Smitty’s Loose Change #6

Beer

Hey, Alcohol!
We had a deal where you made me smarter, funnier, and a better dancer.
I’ve seen the video.
We need to talk.

***

MOODY CONTEMPLATION

Between the eyes and ears there lie
The sounds of color
And the light of a sigh
With thoughts of within
To exclude the without
The ghost of a thought
Will exclude all doubt
And to name this thought
Is important to some
So they gave it a word
And the word is
OM’.

***
My boss told me to have a nice day….so I went home.

***

We suffered a home invasion recently. Fortunately, it was a stupid benign one.  After the son came home from his midnight shift, he stayed up a bit later than usual.  He always locks the front door as he comes in.  The wife got up a bit earlier than usual to take a shower, to go out.  Between the water running, and the two of them talking in the hall, I came awake.

Suddenly, I could hear the wife talking to someone else, and got out of bed to see what was going on. Halfway down the stairs in her nightie, suddenly she heard some woman’s voice shouting out, “Adeline!  Adeline, are you here?  I’ve come to visit.  Adeline, can you hear me?”

The wife shouted, “There’s no Adeline here! Get out!  Get Out!” and the son came roaring out of his bedroom.  Later, he bitched, “The one morning I forget to lock the door…!” The woman responded, “Isn’t this number 238?”  Does Adeline drive a new Kia Sorento with custom ‘ARCHON’ plates?  Does she live in a house with 6-inch brass numbers, 232, on the corner of the garage that you just passed?

I’d almost suspect an all-you-can-quickly-lift-and-walk out-with burglary buffet if she hadn’t been challenged. It’s difficult to imagine anyone that dumb, but then, the only infinite things are the Universe, and stupidity….and I’m not sure about the Universe.

***

America – a pre-existing condition in need of constant reassurance.
Belief – The idea that feelings equate to reality.  (See Truth)
God – Head of a US based Multinational Corporation which invests in social networking applications, web based communications technology, and merit based wish fulfillment.  (See Mark Zuckerberg).
Truth – Any knowledge, information, or ideas not yet deemed as “fake”.
Zuckerberg, Mark – Senior Pastor, First Church of Facebook (see God).

***

All writers have a little voice inside their head, one that doesn’t say, write a bestseller, or, sell lots of books.  It simply whispers to them to write every day.  If listened to, the voice will go silent.  If ignored, the urge will never relent.  Writing frees your soul, and allows your imagination to wander.

***

I took the daughter shopping the other day. We went to the refrigerated section of a major supermarket chain, looking for OJ and chocolate milk. As I walked past the big, chilled display of eggs, I realized that it was clucking at me. Apparently the store has hidden a speaker behind the display, and trip-switches on the glass doors has it burbling, “Bock-bock-bock-bock, bock-bock-bock.” I was afraid to go near the milk aisle. Moo, moo, moo???….or the ground pork.   🙄

 

What I’ve Learned

What I’ve learned is….there is a lot of shit on the internet. There’s a lot of shit I never suspected existed, and there’s a lot of shit I wish didn’t exist. What I’ve learned is that I’m getting better at locating and accessing information I need and want, but I’ve learned that I have to keep learning how to find it better.

I am not particularly good with computers and the internet, because I am not a child of technology. That’s because I am not a child! If you want a program installed, or uninstalled, or your Kobo unbricked, give it to a 14 year-old. If you want your computer defragged or debugged, let the 14 year-old do it. His/her 16 year-old brother/sister is already a bit behind the curve, and the 18 year-old neighbor is as puzzled as I am.

I can usually find what I’m looking for on the internet through trial and error, lots of trials, and many errors. Tenacious sounds better than stupid stubborn. I used to complain that search engines were too literal and precise. If each and every word wasn’t spelled just right, and the punctuation wasn’t exactly correct, they had no idea what you were looking for.

The programmers have changed all that, but not always for the better. Now the search engines make guesses, sometimes wild guesses. “Did you mean Popsicle sticks?” No! I was looking for a recipe for apple cobbler. “Well, it did say to pop it in the oven.”

I was looking for a place called Cheney, ON the other day, and gave it to MapQuest, which shrugged its shoulders, but listed places like Cheney Plumbing in Chatham, ON. My little hometown has a Wikipedia page, which I just emailed the Promotions Committee to make a correction/change to, so I handed Cheney, ON to Google. The first page of results were all Dick Cheney, on Bush, Dick Cheney on defense spending, Dick Cheney on shotgunning a friend. Did you notice that the O and the N in my request were both capitalized, indicating a location, and yours weren’t. ??!

I gotta remember to put quotation marks around my search terms, although I’m not sure that would have helped, above. If I ask for Angelina Jolie, so that I can get information about her knife collection, the first responses are always about Angelina Jolie. I asked Google about a young English actor by the name of Lee Ingleby, and the first response I got was from some New York State blogger who took a road trip, and met a guy named Lee, in Ingleby, PA.

Ingleby’s been working for about fifteen years, and he’s been busy! He has to be. Unlike American actors, English actors are paid shit, which is somewhat odd, because the pool of English actors is so small. We often see the same actor in two different British shows, broadcast the same night. An English actress stated that she had played every female role, from ingénue to witch – in one movie, two different female characters, and in another, a society doyenne – and the butler.

British shooting schedules are not as long, or as tight, as American.   Lee has done both movies and television, as well as BBC radio. In a couple of cases, while he was doing a series, he also did a movie or an episode or two of another show. He had a minor part in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but that’s inevitable. Daniel Radcliff said that the pool of actors was so small, and the crowd scenes were so huge, that every British actor, not actually filming, was dragooned onto the lot. Guys from the caterers, or just delivering bottled water, wound up waving a magic wand.

I searched the name Ingleby at surnamedb.com, and it claimed it was a locational name, the “ingle” meaning English, and “by” meaning a small town, therefore, “a person from an English village.” I believed that, for the second it took me to realise that a name site is not a dictionary site. They’re all English villages.

I went to dictionary.com, which told me that an ingle is a fireplace, or the fire in it. An inglenook is a small bench built into the corner of a fireplace where one could sit to do chores and keep warm. The place-name Ingleby then, means a small town, prosperous enough that there are a number of homes with stone fireplaces.

When you ask the dictionary site for a word meaning, you get not only the meaning, but a display similar to a set of Google responses. There are several words ahead of, and behind, the one you just typed in, and there is a list of related search topics. Of course, there are always a couple of commercial listings at the top. They have to pay the bills somehow.

The top listing on “ingle” was for dryers-loaders-blenders.com, a company which sells plastic-handling equipment, similar to what the son’s employer uses. They sell a number of manufacturers’ machines, but concentrate on stuff from the Inglis Corporation. Ingle to Inglis is a bit of a stretch, but, that’s business!

The second listing was for “Clases de Ingles online”, with a link to openenglish.com. English as a second language for Spanish-speaking immigrants, this Ingles means English. Below that was a reference to a character in the classic movie, Casablanca. Other than Rick, Ilsa, and Sam the piano-man, I don’t remember anyone else’s name. Then came a listing for a Supreme Court case of Ingle vs. Schmoe. That one I got.

The final four entries still baffle me. They were for Kroger, Publix, Food Lion, and cappuccino toppings. I read page after page, on each of these links, and never saw the word “ingle.” The only guess I can make is that there is a company named Ingle, which manufactures cappuccino toppings, and these three supermarket chains carry them. Any of you guys want to make a guess??! They’re three for a buck.

 

 

More Ice And Snow

I published this post by error the other night.  I immediately removed it and posted the correct one.  The next morning, I found that it was not deleted from those of you who get my posts by email.  If you’ve already read this one, I apologise.

Even for those of you who live where ice and snow are a normal winter occurrence, I have a few more observations, suggestions and idiosyncrasies.

I wrote of cleaning off windshields, side and back windows, and mentioned about being able to see where you’re going.  Cleaning off your entire vehicle is also important because it make you visible to other drivers.  If someone wishes to pull out, and looks up the street and sees nothing but white, they assume you’re an unmoving snow bank, and pull out. You may have the legal right-of-way, but you’re still the cause of an accident.

When you clear your car, clean off the headlights and tail-lights so that others notice you.  Clean off the grille so that the engine breathes better.  With today’s computer-controlled cars, yours will still start and run, but will use less fuel, produce less air pollution, and warm up faster (and so will you) if it inhales better.

Clean out the recessed wiper trough, or air-intake vent near the windshield.  If you don’t do this, the snow will melt as the engine warms, get sucked into the cabin, and re-deposit as frost on the inside of the glass.  You’ll either spend extra time scraping it off the inside, or extra time in hospital when you don’t see the truck.

How to shovel snow: Be rich enough to pay someone else to do it for you.  Failing that, when you begin shovelling snow early in the winter, throw it as far back as you can.  More snow will accrue, and if the first lot is piled at the edge of your lawn or driveway, not only will you have to throw subsequent lots back, you’ll have to do it over the piles at the edge, making it that much harder.

As I was digging out after our most recent storm, I watched the teen-age boy across the street.  He dumped his first shovelfuls only as far as he had to.  By the time he was finishing the job, he was carrying them over and struggling to toss them over a pile as tall as he was.

We don’t use salt to melt ice on sidewalks or driveways.  It kills grass, and flowers in the wife’s gardens, and doesn’t do cars, clothing or footwear any good.  We use crystal urea.  It melts like salt, but is itself a fertiliser.  It means I have to mow or weed more often, but that’s a lot easier and warmer than shovelling snow or chopping ice.  We buy it in fifty-pound bags at an agricultural-supply store near the farmers’ market.  Because it’s a fertiliser, they sell it during the summer.  We forgot to get a bag last summer, and I’ve barely got enough to get through the winter.

With a dog in the house, I have to shovel not only out the front, but out the back too.  We own the left side of a semi-detached house.  The builder didn’t bother to purchase left-hand French doors for deck access.  When we moved in, the sliding portion did so on the outside.  If we had a heavy snow or ice storm, the door was almost impossible to move.  Our four cats have learned to use two kitty-litter boxes, but the dog insists on going outside.

I have to shovel a couple of paths across the deck, and an 18 inch tall dog has trouble with two-foot piles of snow in the back yard.  A couple of times each winter, I have to shovel/tramp down, a big looping path through the back yard, and a landing area, so that he has someplace to leave his buried treasure. It keeps the odor away from the house, till I can get out and scoop it up in the spring.

Several years ago, we went from cable TV to satellite.  Fortunately, the dish is only mounted on my front porch roof.  Last night I had to take a broom, to the end of which another broom-handle is taped, wade across my hip-deep front yard, and reach up to clean off ¾ of an inch of wet, clingy snow.

When there’s no snow, the daughter can at least make short runs in her power wheelchair.  When winter closes in and sidewalks are not shoveled, it can range from difficult to impossible to get certain places.  She lives in one of two wheelchair accessible units in a housing complex right off a community trail.  The sidewalk plows the city uses sometimes have the trail clear before the street in front of the complex is done.  The biggest barricade is often the sidewalk from her unit to the trail.  The neighbor shovels as far as his van, in front of the units, for his wife’s wheelchair, but it’s about another two-hundred feet to the trail, and heavily used by many of the school-children and non-car-owning low-income residents.  It gets packed down quickly and thickly after a storm.

The grandson is now 20, and a great help, but it’s not unusual, a couple of times a winter, for me to stop in and use her shovel, and a chopper or scraper to clear back enough of a track that she can roll out to the nearest supermarket or the postal outlet when she needs to, to prevent cabin fever.

Not much humor or trivia in today’s post, just the rants and rambles I promised you above.  The only thing you may have learned is to sit a little farther from the computer screen when the curmudgeon is on a tear.  I’m having a wonderful winter.  How has yours been?