July 25, 2014

Stuff that makes me smile

Face it, we are all a bit tired of the Friday Music feature.

July 24, 2014

Humorous, exciting, pithy, and attention grabbing

It occurs to me that the title of this post likely was nonsensical to you. Of course my titles are often ridiculous. very often they have nothing to do with the post content. I long ago embraced the notion that headline writing was not in my wheelhouse. And yes, I see you in the back waving your hand aggressively in the air.  I know that writing in general is not among my strengths. So just shut up already.

Anyway, back to the point. It was the early or mid 1970's and I was at Boy Scout camp.* The powers that be in the troop made the decision to attend the camp in the last week of the season.  Big mistake. The kitchen staff was doing their best to use up the stock of goods on hand. We were given a steady diet of rice and beans cooked in every conceivable way. In those days the young me was a picky eater. High on the list of foods that I would not eat was any kind of bean and rice in all of its forms. We had bean soup for lunch, chicken with rice for dinner. Rice and raisins for breakfast. Chili for lunch. By mid week I was starving. Beef jerky and soft drink "suicides" from the Trading Post will only sustain a growing boy so long. Besides, I did not have unlimited funds at hand.

Finely, I sat down at the table and heaped on platters was a nirvana breakfast -- scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes. The dishes were passed and we all filled our plates. I grabbed the salt and some asshole had loosened the lid. Most of the shaker ended up square on my plate. Everyone laughed. I thought I would cry. I didn't. There was no better way to be ostracized in those neanderthal pre-women's lib days of macho men than by crying for anything less than amputation, stabbing, or watching Brian's Song.  I am fairly certain they served red beans and rice for lunch.

I am still not too fond of beans. I do like rice though.

*Camp Ransburg if you must know

July 23, 2014

The very best beet recipes

My daughter was at the house when I came home from a meeting yesterday afternoon. She brought me a Dilly Bar. Life is good.

I was very glad to see her.  She got home late Sunday night from a two week educational sojourn to Europe as part of her advance degree program. I think she had a good time, but to her chagrin, she learned what those of us who have traveled to Europe in the summer have discovered -- namely air conditioning is non-existent, or poor at best, at many hotels and restaurants.  She also complained about the European tendency to treat an ice cube like a nugget of pure gold. Somehow the knowledge that you can actually make large quantities of frozen water cheaply is not common knowledge at European eateries. All of these discomfits were exacerbated by the fact that western Europe is in the midst of a near record heat wave.

July 22, 2014

Things I know Number 1,412

If you do not want your boss involved in your contraceptive choices, you should not ask him to pay for it.

July 21, 2014

Things I know, number 4

No matter how depressed you may get, a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie always makes you feel better.

Can't Decide?

If you are looking to criticize someone for the continuing violence in the Israel/Palestinian conflict I can help with just one simple question.

If Hamas had not launched missiles into Israel, how many Palestinians would have been killed by Israeli attacks?

Logic. Facts. They are sure stubborn things.

July 20, 2014



July 19, 2014

Old Julys

I lived in a large subdivision in a small town. The houses were made cheap, built fast and designed for new families, first-time homeowners and down-sizing older folks. The streets were curvy and wide and the blocks sported cul-de-sacs and sidewalks. The houses were close together but the back yards were large. As such, the entire neighborhood was filled with kids.  Lots of kids. If you counted the kids on both sides of the street of my one little block there were close to 50. Not the whole block square, just one stretch of street. All of about the same age.

By day we were out playing and sweating in the July sun.  There was no air conditioning. There was certainly nothing of interest to a nine year-old on the three channels we got on the TV. We raced through sodden bowls of cereal from boxes that boasted of their sugar content.

We headed out to play or ride our bikes. Coming home to have a fried bologna sandwich or peanut butter on Wonder bread for lunch. Kool-aid or lemonade washed it down. The afternoon was spent on adventures. We headed to the little park and the ditch along the tracks to catch crawdads or minnows. We rode the town on our bikes, sweaty urchins on stingray bikes with tall handlebars and banana seats with sissy bars.

Around five o'clock the dads started coming home from work. Smells and sounds of supper cooking seeped through the open kitchen windows. Some kids ate as soon as Dad came home, others later. Calls to supper echoed off the aluminum siding and rooftops all around the neighborhood. The neighbor to our west bellowed an undecipherable "Ruhhggg"  for "Rich" when it was time for his son to belly up to the dinner table. My Mom usually paged my brother, knowing i would tag along, Dad hollered a short, clipped "Boys".

The boy who lived at the entrance to our cul-de-sac was called each evening by his mother. She had a screeching warble that could function as a high-pitch foghorn. She had amazing breath control and the way she stretched out the vowels in "Tracy" would have made an opera singer jealous. You could hear her blocks away as she launched her call into the evening air.  Traaaaaaaaaacceeeeeeeeeeee" Tarzan blushed in shame for his comparatively weak-assed nature call. Train whistles on the Nickle Plate hushed in respect. "Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaceeeeeeeeeeeeeee". Everyone in the eastern half of the county could hear her. Everyone except Tracy, that is.

"Hey man, I think your Mom is calling" we would say.

"I don't hear nothing". Every subsequent call was louder and longer than the one preceding. Rumor had it the brass works on the other side of town wanted to hire Tracy's mom to replace their broken factory whistle.

"Traaaaaaaaaaaaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" Birds took flight in fear. The Civil Defense started their phone tree in fear of a Russian attack with a new weapon.  Muezzin from the mysterious Middle East begged her to teach them her long-distance voice projection secrets to use in their call to prayer. "Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee".

She would launch into the "Tracy" wail, even if the kid was standing right in the front yard of his house. The sound of that ear-piercing call still echoes in my memories.
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