen minutes the window was back together. Ba-da-boom! Ba-da-bing! Sometimes I am just too good for my own good! Sorry about the smug repartee. Where so much had been going south on me the last few days, I felt an inclination to celebrate at least one victory, no matter how small.

Soon the shades and curtains were back up. I am waiting until later to remount the mini-blinds, as there is a chance that a replacement may be picked up by my wife. She did mention that once the window was painted, new minis would look nice. Surveying the room, I had to admit it was looking like a bathroom again, a new bathroom. By the time I had cleaned up and put everything away, it was just after 2 PM.

I had achieved some down time after all. A second coat on the ceiling would have to wait for a couple of hours or so. That would allow it to dry completely overnight. Day five would be reserved for the final phase. Tomorrow, schnoodlepooh. Tomorrow, I wallpaper. This tale is nearing an end, and alas so is my vacation, but before that happens, we must survive Honey-Doings: Part VIII.


Extra Credit

Houston - A chemistry teacher gave passing grades to failing students in exchange for stealing and torching her car. A fire investigator said that Tramela Lashon Fox, 32, has been charged with insurance fraud and arson, and the two students were charged with arson. It seems that the Adeline Senior High School teacher was at least three months behind on her car payments and wanted to collect the insurance money.
---The teens initially thought her scheme was a joke, but Fox continued to pursue them. On May 27, the last day of school, the students took the unlocked 2003 Chevrolet Malibu from a shopping mall, drove it to a wooded area, and set it on fire. As their reward, Darwin Arias, 17, and Robert Luna, 18, were given grades of 90 and 80 respectively on their final exams. The scores were high enough to pass them for the semester. Dustin Deutsch, the senior fire investigator, also reported that Fox had bought a 2005 Toyota Corolla, the same day the Malibu was reported stolen.

From the Boston Police Blotter

Brighton --- A man on a bicycle rode up to a Brighton Avenue gas station and asked the attendant if he wanted to buy a bike. When the man refused, Louis Armando Lasanto, quite literally threw a fit! Enraged, he began screaming at the unidentified clerk beofe grabbing items off the shelves, including a 12-pack of coke, and hurling them at the man. After striking the man in the head with a rack of cigarette lighters, Lasanto took off on the bike. He was arrested a short time later. While being booked on charges of assault and battery, a report came in about a stolen bicycle in the same neighborhood as the gas station. Mr. Lasanto has more than assault charges to worry about, it seems he must also answer to charges of possession of stolen property, namely a bicycle.

Dorchester --- Tyrone Antoine Taylor, 18, got into the Fourth of July spirit a bit early Tuesday night. He had ignited a Roman candle from a porch on Stonehurt Street. Unfortunately for Tyrone, one of several cars that had stopped to watch the show, was a police car. When the officers searched a backpack next to to Taylor, they found it full of illegal fireworks. Hidden under the fireworks they found a fully loaded handgun. Taylor was charged with the illegal possession of a firearm along with the fireworks. The fireworks will spend the holiday in the evidence room rather than soaring above the city from a porch.


Honey-Doings: Part VI

It was still day three and I had overcome all the obstacles that had been thrown in my path. It was now 1PM in the afternoon. The storm had raced in a downpour that had lasted all of twenty minutes. The storm was probably angry that it couldn't make my life any more miserable. It had rained on my parade, only to find that I wasn't marching. It made a few angry gestures, swearing at me with a few thunder booms and several moments of its light show. In the end, it just simply blew over.

While it was raining, my freshly painted windows stashed out of the elements, I had been to the hardware store and back. The last of the raindrops had fallen by the time I had put the new panes of glass into the window, tapped in the glazing tacks and applied the glazing. By the time the lightning and rumbling were barely perceptible, I had gone back to work in the bathroom. It was almost time to start painting in there at last.

With the windows out of the casement, I was able to scrape cracked paint I couldn't get to earlier. It is amazing how far a paint chip can fly! It is definitely a job that requires safety glasses. I had been finding paint chips in the dining room, nearly twenty-feet away from the bathroom window. I suppose they could have fallen from my clothing or my hair.

I sometimes have those moments at times like this, that I just ... think. Now don't try this at home! Sometimes I just start thinking, wondering about ... things. You might even say that I even wax ... poetic! I was wondering how far a paint chip might travel if was set free into the wind.

Oh, Little Paint Chip

Cast upon the wind, Flying High and free,

Where you may have been , Is some mystery.

How was it you're cast, So far from the place

From whence you were last, Before flight into space?

Oh, little paint chip, Borne upon the breeze,

So far was your trip - From beyond the trees.

Finally, the painting had begun in earnest. This process went smoothly without a hitch. I started with the window. Because there was obviously more area to paint, the door and the woodwork framing it took a little longer to cover than did the window. As I had suspected, a second coat would be necessary. But because of the humidity, which had increased in the aftermath of the rain, the paint wasn't drying as fast as I had hoped. Undaunted, I carried the paint and brushes out to the porch. At least the windows themselves would receive a second coat.

It was 3:15 and the realization that I hadn't had a thing to eat all day, determined my next course of action. After cleaning up the brushes and making sure everything was put away, I declared Honey-Do day three officially over. Tomorrow looked promising indeed. The first would be to give the window casement and door a healthy second coat of paint. Having accomplished that, there would be some much needed Honey-Do nothing time. In the afternoon ... wallpapering!

Coming soon, if you can stand the suspense, is day four in the Chronicles of the Honey-Do vacation, titled Honey-Doings: Part VII.


Honey-Doings: Part V

In the last episode, I had hit a pot hole. The ride had been fairly smooth until then. To my dismay, I found that the window was in rough shape. The whole thing had to be taken apart. To remove the older windows, you must first remove the vertical sash boards on either side of the casement. These are sometimes nailed in, but mine were held in place with three screws in each. It was apparent that it had been many years, decades perhaps, when this window was last disassembled, if ever at all. As such, there were several layers of paint on those side boards. That doesn't bode well if your purpose is to remove screws.

With the blade of a screwdriver on the paint-filled slots, it took a few taps with a hammer to chip the paint away, so that I might turn the screws out. The verticals removed, it was only a matter of pulling the lower window forward and pulling the knotted rope from the slot and hole on the side of the window. The upper window is held in place by a narrow strip of wood, sometimes called sash beading. This strip separates the two windows and also serves as a guide to allow them to move up and down freely.

Outside and using the tail gate of my truck as a work bench, I began scraping the windows and removing the cracked glazing. I also prepped the sash pieces and beading. It was overcast but very humid. The forecast had called for possible passing thunderstorms in our area, but I didn't give it much thought. After all, it was the same report we were given for both Monday and Tuesday, without a sprinkle.

But today the air was changing and a cool breeze had begun to waft through the trees. My perspiration caused a slight chill to come over my body. There was a sudden gust of wind and a sickening crash! One of the windows, both of which I had leaned against my truck until I was ready for them, had been blown over. Yes, oh astute ones, there was broken glass. It was the top window and two of the six panes had been broken.

Did I say I had hit a pot hole earlier? Maybe I understated it a tad? It was a damned sinkhole now! Having taken three steps backward after one forward, I resigned myself to the fact that fate had dealt me another set back. Glancing at my watch, I noted that it was 11:15. I figured that by the time I got the two broken panes out of the window, measured the size of the panes, and drove to the hardware store it would be noon ... Lunchtime. With the way my luck had been running, the only one who cut glass, was probably the only one who could mix paint, and would be ... out to lunch.

A glance up at the sky revealed that there was most definitely a storm brewing. I hurriedly went to work finishing the scraping, sanding and finally painting all the parts of the window. This time, the fates were being kinder. Although the winds were a harbinger of the approaching thunderstorm, they were also speeding up the drying process of the paint.

Then the rains came!

To be continued ... in what else but Honey-Doings: Part VI?


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Frankly, We Give a Damn

On Tuesday night, The American Film Institute is airing a special on the top 50 quotes from U.S. movies. I like these "lists of the best" because the results are so easy to debate. It always makes good material for discussion at the water cooler the next day. There are the inevitable arguments of the rankings. Why is that quote better than this one? What's that one doing on the list? Why isn't another there instead?
---So on Sunday, the show will be aired on Tuesday, I sat down with pen and paper and jotted down from memory a few I thought should make the list. I made no attempt to rank them, that is subject to individual tastes anyway. My list follows:

1) "You talking to me?" (Robert DeNiro - Taxi Driver ) 2) "If you build it, he will come." (Ray Liotta - Field of Dreams ) 3) "I'll be back." (Arnold Schwarzeneggar - The Terminator ) 4) "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." (Clark Gable - Gone With The Wind ) 5) "You're gonna need a bigger boat!" (Roy Scheider - Jaws ) 6) "I coulda been a contender." (Marlon Brando - On The Waterfront ) 7) "Here's looking at you, kid." (Humphrey Bogart - Casablanca ) 8) "Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?" (Robert Redford - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ) 9) "Here's Johnny!" (Jack Nicholson - The Shining ) 10) "Go ahead, make my day." (Clint Eastwood - Sudden Impact ) 11) "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." (Robert Duvall - Apocalypse Now ) 12) "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." (Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump ) 13) "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." (several people - A Christmas Story ) 14) "May the force be with you." (several people - Star Wars ) 15) "Klattu Borado Nikto" (Michael Rennie - The Day The Earth Stood Still )

Well, that's the list I came up with. My number 15 probably won't make the list at all, but I always thought it was kind of cool. With 50 quotes to be honored, I think I have a good chance of most of my list making their list.
---How about you, readers? What quotes do you think should be on the list? Depending on the interest in this subject, I will post the AFI's list on Wednesday.

(Editors note:) This was actually written about two or three weeks ago, but I never posted it. With the exception of the images of Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right , it appears above this note as it would have appeared then. Of course, that program has since aired. For laughs, I am still interested in what other people would pick as their quotes. As before, if there is any interest, I can post the final list of 50. I have a printed list from a Wednesday newspaper on hand. I never read any blog comments about the list, maybe there was no interest?
---By the way, schnoodlepooh, the "Badges" quote made the list at nbr 36. (And my "Klattu Borado Nikto" did not make it.)


Honey-Doings: Part IV

Wendy - Cast me a magic spell to make today a good one!

After all the setbacks of day two, I had high aspirations for day three. Wide awake, well awake anyway, I had my two cups of ambition while my daughter readied herself for work. Even a rocket scientist knows you can't paint a bathroom when someone has to take a shower, dry their hair, apply make-up, brush teeth, ad nauseum.

Although the application of the new wallpaper would be the final step in the restoration of "This Old Bathroom," I began my work by filling cracks and holes in the plaster wall with spackle. One spot, beneath the medicine cabinet, sported an abysmal hole that had been hidden by the old paper.

It was easy to imagine that behind that wall there might be a hidden stash of money. Perhaps someone long ago with a distrust for banks had used the cavity between the walls to keep their life savings secure. It was easy to imagine tearing down the wall for such a reward.

Imagining the mess, not to mention a very major set back to a Honey-Do project, I snapped back to reality. The dismay I felt while examining the hole in the wall, furrowed my brow as seen on my reflection in the mirror. A bump in the road was preferable to another setback.

Some pieces of wood from work bench tooled to size provided a solid surface onto which I was able to apply the spackling gunk. It took all of a half hour by the time I had smoothed the surface of my patch job.

Turning my attention to the window, I had missed a bump in the road but swerved right into a rather large pot hole. The window was in far worse shape than I had imagined. Yesterday I had scraped paint from the sills, moldings and sashes. Yes, I have the "old" windows, you know the ones with sash ropes tied to weights inside the window frame.

Through the etched frosted glass of the lower window, I was unable to see what the outside of the window looked like. It felt like nearly all the glazing, which holds the glass panes in place, was badly cracked and was falling off where my probing fingers touched. The Honey-Do list was apparently pregnant, for it had given birth to a window maintenance project! Normally, a birth is considered a miracle of the cycle of life, but this was one off-spring I had not wanted.

Opus was not the only one who wanted to run and hide! The window, both the top and the bottom, would have to be removed. For everything you want or don't want to know about repairing a window, you have to wait until the next chapter. Does this conjure up memories of those old cliff-hanger serials we used to see on those Saturday matinees at your town movie house?

Breathlessly waiting, you will be left in suspense pondering the fate of the hero, the answer to which will be forthcoming in Honey-Doings: Part V.


In The Pink

We were able to shut off the air conditioners this evening, and open the windows to let in some fresh air. Using some fans, we can sleep without blankets tonight.
I am not looking forward to the summer electric bills. They are usually triple the bills of the other months. I guess that is the price we pay for complaining of the rough winter and rainy spring we had. I certainly posted enough about both the snow storms and the days and days of rain we had, therefore I have a lof catching up to do if I wish to post about the hot and humid spell we have been experiencing lately.

I have used "In The Pink" as a title and included some images of the Pink Panther. Because of the hot and the nice weather, we are able to dress down. With more skin exposed, we are in the pink! Of course we have to be careful and not get too much sun. I certainly don't plan to change the title to "In The Red," and I certainly do not wish to go surfing for images of lobsters. I have no desire to get sunburnt either.

Since I am off this week, I have been inside the house for most of the last few days. As such the air conditioning has been running more than normal. As chronicled in my Honey-Doings postings, I have a couple of projects inside. I wouldn't dream of painting a bathroom or hanging wallpaper in 85-90 degree days without the AC. The work is tedious, back breaking and knuckle busting, but a lot easier to accomplish in a cool house, not to mention more comfortable.

You might say I have trying to keep as cool as a cucumber. I don't think I could be as cool as the Pink Panther though. If I could figure out how to get sound on my site, you would be hearing Henry Mancini's "Theme to the Pink Panther" while you are reading this posting. But since I haven't, you'll have to imagine it is playing, as I was while I putting up this blog.

Since it past midnight, I will close now. I need some sleep to rest up for the painting chore awaiting me in the morrow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Honey-Doings: Part III

The preview may have promised a narrative about painting for day two, but said painting was postponed until tomorrow. So I lied, sue me! There was some activity involving paint, buying it! One can't very well paint if one hasn't purchased it yet, can one? Led to believe to that someone else was going to take care of getting the paint, I had only to worry about some preparations. I held up my end of the bargain on Monday as detailed in Parts I & II.

It looks like that defender of the Old West, El Ka-Bong, should be called in to help. Trust me, as it turned out, I needed him.

As it was, the day started off skewed anyway. Normally up at the crack of 9AM, I didn't wake up this morning until 10:30. Mumbling and stumbling in my pre-coffee near catatonic state, my wife handed me the paint sampler and said something that sounded vaguely like, "I forgot the paint. You'll have to go and get it. I won't have time today." (Ka-bong!) Ouch! That's gotta smart!

By 11AM, I was mumbling and stumbling in my post-coffee lethargic condition. It would take a second cup of Joe before I would achieve the virile prowess of a man half my age. ( Ka-bong! ) Ouch! I can dream can't I? By the time I was ready to leave the house, the dreaded "verbal" Honey-Do list, committed to a hand-written note, had grown to include a trip to City Hall.

At the window of the Department of Revenue, I announced that I wished to pay my water bill. However, I was informed that I would have to come back in an hour. ( Ka-bong! ) Apparently they were short-handed and everyone was on lunch break. A glance at the occupied desks behind the counter confirmed it was true. All four of the ladies were busy indulging their plastic take-out containers of salads. Far be it for me to interrupt a city employee's lunch. (I had the image of the girl at the left eating her salad.)

With an hour to kill, I drove to the hardware store on the other side of town, thinking I might as well pick up the paint. Ever have one of those days? When I got to the hardware store, the only employee who knew how to mix paint, was, you guessed it, out to lunch! ( Ka-bong! ) They say "when in Rome, do as the Romans." So I decided that if everyone was having lunch, there must be something to that practice. Even if it was lunch, I found someone was working at Wendy's. I placed my order to go, paid the clerk and stood back while my food was being prepared. I did say to go, didn't I? ( Ka-bong! ) As the girl dutifully transferred the food from the tray to a bag, I wondered if it was me. As I was leaving, I swear that girl at the counter was making the same faces as the woman at City Hall!

Back at City Hall, their lunch hour behind them, I knew they would be nourished enough not to find an excuse for helping me. (By the way, do you know what's yellow and sleeps four comfortably? Why a City DPW truck, of course!) One of the women, her hair tinted blue giving the effect of shadows on fresh snow, came up to assist me. She very skillfully took my check and time-stamped my receipt before placing the bill and my check into separate boxes on the counter. Without missing a beat, she deftly placed the bill into the one labeled "Paid Bills" and the check into one marked "Payments." In mere minutes she was back at her desk, resuming the afghan she had been crocheting.

I left there with a new-found appreciation for city office workers. The trip to the hardware store went as one would expect. "I need a gallon of 'linen white,' semi-gloss paint," I said to the man who greeted me at the door. While he was mixing the paint, I grabbed a small container of spackle, a couple of paint rollers and a one-inch trim brush. Back at the front counter with what I had harvested from the shelves, he was waiting with the paint. I paid the man and left the store with him carrying the paint for me. I drove away wondering how much more efficient that hardware store could be if it were manned by city workers.

By the time I arrived back at the house, it was 3:15 in the afternoon. There you go! There would be no painting on day two. One thing was certain though, there will be no foreseeable reason that the painting won't get underway tomorrow. It had better, lest someone think that the bathroom is being done by a city worker!

Tomorrow an epic story will be coming your way, in a tale that can only be called "Honey-Doings: Part IV."



Supercalofragilisticexpialodoscious ... Something to say when you have nothing else to say! ...

Mary Poppins said it was a word to use when you have nothing to say. Well, I have nothing in particular to say. To make matters worse, I couldn't think of a title either. So, why not? I've used it as a title as well as a declaration of having nothing to say.
Supercalofragilisticexpialodoscious! It is fun to say though, isn't it? It is spelling the thing that is atrocious! And in all honesty, I don't feel at all precocious.
Supercalofragilisticexpialodoscious! Sing along with me ... You know the words! Anyway, this blog will be one of those wreckless ramblings of randomness. Plus, it'll be another excuse to exercise my new-found knowledge of up-loading images.
Just some thoughts: If a baby were to lose its pacifier, would a pacifist be a suitable substitute?
If it took 60 million years to carve out the Grand Canyon, it should come as no surprise that it was a government project.
Since con is the opposite of pro, I guess it would explain any comparison of Congress to progress.
A.A. Milne's character's sure have been taking a beating lately. Yesterday, John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, has died at the age of 80. Recently, Paul Winchell passed on. Winchell, once the voice of his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smith, was also the voice for Tigger. A while back, Winnie the Pooh lost his mouthpiece when Sterling Holloway died.
A dyslexic man walks into a bra....
Does it ever seem like you are always going uphill like our little friend to the right? I think we all have days like that.
I sure have a few like the wolf above, just falling to pieces when things don't go the way we want.
~~I guess Calvin has the right attitude.

Honey-Doings: Part II

When last you were here, the epic struggle of man vs. the Honey-Do list was in full swing. The action had been halted to allow for trash disposal and refueling. An onion roll stuffed with some mortadella, salami, bologna, and a slice of cheddar cheese, swathed in mayonnaise constituted the necessary fuel required before work could resume.
That resumption, at 12:30, had me filling a bucket with hot water and mixing in some bleach. Standing on a chair, I next scraped about four or five spots on the ceiling where some chipping paint had ben threatening to fall, I helped it along.
~~I probably don't need to tell anyone, but scrubbing a ceiling to remove mildew spots, is not a natural activity for the shoulders and arms of a man. This is especially true when one is closer to the door marked '60' than it's '50' counterpart. The larger open spaces were scrubbed with a long-handled stiff brush. The tests of my mettle though, were the corners and that point where wall and ceiling met.
~~An unscheduled, but necessary break was taken after the ceiling had been scrubbed. While the circulation was returning to my aching arms, I decided to utilize the facilites. Not a bad deal, that wheen you need to use a bathroom, you happen to be in one.
~~It was while i was in that less than dignifying but appropriate position, that I remembered the window. That's right, the window that was at that moment sans treatments. From where I sat, my first floor bathroom was syzygial to the neighbor's upstairs bedroom window.
~~Whether anyone was behind that darkened window, I didn't know. Had there been someone there, they weren't going to see anything more, they most likely had already seen what I had to offer. As such, and to let them know all was well with the world, I waved and saluted. It felt good knowing that they knew everything had come out okay! (Ahem.)
~~The peep-show raree over and my contribution to the world's dwindling sea level well on its way, I returned to work. After scraping the door and its woodwork, I once again grabbed the scrub brush and commenced to attack the walls and woodwork. ~~By the times the walls had been scrubbed it was 4PM. Knowing that they would be needed tonight and tomorrow morning, I replaced the shower curtain rod and rehung the liner and shower curtain. The toiletries were left in the box and placed under the sink. I stood in the doorway looking into the bathroom. Except for the wallpaper, it nearly looked unchanged.
~~It had taken all day just to prepare the bathroom for the next phase. But phase two wouldn't happen until day two of the Honey-Do vacation. Day two, well is another chapter, a chapter that as yet hasn't been written. A preview: day two will feature painting.
~~Coming soon to a blog near you, a tale so vast in scale that it could not be told in one posting, and could only be called "Honey-Doings: Part III."
~ (Baby Huey, I guess could represent the baby in me? Beany & Cecil on a cruise - perhaps where I'd rather be? Ah, the Plugger, he who fixes things against all odds!)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hot Stuff

Honey-Do chores not withstanding, it appears that the week I chose to take vacation is going to a good week. Sure, it is hot as my little friend at the left suggests. Both Saturday and Sunday were in the 90s, and as such the chill of the air-conditioned confines of our house was preferable to being outside. However, we did venture out Sunday afternoon. Friday was my daughter's birthday, her 31st, and we had made arrangements to take her and her fiance' to dinner to celebrate. We had a nice meal at our favorite restaurant, the Texas Road House.
Gretchen had a six-ounce sirloin steak, Scott had the half rack of baby backs, Jeanne had chicken critters, and I polished off an All-American burger and a side of chili-fries. All in all, we were quite satisfied; you don't leave that place under-nourished by no means.
Full bellies + stifling heat = a lazy remainder of the day. (Sorry about the quantum
theory.) That left the rest of day, evening, night, and (yawn) morning to practice a few new (to me) features to enhance my blogs. The fruit of that practice can be seen in the blogs: "Mission: Possible,' 'Strain The Brain,' and 'Happy Birthday USA."
How useful images, animation, shadowed letters and scrolling text will prove to be in the long run, I don't know, but I do like the appearance of my postings better than earlier ones. As for the cartoon characters, such as Hot Stuff the little devil seen here, I just randomly searched for a few I could remember, especially those I considered favorites. Popeye the Sailor was used in the previous post, didn't find an animated one, though I tried.
~~Marvin the Martian is my all-time favorite cartoon character. The floor mats in my truck are, you guessed it, Marvin. He can be found on my key chain, a coffee cup, several tee-shirts, so why not on my blogs? I found some audio-files of Marvin's notable lines, but as of yet I haven't figured out how to up-load them my site. I will, I will. After all, it is Marvin!

Honey-Doings: Part I

At 9:30 AM the first Honey-Do item of the Honey-Do vacation was studied. You'd think that a room where so much activity involves water, that it would be a clean room, relatively speaking. Not so, in fact far from it. Working for elderly services, I know, so I won't dispense any details.
~~Coffee being this former sailor's spinach, like Popeye, I went to work. First things first, I had to remove and box all the various sundries; toiletries from the top of the medicine cabinet, the tub rim, the window, and of course the water closet. Next, I had to take down the shower curtain and liner, much easier to remove the rod you will agree.
~~Removing old wallpaper is not very high on my favorite activities list, it is right down there just ahead of Dental appointments. The last time I had undertaken that chore, we had to use a combination of steam and hot water just to soften up the dried paste underneath. This was followed by painstaking scraping.
The wallpaper that had been hung the last time was pre-pasted and guaranteed to "just peel off" when we were ready to replace it. Remembering the experience of removing paper, I was skeptical to say he least. Comparable to removing a band-aid from a "boo-boo," I began with the slow agonizing tugs, fearful at first of one quick yank.
~~Strip after strip, like the removal of banana skin, the wallpaper yielded without protest. Strip after strip, a smooth was revealed. Relocating the toiletries had taken twice as long to accomplish. In scarcely ten minutes the wallpaper was bagged and taken to the garage, its date with the trash truck assured.
~~A short break was followed by gathering some "tools of the trade." The check list for these tools included paint scraper, putty knives, screw drivers (Phillips and flat), a dust brush and pan, and of course a pair of safety goggles. I took down the curtains from the window, rod and all, followed by the window blind. Employing both screwdrivers, I removed the mini-blinds as well as the hardware that held them. (Apparently I had used different screws when I put them up originally, hence the need for two screw drivers.) Lastly, I removed an old unused holder for a non-existent hand-held shower. I daresay, it will not be put back.
~~It was time for the "fun" part of the job. Goggles on and scraper in hand, I began attacking the chipped and cracked paint on the window above the bath tub. I had decided to forgo plastic sheeting to catch the falling chips, opting instead to let the chips fall where they may. (Pardon that cliched pun.)
~~At 11:30 I stopped scraping to take a breather. After I had brushed up the paint chips and disposed of them, I fetched the vacuum cleaner and sucked up those in the window sill and atop the inner window. A study of the window revealed that there was more scraping to be done. Arms tired, and my stomach reminding me it required some attention.
Stay tuned, if you dare, because the continuing saga of Honey-Doings has only just begun to unfold. In part two you can expect to read about scraping a window and a door, as well as the daunting task of scraping a ceiling.

Happy Birthday USA

The 4th of July

The rocket's red glare ... the bombs bursting in air. The bottle rockets down at the park ... the Roman candles popping ... The firecrackers staccato ... the blockbusters a-booming ... The echoes of them all resounding ...

The dogs whimpering ... pacing ... seeking comfort ... hiding behind the furniture to no avail ...

The cats fascinated by the playthings in the sky they cannot get to ... The celebration outside is a cacophonous display. There is an occasional interruption of the pyrotechnics, stilled by the sirens of the local men in blue, there white cruisers adorned with red and blue lights a-flashing. Those responsible have for a while melded into the shadows unbathed in street lights.

The dogs have calmed down, they are at peace. It is the cats who are upset now, the shrill of the sirens hurting their all so sensitive ears. It is early, there is a lot evening left. The rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers and blockbusters will begin their symphony of din again.

Then the cycle will begin anew. Several times during the night, the dogs and cats will each go through calm and terror and back again. You feel sorry for them, but you are going through stress yourself. You are clock watching, hoping soon the celebration will end.

(Yes, it is a week before the 4th, but a few knuckleheads apparently thought they would get a head start tonight. They were shooting off their fireworks for over two hours. Chances are that we will have a few more nights of this until Tuesday.)


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Strain The Brain


You have entered the vacuum that is in the Pointmeister's head! ...Enter at your own risk! ...

To maintain the brain, you must strain the brain! That is the advice of the Alzheimers Association. You should exercise your brain and nourish it well, and the sooner you start, the better.
~~ The Association is offering free classes around the country to teach people of any age, but especially Baby Boomers, just how to do it. They are calling the course "Maintain the Brain." Uh,oh!
They are singling out us Baby Boomers. We, who are the next class to graduate from the School of Hard Knocks and take up further studies of life under Social Security, are on the hot seat once again.
Their advice to us seems almost sophomoric and self-explanatory. Yet, it will certainly fall upon many deaf ears. Our brain is like a muscle - use it or lose it! We should try to do a new type of puzzle, learn to play chess, take a foreign language, or solve a vexing problem at work. Let's see, I already do a wide variety of puzzles. While I do know how to play chess, I find it boring. I speak no foreign language, but a little (very little) knowledge of Latin helps me figure out some of them when written. Now as for vexing problems at work, does deciding whether ot not to actually get up and go to work count?
~~Social stimulation is crucial. Belonging to a church or book club helps people age healthier. Declining social interaction leads to declining cognitive functions. I don't go to church that often, but I was brought up in a Christian environment. I don't belong to any book or garden clubs. I have a wood-crafting hobby that affords me a lot of social contact. Then of course, there are my trips into the Blogosphere.
~~People who suffer from chronic distress - extreme worriers - are twice as likely to develop some form of dementia. Now where did I put my glasses? Seriously though, for now my mind is pretty sharp and I don't let much of anything bother me.
~~The Association suggests that a three-pronged approach of something mentally, physically and socially stimulating is good for maintaining a healthy brain. Such activities could include coaching your child's ball team, taking dancing lessons, or even strategizing a round of golf. Coaching? Been there, done that! I can still cut a rug when I have to, but my frug and dirty dog are a little rusty. Since I don't play golf, just how in the heck do you strategize a round of golf?
~~Lastly, the Alzheimers Association wants to remind us to not forget our diet. The same foods that are heart-healthy are also good for he brain. We should avoid artery-clogging saturated fat and instead try omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts. As for proper nutrition, I can see no reason to crack jokes. This is an area that I refer to as being sophomoric, but that applies to me. They wouldn't be promoting healthy eating if everyone were eating properly.

Mission: Possible

~ I like this image!
It suggests the insatiable desire I have to make my blogs more interesting. A few days ago, I was carrying my visitor counter in the body of each posting. I didn't like it there at all. At first I had it on the template and I had to copy and paste it to each new blog. I don't want to say it was a pain in the keester, wait, yes I do. It was a royal pain. Then I figured out I could have it come up everytime I created a new blog. But for some reason it appeared twice. I had to delete one of them. Then I could type up my blog with the text pushing the counter along until it reached the bottom of the page. Still it was a pain, and still the counter was in the posting, but it was better than copying and pasting to every blog.
Then a savior arrived on the scene. He asked a "dumb" question. Why did I have my counter in each blog? To which I had to give a "dumber" answer. It was there because I didn't know how to get it onto the sidebar. In a word, I was embarrassed. I felt rather stupid actually. That stupidity manifested itself as foolish pride and as such I wouldn't ask anyone.
~ Finally, I sat down and went through the directions. Like a bolt from the blue, it started to make sense. A few clicks here, a copy and a paste there, and voila! I am happy now. The counter is where it belongs. For good measure I also put up a clock that carries the present time. Just a little Tinker(bell)ing.
~ Like Pac-Man up there gobbling all he can, I will see what else I can do to make my postings look better. I suppose I'll probably start to reach over-kill at some point. So it is with the yearn to learn. What I thought was over my head, was actually under my nose all along. Uh-oh, I'll bet there are some schnozzle joke that just got set up.
~ Mission: Impossible? No, Mission: Possible! - Mission: Accomplished.

Southern Bride Chicken

While touring the Blogosphere, I made a scheduled stop at Karyn's blog. ( ) Her Freaky Friday feature touched upon the (in)famous Runaway Bride. Discussed was the possible answer for her flight. She may be right. But others might be right too. For that matter, I might also be correct in my analyses. Truth is, we may never know.
~ A week or so ago, I was preparing a blog on "Runaway Bride" and "Grounded Groom," but I was waiting for the results of the interview with Katie Couric before I posted it. To my chagrin, I should have known, the hostess handled her with kid gloves.
~ Going in, I anticipated a "tart-a-thon," with Katie in her usual tight short skirt and Runaway in a really tight shirt. While morning TV watchers are familiar with Katie's gams, America didn't know about Jennifer Wilbanks' implants. I wondered if Katie, as she crossed and uncrossed her legs with each question, would ask about the compatibility of Runaway and her fiance, John Mason. Mason, a "re-virginized" Southern Baptist before they met, as well as Church, would have a serious problem with an "implanted" wife. Might she have a problem with a revirginized husband? Was she having a problem with such a fiance?
~ But Katie never went there. The whole thing seemed contrived, rehearsed and even scripted. Though Katie did ask Jennifer why she went on the lam, she avoided an obvious opening crying for pursuit. Runaway hinted that she and the betrothed one actually discussed her possible trip the night before the wedding.
~ One should wonder why Katie missed that cue, shouldn't one? That's when it dawned on me. The reason she didn't follow through, was because she wasn't supposed to go there. It is painfully obvious, Jennifer and John were getting paid, and handsomely for this appearance on national TV.
~ NBC, of course, denies that they paid anything. Since confirmed, but only conjectured that night, Runaway Bride and Grounded Groom had already inked a package book deal for their stories worth $500,000 each. Now would NBC pay, let's say $100,000 for the TV interview, knowing full well there would be a large ratings spike? Of course they would!
~ With a tug on a string and a string there, all the loose ends are starting to fall in place. Remember that hint about the pre-disappearance discussion between the soon-to-be-marrieds? Cha-ching! Cha-ching! Did you hear the cash register too?
~ There you have it, folks. A cleverly contrived hoax on all of us. "Look, John, I'll go out west for a few days. I'll call in a few days later and claim to have been kid-napped. It'll make the headlines everywhere! Then when we have national sympathy, and we will have, I'll come clean. I just got scared at the last moment. Sure, it will shock some people. But look at how big our story will be. They'll beat down our doors to get the book rights. Hey, there might even be a movie! Who do think will play us? That Southern Baptist revirginized thing works well too."
( I have a suggestion for the title of the book. I am easy, a $50,000 stipend will do. The title? Southern Bride Chicken For The Soul.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Al Is In Wonderland

Our man Al is no one person per say. He is just one of us, "us" being the operative word for a citizen with rights. A man's home is his castle, at least that is what Al always believed. Now, Al's belief was not the chauvinistic product of "a man's home is his castle" over a subservient wife. No, Al like all of us, believed his home was more than just a house. To Al it was a haven, not just to provide shelter, but to signify his success. He could say he had arrived. He could proudly say, "This is mine, all mine."
~ Unfortunately, Al has only recently discovered that might not be quite true. Al should put a little more consideration into whom he decides to vote during a Presidential election. The man who occupies the position of "the most powerful man on earth" is responsible for far more than the welfare of the nation. Al now realizes, as we all should realize, that the legacy of the President reaches, nay permeates the very fabric of the lives of he common citizens. Moreover, that legacy lives long after the Commander-in-chief.
~ Two powers given the President, two powers that should be taken away, are the power to pardon and the power to nominate Justices to the Supreme Court. It is in this wonderland that Al finds himself, wondering about the long range effects of such powers. While his nominees must be approved by other elected officials, most of them are eventually approved.
~ Mark Twain wrote: "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Now we can say that about the U.S. Supreme Court also. Exhibit A was handed down Thursday, June 23, buy a 5-4 decision. Sandra Day O'Connor, a glowing example of an ill-advised Presidential nomination, gave a hard-hitting statement on that decision. "Nothing is to prevent the state from from replacing a Motel 5 with a Ritz-Carlton, and any home with a shopping mall."
~ Does that thought scare you? It should. It scares me. And it scares Al. It behooves that the President choose wisely at an inevitable decision on his first Supreme Court nominee. If you have had any questions on decisions he has made so far in his tenure, pay close attention to the first Bush Judge. That judge will be making, influencing decisions that will impact your life long after George W. is put out to pasture.
~ Just ask a group of homeowners in New London, Conn., where their homes are about to be seized to make way for a private development to include a hotel, offices and a marina, all fir the end result of increasing the city's tax base. You might ask the same of the former residents of Boston's West End. Where those residents once saw a vital community, developers saw a "blight," which has long since been replaced by high rises.
~ The courts have recognized government's need for promoting the greater good by seizing property in blighted areas. Defining blighted can be likened to defining pornography. It is in the eyes of the beholder.
~ Al is in wonderland and what he beholds keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. There is no white rabbit that perplexes you, me and Al. No it is the White House, and that smile doesn't belong to the Cheshire Cat. Through the looking glass everything looks greener on the other side of the fence, but only as long as you are on the right side of the fence to begin.

Hell Hath No Fury...

...Like a woman scorned. If you happen to be in Atlanta, and you are a man looking for some companionship, you just might want to lose this woman's telephone number.
~ Lena Driskell, a 78-year-old great grandmother, shot her ex-beau to death because he had ended their romance. "I did it, and I'd do it again!" She yelled at the police officers who arrived on the scene at a senior citizens home. Driskell, wearing a bath robe and slippers, was waving an antique hand gun with her finger still on the trigger.
~ She is accused of premeditated plotting in the shooting of Herman Winslow, 85. Furious because of the break-up of their romance, she had become further incensed when she learned he had assumed a relationship with another woman. After the break-up she kept showing up uninvited at his apartment in Hightower Manor, the complex for seniors where they both lived.
~ On this, her last visit to see him, she rushed in armed with more than harsh words. Although a security guard tried to calm her down, she drew out her gun, pressed it to Winslow's head and fired four times as he was reading a newspaper.
~ Driskell was released on a $25,000 bond and placed under house arrest after the hearing. The Fulton County Magistrate, Richard Hicks, stipulated that she must wear an ankle monitor and live with her grand daughter, Lena Holt. Said Hicks, "I don't want her on the streets. Who knows how many guns she has?"
~ At the hearing, defense attorney Deborah Poole, stressed Driskell's clean record and said that she had had the gun since 1957. "She's not a threat to anyone," Poole concluded.
~ Her grand daughter, who was named for her, said Driskell and Winslow had been seeing each other for some time. The two had shared a bank account and a love for traveling. "What drove her to something like this is beyond me," Holt said. "We have no control over what she did, but we are very sorry."
I wonder, did Holt's grand father die of natural causes? Hmm.
(From an Associated Press release bylined by Greg Bluestein)

My Little Girl

My Little Girl
My little girl
Grow up before my eyes;
Soon she will be leaving my world,
Walking the aisle with her lucky young man.
He mother and I wish the best,
Though we will be alone
We will be there
My Little girl
And he have a long life,
With many days of happiness;
Knowing we will be here in times of need,
The home left behind will be near.
We will be there gladly
With open arms
My little girl
With children of her own,
Will see them grow before her eyes
And walk the aisle as she had done before,
Grandma and Grandpa will watch too.
She will not be alone
They will return

Bawbwa Does Dubyew

Bawbwa: Welcome folks to my excwusive wate night interview with Pwesident Dubyew. Welcome Mr. Pwesident!
Dubyew: Thank you, Barbara. And hello, my fellow Americans.
Bawbwa: We understand you just had a compwete check-up. I twust everything was alwight.
Dubyew: That's right. I got a clean bill of health. In fact, I got weighed just before coming here.
Bawbwa: You did? Did you wike it?
Dubyew: What's that?
Bawbwa: When you got weighed, you must have wiked it. Did Waura wike it too? I'll bet she just wuved it!
Dubyew: No, no, Barbara. Laura wasn't even there!
Bawbwa: Then who did you weigh, Mr. Pwesident?
Dubyew: I didn't weigh anyone. They weighed me!
Bawbwa: They? Mr. Pwesident, are you twying to tell me you got weighed in a menage-a-twa with two women?
Dubyew: Two women? Oh, I see. You're talking about the dessert I had with lunch. It was lemon meringue.
Bawbwa: Women mewang? Is that what high wanking officials call phiwandering now a days?
Dubyew: Barbara, I feel like I'm being interviewed by Elmer Fudd!
Bawbwa: Elmer? Elmer is my speech instwuctor. He was getting weighed with you too?
Dubyew: Barbara! Why are you removing your blouse?
Bawbwa: Sowwy, but I'm getting wather wandy! All this talk aboutt getting weighed is making me vewy wight-headed.
Dubyew: Ah, your network wants to go to a commercial, right now.
Bawbwa: No! It's getting wate. We still have a wot of gwound to discuss.
Dubyew: Yes. Didn't you want to talk about Saddam?
Bawbwa: You mean Sa-dawm? You know rhymes with bomb.
Dubyew: Sodomy? Barbara, what kind of subject is that?
Bawbwa: Well, you bwought it up. (Hee-hee!) Is that why you cwossed your wegs?
Dubyew: Sa-dawm? Sodomy? I meant Saddam .. you jail..Hussein!
Bawbwa: Hmm, yes I guess it's sad it's Quayle whose insane. But why bwing up that woser?
Dubyew: I just noticed, Barbara, without your blouse I can see that you have love handles. Maybe you should get weighed.
Bawbwa: Mr. Pwesident! Are you saying you want to weigh me?
Dubyew: I'll tell you what, we'll get weighed together.
Bawbwa: Well, people usuwalwy get weighed together. Don't you and Waura?
Dubyew: You want Laura to get weighed with us too?
Bawbwa: Well, all I can say, is that tonight will be a gwound bweaking wesson for the network.
Dubyew: Wesson oil? Sounds kinky.
Bawbwa: No wesson. You know wike a histowy wesson.
Dubyew: Ah. A lesson to deal with slippery situations. I see.
Bawbwa: A wesson in wate-night pwogwamming! This pwogwam is only on for one hour. There's not much time weft.
Dubyew: It doesn't take but a minute or two to get weighed.
Bawbwa: Why, Mr. Pwesident. You mean to tell me you are a minute man? Uh, never mind. They will wish they awowed at weast two hours to show America a wusty Bawbwa weighing Dubyew and Waura wive at the same time! The people will simpwy wuv it!
Dubyew: No cameras, Barbara. It is a private matter getting weighed. Come on, let's go get weighed.
Bawbwa: Good night, America.
Dubyew: Hey! That's my wine!

Friday, June 24, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinking Chocolate!

Lexington, Ky. -
~ When Norreasha Gill tuned into WLTO-FM radio, she heard the Night host, DJ Slick announce that there would be a contest in which one lucky listener could win 100 grand. After listening for two hours, she quickly pushed the button to speed dial the station when Slick announced that caller number 10 would win the prize. The listeners in the area heard Slick announce her as he winner of the 100 grand.
~ Gill, a gleeful winner, spread the news to her family. Before going to bed, she promised her children - ages 1, 5 and 11 - that they'd have a minivan, a shopping spree, a savings account, and a home with a back yard.
~ She went to the radio station the next morning to pick up her prize, only to asked to come back later. When she returned home, she discovered that a station manager had called and left a message explaining she had won a Nestles' 100 Grand candy bar, not money. The woman was not pleased.
~ In response to her return call, the station offered her $5,000. "I said I wanted $95,000 more," she said. "Nobody would watch and listen for two hours for a candy bar."
~ As a result, she has sued Cumulus Media, which owns the station, saying the station and its parent company breached a contract to pay $100,000 to the contest winner. The station, however, says the contest was sponsored by DJ Slick himself, and was not conducted by the station. Meanwhile, Slick has apparently left his job. A spokesman Cumulus Media noted that the contest never once referred to the prize as money, and the word "dollars" had not been used.
~ "What hurts me is they were going to get me in front of my children, all dressed up, and hand me a candy bar, after all those promises I made to them," she told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "You just don't do that to people." -Associated Press.
This blogger will be holding his breath until Norreasha Gill's day in court. Will she get her check? Or will the judge slam the gavel and award her a candy bar? One way to look at it, I suppose, either way she's going to get 100 grand!
~ Talk about having your chocolate and eating it too!

Bits and Pieces - Answers

On Monday, 6/20, I posted "Bits and Pieces," blog number 191. It was one of those nothing-in-particulr-to-say postings, so I plugged in a few thoughts, quotes and trivia questions. To date, only DottyLoulou posted a comment in attempt to answer the questions. It was too early to tested, but over breakfast she tried. Thank you, Dotty, by the way. I don't know if she is anxious for he answers, but in all fairness, I will post them here today.
~ Anyone else who happens to stumble upon this posting will be in the wagon before the horse predicament. You may want to stop reading here and go read posting number 191 to see the questions and perhaps try to answer them, before reading any further. (Then again, one sure-fire way to pass any test is have the answers first!)
~ Anyway, as promised here are the answers:
The Tormented:
a) Krazy Kat
b) Tom Terrific
c) Underdog
d) Beany and Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent
e) Dudley Do-Right
f) King Leonardo
g) Popeye
h) Rocky and Bullwinkle
The Group: The Highwaymen
Cowsills Song Title: The Rain, The Park, and Other Things
Mack the Knife Girls: Jenny Diva, Lottie Lenya, Sookie Tawdry, and old Lucy Brown
He disappeared: Louie Miller (after drawing out all his hard-earned cash)
The Rifleman's horse: Razor
Dudley Do-Right's horse: Horse
( I'll admit that these were not easy trivia questions, but if anyone learned a few facts to stump friends, then they weren't a total waste of time.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Honey-Do Vacation

It's hard to get excited about my vacation next week, it actually starts Friday after work and runs through the fifth of July. Don't get me wrong. I do need a week off from the job, but it won't necessarily be a relaxing week. I may just go back to work needing the rest. I have two projects that will be the main focus of the week. The one consolation will be that I can sleep in a little later each morning. (And stay up a little later.)
~ It will be the "revenge of the honey-do list." First, there is the bathroom. The wall paper has to be stripped. The woodwork has to be scraped. The ceiling has to scrubbed for some mildew spots. That, my friends, is just the preparation phase. Next will be the cleanup of course. Then the fun stuff can begin. The ceiling will be painted and then the woodwork. Lastly, I will be hanging the new wall paper. Thank you, Lord, it is not matched paper!
~ Omitted from the previous paragraph is the break time, which will allow me some relaxation for at least drafting a blog or two. Oh yes, I will sneak in a bite to eat also. Hey, I'm not getting paid union scale! I can probably sneak in a few games of Spelldown too over at Yahoo.
~ Finally, there is the kitchen. There, the tiles need to be replaced. That means I have to pull up the old ones and discard them. I will also have to rip off he old coving, the mop guard some call it. The old tiles were the peel-and-stick ones. Not so the new ones. They are the asphalt kind and they must be glued down. If you have ever laid tiles, you probably are aware of all the cutting required for the areas next to the walls. My kitchen floor will require five-inch cut pieces all around the perimeter. When that is finished, it will be time for the application of the new coving, also needing to be glued in place.
~ Those two projects are part of the on-going projects in preparation of my daughter's up-coming wedding on October the ninth. There are other chores, can you say myriad, that need to be done before that date also. They are smaller, easier jobs, some requiring an investment of an hour or two. I chose to do the two big jobs during a week of vacation, because there is too much going on during the weekends lately. I could foresee the bathroom started one weekend and not finished until the next, which in this case would be the Fourth of July weekend. By then, the bathroom would be going into a third weekend. I can only imagine the friendly "discussions" over the state of the project.
~ My wife's desire for these chores are justified, I must admit. Did I just say that? She wants the house to look good, especially the bath room and the kitchen. She would say, "I can't have the house looking like this for the wedding. The Maid-of-Honor and the Bridesmaids will be here the day of the wedding." I can find no logical reason to convince her otherwise. It is a Catch-11 for me. In a Catch-22 situation, you are wrong no matter what. But in a Catch-11 scenario, there is only one option - do it!
~ The other chores are weekenders. Wash the windows, fix a sticking door, carry a lot of stuff to the attic or the basement, or carry stuff up from the basement and down from the attic. Of course, the basement and attic relocation work will be in turn reversed after the wedding. It may only be June, but October will creep upon us before we know it.
~ After the bathroom and the kitchen, the honey-do list will dwindle significantly. Hell, it'll be almost manageable. I might actually be able to check off everything by the time summer is over. However, there is one item that I will personally add to the list. And that last item on the list? ..."Throw away that (bleeping) Honey-Do List note holder along with the pad!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Blog To Be Named Later

( I Remember reading about this contest a while back, but I kind of forgot about it. )
From May 19, through June 9, Eyebeam, a New York non-profit center for art and technology, sponsored a contest to prove just how rapidly any information can be spread on the World Wide Web. Sixty sites were entered and Forget Me Not Panties, Crying While Eating, and Blogebrity were the winners of the Contagious Media Showdown awards.
~ Forget Me Not Panties ( ) won the $2000 grand prize. It had 615,562 unique visitors and more than 20 million hits to the site in 22 days. The sight offered panties to track your unsuspecting wife or girlfriend; boasting: "These panties can give you her location, and even her temperature and heart rate, and she will never even know it's there!"
~ Crying While Eating ( ) won two $1000 prizes while gaining 386,638 unique visitors and more than 13 million viewings of 30-second video clips with, well, people crying while eating. It began with staged clips, accompanied by helpful one-line descriptions of the food and the source of the subjects' sadness. Readers have added additional video clips, boosting the total to 46. Readers can vote for their favorites, such as Spencer, gnawing on ribs while allegedly bawling because "his co-joined twin didn't make it." There is Dan, eating pot roast and mashed potatoes while sitting on the toilet, crying because he "failed to plan ahead."
~ Blogebrity ( ) preyed upon the egos of bloggers by not only promising a magazine about the on-line journalists, but also ranking them as A-, B-, or C-Listers. The site won $1000 for having the most blog links at 490.
Other sites featured a masked Ringtone Dancer, a movie about brain freeze and a break-up letter generator. These three, the three listed above, as well the other 54 entrants can be found listed at .
If you are interested you can visit the three winners via the links provided above, or you can visit the showdown site through the last link to review all the entrants.
~ ( Please note, that after I had posted this, I clicked on the links and all four of them came up: URL not found. I can only assume that they were shut down after the contest. My apologies if this caused you any grief.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monkey Business

London- Art collectors often joke that a chimpanzee could paint better some contemporary artists. On Monday, they were proven right. Three paintings by an ape sold at auction for more than $25,000.
Howard Hong, a California telecommunications consultant paid $26,352 for three abstract works by Congo the chimp. The sale price far exceeded the pre-sale estimates of $1000 - $1500. Hong said he was prepared to pay $50,000.
He said, "Many people have said to me, 'There is a cheaper solution - buy a chimpanzee and put it in a room with some paper and paint.' But on a purely artistic level when I saw the paintings, they struck me."
Congo, who died in 1964, produced about 400 drawings and paintings between he ages of two and four, and is world's most celebrated animal artist, according to Howard Rutkowski, director of impressionist and modern art for Bonham's auction house.
"It is not just any chimp - it is Congo," Rutkowski said, "If you own a Congo, you are in the company of Picasso and Miro."
If you ask me, anyone who would pay $26,000 for a piece of "art" made buy an ape, would more likely be in the company of Tarzan. The same person probably comes from the Planet of the Apes. I am certain that both Picasso and Miro would be tickled pink to know they were in the company of Congo. Let me get this straight, I were to put a canvas down on the floor and pour some paint around it, and let my cats pace back and forth from paint to canvas, the resulting "masterpiece" might fetch $26,000?
Here, kitty, kitty!

Hold The Froot Loops!

Saddam Hussein loves Doritos, but hates Froot Loops. He admires President Reagan, thinks Clinton was okay, and considers both Presidents Bush as no good. He talks a lot, worries about germs, and insists he is still the President of Iraq. - Herald Wire Services
~ Those and other details about his life in U.S. military custody appear in the July issue of GQ Magazine. The article is based on interviews with five Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers who maintained guard duty detail of the fallen Iraqi despot for ten months.
~ While the Pentagon had no comments, the GIs said Saddam had harsh words for the Bushes, both of whom went to war against him. "The Bush father, son, no good," one of the soldiers quoted Saddam. He was further quoted that he held no harsh feelings and wanted to talk to George W., to make friends with him. In another quote, Saddam said, "He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he will never find them."
~ The Guardsmen said that he sometimes danced alone in his cell and wrote poetry. He was friendly with all the young guards, and even offered fatherly advice at times. At one point, he even invited the soldiers to visit Iraq once he is acquitted and back in power. He said to them, "I'll show you around my country. You are like sons to me."
~ The soldiers also said that Hussein was a "clean freak" who washed his hands after hand shakes and used diaper wipes to clean meal trays and utensils before eating. He had a definitive fear of germs. Saddam preferred Raisin Bran Crunch for breakfast, and told the guards, "No Froot Loops!" He would eat chicken and fish, but rejected beef. For a while, his favorite snack was Cheetos, and when the supply run out, he became grumpy. One day they gave him Doritos and he forgot about Cheetos.
Not bad treatment, I'd say, for a toppled dictator, is it? Imagine, of all the time-tested techniques of torture and interrogation one could impose upon such a ruthless man, a simple switch of the contents of a cereal bowl could soothe or ruffle his feathers!
~ Picture if you will, the following exchange between the commanding officer of the prison compound and one of the guards:
What's that, soldier? Saddam refuses to take a shower this morning, sir! Very well, give him Froot Loops for breakfast then. Yes, sir!
~ He said that President Bush is a pile of camel dung, sir. He did, did he? Take away his Doritos! Yes, sir!
~ Excuse me, sir? Yes, soldier? It seems we mis-translated the Arabic, sir. He didn't say the President was a pile of camel dung, sir. He said the President is full of camel dung, sir.
~ Okay, give him back his Doritos and Raisin Bran. Yes, sir!

The Exorcist

When I heard it last night, I thought it might be a report on a new movie in production, or a horror movie retrospective at a movie house in Harvard Square. After all, I only caught the tail-end of the report. The mention of vampires, werewolves, and especially Transylvania can evoke thoughts of the horror genre. There was also an exorcism mentioned, which also made me think of a movie being filmed.
~ Since the set was tuned to the Biography channel, I guessed that maybe they had a bio on Linda Blair. The location was certainly apropos; a convent in northwestern Romania near Arad on the border of Transylvania. This area of course has been the realm of vampires and werewolves.
~ I soon went to bed and forgot the whole thing. It was forgotten until the next morning, that is. Skimming through the morning paper over a cup of coffee, I noticed an article at the bottom of page five. The headline read: Priest's Exorcism Results In Death. It was like a Paul Harvey moment .."And now for the rest of the story." Remembering Linda Blair and the film "The Exorcist," I thought that it certainly was life imitating art.
~ A priest and four nuns face up to twenty years in prison for the death of a 23-year-old woman. The woman had been chained to a cross, gagged and starved in the cellar of a Romanian convent in a bizarre rite of exorcism. According to local police, the woman died of suffocation, a towel having been stuffed in her mouth to muzzle her screams.
~ Maricica Irina Cornici had been raised in an orphanage before becoming a nun. The woman was a schizophrenic, given to rapid mood swings. These changes in personality led some of the other nuns in the convent to surmise she was possessed by the devil. Thus Father Daniel, a Romanian Orthodox priest, crucified her for three days, reciting prayers to banish her evil spirits.
~ Father Daniel, a large man with a red beard and glowing eyes, showed no remorse when he was arrested. "God has performed a miracle for her," he proclaimed. "At last Irina has been delivered from evil."
~ While forced fasting is sometimes considered a part of the exorcism ritual, the Romanian press decried the practice as an act of torture. "I don't understand why journalists are making such a fuss about this," the priest said. The defiant nuns had refused to speak to the press or discuss God's will.
~ Michaela Straub, a police spokesperson, said the five would be charged with 'depriving a victim of freedom, leading to death' - a charge normally applied to hostage-takers. She also noted that Father Daniel seemed only too happy to have performed the grim exorcism.
~ I normally try to find a humorous angle to my postings, but I have to apologize, for I cannot find a reason to laugh with or at this story. I can only liken the four nuns to the two girls whose charges led to the infamous witch trials of Salem, Mass., nearly 400 years ago.
~ As for me, I find this story disturbing. In this day and age with the legacies of memory and knowledge of past atrocities, how can there still be such superstitious and pagan beliefs? How can a man and women of faith sink to such lowly depths?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bits and Pieces

When the creative juices aren't flowing, I usually have a few observations, quotes, and trivia questions at the ready for such times. It is, almost was, Fathers Day and I am a little spent. At a cook-out I gorged myself on three cheeseburgers, chips, fruit cubes, chocolate cake and ice cream, all which was washed down with a couple of cups of coffee. From 2:00 in the afternoon until 7:00 this evening, all of the above provided sustenance during the baseball game on one TV and golf on another.
"I'm in pieces, bits and pieces" (The Dave Clark 5)
At least ten doctors have told me I'm suffering from paranoia. What is this, some kind of conspiracy?
Here is a list of some lovable cartoon villains you might remember (some anyway) -Who do think was the meanest?
(a) Ignatz Mouse, ( b) Crabby Appleton, ( c) Simon Bar Sinister, (d) Dishonest John, (e) Snidely Whiplash, (f) Biggie Rat and Itchy Brother, (g) Bluto, (h) Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale
~ That, of course is subjective. But can name who each of them tormented? You have the bad guy, who are good guys?
In 1985, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristoferson formed what touring group?
"I love the flower girl.." sang the Cowsills in the 60's hit. Do you know the exact title of the song?
Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife" mentions the first and last names of four women. Can you name them? For extra credit, from the same song, who disappeared? (Also first and last name)
When I order pizza, I have to tell them to make it six slices, because I cannot eat eight slices of pizza!
"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect enjoyment." (Jane Austen)
Most everyone Knows that Roy Rogers' horse was Trigger, the Lone Ranger's was Silver, and Lash LaRue's was Rush,* so you probably know that the Rifleman, Lucas McCain's horse was named ______?_______.**
Speaking of horses, what was the name of Dudley Do-Right's horse?
I have either: (a) bored you, (b) angered you, (c) or intrigued you. Credit for this question is worth 84 points, while all others are worth one each, a total of 16 to make a perfect score of 100.
*Actually not many people do know this.
** Not many know this either.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Going Commercial

I resisted at first. I tried, I really did. Maybe I didn't put up much of a fight. But in the end, I gave up. I wanted no part of banner ads. I decided also to stay away from the ads that appear in the side bar. That reminds me, I picked up a pebble on the highway yesterday. Sure enough, it cracked my windshield. So I called the pros at Car Glass Giants. In no time at all they were in my driveway replacing the glass. If you are need of a windshield and want fast and dependable service, call 1-800-CARGLAS. You'll be glad you did.
~ I especially wanted no ads that would induce pop-ups onto unsuspecting readers. Those of you who have them, please get rid of them! They are very annoying. Excuse me while I take a sip from a 12-ounce can of Polka Cola. The two leading brands were afraid to invite us to their taste tests. Why? Because Polka Cola is the best! Now available in handy fridge packs. I did however, relent to commercials for this posting as a trial run. I chose unobtrusive ads, those that appear subtly in the text. They blend in seamlessly and are not a distraction to the reader.
~ When taking photographs, always remember to use authenic Kayak photo-quality paper for professional results. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first. Was a source of income worth any negative feedback from the readers? I have to admit that the flow of this blog seems to be smooth and uninterrupted. For whiter whites and brighter brights, try new and improver Apex laundry detergent, from the makers of Goofy Goop, the wonder glue.
~ It goes without saying, a good blog needs to be continuous and adhere to the theme intended. There should not be any disjointed sentences...Men, are you having trouble in the bedroom? Does your woman say, "It's okay, you're probably tired?" Try our new male stimulant, Hardman. Make your woman say, "Oh my, you want to go again!" So if you want to stay hard, man, get Hardman today!...or choppy fragmented thoughts. Your goal is to be eloquent and yet terse and to the point. Above all, it should be entertaining. You want readers and you want them to keep coming back.
~ If you choose to use ads on your site, choose those ads that are subtle and don't interfere with your blogs. Above all try not to choose ads that may offend others. Do you sometimes have trouble containing gas after eating? Try our new Gas-B-Gone. Our capsules blend with your digested foods and helps you to produce pleasant aromas. No longer will your company detect foul odors. Our product comes in a variety of scents, such as lilac, rose, vanilla, apple pie, and the latest, strawberries and cream.
~ I guess the real test will be when the visitors to my site sample this blog. With ads or without ads, that is the question?
~ This blog has been sponsored by the makers of Pate Wax. Tired of a dull bald spot? Make it sparkle with Pate Wax. Until next time, we will see you here at the same blog spot at the same blog time. Keep blogging, bloggers!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dumpster Diving

Hardly an Olympic event, dumpster diving is being practiced in most major cities. "...And now at dumpster number one, representing the USA is Wendy Cobb. Cobb will attempting a one-and-a-half Gainer in the pike position."
~ Cobb, 38, of Framingham, Ma., found out Thursday morning just how dangerous the sport of dumpster diving can be. She has had extensive practice diving for redeemable aluminum cans. It seems on this day however, she forgot to check the local pick-up time for this particular neighborhood.
~ Little did she know that her morning foray would turn into a very trashy ordeal. Her previous dives had produced a dozen cans to that point. Apparently she did not hear the garbage truck as it pulled up to the dumpster. Nonetheless, she did feel the hydraulic arms picking up the dumpster. Tossed and pitched along with the trash, to say she was frightened would be putting it mildly. From the open top of the dumpster she could see the building and the metal fire escape moving past her. The arms' relentless movement had carried the dumpster over and beyond the cab of he garbage truck.
~ The noise of the truck's hydraulics and the cry of metal against metal drowned out her screams and cries for help. No one heard her as she along with the dumpster's contents were tilted and sent tumbling into the gaping jaws of the garbage truck's collection tank.
~ Even as the hydraulic arms reversed direction to return the dumpster to its original resting place, she was trying to climb out of the back of the truck. Her hope of escape turned to terror when she heard a new and more terrifying sound. There was movement beneath and around her. Her screams became louder, more desperate as she realized that the truck's compactor had been activated. She would be crushed as surely as the trash in which she was stranded.
~ Michael J. Marotta, the operator of the garbage truck saw a man running toward him, waving his arms frantically and shouting. He immediately shut off the equipment. He could not believe what Jimmy Pennet of Ashland had told him, that someone had been in that dumpster. Somehow the man had heard screams from inside the truck.
~ The two men could only fear the worse, for they heard nothing after the compactor had stopped. Once he had climbed onto the truck and peered inside the trash tank, the driver signaled that the person inside was okay. Perhaps in shock, or just spent after all her screaming, the woman had just collapsed and lay still.
~ A short while later, Cobb was treated for some minor injuries. She had sustained a sprain ankle, a few scrapes and some bruises. Otherwise, she seemed unaffected by her ordeal. She told a reporter on hand that she thought she was going to die. But she was glad to be alive. The EMTs, satisfied that she was okay, decided there was no need to transfer to a hospital. A police officer on the scene, who happened to be in the Dunkin' Donuts next door decided not to file charges against the woman. He did inform her that climbing into dumpsters was considered trespassing, a misdemeanor.
~ Curiously (or not surprisingly) the woman was very upset that garbage truck driver refused to let her retrieve her cans. She watched the truck drive away until it was out of sight. She was last seen walking away down the street, probably lamenting the fate of those cans. Those twelve cans, redeemable for 60 cents, seemed more important than her brush with death.
~ After reading the story in the Friday, June 17 edition of the Boston Herald, I was left with mixed feelings. Just who was Wendy Cobb? Why doesn't she just get a job? Was this the first time she had been called trash? Did she go diving right into the very next dumpster found? That cop, did he return to the coffee shop before or after he made out his report? Do coffee spots on a report make it official? But the most burning question I had was, "Can I make a blog out of this?"
~ I'll close with just one more thought, this time about the garbage truck operator. What a novel way to pick up women!