A Comedy Of Errors

A man hired by a construction company, was asked to fill out the details of an accident that put him in the hospital, after less than an hour on the job.  His task was simply to carry an excess of bricks from the top of a two-storey house, down to the ground.  This is his meticulous report

“Thinking that I could save time, I rigged a beam with a pulley to the top of the house, with a rope leading to the ground.  I tied an empty barrel on one end of the rope, pulled it to the top of the house, and then fastened the other end of the rope to a tree.

Going up to the top of the house, I filled the barrel with bricks.  Then I went back down, and unfastened the rope to let the barrel down.  Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was now heavier than I, and before I knew what was happening, the barrel jerked me up in the air.

I hung onto the rope, and, halfway up, I met the barrel coming down, receiving a sharp blow to my left shoulder. I then continued on up to the top. Banging my head on the beam and jamming my fingers in the pulley.

When the barrel hit the ground, the bottom burst, spilling all the bricks.  As I was now heavier than the barrel, I started down at high speed.  Halfway down, I met the empty barrel, coming up, receiving severe lacerations to my shins.

When I hit the ground, I landed on the bricks, receiving several cuts and contusions from the sharp edges of the bricks.  At this point I must have become confused, because I let go of the rope.  The barrel came down, striking me on the head, and I woke up in the hospital.

I respectfully request sick leave.”

Dancing In The Dark

A couple were invited to a real swanky Halloween party, so the wife went out and bought costumes for them.  On the night of the party, she developed a terrific headache, and told her husband to go on without her.  He protested, but she said all she was going to do was take a couple of aspirins and go to bed, and that there was no need of his good time being wasted, by not attending.  So he got into his costume, and off he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for an hour, woke without a trace of pain, and a little after nine, she decided to go to the party.  Since her husband didn’t know what costume she was wearing, she thought it might be fun to slip into the party, and see how he acted when she wasn’t around.

As soon as she got to the party, the first person she saw was her husband, cavorting around the dance floor, dancing with all the chicks and copping a little feel here and there.  So the wife sidled up to him and, being a rather sexy-looking thing herself, he quickly left his partner to devote his attention to the new stuff that had just joined the party.  She let him go as far as he wanted, (naturally) and finally he whispered a proposition in her ear.  This she agreed to, and they went out to one of the parked cars nearby, etc., etc., etc.

Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, and went to bed, wondering what her husband would say about the party when he came home.

He arrived home about 1:30, and came straight to the bedroom to ask her how she was.  She was sitting up in bed, reading, and asked how he enjoyed the party.  He said, “Oh, the same old thing.  You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.”  Then she asked if he had danced much.  He said, “Well, I’ll tell you, I never even danced one dance.  When I got there, Peter Jones, Bill Brown, and a couple of the guys were stag, too, so we just sat in the den and played poker all night.  But I’ll tell you one thing, the fellow I loaned my costume to sure had one hell of a good time!”

 

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Something For Nothing

Damn, am I ever a cheap-ass old skinflint.  The lessons of childhood were well learned and, now in old age, not easily forgotten or ignored.

I was born just as the rationing of the Second World War was ending, to parents who had lived through the Great Depression of the ‘30s, with a mother who was Scottish.  You know how copper wire was invented??  Two Scotsmen, fighting over a penny!

Most of the men in my hometown worked at one of the four factories.  Most of the women stayed home to care for the kids.  My mother became an exception, but, most families had just about the same income.  Sure, there were merchants, and real estate and insurance brokers.  The preachers at six Protestant churches did better than most of their flock.

We weren’t dirt-poor, as many other families in town were, because my mother practiced some basic birth control.  We only had two kids in our family.  On one of the paper routes I had, there were two families, living side-by-side in two shack-y houses, much smaller than ours.  One house had seven kids and five dogs.  The one next door had seven dogs and five kids.  There’s not a lot of disposable income left after feeding and clothing a mob like that.

I’ve written that I keep my eye open in places where people might drop money.  The hundred-dollar bill I picked up at a Meijer store was an exception, but I find bits of money all the time.  I had to take a bus the other day, to pick up the car from a repair garage.  The bill for the car was almost $350, but I was thrilled to pick up 20 cents off the floor of the bus.  A bill like that only happens every six months or a year, but I find money all the time.  By the next time the car needs to go in, I will have found a good chunk of what the next bill will be.

I am not exactly embarrassed, but still somewhat surreptitious about checking payphone coin returns.  It’s really interesting how many times people try to place a call, get no answer, and rush away without retrieving their quarter.  About coins lying in coin-return slots of pop machines, or snack vending machines – I can’t be the only one who notices them, but I’m often the first to notice them.

I don’t walk or bike-ride as much as I used to, but still pick up any beer bottles or cans that I see.  Not only do I clean the neighborhood, but I make a dime apiece refund on them.  Liquor and wine bottles are also worth 10 cents each, but, with the usual bureaucratic genius, you buy them at the Liquor Control Board store, but have to take them back to the Beer Store for refund.

The daughter watches when she’s out on her power wheel chair, as does the grandson.  I recently cleaned off the shelf I use in the basement to store them.  More than a year’s accumulation yielded $8.00.  I’ll add it into the fund to buy more American cash from the bank, towards our next trip south.

The supermarket a mile to my north has been selling the Toronto Sun newspaper as a loss-leader for 4 or 5 years.  $1.50 paper for 50 cents Monday to Thursday and $1 on Friday.  Recently that went to a buck, every day.  If we’re out for a doctor’s appointment or other shopping, it’s well worth stopping in.  If we’re not, does it cost 50 cents in gas to save on the paper?

The head-office of the store three blocks to the south used to give cash rebates to charities who collected cash-register receipts.  About a year ago, with great fanfare, they stopped, cutting off Boy Scouts, the Library, and seniors square-dance groups, but quietly continued for selected groups, including the Humane Society.

About once a week, I put a harness on the dog, and walk him over to pick up a paper.  I tie him to the outer of two garbage containers on one side of the entrance, and check inside it.  People often exit the store, and immediately throw away their receipt.  Then I check the one right beside the door, and enter the store.  I check under, and in the return chute of the coin-counting machine in the entryway.  Coins often drop and roll just under.  One day I got 40 pennies that were fed in too fast.

I buy my paper at the newspaper/cigarette/lottery kiosk at the front.  Cash register amounts can be significant, but these customers are often in a hurry.  I check for receipts in the waste-paper basket where dead lotto tickets are thrown.  On my way out, I often go through the opposite doors, and check the big garbage pail over there.  On my walk today, I brought home $245 worth of receipts….and another beer bottle.

Then the daughter phoned.  They have a Blu-Ray player on sale.  Would I go over and pick up the last one in stock?  By the time I got home, I had picked up another $250 worth of receipts.  The rebate is 1/5th of 1%, so that’s one can of food for an abandoned cat.  I have a wad of several thousand dollars worth, which we’ll turn in at the pet-food store, the next time we go in.

We have five rain-barrels from which we water shrubs and flowers, when we have a hot, dry spell in the summer.  The cost of 250 gallons of water from the hose is probably pennies, even if Canada doesn’t officially have pennies anymore, but there’s more nutrients, and less harmful chlorine in rainwater – usually.  A local woman also waters her plants from rain barrels, but had all her pretty flowers die.  Turns out, her busy-body neighbor was worried about mosquitoes breeding, so she poured in chlorine bleach.  Toting the water around gives me something to fill my time, and some exercise to keep me (relatively) strong and limber.

I Got Your Number When You Walked Thru The Door

Did anyone but me get the reference to a 1980s, two-hit wonder band called Sugarloaf?

If Mankind was not “Created” or “Intelligent Design”-ed, we developed our survival skills through evolution.  People are just great at seeing patterns, even where no such pattern exists, and almost always in one direction.  We see faces in clouds, but never clouds in faces

The caveman who saw a sabre tooth tiger in the grass a thousand times when it wasn’t really there, had nothing to answer for.  The fool who didn’t see it when it really was there, only made that mistake once.  He who frights and runs away, lives to fright another day – and sire children.

None of which has any actual bearing on the post I’m about to publish.  I just have a bunch of figures spiralling in toward the event horizon of the black hole of my intellect.  Some of them are vaguely related, but, if you can see a pattern, you’re a better man than I, Charlie Brown, even if you’re one of the impressive ladies who read my posts.

First, there was that little bump to the ego, and sideswipe to the self-esteem when I hit the age of 69.  That little internet birthday party helped buff out the worst of the damage.

Next – the blog is coming along nicely.  The second last award I was given, The Liebster, is only given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  A lovely crop of newcomers has recently shown up and pushed my numbers to 215, so I shouldn’t receive another of those, although Sparklebumps is well over 200, and recently had a Liebster thrown at her.  She had the presence of mind, not only to catch it, but to do what I have never bothered to do, translate it, basically, respected or beloved.

If all the numbers added up on the same day, or even within a week, I’d claim a pattern, but they’re too strung out.  Perpetually calm and cool, I don’t ever remember being strung out.  My views recently exceeded 10,000, and my comments are rapidly approaching 3000.  I know that’s not terribly exciting to those among you whose follower counts equal the population of Colombia, or the number of drug dealers in the U. S.  (Wait!  Aren’t they the same thing?)

I was given another lesson in humility recently.  They arrive unannounced, and usually unwanted.  AFrankAngle offered me a link to one of his older posts – March 2009 – not even back to his “In the beginning”, but long before I could spell blog.  He’s published almost every day, and often as loquacious as me, for over five years.

I, on the other hand, still have a bit of paranoia about where my next semi-lucid idea is going to come from, and limit my posts to every three days.  I still compose the occasional non-time-specific post, and tuck it away in a Word file, to be pulled out if I have a bout of brain drought.  This post should go up about number 250, and there seems to be almost 50 more, hidden away, so I should reach at least 300.

The wife jokes (At least I hope she’s joking.) that I could die today, and she could keep pulling them out and publishing them for six months to a year.  If it weren’t for a shortage of smart-ass, inane comments and replies, you guys might never notice, or miss me, and John Erickson being back, yet again, isn’t going to help.

I’ve done 450 on-line crossword puzzles since the last time the computer was initiated.  I had my average time-to-solve down to 8 minutes and 46 seconds, but hit a few real puzzlers and drifted up to 8:52.  The more puzzles I do, the more seconds I need to shave off to affect the average, but I’ve pushed it back down to 8:48.

I told Benzeknees about a local couple who didn’t think they could afford to pay for a marriage ceremony.  Her mother alerted her, and she entered a contest to win a free wedding at a local marriage chapel, and won.  They were wed on the 11th month, the 12th day of the 13th year, at 2:00PM, the 14th hour, at 15 Queen Street.  Any numerologists in the crowd??  What does that signify?  I should know.  I have CDO!  It’s a lot like OCD, but the letters are in the proper alphabetical order!

My numbers for watching The Tonight Show are in a countdown.  I have until Feb. 6, 2014.  I’ve watched the show almost every night since we were married, almost 47 years ago.  The first large segment of that was the Johnny Carson Golden Era.

I’ve seen a few of the original Steve Allen episodes.  He could be giddy, and uncontrolled in his humor.  I’ve seen a few of the Jack Paar editions.  He could be so cerebral; it was like watching paint dry.  Johnny Carson was the perfect mix, a bit of magic, a wide range of humor, good guests, great interviews, and very little ego.

I sent a letter endorsing Jay Leno as his replacement, and a submission for his “Headlines” bit.  I got back a nice letter, and an 8” X 12” autographed photo.  I’ve watched a bit of Jimmy Fallon, who will replace him, but have decided I’m just too old to “get it.”  I could learn how to run Netflix, or just read and blog more.

The anonymous and never questioned They, say that one volunteer/hero is worth a thousand unwilling conscripts.  I feel that the small, but steadily growing circle of continuing, concerned, conversational, commenting, dedicated readers, is worth a showroom full of tire-kickers.  Thanx for stopping by.  🙂

Two Years, To The Day

Two years ago, on this day, I published my first blog.

That’s it!  That’s all I’ve got!  It’s not my birthday, thank Dr. Who.  It’s not a blog award.  It’s not my 100th, or 200th or 300th post, although that last one is peeking over the horizon.

 

Two years ago today, I wandered out onto the information superhighway, and flagged down the big bright blog-bus.  Led astray by an evil tank commander, who has sold his likeness, if not his soul, to HALO, and a devious daughter, trying to prematurely collect her inheritance, I began irritating random readers on a full-time basis.

I received a two-year, Happy Anniversary E-card from WordPress, one minute before I sat down to compose this post.

To an old guy, now headed for 70, two years is but the blink of an eye.  I’ve always been a planner. Five composters prove I plan years ahead.  I just wish I’d thought about starting this a little sooner.  The son used to visit chat-rooms, back before “blogging” became acceptable, but they didn’t attract me at the time.

I plan to be around the blogosphere for a while longer, so you’d better plan on keeping me company, educating and entertaining me.  I skip “Keeping Up With The Kardshians” but come back to The Real Lives Of WordPress Bloggers.

Two years!  It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s been some fun.  Thanx Guys!    😀

Archon

The Americans Are Coming!

The Americans are coming!

We Canadians are not only letting them, we’re often welcoming them with open arms.  There’s always talk of making Canada the 51st State.  Come on!  We have more land area than the entire US, including Alaska.  Of course, a lot of it is covered eleven months a year, with do-it-yourself Igloo kits.  There’s 10 provinces and a bunch of territories, several of which are larger than Alaska.  Let’s really give Texas an inferiority complex.  We could be States numbers 51 through 65.  Even better, we could take over the US and see how they like being provinces.

It started innocently enough; Canadians like fast and easy food.  First McDonalds sneaked in under the import duty fence, and then Burger King, followed surreptitiously by Arby’s.  Locally, Krispy Kreme tried to go up against our juggernaut Tim Hortons.  It wasn’t just their doughnuts that were glazed, when they got their ass crullers handed back to them.

Our cheap Scottish souls wanted cheap prices, so we let cheap old Joe Walton, and his cheap Wal-Mart cronies, sell us cheap consumer goods, made by cheap Chinese child labor.  Soon, Wally-World was joined by Lowes, Best Buy and Home Depot.

The impressive, old, Hudson’s Bay Company became the easier to remember and say, HBC, and finally just, The Bay.  Years ago, America’s Kresge’s, and Woolworth’s had done the same and become K-Mart and Woolco.  The upscale Bay spawned a downscale chain called Zellers, and out-cheaped and out-crapped even Woolco.  The K-Mart bluelight special was replaced by a whitelight clearance, based on our proud ice and snow heritage.

Too many people must have thought they’d actually died, and stopped shopping at Zeller’s, and The Bay sold off their 300 stores to Target.  Not only have more Americans invaded through the Target hole in the fence, but The Bay has now partnered with Saks, (Is it just Saks?  Not Saks Fifth Avenue anymore?) bringing expensive, pretentious American shit north, to people living on the tundra.

Some years ago, the New England company, L.L.Bean attempted to migrate north with the moose.  Trying to project a woodsy, rustic, rural feel, to Canucks who feel a plaid flannel shirt is Sunday-go-to-meeting acceptable, they advertised that their Canadian headquarters was in, “The Village of Islington.”

The Village (?) of Islington had 35,000 residents, and was totally surrounded by the 2.5 million City of Toronto, as part of the 5.5 million Greater Toronto Area, when they agreed to be annexed.  This had happened 17 years before the Tilley-hat-wearing snake-oil salesmen arrived at the little Indian camp.

I sent them a letter, calling them on their deceptive advertising, but never heard back.  I guess I’m not the only Canadian who didn’t want to buy their bison shit.  The only Beans that Canucks want, are served with boiled wieners, and so, they slunk, defeated, back south of the border.

The company of Hammacher-Schlemmer, a New York City-based distributor of STUFF which nobody really wants, but some people just must have, is trying to bring its own can of beans across the border.  To project their homey, Canadian presence, they list a Canadian manager, and a “warehouse” in LaSalle, Ontario.  This is some guy with a two-car garage, in a suburb of Windsor, across the bridge from Detroit.

The telling information is at the back of the catalog, where it says that all merchandise is “shipped duty-free,” actually coming up from The States.  The only real reason for Joe the Manager, is to handle the paperwork necessary, to ship unacceptable junk back to the Big Apple.

H-S brags that they’ve been in business since 12 years before the American Civil War.  Big F**cking deal!  Our Canadian retail mainstay, The Hudson’s Company, was incorporated in 1620, a hundred and fifty six years before America even formed the first Tea Party in Boston harbour, and it sells a much better class of junk.

The big American communications company Verizon, wants to swallow up the little Canadian, Mobilicity, and Wind telecoms, to get a toehold in the Great White Northern market.  Like a virus, they’ll also carry north, the NSA, the No Such Agency, allowing it to sieve our phone calls and emails, looking for mukluk-shod terrorists, building bombs out of Maple-sap-collector pails.  When they hear two Frogs discussing poutine, they’ll think we’ve sold out to that fish-kissing Russian president, Putin.  You got some ‘splainin’ to do, Auguste Robichaud!

I would hope that my fellow Canadians aren’t dumb enough, and greedy enough, to let this American cultural and commercial invasion continue, unchecked, unquestioned!  I had that thought today, on my way home from the Wal-Mart store, where I had some French fries at the in-store McDonalds.

Never Surrender

This year, in this area of Ontario, there was a fuss going on a couple of weeks prior to Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.  I didn’t want to add it to my one-topic November 11 post, but I do want to rant about it, and find out your opinions, and how wide-spread it is.

Canada’s red poppy, a symbol of Remembrance Day, is under attack from pacifists pretending to be defence analysts.  In the run-up to Nov. 11, activists launched a campaign called, “I Remember For Peace,” that used a white poppy.

White is the color of surrender, and the white poppy was started by pacifist groups in Britain in the 1920s.  It’s been associated with the pacifist cause ever since.

One of the organizers of the campaign, claims that the red poppy worn by generations of Canadians glorifies war, while his poppy is for peace.  In my usual subtle, understated way, I say Bullshit!

The white poppy campaign was started by Ceasefire.ca, a project of the Rideau Institute, a small Ottawa lobby group which claims to be defence analysts, although they are consistently against any and every military purchase.

A newspaper columnist accused the main spokesman of the group of being a pacifist – not that there’s anything wrong with being one, just admit what you are.  He denied being a pacifist, and said that he would have taken up arms in 1939 – not to have resisted the Nazis, but to have fought for the communists in the Spanish Civil War.

He doesn’t like Canada spending on the military, he pushes the white pacifist poppy, and he would have fought for the Communists….what a winner. (Sarcasm strongly implied!)

The group claims to be against war all around the calendar, but the only time we hear from them is right around Remembrance Day.  Apparently the rest of the year is not controversial enough to get them the attention they crave.

They seem too dense and narrow-minded to realize that the red poppy is the sign of peace through the sacrifice of our veterans.  They could have chosen any other symbol of peace, but picked the white poppy with the tiny words, “I Remember For Peace” printed on the center button, because it denigrates the red poppy, and insults the efforts of our veterans.

I’m all for freedom of speech, even freedom of stupid speech, but this insulting behavior is so egregious, that I’m all for some woodshed time for some of these fools.  Has this little side-show reached your area??  Yes/No, where?  What do you feel about this rejection of peaceful, respectful values?  Could a valid point have been made another way, another day?

Never Satisfied

The employees of a small local firm became more and more upset, as the plant aggressively became totally automated.  Robots, conveyor systems, self-controlled machines, it all got installed.  Finally The Day came, and all the workers were called into the cafeteria.

The boss confirmed their worst fears, and the moaning started.  “No, no, don’t worry.  You guys have all stood up for me and the company when we needed it.  I’m not going to forget you.  It’s like a divorce.  I’ll continue to pay you today’s salary, until you get another job.  Some of you are old enough; I’ll pay you till you officially retire.”

Smiles and cheers, Yay Boss!  “The only thing is, I can’t legally pay you for nothing.  The plant’s not Totally automated.  We still get some snail-mail, the automatic oilers need to be topped up, the floors and machines will get dusty, and the windows will need cleaning.  What say we get together for a half a day each week?  Everybody wants Fridays off, and nobody wants to work Mondays.  If you get Friday and Monday off, Tuesdays and Thursdays might be a problem.  Let’s get together on Wednesdays, not too early.  We’ll work from ten till two, and be done till next week.”

And a whiny voice from the back says, “What, every Wednesday??!”

White Lady Special

A classroom of small children, half white, and half black, found out that the Teacher’s birthday was the following day, so they unanimously decided to buy her a gift.  All the white children chipped on a dollar each, to buy their gift, but the black kids could only afford a few meager cents apiece.

On her birthday, she found two presents on her desk.  When she opened the first, she was surprised to find a beautiful pair of leather gloves and a silk scarf.  When she opened the other, she was alarmed to find a beautiful chocolate cake, but bearing the letters F. U. C. K. on top.  Bewildered, she cried out, “Who could be so cruel as to put such a horrible word on this lovely cake?”

The little children answered, “Heck Teacher, that’s not FUCK, that’s      F rom   U s   C  olored   K ids!”

Business Practices

TO:  ALL EMPLOYEES

SUBJECT:  ABSENCES

It has been brought to my attention, that the attendance record of this department is a disgrace to our gracious benefactor, who, at your own request, has given you a job.  Due to your lack of consideration for your job with so fine a company, as shown by such frequent absenteeism, it has become necessary for us to revise some of our policies.  The following changes are in effect as of today;

SICKNESS

NO EXCUSE….we will no longer accept your doctor’s statement as proof, as we believe that, if you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

DEATH

(Other than your own)  This is no excuse.  There is nothing you can do for them, and we are sure someone else with a lesser position can attend to the arrangements.  However, if the funeral can be held in the late afternoon, we will be glad to let you off work one hour early, provided that your share of the work is done far enough ahead to keep the job going in your absence.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE

(For an operation)  We are no longer allowing this practice.  We wish to discourage any thoughts that you may need an operation, as we believe that, as long as you are an employee here, you will need all of whatever you have, and you should not consider having any of it removed.  We hired you as you are, and to have anything removed would certainly make you less then we bargained for.

DEATH

(Your own)  This will be accepted as an excuse, but we would like a two-week notice, as we feel that it is your duty to teach someone else your job.

Also; entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom.  In the future, we will follow the practice of going to the restroom in alphabetical order.  For instance, those whose names begin with “A” will go from 8:00 to 8:15, “B” will go from 8:15 to 8:30, and so on.  If you are unable to go at your assigned time, it will be necessary to wait until the next day, when your time comes.