Offerings To Propitiate The Gods

Gods Our genial host, just back from an anger management class

Not that the lovely couple who we went to visit were actual Gods, but they had long since achieved that status with me.  Hell, anyone who doesn’t complain about my presence is nice.  Those who have the occasional kind word for or about me are saints.  And those who invite me into their home for an extended visit, are surely Gods.  Since we had to drive 500 miles of paved highways to meet them, they truly are The Gods Of Asphalt.

SDC10018A FEW of the son’s collection of skulls

3-D printers have become affordable for the average geek.  A son-in-law of the daughter’s friend acquired one, and started fooling around learning its secrets.  First, my son was given the larger, softball-sized skull.  It’s thermo-optic.  If sufficiently warmed, it changes from grey to white.  Later, the golf ball-sized, darker grey one was added.  They are all low-density plastic, and float like corks.

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The son’s two skulls at the back – the two Voodoo, “Impeach Trump” skulls, going to DC, in front

My limited etiquette knowledge only told me that a Hostess gift was good manners – and one for the host might also be a good idea.  Our handsome host instructed me not to spend much money, and assured me that it was our presence that they valued, not presents.  Still…. a few gewgaws to demonstrate Canadian my twisted culture.

One of the pair collects skulls, like my son does.  I obtained another couple of the smaller ones.  I leave it to you to guess which one is the blood-thirsty spouse.

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SDC10011Amethyst is supposed to foster peace and tranquility.  After adding skulls to the home of a skull-collector, and an ex-tank-driver, I felt that we needed all the tranquility we could get.  Since our host is Plus-sized, and his diminutive bride has trouble seeing over a garden hose, I brought a large chunk, and a smaller piece.

The best, darkest, amethyst now comes from Brazil, because most of the good stuff has been removed from mines just north of Lake Superior, in Ontario.  The daughter visited an online friend up there, a couple of winters ago.  She had just returned from a saved-for summer trip before we set out.  It is possible to walk the shores and occasionally find a good piece that a retreating glacier dug up, so these pieces were from both us, and from her.

SDC10007In return for throwing me a fabulous online birthday party, I once promised our hostess a 55-gallon drum of fresh, pure, Canadian maple syrup.  Of course, like most promises that men make to women, I wasn’t able to delivery anything that big.  Still, since our hosts had been so sweet to us, I felt compelled to bring along 2 liters (half a gallon for the non-metric Americans) of freshly-squeezed, Mennonite Maple Juice for them.  If you hear of an IHOP or Denny’s in the DC area going bankrupt, it’s because they aren’t going out for Sunday brunch till this is gone.

Actually, years of residence in New Hampshire has made her a bit of a syrup snob.  Like Florida has laws that translate, “Don’t f**k with the citrus, especially oranges.” Vermont also has strict rules against messing with the maples.  She would have requested some Maple syrup; but felt that it might be illegal to export.  Nobody asked me about maple syrup at the border, and she was thrilled to get the real stuff, cooking everyone blueberry pancakes the first morning.

SDC10650I told this little old guy that it was really important to me, and go out and squeeze his Maplest tree for my kind hosts.  He said that he would be happy to….  or maybe it was, ‘crazy English’…. something like that.  Coming up soon, a post about all the great stuff we brought back – aside from treasured memories, and happy hearts.

spacehounds-of-ipc

Since I have re-read them all over the last two years, and because our host is a great classic Sci-Fi fan, I offered him copies of every E.E. (Doc) Smith book that I possess, 24 out of the 25 that he wrote. Always a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, I felt that he might appreciate obtaining copies of the seminal Space-Opera novels written by Heinlein’s mentor.

While I regard them as inexpensive paperbacks, many printed before he was born, he recognised their rarity, difficulty of obtaining, and the fact that they were collector’s items.  I usually don’t mind being kissed, just not by him.  Their value to me is that someone who really appreciates them, now possesses them. He said that he didn’t even know what order to read them in….and then found that I had obsessively boxed them up in chronological order.

Our deepest, sincere thanks to BrainRants and H E Ellis, two of the Titans of the blogosphere.

Pros And Cons

There have always been ways to separate the gullible from their money, but the internet has provided the pros with a method to practice their cons, quicker, easier, more anonymously, and over a much wider scope.

I resentfully awoke the other day, 2 hours before my much-needed beauty sleep normally ended, to a ringing telephone.  Sullenly answering it, I was assailed by a too-perky, recorded female voice informing me that her corporation was aware that I was paying too high an interest rate on my credit card (How?), and this was my last chance….Yadda, Yadda, Yadda!  Bottom line – pay money.

At the end of the recording, the voice said, “If you no longer wish to receive these notifications, press 2 now.”  If this was my last chance, why do I continue to receive 2 or 3 of these calls every week?  And you can push that number 2 till it falls off the phone, the wife has stabbed it dozens of times, yet the calls persist.

We used to get about the same number of calls from some Paki, who told us that he was from Microsoft, and they had noticed that we had problems with our computer (again, how?!  hundreds of millions of computers, and you noticed a problem, on mine?).  Even many users with MSN.com as their home page, didn’t recognize a Microsoft connection.

Perhaps Microsoft threatened legal action of some sort.  Now they tell you that they are from “the Word Program Department,” and if you’ll just perform their electronic voodoo, and let them take over your computer, they’ll fix it all better – right after they empty your bank accounts and max out your credit cards.

When the wife has the time and patience, she lets them babble their spiel, and then acts all confused, “because we only have Macs in the house, and we don’t use a Word program on them.”

Despite the Do Not Call List, which they can’t read in Pakistan, we continue to get calls for various duct-cleaning services.  The disabled daughter lives in a one-floor housing unit with no basement.  She recently told us how she stopped all these calls.  Quite truthfully, she told them all that her unit is heated with electric baseboard heaters – no ducts!  The wife had a chance to use that line on Sunday morning.  Feel free to try it yourself.

While I was out running a few errands the other day, the doorbell rang.  Since the wife wasn’t feeling well, she didn’t go downstairs to answer it.  When I returned home, there was a brightly-printed flyer hanging from the mailbox.  It was from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Apparently, if they don’t get the chance to personally beat you with a copy of The Watchtower, like a dog shitting on your lawn, they leave this crap behind.

Even worse, when I more closely examined it, I found that they have their own website, JW.com, and a QR code printed on the corner of the sheet.  You can find everything you wanted to know about the Jovies by scanning this with your Smartphone.  I learned everything I wanted to know about them from the fact that they come around, uninvited and unwanted, disturb your life, and leave shit behind.  These Children of God have become Children of the Information Age.  Thanx Internet.  😦

Early on an autumn Sunday afternoon, the doorbell rang.  Cracking the front door so that a yapping dog wouldn’t leak out, I saw a clean-looking, 20ish male, dressed in (a uniform?) a light-blue, long-sleeved cotton shirt, dark blue, neatly-creased slacks, with a black nylon lanyard around his neck.  He held up a laminated plastic ID with his picture and name (maybe), but no corporation name.

What I have to believe was a fine line of bullshit, was beautifully crafted.  “I’m from the Home Inspection Department, (Of what company, or Government level?) I’m here to check the integrity of your house. (What integrity?)  I’ll just leave my shoes out here”….and actually looked puzzled, as I closed the door on him.  Phone me, or email me, or even write me, and we’ll arrange a mutually convenient time.

Who comes around, unannounced, and unidentified, on a Sunday?  And yet, he and his patter looked and sounded so good, that I’m sure many home-owners unquestioningly opened their houses to him – and then later, wondered where the laptop or the jewelry went to.  I suppose I should have reported him to the Fraud Squad, even tried to get a picture of him, but I am not my neighbor’s keeper.  Caveat Emptor!