05 May 2021

"We're From France."

Something about their appearance makes them pretty easy to identify.
I have to be careful about stereotyping individuals of their group, but DAMN it is hard sometimes!

1. We watched the cop-cam video of an incident in Minnesota. Five or six Coneheads were congregated around a car in a drive near the street. One of the Coneheads, a female, had a big knife. A policeman disembarked his car and his camera picked up the sight of a scuffle. The Conehead with the knife was trying to "cut" one of her fellow Coneheads. The Law Enforcement Officer shot and killed the knife-wielding Conehead, and the incident made National news.

2. My wife and I just returned from an excursion to Chicago via Amtrak. Shortly after we had settled in for our trip a group of recently released Conehead prisoners joined us in our car. Obviously elated about being set free, they were really feeling their oats and apparently they wanted to share their excitement with everyone else in our car. One of the Coneheads intermittently stood up and, addressing some of his fellows looked around to make sure everyone could hear his comments-
"F*** this."
"I F***ing told him..."
"That Motherf***** thought he was bad."

This public display continued for 20 minutes or so. I started to reach for the Conductor call button and Sara Jean said, "Please don't. It'll just cause trouble."
And then we sat through another five minutes or so of Conehead celebration and loud exposition. I once again started to reach for the call button, and SJ stopped me once again. "I'll take care of this" she said. She went to the cafe car and told the attendant there what was unfolding in our car.
"If you don't get this under control, my husband will try. I don't want him to get hurt."

Five minutes later the Conductor appeared.
"Sit down and be quiet or I will remove you from this train."
He came and told us IF he removes Conehead prisoners from the train... they go back to prison.
Our Conehead suddenly found a way to be a quiet Conehead.

3. We reserved a room for the weekend in a nice motel close to the Memorial Service we would attend. At 1900 hours or so we began to hear what sounded like children running and screaming up and down the hall. When I investigated the activity I found three Conehead children, without Covid-19 masks, using the hallway as a way to stretch their legs. Now and then their Mother would come out of her room and scream at her young offspring. They ignored her.
I made the decision to not call the front desk until 2200 hours, hoping by then the halls would be quiet. Kids are suffering mightily during this Covid-19 stupidity.
The kids settled down, thank Heaven.

But the next night at about 2000 hours we heard a female screaming that sounded something like "Get the mouse out of here!" We eventually figured out the dialect and realized the scream was saying, "Get HIM out of here!"
When I went into the hall to investigate I sighted a large female Conehead standing in the hallway pointing and looking at someone in her room.
She wanted to share her emotion with all 30 or so rooms that adjoined our hallway. Once again we retreated, hoping the dust would settle. Again, thank Heavens it did.

4. In Union Station waiting for our train we were in the Food Court eating at Chick-Fil-A. Sara Jean noticed a fellow passenger, a pretty Conehead, wearing a beautiful dress. As we departed to head for our train SJ walked near her, got her attention, and complimented her on what she was wearing.
Her eyes became daggers. No response.
I can only assume this Conehead truly WAS from France and didn't understand the compliment.

Some Coneheads claim their like are discriminated against when it comes to housing, job opportunites, and life in general.
I know there must be Coneheads amongst us who are embarrassed by the behavior displayed by their obnoxious brethren. Are those Coneheads actively trying to instigate change?
I hope so.

We are a divided Nation.
In some areas that division is palpable... uncomfortable.
And I am worried about where we, as a Nation, are headed.
I know this post might get me in trouble, but I love my country and hope we can once again be "E Pluribus Unum".
Can we work toward making the world a better place for everyone?

20 April 2021

"ART" Comes In Many Forms

"C'mere... I wancha to try somethin'!"
My Mother was standing in her kitchen with her hands full of stuff that looked just like the photo above.
She was fashioning a rose out of cake icing.
It was absolutely beautiful.
"This is really easy for me to do and I want you to try it so I know if I just have a natural talent."
I took the tools in my hands and gave it a shot.
The result of my efforts looked like a hot cookie fresh out of the oven.

She was motivated to take a cake decorating class. Actually, the class didn't teach her much.
She baked a wedding cake for a member of our family.
It looked wonderful.
It tasted like a home-baked cake.
She left the reception with orders for three more cakes.
Word of mouth took off. She started baking a wedding cake and several cakes for parties and receptions each week.
Her "Hobby" was making pretty decent money.

My Dad was in charge of deliveries.
After a while the responsibility of producing and delivering something SO important to a once-in-a-lifetime event began to weigh on them both.
So they stopped taking orders, and disappointed LOTS of people.

And every time I go to a wedding and see a beautiful work of art I'm reminded of my Mom the decorator and my Dad the deliverer, and the fact that someone went through a lot of stress to get that cake delivered, intact, tasting like something others would want to put in their mouths.

It's a good memory.

16 April 2021

Taxation Without Representation!

Washington D.C. voters say they're being cheated-
They're citizens, but they have no real say in Congress.
They want to be our 51st State so they'll get two U.S. Senators and representation in the House.
I have a better idea.
Move the Nation's Capitol to Kansas City. Give the D.C. Real Estate back to Virginia and Maryland.

This solves at least two problems:
It makes our seat of government less susceptible to enemy attack, and,
It gives D.C. residents new representation in Congress via their new State residences.

And we don't have to worry about designing a new 51-State flag...

14 April 2021


Fifty-Nine minutes, 12 seconds.
That's how long I spent on the phone with my Internet Provider.
I woke yesterday and tried to watch some YouTube videos on our Roku System...
No workee.
We got a connection to our router, but no internet connection.
I reset everything that had a "reset" button.
I unplugged the router for 20 seconds, then plugged it back in.
Still no dice.
None of our neighbors have a connection.
Oh well... give 'em a little time to fix the problem.

I tried two hours later...
Same result.

So I called Frontier.com's service number and, as usual, got someone with an accent that made it difficult for me to understand.
"Go unplug your router."

I made three phone calls yesterday and spent maybe an hour on the telephone. I finally got the person on the other end to admit there was a technical problem at their end. She assured me they were working on it and the problem would be resolved soon.

I woke today with hopes she wasn't blowing smoke up my delicate tush.
I now understand why my tush was irritated.
We still have no internet connection.
I can complain if I just email them at "Frontier.com/service". I may do that just as soon as I have an internet connection.

I spent an hour this morning, mostly on hold, waiting on someone to tell me when I'll begin to get the service I am paying for.
Instead I'm informed a new router is being drop-shipped to my address because my router is more than a year old and MAY be my problem.
I'm now at the Public Library writing this.

So, you tell me...
What are the chances the new router will fix what ails us?

08 April 2021

My 200,000-Mile Checkup

"Have you registered with the VA?" my friend asked.
"No. Why? Should I?"
"Well, we were exposed to Agent Orange and they're now finding LOTS of health difficulties associated with it popping up in our peers. You need to register with 'em just in case you have problems later."
And so I registered. And they've given me a pretty extensive semi-annual physical ever since.
My latest was yesterday.

Height/weight/blood pressure/heart rate.
Cholesterol levels.
O2 saturation.
Blood work.
Pee in the bottle.
Take a peek at the eyes and ears.
Stethoscope listening to various functions.
And more.

My VA Doctor is a Pakistani female, complete with head scarf and now... wearing TWO face masks.
With her heavy accent and "muff murf stamig?" through the two masks, it's almost impossible for me to understand her questions.
But we muddle through.
She's VERY efficient.

My weight is down a little. My tinnitus is worse. PSA is okay. Cholesterol, Vitamin D, Sodium... all okay.
Neutrophils, auto... Neutrophils, absolute... Eosinophils and several other "Phils"?
Who is this "Phil" guy and why are they watching him so closely?
But apparently  all my "Phils" are fine.
The only Clinker in the closet?
My blood sugar. Thank you Mom. (Or maybe this is MY Agent Orange problem?)

My glucose level and A1C are both off the chart. I know why.
And we've all heard "Denial" is NOT a river in Egypt.
My glucose problem is caused by COUPONS.
Yeah, that's the ticket!

Burger King. Culver's. Little Caesars. McDonald's. Taco Bell. Wendy's. And tens of other fast food joints...
All send out coupons to tempt me.
And "Cheapo Me" takes complete advantage of 'em.
That's a LOT of carbs. And I think "Phil" is an expert at turning carbs into blood sugar.
I think Phil also loves the BIG nightly glass of Merlot.

But my relationship with Phil has to change.
My Pakistani overseer is now pointing a bony finger at me, promising me insulin shots if I don't get this glucose situation under control.
Her finger is a scary thing... reminds me of Halloween.

Retirement was supposed to be easy, relaxing, and enjoyable.
This is beginning to look a lot like WORK.
Where did I take that wrong turn?

06 April 2021

George Floyd

Don't we already know the outcome of this trial?
If Chauvin is found guilty, many will be outraged. But the only bad thing that will happen will be he will go to prison.
If he's found not guilty, cities will burn, and people will die.
Black lives matter.

Yesterday I learned something I had not heard anywhere in the "News"...
Before he was even on the ground, Floyd said, "I can't breathe".
So he was an ill man, already suffering from respiratory trouble before Chauvin laid hands on him.
He also had a bad ticker, and was under the influence of several drugs.
None of that matters.
Black lives matter.

Do you see any way short of Civil War to get our country back to sanity?

05 April 2021

"It's not fair..."

Sara Jean says, "It's not fair. Women get old, wrinkly and ugly. Men get older, more rugged, and handsome."
But that's only true with some-
We watched "Executive Suite" with Barbara Stanwyck this morning.
A WONDERFUL, talented actress, she got prettier as she aged. In "The Big Valley" I thought she was beautiful.
And Errol Flynn certainly did not die a "rugged, handsome" man.

Genetics play a huge hand.
But environment and attitude also play a major role, don't they?

04 April 2021

03 April 2021


Covid vaccinations-
The rebel in me pretty much said "Let 'em shove it up their ass."
But my wife is a "Nervous Nellie" and worried about things like needing to get on an airliner if the vax is required.
So I acquiesced. We scheduled and got our shot yesterday. Part of the reason I agreed was because the vax was the Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccination.
So... done.

And now it seems there are questions about the J&J vaccine that will impact some 15 million people.
Our "experts" have struck once again.

What a load of feces.

01 April 2021

Mice Eat Mice?

Six weeks in the Florida Panhandle... wonderful. But that part of Florida can be cold, windy, and wet simultaneously during Winter, so... BUG OUT TIME.
Fourteen weeks in Phoenix... great. If you spend time there you can easily understand why old farts like me spend Winters there. In the 3+ months we were there it rained three days. Temps this year never dropped below freezing. Normal days we experienced 65 degree highs; 45 degree lows, with humidity generally running 20% or so.
Nearly perfect weather, but we Midwesterners began to yearn for a raucous thunderstorm about the beginning of March!

We rented a Toyota Corolla for the trip home and decided to take an extra day in hopes we'd not be so exhausted when we reached our destination. I also decided to take different route home.
In the past we have driven South via Tucson/Deming, NM, El Paso/ Dallas-FTW/ Little Rock/and home.
We've also traveled via Holbrook, AZ/Albuquerque/Amarillo/Ok City/Tulsa/Springfield/and home.
Both those drives are long and, for the most part, boring. This time I decided we'd head North out of ALB and drive up the East face of the Rockies, hoping they'd be snow-capped and beautiful.
We were not disappointed.

The Corolla was comfortable. It drove nicely, got about 35mpg at 75mph, and had "smart" adaptive cruise control, (which henceforth will be a requirement for any future rental choice!)
We did NOT order a GPS option, and that turned out to be a mistake when I depended on memory as we headed North out of Colorado Springs...
Thank God I realized I was lost early on; stopped at a Fire Station, and a fellow Public Service worker got me back on the proper path home!

Motels we stayed in:
A "Comfort Inn", a "Super 8", and a "La Quinta". Since all we require in our temporary housing is a clean place to sleep and bathe, (and breakfast of some sort is also nice), we generally go the "budget" route for accommodations. All our stays were satisfactory, but I was surprised our normal choice, the La Quinta, had NO breakfast offerings at all.

The trip was uneventful. After gratefully spending the night in our own home and bed we returned the rental car and came home to resume our normal routine.
Scooter and truck started without fuss. But while I was sitting in my pickup allowing the battery to get it's first charge in months I caught a glimpse of movement to my right and saw either Mickey or Minnie sitting transfixed on the passenger seat. After a few seconds, MM decided to beat a hasty retreat into the bowels of my Ram/Cummins pickup somewhere. It was after a little searching that I noticed the roll of toilet paper we leave in the truck for emergencies had been well-used for nesting material.

Last night I set the trap... on the passenger-side floorboard, with peanut butter as bait. Investigation this morning found the trap gone!  I searched beneath the passenger seat... beneath the driver's seat...
Nuttin'. But further investigation beneath the extended-cab jump seat revealed the trap with a half-eaten mouse lodged against the rear bulkhead of the truck.

So the question now is-
Did Mickey get a bellyful of Minnie...
Or Vice-versa?