Don’t Bet On It

How do you tell a Polish guy at a cockfight?  He’s the one with the duck.
How do you tell the Italian?  He’s the one betting on the duck.
How do you tell if the mafia is there?  The duck wins!

****

Life is hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.

I’ll stop being Grumpy, if you’ll stop being Dopey.

****

An American and a Japanese were sitting on the plane on the way to LA, when the American turned to the Japanese and asked, “What kind of “-ese” are you?” The Japanese, confused and replied, “Sorry but I don’t understand what you mean.”

The American repeated, “What kind of “-ese” are you?” Again, the Japanese was confused over the question. The American, now irritated, then yells, “What kind of –ese are you?? Are you a Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc…” The Japanese then replied, “Oh, I’m Japanese!”

A while later, the Japanese turned to the American and asked, “What kind of “-key” are you?” The American, frustrated, yelled, “What you mean, what kind of “-key” I am?” The Japanese said, “Are you a monkey, donkey or a Yankee?”

***

A lawyer charging a high fee, a lawyer charging
a low fee and Santa Claus were seated around a
table in the center of which was $10,000.

The lights went off. When the lights came back
on the $10,000 was missing. Who took it????

Answer: The lawyer charging the high fee took it
because the other two are figments of your
imagination.

***

How many lawyers does it take to
shingle a roof?

About 3 1/2 if you slice them thin enough.

***

Rules Of Golf

 

  1. Ladies are prohibited from touching gentlemen’s balls, either with clubs or hands.
  2. All holes must be kept clean.
  3. Gentlemen making a hole in one shot must change partners for the second round.
  4. In getting down to short strokes, ladies are requested to remain quiet. This co-operation is appreciated by gentlemen players.
  5. In games where partners play with one ball only, the players must go off together on each tee.
  6. Where the lady player goes off first, the gentleman must not delay the stroke, but continue the play.
  7. In cases where the lay is impossible, the lady has the privilege of choosing a new position.
  8. When the gentleman finds this is impossible, he may choose another lay, starting at least a club’s length from the hole.
  9. In an impossible lay, within six inches of the hole, the hands may be used.
  10. Married couples are requested not to meet on the links, but to choose other partners where possible.

Note:  While the management strives to improve the course in every way, it cannot be responsible for balls lost in the bush between certain holes.

 

Just a reminder about proper comportment for next spring’s games.  I know it’s been a while since I played around a round.

Digging in – Digging Out

Snowplow

 

 

 

 

The recent ‘lake effect’ snowstorm which buried poor Buffalo, yet again, has served to remind me of a similar piece from my past.  Lake effect snow is caused by (relatively) warm winds blowing across still-unfrozen water, and then over much colder landmass, which causes the moisture to condense and freeze.  Once the Great Lakes freeze over completely, snowfall is greatly reduced.

In November and December of 1957, Lake Huron, warmer than usual from a hot summer had not yet frozen over.  Storm after storm came rolling across the lake from Michigan, so that we could blame the Americans, as they often do Canada, for the terrible weather.  A 150 mile swath of lakeshore and inland towns were buried under feet of snow.

Now being bused to a high school five miles away, I experienced my first ‘snow day’ on a Wednesday, when the bus couldn’t get through.  Before our days of television, I was at home with my mother, when we heard on the radio that the roof of an arena in a town 50 miles southeast had collapsed, killing several children and a skating coach, and injuring several others.

On Friday afternoon, as we dismounted the now-running school bus, the town’s Police Chief informed several of the members of the Boys’ Club, that there was a BYOS party being organized.  At 10 AM Saturday morning we were to bring (Y)our own shovels, and assemble at the town’s (natural ice) arena to shovel snow off the roof to prevent a similar disaster happening in our town.

Before the advent of aluminum scoops and shovels, snow was moved with heavy, awkward, steel garden spades, or square-mouthed coal shovels.  The next morning, about 25 of us showed up with an ill-assorted mix of tools.

I hadn’t thought about our task, or the reason given for it, until I arrived at the arena.  The collapsed one down the road had a low-domed roof, which allowed the accumulation of a significant snow load.  Our arena had a 90° roof, with a 45°slope on each side.  Snow just didn’t accumulate.

After it had been built, a two ice-sheet curling rink had been added to one side.  It was this annex, with its 7° roof, that we were assigned to save.  Not many school-kids at risk here, but many of the privileged members were also the well-off citizens and business owners who donated to, and supported our club.  That was as good a reason as any.

Snowbank

 

 

 

 

The snow on the roof was 3 to 5 feet deep.  It needed to be cleared off.  A ladder was leaned against the side of the building.  If it had been up to me, I’d have sent one guy up to reduce the weight, and clear a space for another shoveler, and so on, and so on.  It wasn’t….so the Police chief went up, kicked his way into the snow and called the rest of us up to join him.  Soon we had 25 teenage boys, and two adult men on the roof.  If it was going to collapse, this is when it would have happened.

My fisher-boy schoolmate attacked the piles of snow like a Tasmanian Devil, his sharp steel shovel and snow flying in all directions – except actually off the roof.  He was a safety hazard, not to be got too close to.  Within five minutes, he rapidly tired, and really accomplished very little, but he was the one who impressed the Game Warden enough that he was the only one mentioned when the tale was told, for years.

The rest of us soon organised a much more efficient system.  Starting at the roof edge we cut 2 foot square blocks, like for an igloo, and slid them off the smooth roof. Then others would move up and cut more blocks, and slide them down, to be pushed over the edge.  Soon we had several crews cutting, pushing and dumping.  The roof was cleared and our civic duty done by noon.

The side of the building that we dumped snow from was a town works-yard, with piles of sand and fine gravel that crews used to cast concrete water culverts, as well as dozens of finished units.  By the time we were finished, these were all covered, and there was a 20-foot high, 50-foot wide pile of snow about the same slope as the now-clear roof.  I don’t know if they did any water work before June.

Do those of you who live in snow country have white horror stories?  Will those of you who don’t, stop snickering!

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Eight

Day 4/Part 2 – Satisfaction, or, The Eyes of Ohio’s Potatoes Are Upon You

After escaping from the Children Of The Corn, otherwise known as Stills R Us, we drove up the side road, and, on only the second attempt, parked in front of John Erickson’s house.  Without ever being there, BrainRants should recognize the improvements John has made.  Flak TowerJohn gave me his street number about a year ago, but I misplaced it, and had to rely on AFrankAngle to provide it again.

I’d actually hoped to reach here two days ago, but the muffler intruded.  I didn’t know whether either of them had any idea that we were coming.  At noon on a Saturday seemed a good possibility to find one or both home.  I had an explanatory letter, which I was going to leave if no-one answered.  I tentatively climbed the front stairs and pushed the doorbell, and heard human movement inside, as well as a worried dog.

Soon, a lady Munchkin appeared, opened the door, and stepped outside.  She looked at me quizzically.  To have someone ring their bell is unusual.  To have someone ring their bell, who is not part of their inbred, easily recognized community, was just astronomical.  I didn’t even have a beard, or bib overalls.

Hillbilly Couple

 

 

 

 

 

I told her that I was The Archon, John Smith, from the Archon’s Den blogsite, and I was here to see John E., if he was well enough to accept visitors.  Like John, she accesses several Sci-Fi sites, and the term ‘Archon’ made her wonder if I was someone that she should know, but, I’d asked for John.  He was at home, in fine fettle, and holding back the big dumb dog, to keep it from rushing out the door.  If I didn’t mind the dog, he would be happy to receive me.

We stepped in, and John looked up, puzzled, from a kneeling position.  The wife had let me in, but now it was his turn to wonder who this space alien from Area 51 was.  I let the dog quickly nuzzle me before I repeated the introduction, Archon!  Archon’s Den, John Smith, here to see him.

It was sublime, to watch the thoughts and emotions chase themselves across his face.  Who?  You?! Here?  Now?  Me?  Really?!  I would like to think that John was as pleased and impressed to meet me, as I was to see him.  He jumped up, and we shook hands like we’d never need them again.   Despite Frank visiting a couple of years ago, they just couldn’t believe that someone else would show up out here, in the wilds of Ohio, or that a coterie of other bloggers would worry enough to want me to.

Even worse than our 4 and 1, they have 7 cats, and the dog.  I did not feel that the allergy-laden wife would fare well inside.  In fact, John suggested that we step across the street to the basement meeting room of the church, which he has a key to.  I invited the wife to come along but, as shaken and sore as she was, she wished to remain in the now-stationary and comfortable car, knitting.

After an hour of solitary gum-flapping, his wife showed up with a piece of paper with all kinds of contact info, PO box, cell phone numbers, his and hers email addresses, for when the electrons started flowing again.  She told me that I had a darling wife.  While John and I huddled in the cave, she had spotted the wife, abandoned in the car, and came out and stood beside her, and the gals got to know each other.

Soon, we returned to the car, and photos were taken of various combinations of happy folks, and the front of the house.  John took me around to the back, which as you saw above, looks a little different.

SDC10679

 

 

 

SDC10678

The mental image we have of someone we’ve never met, never matches the reality when we do.  From his gravatar, I’ve always pictured John as a short, squat, ugly, little garden gnome.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He’s actually fairly tall….  😉

In fact, both he and his lovely wife, are intelligent, well-spoken, friendly, welcoming, down-to-earth people who are wasted on the fellow denizens out there.  I don’t know if he shaves any portion of his head, but he is completely bald, which explains the hats.  He is incredibly curious, and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, and his wife doesn’t give up any points to him, either.

If John and I hadn’t been ‘guys’, we might have hugged.  We drove away, sadly, all too soon, with a warm happy glow.  Compounded with the reception by Cordelia’s Mom, in Buffalo, we should be smiling all winter.  If you ever have the chance to meet a fellow blogger who is geographically close enough, observe on-line dating precautions, but go for it!

Virtually nothing can top the story of meeting the Windy City Wonderer, but we had another day on this trip, and I have a few occurrences and observations to relate, so there will be one more episode.  Stop back to read the story of the highway cop who didn’t arrest me, during a four-hour trek to Detroit.

1096

Scottish Flag

 

 

 

In the name of Robert the Bruce, and for Scotland the Brae, I claim this territory….wait, what?  There are already people blogging here?!

Three years ago today, on November 21, 2011 – 1096 days – (I get an extra day, because 2012 was a leap year) I published my first post.  It wasn’t even as interesting as this one, and that’s saying as little as I can.

The blogosphere has become a miniature allegory for the larger social life that I left when I retired.  People come, people go, most are nice, a few are assholes, many are creative, some are inspiring, all are interesting, in many ways.

I’d like to say that I’m still taking baby steps, but in my case, they’re doddering, arthritic, old-man steps.  I’ve learned how to insert pictures, as a visual accent to my sometimes ponderous prose.  BrainRants turned me on to the 100-word Flash Fiction genre, and I’m learning how to be more concise.

While I post because I feel I have something to say, however inane or inconsequential, I do so for the feeling of connectedness.  I wish to continue, both for the connections, and the fact that, at my age, inertia keeps me doing whatever works.  It gives me something to do to help fill the many empty retirement hours, with something at least vaguely stimulating and productive.  I like to think that he was happy doing so, but my father spent his last ten years trapped in his house, staring at television.

My stat numbers are not important in themselves, but rather, they are an indication of how successful I am at communication, and my education and entertainment of my readers.

Still solidly in the middle in all categories, this is the end of my third year, where there are newbies every week, and old-timers who have been at this for ten years or more.  I’ve had over 500 followers, 16,000 views, and 5,100 comments, although I’ve realized that I can increase that last number simply by replying to every incoming submission, if only with just a smiley face.

I’ve gone from ‘worrying’, to merely wondering, where I’ll get the inspirations to continue, but, just like a hundred posts ago, I have enough drafts ‘in the can’ to reach 400 posts – something which will occur around Christmas – and beyond, and ideas slowly bubble to the surface, like methane at the La Brea Tar Pits.  I’m pretty sure I can do at least half a personal millennium.  Look out 500!  Here I come.

While I’ve been successful at egotistically making this sound like it’s all about “ME”, it isn’t.  It’s really all about you.  Whether you’re a first-time reader, or one who’s been here hundreds of time, you’ve made it a pleasurable three years, and I look forward to seeing you for lots more.   😆

Flash Fiction #27

YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES

Michelin

 

 

 

 

 

Richie had a real mania for anything related to films.  He’d even got an autograph from some kid who held a clapper stick.  He wasn’t hard to convince to come along on an artifact hunting expedition, but, the further we got from the city, the more reluctant he became.

“Why are we way out here?  There’s nothing connected to films in this run-down little village!”

“Sure there is.  They filmed some of the Transformers movies here.” I replied.  “See there.  That’s the changing room for Optimus Prime.  Maybe you could get a tailpipe, or a tire for your rec-room wall.”

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Genetic Inheritance

A man in a bar sees a friend at a table,
drinking by himself. Approaching the
friend he comments, “You look terrible.
What’s the problem?” “My mother died in
June,” he said, “and left me $10,000.”
“Gee, that’s tough,” he replied. “Then
in July,” the friend continued, “my
father died, leaving me $50,000.”
“Wow.Two parents gone in two months. No
wonder you’re depressed.” “And last
month my aunt died, and left me $15,000.”
“Three close family members lost in three
months?  How sad.”

“Then this month,” continued the friend, “nothing!”

****

A circus owner walks into a bar to see everyone
crowded around a table watching a little show. On
the table was an upside down pot and a duck tap-
dancing on top of it.  He was so impressed
that he offered to buy the duck from its owner.
After some wheelin’ and dealin’ they settled for
$10,000 for the duck and the pot.

Three days later the circus owner runs back to
the bar in anger, “Your duck is a rip-off! I put
him on the pot before a whole audience and he
didn’t dance a single step!”

“So?” asked the duck’s former owner, “did you
remember to light the candle under the pot?”

****

A group of blondes walk into a bar screaming “51
days.”  They order a round of drinks still
screaming, “51 days.”  The bartender wants to know
what the 51 days is all about but just can’t ask.

A while later, after many drinks the blondes are
still screaming, “51 days,” so the bartender decides
he has to ask.  As he delivers the next round to
the women he says “Ladies I have to know what’s
the 51 days about?”

The blondes replied “We had a jigsaw puzzle and on the
box it said 2-5 years and we did it in 51 days”

****

The first half of our lives is ruined by our
parents, and the second half by our children.

Clarence Darrow

****

This panda walks into a bar. He sits down at a
table. A waiter comes, and the panda orders his
food, and eats it. Then, he pulls out a gun and
blows the brains out of the waiter. When he gets
up and is about to leave, the bartender
yells, “Hey, you just shot my waiter! Where do
you think you’re going?” And the panda says, “I’m
a panda! Look it up!”

So the bartender looks up “panda” in the dictionary.
It reads: “Fur-bearing mammal, lives in Australia.
EATS SHOOTS AND LEAVES.”

****

We are born naked, wet and hungry.
Then things get worse.

****

There is a blond driving through the country. She
has just dyed her hair brown because she is sick
of being made fun of. She is really hungry. She
stops at a farmer’s house and says “Hi! If I can
guess how many sheep you have, can I have one?”
Farmer says OK. She quickly counts them and says”91!”

The farmer looks around puzzledly and says
“Ok. Take one.” When the Blond is walking back to
her car the farmer asks “If I can guess your
natural hair color, can I have my dog back?”

 

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Seven

Day 4/Part 1 – I Shoulda Stood In Bed

Cordelia’s Mom was a joy to visit.  We would do it again in a heartbeat; in fact we may do so, next year, on a weekend, so that we could also meet Cordelia, her Dad, and her sister.  Buffalo is only a two-hour drive, as opposed to four, for Detroit.  But the primary goal of this trip was always to meet John Erickson, especially after his recent, uncharacteristic, internet silence.

Online maps said that it was an hour and a half, from our motel to John’s place.  Add slowdown because of road construction, and the possibility (Certainty!) of getting lost, and it might take three hours.  Allow time for meet and greet, and another four-hour drive to Detroit – it was going to be a lonnng day, so we were up and ready to leave early.

I lamented to the checkout clerk that there was no way to get around the potential traffic jam.  “Oh sure there is.  Just go to the edge of town and turn north on Ohio 23.  It’ll take you right to Newcomerstown.”  Sure enough, the flat print map showed a gently curving line, sweeping at a tangent, right to where we wanted to go.

The Map is not the Territory.  I’d have done better, both on the car, and on the wife, to have chanced the backup on the Interstate.  Any resemblance between Ohio 23, and an actual highway, was purely coincidental.  The optimistic hour and a half stretched to well over two hours.  Not once in that time did I drive the car faster than 40 MPH.

The Golden Dragon roller-coaster at Six Flags might have had more twists, and stomach-turning, heart-stopping plunges.  The only thing that narrow little road didn’t have, was a loop-the-loop, and I’m not entirely certain of that.  The poor wife was shaken and rattled in every arthritic joint.  She ached!

Miss GPS was having another snit because I insisted on taking the back road.  She wouldn’t even RECALCULATE, and kept insisting that I return to the Interstate, so we turned her off.  As we slid under I-77, and neared John’s house, I turned her back on again.

“Turn right on Highway 21, and immediately left on County road 49.”  Well, that might take us in the back way, but I know that John lives just off Highway 93, so I proceeded further west.  Sure enough, in 3 more kilometers, she said, “Turn right on 93, and proceed 7.2 km.”  There, she ordered me to, “Turn left on Highway 2.”  It was a gravel road, barely wide enough for an Amish wagon, so I proceeded further north – till the paved highway ran out, and I turned onto the far end of “Highway 2.”

Lost and Confused Signpost

 

 

 

If I thought I was lost yesterday, the Hell was just beginning.  Already off ‘the paved road’, we soon left gravel again for a dirt road, and finally, in the middle of a ten or twelve mile loop, drove across an acre of grass field, with two ruts in it.  If the Amish drive their buggies this way, they have to use mares or geldings, because a stallion would high-center.  All I could hear was my new $400 muffler going clang, clang, clang.

We finally reached paved road again, the correct paved road, as it happens.  I turned north, and soon reached a church and a cheese factory which I knew were north of John.  Turn around and head south again, soon we finally reached John’s little cluster of houses.

After three hours without a rest stop, both of us had to go – badly.  There’s no There, there.  I pulled in, and asked the lady who runs the two-pump gas station/convenience store/bait, tackle, and hunting shop, about a public washroom.  She just looked at me strangely, until the bearded stunt co-ordinator for Duck Dynasty explained to her that, “Some peoples is got they privies inside t’ buildin’s.”

Rednecks

 

 

 

 

With the possible exception of BrainRants, I swear never to turn off the paved road again.  These folks are so off the beaten track, that Friday the thirteenth doesn’t occur until Sunday.  A lot of them are happy when they reach 21 – because not just everyone’s IQ goes that high out there.  When John and his wife moved in, the average rose considerably, but the same could be said about a load of pumpkins.

After the pit stop, we met John and his wife at their impressive country mansion, and were warmly welcomed, but that, again, is a story for another day.  We left John’s place and turned south on 93.  It did not, at all, resemble the road we’d driven north on.  It did resemble the Highway 93 I’d used Google Street-View to research.

When we popped back out onto the east/west feeder highway, I turned back east and, only a couple of miles up the road, I found County Road 93.  This was the one that Evil Ethel Snitfit had led me astray on.  Way to go, Ohio, put two roads, both numbered 93, right beside each other.  No wonder Rants badmouths Nohio.  😦