They Paved Paradise

So said Joni Mitchell, some years ago.  The same thought was echoed by Chrissie Hynde, when she wrote, My pretty countryside had been paved down the middle, by a government that had no pride.  The farms of Ohio had been replaced by shopping malls.

Travel/transportation is another technology which has advanced greatly over the last couple of centuries, and especially the last 50 or 60 years.  Some will say that’s a good thing.  Some will claim it’s necessary.  It has definitely opened up North America, and Americans’ social eyes, but old guys like me still miss the old days a bit, even if they weren’t “good.”

Travel used to be difficult and time-consuming.  BrainRants can rant about taking 36 hours to get from Afghanistan to Kansas, but it’s not too long ago that it would have taken 36 days, and before that, 36 weeks.  I’m reading a series of books about a Virginia town, transported back to 1632 Germany.  In those days not many people travelled more than 20 miles from where they were born.  The Americans found travel particularly difficult, because of what they had been used to.

Twenty miles was about as far as you could go in one day.  The word journey comes from the French word, journée, a day’s work or travel.  Most people had to walk.  A lucky few had riding horses, somewhat faster and less tiring, but not terribly comfortable.  Merchants and the like had wagons, but roads were rutted, pot-holed, and often muddy, and wagons had no shock absorbers.  It was rough on the butt and back.

The Romans built a bunch of good roads which lasted, but were still hard on the feet and spines of travellers.  It was not until the 1880s that the idea of mixing tar or asphalt with sand and small stones allowed the construction of “permanent”, smooth roads, and speeds and personal comfort to increase.

Even a hundred years ago, most freight and passengers moved around the country on trains.  The U.S. has maintained a lot of track, but sadly, much of Canada’s has been torn up.  Both countries now rely heavily on motorised vehicles.   To serve them, roads and parking areas have burgeoned.  The big, multi-lane highways are fenced off, preventing both humans and animals from crossing.  You can’t get on, and you can’t get off.  They’re finally getting smart, and building animal overpasses on the Trans-Canada Highway in a couple of the big National parks

In the areas of Michigan where I’ve driven, instead of blacktop, they’ve built their roads from poured concrete.  Concrete expands and contracts differently from asphalt.  It is laid down in 50-foot sections, with rubberized joints between them.  This creates a most annoying tick, tick, tick, as you drive over them, almost like the steel wheels of the old trains.  The concrete lasts longer than asphalt, but when it does need repair, pouring concrete into a pothole is more difficult, it takes longer to set, and the repair falls apart faster than blacktop.

The American Interstates, and Ontario’s 400-series highways didn’t come into existence until the mid-60s.  As a child, about 1950, I hadn’t even visited the little neighboring town, 5 miles away, and my Father took us to Niagara Falls on vacation.  Nowadays, it’s a four-hour, 200 mile trip.  Back then it took most of a day; even paved roads were only 2-lanes, they ran into and out of every little town, signage was poor, or non-existent.   I don’t know how Dad managed to find the place.

We rented a little cabin for an overnight stay.  Dad was paranoid enough, that he put his wallet under his pillow.  The next day we crossed the border to visit some relatives in upstate New York.  It wasn’t until Dad tried to buy some gas for the trip back, that he realized his wallet was missing.  Two adults, and two little kids got into the States without a shred of I.D., almost no money, and not a bit of fuss raised.  Imagine trying that at the border today.  The owner of the cabins was holding the wallet when we got back.  An honest cleaning lady had turned it in.

If only roads went only where very little grows.  Sadly, that is not the case.  Here in Southern Ontario, and many other places, 10 and 12 lane super-roads are eating up hundreds of square miles of the best farmland in the world.  Recharge areas for underground aquifers which supply drinking water to our cities are being paved over for roads and parking lots.  All that black paving sucks up the heat of the sun, making cities up to five degrees C. hotter than the surrounding countryside.

As a small-town boy, I appreciate the ability to get to interesting places quickly and easily.  I like having all the conveniences that a city can provide, but there are an increasing number of times I wish we could go back to a simpler, more pastoral time.  Do any of you feel the same way?  Residents of Newfoundland need not reply.  Void where society is already 50 years behind the times.

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Triviana T’ree

Please keep hands and feet inside the blog.  Do not attempt to exit until the post has come to a complete stop.  The following are a few thoughts which whirl through my head, there not being much between my ears to slow them down.

I was at a supermarket with the wife today.  At the end of one row, there was a plastic box with a sign saying “Seasonal Recipes, Try One.”  I took one of the sheets, and, sure enough, there was a great recipe for Barbecued Snow, another for Sweet and Sour Snowballs, and instructions for Baked Icicles, promising that they’ll come out soft and juicy.  For anyone needing basic ingredients, we’ll be happy to ship them to you.  I have a distribution system stretching from KayJai, in the east, to NotesToPonder in the west.

We had a couple of severe wind storms come through the Region recently.  Several trees in LadyRyl’s compound, and others in the neighborhood, lost large branches, or were toppled.  City and private crews have been cleaning up.  Smaller limbs go through a chipper, and larger stuff is cut and piled.  Free mulch and firewood!  All you can haul away.  One tree, about a block from Ryl’s, left a stump beside the road, almost three feet across, and six feet high.  Slowly but surely, someone has been turning it into the bottom of a Totem pole, a most handsome-looking Eagle.  I’ll grab a photo, and add to a post later.

In an ongoing contest to prove which one of us is dumber, I asked MapQuest.CA to find me a place near SightNBytes, in Newfoundland, Canada.  I was presented with Newfoundland, Tenn., U.S. bloody A!  It’s about three miles down the road from a maximum-security Federal prison.  “Do not stop!  Do not pick up hitchhikers!”

I’ve written about being (almost) smarter than the old, wooden, two-legged clothes pins.  I met their Mensa relatives recently.  Made from the heavy, recycled plastic that is used to produce some patio/lawn furniture, these things are claimed indestructible, and cheap at 39 cents each.  I guess everything old is new again, as more women (and men?) hang laundry on clotheslines.

Did you drink cherry Coke when you were younger??  Does anybody besides me still drink it?  My favorite fire-water is actually Pepsi, but, it’s like “Kleenex.”  It’s all Kleenex unless someone specifies otherwise.

I was introduced to cherry-cola at about the age of 15, back when restaurants had soda-fountains.  You could pay a little extra for a shot of the cherry soda syrup in your “glass” glass of draft (draught, for Canadians, especially KayJai) cola.  For at least 20 years, as supermarket choices expanded, I’ve been buying bottles of cherry syrup, and adding it to many of my glasses of Pepsi.

Coke sells Cherry-Coke in cans.  I’m not sure that Pepsi does.  Pepsi does sell cans with a touch of lime, that son, Shimoniac, likes occasionally.  Partly to control my weight, I often don’t want 12 ounces, and custom-mix a small glass, from a 2-liter bottle.

A little over a year ago, BrainRants mentioned Sriracha sauce on his blog.  I’d never seen or heard of it.  Less than a month later it showed up at my supermarket.  At first, it was expensive, and rare, $6.99 a bottle – liters – to satisfy Canadian packing requirements.  Soon, most stores carried it, and the price went down.

Suddenly, it was as common as water, and less expensive.  My store had a giant, end-of-aisle display, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bottles in an 8-foot-high pile, clearing at 99 ¢/ea.  I first saw a small store in Charleston, SC, which sold nothing but a wide range of hot sauces.  We recently got the first in our area, at the Farmers’ Market.  The wife treated me to an order of poutine today.  (All questions about What The Hell Is Poutine??! faithfully answered)  I drizzled some Sriracha on it.

I went to put in the ¢ sign above, and realized that electronic keyboards no longer have them.  They have the dollar sign, but not the cents.  This happened long before Canada decided to eliminate the penny.  The wife threatened offered to teach me how to add it to my text, but I feared it would be cheaper and easier just to hire a performance artist to go to each of your houses and put it in.  Silly me, it’s not hard at all.  Two different ways, press alt 0162, or control, slash, c.  Now I gotta write more about cents.

In my continuing acquisition of interesting names, I met a knife-maker at the Detroit show named Bobby L. Toole, not O’Toole, merely Toole.  I haven’t researched just how rare the name is, but I’ve never heard or read of another.  While the name may be white-bread, Irish, the holder definitely isn’t.  Being politically correct, I will not mention the joke about him being a Masai-man, so black you could melt him down to make hockey pucks from.

Another maker with a name almost as handsome as his knives, was Doun T. Rose II, whose father had as much ego and as little imagination as Efrem Zimbalist Senior.  I gotta kick my standard transmissioned research up into second gear, to find out about him and Bobby.  He claimed that Doun is a Scottish name, and it’s always interesting to see what my skirt-wearing ancestors were up to.  You know why Scotsmen wear kilts??!  So the sheep don’t hear the zipper.

I put this post together Saturday, August 24th.  I don’t mind (much) that they’re playing football.  I’m not surprised to get back
from Canadian Tire, where Halloween costumes are available for sale, but Saturday’s paper had the first picture of someone playing hockey.  Summer, oh Summer, where hast thou gone?  Probably hiding behind my snow shovel, bah, humbug!

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns

We often think that the important things which happen, and the marvelous things that are created, are the products of “big city” people.  It just seems right that those with the most exposure to society and education, would be the “doers.”  It is often a surprise that some city-, country- or world-changing events are caused by small-town, backwoods boys (and girls).

On August 21, 1860, Aylesworth Perry was born in a tiny Ontario hamlet.  Despite being a patriotic Canadian, interested in our history and heritage, I had never heard of him.  It seems that this was the gentleman who went on to transform the North West Mounted Police – who would later become the R.C.M.P. – from a loose-knit band of rowdy frontiersmen, into the effective, respected organization it became.

What caught my eye about the little newspaper filler article was the fact that this strong, powerful organizer of tough, gritty men, in a tough, dirty landscape, was from the tiny-rainbow-pissing village of Violet.  Like the famous….whatsisname, above, I’d never heard of a place in Ontario named Violet, so I began to do some research.

The officially-issued, Province Of Ontario roadmap refuses to even mention it.  Time to go online!  My first search for Violet, Ontario, got me Violet’s Violets, in Milton, ON, and Violets and Roses Flower Shop in Brampton, ON.  My next step was my usual, Mapquest.ca, which located a Violet Hill, ON, not far from my home town.  This magnificent megalopolis boasts almost 300 residents, which is probably why I’d never heard of it either.

When all else fails, go to Google, which had no trouble locating Violet for me.  Where my town is almost as far west as possible, in Southern Ontario, this place is at the far, east edge, close to Ottawa and Montreal.  To call this place a village is perhaps to stretch a point some.  It’s more than just a wide spot on the road, with a house on both sides, but not much.  It makes Violet Hill look like urban civilization.  There is one road into town, which splits at a Y, and two roads leave town.

I was astounded that Google Earth had actually driven these roads.  They must have been on their way to a real town.  It had to have been a remote-controlled vehicle.  A human driver would have dozed off.  If it’s this tiny now, I wonder how much smaller it was, a hundred and fifty years ago.

At about the same time in history, a famous feminist/suffragette/ human rights proponent, named Nellie Mooney McClung, was born in a tiny village about 30 miles east of my home.  She’s so famous, you’ve never heard of her either, and the only sign that she and the village ever existed, is a dedication plaque, and a small cemetery.

“Famous”, in Canada, means that two people know how to spell your name.  More recently, just before I crawled out of the igloo, a famous female Canadian author was born in a small town 30 miles to my south.  At the age of 76, she’s decided to stop writing, and retire back to her birthplace, to count up all eight Loonies she’s made from the Canadian publishing industries.

A couple of years before my birth, a man was born in a village of 300, twenty miles south-east.  He went on to be the long-term editor of the Toronto Sun newspaper, until the Frogs from Quebecor Publishing hopped down from Montreal, and gobbled it up.  You’d probably not notice his birthplace either, if it weren’t for the stench of the pig-processing plant, and the truckers’ restaurant, which is well-known for its ribs and wings.

All of this has generated great optimism in me.  If people from places like Nowhere, and Never-Heard-Of-It, can become movers and shakers, it’s never too late for me to become famous also.  (It’s spelled S.M.I.T.H.)  Two more posts like this, and it’s onward and upward to FreshPressed, and fame and glory.  Did I mention the money?….or I could just keep trying to amuse, entertain and educate you, my faithful followers.

Being famous, and from a small town is not always a good thing.  We have a Canadian lady (?) from Wadena, Saskatchewan, a mighty little town of 1300.  She’s been a television news reporter, and then anchor-person, who puts her pants on one leg at a time, just like all the other guys.  The Prime Minister gave her a pork-barrel appointment to the Canadian Senate.

She now has to, grudgingly, repay $140,000 in expenses to the Government, because she was “confused” and “forgot” things like that her “primary residence” was in Wadena, not Toronto.  She’s one of four recently appointed Senators under investigation by the R.C.M.P.  I’m not sure how much of this type of thing the American system of electing Senators would prevent, but I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be much worse.

End of bitch!  Insert comment here.

 

Two Funny Bones

Speaking of which, did you hear about the guy who swallowed his Viagra too slowly?

He got a stiff neck!

What did the baby digital watch say to his mother analog watch?

Look Ma, no hands!

Poor Diet

A man visits his doctor with celery stalks stuck in both ears and a carrot stick up each nostril.  He mumbles, “Doc, I’m just not feeling well.”

The doctor replies, “Maybe you’re not eating right!”

Well, Honestly

A policeman pulls a driver over for swerving in and out of lanes on the highway.  He tells the guy to blow into the breathalyser.

“I can’t do that, officer, I’m an asthmatic, and I could have an asthma attack if I blow into that tube.”

“Okay, we’ll just get a urine sample down at the station.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.  I’m a diabetic. I could get low blood sugar if I pee in a cup.”

“Alright, we’ll just take a blood sample then.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.  I’m a hemophiliac.  If I give blood, I could bleed to death.”

“Fine then, just walk this white line.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.”

“Why not?!”

“Because I’m drunk!”

 

Old Age and Treachery will overcome Youth and Skill every time.

 

Poll Dancing

A young man was hired to make a door-to-door survey for the Vaseline Company.  He rang a bell, and announced his business to the lady of the house, who said she would be happy to answer any questions he had.

“Tell me,” he queried, “do you have any children?”

“Oh yes,” she replied, “I have five.”

“Fine,” he beamed, “and do you use Vaseline?”

“Often!” she stated.  “When one of the kids gets a cut, or a bruise, or a rash.”

“Wonderful,” the young man replied, “Do you ever use it for sexual purposes?”

“Very often.” she smiled.

“Ah….internally or externally?” he continued.

“Externally.” she replied.

“Could you tell me where you apply it?” he asked.

“To the outside of the bedroom door knob, to keep the kids from barging in!”

Gallic Logic

A rural Frenchman was on trial for killing his wife, for having an affair with a neighbor.  Upon being asked why he shot the wife instead of the lover, he replied, “Ah m’sieur, is it not better to shoot a woman once, than a different man every week?”

White Lady Special

One of those do-gooder, lady, settlement workers stopped a hard-looking youngster, and asked where his father was.

“Ain’t got no father.” the kid said.

“And your mother?”

“Ain’t got no mother.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.  When did she pass away?”

“I never had no mother.”

“Then how were you born?” the lady settlement worker asked in dulcet tones.

“Some bum played a dirty trick on my aunt!”

The Golfing Preacher

There was this preacher who was an avid golfer.  Every chance he could get, he could be found on the golf course, swinging away.  It was an obsession.

One Sunday was a picture-perfect day for golfing.  The sun was out, no clouds in the sky, and the temperature was just right.  The preacher was in a quandary as to what to do, and shortly the urge to play golf overcame him.

He called the assistant pastor and told him he was sick and could not do church.  Then he packed his car, and drove for two hours, to a golf course where no-one would recognize him.  He happily began to play the course.  An angel up above was watching the preacher, and was quite perturbed.  He went to The Lord, and said, “Look at the preacher.  He should be punished for what he is doing.”  The Lord nodded in agreement.

The preacher teed up on the first hole.  He swung at the ball, and it sailed effortlessly through the air, and landed on the green and rolled into the cup, three-hundred and fifty yards (meters) away.  A perfect hole-in-one!  He was amazed and excited.

The angel was a little shocked.  He turned to The Lord and said, “Begging Your pardon, but I thought you were going to punish him.”

The Lord smiled.  “Think about it – who can he tell?”

I’ll leave you with a little do-it-yourself humor.  “Michael Jackson!”  He’s the punch line to any joke.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  Michael Jackson!  How is Michael Jackson similar to a grocery bag?  They’re both made of plastic, and dangerous for children to play with.

 

Round And Round

I got a 1940 nickel in change today.  Actually, the wife got it, and immediately turned it over to me.  Damn!  The thing’s older than I am, and in much better condition.  Did grandpa die, or did someone have their coin collection raided?  It obviously hasn’t been in constant circulation.

The word nickel, meaning a five-cent coin, came from the fact that they were originally stamped from the metal, nickel, when it was not popular for industrial and electronic uses.  Canadian ones have been made of brass, during WWII, and now only nickel-coated steel.  There’s a giant, twelve-sided, 30 foot diameter, 2 foot thick replica, built of nickel-containing stainless steel, sitting at a Sudbury, Ontario mine.  It was erected in 1951, to commemorate two-hundred years of digging nickel out of the ground there.  Google “Big Nickel.”

While shopping at one store, I thought about buying my Toronto Sun at another.  I pulled all the change out of my pocket, and almost fainted.  I had, not one, but two, American quarters, one a “State” quarter, although not one I needed for my collection.  I must be getting old, not to have noticed American money.  I always used to check my change.  I immediately placed them in our “going to the States” can, when I got home.

With the wife’s worsening mobility and allergy problems, I do a bit more of the day-to-day shopping, and therefore end up with more change, which I get rid of, buying my newspapers.  There was a time when I could tell you exactly how much change I had in my pocket, and what coins made up the total.  Apparently, no longer!

Canada recently stopped stamping and issuing pennies.  The Federal Government was good enough to use my tax dollars, to print and supply signs to stores, explaining what would happen.  Silly me, I thought it would be straight-forward.  If a bill being paid in cash, ends in one or two, or six or seven cents, it would be rounded down.  If it ended in three or four, or eight or nine cents, it would be rounded up to the next nickel.  It’s not like every store has a different system, but there’s lots to go around.

Canada leads the world in the use of debit cards; so, many of these charges involving cents are irrelevant.  Debit or credit card payments are always exact amounts.  The term cents is mathematical.  Pennies are the physical things the government doesn’t make anymore.

Stores will still accept pennies if you offer them, although one woman fellow-shopper told me of a clerk who insisted, “We don’t take pennies anymore.”  “You’d better call your manager then, because they remain legal tender for the next 6 years.”  Some clerks will still give pennies in change, if they have them in the till.  Most stores do the round-up/round-down thing.

The Real Canadian Superstore rounds down, anything below the next 5-cent level.   My $1.50 newspaper, with 8 cents tax, costs me $1.60 almost anywhere but there, where it’s only $1.55.  If I use one of the self-checkouts, I have to insert the $1.60, to get the machine to finalize the sale, and then it refunds me a nickel.

Pennies have largely disappeared from commerce.  A couple of Canadian banks have instituted coin recovery schemes, by setting up pinball-sized automatic coin-counters in their lobbies, similar to those found in many grocery stores.  The grocery store no-arm bandits have a lower pay-out than Vegas slot machines, quietly eating nine cents of every dollar, and returning only 91%.

The ones in the banks pay out 100%, which they hope you then deposit with them, but getting sequestered coins back in circulation (or, out of circulation, in the case of pennies) is the name of the game.

The crazy cat lady used to have a glass umbrella stand, filled to the brim with pennies.  The last time we visited, it was empty and forlorn.  She admitted that she had rolled all of her pennies and turned them in at her bank.  Next time I see her at the Farmers’ Market, I must see if she’ll admit how much they totalled.  It must have been about $100.

I still find the occasional penny.  I had accumulated five in my pocket, and got rid of them at the grocery store on a bill that ended in 80 cents….and looked down and picked up another one off the floor.

The grandson meets young people who somehow think that pennies cannot be spent anymore.  Several other young lads where he works use them to play penny-toss, but don’t bother to pick them up when they’re finished.  The other day, he picked up more than a dollar’s worth, abandoned at the edge of the parking lot.

Canadian or otherwise, what do you think of the demise of the Canadian penny?  Are you Americans ready for it to happen in your country?  What do the Brits want to get rid of, aside from the Euro?

In The Dark

On August 14th, Southern Ontario and hunks of Eastern United States, celebrated (?) the tenth anniversary of a giant blackout.  Locally, we did better than many areas; the power was back on in about four hours.  As with so many other things, like jet-stream cold fronts, 9/11 terrorists, and Justin Bieber, Americans blamed Canada.

Local stories range from being five from the front at a giant waterslide, and having to turn around, and follow 150 other disappointed people back down the stairs, because the water pumps shut off, to the canoeist/camper in a National Park, who pulled in the next day, without knowing or noticing that anything had occurred.

I was at work, on a 3 to 11 shift, when we went dark, at about 8:00 PM.  The plant had already started its death spiral.  The General Manager who lied to the Big Three during contract negotiations, had been forced out.  His internal replacement/promotion lasted only six months before getting a good look at the oncoming train, and taking a different track.  The external hire, who thought he was going to helm a healthy company, bailed after only three months.  And so, we got Bill.

Already cynical, I kept an eye on him.  He was touted as the man who would turn things around, but his management style and abilities did not bode well for that.  The first week he was there, he held a town-hall meeting with each of the shifts.  Not in the boardroom – heaven forbid the peons’ sandals leave marks on the carpet, rather, in the Quality Assurance/Packing area.  He looked us all in the eye and said, “My name is Bill Rheem.”  Those first four words were a lie….and it went downhill from there.

He was not a Germanic Rheem (ream), he was a French-Canadian Rheaume (ray ome).  He had worked for Ford in Windsor, but had left to start his own small company.  My suspicious little whiskers were already vibrating.  He might have been an entrepreneur, or maybe, just a guy who did not play well with others.  If he had had his own company, why was he here running ours?  Did his workforce grab torches and pitchforks and riot, or did the company go public and shareholders force him out?

We worked with a cyanide-based isocyanate.  One day a forklift hit a supply pipe, and leaked a couple of gallons on the floor.  Too important to go around, while two hazmat-suited workers cleaned it up, he ripped down the yellow HAZARD tape, and escorted three guys from head-office right through the middle.

We had had a hot, muggy summer, prior to the power outage.  We normally got two air-conditioned breaks in our eight-hour shifts of working with hot vinyl, but every previous manager had agreed to a third, when the weather got bad.  Not Bill!  No F**kin’ way!  A contract’s a contract!  Union executive contacted the Labor Board, who showed up with books of Government regs.  It was so hot and sticky that we had the legal right to a ten-minute break every hour….and Bill had to ensure it was given, and documented.

Eight PM on an August evening is not dark.  When the power died, we did what we could to prevent fires, and other problems, then trickled outside to sit on benches and picnic tables.  We’d been out there for about a half-hour, when our fearless leader showed up.  He checked that protocols had been followed, and gave us what information he had, and a little pep-talk about getting right back to work, as soon as the power came back on.

He took a couple of cell phone calls, and another half-hour later announced, “Well, I guess the power’s not coming back on.  You guys all go home.”  Somebody said, “Well, at least we get paid for the whole shift.” And Grumpy Smurf lashed out again.  “No F**kin’ way!  It’s not my fault the plant can’t run!  You don’t work, you don’t get paid!”

The next day, the union president visited him and showed him a copy of the contract, with a Short Workweek clause, which guaranteed that we would be paid from a special, slowly increasing fund.

I carefully drove 5 Km. home, through a city with neither traffic lights, nor streetlights.  I joined a wife and son in a living room well-stocked with candles, and indulged in more conversation than since the invention of TV.  Well after midnight, just as we were thinking of pulling out a board game, and playing Yahtzee or Monopoly by candlelight, civilization returned in a rush.

When the axe finally fell on me a year later, I tried to access the above fund, to top up my unemployment benefits but, being one of the last to go, I found it empty and plundered by those who had preceded me.  I needed to find a job, fast!

Bill was perhaps, the most ineffectual, adversarial Plant Manager I’d ever worked with.  The Peter Principle had allowed him to bob up to the level of his incompetence several times.  It didn’t take a power stoppage to show that he was uninformed, and poorly trained for his position.  He was in the dark, even before the lights went out, and he kept those around him in the same condition.

Previous corporate decisions and policies had already doomed my plant and my job, but Billy-boy didn’t do them any extra favors.

Where were you when the lights went out?  In a part of the country or the world where you didn’t even notice?  Did you, or someone you know, have a baby nine months later?  A lot of folks did!  No Yahtzee boards or candles, I guess.

Believe What You Want

A man in southern Tennessee saw his male dog “humping” another male dog, and took it to the humane society and turned it in, “Cuz I don’t want no gay dog!”  Dog humping has nothing to do with sex, sexual orientation, or morals, and everything to do with establishing superiority.  I’d have thought that he’d know about guns and dogs and stuff, but I guess all he knows about is that Westboro Baptist salvation superiority.

I don’t think even they preach about gay dogs.  The Bible does not say that “A male dog shall not lie down (or stand up) with another male dog, as he does with a bitch.”  There are Good Christians who claim that homosexuality and lesbianism are not “natural”, and don’t occur among animals, and it is only those among humans who “sin”.  And yet here, we apparently have a Bible-thumper with a gay dog.  The ironic humor is knee-slapping.

I don’t want to paint any particular group with a wide brush, but all three of the stories in this post occurred well south of the Mason/Dixon Line, which, by the way, is a hell of a lot further north than I thought it was, as a kid.  AFrankAngle can almost see it from his back door in Cincinnati.

A long-time worker at an auto-parts plant in Alabama marched into his supervisor’s office and quit.  He was a good worker, produced great quality and quantity, had a good attendance record, got along with other workers, all in all a perfect employee.  They didn’t want to lose him.  Why was he quitting?

It seems that his company was doing away with their payroll department, and had farmed it out to an outside firm.  The new cheque-writers had assigned each worker an employee number….and his was 666.  Obviously he couldn’t work under the Sign Of The Beast.  His foreman assured him that the problem would be taken care of.  Sure enough, next week’s cheque was made out to employee number 668.

Two years later, he marched into the supervisor’s office and quit again.  What’s the problem this time??!  Seems his employer had switched payroll suppliers, and the new company listed him as number 666 again.  That says to me that he was number 666 all along, but the last payroll company had been directed to make an exception for him, and the new provider just hadn’t got the memo yet.  Again, the problem was fixed by the next paycheque.  As far as I know, he’s still happily working there, blissfully unaware of the total lack of significance his employee number really had, anywhere except inside his empty widdle head.

The last winner I want to poke fun at, is a televangelist I met on TV during my recent Detroit trip.  Joel Osteen has dragged his wife along with him to partake of the Biblical Diet.  He has declared that they will eat only grains, legumes and meat mentioned in the Bible.  He says he loves bacon, but bacon is forbidden in Biblical texts.  He tells that, since giving up bacon and eating only this blessed food, he feels much better.  His digestion has improved, and he has more energy.  I could only watch a few minutes of his show before I got dizzy.  This “Fisher Of Men” needs all the energy he can get, to reel in the faithful, and their wallets.

He told us that he had replaced the standard, but now forbidden, pork bacon with turkey bacon.  Perhaps someone needs to slowly read the Good Book to Mr. Osteen.  The turkey is a New World creature, and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, but that doesn’t stop another “infallible” soul-saver from saying one thing, and doing another.

A computer-savvy man in Wisconsin set up a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and YouTube videos, all purporting to be Osteen’s.  On them he said that Osteen had given up the Christian faith, because he had found no proof that the Bible was true, or even that God existed.

Describing himself as a “good Christian”, he said that he did it because he found Osteen’s hour-long TV show to be full of nothing but feel-good platitudes – all sizzle, no real steak.  He claimed that Osteen was insulated from the real world, and his prank was to get Osteen’s attention, to tell him “to tone down the clichés, and get real!”  How high do you have to Fly Like An Ego, to have even the faithful tell you to take a chill pill??

You can believe what you want, but I believe that Bubba will never learn about dogs, Mr. Numerology will never render unto Caesar, and no successful evangelist will ever willingly turn down the volume and risk losing income, adulation and power.