Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More Things I Don't Understand

Continuing the quest for knowledge:

  • Where do all those socks actually go? You know the ones....the ones that disappear in the dryer.
  • Why is it that the buttons on blouses are on a different side than those on shirts?
  • How does a coffee bean know to not include caffeine when growing?
  • What was that first guy thinking when he saw a chicken plop something out its rear and decided to eat it?
  • Why do strawberries wear their seeds on the outside?
  • What training do "training bras" actually provide?
  • How does a thermos know when to keep something hot or cold?
  • Who decided it would be fun to put all those subscription cards throughout magazines?
  • Just when WERE the "Good ol' Days"?
  • How does the gas pump know when I've put enough in the tank?
  • What is the shelf-life of Spam? Does it even HAVE a shelf-life?
  • Do turtles change shells like hermit crabs?
  • Why don't they make flavored glue to go on envelopes?
  • Why is it that when I blow my nose my head feels like it's shrinking? Is snot actually brain matter?
  • And on that topic, what is the purpose of snot? I mean, I have a sinus infection even as I write, and that stuff just keeps on producing! Why?
  • What do I do with all those remotes in my house?
  • If I enter *.del on my phone, will the telemarketers be deleted?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Seasons Change

I can feel it
The subtle crisp of an early Sunday morning
A warm cup of a coffee offering vibrant streams of moisture to the air
The fallen leaves as they crunch with each step in the woods

I can taste it
The harvest of new apples plucked from their home for so many months
The last hints of pollen from the late season blossoms attempting a final chance for continuing
The salty hulls of boiled peanuts captured in a tin cup from an old iron kettle

I can hear it
The dying sounds of tree frogs as they cling to the branches of late summer trees
The endless cries of the night crickets as they sing one final song for their lovers
The autumn breezes as they take over the watch from the summer winds

I can see it
Slowly emerging colours in the tops of the hardwoods
Ghostly fogs appearing as the sun climbs over the hills
The orange moon reaching out from the bowels of space and time

Seasons Change

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dialogue (Parts I and II) 1972

Dialogue (Part I)

Are you optimistic 'bout the way things are going?
No, I never ever think of it at all

Don't you ever worry, when you see what's going down?
No, I try to mind my business, that is, no business at all.

When it's time to function as a feeling human being will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?
I hope to study further, a few more years or so...I also hope to keep a steady high.

Will you try to change things...use the power that you have, the power of a million new ideas?
What is this power you speak of and this need for things to change? I always thought that everything was fine.

Don't you feel repression just closing in around?
No, the campus here is very, very free.

Don't it make you angry the way war is dragging on?
Well, I hope the President knows what he's into, I don't know.

Don't you ever see the starvation in the city where you live...all the needless hunger all the needless pain?
I haven't been there lately, the country is so fine...but my neighbors don't seem hungry 'cause they haven't got the time.

Thank you for the talk, you know you really eased my mind. I was troubled by the shapes of things to come
Well, if you had my outlook your feelings would be numb...You'd always think that everything was fine.

Part II
We can make it happen
We can change the world now
We can save the children
We can make it better
We can make it happen
We can save the children
We can make it happen

Observations on a College Campus-2005

I drove to the campus of East Tennessee State University (ETSU) on Friday. ETSU is located in Johnson City. The purpose of my visit was to replace a dorm refrigerator in my daughter's room with a new one....one that actually works. Additionally, she wanted to be home during the weekend of "Mom's" birthday. It's only a 2 and 1/2 hour drive up and, after you get through the congestion of Knoxville, it's quite a scenic road trip. I arrived before my daughter had finished her final requirements of the day so I pulled the refrigerator off the back of my truck, loaded it on hand trucks and hauled it to a nearby picnic table under some large oak trees. It was 20 degrees cooler (at least) under the tree and quite comfortable. As I sat there, looking like the old man that I am, I began to notice a pattern on campus. I was sitting in front of the dorm and watched as the students hurried to their next class or to lunch....many were hauling out their laundry and suitcases to begin their weekend trip home. The campus parking lots were filled with cars so I expected a lot of noise with that many students around. But the campus was strangely quiet. While I saw a lot of students walking, with backpacks loaded, there was no chatter that I expected for a campus filled with young people. Instead the students walked alone and spoke softly into cell phones. At first I thought it was but a few students making plans for the traditional Friday night parties. But the use of the cell phone became more frequent. In fact, each and every student had one of these marvels of technology up to their ear. And to make matters more troubling, most of the students had their IPods in the other hand and were listening to music in the other ear. Strange, I thought. What happened to true conversation?

Now I have to admit I was trying to compare my experience of a college campus from 1976. This is a campus in 2005....some 29 years later. But do we not talk to each other anymore? Have we "progressed" so far that talking to a live person is no longer necessary? I can recall walking across campus for my 8 AM Economics class with several friends and always talking about something.....the date from the night before (if you were lucky enough to have a date or could afford one)....the latest Bruce Springsteen album (not CD, mind you).....the latest rumor that the Beatles were getting back together.....what band was playing at Mules tonight.....were we ready for the end of the week Econ exam.....how'd we do on the literature exam, taught by "Bloody Mary"......have you played the new Asteroids video game in the student center.....who put the laundry detergent in the fountain in Bear Gardens (or Beer Gardens as the students called it)........there was always something to talk about. Now granted, we didn't have cell phones or IPods....the best we could do was a nice 8-track or cassette player in the car (if you could afford a car), a great stereo system in the dorm room and a dime for the payphone in the lobby. And you didn't have the luxury of compact discs....everything was vinyl and these albums were stored in stackable peach crates. I guess we had no choice but to talk to each other. How ancient, I thought.

My concern about the whole experience is the loss of social interaction, among students today, because of our technology. Once out in the "real world", will these young adults be capable of having a converstation around a meeting table? Will they be able to discuss problems from last night's production run on the evening shift? Will they have the necessary tools to actually function socially? Will they be able to come home from work and talk to their spouse (or significant other....this is 2005, you know) about their day at work?

Time will tell.....or tell on us!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Things You Should NEVER Buy Your Wife For Her Birthday

With my wife's birthday coming up in a few days, I thought I would share with you some items that should NEVER be considered when choosing the perfect gift:

  • Membership to a gym. While she may want this deep-down, YOU should not be the one to make that decision....bad idea. You will be forced to answer the question "Do you think I'm gaining weight?"
  • Vacuum cleaner. You are implying that this is a very important item that she should cherish. You may find your favorite tie (if there is such an animal) in the vacuum bag.
  • Cooking utensils. Unless she asks for this specifically, and puts it in writing, you should NEVER consider this or anything else associated with the kitchen.
  • Season Tickets to any sporting event. She knows you bought this for you, not her. They figure these things out pretty quickly.
  • Kinky lingerie. Ditto from the Season Tickets (above).
  • Clothes of any kind. You will screw this one up by getting the wrong size AND color. Should you luck up and get it right, she will have to buy new shoes to match.
  • Anything associated with new technology. Pretty close to the Season Tickets thingie...you're gonna have to make it work and it ends up becoming your problem for months.
  • Jewelry. If you choose to go this route, she must go with you to pick it out. She knows exactly what she would wear. If you go solo, you'd better be prepared to buy clothes and shoes to match....and remember that you'll screw that one up too.
  • Dremel set. Actually, my wife has one of these, but it's for her gourd-art. Not many wives do gourd-art so this is likely a bad move on your part.
  • Mr. Beer Homebrewing Kit. Well there's a big DUH for you. You're in the doghouse with this gift, so just stay away. Put it on YOUR Christmas Wish list and understand you will never get this from her.
  • Crystal-growing kit. This just will not do! Been there, done that. Actually this was a Christmas gift and it sat on a shelf for a number of months. I pulled it out and made them myself. Lots of work involved with this one and the potential for staining the kitchen counter is high. This is the kiss of death.
  • Offer to babysit the kids for a weekend. If you do this, make sure you submit this with specific black-out dates! College football bowl game days and Superbowl Sunday are prime candidates.
  • Anything to do with house cleaning. This is just a dumb idea. You are supposed to be smart enough to never consider this as a "gift".

Please feel free to add to this list....we all need a good education, especially in the gift buying arena!

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

This Old Guitar

This Old Guitar
John Denver

This old guitar taught me to sing a love song
It showed me how to laugh and how to cry
It introduced me to some friends of mine
And brightened up some days
It helped me make it through some lonely nights
Oh, what a friend to have on a cold and lonely night

This old guitar gave me my lovely lady
It opened up her eyes and ears to me
It brought us close together
I guess it broke her heart
It opened up the space for us to be
What a lovely place and a lovely space to be

This old guitar gave me my life my living
All the things you know I love to do
To serenade the stars that shine
From a sunny mountainside
Most of all to sing my songs for youI love to sing my songs for you
Yes, I do, you know
I love to sing my songs for you

Stop The Planet....I Need To Catch My Breath

Anybody paying attention out there? I mean the whole world has gone to hell and we're all just sitting on the patio at Starbucks, drinking a cold coffee (doesn't even sound good), typing an Instant Message, to the person at the next table, while "multi-tasking" by playing Spider Solitaire. We are pathetic....let's take a look at what has happened in the past few weeks:

  • Hurricane Katrina blows through Louisiana and Mississippi and President Bush is hiding out in Texas....on vacation.
  • Cindy Sheehan camps outside Bush's Ranch in Texas waiting for an audience with our Prez....The Prez doesn't meet with her....he's on vacation, By God!
  • Saddam Hussein confessed to mass killings in Iraq....then he didn't confess to mass killings in Iraq....The Prez is vacationing in Texas (who the hell vacations in Texas other than a bozo? Sorry, Pastor).
  • Yasser Arafat's cause of death is still unknown....hey the man was old! Isn't that a good enough reason to die? Bush is on vacation in Texas...I think there's a trend here.
  • Chinese police busted a ring making fake Viagra. Ok, there's a joke in there somewhere...but who the hell buys fake Viagra.....perhaps Bush, while he's vacationing in Texas?
  • The UN releases a study stating that the world will not meet its goal of reducing poverty. There's a surprise. Wonder how much that study cost and how long it took. Hey Bush....you still on vacation? Nap-time is over.
  • The US Navy has asked Halliburton to repair naval bases damaged by Hurricane Katrina. There's another surprise. I think we can safely assume the Vice President is NOT vacationing with Bush....he's busy drumming up business, huh?
  • There is fear among Bush's administration that the $5 Billion a year tourism business in New Orleans may be affected by Hurricane Katrina.......I think Bush just came off vacation, ya'll.
  • Gas prices reach an all-time high....but President Bush has a plan. "Don't buy gas if you don't need to." That's brilliant....can you go back on vacation, Mr. Bush?
  • The government reports that unemployment in Mississippi and Louisiana is expected to rise dramatically....possibly due to Hurricane Katrina. I'm speechless!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

How to Survive During the Coming Energy Crisis

Here's some handy-dandy tips on how to cope with the coming energy crisis...wait, it's already here!

  1. Take a shower with your spouse, or whoever you're shacking up with. This saves on the costs associated with heating the water and saves on water as well.
  2. Turn off your air conditioners! Open all windows and drink that surplus beer you've been hiding for the lawn cutting project on Saturday.
  3. Sleep naked. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this idea, crisis or not. Unless, of course, you own a cat and YOU are a male. Cats like to play with balls at night.
  4. Walk your dogs at night, when it is cooler. You are also hidden from view from the neighbors whose yards your dogs like to poop in....you don't have to carry around that silly WalMart bag at midnight!
  5. Cut down on your coffee intake...this saves on electricity. Substitute your pre-work morning beverage with beer (See #2).
  6. Sell that damn SUV and mini-van, dumb-ass! Buy a pickup and haul your co-workers to their cubicle. Stay in the right lane (See #5)
  7. Buy a motorcycle but don't tell your wife....NEVER tell your wife you own a motorcycle...never.....
  8. Stop cooking at home and eat at fast food restaurants. That will cause those cesspools to use more fuel and HOPEFULLY force them out of business.
  9. Quit driving to see your doctor....drink beer instead! It has all the major food groups...this is undocumented, of course.
  10. Spend your evenings in WalMart. They LOVE the crowds and you'll be using their air-conditioning. Only buy beer and Peanut M&Ms, since this is what you'll be living on for the coming months. Wait for the cases that fall off those pallet left in the middle of the aisle....you know the ones that block your ability to move their oversized shopping carts through the "short-cuts".
  11. Stop ironing your clothes in the morning, before going to work. Your boss will hate you for this and ask that you work from home. That puts you closer to that beer in the cooler. Trust me, you'll be so much more productive listening to Pink Floyd and drinking Molson's.
  12. Join a left-wing environmentalist group for support. They can show you the way to Mother Earth News. And they like beer. Lots of beer. Plenty of beer. Allow them to meet in your home and have them provide those liquid refreshments.
  13. Quit reading the newspaper! It's only bad news and will depress you even more. Plus, you have to put down your beer to turn the page. That is a TRUE waste of energy!
  14. Learn to play the guitar. Once you're good enough..and by today's standards you only need to know 3 chords (G-C-D) you can play in a bar at night. And bars have beer!
  15. Take away the gas credit cards you gave to your college-aged kids. They have no idea what is going on, outside of their campus, and see nothing wrong in driving a thousand miles to a party. The bill comes to YOUR home....remember?
  16. And in the words of John Prine...."Blow up your t.v. throw away your paper...Go to the country, build you a home....Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches...Try an find Jesus on your own."