December 20, 2011

The Failure Of The Trial Run

Sometimes ... most times actually ... things don't turn out quite as you had planned them.

When my contract at Giant Pharmaceutical Company ended last June, I decided I was going to take the opportunity to see what it would be like if I were to retire.  A sort of trial run.

In the beginning, things were great.  Summer was just taking hold and I started to take morning walks.  Projects that had been put on hold were taken up again ... and completed.  There was an opportunity to take a trip to visit my Mother one last time.

And then Summer ended.  Jan went back to work and I was left to hold the fort down during the day.  I continued with the early morning walks until it became too cold ... and too damned dark to see where I was going.  Monday's were "housecleaning day".  I made dinner every night.  Clothes had to be washed.  To get out of the house, I'd make up errands that needed to be run.  Have you ever been to Walmart in the middle of the morning on a weekday ... when everyone else is at work?  The clientele leaves something to be desired.  But then you think, "why I'm right here among them ... I'm the same as they are."


I became desperate to keep busy.  I emptied the basement of 24 years of accumulated furniture and garbage.  The Cancer Federation, Salvation Army and Goodwill became frequent visitors to cart away the boxes of donations.  I watched all 27 episodes of "Trailer Park Boys".  I started to put together a 1/64th scale model of a B-24 Liberator bomber.  I pretended to be interested in Revolutionary War history.

I roamed the house, stared out the windows and became suddenly fascinated by the neighbors comings and goings.

I started to lose my mind.

And then ... just before Thanksgiving ... Giant Pharmaceutical House called and wanted me back.  And I started working again several weeks ago.

When someone tells you, or you read an article advising you that you had better be prepared and have a plan for something to keep you occupied when you retire.

It's no joke.

December 06, 2011

Tuesday Musings

Thoughts and other mental trash on a Tuesday morning ...

Door To Door:  We discontinued our land line telephone service over a year ago.  And with that done, the telemarketing calls ended.  No one knows our cell phone numbers and we're on the "no-call" list, so it's been nice.  That is until recently.  Telemarketers are striking back by showing up at the front door at dinner time.  The door bell activity has really started to get annoying in the last month.  In just one evening last week, someone came to the door five times ... after dark.  I didn't answer it until the last one, when I'd had enough.  Turned out, it was someone from AT&T and when I asked them if it had been them that had come to the door the other four, separate times, they sheepishly admitted that it had been.  I shut the door in their face.

Pick Me:  As some of you are aware, I'm an outside contractor and have periods of time in-between employment.  I'm also getting up there in age.  And I hate interviews.  So, I had a really fun time last Friday interviewing with a potential employer.  Two hours of defending my experience ... and my age. And now the waiting to see if I was good enough.  I can't wait to just retire.

Don't Know Much About History:  On the subject of American History, schools have always loaded it up heavy on the front end and have run out of time by the end of the school year to even get to the Civil War.  This always frustrated me.  Who cared about the fucking Pilgrims and the morass of shit that happened in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  I don't recommend books very often, but I just finished two of them by a guy named Ted Morgan, who actually makes these time periods interesting.  His books are titled "Wilderness At Dawn" and "A Shovel Of Stars".

Proud To Live In Illinois:  Tomorrow, the fourth Illinois Governor will be sentenced to prison for betraying the public trust.  Rod Blagojevich (Blah-goy-ah-vitch) will join his predecessor, George Ryan, behind bars.  Rod is eligible for a life sentence, but the current Vegas line is 12 to 15 years.  If this isn't the most corrupt state in the Union ... well, I'd be hard pressed to name another one.

Jingle Bells:  It's way more fun to shop online than it is to go to the stores.  Period.

Politically Incorrect:  Andrea Bocelli needs to open his eyes when he's singing.  I don't care if he is blind, he reminds me of Michael McDonald, except he doesn't appear to be eating his microphone, as McDonald did.



Or maybe he does.

Just Say No:  Don't leave me any nasty comments about the above.  I'll just ignore them.

November 29, 2011

Winter Savings Tips

You know, there's nothing worse than going to the mailbox in the afternoon and finding it crammed full of bills.  Boy!  That frosts my ass.

But sometimes ... the envelope has something included in it, along with the bill.  Take my village water, sewer and trash bill for example.  It always has a chatty newsletter in it chock full of information about how the present mayor is making life so good for us.  Why, just last February, right after the most horrendous blizzard this area had encountered in over thirty years, the newsletter contained a personal note from the mayor reminding us to not be "crabby-pants whiners" about how cold it was and how much snow there was on the ground.  Well, I got to thinking about that and figured Mayor Whatsername had a point.  So I remained cheerful about how miserable I was until the ice floes on Mill Creek broke up in June.

Pep talks are nice in your bills, but I really wished the Mayor had talked about how to save money on our water/sewer/trash bill.  Just like the good people at The Upper Great Plains Gas & Electric Cooperative do.

When I received my TUGPG&E bill in early November, I was delighted to see that they had included a pamphlet on how to save on energy bills in your home during the cold winter months to come.  So, instead of throwing it in the trash, I held on to it so I could share these same handy tips with you. Since I just write nonsense most of the time, I'm happy to do something useful for a change ... so here we go:

11 Tips To Help You Save On Gas and Electric Heating Bills

*  Air your house out frequently during cold snaps.  Don't let old, stale, over-warmed air accumulate in your furnace.

*  Turn heat up at night to avoid "peak heating" hours.

*  Save money by reusing old furnace filters.  Leave them in an extra year this winter.

*  Thermostats function most efficiently at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

*  Use your electric stove to heat the kitchen.

*  Keep windows open.  It helps the house "breathe".

*  Pay your gas and electric bills months in advance to improve household budgeting.

*  Encourage kids to play outdoors.  Running back and forth, in and out of the house all the time will help them keep warm.

*  Put felt or rubber stripping, about an inch wide, around all your indoor plants.

*  Use your air conditioner during winter months when there's less demand for home cooling.

*  Put six inches of TUGPG&E "CollectaHeat" insulation on your basement floor.  Much of your home's heat escapes through basement floors.

November 21, 2011

A Little Help

As so often happens, life serves up a steaming can of whup-ass when you least expect it.  And what suffers?

For one thing ... my blog.  So, over the weekend, I enlisted the help of one of my best, best internet friends to write a post for me.  If you're not familiar with Roscoe "Bic" Lighter, then you should be. "Bic" has written the very successful weblog "The Lighter Side of Junk" for more years than I care to remember, and I enjoy his wry observations of this crazy old world most times.  So please, give it up for "Bic" ...

You know, I often find as I grow older that the mind is a tricky thing.  Like an old engine, say, or a 1934 Packard, it has it's own quirks and you have to allow for them when you're making use of it.  It works at its own speed and it doesn't do to try and hurry it along as I found out to my chagrin the other day when dashing out to a Kiwanis meeting.  I returned home to find the pot roast I had been planning to eat halfway through the spin cycle in the washing machine and a crock pot full of boot socks simmering nicely on the stove.  Well, of course the roast was ruined and I had to get professionals in to clean the sock steam off of the kitchen windows.

People often ask me what I think of today's young humorists.  How do they compare to the humorists of my day?  Well, I told you the mind is a tricky thing and I seem to remember talking about that very matter with Will Rogers in the jump seat of a 1936 Lockheed Electra flying machine several weeks ago. "Will, what do you think of all the so-called humor that's going around now on the TV and the internets?" I said.  Old Will looked over at me and I could see he was of a mind to speak on the matter.

"Bic," he said.  "there's two kinds of humorists; humorists who say there are two kinds of humorists and others who do not.  It's these latter kind that seem so prevalent in your modern times, the most glorious and prosperous times in the world."

"They seem to believe that contempt of government is funny and that flouting laws against marijuana in public is smart.  They forget the fact that their rights are privileges that may be taken away.  You see, Bic, society is like a parent.  It has its little peculiarities.  But it also has a parental type authority; it can 'ground' us in a jail, or it an cut our 'allowance' by putting us on a blacklist so we don't get any work.  This is done for the benefit of the whole social family, though it is sometimes as hard for us as it is for children to realize society is only looking out for our future."

"That's why we shouldn't be smart assed or sarcastic about governments any more than we should about our parents, nor should we go around making cruel fun of our brothers and sisters, or fellow citizens, just because they spend good money on fuzzy toilet seat covers, or something."

"Bic, one of the wonderful things about America is that there is room for all different types of people. People who want to riggedy-rig A-rab elections or go to war against push-over third world nations. Other people, who prefer to be older, stay home and support those overseas.  Some people want to run large multi-national corporations, others prefer to work for these.  Some to make laws, some to obey them.  There is room in our great country for all these types of people."

"In our country now we have some dissidents.  Some are humorists, bitter and lashing out at the world like a drunk in a mirror factory.  Others are like the bumblebee, which science tells us can't fly. They believe the world has got itself into a shit-fizzer of mighty magnitude because they believe it can no longer fly.  We don't need them, Bic, we never did.  In my day, we wouldn't have stood still for it.  'If you think like that,' I recall one small town mayor saying to a rowdy running against him on the local soft-in-the-head ticket, 'why don't you go be a Mexican?'"

"In a lot of ways, it's the fault of your modern magazine publishers, and moving picture producers, who don't go out and look through the newspapers of heartland America to see what the people really want."

Well, Will had his say on the matter and I woke up in my back yard.  There was a bumblebee flying by and I remembered that some people said that was impossible.  Then I woke up again and I was in my bed and it was November.  Something to think about, isn't it, how the mind plays tricks on us?

November 16, 2011

Short Story

Okay, this morning I was down in the basement putting up insulation.  And the door bell rang.

Normally, I don't answer the door bell because it's usually someone trying to sell me shit.  And I figure that if it's a neighbor, they'll ring the door bell twice.  But Jan had told me last night that she had a package coming in via UPS, and if it was them, I wanted to grab the package from the porch before some asshole stole it, which a certain percentage of the population are apt to do nowadays.

Our front door has a side window, so you can't sneak up on it to take a peek at who's outside.  So, when I rounded the corner from the back room, it was too late.  They had seen me.

I opened the door to two middle aged ladies and immediately knew I had probably made a mistake. The mistake was confirmed when one of the ladies reached into her bag and pulled out a copy of ...

Watchtower Magazine ... Shit.  Jehovah's Witnesses.

Remembering Jan chiding me the other day for being rude to people, I was determined to be nice and try to get rid of them as quickly and expediently as possible.

But, Jehovah's Witnesses are IM-possible to get rid of without being brusque.  I tried.  I really did try to be nice, but when the one woman started talking about sex and the Bible ... well, that was just too much.

I shut the door in their faces.

And then I was angry at myself for the next hour.  Not because I was rude, but because got suckered into listening to some stranger try to discuss religion and sex with me.

So ... no more answering the door bell  Even if it rings twice.

November 11, 2011

Shaker Shock

This morning I woke up with about a thousand ideas whizzing around in my head, but with no motivation to act on any of them.  So, after about an hour of my brain doing the slot machine whirl, I focused on one activity that appeared to be attainable.  What to make for dinner tonight.  For some reason, people (including me) focus on Friday and Saturday night dinner.  I suppose we want something out of the ordinary because it's the weekend.

So, I went to Google and typed in "What to eat on Friday night" ... and was disappointed to find that most people are locked into the usual shit.  Tacos, lasagna, spaghetti, shrimp scampi, etc.


I wanted something WAY out of the ordinary, and for some reason, my mind went back to a post I wrote a while back on Mennonite food.  Well, just as I thought then, none of that stuff looked any good, so I did some free association and started wondering about Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing) and if they had any good food.

And it turned out that Shakers were pretty interesting.  When I was a kid, my parents had friends who lived in Halltown, Missouri.  Their house was sort of overshadowed by a church across the street. We went to Halltown fairly often and the friend's kid and I would roam the town, but we were always hesitant to get near the church, because it was supposedly a Shaker church and Shaker's had dark powers.

Well, you know how full of shit little kids are.  It turned out that it wasn't a Shaker church, but the parishioners of whatever religious sect it was did worship Satan and eat babies.

Haha ... just kidding.  But they were pretty stern looking.

Anyway, I got into enough trouble when I tried to explain all about the Mennonites in one paragraph, so if you want to know all about Shakers, you'll have to go here.  But I did want to mention one thing. At the apex of Shaker society, there were about six thousand members.  Today, there are only three practicing Shakers in the United States, located in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  Two gals and one guy.

Here's what the three of them do every day:

  • The day begins at 7:30 a.m.; the Great Bell on Dwelling House rings, calling everyone to breakfast.
  • At 8:00 a.m. morning prayers start. Two Psalms are read, then passages are read from elsewhere in the Bible. Following this is communal prayer and silent prayer, concluded with the singing of a Shaker hymn.
  • Work for the Shakers begins at 8:30.
  • Work stops at 11:30 for midday prayers.
  • Lunch begins at 12:00. This is the main meal for the Shakers.
  • Work continues at 1:00 p.m.
  • At 6:00 it is dinner time, the last meal of the day.
  • On Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. they hold a prayer meeting which is followed by a Shaker Studies class.

Wow, and I thought my day was monotonous.

After I spent an hour reading about Shakers, I remembered that I had looked them up in the first place in order to find some cool recipes.  And as it turns out, they do have recipes ... and they even look edible.  But it looks like even the Shakers are slaves to typical Friday night fair, given that one of the recipes is named "Brother Arnold's Lasagna with Meat Sauce".  But the other stuff looked good enough to try on some other night besides Friday.

I didn't feel like looking up anymore religious sect's recipes, so I just went to the store this morning and winged it.  I just returned a little while ago, and what did I decide on?

Bratwurst, onion rings and ranchero beans.

Maybe I'll run up to the convenience store before dinner and get a 40 of Malt Liquor to wash it down with.  Bon Apetit!

November 10, 2011

Whoring Out

On the Blogger Dashboard there's a tab labeled "Monetize".  I guess you push this thing and Blogger starts crapping up your weblog with a bunch of condom ads or something.  Well, like most people, I'd like to make money with my blog.  Unfortunately, I don't have the traffic volume to really make the old "Monetize" thing worth while.

So, I spent countless minutes looking for companies that would like to run an ad on Frogs For Lunch. And my overtures were met with a great indifference ... some would say a mocking great indifference.

Except for one outstanding organization.  And so, without ado, I'd like to present my very first advertisement from The Great Fake Book Edges Of The World, LLC!

For People Who Like Books But Don't Like To Read.

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  Not only would such a long period limit an adult with a normal life expectancy to an approximate age span of 15 similar works, a meager sum to be sure; but in addition, the typical individual could encounter difficulty in recalling portions of the book read during the first several years when he or she has progressed to the third or fourth year.  How many times have you asked yourself toward the end of a two hour film event "Was that the gentleman he encountered on the street at the beginning of the picture?"  Now, simply transfer that sort of inquiry to a four year book that consists primarily of two characters extemporizing with one another.
  "Did Socrates conclude that a state can exist without agriculture?" is a question you might be asking yourself in 2015, without so much as a clue as to the point in your previous years of reading where the passage appeared.  Suddenly, factoring the highly probable element of forgotten links in the discourse, the projected total of 15 books dwindles to an oppressively laborious and tragically deficient one or two.  Imagine yourself on your deathbed, flanked by your pair of books.  How sad! Empty walls, empty shelves, and empty space to squarely exhibit an empty, illiterate life.
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(Note:  Please allow 6 weeks to 6 months for delivery)

And as the chief honcho here at Frogs For Lunch, I hope you will!  And please come back and visit this post often, because the fine folks at The Great Fake Book Edges Of The World, LLC have promised me one-tenth of one cent for every hit I get on it!

November 09, 2011

The Wager

Although I'm not a really smart person, there is something about me that I'm rather proud of.  I notice everything.  I can pick up a physical defect on a person at a hundred yards.  I can tell if something has been moved, even minutely, in the house.  I see changes in my surroundings that no one else does.  I would have made an excellent private detective, except for the fact that I don't like unpleasantness, confrontation, violence and stakeouts.

My wife, on the other hand, notices nothing.  That may be a tad bit harsh, but I'm a cruel evaluator and that's my opinion.  For instance, I once painted the walls going down the stairs to the basement. Up until the point that I had painted them, they had been bare sheetrock and tape.  Although she goes down to the basement almost every day, it was over a week before she noticed it, and then I had to prompt her with "Hey, notice anything different?"

Yes, Jan doesn't notice changes ... except when I fuck something up.

This past Monday I was cleaning the house, and when I got to the kitchen table, I saw that the place mats were getting extremely funky.  We spill a lot of things when we eat.  I've considered buying us his 'n hers table cloths to wrap around our necks (a la Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever) when we sit down to dinner because we're so sloppy.

Anyway, as long as I was cleaning, I decided to throw the place mats in the washing machine. When they were done, I was concentrating on something else and absent-mindedly threw them in the dryer, paying no attention to the tag on the back of the mats that read:

100% Cotton

After an hour of drying, I went back down to the basement and pulled them out.  Yeah, they'd kind of shrunk.  They resembled over-sized table napkins rather than place mats.  But I kind of blew it off, justifying it in my own mind that I thought they had been too goddamn big to begin with.

Later that afternoon, Jan got home from school ... walked into the dining area ... and immediately noticed that the table mats had shrunk.


For the next two hours, I heard crack after crack about me shrinking the table cloths.  Until I blew a fuse and we got into a bit of a fight.

Because that's what marriage is all about.  Fighting over shrunken table cloths.

After a few harsh words, we made peace.  But I knew she was still pissed.  The next morning, I got up and prepared to do some errands.  I kept looking at the shrunken table cloths and felt guilty.  So, I ran over to Kohl's and spent an hour finding the exact type of table dressing ... Sonoma/Mocha Chocolate ... at twice the price we had paid for the first set.  Fortunately, being Kohl's, everything was on sale.  And by "sale" I mean the regular price everyone else would charge since Kohl's "regular" price is approximately180 percent over a manufacturers recommended price.  Don't tell me no one in the United States of America doesn't know that.

When I returned home, I put the new place mats out and relegated the old ones to some dusty corner of the house, out of sight.  But, I thought to myself "I'll bet Jan doesn't even notice."  So, I made myself a bet.  If she didn't say anything in the first 24 hours, I owed myself five dollars.  If 48 hours passed, I owed myself ten dollars ... and if a whole week passed without her saying anything, I'd pay myself thirty dollars.

As of this morning, I'm five dollars ahead.  However, when you think about it, betting yourself money really doesn't make any sense because I already had the money anyway and I don't gain or lose as a result of my left hand giving my right hand money.

Oh well ... a bet's a bet.

November 08, 2011

People Mystify Me

Okay ... as a rule, I don't write about political things.  But I'm going to make an exception today.

Perhaps you've read/watched/heard about all the troubles Republican Herman "Pizza Man" Cain has been having recently with his penchant for the ladies (allegedly).  I've always thought that if you're going into politics at any level, then you'd better take a long, hard look at yourself and make sure you're one clean Marine before you throw your hat in the ring.  Because someone is going to find out ALL about you eventually.  Not withstanding the fact that if his staffers knew about all of this shit ahead of time, and they should have been able to handle it better, this guy is in a lot of trouble, and we'll probably see him heading for the cellar to join Michele Bachmann very soon.

That's just politics.

But my problem today isn't with Cain.  He reaps what he sows.  My problem is with the "4th Woman" who came out yesterday.  She lives just down the road from me in Mundelein, Illinois.

Read this article ... and then this one.  And I'll be back with my short opinion.

All done?  Okay.

If she ISN'T in it for the money, then I'm Godzilla on my 39th birthday.

Oh, and I'd just love to be the blindsided fiancee when he returns to his high level position today, tomorrow ... or ever.

November 04, 2011

The Week In Review

After an unusually horrendous last week of October in my Missouri hometown, I spent this week getting back to my normal routine ... and it was good.

About a year ago, I had what I thought at the time was a great idea to develop my very own website. So, after researching all of the pay-for-play web hosting companies, I chose one and bought my own domain name and site.  And that's about as far as it went.  Of course, I kept this site ... and once in a while I'd half-heartedly work on the other one, more out of guilt that I had actually PAID for it than anything else.  Today, I received a renewal notice from the hosting site, and rather than dump another 90 dollars down a rat hole, I decided to cancel it.  I think I've finally faced the fact that I barely have enough ideas pop into my head to contribute to this blog, let alone a second one.  I guess I'm just not a multi-tasker.

The kid next door has rung the doorbell every afternoon this week soon after he comes home from school.  I don't answer the door because I know what the kid is hawking.  Christmas wreaths.  Every year for the past three, I've plunked down 25 dollars to this kid for a wreath, and every year I've been disappointed by the shitty quality of the product I get in return.  Not this year.  I suppose rather than avoid the doorbell for the next week, I should just man up and tell him no thanks.  After all, what's a few more steely stares from his parents than I already get.

The New Jersey Blogger guy that I made fun of in this post outdid himself the other day.  Seems that the cheese shop in his town where his girlfriend/fiance/whatever assistant manages is going out of business.  So, he took the opportunity to blast his friends, relatives and readers for not patronizing the shop.  Way to alienate your audience asshole.  I should take this guy off my reading list, but sometimes he's so out there that I just can't give him up.

For about the last month, I've been clearing almost a quarter century's worth of clutter out of our basement.  In the mess, there are furniture items that we've replaced that are in good condition, and I hated to set them out by the garbage to be thrown away.  Worse, I learned that most of the the things that I had  been putting out were being snarfed up by my next door neighbor, Hillbilly Ron, and either stuffed into his already trashy garage or along side of it, where I could enjoy looking at them in a new setting.  So, I've been donating a lot of items to charitable organizations.  And I've learned a few things.  Goodwill doesn't pick up.  The Salvation Army doesn't take console sewing machines. The Cancer Federation picks over your donations and leaves what they don't like.  And Habitat For Humanity Centers look like auto junkyards for homebuilding materials.  And in all cases ... NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.  Don't want anyone sniping at me like that asshole who was offended about my comments on Harry Shearer.

I mowed the lawn for the last time in 2011 on November 1st.  Yay!  Today, I need to get the snowblower ready for it's first use, which should be in about 3 weeks.  Boo!

I'm getting really annoyed at taking a walk in the morning in pitch-fucking-blackness.  The other morning I tripped over an uneven part of the sidewalk because I couldn't see where I was going and fell flat on my face.  And besides, even though I'm adult ... I'm still afraid of the dark.  Thank God it changes back to standard time this weekend and I'll be able to go out into some kind of light.

So, don't forget to set your clocks back one hour this weekend, and remember ... you absolutely have to stay up until 2:00 a.m. to do it.  Otherwise it doesn't take.

November 01, 2011

All Hallows Day

Wow ... when I wrote that last post, I didn't realize that I would really be going out of town.  But two days later, I was heading to Missouri for one of those events that nobody likes to be a part of.  But that's a story for another time.

Today is my second favorite faux holiday of the year ... All Hallows Day.  My first favorite is All Hallows Eve, and just in case your wondering, my third favorite is Godzilla's birthday, which falls on February 9.  Yeah, Halloween has always been my holiday, but for the last few years, I've found myself becoming less and less excited about it.  This year, I didn't even put up the lighted pumpkin decoration in the front window, and settled for three or four pumpkins on the porch.  I didn't carve them into jack-o-lanterns, because that way, they are still relevant for Thanksgiving ... if the fucking chipmunk under the porch doesn't start gnawing on them.

Halloween in this neighborhood just isn't exciting anymore.  Twenty-four years ago, when we first moved in the streets were full of teenagers filled with piss and vinegar (odd phrase).  There was abundant egg throwing and flaming rolls of toilet paper being thrown over trees.  An occasional dynamite explosion was heard.  They roamed the street like a menacing mob of pimply ninjas.

But then they grew up.  And subsequent batches of teenagers were less and less unruly.  In fact, they became downright polite ... which sucks.  Everyone is calm and mannered and the adults haul their rusty portable patio fireplaces out to the ends of their driveways, light their fires and drink milk.

Bah.  The only fun I had last night was when my neighbor "Pickle Boy" (his last name is Vlasic ... get it?) purposely hauled his little tow headed monster by my driveway without stopping and I fingered him from the front window.  I don't think he saw it though.

So, it used to be on All Hallows Day, I'd make it a point to take a walk early in the morning to survey what damage had been done the night before.  I hadn't the chance to do that in a couple of years, so I was anxious to get out this morning at sunrise and see the carnage.

But there was nothing.  No toilet paper streaming in the tree limbs.  No eggs splattered against garage doors.  No jack-o-lanterns smashed in the streets.  Not even a single house burned to the ground.

What a wussy fucking neighborhood.  Okay, so there was no destruction, so I went to plan B.  Kids are kids and they drop shit.  Especially when they're all coked up on Halloween night.  There must be some treats laying around on the sidewalks.  So for the first two miles, I scanned the ground in front of me.

Nothing.  Not even a spent candy wrapper.  WTF?  I used to eat half of my candy before I got home. Like I said, every one's too polite and mannerly nowadays.  Just when I was about to give up, I turned the corner on the street immediately above us, and ... BONANZA!  Candy, all over the fucking place.  It was dry last night, with no dew or frost on the ground, so according to the 24 hour wrapped candy rule, this stuff was still A-Okay to eat.  I walked along and stuffed my pockets.  And here's my haul.


Going with tradition, I chewed all the bubble gum before I got home.  M&M's, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, Three Musketeers, Laffy Taffy, Milky Way, Bottle Caps ... PAYDAY!

And an extra added bonus ... a Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boy and a pack of Winstons with five, count 'em, five cigarettes left in it.  Plus a dime.

Hell, a guy could have a pretty good Saturday night with all that.  Don't you think?

October 19, 2011

While I'm Away ...

I'm taking a well deserved few days off at my favorite getaway, "The Shrublands" for some rest and relaxation, as well as a major de-tox.  So I've asked a special lady to fill in for me with her own special brand of insight and humor.

Actually, I originally asked famed star of stage and screen Richard Dreyfus to write today's post, as he had done such an admirable job for me several years ago, but repeated calls to his office were not returned.  Funny how your friends turn on you in your hour of need.

Asshole ...

Anyway, Ms Nelda DuMont, although not a star of stage and screen, is pretty notable in her own right.  Nelda is a regular contributor to Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Day and Juggs magazines.  In addition, her weekly column "Housewife Humor" runs monthly in the Perth Amboy Sun-Patriot.  And if that weren't enough ...  Nelda's book "The Rug Is Always Yellower Under The Dog" was on the NYT best seller list for an amazing 47 weeks in 1971.

Please give Nelda your undivided attention, won't you?

REMEMBER THAT TV commercial where Josephine the lady plumber helps her friend who's visiting from St. Louis clean that old New York apartment house sink with kitchen cleanser, and the friend says she'd better take some of that cleanser back home with her because "We've got some pretty old sinks in St. Louis, too"?  Well, I always get a kick out of that because I live in St. Louis and we do have some pretty old sinks, although ours is practically new.

YOU KNOW WHAT tickles me?  The kids will spend all day Saturday picking up newspapers for the school paper drive, but just try to get them to pick up the clothes in their room!  My husband's the same way.  He gets hotter than heck if I borrow any of his tools and leave them in the kitchen junk drawer or under the sink instead of putting them back on the pegboard over his workbench in the basement, but then he'll turn around and leave his clothes all over the bedroom.  Aren't husbands something?   And kitchen junk drawers - now that I've mentioned it, I have to laugh when I think what a mess ours is.  Isn't yours?

MY LITTLE NEPHEW  Bobby, my sister Mildred's youngest boy (he's 1 1/2 ), said the funniest thing the other day.  He always says "wa-wa" when he wants water.  And the other day he said, "Can I have a glass of wa-wa?"  So my sister said "Don't say 'wa-wa,' say 'water.'"  And Bobby said to her "But I can't say 'water,' I can only say 'wa-wa!'"  Isn't that the funniest thing you ever heard?

October 18, 2011

No Sense Of Humor

One evening about a month ago, Jan came home and asked me if I'd like to see Second City at the local community college on a Saturday night.  Several thoughts went through my mind in less than a second.  With my on-again, off-again ADD would I be able to sit still for several hours?  Hey, I'd miss my Saturday night meal followed by watching a movie from Netflix?  And last, would Jan think I was a cranky old fart who never wanted to do anything and go out and find a real man who liked to do fun things, was not afraid to take chances and might be better looking than me.

The last thought took control and I said "Sure, I'd love to".

And so, on a breezy Saturday night several weeks ago, we drove over to the College of Lake County's James Lumber Center (I thought that some company named "James Lumber" underwrote the building, but apparently, there was a guy named James Lumber.  In my mind, this would be equivalent to my being named "U.S. Steel") to watch the Second City Troupe do their thing.

I guess when most people go to a comedy venue, they set their brains to "Laugh" no matter what. I'm not wired that way and I always figure people who bill themselves as comedians have to earn it. But 90 percent of the people at this performance were primed to laugh, which I guess is a good thing, otherwise it might have been kind of awkward.

When the show started the five Second City people did a series of sketch comedies, which were all right, except for the one about the father and son talking on the son's wedding day about how shitty being married is.  This one is right out of 1900's vaudeville and I thought that at the turn of the millennium, it would have become obsolete, but apparently not.

But then, the performance changed ... changed to my very, very least favorite type of comedy. Improvisation and audience participation.

Improvisation.  The bane of comedy in my mind.  It shows lack of imagination and preparation to put on a full show and makes me embarrassed for the performers.  They did three sets of these, interspersed through the show.  Each one was cringe worthy and the audience only managed a few forced laughs.

And then ... Audience participation.  You know, where some poor schlub is pulled from the unsuspecting audience and is made a fool of.  I won't go into details, but I did notice that the guy who was picked left at intermission and never came back.  I figure he headed straight for a psychiatrist for the first of two hundred sessions to try to get his head screwed back on straight.

This is the way I see it.  If I'm going to pay 30 dollars for a ticket to see a live show, I don't want to be keel-hauled up on the stage and humiliated, unless I'm getting 60 percent of the house gross.

There were two "audience participation" sets and all it did was make me edgy and pissed off.

And then it ended.  Yay.  The best part of the evening actually happened in the parking lot.  A grey haired lady (about my age) and her husband/boyfriend roared out of the lot in her Porsche Boxter convertible in a haze of blue tire smoke ... which I thought was awesome.

Yeah, I liked the evening.  But the really best part was yet to come.  Trying to find a place to eat in this backwash county I live in after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Next Post:  Why I Have Hated And Always Will Hate Bill's Pub ... And How White Castle Turned Into A Hillbilly Gangster Hangout.

October 14, 2011

Friday Hodgepodge Of Vitriol

It's a beautiful Fall day here in Northern Illinois.  The sun is out, there's not a cloud in the sky and the gentle breeze sends the fallen leaves skittering along the streets and sidewalks of my modest village.

What better time to vent about some things ... minor things ... that annoy the shit out of me.

Morning Radio:  For more years than I care to remember, I've awakened to the sound of an all news station on the clock radio.  I don't know why I picked this particular station at the time, but it's just become a habit.  And it was fine until about a year ago, which is when I realized that this station was really grating on my nerves and getting me off to a bad start.  I won't name the station, but it starts with a "W" and ends with a "BBM", which I believe is an acronym for "Worlds Biggest Butt Munchers".  I don't have a problem with the news stuff, but I do have a huge problem with the two early morning hosts.  For the sake of anonymity, I'll call them "Pat" and "Felicia".

As with most stations, they both introduce themselves to their audience about every 15 minutes. The first one used to start out with "Hello Breakfast Lovers!  I'm P-t C-----y".  I thought this was slightly annoying, as I hate breakfast and felt that he was ignoring my presence.  The other one did and still does the standard introduction with no embellishments, which is fine.  In fact, I don't have a problem with her at all, except she sounds like she attended Madam Haversham's School of Elocution.  So, the more I think about it, I'll just leave her out of this discussion.

Anyway, "Hello Breakfast Lovers" was bad enough, but lately "Pat" has started his spiel as follows: "Hello, I'm P-t C-----y, By the dawn's early light!"  The first time I heard this, the first thought that jumped into my head was "What the fuck?  What does that mean?"  And as bad as that is, he continues by addressing his co-host "Good morning "FLEESH".

"FLEESH"?  Holy shit.  I'm waiting for her to bark at him to stop calling her that, but it hasn't happened yet.  To his credit, "Pat" is blessed with a good set of pipes, and I imagined him as resembling Mr. Rogers ... you know ... kind of having that good uncle appearance.  But when I looked up his promo picture, I got this instead:


I'm sorry, but can't cut anybody any slack when they look like a rubber Halloween mask.  I think I'll just change to an easy listening station, as opposed to a hard listening station.

American Family Insurance:  Their television commercial drives me 100% apeshit.  The theme is "Protecting Your Dream" and features cutaways of a bride appearing to be trying to escape from a serial killer, some dude yanking on a lawnmower that won't start, a sweaty woman pulling off a field hockey helmet; and worst of all ... some guy slamming down a cup of coffee next to a laptop while the announcer intones "So fire up the laptop, pour a cup of coffee, 'cause there are going to be a lot of late nights".  To this I usually respond ... hey announcer, why don't you go fire up your ass.

And then, the commercial ends with some smug looking asshole who looks like Dave Hester from A&E's "Storage Wars" standing there with his arms crossed across his chest. 

Dave ... Or  AFI Asshole?

The only thing that I get out of this commercial  is that I wish I had American Family Insurance so I could cancel it.

The Morning Walk:  No, I didn't get into a fistfight with the Paper Man this morning.  I didn't even see him.  But I did see this:

"Don't Look At Me!"

During my walk, I rounded a corner and came upon a woman standing by a dog who looked a lot like the one above.  When she saw me, the following transpired:

Woman:  "Would you walk out in the street?  He can't go if you're watching him!"

Me:  "You're watching him."

Woman:  "That's different."

Me:  "I'll bet it's not.  Let me just stand here and see."

Five seconds and a dirty look later, the woman yanked the dog out it's hunched stance and huffed off.  I wonder if he ever took a shit?

The Grocery Store:  After my walk, I drove over to Butera Supermarket to purchase mushrooms, Shake 'N Bake and Halloween Oreos (Don't Ask).  As I was waiting in the ONLY checkout line open, one of the employees told me that another lane was open.  I looked over and saw "Adelajda" manning the post.

Sidenote:  Several months ago, Adelajda and I had a bit of a dust-up when she left her station (with the checkout light ON) and went over to chat with someone while I stood there like a dumb ass, waiting 5 minutes for her to saunter back over and do her fucking job.  We had "words" and I vowed never again to get in a line where she was behind the cash register.

Anyway, I told the employee "no thanks".  Not taking no for an answer, the employee asked me why I wanted to wait behind two people instead of going to the open counter.  So I just told her "because I don't like that bitch."  That seemed to do the trick.

By the way, after my altercation with Adelajda, I contacted the good people at Butera Supermarket on their website about her assholery, but never received an answer.  Perhaps the powers that be at Piggly Wiggly Inc. (owners of Butera Supermarkets) may see this and look into their poor correspondence practices.  On an up note, congratulations to "The Pig" on their 100th anniversary!

Happy Birthday ... Er ... Anniversary ... Er ... Whatever

October 13, 2011

Paper Man

I don't go looking for trouble.  I really don't ...

When my contract with Giant Pharmaceutical House ended during the summer, I took the opportunity of the free time to start walking in the morning.  Short ones at first, which evolved into about an hour. When Jan started school early in the fall, I developed the habit of waving goodbye to her and then immediately going out, which is about 6 a.m., give or take a few minutes.  It's quiet.  Few people are out and almost no one has left for work.  It's also too early for the school bus routes to start up.  I use the time to wake up, tackle things that are bothering me and plan the day.

Almost as soon as my new walking schedule had began, I noticed there was one person who was always out there with me.  The paper man.  For the first few days, I noted a few things about him. He drives an old beat up Toyota Camry, finished with that pukey greenish-blue color that could only have been thought up by color-blind GM and Toyota engineers, and it was missing one hubcap.

As time went on, I noted that during his rounds, he constantly stared at his delivery sheet, which he propped across the steering wheel with both hands.  As the weeks went on, I thought this odd as one would guess that he would have his delivery spots memorized after a while. Eventually, I figured out that this guy had four motor functions he was attempting all at once.  Driving, being aware of his surroundings, reading his sheet, and pitching papers out the driver's and passenger's side windows. That's a lot of shit to do all at once.

Several weeks ago, I was walking on the sidewalk, when a folded up newspaper whizzed right under my nose as I strode across a driveway.  And then the Camry passed me, papers ejecting out the windows as it made it's way up the street.

"Bastard must not have seen me", I thought.

A few days later, still on the sidewalk, I watched a pair of headlights approaching me.  The lights suddenly bobbled and I realized the car had jumped the curb and was coming straight at me.  As I veered into a yard, the car went back onto the street and as it went by, it was the Camry.  I yelled after it, but of course, it just kept on motoring up the street, leaving newspapers in its wake.

Since that morning I've pointed straight at this guy with an accusatory finger every time we've crossed paths.  He never noticed me, or pretended not to.  Until yesterday.  When he smirked at me.

Which brings me to this morning.

I was again on the sidewalk, preoccupied with some matter or the other, when a newspaper hit me square in the back.  The Camry drove by on my right.   Without thinking, I picked up the paper and heaved it at the car as hard as I could ... but I missed.  The car drove on.

As he turned the corner, I followed his path.  For a half-hour, every DH newspaper I saw in a driveway went someplace else.  In the street, on the other side of the street, under a car, on top of a car, in the bushes, on a roof ...

(Publisher's Note:  I know what you're thinking.  They'll get over it.)

And here's hoping that more than one phone call went into the newspaper office this morning ... and that a certain prick had to go out and re-deliver a few papers.

I need to go practice my smirk to prepare for tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 10/14/11:  Just after lunch, I looked out my front window and saw this on the lawn:

Yessss ... I do believe that someone got his shit smacked yesterday.  And I've received a very "special" delivery/message in return.  As George Bush once said ... "BRING IT ON!"

October 11, 2011

Another Failed Venture

Recently, I've been on a cleaning tear.  And by "cleaning", I mean throwing shit out.  I'm not completely certain, but this may be a result of my watching a "Hoarders" marathon on A&E several weeks ago.

Be that as it may, I was going through some papers the other day, and ran across a submission that I had sent to one of the Chicago papers.  About 10 years ago, after Ann Landers died, the Chicago Sun Times ran a contest to find a new advice columnist, although they must have overlooked the fact that there are as many "advice columnists" out there as there are rat turds in the New York City sewer system.

Whatever.  I've read more than my share of advice columns in my time here on earth, and it seemed like a pretty easy gig.  The Sun Times asked that all interested parties send in an example and that the powers that be would crown a new "Ann Landers" with much fanfare.  I sent mine in, but predictably, I wasn't chosen.  I didn't even get a fucking thank you note for my submission. Assholes.

Anyway, they ended up picking some dick named Jeffrey Zazlo, whose spiffy column was named "All That Zazz!"  It lasted about six months, after which the Sun Times picked up a column by one of Ann Landers kids, whose name was Muriel, or something ... I forget.

So, before I throw this particular folder in the dumpster, I thought I'd share ...

Dear Roberta


DEAR ROBERTA:  At a luncheon at a friend's house I discovered that there was no toilet tissue in the bathroom and as I needed some I had no choice but to use a hand towel.  I put the hand towel into my purse fully intending to take it home, wash it, and return it the next day.  However, a while later my friend asked to see my new handbag.  Needless to say, she found the towel and accused me of stealing.  What should I do now?

DEAR EMBARRASSED:  Anyone who entertains and doesn't have the sense to check her toilet tissue supply isn't considerate enough to have friends.  If she's really your friend, I'd hate to meet your enemies!

DEAR ROBERTA:  I had a few friends over for lunch the other day and as we were visiting I noticed one of the gals was acting very peculiar.  I suspected something right away and asked to see her purse.  She was very reluctant to give me her purse and with good reason - she stole one of my towels!  I'm shocked at her and don't quite know what to do.


DEAR ANGRY:  Anyone who steals from her friends is no friend at all.  Drop her like a hot rock!

DEAR ROBERTA:  I am very generous about loaning things but I'm really miffed.  I loaned a neighbor my expensive good guest hand towels for a luncheon party.  When she returned them the next day, one of them was stained and smelled of urine.  What could be wrong with her?

DEAR REVOLTED:  I think your friend needs a hygiene lesson.  And you need friends like her the way a cat needs swim fins.

October 08, 2011

Saturday Boredom Buster

I'm just marking time until Jan and I go out this evening to see Second City.  And just like any Saturday night date when I was in high school, I washed and vacuumed out my car today.  It's a guy thing, and the only difference is that I didn't have any high school dates with women I had been married to for 36 years.

If you're bored, or just taking a break, here are a couple of things for you.

I normally loathe cats, but this was kind of cool.

And a few of these made me snort.

Talk to you next week.

October 07, 2011

The Mad Housewife

The Mad Housewife 

By ... Mama Needs Whiskey

It was one of those days.  First the washing machine had gone on strike, the 15-year-old had come home with an injured football helmet, and then I had returned from my dip in the car pool to find Ginger, the beloved family tabby, dead on the kitchen floor.  It looked like the poor thing had been hit by a car and come inside to die.  Holding back the tears, I hid the kitty behind some bushes for later burial and decided to say nothing to the kids until dinner time.

Naturally, this night my husband was held up, and arrived just as the meat loaf was breathing its last.  "Dear, " I said, as he dug in, "there's something we have to discuss.  The c-a-t has been k-i-l-l-e-d".  "What does that mean" said nine-year-old Billy, not fooled for a second.  "It means rest," said noble husband coming to the rescue, "that Ginger has gone to sleep for a long time."

"See Nancy," replied Billy, " I told you they had nine lives.  We clubbed the little fucker with a brick and he's just sleeping it off!"

I knew it would happen sooner or later.  But after all, I was the one who had insisted on our getting a five-speed, two-toned, chrome-bumpered leaf blower in the first place.  It was either that or you-know-who out there with a rake and a very sore back.  So we got one, and it was the very same contraption that my husband was putting to use as I conducted an investigation to find out which one of the twins had come up with the delightful idea of making tiny pinholes in Mommy's diaphragm last June.

That out of the way, we climbed into the SUV, hubby replacing one steering wheel for another, and set off backward down the driveway right into a pile of leaves and the unmistakable and sickening crunch of a small child being run over.  "Uh-Oh!" I said, "we've just run over one of our children."  "No, we haven't dear," said unflappable hubby.  "It's the four-year-old from down the block, I saw playing the the leaves a few minutes ago.  You always expect the worst," and having put Mom in her place, proceeded to set sail for the supermarket.

And then there was he time my husband woke up with an extraordinary plan ... he was going to find out just who he was supporting.  It was high time, he announced, that the captain of this ship knew the size and condition of his complement, from romper room to attic ... even down to the details like wives and pets.

After he pried the twins away for the television, with the help of a crowbar and a lot of muscle, and flushed the various inhabitants of our shaky craft from their hiding places, he assembled the entire sleepy crew on the front lawn.  "All right, troop," he barked, " is there anyone here who knows of any inhabitants, animal or human, that are not clearly visible on this deck?"  "Please, Dad ... I mean, Captain," ventured our youngest, "what about Mom's pussy?"

"That's not very funny," snapped loyal hubby.  "I suspect someone else was feeding it because I haven't seen hide nor hair of it for months".

Some days ... it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Next Post:  Will Rob Stop Mommyblogging??!!

October 06, 2011

October? ... WTF?!

There are times when normal people can forget what day it is.  I guess I'm not that normal, because I forgot what month it was ... until this morning ... when I realized that it wasn't September any more ... and that all the bills I was supposed to pay last Friday are now overdue ... so the credit card companies will get their overdue fees as an early Christmas present.

A lot of people I know say that they are "multi-taskers".  That they can do and remember many things at once.  Just for the record, these people are fucking liars.  Me ... I'm a monomaniac.  I do one thing at a time.  And sometimes it takes me weeks to get it done.

Three weeks ago, I decided that the side door to my garage needed to be replaced.  Then I decided that the garage walls needed to be insulated.  Then I decided that the exposed insulation looked weird, so I covered it over will wallboard.  Then, the wallboard looked strange without paint.  Then, what's a garage without a workbench?  Then, the whole area needed that man-sy "personal" touch. At one o'clock this afternoon, I finished.  And, of course, I can't wait to show you:

Before ... How Utterly Disgusting!

After ... One Thousand Hours of DIY Network Viewing Pays Off!

Anyway, the garage is just like my new MANCAVE!  Except, there isn't a flat screen, or a couch, or a refrigerator, or a bathroom.  And when both cars are inside, there's no room to turn sideways.

What the fuck ... it was the last project of the year.  Now I can kick back with my Tolstoy collection and enjoy the roaring fire in the fireplace.  Except that it's October 6th and it's 80 degrees outside.


Well this can't last, and everyone loves Indian Summer, whatever that is.  Speaking of Indian Summer, I always enjoyed this Chicago Tribune editorial cartoon, which was first printed in the "Trib" in the autumn of 1368 ... I think:

"You thinks them thars haystacks, eh boy?"

"Gee Gramps, can I smoke some weed too?"

I couldn't find the original subtitles, but I'm almost certain that's what the captions were. Whatever. So, due to prior commitments, I probably won't be back before every one's favorite holiday ... Columbus Day!  But, just for all of you Italian fans, I've picked out a special recipe for you to enjoy on Monday.  It's a very unusual combination of seafood and cheese, named "Cheesio Christobal Colon" Here's a picture for you.  If you'll send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $5.99, I'll send you the recipe ...

Let's All Go To the Vomitoriam After Dinner! 

Next Post:  You're Guess Is As Good As Mine!

September 27, 2011

Sump Hell

Let me introduce you to the banes of my existence:

Twin Sonsabitches

These are our two basement sump holes, each containing their very own ejector pumps.  The one on the left is Laundry Sump Pump (LSP) and his brother on the right is Foundation Water Sump Pump (FWSP).  Since our house was apparently built at the outlet of a major river, FWSP runs almost all the time, even if it hasn't rained for 30 days.  LSP runs only when we do laundry or if I decide to piss in the dump sink.  The hole on the right is on it's third pump in 24 years.  In fact, my very first post in April, 2009 was about my experience changing it out during a rain storm.

The hole on the right has only had the pump changed out once ... until today. Yesterday, I was doing about 43 loads of laundry (I kind of let the dirty clothes go for a while) and on about load 42, I noticed a river of suds bubbling out of the floor drain and heading downhill towards FWSP.  I gaped at the suds stream for a few seconds until it finally occurred to me the LSP had given up the ghost.

Since I had changed out FWSP two years ago, I debated whether or not I trusted myself to try to change out LSP, but the bolted down cover and the extra pipe baffled me.  Finally, I admitted to myself that I would probably fuck it up, which would result in a geyser of gross laundry water shooting up my ass the next time I sat on the toilet upstairs.

So I called our plumber, Mark.  And he was nice enough to come out this morning and fix the problem.  Some home repair people like to be left alone while they work, but Mark likes company and takes pleasure in explaining what he's doing, mainly so he can make you feel stupid.

While he was setting up, he took a glance at FWSP and asked what goof I had hired to install it and the fact that wasn't a "Zoeller" pump (Zoeller is apparently the Mercedes Benz of the sump pump world).  When I told him that I had installed it, he just said "Oh, good thing you called me on this one". 

In about 30 seconds, he had the cover off the hole and the pipes disconnected.  We had been chatting while he was doing this and he was wondering what had caused this pump to fail, due to the fact it was a "Zoeller" and that they never fail.

He hauled the pump out of the murky water, took one look at it, and stared at me accusingly.  The pump looked like one of those old drawings of sailing ships stranded in the lifeless Sargasso Sea.  You know, the wrecks adrift, with gobs of seaweed hanging from their masts.

Except that the pump was matted with about 12 pounds of laundry lint.

Mark:  No wonder it burned up.  Don't you have a lint trap in the dump sink?

Me:  Uhhhh ... no.

Mark:  You need a lint trap.  This is disgusting.

Me:  Hey, if there's that much lint on that piece of shit, how much is still in the hole?

Mark:  It's not a piece of shit, it's a Zoeller.  And I don't know.  I'm not sticking my arm down there to find out.

Me:  But you're the plumber.

Mark:  If you're so hot to trot to find out what kind of crap is in the bottom of that hole, you stick your hand down there.  Don't be surprised if you pull back a bloody stump.

Me:  No thanks.

Mark:  Good, then we understand each other.  Let me get this new pump in here and finish this up.

And he did.  What took him a half hour would have taken me half the day and 10 trips to the hardware store.  And even though it'll probably cost me twice what it would have if I had done it myself, sometimes it's better to leave it to the professionals.

Besides, if this pump ends up lasting another ten years or so, I won't have to worry when it breaks, because there's always the possibility that I'll be dead.

Then Jan can deal with it.

September 21, 2011

Coming Soon

I don't know why I'm so fascinated by this.  You'll have to forgive me.  Since I wrote about this last week, I've made sure to check on the progress at least once a day.

NASA announced this morning that there were no more guessing games.  Their dead Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is definitely crashing to earth on Friday, September 23.  They may be certain of the re-entry date ... but they still don't know where.  Although the predicted debris zone is 500 miles, the margin of error is 6,000 miles, or about a quarter of the circumference of the earth.  It all depends on several factors.  Solar flares, which heat the atmosphere causing expansion, and the fact that the fucking thing ran out of fuel, so no one can control it and as a result, it's started to tumble.

Man-made shit in space has always interested me.  The only time I purposely skipped school was when I was senior in high school and Apollo 13 was making the critical re-entry to Earth on a Friday.  I also got a big kick out of the panic when Skylab fell back to earth decades ago.

So, like I said, forgive me.  I probably should write about other things, like my encounter with Big Foot in Engle Park before dawn this morning, but that will wait for another time.

Just so you know what this thing looks like (UARS, not Big Foot) here are pictures of both so you can tell the difference.

I Have A Burning Desire To Hit You In The Head

Get Outta My Park Asshole!

Next Post:  Fucking With Sasquatch!

September 16, 2011

As If I Didn't Have Enough To Worry About

Sometimes, you can go for days and never see anything truly interesting in the news. But then, you glance at the news wires for 10 minutes and come up with some great shit.  Here are three kick-ass news items to send you into the weekend ...

They're Falling From The Skies Man
NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is now expected to fall to Earth sometime between September 23 and 25 orbital experts reported today.  NASA dudes originally thought that UARS would come down in early October, but the Sun has really gotten its burn on over the past week and the increased heat has expanded the upper atmosphere and is really yanking hard on the sat now.

I'm not really sure what this thing did, but it's the size of a Greyhound Bus and is now expected to auger in anywhere between Northern Canada and southern South America. NASA says that the largest piece expected to survive re-entry will weigh about 300 pounds and should be about the size of a refrigerator.  However, NASA brainiacs say not to worry ... the chance that a piece of UARS will hit anybody at all is 1-in-3,200 (I'd take those odds), and the chance that it would hit YOU specifically would be 1-in-20 trillion.

Those of you in the southeast might be able to watch some flaming debris blasting across the sky starting on September 20.

For the rest of us, you can watch UARS doomsday march here.

Weekend At Bernie's - Part V
Denver-ites Robert Young, 43, and Mark Rubinson, 25 are charged with abusing a corpse, identity theft and criminal impersonation.  Apparently Young found his friend, Jeffrey Jarrett, unresponsive at his home on August 27.  Instead of calling 911, Young and Rubinson loaded Jarrett's dead body in the back seat of their SUV and went for a night on the town.  The dynamic trio started the night at Teddy T's Bar and Grill, where they used Jarrett's folding cash; then it was off to eat at Sam's No. 3.  After dropping Jarrett's body back at his house (apparently he was a real party poop), Young and Rubinson hit the town again, having another meal at Viva Burrito and rounded out the evening, closing down Shotgun Willie's strip bar at 4 a.m., using Jarrett's ATM card to settle the tabs.  Having nowhere else to spend Jarrett's money, the two then flagged down a Denver cop and told him that their deceased friend was back at his house and "he might be dead".

Although the two were not charged with Jarrett's death, they certainly have one "go-to" story for the rest of their lives.

There Goes My Ride
The last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off a Canadian assembly line yesterday, marking the end of the big, heavy Ford cars that have been popular with taxi fleets, police departments and 90 year olds who like to only go 25 miles-per-hour in a 45 mile-per-hour speed limit zone right in front of you when you're late for an appointment, causing you to roll down your window and shake your fist at them while shouting "get moving you miserable old fuck!"

That's just fucking great.  I was going to buy Jan a brand new Crown Vic (preferably cream colored) for her retirement party in May.  Now what the hell am I going to do?

Okay ... everyone enjoy their weekend.  Jan and I are going to replace the entire side door to our garage and maybe go to Taco Bell afterwards.  Don't be too jealous.

September 15, 2011

The First Ever Mailbag!

Frogs For Lunch is coming up on it's third anniversary.  I'm at well over 300 posts now, and I never imagined I'd have the subject matter bouncing around in my head to do that many.

Most of the time, my posts don't lend themselves well to inviting comments, and as result, I don't get very many.  But surprisingly, I get a lot of letters to my e-mail address.  Some of the letters are encouraging, and some are not so much.  But I make sure that I answer them in the spirit that they are given.

However, some of the letters are pretty baffling ... so much so that they defy my ability to come up with a response.  Over the years, I've saved them in a file and in the last several weeks, I've sorted through them and have printed a few below to share. Because that's what I do ...

Dear Rob:
  Jesus, that little bastard smells.  No wonder they call him Pooh Bear.
Christopher Robin
Pooh Corner

Dear Sir:
  Sorry, I never thought of Howie Mandel.  I take the whole thing back.
Charles Darwin
H.M.S. Beagle

  Do you want to know why  you're not getting rid of us?  Get with the times, people.  Roach Motels are out.  The hot thing these days is Roach Bed and Breakfasts.
The Cockroaches
In your kitchen

  They snored.
Lizzie Borden
Fall River, Massachusetts

Dear Robert:
  I ripped the tag off a mattress once.  Now I'm in prison.  Sure, I may have done other stuff too, but don't try to tell me there's no connection.
Charles Manson
Locked up forever

Dearest Sir:
  The door is not a door.  The door is ajar.  The door is not a door.  The door is ajar.  Get it?  Get it?
Annoying Electronic Voice
In your new car

Dear Rob at FFL:
  If Kitty were raped and killed, I'd ... I'd tear the guy apart limb from limb!  That's what I should have said.  No.  I'd kick some ass!  That's it.  That's what I'd do.  Wait.  I'd string him up by the balls!  Yeah!  No, wait.  I'd ...
Michael Dukakis
Still reassessing his 
1988 campaign strategy

  You probably think I'm a pain in the ass, but hear me out:  Boxes of cereal, jars of peanut butter, etc., should change their little message from "Use before September 2011" to the more informative "Will be pretty fucking disgusting by September 2011". So what do you think?  Are you with me?
Ralph Nader
Meaning well

Dear Mr. Frogs For Lunch:
  Have you ever seen the film Alien?  Did you ever wonder how the creature got inside the humans to begin with?  I mean, if it got to burst out of somebody's chest, it must have found a pretty sneaky way to get in there ... right?
A Long, Red Tube of Surimi
Lying in your seafood salad

  Ms. Pac-Man?  She's not much to look at, but any girl that pulls herself around by her lips can't be all bad.
Donkey Kong
Nintendo, Japan

Robbie, Baby, Sweetheart:
  How come nobody returns my calls anymore?
Joe Piscopo
Palookaville, New Jersey
Dear Sir and/or Madam:
  After all these years, the truth must be known.  I am Dorothy's surrogate mother.
Auntie Em
Somewhere in Kansas

Mr. R:
  I'm here.  You can't see me, but I'm here.
A Booger
The egg salad bowl in
the Sizzler salad bar

  Go ahead.  Try to escape me.  You can't!  I'm everywhere!  You puny creatures and your pathetic attempts to pull away make me laugh ... laugh I tell you!  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-haah!
The Force of Gravity
Underneath your floors

Dear Sire:
  Bubble, bubble,
  Toilet trouble.
Loo Shakespeare
Stratford-upon-Avon Plumbing

Dear Mr. Rob:
  Haven't you always had the sneaking suspicion that I'm an obnoxious shithole bitch who never misses a chance to humiliate those who work for me?
Oprah Winfrey

Next Post:  Death Takes A Holiday!