I’m Versatile, and Almost Useful

versatileblogger113

A funny thing happened on the way to this blog.  A lovely lady named Candice Coghill nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Candice, who blogs as the Kindly Hermudgeon, has a personality as bright and sunny as the Florida neighbourhood she lives in.  She apparently felt that a tundra dwelling, grumpy curmudgeon, on the edge of old fartitude, like me, deserved such an honor.  As a neophyte blogger, with only fourteen posts in as many weeks, I was humbled by the recognition, and wondered if it was truly valid.  As KH says though, I am amply supplied with verbosity and opinions, which I feel free to spread in all directions.  Aside from my own few posts, I have been haunting a few other sites, where patient and forgiving bloggers have allowed, what should have been concise comments, to become mini-blogs.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award;

Thank the award-giver, and link back to her blog in this post.

I gratefully thank the Hermudgeon again and, if I get the technology figured out, her site will be linked back there.

Share seven things about myself.

(1)    I’m old and crotchety, and getting more so by the moment, but I also have a soft and sensitive side….in my own humble opinion. (There’s that word again.)

(2)    I could read Macleans magazines at least a month before I turned five.  Shocked my mother!

(3)    I collect coins.  Aside from Canadian and American, I have over five hundred coins from over a hundred countries.  A few years ago I added bills to my collection, and now have more than a hundred notes from 25/30 countries.  I have something that perhaps not even an American collector possesses.  I have two (count em – two) US $2 bills, one with a miscut corner.

(4)    I have had a lifelong fascination for arms and armor, from Greek and Roman, to Medieval, to Renaissance, to modern.  With Canada’s ongoing and increasing official disapproval of anything that goes bang, I have had to limit my personal exposure largely to edged and pointed tools.  Although our tastes differ, my wife is also interested in hand-made knives.  We use knife shows as a vacation excuse, and have attended shows in Toronto, Bayfield, Detroit, Cincinnati, Zanesville, and Winston-Salem.

(5)    I was born and raised in a small tourist town on Lake Huron in Southern Ontario.  1800 citizens year-round but swelled to over ten thousand with summer residents, many with cottages worth more than most homes in town.  It gave me both a small-town background and a more urban appreciation of society.  I knew more people from Kitchener as tourists, than I do now that I live here.

(6)    I have learning disabilities.  Don’t we all?  I had mine and learned to deal with them to my optimum capability long before others, especially schools and teachers, were aware of the term.  Marks usually in the 70s but report card notes saying I wasn’t performing up to my potential.  A few years ago, my doctor said I have a congenital neurological syndrome.  He declined to spend $2000 on tests which would only give it a name, but not do anything to alleviate it.  I have had muscle tremors all my life.  I am not a good shot.  I watched Butch Cassidy, in the movie, unable to hold a gun steady for more than a microsecond, and suddenly understood.

(7)    Perhaps partly because of number six, I am, and have been, and introspective loner.  Pleasantly, but not surprisingly, I have more friends on the blogosphere than I do in real life.  I am intelligent, but more importantly, able to think.  I used to claim to be a rugged individualist until some effete writer slagged the term, saying, “They all claim to be rugged.”  I would sooner sit in the background and indulge my hobby of amateur psychology, by observing, but had the nerve to take public speaking instruction and have learned to speak up when I feel the need.

I am supposed to pass this award on to fifteen blogs which I enjoy.  I am going to decline to do that for several reasons.  First, I’m new enough at this, that my circle of visited blogs barely reaches fifteen.  As new bloggers visit my site I increase the circle.  I’m happy with my regular group, who are highly creative, educational and entertaining.  Most of them are so good that they’ve received this, and other awards, some, more than once.  If I don’t stop this chain letter, the internet may reach critical mass, and implode.

I will give thankful honourable mentions to include, but not be limited to: Brainrants, who I blame for getting me into this mess.  LadyRyl, my grown daughter, who continues to explain the technical intricacies.  Kayjai, a fellow Ontarian, from just down the highway, now living on a rock in the middle of the ocean.  H E Ellis, a great writer and an insightful person.  Savor the Folly, who may no longer be among us, but is sorely missed.  Sandy Like a Beach, always a fun read, but, all that cooking.  I gain weight just passing by.  Sparklebumps.  She certainly is!  Could I get Meloni’s boobsqueeze?  Please?!   Edward Hotspur, what can you say about him, without getting arrested?  SightsandBytes, now Ted’s blog, lives with seals and seagulls on the other side of The Rock from Kayjai.  GrumpyComments, I forgive him for being Irish instead of Scottish and for living on the wrong side of the pond.  And Edrevets, personally keeping an eye on the Arab Spring in Cairo, and a regular visitor to the site of the Hermudgeon, who knows people, who know me, so I’m pleading the Fifth.  Or maybe I’ll drink some of that Fifth to toast all of you lovely people.

It has been a consciousness-expanding couple of months.  I have great respect and admiration for those who have shown me the way.  Now, let’s get back to business as usual.  Gentlemen (and Ladies, of course), Start Your Ranting!

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Jerry Seinfeld and Me

That’s a trick title!  There is no, “Jerry Seinfeld and Me”.  I watch a lot of comedy, and have for years.  I saw Jerry do stand-up long before he got his TV show.  The only tenuous relation between Jerry and I, is that, much of his stand-up and most of his television show was about nothing.  So I’m going to do a Seinfeld blog.  This post will be about nothing….in particular.

For example, I was born on the autumnal equinox.  That makes me a Virgo.  Virgos are very cynical.  That explains why I don’t believe in all that horoscope crap.

BrainRants says that opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they all stink.  I find that there are three levels of opinion.  First, people do have them.  The second level is that all too many people feel that they have to share theirs with others.  There’s not really anything wrong with sharing.  Obviously almost every blog is the sharing of someone’s opinion.  The trick is to be able to get away from those who share, and share, and share, ad nauseam, about Kardashian marriages, or Celine Dion’s latest album, or the cost of copy machine toner.

The third level is where the opinions stop being like assholes, and the people holding them start.  This is the level where, fortunately but just as irritatingly, a small percentage insist that you must agree with their opinion, and live your life according to their rules.

Every couple of months, I take my adult daughter, and we join the local Free Thinkers group for a Sunday brunch.  At the most recent meeting there was a newcomer male, apparently thrilled to escape religious pressure to blindly believe in things that he THOUGHT were wrong, or at least unprovable.  He showed the same type of assumptions and non-thinking that he was trying to escape.  He kept asking different people, “How long have you been an atheist?”, as if thinking, and believing in a higher being were mutually exclusive.

If you take all the political analysts in the United States, and lay them end to end, they still won’t reach an intelligent conclusion.

Blogging is good for my girlish figure.  I’m in shape, pear-shaped, but a shape.  My wife is a bit of a compulsive snacker and snack buyer, especially if it’s on sale.  Under the stairs, just off the rec room we have a small storage room.  We have six bags of four different flavor potato chips.  We have three piles of large chocolate bars.  We have four different kinds of nuts, a box of chocolate truffles, some roasted pumpkin seeds from Halloween, some pretzels, some cheese twists and some Toffeefay.  If we go downstairs to watch TV at night, I have very little won’t-power.  She’ll suggest a snack, and our weight goes up.  I should come upstairs to blog more often.  No snacks.  No temptation!  No weight gain.

I went to a business seminar once.  One of the first things that the moderator did, was to ask us to describe ourselves with one word.  Of course he got back, Driven, Successful, Organized, Productive.  He looked at us and shook his head and told us that he was disappointed that no-one had described himself as Honest.  I immediately lost a potential fan, when I pointed out that none of us had described ourself as Mammal, Human or Alive, when we all were.  He countered that all these things were self-obvious.  I pointed out that, to those of us who were honest, it was also self-obvious.  Those of us who might admit to themselves that they weren’t completely honest, didn’t want to draw the thought, to the attention of others.  “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”  If you tell someone that you’re honest, they immediately start to wonder.  I passed the test, but I hope I gave the instructor something to think about.

How do you know when a person in a position of authority or power is lying to you?  Their lips move, or their typing fingers or their TV ads.  Sometimes people lie to you by telling the truth.  Several years ago, when trans-fats were the cause-du-jour, I walked into my supermart and immediately noticed a large product display with red printing on the packages and the banner above them.  It said, “Now With No Trans-Fats”.  I instantly knew that I had just been lied to, twice!  The product was Nestle’s 24-packs of bottled water.  Of course it had no trans-fats.  It never did, but, “Now with no trans-fats” says, not only that it did, at one point, but that the company has taken steps to remove it for your safety.  Aren’t we a great company?  Buy our safe products!

I worked with a young man at my last job.  He was an area union rep.  He was also a compulsive liar and shit-disturber.  He would spread the most horrible rumors, just to see people’s reaction, and laugh to himself about it.  He would say that the union just met with management, who had informed them that a contract had not been renewed, and fifty workers were going to be laid off.  Had folks upset for days before nothing came of it and they settled back down a bit, but there was always the fear in the back of the workers’ minds.  I gave him shit one day, and handed him the above line about knowing that he was lying because his lips moved.  He protested that, that was not always the case.  I agreed.  I told him that there were times when he lied that his lips didn’t move.

There was a terrible collision nearby, recently, where eleven men were killed, nine of them migrant workers.  Two local University professors have organized a group of sympathetic, socially influential people to improve the lot of such workers.  I think that’s a great idea.  I just don’t agree with the newspaper headline which reads, “We’re sick of seeing workers die.”  That’s another great thought, but it’s a lie because it has nothing to do with a traffic accident.  When they died, they weren’t “workers”.  They were commuters.  They were van passengers.  They weren’t run over by a tractor, or caught in moving machinery, or sprayed with deadly chemicals.  Their chauffeur missed a stop sign.  How they gonna fix that?  Sounds impressively concerned though.

Trips With Mom and Dad

Linguists, with nothing better to do than secure grants to study this shit, have found that, when we refer to couples, we put the name of the person we knew first, first.  Duh!, and in related news, the sky is still blue and water is wet.  So, if we knew Bob first, we say Bob and Marg, but if we are Marg’s friend, we say Marg and Bob.  Take a look at the title and see who I knew first, and who was more important to me.

I loved both my parents, but Mom was my favorite.  I was born in 1944 in a small Ontario town.  Back then there was no Sunday opening, almost no businesses were allowed to operate.  Occasionally the local theater would have a Sunday midnight movie.  They could open the box office and you could purchase tickets from 11:30 PM, but no-one was permitted to enter the theater.  You had to go back outside and line up again for later entry, after it was officially Monday.

We didn’t get TV ’till I was twelve, and even then it was one channel from a farm-centered small city.  Sundays were often a challenge to fill the time.  My parents regularly bested the challenge by taking my brother and I for a ride in the car.  Sometimes we had a destination decided.  Other times we would get to the first main intersection and Dad would say, “I think we’ll go this way today”.

Mom’s relatives either lived in town or too far away for an afternoon ride.  Sometimes we would drive 25 miles to the town where two of Dad’s sisters lived.  Talk about innocent times.  If we visited the outlaws, Mom and Dad sat and talked for hours and we kids were just left to run loose.  We could have been anywhere, doing anything, with anybody, in a strange town, but we were never kidnapped or molested.  Sometimes we went to see Dad’s third sister.  She lived in a little three-room log cabin with an outhouse and an attic(?) which consisted of a few planks across the ceiling beams, and reached by ladder.  They needed the attic.  There were 7 kids.

They lived in the house as guardians of the attached saw mill.  We climbed all over the huge logs and ran in and out of the saw shed.  Did all kinds of stupid stuff but never broke anything, mine, or the mill’s.  Learned about peavey poles and drag harnesses.

Sometimes we went 25 miles in a different direction, to the nearest city.  Ten thousand population, big stuff for a small town boy.  It nestled in a bowl at the bottom of fifty-foot cliffs, on the rocky shore, at the edge the Niagara Escarpment.  It featured, right at the bottom of the cliffs, a lovely park.  It had a take-out food sales booth, at the end of a roofed eating area.  I don’t remember whether it was open on Sundays because, we didn’t usually eat at the park, and if we did we took a picnic lunch.  The place was landscaped, with big lawns and trails and play areas and a water plant section.

Either by passing this park and continuing on up the road to the top of the cliffs, or taking the slightly longer way around but avoiding the switchback down and then back up again, you could get to another park.  This one was just a county-owned lookout spot at a pretty little waterfall where the river dropped to feed the stream in the park below.  Again, boys being boys, I climbed and jumped off every rock in the place, and still got home in one piece, in time for supper.

Dad was an amateur entertainer.  I don’t know where he got his huge collection of jokes.  Probably the same place I got mine, everywhere.  He arranged the Saturday night party at the local Legion.  He hired a three-man band and sang with them.  He also slipped in the jokes and announcements.  He wasn’t a great singer, but they weren’t great audiences.

When we went on our trips, there were no radios in our cars.  Family time meant conversation.  I always thought of myself as an urban child, but I couldn’t go for a drive without learning something.  I was shown barns and silos, pigs and farm geese.  I had explained the difference between riding and draft horses. (Some farmers still used them: then, and there.)  I knew milk cows from beef cows, and could identify Jersey, Guernsey, Charolais, Angus and Holstein.

When the conversation and education ran out, my Dad might begin singing.  Seldom current songs heard on the radio, rather, what could be called traditional songs.  Songs similar to what the Canadian group, The Rankin Family put out a few years ago; Mary goin’ to a barn-dance, Bob working to get the hay in.  The details, sadly, are lost in the mists of time, except for one piece of doggerel.  A song with seemingly endless verses, each one of which was punctuated with the chorus, “Come a wim-wam-waddle, come a jack-straw saddle, come a John fair faddle, come a long way home.”  To this day I have no idea what that meant, except as a reminder of the much-missed, halcyon days of childhood.

If we drove south, we might stop in at a cheese-making plant.  Not necessarily 24 hour, but apparently 7-day operation.  As long as they didn’t sell anything, they weren’t OPEN.  I remember a couple of occasions when the kindly cheese-makers offered me some cheese curds.  To this day I don’t know what went through my mind.  I viewed those curds like space aliens and would have nothing to do with them.  These days, I pay five dollars for a plastic bag with a double handful at the farmers market.

I hitched up a team of mammoths to pull this big load of nostalgia.  It felt so good that I think I’ll turn on the time machine to go back to the past a few times in the future.

S**t I Read In The Papers

Mark Twain once said that, whenever he read something in the newspapers, about which he had personal knowledge, they always got it wrong.  Then he nailed the concept by stating that, reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.  I often read funny things in newspapers.  Occasionally it’s intentional.

I read two newspapers a day, five days a week.  I read the Waterloo Region Record.  It’s a somewhat conservative broadsheet.  I also read the Toronto Sun, which is a bit more liberal, tabloid style.  I read them both to get some idea of the average of social and political issues.  I actually read the Sun a day late, to give me some time to assimilate the Record’s position first.  I also read the Sun because it has more and better comics which, aside from the humor, are also a good reflection of modern life, and I read it for the strange and amusing little filler articles.

Like Mr. Clemens, sometimes I see things printed that just make me go, “WHAT!”  Non-weapon knowledgable writers referring to .9 MM pistols.  Those bullets would be the size of the lead in an automatic pencil.  Last summer, there was a story about a tanker truck which crashed on a tight turn in the hills above Monte Carlo.  The piece included description of, “streams of burning liquid oxygen running down the hill and into a tourist camp.”  Now, I stayed awake in high school, both (especially) in English and in Chemistry.  The dictionary definition, backed up by the Chemistry textbook, says that, “burning is the rapid combination of an element or compound with oxygen, producing heat, and sometimes light”.  It is chemically, physically impossible for Oxygen to combine with Oxygen.  It was probably truck fuel that witnesses saw burning.

I called up my old friend, the editor at the Record, to mention this bit of silliness.  Instead I got a summer-job Journalism intern.  I said I’d call back or, since it wasn’t important, I’d just forget it.  Oh, no, he says.  You give me the message, and I’ll pass it on.  I thought that I did a lucid job of describing the error, but, after I finished, I got back a snippy comment that, if I didn’t like stories about burning trucks, I just shouldn’t read them.

I saw a socially/politically active woman on a CBC talk show trying to save the world from CFCs.  The first statement out of her mouth was a provable mistake.  I had been corresponding with a columnist who held the same indefensible views.  I sent him an email to show how she was in error.  Instead of admitting that he might possibly be wrong, he sent back a reply demanding to know what her name was.  What did it matter?   What side of your desk do you put your coffee on when you’re incorrect?

Earlier this week there was a horrific crash about an hour west of here, just the other side of Justin Bieber’s house.  A Canadian driver with 12 Peruvian farm workers in a van was returning to Kitchener after a day on a farm.  The van was t-boned and a truck driver, the van driver and 9 of the workers were killed.  Three articles, in the two papers, said that they were coming back to Kitchener, which is east of the crash site, yet insist they were travelling west.  If they were travelling west and were struck by a north-bound truck, the van would have been impacted on the driver’s side, but every photo shows the passengers’ side destroyed.

Driver’s error, or failed brakes?  My brother works part-time for a limo company.  He had to study and pass a test to drive the extra-long, extra-heavy stretch limo.  It takes special knowledge.  This guy had a regular license.  13 men in the vehicle, and a box the width of the van and extending four feet back, carrying clothes? tools? food?  The brakes, suspension and steering are just not designed to carry that much.  Twice, the wife and I have been out and seen overloaded vans.  The first time we counted 17 people, the second time, a different van, there were 18  sardines in the can.  Both times they were church vehicles.  Oh, good!  Let’s kill Grandma and Grandpa on their way to worship.  They’ll get to Heaven early.  She wrote a letter to the editor, protesting this practice, yet it’s still happening.  Now, finally, with 13 dead, the politicians are waking up.

Even when they get it right, they often don’t get, or print the whole story.  From Toronto, the story of an 18-year-old female.  She’s been the skimpily-clad Sunshine Girl in the paper four times and was moving on to a career in modelling and acting.  Somehow, she fell, jumped, or was thrown from a car on the expressway.  Then she was struck by a five-ton truck,  Perhaps that was a mercy.

As a teenager, I “fell” from a car once.  It was doing 30 MPH on a hardpacked beach.  I thought I could just roll over the side of a convertible and hit the sand running and slow to a stop.  I got about three steps before physics took over and I cartwheeled onto the ground.  Sand in orifices I didn’t even know I had, some interesting bruises, but I avoided actually breaking anything, most especially my neck.

What in Hell was going on in that car?  I know what it was like hitting wet sand at thirty.  I don’t think I want to know what it was like to hit pavement at 60/65 MPH.  No more modelling career.  She’d have been lucky to get a job as a doorstop.

Today’s paper has a story about the Russians drilling a mile through the Antarctic ice to get to a lake underneath, to do research on biologicals that have been sequestered for over 200,000 years.  Have they not seen either movie version of The Thing?  Let’s release an Ebola type virus, or blood-sucking parasites, or a damned E.T.  Sure, what could possibly go wrong?

The location of the drill-site was given as “1300 KM Southwest of the South Pole.”  There’s nothing Southier than the South Pole.  1300 KM southwest would be somewhere in orbit.  You can’t even fix it by substituting Northwest for Southwest, because, when you leave the South Pole, no matter what direction you take, it’s just North.

We are warned that information obtained on the Internet may not be reliable.  Much the same can be said of what is printed in the “reliable” media.

I Have Half A Mind….And My Car Has The Other Half.

I was born so long ago that electricity was generated by rubbing wooly mammoths together, and dinosaurs delivered it to the house in wooden pails.  That said, I’ve managed to keep up with an amazing growth of technology.  I can dinner-party intelligently discuss black holes, string theory and quantum entanglement.  I think that the strides we have made have been great, but I occasionally see the Terminator/SkyNet drawbacks.  Obviously this post is being done on a computer.  Computers are fine, when they work.  When they don’t, sometimes I feel we would be better off with the simpler life.

I learned to drive cars that had engines in the front, drive wheels in the back and three-speed, manual transmissions, complete with a clutch.  Once upon a time, a 17-year-old kid, with two years of trade school, some spark plug gappers, a pair of Chan-L-Lock pliers and a Phillips screwdriver, could make any car hum like a bee-hive.  Nowadays you need an M.I.T. PhD and five years with Apple, before you can get close to one.  Everything, EVERYTHING, in cars these days is computer controlled.  The small garages are gone, because, mechanics must have fancy, expensive electronic diagnostic equipment.  After spending a hundred thousand, or more, for that, they still have to buy $2000+ modules for each new line of cars, from each manufacturer they wish to service.

I bought an 04 Chevy Impala in 05.  Good solid, reliable car, or so I thought, probably the last one I will be able to afford to buy before I die.  A couple of years later it showed off the first of several little tricks.  I didn’t understand the significance then, but after a couple more years and a couple more tricks, I had a talk with my (apologetically expensive) mechanic and put it all together.

My car (most cars? all cars?) has a segment of the computer control system known as a Body Module.  This little gizmo manages things like horn, headlights, door locks, etc.  Mine has gone psychotic.  Oh, when it’s on its meds, everything works fine, but when it’s not, adventure becomes a four-letter word.

The first inkling I had, was one day when I was on my way to work.  Turned off the big road to the smaller side road where my plant was.  Just around the corner, and opposite my plant driveway, was a Toronto Sun vending box.  I stopped for a copy every day.  I left the car running, (the car, not me) closed the driver’s door, and walked around the car and got a paper.  I went back around to the driver’s side and tried to get back in, only to find that the door was locked.  Shocked the hell out of me.  What do I do now???

I can get to work, but my work shirt is in my carry bag, along with the food and drink for the shift.  My work pants and safety shoes are in my locker, and the keys are in the car.  If I walk away and leave it running, someone else might be able to get into it and steal it.  If I leave it running, it will eventually run out of gas.  When it does that, the lights are on, and the battery will go flat.  I walked back around to the passenger side and prayerfully tried the door.  IT’S UNLOCKED!!  Saved!  That company went bankrupt and I lost another job.  How often would I need to close the driver’s door, but leave the engine running?  It’s happened twice since.  At least I know what to do, until the day it decides to lock all the doors.

The next little surprise it had for me was the dead speedometer.  Apparently the sensor unit “forgets” to tell the computer controlled motor which drives the speedometer cable, how fast we’re going.  This can happen at any time.  It’s not too much of a problem if the needle suddenly flops down to zero.  I can still drive by ear, the sound of the engine and transmission, the hiss of the tires on the road.  All else fails, I just keep up with traffic.  The potential problem arises when I’m doing 60, and the needle only falls back to 40.  If I think I’ve slowed down and try to pick up speed, I could also pick up a ticket.

Next, it learned how to turn off the traction control and ABS brakes.  Usually this only happens at low speed and/or when making a turn.  Backing down my driveway and swinging out onto the street got real interesting there, for a while.  When the brakes go out, it’s as if there was no power assist.  It’s fun getting the big sedan slowed down, especially if you’re not expecting it.  Sometimes I can just be feathering the brakes for a stop at a light, and the ABS kicks in.  What the hell was that about?

The last little piece of drive-me-crazy conduct is that, the ignition forgets to work.  Once in a while, anytime, anywhere, I climb in, insert the key, turn it, and listen to the silent laughter from a car which refuses to start.  It doesn’t turn over.  It just sits there, while I sit there, even though the wife and I should be on our way to a doctor’s office.  Keep trying the key.  It could take ten tries.  It could take a hundred.  Tried all kinds of things to wake the system up.  Roll the windows down and back up, lock and unlock the doors, put the gear lever in neutral(and all other gears) and back to Park.  If it’s on an incline, like the driveway, let it roll a foot or two and stop, and try it again, and again, and again.  Eventually it works.

This has only happened six or eight times, but they seem to be happening closer together.  My mechanic told me about a woman who also has an Impala, a year older than mine.  She went through this too.  It happened more and more often, until she just drove the car into the garage one day, and said, “Call me when it’s fixed.”  It’s like the doctors chasing the cause of my vision problem.  They think they know what’s causing it, but they can’t treat it ’till they’re sure.  They can’t put it on the analyser until it’s broke.  So the mech. essentially told me that whenever it won’t start, I should drive it in, even though the drive could make it start working again.  If it is the Body Module, parts and labor run about $600.

I’m all for technology, when it does what I want and need it to do, but, if you see me driving past with my feet running under the car like Fred Flintstone, you’ll know what happened.

Be Kind To One Another…Or I’ll Beat The Snot Outta Ya

drip……drip……drip……drip.

It seems like Chinese water torture.

Drip……Drip……Drip……Drip

Once upon a time, I was liberal, understanding, forgiving.

Drip!……Drip!……Drip!……Drip!

The other day, my wife asked me, “When did you start hating Pakis?”, and, without thinking, I answered her.

DRIP!……DRIP!……DRIP!……DRIP!

A recent study proves that women with higher-than-normal levels of testosterone will not co-operate with others, insist on having their choice/decision acted on, and are wrong in their choices 74% of the time.

(You can make up your own jokes about men and testosterone.)

Actions and attitudes.  There were things in my twenties that I never even noticed, things in my thirties that I noticed, but shrugged off, things in my forties I noticed and they irritated me, things in my fifties that I said, “Why the F**k can’t they be a little more thoughtful?”, about.  Now I’m past my mid-sixties, and, there’s not a day that there isn’t someone I feel should be beaten to death with a shitty diaper.

There ARE colored people who are Niggers.

There ARE Indo-Asians who are Pakis.

There ARE men who are arrogant ass-h**es

There ARE women who are shrewish bitches.

There ARE Muslims who are terrorists.

There ARE Christians who are narrow-minded bigots.

And they’re making life hell for the rest of us.

I went to my supermarket yesterday.  There were two shopping carts stuffed into one of the wheelchair parking spots, the one which is back-to-back with the cart corral.  At least they were right at the top.  A handicapped person could park in the space, carefully, and use one as a walker, as my wife does.  The cart-return kid always thanks me when I move them.  I want to ask him why he doesn’t do it, but he’s got to work on volume.  Get the ones from the corral back to the store first, then worry about stragglers.  He’s a nice kid.  His mother drives down to the store and delivers his lunch.

If you drive away leaving a shopping cart, you’re just lazy, selfish, unthinking, inconsiderate and egotistical.  If, instead of walking a hundred feet across the parking lot and putting the cart in the corral, you walk ninety feet across the parking lot and stuff it in a handicapped spot, I’m going to have to call on BrainRants to define the level of ass-holery being committed.

I backed into a parking spot, in the dark, in a snow storm, and found that someone had left a cart in it.  I know, it’s at least half my fault.  Punched a base-ball sized hole in my light cover, the one which stretches all the way across my trunk lid.  Five hundred dollars from the dealer, only, after a visit and two phone-calls, never got back to me.  Two-hundred and fifty from a scrap dealer,  if you can find one who’ll peel it off an undamaged trunk lid that they can sell for $600.

My son was driving the car one day, and some guy chased him three blocks and  caught him at a stoplight.  Offered to sell him the cover and the two outside lights for a hundred bucks, cash.  Some self-employed entrepreneur who spent $1400 for a trunk spoiler and fancy light cover to doll up the same Impala I can hardly afford to keep on the road.  I happily paid for the privilege of cleaning out his garage.  After we drove for three years with packing tape over the hole to keep water out.

Came out of the same grocery store a couple of weeks ago, just in time to see some 30ish female abandoning a cart in the middle of the same spot.  I BELLOWED at her, “DON’T LEAVE THAT THERE!!  THAT’S A HANDICAPPED SPOT!  I mean, the guy at the strip mall across the street looked over.

Yeah, who are you?

I’M the guy who has to use that spot!

For just a second, I thought that I had made contact, but then the look of entitlement slipped back into place.  She wheeled away and gave me an over-the-shoulder dismissive wave, and a, “Whatever.”  She headed towards my car, which was parked in the next row.  I thought perhaps she had the grey van parked next to me.  I figured on pulling another leave-the-cart ploy, but she walked between the vehicles to a car on the far side.  Oh well!, I walked the cart around and put it in the corral.

I walked back around to head for my car, and met a Paki shoving another cart into the middle of the same spot.  He was already wearing the shitty diaper on his head, so I considered beating him to death with the cart.  Throat was a little raspy, not quite as much volume this time.

DON’T put that there!

Oh no??? (In Paki sing-song)

Oh NO!!

It only took him a few seconds to put it where it belonged.  Why couldn’t he have done that without being yelled at?  Where do all the bad manners come from?  Ikea?  Do they assemble them themselves?  My kids (and grandson) were taught better than that.  He then walked over to the grey van that was parked next to my car and got in.  That’s who owns it.  Damn!  missed out on my chance to play the parking lot abandon-the-cart game.