November 30, 2023

Pain in the rear

The day started normally enough. The wife’s alarm went off. She hit snooze and turned over. I got out of bed. I went to the bathroom, checked my blood sugars and pulled on yesterday’s shirt and jeans. I grabbed my socks and pulled the bedroom door closed.

I walked to the stairs, intent on sitting on the top step to pull on my socks. 

I misjudged something, my feet slipped off the edge of the top stair and I slinkied down about half the top flight. I mostly bounced on my coccyx. My wrist is sore, but my backside and lower back are slightly uncomfortable. 

The last time this happened I broke a rib. I think I’m good this time, but it is a lousy way to start the day. 

November 29, 2023

Wake up Little Suzi

Not so long ago the entire family was dining together, and the discussion turned to the inability of my wife and daughter to get up without hitting snooze repeatedly. I remembered that the oldest boy once had a Nickelodeon alarm that played the Nick theme song (from the 90's) and then launched into an alarm blare like a battleship klaxon. I remembered it was annoying.

My daughter quipped that "No, I had the most annoying alarm ever, and it looked like you", pointing at me. I could only laugh because it was true. She only sort of laughed.

Here is some background. 

My mother went to work full time when I was in sixth or seventh grade. It was my responsibility to get up and go to school. My brother wasn't going to get me up any more than I would have dragged him out of bed. I learned early to put my alarm across the room.  I had to get up to turn it off, so why bother going back to bed? It was effective. I still get up without a snooze. Thus, my patience with chronic snoozers is limited. 

When I went to college, I pledged a fraternity. Pledges lived in the house. One of the duties was to wake up everyone in the fraternity. Wake-up calls started at six and ended at 10 AM. Everyone was entitled to three calls every morning, the last call you had to insist the sleeper was sitting up with feet on the floor.  There were no exceptions, no matter what the sleeper said. Now, we had a small pledge class, so the pool of those on wake-up call duty was limited. Most guys served one day every week or two, depending on class schedule. Usually two guys did the duty, 6-8 and another 8-10. Classes started at a little after 8, so no one would miss an early class doing calls.

I had the misfortune of no classes on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday before 10:30. That meant every MWF I had wake up calls from 8-10. It sucked. Some guys did calls every two weeks, I was doing it three times a week. I became good at my responsibility. I knew the problem sleepers -- the ones who cursed, who begged, who fought. I knew the guys who would refuse to be "dragged". I had a duty, and I did it with ruthless efficiency.  

The next semester, again by chance, I had no classes before 10 on Tuesday or Thursday. Again, guess who got screwed? At least one other brother had the same schedule, so the burden was shared. I spent a lot of time my freshman year waking up the 70+ brothers in the house. 

Anyway, years later, when it came to get my daughter out of bed, I took the same approach. I would shake her the first time until she responded. Fifteen minutes later I shook her until her eyes were open and she could answer me. The third call I was relentless, shaking her and talking to her until she answered, sat up, and put her feet on the floor. In the fraternity I was done at that point, with my daughter I stayed until she was completely up and out of bed. 

Yes, I was an annoying alarm clock. But she got up. 

November 28, 2023

I don't care if it is not politically correct

It is a chilly 16F outside this morning with a threat of flurries. Winter is upon us, I believe. 

I am back to work after the long weekend. I took yesterday off to see the wife through a colonoscopy.  All is good with her.

Some of you are insanely curious, so here it is; "D" none of the above. I drove down to the gas station and got a cup of black coffee Sunday.   

The wife has the house transformed into a Christmas wonderland. There are five trees of varying heights, counting the one on the porch (4'). The big one is the 9' one we got last year. The stairs are wrapped in lighted garland. The dining room and family room each have little skinny trees (6' / 7"). I will try to get some pictures later in the week.

Now I have to get caught up on nearly a week's worth of emails.

Have a great Tuesday.

Yes, that is the indomitable Esther Williams.

November 27, 2023

The Irony

Am I the only one who finds it hilarious that the upcoming Rolling Stones tour is sponsored by AARP?

November 26, 2023

I need coffee

 I woke up in a good mood. Then the Keurig refused to make coffee. It won’t even make hot water. Nothing. I think the bleeping pump has died. 

Now I’m faced with going out and buying stupid coffee from the coffee shop. They opened a new Starbucks in walking distance. I could get some exercise and coffee in one fell swoop. I could drive a little further to the Donut shop. I could sit here and complain. 

Choose your own adventure. I will tell you tomorrow what I did. 

November 25, 2023

No music today.

It is a bittersweet day. I won’t belabor the point. Today is my grandson’s sixth birthday. 

Later this afternoon the wife and I will go down to the cemetery and smile and cry. We will celebrate the life, not the death. 

He is, I know,  in God’s arms.  

November 24, 2023

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, I sure did. Of course I ate way too much and had too many desserts. That’s what it about. Well except for the giving thanks part. I did that too. We had a great time hanging with the wife’s extended family, a generally good group of people we don’t see enough. Coming from a tiny family, it is great to see four generations gather. Sadly, I am now part of that older crowd, even if I don’t always feel old. 

We got the outside decorated Wednesday afternoon. The house looks pretty much the same as last year and every previous year before that. The big tree is up (9’) but needs the ornaments. The second (7’) one is up in the family room. It needs decorations too. Today we will wrap lighted garland around the stair rails. Inside will be done by the end of the weekend. We are working in spurts, both the wife and I still tire easily from our bout with covid . 

And that is the boring update.

November 23, 2023



I do have plenty to be thankful for. While I usually fill these pages with sarcasm, bombast, and complaints, I appreciate you more than I can say. Thank you for letting me in your life a few minutes each day.

Now get off the interwebz and watch a parade or some football. Eat something!

November 22, 2023

Humpin’ up to the holiday

Here it is on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Work has been slow, and I expect today to be a real snooze fest. I’m torn, I need to call a customer, but I know the last thing on his mind is talking to a widget salesman on the day before a long holiday. Maybe I’ll call late morning and hope for voicemail. 

It is my hope I can wrap things up in time to get the outside lights up before dark. If not, I can work on it during the day tomorrow. I am quickly heading towards the “heck with it” stage. I just can’t get in the holiday mood this year. 

It not just the holidays. I started writing a new story. I’m four chapters in, have the balance of the tale outlined in a broad sense, but I have no motivation to do the actual work. Frankly, this story is better than my last one, but that makes no difference. I guess I’m at the why bother stage. I spent hundreds of hours on my current book for about 25 books sold. A follow-up effort will likely garner fewer readers. I cannot see working that hard for a vanity project. I can spew my nonsense right here with a modicum of effort. 

Boo hoo, boo hoo. 

How about some righteous rock and roll? After the holiday I will start playing Christmas music, despite my Jewish readers. So maybe you should listen to this today. 

Back when they rocked instead of singing power ballads. Of course there is nothing like being lectured to by rich musicians.

Have a great Wednesday.

November 21, 2023

I can fly!

I was not long out of college and working as a management trainee at an injection molding factory. The factory is long-closed and the OSHA statute of limitations, if there is such a thing, has long expired. 

It was my lot that week to spend some time on the graveyard shift, that 11-7 time slot no one likes. The factory had a range of presses, from 50 ton to 2500 ton machines. Some of the molds were quite large, all were very heavy. Cranes crossed the factory ceiling, not construction cranes, but the overhead machines that are ubiquitous in nearly every factory. 

There was one particular mold technician, maybe in his late thirties, who was eccentric, to say the least, but he was a wizard at his job. He could set up a press, wave his fingers over the controls and make the mold spit out perfect, repeatable parts every time. But he was batshit crazy. 

Big heavy 4x4 boxes that originally held raw material were used to collect scrap and recycling - plastic can be reused - and one of these boxes was at the foot of every press. I was walking along when I heard a thud. I looked down to see a quivering screwdriver embedded in the side of the box right beside me. Crazy mold tech Marty had thrown his screwdriver like a knife into the side of the box. He grinned, pulled it out and walked off. I learned he did this all of the time and could famously launch his screwdriver from 20 or more yards away with unerring accuracy. 

It was late in the week, in the doldrums that hit around 4 AM, that I finally saw his famous act up close. Over the roar and pound of the presses, I heard laughter. I looked up to see Marty flying above my head.. He took the hook from an overhead crane, and fastened  to the back of his belt and raised himself up fifteen feet above the machines and was slowly transversing the factory floor like an Industrial Age Peter Pan. 

The plant manager called me in to ask if I had seen the flying on the crane. I asked what would happen. “Ah, Jose (he always called  me Jose), he’ll have a couple of days at home. When he takes his meds he’s a good worker,” he said. “Besides,” the plant manager grinned at me, “We would all like to do it if we had any balls.” He glared at 23 year-old me. “Don’t get any ideas. Your ass will be fired.” 

It did look like fun. 

November 20, 2023

Snappy Title

It is a short work week. That is a good thing. But it is still Monday. 

I spent all afternoon raking and bagging up the ankle-deep leaves in the front yard. As I padded past the front door with my coffee, I noticed the yard is covered again this morning. While not a solid layer, there are plenty of bleeping leaves on the ground. It is also spitting snow. Imagine I typed a bunch of cartoon curse word symbols right here. You know, @&$#*!.

I made beef and noodles for dinner last night, and because I live in the Midwest I made mashed spuds to go with them. The best part is I have leftovers for lunch. Sure, it’s a carbapalooza. Sure, it’s bad for my blood sugar. Sure, I don’t care. 

For the first time in a long time, there will be no immediate family Thanksgiving this year. Daughter and her family have other plans. Youngest is feasting with his girlfriends’ family. The wife and I will motor north to spend the holiday with her family. I’m cool with that. Unfortunately, that means no turkey leftovers to nibble on over the weekend. 

So it goes.

Happy Monday. 

November 19, 2023

The other side of the Seventies


There are far, far worse ways to spend fifteen minutes or so of your Sunday.

BTW, was there ever a musician more into the tambourine than that guy?

November 18, 2023

It’s a chilly start

No more bad seventies music videos, at least for today. My strength is returning from my covid spell. Better yet, the wife is finally feeling better. The projects around the house have been in suspension for the past week. Stuff still needs to be put up on the walls, the new rug put down, and finding a place for all of those Barbies and toys. 

Outside, the leaves are ankle deep in the front yard. I still have limbs from the lilac bushes to cut up into small pieces. The front gutters are overflowing with leaves. 

We need to go to the grocery and make a Walmart run. I will take another test to make sure I’m not infectious, but there is zero chance I’m wearing a mask. If you are worried about my germs, go ahead and mask up. I don’t care. Just don’t wear it in the car, driving by yourself. You look (and are) foolish if you do. 

Overall, it is time to start digging out the Christmas decorations. That means rearranging all of the stuff we just put into place! We have so much to do, all without overtaxing our weakened systems. There is plenty to do. 

And a decided lack of energy to it. 

November 17, 2023

Continuing a theme

I haven’t even touched the surface in my effort to inflict the worst songs of the seventies on your ears. I could throw out some Melanie, Afternoon Delight, Honey by Bobby Goldsboro, Billy Don’t Be a Hero, Muskrat Love, or hundreds of other tunes too awful to thrust into your conscience even through reference. 

Instead, I will finish the week with this doozy. Enjoy!

Make it stop!

November 16, 2023

Get out of my head

Ha ha ha now you have it.

BTW, is that the most Seventies of seventies videos? 

I know there is an East Chicago (in Indiana), but on the “old east side”? I guess they mean the friggin’ lake? The song writers were clearly from the UK and geographically challenged. 

November 15, 2023

How about this one?

That one will really get stuck in your head. BTW, why does The Godfather get all the “greatest movie of the seventies” hype? Did the critics even watch BillyJack?

Of course that is a joke.

BTW I am getting better, very tired. 

The wife is really sick. 

November 14, 2023

Musical Interlude

You will have this stuck in your head. You’re welcome. 

November 13, 2023

Still Sick

It is confirmed. I have the covid. My earlier hyperbole aside, that explains why  feel like crap. I have slept probably 17 of the past 24 hours. While it isn’t the “we are all gong to die” panic the government tried to foist upon us, it isn’t the sniffles either. Mostly it feels like a solid  case of the flu. 

November 12, 2023

a little of this a bit of that.

I have a cold. I’m guessing an ordinary person would be in the hospital. Instead, I slept in my office recliner and am fighting through my debilitating symptoms to post something this morning. 

You are welcome. 

Friday evening I cleaned up all of the leaves from the front yard. Today the lawn is covered. That means after the football game I will rise from my deathbed and try to clean them up yet again. That’s if the wife doesn’t have other plans. She noticed Christmas lights popping on in the neighborhood and dropped some hints last night. I shall resist right up to the point she quits hinting and starts asking me to go to the attic. 

Thanks for the kind review Luap.

November 11, 2023

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month


For all who served. The song dates from the civil war.

November 10, 2023

But while we were talking, I saw you nodding out

Friday at last. It has been a busy week. I drove my oldest son to the airport yesterday. It was great having him home. I miss him already.

After work I raked the leaves in the front yard. Most of the leaves are still in the tree, waiting until it is cold and gloomy before they fall, but I got a head start anyway. Mother Nature will wait until I put up my Christmas decorations then carpet the yard with leaves. She has a sense of humor like that. 

As for work, I will finish a massive quote of nearly six hundred items this morning. I have two final prices to calculate this morning and then check it thrice for errors before I submit it this afternoon. This account is 99% of my business, so a failure on my part or the company’s part will mean my job. Literally. I haven’t worked in a vacuum, costs and prices came with input from even the COO. Still, there is a high degree of stress involved. 

Have a great Friday. Here is some great music to make it so.

November 9, 2023

I hate people with a dry sense of humor

Some people once accused me of being a plagiarist.

Their words, not mine.

November 8, 2023

That old ennui

It might be because I am busy that I haven’t posted. It could be other stuff. Mostly, it is lack of motivation. 

Sorry about that.

Perhaps some music will soothe you.

How can you not dig that?

November 6, 2023

A pretty good Sunday

My daughter invited us over for dinner last night. It was meatloaf, not my favorite way of using hamburger, and it was in the middle of the Colts game. On the other hand we had no plans yet for supper and it was a free meal, so why not? 

We arrived at the appointed time and my daughter said the grandgirls had something they wanted to show us in the basement. So we went downstairs and there sat my oldest son, he had flown in from Colorado as a big surprise. We had no idea he was coming. We haven’t seen him for more than two years. It was a great and glorious surprise. 

He can’t stay the whole week, but any time is good. 

Life doesn’t always throw you curveballs, occasionally it gives you a big fat home run.

November 5, 2023

Yesterday I raked all of the leaves, today the lawn is covered

It is Sunday morning. It is also time change day.

Redacted long rant filled with curse words and hateful invective hurled upon the slimy politicians who refuse to rid us of this perfidious bi-annual nuisance.

We went to see a movie last night. I will not mention the title because it was without doubt one of the worst movies I have ever seen. How anyone Okayed the script is beyond my understanding. How anyone agreed to cough up money to produce that piece of garbage defies fiscal responsibility and logic. I don’t care who agreed to direct and star in that waste of digital celluloid, it is awful and a waste of my ticket money and it is time I’ll never get back. The popcorn was good. There, I had something nice to say about the experience, are you happy, Mom? Frankly, I was ready to leave by about six minutes in.

That says a lot. If I have anything I enjoy, it is watching movies. It is one thing my wife and I have in common. Our earliest dates, and most common ones when we were teens, were at the cinema. There is no doubt my favorite hobbies are watching movies and reading books, probably in that order. Yes, Dr. Freud, I believe escapism is the term you are searching for. I love watching a movie at the theater and I enjoy watching them on TV. Every weekend I watch at least a couple of movies on TV. I like almost any genre, but my interest skews to comedy, romcom, westerns, war, and action. I dig an old MGM musical. I am not much for sci-fi, and never horror. I do not like scary movies at all.

I guess, since you all know I ever search for the bright side of any situation, time change is a good thing today. It gives me an extra hour to watch a movie. Maybe I will see if I can find an old Esther Williams flick. She was my first crush, and all of that water will help wash that garbage last night from my mind.

November 4, 2023

Just Enough

 I’m in a great mood. It is not that. I really don’t have anything to say to you today.

I kinda, sorta, made the minimum effort though.

November 3, 2023

Forget The Holidays

Yeah, yeah, there is Thanksgiving. Then there is Christmas. Maybe you look forward to the New Year. The heck with all of that. Here is what has me excited almost beyond words:

I’ll be there. Even if the wife says “pass”, I’ll go by myself. 

November 2, 2023

Five pounds of crap in a one pound bag

I had weird dreams last night. I suppose it was the pot of chili I made for dinner. No, I won’t bore you with the details. There was no nekid involved, so why would anyone care? 

It is cold again this morning. Fall is here. I have beaucoup leaves to rake. And so right on cue, the wife wants more and different yard work done. I have two admittedly overgrown lilac bushes beside the patio. It wasn’t a problem until we rearranged the family room. I installed new blinds on the windows to replace the old shades. Now she can see those lilacs and wants them cut down. And the leaves are unsightly. 

Yes, I get it. “That rake fits your hand,” I said. 

To myself. 

The problem is I live in the burbs. If it doesn’t fit into those two trash bins it doesn’t get picked up unless I pay for a disposable dumpster or hire it hauled away. Those two lilacs are probably eight feet tall. I don’t care how small I cut up the branches I won’t get even one of the bushes in a bin.  Oh, and don’t forget the bags of leaves have to go somewhere. And we do create trash and garbage inside the house too. Mumble, mumble, no point in griping further. It is supposed to be a little warmer this weekend, so it is outside work I’ll do. I’m sure “we” will discuss the big pile of cut-down lilac bush piled out by the big willow around this time next week. 

This seems appropriate.

November 1, 2023

Onward to Thanksgiving!


Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was a Mexican painter known for her many self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. 

She is my granddaughter’s favorite artist. 

Remember all of this, it will be important later.

Yesterday was cold and blustery. It spat snow all afternoon and evening. We had about 25 trick or treaters at the house: In the ten years we’ve lived here. Total. We had zero visits last night. At this point I doubt we can blame the weather, it is a pattern. That did not stop the wife from buying two bags of candy, however. She is the eternal optimist. Her response? “Oh well, at least it is the kinds we like.” Now I have to fight temptation every time I walk through the kitchen. I reminded her I’m diabetic. She smiled at me sweetly. 

Secretly, I think she wants to kill me. Not really. Maybe. 

The grandgirls were excited about a Halloween. They put on extra layers under their costumes. The youngest was a Frozen Princess — the one in blue, I can’t remember which is which, Anna or Elsa.

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