November 30, 2019

Ornamentally Speaking

December is knocking on the door, bringing cold and blustery weather over the next few days. I threw some lights on the last two bushes outside, so the house looks festive with soft white lights in the winter night.

We decorated the big tree yesterday. It is a nice eight-footer we bought many years ago. The tree still looks nice, but the artificial needles are dropping off in increasing amounts when we put it up or down or mess with it. The tree is at least 15 years old. The wife paid serious cash for it when she bought it and it would cost probably close to a grand to replace it with like size and quality today. That will never happen. We will probably use the thing until it looks like Charlie Brown's tree, draping lights on the bare metal  branches.

I put more than 1,000 lights on the tree, all white, since that is what the boss wants. No blinking either. I get the depth of light on the lower branches by using icicle lights and laying them along each branch. Yes it takes hours to assemble the tree, but it is gorgeous in its lighted glory.

The wife and I started dating in December of '78. I was a mere boy of 16. That is truth, not hyperbole. The story has been told and rerun way too many times in these pages. You can find it over there in the archives without much effort. Anyway, starting with the next Christmas, the girl bought me an ornament and after that we started buying each other new ones every year. That is a tradition that has continued pretty much for the past forty years. If we didn't buy for each other, the kids at least got a new one each year.

Thus decorating the tree is an adventure in nostalgia as we pull the carefully wrapped ornaments from their original boxes and hunt for room on the increasingly crowded branches. Most are of the Hallmark variety, but several handmade ornaments also dangle among the white lights. 

There are ornaments marking the birth of kids and grandkids, one from our first year of marriage, a silver bell from my grandmother, angels each year for our grandson. There is the hand-painted ball the youngest made in grade school. There are Cubs and Colts ornaments. Teddy bears (the wife's favorite) and ornaments from popular culture: the Simpsons, Harry Potter, the Wizard of Oz, Charlie Brown, A Christmas Story, Star Wars and Scooby Doo. We once had a couple dozen Barbie and I Love Lucy ornaments, but my daughter took them to her house after she got married. 

The tree evokes nostalgia and the spirit of Christmases past. It is a lot of work, but decorating the big tree leaves me with a sense of family and tradition that appeals to my love of the past.

November 29, 2019

Let the season begin

Thanksgiving is but a rumble in our bellies and a vision in tne rear view mirror. The Christmas season is upon us. As is my wont, Holiday Inn is loaded into the DVD player and the season is underway.

November 28, 2019

Gracias, Merci, Thanks

I've plenty to be thankful for. God has been good to me, I just keep screwing it up.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, whatever your plans.

I have sausage gravy to make.

November 27, 2019

Four O'Clock and All is Well

I'm up early. Yawn. Me, because early. You yawn because same old same old. You've read it here before, probably hundreds of times.

I'm channel surfing until I doze and cat nap later this morning.

We got the outside decorations and lights mostly up yesterday. A few strings of lights were not working. Happens every year. We have a couple of bushes to finish. One inside tree is up and waiting on decorations. The other one I will get up today.

In other news -- nothing.

My cold lingers. I continue to hack up phlegm on a semi-regular basis.

See, I told you "yawn".

I hope you have a great Wednesday.

November 26, 2019

A short post for a short week

I'm sipping coffee while the radio plays softly in the background. Semi-nasty weather is slated to move in later today. Not as ugly as the storms forecasted north and west of here though.

I have a command performance at the unemployment office for a mandatory training session and meet-up with my councilor this afternoon. Yippee.

The media is agog over the President's involvement over Naval legal matters. Mostly because "Trump". Somehow I guess the part of the Constitution where the President is "Commander in Chief" must not be taught in journalism school. If one relied on the media hysterics you would believe Trump's pardon of a Navy Seal for taking a picture with a terrorist corpse was the worst thing EVER. I guess The Obama's pardon of a confessed traitor was way different. Hold on why I click on the sarcasm font: Taking a picture is clearly way worse for military moral and discipline than pardoning a traitor whose actions got Americans killed. I'm farting in your general direction Bergdahl.

We outta impeach the SOB for this Navy Seal travesty. And demand the CIC's tax returns because the Navy Seal clearly paid Trump off and that income would obviously be listed under "income other" .

And Russia.

November 25, 2019

I interrupt the normal nonsense

Today is my grandson's birthday.

He would have been two.

November 24, 2019

Cheeseburger in Paradise

We met some friends at a little wayside bar deep in the Indiana boondocks. The little place is next to the tracks in a dying farming town with hundreds, not thousands, of inhabitants. This little burg is not too far where my ancestors first settled when Indiana was a brand new state and wild and wooded two centuries ago.

This little bar serves up a great tenderloin and generally the fare is quality and cheap. The wife and our friends each ordered up a breaded tenderloin. I went off script and called for a cheeseburger. I was craving a thick, greasy beef patty with onion, tomato, and pickle.

Counting ours, three tables in the dining room side were occupied.  I knew things were off track when the wife was told they were out of onion rings. After ten minutes or so the laconic waitress moseyed out to explain they only had one tenderloin left. Our companions ordered alternatives and we settled in to wait.  And wait. And wait some more.

The people at the next table, who were waiting on food when we stepped in from the blustery misty evening went to the back to complain. Shortly thereafter the cook brought out one plate of food, explaining chicken takes a long time(!?). At this point we had been there almost an hour! That table got their second plate a few minutes later. The food was apparently wrong. When the guy complained, the cook got just a bit more than testy. The customer told her where to put the food and left.

I guess at that point she started cooking our food because we finally started getting plates, one at a time, about ten minutes later. My burger sucked. It was a chewy frozen hamburger. The wife and other couple thought their meal was a two on the ten scale too.  Oh well, $20 bucks for two meals including drinks isn't too bad and usually the food is great. I guess it was a bad night for the chef de cuisine.

We went over to our friends' and spent the balance of evening paying cards. In all it was a good Saturday, despite a less-than-great dining experience.

November 23, 2019

Why are titles so hard?

Here we find ourselves on a cold and frosty Saturday morning. I discovered I was completely out of coffee this morning. I shrugged into my winter coat and motored down to the WalMart grocery a mile or three down he highway to grab some house-brand K-cups. I like the ones in the yellow box. I actually bought them regularly before I was broke as an old Greek statue.

It appears we will eschew the traditional Thanksgiving feast here at the homestead this year, instead opting for a brunch at my daughters'. We will still head off to the wife's family in the evening. But I will not be making the traditional turkey and fixings this year. My wife tells me I am good with that.

The resident interior decorator says we might start decorating the place for Christmas this weekend. I may wait a couple of days to do the outside since it is forecasted to warm a bit starting Sunday.

Despite the cold I intend to walk the neighborhood a bit later this morning. I have been out of my regular exercise habit the past few months. Perhaps I will get lucky and be struck by a car. The way things are going he will probably be uninsured.

Is it just me or does the Live Aid Christmas song suck?

Have a great Saturday.

November 20, 2019

I think we have heard enough Mr. Chairman

So far we have spent, what, three days, and we have yet to find a witness with direct knowledge-- including the Ukrainians-- that Trump bribed or extorted anyone. We have plenty of people who have third or fourth hand knowledge.

This is real life, not middle school.

The whole impeachment show trial seems like it was taken from the script of Animal House.

We are cartwheeling downhill toward Banana Republic governance.

The next Democrat President is going to hate this new set of rules.

And the Republic crumbles just a little more.

November 19, 2019

You choose the adventure

We haven't done a collaborative story in a very long time. I will start the effort and you should continue the story in the comments. You should build on the comment before you. Try not to end things too fast. Go ahead, play along. It will be fun. 

The fog horns are sending out their plaintive bass moan over the bay as oil-slick waters slosh in slow ripples against the docks. Workers shuffle towards dim yellow lights, paper cups of coffee steaming in their calloused hands. Their voices are a low hum, almost as if the sound itself is buffeted by the fog. The ground is damp, reflecting the feeble glow of  streetlights down the dim alley.

The smell of fish and seaweed cloy to the mist. A tap of footsteps echoes from the wooden flanks of the warehouses as the form of a young lady emerges from the darkness. Her high heels are black with a thin strap at the ankle. A strip of red silk dress peeks beneath her gabardine raincoat.

"Whaddya doin' here at this hour Jenny?" a voice calls from just outside the pool of light.

"I came to kill him, Johnny", she says. She simultaneously looks at and through me as she pulls a snub-nosed revolver from her pocket...

Go ahead, add a sentence or a paragraph. Let's see how long we can build the story!

Obscured by clouds

The fog horns are sending out their plaintive bass moan over the bay as oil-slick waters slosh in slow ripples against the docks. Workers shuffle towards dim yellow lights, paper cups of coffee steaming in their calloused hands. Their voices are a low hum, almost as if the sound itself is buffeted by the fog. The ground is damp, reflecting the feeble glow of  streetlights down the dim alley.

That's how it would be if there was a bay, foghorns or longshoremen hereabouts. Instead, suburbanites climb into their cars and drive off through the fog to shuffle paper. Their coffee is most likely in a Yeti or Starbacks cup.

It is Tuesday here in the heartland.

I woke early, back in the recliner after a one night go in bed Sunday. I settled in to greet the grandgirls, only to discover they are coming late today. Nobody bothered to tell me. I should have known when the wife failed to come down at the normal time.

The fog isn't just outside, apparently.

November 18, 2019

Another day closer to the end of time

Happy Monday. It is a gloomy day here at the homestead, weather wise. A Michigan-like cloud cover has settled in.

In other news, I had a promising initial interview this morning with a widget company. The same type widgets I have been involved through manufacturing and sales for 30 years. Cross your fingers. I have an in-person Interview with a different company Wednesday. I hope something breaks soon.

Enough about that.

My cold lingers. I did sleep in bed, as opposed to the recliner, last night.

There you have it. A post.

I never promised quality.

November 17, 2019

What it is like to leap from a perfectly good airplane

Back to the mundane that normally dominates these pages.

I raked the leaves again yesterday. I got three big waist-high piles just in the front yard alone. Looking out the blog room window at the tree in the front yard, I see several more such piles are still hanging on the tree waiting to fall at the most inopportune moment. I am taunted by a maple tree. I won't even get into the evil Bradford Pears in the backyard that have not even started turning yet.

After I raked, the wife came out and helped me drag the Christmas stuff from the attic. I did not start stringing lights or building trees yet, but the stuff is down and available for the wife to do her decorating thing. Mind you, getting down the Christmas stuff is more effort than you imagine. The wife goes all out in her decorating. The entire house is transformed. There are three trees inside, another for the front porch. Every knick-knack is changed out for a snowman or Santa. The stairs are covered in garland. The chandeliers and mantle are covered in greenery. The joint looks like the set of a Hallmark movie.

I noticed the people down the street were stringing lights yesterday. They just turned them off and took them down in April.

No plans for today outside of football. Unless the Boss says to put up the big tree. Then I will salute and say "Yes Ma'am".

And do it after football is over.

November 15, 2019

Most important battles in US history

A post earlier this week got me thinking. I know-- steam, sparks, smoke, whirring. Anyway, it has been a long time since we did a Friday Five.

For those of you who haven't waded through the mud and nonsense that comprises this blog for the past decade and a half, the Friday Five was a list I proposed and then encouraged comments for contrary opinions. For example I might have opined on the five best western movies or five best bass players in rock and roll. The feature was not a resounding success, even when my readership was a couple of hundred every day (and often twice that). Just like wealth taxes, communism, universal health care, and Hillary for President, bad ideas sometimes just keep coming back into vogue.Thus, sans fanfare, we launch a Friday Five list today.

Your comments and rebuttal are encouraged.

Five most important battles in US history

1. Bunker/Breed's Hill
June 17, 1775. The first "real" battle of the Revolution. The victory left the British stunned and showed the other 12 colonies the rebellion had a chance. A loss here at Boston would have ended the war in the colonies.

2. Saratoga
September/October 1777. The two battles were resounding British defeats and demonstrated to the world that the Colonials could stand up in a set battle and defeat the British.  The victories at Saratoga were key to gaining Spanish and French support for the American war effort

3. Midway
June 4-7 1942. Stemmed Japanese advancement in the Pacific. Had the Japanese taken Midway, the US bases in Hawaii would have been endangered. Instead, at great cost, the US sunk 3 Japanese carriers and thwarted the landings. From this point forward, Japan was in defensive mode.

4. Vicksburg
May-July, 1863. The loss of Vicksburg gave Union control to the entire Mississippi River, cleaving the Confederacy in half.  Far more important strategically than the larger battle fought at the same time in Pennsylvania. This victory allowed the Western Army to pivot toward Eastern Tennessee and the Atlanta Campaigns.

5. Antietam 
September 17, 1862. Remains to date the single bloodiest day in American history. Antietam ended Lee's first attempt to bring the fighting North and relieve pressure in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union victory allowed Lincoln the opportunity to issue his Emancipation Proclaimation, in essence making the war about slavery instead of preserving the Union or State's Rights. This political move kept the European powers from providing direct aid to the Confederacy.

A different outcome in any of these battles would have directly changed US history and our nation today.

Rebuttal is encouraged.

Sadly smirking

The Browns are gonna be the Browns

November 14, 2019

Weighing In

Down three pounds.

That's not what you want.

I bet Johnny Football and Tim Tebow and hundreds of others are scratching their heads in wonder. Why is the NFL setting up a private pro day for Kaepernick while other good players languish?

What if no one still signs him?

If the kneeler-in-chief just wants to play football, why hasn't he pursued the AFL or Canada as options? He could showcase his skills in game action. Doug Flutie and HOFer Kurt Warner both took that route into be NFL.


It seems to me the bar association should be looking into a bunch of Congresspeople. Many are lawyers but seem to have no understanding of evidentiary rules. Hearsay is not evidence. Sitting through just a couple of episodes of Judge Judy would tell you that.

Just like the whole "collusion" fiasco, can anyone tell me what statute threatening (if it even happened) to hold back money we are giving to a foreign government falls under? Don't we put requirements on foreign aid all of the time?

Shouldn't Papa Joe Biden answer for threatening (and bragging about it) to withhold aid to Ukraine unless they fire the prosecutor investigating the company that hired his son?


College athletes want to be paid. OK. They have to choose, take a scholarship or get paid. Either/or. Problem solved. A full ride scholarship to most universities is worth more than 30 grand. That is pay enough.


Just cut the baby in half.


What other problem do you need me to solve?

November 12, 2019

Witches and brass monkeys

The wind chill was a frigid minus three this morning when I woke. The real temperature was a January-like eleven on the Fahrenheit scale. The snowfall was just at three inches, covering the leaves on the front yard. I suspect it is cold at your house too.

I watched the first half of The Dirty Dozen last night. I've always dug that flick, even though I have seen it countless times.

I had an interview scheduled for today. It has been moved to next Monday. Sigh. It seems like a good prospect, one I am qualified for, but who knows?

Stay warm and enjoy your Tuesday.

November 11, 2019

Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

A big thank you to our veterans.

November 10, 2019

Dodging the daily hodge podge

I raked the front and side yards yesterday. New leaves already lie on the grass. By midweek the lawn will again be covered.  So it goes.

The local professional football squad plays the late afternoon contest so I will have a hard time refusing to help do some much-needed household chores before game time. The wife hinted at dragging the Christmas decorations from the attic. I will resist. Although I am tempted to put up (but not turn on) the outside lights in the warmer temperatures today before the January-like cold settles in later this week. I shall endeavor to persevere. The boss hinted that a pot of chili might be good for supper. That I can probably manage without much argument.

San Francisco recently covered historical murals of George Washington. They were deemed offensive. Somehow a mural of hysterical angry climate change spokesperson Greta Thornburg is OK. These same coastal liberals who think this is wonderful seem not to understand why those of us in flyover country vote for Trump. If I need explain my disdain then you have not spent time reading here at all.

The new movie depicting he Battle of Midway is getting good reviews. I will probably have to wait until it comes out on video to see it. Going to the movies just isn't in the budget. I am excited though. Midway is probably one of the five most important battles in our nation's history. More people should know of it.

November 9, 2019

Giddy up jingle horse

I think I will rake some leaves today. Or not. The front yard is ankle deep, but the big maple still has at least fifty percent of the leaves still stuck to the branches like a bitter clinger does his Bible and gun here in the Rust Belt. It doesn't appear warmer weather is coming anytime soon, so I might as well suck it up and do some work.

I escaped the doctor with a stern lecture but remain on the assortment of pills. He knows and I know sticking to my diet will bring my sugars right down. It is strange, back when I was fat, pre diabetes, I rarely craved sweet stuff. Now I want those things all of the time. Let's be honest, munching on a carrot is no substitute for a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie. My problem is I snack under two conditions: stress and boredom. My life these days is only stress and boredom.

Hold on a sec.

Thanks, I'm back. I had to get the Echo spy device to switch background music. Sinatra wasn't cutting it this morning.

The Washington Post had an opinion piece wondering if the Republicans are going to be able to accept defeat in the coming elections. I am pretty sure it was not satire.

One hundred days until baseball.

November 8, 2019

Friday Follies

Another week has chugged by. Leaves cover my front lawn and it is unseasonably cold. Chug, chug, chug.

I had a rough night last night. My cough returned just as I went to bed. I ended up in the recliner in the office. I struggled to get to sleep, still awake after 1:00 AM. Around 2:30 the office smoke alarm started its beep. Beep. Beep every 40 seconds or so in a plea for a new battery. I went down, grabbed a stool and the last 5 volt battery and spent ten minutes replacing the battery. Then I started the whole try to get to sleep cycle all over.

I'm off this morning to see my doctor for a regularly scheduled visit. I have every reason to think my sugar levels will be unacceptable. He threatened moving me to insulin last time. My only defense is stress drives my blood sugar higher. My poor dietary habits are an equal catalyst.

Boo hoo. Enough complaining.

Yeah, I got nothing else.

How about a little music?

Enjoy your Friday

I almost put up a Christmas tune.

November 7, 2019

What you want

An elderly woman went into the doctor`s office. When the doctor asked why she was there, she replied, “I`d like to have some birth-control pills.”
Taken back, the doctor thought for a minute and then said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Smith, but you`re 72 years old. What possible use could you have for birth control pills?”
The woman responded, “They help me sleep better.”
The doctor thought some more and continued, “How in the world do birth control pills help you to sleep?”
The woman said, “Simple, I put them in my granddaughter`s orange juice every morning and I sleep better at night.”

Careful with that wish

It is early. I am up. The clock read 3:30 when I padded to the bathroom. It was just before 4:00 when I gave up and headed downstairs to make coffee and pop my morning pills. So it goes.

Crazed politics continues. Everyone has moved into their corners, piled rocks and are ready to defend their position. We are just a military coup from full-on Banana Republic when one party starts calling for the winner's ouster --and promising it-- before he can even take office. The end is near. Trust me when I tell you crime-less impeachment will be the new norm until a popular strongman steps in to make himself consul, emperor, dictator, protector of the people, or President for Life and ignores the yips and yaps from the small-minded lapdog bureaucrats that inhabit the halls of Congress. SJWs will have no objection. The Constitution is invalid because it was written by racist white guys.

The authoritarians will be content. Right up to the point the Ruler of All declares an end to the insanity and plays Baby, it cold outside unedited during the White House Christmas Party simply because it is good and fun and has no hidden meaning you butthurt fanatics and tells everyone to just get over it. Lefty heads will explode.

There lies the rub when you start down the path of retribution politics. There is always the chance the wrong guy might win. Do I need to start historical name dropping here?

November 6, 2019

That’s how it is done

A biker stopped by the local Harley shop to have his bike repaired. They couldn’t do the work while he waited, and so, since he didn’t live far from the shop, he decided to walk home.
On the way home he stopped at the hardware store and bought a bucket and an anvil. He stopped at the feed store / livestock dealer and picked up a couple of chickens and a goose. However, he had a problem… How to carry his entire purchase home.
The feed store owner said, “Why don’t you put the anvil in the bucket, carry the bucket in one hand, put a chicken under each arm and carry the goose in your other hand?” “Hey, thanks!” said the biker, and out the door he went.
In the parking lot he was approached by a little old lady who told him she was lost, and asked if he could tell her the way to 1603 Mockingbird Lane.
The biker said, as a matter of fact, I live at 1616 Mockingbird Lane.” We can take a short cut down this alley and be there in no time”.
The little old lady looked him over cautiously, and then said, “I am a lonely widow without a husband to defend me. How do I know that when we get in the alley you won’t hold me up against the wall, pull up my skirt, and ravish me?”
The biker said, “Holy smokes lady! I’m carrying a bucket, an anvil, two chickens, and a goose. How in Hell could I possibly hold you up against a wall and do that?”
The lady said, “Set the goose down, cover him with the bucket, put the anvil on top of the bucket, and I’ll hold the chickens.”

November 5, 2019

Manatee Musings

I'm alive. I have been busy doing stuff. The nature of that "stuff" I cannot identify. Not because it is super secret, but rather because I don't know where the time is going. Sitting around sure uses up a lot of time.

I had to drive over to the next county to meet with my unemployment counselor. She pretty much told me I'm on my own in finding a job. I have mandatory trainings I have to take in the next three weeks. All involve driving to that office. Nothing like wasting precious gas to take a class on how to interview. Is there a class that makes me twenty years younger? That is what employers want.

We switched Internet providers last week to save a few bucks. The service is not quite as good, but such is life.

It is election day here in the burbs. I think only one race is contested: city council at large. I'm not sure it is worth walking the 150 yards to my polling place.

I'm still battling the tail end of a cold. If snot could power my furnace, we would be set until after Christmas.

You are now caught up.

Really worth stopping by, eh wot?

November 3, 2019

Ready or not, Santa is coming

Good morning and Happy Sunday.

I deleted a 1,237 word rant about the idiocy of changing the clocks twice a year. You are welcome.

When did Black Friday and the Holiday marketing blitz move to the beginning of November? One chain is boasting Santa will arrive today.

It's not dandruff that has me scratching my head.

On the other hand, what do I care? On the scale of crazy that is today's America, a business trying to make a buck is at the minor end of the scale compared to the position of pretty much every Democrat candidate running for office. Even the ghost of Eugene Debs thinks the party has lost its collective mind.

"Collective". See what I did there?

Since I'm in a complain and confused mood can I point out the incongruity of sending a repeat offender to prison for five years for armed robbery while a mediocre actress is facing 40 years or more in the slammer for paying off corrupt college officials to get her kids into a university?

Sorry, there is something wrong with the system when prosecutors intimidate a person from proclaiming their innocence by piling on charges until the supposed perp caves under the pressure. Now they are threatening charges against Lori Laughlin's kids if she doesn't lead guilty. I hope it goes to trial. It only takes one person like me on the jury who says "so what" and the case is closed forever. I would feel a little more like the Government was interested in justice as opposed to publicity if they went after the people who organized the corrupt process and took the bribes with the same prosecutorial zeal.

Speaking of crazy, I've discovered a knot in my abdomen. It could be nothing. It might be a hernia. Hypochondriac me votes for aneurism or tumor. I'm hoping it is not an alien waiting to burst through my skin in an eruption of slime and guts. That would be bad.

November 2, 2019

You are 16, going on 17

I read an opinion piece somewhere this morning arguing we should lower the voting age, citing the angry Greta Thornburg and Parkland kids as evidence. Of course the author agrees with those kids' politics. For me, Winston Churchill's quip about liberalism and the young comes to mind.

If we are going to let 16 year olds vote, then we should let them buy booze.

We should allow them to marry.

We should allow them to serve in the military.

But Joe, you say, they are just kids.


November 1, 2019

Pop Tarts and Beer

Halloween passed with nary a ghost goblin or Buzz Lightyear ringing my bell. Perhaps the weather was a factor. It was cold, snowy, and windy here at the homestead. It was a most unpleasant evening. Perhaps it was just the way things are. We have had about 10 TOTAL trick or treaters in the six years we have lived here. Insert shrug.

Here is a question for you Impeachers. Should we ignore corruption if it involves a candidate for office? Is it your position that the US should not use leverage to investigate possible corruption? Do the Bidens get a break just because Old Joe is running yet again?

The NBA has started and I do not care. Ditto hockey. Football season is entering the second half. Come on April. I'm ready for some baseball.

Have a great Friday.
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