Judy, rushing out the door to make an appointment (35 miles away) to have the oil changed in her car…

Judy: “I have to run! I don’t want to be late! Pray that I have gas!”

Me: “Dear Lord, please give Judy gas. Amen.”

I guess prayer really does work…

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Irreconcilable Differences…

September 8, 2019

Now, this is really disturbing… 

accordion and guitar world

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Hello again, Gentle Reader(s?),

In this episode, we are going to talk about building a set. Sort of.

Actually, building a set is a lot like working a puzzle. Basically, you start out with a bunch of separate smaller seemingly unrelated pieces which just sort of sit there and say, “I dare you to try to find a way to make us look like we were meant to be together.”

Things like screws, nails, sheets of various types of wood, vinyl, metal, plastic, rubber, tape and a couple of other “secret” ingredients that I still haven’t figured out. 

Once you start assembling all these materials, there’s no going back (to the hardware store to return the items that you really wish you hadn’t purchased in the first place.) So, you may just as well push forward until you get it right and make the thing work.

Once you do figure it out and complete section number one of the puzzle, the rest is actually pretty simple and the three hours you spent building section one gradually becomes about twenty minutes for the rest of the project.

And the best part is seeing the fruits of your labor for the first time… 

Now time for something amazing… 

The next time somebody says “crickets”, you may have a different perspective…

This is something you have to listen to. In 1992 Jim Wilson got the idea to slow down a recording of chirping crickets. The revealed sound simply was called “Gods cricket chorus”. The hidden beauty of nature is astonishing, and we are all part of it! Maybe a reason to think again before squashing an insect too 🙂

Sorry, no goofiness in this post…

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love you any more…

BK

Can somebody please explain to me how you milk an almond?

I almost got a haircut today. Really – I did. Almost. 

I really need a haircut. Badly. And I actually asked for and received $20.00 cash back at the grocery store specifically for the purpose of obtaining one. Not only that, but the barber shop is located in the same shopping center as the grocery store. Only about 250 feet away, in fact. 

I even told my wife that I was going to get my haircut today. And a couple of friends, too.

I really wanted to, but I didn’t. 

So why didn’t I?

Well, the macro explanation is that I pride myself on being frugal (read that, “cheap”.)

The micro explanation, as one would expect, is a bit more explanatory.  

Week after next, 75% of our children are showing up at our house from, literally, hundreds and thousands of miles away in different directions around the country. This, in and of itself, would normally neither cause me to visit or not visit the hairdresser, however, this particular visit is for the purpose of filming scenes in our movie project. 

My hair needs to look more like this…

IMG_5240.jpeg

…And less like this…

The issue is not that my hair needs to look like it does in every other scene in the film (although it does) and in order for that to happen, I have to get it cut. And the issue is not that if I get it cut this week I will probably have to have it cut again next week, too. The issue is not that if I get it cut this week it will cost me $20.00, or if I get it cut next week it will cost me $20.00. 

The issue is that if I get it cut this week and I get it cut next week, it will cost me $40.00. 

Hence, no haircut today, but a haircut next week. 

Because I am frugal. 

Or cheap.

Hello, Gentle Reader(s?),

I have decided that it’s time to break with my past (almost) tradition of (usually) waiting to create a new category for this blog until I have written more than one post fitting the category that does not yet exist. 

You may be wondering why I feel compelled to do so at this time.

It’s because yesterday was Tuesday and the day before that was Monday. This, naturally, leads to the conclusion that today is Wednesday. 

Let me explain further…

As some of you know, I am involved in the making of a motion picture. It has been in production for nearly four (4) years. Over that time, I have gained some weight and, while I am still quite handsome, my appearance may have shifted just the slightest little bit. By about 25 (twenty-five) pounds, actually. (I can still get into my costumes and regular street clothes and have not been forced into upsizing my pants, etc., though, if you look really closely, a slight “muffin” effect has become somewhat evident.)

As part of an overall effort to make the “muffin” retreat, I have been weighing myself on, pretty much, a daily basis. 

I have, over the years, developed my own “weigh-in” strategy which has proven effective for me. It goes like this:

  1. Get up in the morning
  2. Go into the bathroom
  3. Sit on the chair with the hole in the seat
  4. Accomplish the required activity
  5. Dawn my original birthday suit
  6. Using available nostril-evacuation procedures and the materials required to do so, remove any and all loose or pliable objects and/or substances from as much of my nasal cavities as I can access
  7. Using approved earwax-expulsion procedures and materials, make any unwanted earwax buildup go away
  8. Exhale and hold my breath for as long as I am on the scale
  9. Once all the above weight adding materials have been expelled, stand on the scale and adjust my posture (shift my weight) in an effort to find the lightest possible reading on the digital display (literally) at my feet

In the past, these techniques have served me well. This week, however, something has changed. And not in an acceptable manner. 

On Monday, I weighed myself. Weight was several pounds more than I had anticipated. I was not happy.

On Tuesday, I weighed myself. Weight was 2.5 pounds less than on Monday. Still not acceptable, but going in the right direction. I was not as “not happy” as I was on Monday.

Today, Wednesday, I weighed myself. Weight was 2.5 pounds more than on Tuesday. Definitely not acceptable and going back in the wrong direction. 

After about a minute of considering my options, I went over to the sink, turned on the water and expectorated into the downspout. Then I went back to the so-called “scale”, exhaled, held my breath, grabbed onto a towel rack, adjusted my stance, looked down between my feet and beheld what I consider to be a minor miracle – I was now 1.5 pounds lighter than I was 90 (ninety) seconds prior to the current weigh-in effort. 

It still wasn’t back to where it was when I wasn’t “not happy” as I was on Monday, but it was better than when I wasn’t happy just before I spit. 

For this reason, I have come to the conclusion that my bathroom scale is laughing at me. It intentionally moves around and mocks me as I attempt to ascertain an accurate measurement of my own personal tonnage.

It goes out of its way to make me think I’m fat. 

My bathroom scale is not my friend.

This has caused me to consider the possibility that I am not the only one; that, indeed, there may be others – maybe even dozens of them – who are unsuspecting victims of cruel bathroom scales. Scales which lie, silently, in wait for the next opportunity to jeopardize the self-image of the one person who relies on its personal integrity to provide accurate information regarding that person’s body fat content.  

So, if there is anyone else out there who suspects that they are being tricked in this manner, I propose the following statement of intent:

Please raise your right hand and repeat after me:

I, (insert your name here), do solemnly declare that my bathroom scale is not my friend, that I cannot and will not trust any and all information it chooses to make known to me; and that, hereafter, I cannot and will not avail myself of its purported “services” with regard to the accurate measurement of my personal body weight. 

Furthermore, I declare that, from this day forward, I will do all in my power to avoid any and all contact with said scale. I will not touch it, I will not stare at it, look at it or even glance in its direction. I will not refer to it in any conversation with any person or animal, be they family, friend, foe or pet. 

I will not address it, either directly or indirectly, in any manner, as I go about preparing myself for my own daily activities. I will not think of it in quiet moments or in the rush of the day. I will not dream about it in my sleep. 

Finally, if I somehow accidentally find myself actually standing upon it, glaring at the numbers baring themselves in its display, whether analog or digital or listen to any verbal report eminating from it, I will immediately avert my gaze or plug my ears, as required by the manner in which the thing attempts to inform me that I need to eat less and exercise more. 

Amen.

BK

If you look for it, you can find humor in almost any situation, and if you do, it can be a great stress relief.  That has really come in handy on many occasions…

BK

Taking the path of least resistance only leads to a life of least virtue, least integrity, least trustworthiness, least growth, least accomplishment, and least reward. If any. 

See? I do have my serious moments…

BK

Ah… Cockroaches. The “forever” bug…

BK

The amount of effort one is willing to expend in the preparation of breakfast is directly proportional to the amount of hunger one is experiencing at that particular moment. 

BK

Breakfast. The most important meal of the day. 

This morning, though, I’m not really hungry. But if I was really hungry, what would I eat?

This is the question that has plagued me for thousands of years, “What do I want for breakfast?” I never have a definitive answer to that question. 

Judy never has a problem deciding how to start her nutritional day. And she is creative and unafraid to explore new culinary possibilities.

For example, this morning I slowly maneuvered my way into the kitchen, drawn by an odor of which I had not previously been aware, only to spy a frying pan hosting an egg and something I never would have imagined – two halves of a banana nut muffin cut, not top to bottom, but across the center, with the “ragged” sides buttered up and facing down to the hot pan.

Soon the naked surfaces of the muffin had sufficiently toasted. She then gently slapped the egg between the two halves, wrapped it into a napkin, stuck it into a bowl, gathered up her many purses and went out the door headed to work.

Do people really do that? I honestly don’t know, but Judy did. 

This left me alone to contemplate my own breakfast needs, wants and desires. What do I want for breakfast?  What shall I make? How shall I make it? As mentioned above, I’m not really hungry, and… and… and…    

I think I have just had an epiphany! 

I just realized that…

The amount of effort one is willing to expend in the preparation of breakfast is directly proportional to the amount of hunger one is experiencing at that particular moment. 

Hmmm… I should contemplate food more often… 

Well, as excited as I am about my newfound life lesson, I’m still not hungry and, therefore, still not any closer to figuring out what to fix myself to Break my overnight Fast which, after all, is the whole purpose of breakfast in the first place. 

So many options; so little ambition…

 

 

 

Click here to catch up on everything and have some idea what the heck is going on…  and start with Part 1 (one).

Click here to go to Part Seven (7)… so you know where we left off – even though it has nothing to do with what you are about to read.

Well, Friends, It’s been almost exactly two years since our last foray into the amazing world of cows and a lot has happened since then.

But I digress…

Since so many of my wife have brought it up, I have decided to embark on yet another amazing treatise on bovines. This time concentrating on benefits and practicalities of possessing a cow, not for fuel, not for milk, not for the much-required supply of lawn fertilizer, but simply for the joy of having a cow friend with whom to play and commiserate during those times when everybody is mad at, and nobody wants to be around, you.  

Yes, friends, everybody needs a pet, and I submit that a cow could be a great pet. 

Consider this: How friendly could a cow be if she knew that she would never wind up on a hot griddle or between the two halves of a bun?

Imagine your life with a pet cow…

(Dream sequence music starts here)

There you are, arriving home from a particularly difficult day at work and you know that your wife will be upset with you because, as you just realized, you forgot to stop on the way home to pick up the twenty-four pack of Muscle Milk she asked – no, demanded – you to get. Starting to sweat profusely at the thought of walking into the house without the Muscle Milk, you pull into the driveway. Cautiously, you exit the vehicle. Praying, you start to make your way to the front door and, upon arrival, you hesitantly reach for the doorknob. Using your left hand, you turn it counter-clockwise (because that’s the way your mother taught you to open a door) and, with a grimace, you slowly, gently (just as you pronounce the word, “Amen.”) push… open… the door…

Suddenly, to your shock and everlasting gratitude for prayers answered, you see your best friend – Daisy – running at full speed and leaping into your arms to greet you! Daisy is not your wife. Your wife is Hildegard. Daisy is your beloved and cuddly pet cow, and she is happy to see you!

And, despite nearly being crushed to death, and the destruction of your house and most of the furnishings inside, you are happy to see Daisy!

(Exit dream sequence music starts here)

See what I mean? Having a cow as a pet could be a beautiful thing. 

“But,” you say, “I already have a cat.”

Many of us have pet cats. Judy and I have had several. Most recently, a feral that figured out how to get into the house through the doggy door in the laundry room.

Judy named her “Lucinda”. I felt that she was appropriately named because I believe that “Lucinda” is female for “Lucifer”. 

But that’s another story for another post…

Let’s look at cats and cows for a minute. For now, let’s not concentrate on the differences, between the two, let’s look at the ways in which they are the same, or at least similar. For example, the words Cat and Cow begin with the same letter of the alphabet:

C

If you think about it, this is a great start.

How else are they the same, or similar?

They both speak in languages that begin with the same letter:

M

Yes, again we see how they are the same. Cat’s say “Meow” and cows say “Moo”. With a little practice, I think they could probably talk to each other and get along quite well. They could have some great conversations about the weather, their favorite sports teams and even about how much they love their owners. 

Also, they both have four legs and a tail. They can go for long walks on the beach together, discussing the origins of the universe all the while swatting away flies. 

Now, let’s investigate some of the challenges that might arise when, in lieu of a cat,  you have welcomed a cow into your home. 

  1. A cat will use a litter box filled with cat litter to deposit former meals. However, cow litter is not easily available in most grocery or pet stores. In fact, you may also have an issue finding an appropriately sized “cow litter box”. 
  2. You will need a larger space in which to place the litter box and store the litter.
  3. Even after obtaining the necessary litter products and successfully placing them, you will have to train the cow in the proper utilization of the items in question. This may take a bit of doing as most cows are not familiar with waste elimination etiquette. 
  4. Many felines are quite affectionate. You may find them occupying your lap, your bed or the back of your sofa. If you find a cow who likes you, you may have to get a larger lap, bed or sofa to accommodate this, albeit loving, intrusion. 
  5. For those who have multi-story houses, while a cow can probably climb stairs, it’s probably best to keep them on the bottom floor of your home. Especially if you lack cow-capable umbrellas. 

And now for some of the possible benefits of adopting a cow as a pet (aside from the obvious energy resource possibilities of owning a cow).

  1. You will never lose your cow when it attempts to hide (hyde?) in the house. It won’t fit under a bed, sofa or behind the toilet.
  2. You won’t have to worry about finding dead animal puzzles in the hallway, bedroom, laundry or dining room. Cows are not known for hunting birds, ground squirrels gophers, lizards, snakes, rats or anything else not larger than themselves.
  3. A cow will never hide in the bookshelf, waiting for you to pass by so it can leap out and land on your back, sliding down, claws extended, rendering your flesh shredded from your shoulders (possibly exposing and/or damaging or completely obliterating the supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus and/or teres minor musculature) to your ankles when you least expect it. This lack of aggression may also lead to fewer heart attacks. 
  4. The likelihood of tripping over your cow in the dark is actually quite remote. This makes the chances of broken bones, sprained ankles or accidental death from this type of accident equally remote.  
  5. Finally, the smell alone is enough to keep away unwanted visitors (although, a slight increase in the fly population may be a minimal risk). There is little danger, however, of keeping away those who really like you. They will understand you and will be willing to accommodate your affinity for “exotic” pets as long as they stay off their laps. 

And now for the real reason for this plea…

There are plenty of cows available for immediate rescue/adoption. And let’s try to remember what happens to cows kept only for their utilitarian existence. Once they are no longer fulfilling their “purpose”, they are not simply discarded… They end up on your hamburger bun or covering your new sofa… (Or if they are unfortunate enough to live just outside New York City or other metropolitan areas within driving distance of a hunting preserve, across the hood of your neighbor’s car who thinks he just shot a deer.)

So what do you say, my fellow Bovine enthusiasts? Is it time for you to do whatever it takes to save a cow who, otherwise, has no future? Take that next step and adopt a cow.

After all, the worst that can happen is that you could end up with a nice chair…

Until next time (probably another two years), 

Moo. 

cows1

And for the reading impaired…

To go to the beginning of this riveting series, go here…

 

 

 

How I Quit Smoking…

May 31, 2019

“What???”, you say! “You smoked???”

I know that it’s hard to believe, right? I mean, hard for anybody who knows me. But, yes, it’s true.

And here is my story in its entirety. Nothing left to the imagination. Every sordid detail of my previous life as a smoker. Puff by puff. 

How I started smoking…

In 1969, I joined the United States Navy. (Interestingly, I was actually drafted after I joined, drafted again when I was in boot camp and drafted a third time while I was in Vietnam. But that is another story for another time…)

In November and December (and January and February the next year – yes 13 weeks of boot camp because I got there the day after the cutoff for Christmas leave, and they didn’t count three weeks as “time served”) while in boot camp, The early mornings – 0500 to be exact – were a bit chilly. Even in San Diego. 

Many (most) of my shipmates were smokers. I wasn’t. But I did have cold hands and I took note of the fact that many of my friends kept their hands cupped around their cigarettes. 

Having observed what they were doing I enquired as to the reason for this practice and was informed that it was done in an effort to add a little heat to their freezing phalanges.

This, in turn, caused me to consider the temperature of my own manual extremities, and I decided to give it a shot.

I requested a cigarette and a light from one of my comrades, and was, happily, granted one of each.

How I got hooked…

I lit up. I puffed. I encircled my hands around the lit end of the thin cylinder of finely cut tobacco rolled in paper (stogie). I immediately noticed the pleasant increase in warmth which now enveloped the inside of, not only my fingers but the palms of my hands as well.

As small improvement as this may seem to those of you who have never been in the situation, this was a vast improvement in comfort for a guy who was still in the middle of the “tear down the boy” stage which precedes the “build a new man” stage of military basic training. In short, it was GRAWESOME.

For the following two days, I repeated the same tactic of bumming a cigarette and a light from a willing contributor to my new bad habit. It was most enjoyable. (Interestingly, I didn’t actually inhale, so I never had the cough-cough-hack-hack symptoms associated with new, first time smokers.)

How I quit…

On the third day, after my new found “usual” warm up in the early morning hours, we had an inspection. As usual, I was impeccably prepared and standing at attention as the company commander approached from my right (his left). He finally arrived directly in front of me, face to face.  He looked me in the eyes. He investigated my face for any trace of unwanted facial hairs. He checked my mouth for any indication that I might be enjoying the moment (wayward smile). 

And then he lowered his gaze a bit, At which point his face suddenly snapped back up even with, and moved to within a micron of my own, and began screaming at never before naturally achieved decibel levels:

“SEAMAN RECRUIT KRAMER-KAMENER-KEMANAR – WHATEVER THE _ _ _ _ YOUR NAME IS!!! DID YOUR MOTHER EVER TEACH YOU HOW TO PROPERLY DRESS???

“Yes Sir!”

“WELL DID SHE TEACH YOU HOW TO _ _ _ _ _ _ _  FASTEN A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ BUTTON???”

“Yes Sir!”

“WELL WERE YOU PAYING ATTENTION, OR WAS YOUR MIND SOMEWHERE OF IN THE _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ WILD BLUE  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ YONDER DURING THAT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ LESSON???”

“I must have been thinking of something else, Sir.”

“WELL, YOU MUST HAVE BEEN! AND DO YOU KNOW HOW I KNOW THAT YOU MUST HAVE BEEN _ _ _ _ _ _ _ THINKING OF SOME _ _ _ _ _ _ _ THING _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ELSE, SEAMAN RECRUIT KRAPER-KRUMPRE-KMREAMENAR?”

“Uh… Did you ask my mother, Sir?”

After breaking the previous sound-volume record, his decibel level, somehow, got even higher. 

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO_ _ _ _ _ _ _ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, YOU STUPID _ _ _ _ _ _ _  SMART_ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ SON _ _  _  _ _ _ _ _!!! I DID NOT ASK YOUR MOTHER! I LOOKED AT YOUR _ _ _ _ _ _ _ SHIRT POCKET!!!”

I just stared into his eyes. I believe that if eyes could foam, his would have been frothing heavily at this point.

“DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS INFRINGEMENT SHOULD GO UNPUNISHED, SEAMAN RECRUIT KRAMPMIRE?”

“No Sir.”

“WELL SEAMAN RECRUIT KEARMNRE, WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH YOU TO ENSURE THAT YOU _ _ _ _ _ _ _  CAN REMEMBER TO FASTEN ALL OF YOUR _ _ _ _ _ _ _  BUTTONS IN THE _ _ _ _ _ _ _  FUTURE??? DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS?”

“You could extinguish my smoking lamp, Sir.”

For the longest fifteen seconds of my life, he simply stared into my eyes. He then turned to the man standing next to him, taking notes, and said, “Yoeman, make it so. This man’s smoking lamp is out.”

And that is how I quit smoking. And never started again… 

I mean really, would you?