Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Pathogens Prefer

I mentioned yesterday that I took an online quiz about bloodborne pathogens. I studied for it as well, since it's not a subject that I knew anything about. Then I took the quiz and got 100% right.

One of the questions was kind of weird though. I can't remember exactly what the wording was, but it had to do with whether bloodborne pathogens "prefer" being in a host or not being in a host. I was thinking that's a little weird. But it makes a certain amount of sense, assuming bacteria, spores, viruses are going about their business of life intentionally. The answer was True.

It'd be great to fit a little camera into a bacteria and look around from its point of view. Or attach some brain sensors to its consciousness to determine what its level of conscious activity is in relation to various stimuli or circumstances. I don't usually think of them as thinking over their moves and activities. It might be just like a field of consciousness, kind of the way we think of birds when they make their moves (I read about that somewhere once).

The bacteria I have in the basement, in those spots where the water leaks in in the spring and get all over my stuff -- then develop little colonies that infest and destroy, say, a book ... they're mostly working in the dark, because I don't usually have the lights on unless I'm down there. What would they be doing? Bumping into one another on their way across the room? I don't know how they get from place to place, unless they catch a current of air, or keep multiplying across the room until they get there.

It's sickening though. I've been down there, cleaning, doing my spring cleaning. And it's like a spore factory. I hate it. There was some bills that had fallen into the wet muck. And I needed to shred some of them, which is tough going in a shredder if the stuff is damp. Now they'd be in my shredder, and who knows where from there! And I'm afraid that I'm going to get them in my nasal passages, in my eyes, in my ears, in a little cut, etc., and die.

If I die from bacteria all over my stuff, people will say, Right there it proves that living simply is the best way. This guy died from his possessions.

Hearing about and thinking about bacteria about drives me crazy. Because once I get it in my mind, it stays there.

UPDATE: I just thought of the worst thing the bacteria destroyed recently, within the last year. I had a rare Ray Charles jukebox set, five or six records in a jukebox envelope, nice condition, the records virtually mint condition. It was in a box of 45s, although I believe these records played at 33 (they were still 7 inchers). This set was on the end in the box, the end was near the wall. I went to get a record out of the box and noticed mold and gunk on the outside of the jukebox envelope. Oh no! The bacteria had eaten or multiplied their way inside and destroyed one label of the first record. Which ruins the set of course. That was heartbreaking.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scared Away From Sex: Bloodborne Pathogens

I've never been a promiscuous person. Of course I did have one major public fling, with two of the farmers' daughters at the big Grange wingding. That was an episode I like to call, "Put Me Amongst The Girls."

But other than that, probably the less said the better. The less said the less embarrassing to me. Although, hey, I'm not the guy who thought up nature. People have been doing it since biblical times and perhaps before.

I was reading a book the other day by a Freudian psych guy, I can't think of his name, but it was on compulsions. The author said he'd done another major work on masturbation, and that's what he zeroed in on in this book. It's a thick book that has lots of in depth, lengthy case studies, the things that people are compulsive about. Just looking at that last sentence might say a lot: thick, in depth, lengthy.

Remember, though, my strictest rule here at this blog -- as well as all my other public pronouncements -- is that nothing blue is allowed. We'll leave all the risque stuff to Rusty Warren. Speaking of Rusty Warren, would that be a woman who would appeal to you ... you know, in that way? Like when she was in her raunchy prime. She was very much a broad, and the way I remember her records, I don't mean that in a good way. I don't want a raunchy, loud mouth broad who clearly knows more than I do and has been around the block so many times.

Looking at Wikipedia, I see Rusty's still alive and apparently doing well. So she must've believed in safe sex, despite her image all those years ago. Knockers up!

Anyway, what I wanted to get to is something I did today. I took an online study and quiz on bloodborne pathogens. And so I'm sworn off everything! Whatever you can think of ... in the blue realm ... I'm sworn off it. Because of the clear and present danger -- the imminent threat -- of everything that swims through the bodies of others.

Even me, not literally, because I'm as pure and pristine as a new born nun. But, according to the clinical teachings on bloodborne pathogens, you have to assume that everyone is crawling with HIV and HBV (Hepatitis B Virus). Because you don't know. There's not always any indication of it. Because a host can be a carrier without manifesting symptoms or signs. So it's a big scary world out there.

The teaching materials gave a list of the things that are of terrible danger, including the various fluids and secretions that ... take place ... down there somewhere. It's all very dreadful.

So that's it! I'm totally sworn off, scared out of my mind.

I was taking Underbrush (my dog) to the park today, it being a beautiful day. And it being a beautiful day, there were plenty of girls out jogging, walking together, biking by, etc. I dutifully averted my eyes and looked at some garbage cans, felled trees, and the last remaining snow clumps instead. Whatever you got, Sister, I'm not interested! Save it for your doctor!

We have better, safer lives through science. Thank goodness, temptation can never get the best of me now!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dog Food Labels On eBay

These are some of the dog food labels for sale on eBay today. They might not be there tomorrow, because I might be snapping up the Buy It Now ones, and on the auction ones putting such a high bid that no one can touch me.

I love all these. The top one, "Sport," that's one cool looking dog. But note, he also has a tongue as red as a cherry, a lot like the Huffy Beef label I featured yesterday.

As of this morning, the Sport label is for sale at $14.95, of course a real steal. Too bad Christmas is so far off. Grandma's always wanting to know what I want. And we've already had my birthday. Maybe I'll get it for Easter.

The "Gingham Dog" one is very darling too. I wouldn't mind having my room wallpapered with those. I used to have some fishing wallpaper and I'd sit and stare at it for hours. At some point it all got torn down and/or covered over. I've often thought I'd give anything to see that wallpaper again.

The dealer who has the "Gingham" for sale has two Buy It Now lots of 4 for $4.99, and one lot of 4 at auction with a minimum bid of 99 cents. The minimum is low, but I'll probably need to put at least $12.99 to actually beat out the next guy.

I just love the Frend label! Look at the cute array of dogs peeking over the fence, the yellow field that makes up the space for Frend's information. Now that would make a great wallpaper, if you could afford it. Or, in this case, since I keep my dog food labels in collectors bags with the backing and everything, then hidden away in file cabinets, a couple of those would look great filed away. The Frend label is a steal at $19.95. I might contact the dealer and see if he can hold it for me until Christmas. They'll usually work with you if you check in every month or so to tell them you haven't forgotten.

Checking out the Rivet's label on the bottom, that looks like the Strongheart dog! Maybe he did some modeling outside the Strongheart company. Whether it's him or not, he's looking good. There's several lots of Rivet's labels like this on eBay this morning. But I'm torn as to which one to buy. One dealer has one Rivet's label at $9.95. And the other has 50 of them for $10.00. So it's a tough call. In these days, with the economy being what it is, that nickel might come in handy for something else.

Speaking of the economy, my advice for investors, and for the small guy as well, is, if you want true security, put your money in dog food labels. Get them while they're cheap, because they can only go up in value. I hear people sometimes say that gold is the best investment. Don't believe them! Gold is like $1,000 an ounce! At that rate a bottle of pop would cost you $10,000! That's way too high.

Dog food labels are the best investment for one very obvious reason: Because dogs will always have to eat!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Husky Beef Flavor (Dog Food Labels 5 of 5)

For the last in our series of collectible dog food labels from the early '90s, which is just a sample of my much bigger collection, we're going to feature the Husky Beef Flavor variety. It's obviously quite a bit different from the Strongheart labels we've been looking at all week, while still being in the same family, with Strongheart also being the producer of Husky.

It's been a while since I've fed any of my dogs Husky, and I haven't seen it around for quite a while. So I don't remember what it looked like. What I do seem to recall was that Husky was a little cheaper than regular Strongheart, so, who knows, maybe it was made with the meat of elderly cattle. Where their firmness had given way to drooping. And perhaps it was a little grayer looking, I don't recall.

I really like how red the tongue is on the dog! Four inches up and he could've been Rudolph. And Huskies hang out at the North Pole, so Santa could've used one of them. That's quite a dog too. The little dip between the eyes makes the white part of his face into a heart, how cute. And he has those big ears, his hearing was probably very keen. He was on the lookout for a downed cow, something to eat.

I'll try to describe the color scheme on the label, in case you have a hard time recognizing it yourself. The dominant color is red, with the big Husky logo in a yellow oval-ish background. Or could I say a rectangle with rounded ends? Or shaped like an elongated pill capsule.

As always, I will describe again the flavor, then check the ingredients to see if that ingredient is indeed present. The flavor, as already stated, is Beef. Now to the ingredients (not pictured), glancing through, I see, here it is, "Beef By-Products." But, hey, what about this? It also says "Poultry." Obviously meaning that elderly cow meat needs to be supplemented by poultry, because all alone elderly cows are no longer spring chickens.

Note: Just checking my collection, I see I have two of these Husky labels. I would be willing to trade it for any Milk-Bone box put out between 1915 and 1926.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Strongheart B, L & B Flavor (Dog Food Labels 4 of 5)

Now we've got a beautiful label! I've always liked this one, even though I'm not personally that crazy about liver.

Maybe I like it because of the beautiful brown color. It really makes the big eared dog stand out nicely. It gives it a very healthy look. And since a lot of the meat we like is brown when it's cooked, maybe that's what gives it a real good feeling.

Would I like to have beef, liver, and bacon mixed together? No, not really. But seriously, leave the liver out and it wouldn't be so bad with beef and bacon. I've had bacon cheeseburgers before and they're real good. Also double bacon cheeseburgers, which is just about the same thing.

It'd be tough to picture it, if you went to the burger joint and they put a big slab of liver on top of a bacon cheeseburger or double bacon cheeseburger. It sounds nasty. And what it might look like, it'd have to be worse. Or equally bad, the look and the taste.

But when it comes to dog food, dogs don't care. I used to do quite a bit of rabbit hunting, and, it seems gross now, but the dogs would eat the intestines as they fell to the ground. They might be steaming in the snow but they'd fight over them. I can only imagine if I threw in a big piece of liver, to them it'd be like a cherry on the top.

So let's think about this particular can of food. Even though it sounds disgusting to us, to dogs this has to be a terrific flavor. Down it goes, they're happy, just don't breathe on me ... please.

As for the label, it's one of the really pretty ones, like I said, the color, the presentation, the associations with meat, the fact that it promises a real variety, the different meats. Everything about it is good, except the liver.

Looking at the ingredients (not pictured), I see it contains beef by-products, liver, and bacon. What do you suppose the proportions would be? Is there a slice of bacon in there ground up? I don't know.

Whatever may be the ingredients, it's a handsome label, one I like very very much! It's just too bad about the liver...

Tomorrow: Husky Beef.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Strongheart Chicken Flavor (Dog Food Labels 3 of 5)

It's always fun to go through my collection of dog food labels like I've been doing this week, and it's a lot more fun when I'm able to share them with others who are interested. The week is going so quickly!

This week I'm just looking at five of them, four of my Strongheart labels, and then I'll cap off the series with a nice Husky (also a Strongheart brand).

Today I've got the Chicken flavor, like the others an early '90s label. I got this particular label at a farm supply store around 1991-1992. There was a short period back then that I was between dogs. Fritz had died and we were still auditioning a few collies. But still I wanted to work on some of the gaps in my collection, and the Strongheart Chicken flavor being a very common one, I picked it up. No big deal. But I remember it clearly because I didn't want the food in the can to go to waste. So I opened it right outside the store and scooped the food onto a McDonald's bag and sat it around the corner of the store. I figured a dog would happen along sooner or later who wouldn't mind a chicken dinner. It was win-win. He'd have his meal for that day and I'd have a quick label.

Like I said, this is a very common label. It's so common, of course, that when you look through the magazine ads you always see it as part of a starter collection mostly geared toward kids. Just as a come-on, they'll always have a rarer label prominently in front, but then, almost invariably, you'll see some bright orange peeking out toward the back. That would be our label!

Collecting dog food labels, like anything else, unfortunately has its snobby side. Because it's very easy to get jaded and a little too proud of the rarer gems, like a Ken-L-Ration Beef #1 or a '60s Lollipups box. I hate to see that because these people are forgetting that they started out fresh at one time too, they also once were newbies. And I'll bet they started off with the lowly Strongheart Chicken or got one very soon after! I'm sorry if that rubs anyone the wrong way, but no one likes a snob, that's just the way it is.

Maybe it doesn't have much value. OK, we get it. But if everyone threw them away, you know what would happen? They'd suddenly be rare and valuable! So there you go. Let's just be content with what we have, don't judge others, and realize that this label too is a good one. We'd all be missing something if we didn't have it.

Let's look at it. I don't know if the orange scanned all that well. But the featured color is pure orange. The basic design is well known. We've got the big eared dog in the middle, who in real life must've died ages ago but lives on in our (strong) hearts. The blue ribbon stands out starkly against the orange. We see the other elements. Checking the ingredients (not pictured), we're looking for Chicken ... and, yes, I do see it, second right after water ... "Chicken."

Not to put too fine a point on it, I hope, there's really nothing about this label to be ashamed of. If I didn't have a dozen of them already, I guarantee you I'd be looking for one. Again, let me just call everyone to be content, and realize that we all started at some point. Like I said above, I didn't rush out to get one of these, but then one day I was at the store and decided, "Why not? No one's looking. Just get it already." To me that's intelligent ... Live and let live.

Tomorrow: Something a little more exciting, the Strongheart Beef, Liver & Bacon flavor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Strongheart Liver Flavor (Dog Food Labels 2 of 5)

You must've seen this one coming today, after I mentioned it yesterday, saying the Liver flavor "has its distinctives." That was surely a gimme!

And of course you would've been right, since there it is, one of the boldest, most eye-catching labels I know of in the history of dog food marketing. It's the bright red that sets this one apart.

Liver is a meat that is known for its redness, like other red meat, but it's always a deeper, darker red. It has a very blood red look to it. Liver takes its name from the organ of the body which it is, the liver. I could look it up and find out for sure, but I think it is responsible for filtering bile out of your system, or filtering something, maybe blood. That would explain the blood red color. It'd be interesting to examine the liver of a new born calf, to see if they start out a different color, like white, then become red after working a while.

Well, be all that as it may, liver is edible. I can handle it in smaller portions. I love a few chicken livers, fried up, although the chicken producers have taken to selling chickens without the livers in recent years. But when it comes to cow liver, I'm not a big fan. One, it's way too much to have a piece of liver covering and hanging over the edges of your plate. And, two, in my opinion, the taste isn't good enough to be the centerpiece of a whole meal.

But that doesn't mean dogs wouldn't like it. And that's what we're here for. I don't collect dog food labels because I myself eat the stuff; I don't! So I need to keep my comments on the quality of the meat and the desirability of the meat to a minimum, and just comment on the label itself.

No collection is complete without one of these, the Strongheart Liver with the distinctive red presentation. That said, please don't be discouraged if you have a hard time finding one. They are rare and getting rarer all the time, because most people over the years simply threw them away. Plus, liver, being a meat that many of us don't like that much, there's a real bias against it -- we actually do make decisions about the dog food we buy based on what would appeal to us -- and so it generally sells less than, say, your Beef or Chicken flavors.

All that said, the collector knows that part of the value of an item is determined by its rarity, and so this is a label that we all seek even though we might not personally like a big sloppy plate of cow guts ourselves for a meal. Even with a side of steamed onions, which frankly isn't that much of an improvement.

OK, I'm looking at the label. And I like what I see. The Strongheart dog with the enormous ears in the middle. The blue ribbon standing out prominently against the red. The list of ingredients (not pictured), verifying that, yes indeed, this particular can of food does include "Liver."

This particular label is from the early '90s and is a very nice piece to have. My own copy has some frayed edges, since whoever bought it originally didn't take the time to get it off the can neatly. Still, the piece's rarity in the marketplace means this one retains its higher value in spite of this (very common) flaw.

Tomorrow: Strongheart Chicken flavor.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strongheart Beef Flavor (Dog Food Labels 1 of 5)

I've got a real treat for you -- for five days only, with one a day, some classic dog food labels.

Collecting dog food labels is admittedly a rare hobby. But if you know anyone who does it, they'll tell you it's actually quite rewarding. One, it preserves the history of the labeling of dog food. And two, it's economical. You can still get some real steals, even on eBay.

I wanted to bring out a few of my pieces here, a quick series of five labels only, both to display them and to say a little about each one, what makes it such a nice piece and so forth.

I've always thought the Strongheart labels were among the most beautiful, so this week I'm going to feature four different ones, the Beef flavor you see pictured, then four other varieties. The last in the series will be a beautiful Husky label, which, as you may recall, has a very bold red background and a Husky dog on it with a tongue redder than a strawberry! The Husky label, also being made by Strongheart, complements the others while providing variety.

Anyway, let's look at the Strongheart Beef label today. I've always considered Beef the basic flavor. Liver has its distinctives, and Beef, Liver & Bacon is a specialty flavor, but Beef is very basic. But being basic, Strongheart didn't give it a plain label. On the contrary, it's very nice, showing two things, how basic the flavor is and how valuable it is to Strongheart's lineup. We see the "Blue Ribbon Recipe" ribbon on each flavor. But the Beef is the one with the blue background, matching the ribbon perfectly. To me, that's the same as saying its place in the lineup is first, first among peers.

Of course we see the dog in the center that is part of the Strongheart logo, then that strong, rich blue background, the flavor announced in yellow capital letters, and the other elements necessary for labeling canned dog food. How do we know there's beef in the can? Because we can glance over at the list of ingredients and see it explicitly says "Beef by-products."

It's quite a nice piece!

Just a little collector's inside information. The UPC code number on this flavor was 77200 10106.

Tomorrow: Strongheart Liver flavor.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Elvis Presley -- A Squirrely Looking Guy

On the Elvis Presley album, "Elvis In Person," now part of the "Legacy Edition" CD set fronted with the "On Stage" album, between tracks, Elvis has a few things to say.

It's right at the end of "Hound Dog," just before he goes into "I Can't Stop Loving You," that he's taking a drink of water, and he mimics someone who might be talking about him, "It that him? Thought he was bigger than that. Squirrely looking guy, ain't he?"

Isn't that something? That Elvis would suggest he was a squirrely looking guy? To me that's really something, because I can't think of anyone who looks better. Maybe I'm just jaded from looking at Elvis most of my life -- my first album at 5 was an Elvis record. When I look at Elvis I must be looking with completely different eyes, although I know there's a lot of people who are the same.

But when you are Elvis, which only he could be, he must've had some of the same complexes that a lot of us have, who don't happen to be famous, and who aren't looked at a lot by people. Like in my case, if I keep my head down no one sees me. If I keep my head up, only ticket takers, security guards, and beggars notice me.

I might be something of a "squirrely looking guy," not as squirrely as a lot of people I see on a daily basis, although I tend to see a lot of beauty in the average squirrely looking person. Some of them I have to turn away from, of course, but that should go without saying.

But Elvis squirrely looking? Never!

UPDATE: Maybe I don't know the official definition of squirrely. But I think it has to do with appearance as well as eccentricity.

Monday, March 22, 2010

93% Of Blogs Will Never Mention Status Spam

Will you?

I know I will. I'll mention it.

There's a weird animal out there. Someone's pumping into the Facebook system status spam. It's not selling anything. But it's just as annoying.

I don't like any of the messages, but my favorites among the ones I don't like are the ones that tell the statistics about who will repost the message:

People should understand that children with disabilities do not have a disease; children with disabilities are not looking for a cure but ACCEPTANCE........93% of people won't copy and paste this, WILL YOU be one of the 7% that does and make this your status for at least a hour

You're one of the very special people, in the 7%, if you will make this your status for at least an hour. "Would someone like you ... post this on your status ... for someone like me?"

Here's a new one, written by someone who thinks supporting the troops means we need to ignore bras. I say we can have both, everyone stripped down to their bras while carrying the flag!

ANYBODY IN THIS COUNTRY PATRIOTIC ANYMORE!?! Bra colors made FaceBook news BUT WILL THIS? Lets support our Troops. If you support our Troops then please post this on your status and leave it there for one hour. There should be no excuses from anyone!!!!! This should appear in everyone's status

Several of the status spam entries try to shame you into reposting them. You've got to prove you're with the in crowd, or else! The religious ones don't come right out and tell you you're going to Hell if you don't spam your status, but the threat is real:

For my Friend, Jesus, a new Facebook challenge. I am out to prove that my friends will repost, I hope I am right! Let's lift up His name and make a statement. When Jesus died on the cross He was thinking of YOU and me. If you are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, copy and repost! Remember God said if you ......are ashamed of me I will be ashamed of you.

Then there's all the ones that have to do with the relatives we have. Our grandchildren, mothers, brothers, sisters, and fathers are the greatest in the world. And when they start complaining we forgot to write, we can always say, "We remembered you on Facebook."

What's on your mind?It is GRANDCHILDREN week. If you have been blessed with grandchildren that are truly amazing, the pride and joy of your life and make growing old so worth it, copy and paste this on your status. God bless grandchildren!!!!

 IT'S "SON WEEK" : If you have a son or sons who make your life interesting and fun, who has been a blessing in your life and makes life worth living just by being around - copy and paste this to your status. ♥.Your Sons will outgrow your lap, but never your heart...♥

Daughter week : If you have one daughter or more who makes your life interesting and fun, has been a blessing in your life, and generally makes life worth living by being around, copy and paste this to your status. The world would not be the same without daughters....I am truly blessed to have the best!!!!!!

 If your Mom is your hero, whether you are blessed to have your Mom still with you, or if she has gone to be with the Lord, copy and paste this with her name.

Or if she didn't post the thing about the Lord when she had her chance and went to Hell, you can also copy and paste this with her name. But please do so in the middle of the night, so it will scroll off before all the good people get up in the morning.

There are plenty of ones to be had for those who are up in the afterlife somewhere. Those ones we'd go up to Heaven and bring back, if only we could.

Thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too. I think of you in silence, I often speak your name. All I have are memories and a picture in a frame. Your memory is a keepsake, with which I'll never part. God has you in His keeping, I have you in my hear......t. Repost if you have a loved one in Heaven! ♥ ♥ For my many loved ones waiting for me in Heaven.

And a couple others have to do with the nature of true friendship. I chose you. I made a conscious decision to make you my friend. Also, I'm a fan of McDonald's and a member of I BET I COULD FIND 1,000,000 PEOPLE WHOSE FAVORITE COLOR IS PLAID.

Every single one of you are on my friend list as a result of a conscious decision. I am not only glad to count you as friends but also as family! Let's see who in my Friend's List actually pays attention. Copy and repost this in your own bulletin. You can't choose family but... you can choose friends..

A true friend doesn't care what you're wearing, if your home is tidy or not, if your car is making funny noises, that you only have $5 in the bank this week, or that you and your loved ones aren't perfect... A true friend just loves you for you! Repost this if you have at least one true friend. ♥

Hey, if you are my friend, don't forget, You owe me $5.00! 93% of you will never pay me back!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The End Is Near

I was thinking some very discouraging, depressing things today when I got up. About this blog, that at some point it's got to end.

Even if I wrote it -- let's say till I got sick and came close to dying, or until I suddenly dropped dead, or until I became mentally incapacitated, or until I was in the hospital for a three month stay, at some point I'm not going to be able to.

Then what? There doesn't seem to be a service out there that comes around, gets your password (confidentially, of course, lest you recover and live another five years), then terminates things. Puts a fitting farewell message, or wraps up the whole thing and sends it all to the Smithsonian, then terminates it lovingly, putting behind an animated GIF of an eternal flame with your name and dates, etc.

I don't know what's supposed to happen. There's no rules in the wild west, apparently.

If you're working at a factory, of course they have you out of there long before you become frail and can't keep up the pace. It's conceivable that someone could die on the assembly line. The lineman would step in to keep the line going. They have some of those safety devices in a case on a pole. Someone would break it out, a porta-stretcher. They'd put your body on it and hustle it to the gate. By all means the line would keep going.

I haven't exercised in a month, true statement. My stomach is telling me it's only a matter of time now.

What I'm going to do -- or not do -- when the end comes, I don't know. Nothing, I guess. I guess I have bigger things to worry about. Like survival.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Miscellaneous Morning

I got up and looked at a poem. "Tiresias," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Such things are always obscure to me, since I never just know the names and relationships, especially about things that no one ever mentioned in school.

Now that I think back -- it's been well over an hour -- I guess I read the whole thing. Then I looked it up in a "Reader's Encyclopedia" and they didn't mention it. Except just by name in an entry on Tennyson, which also said that Tennyson's poetry is basically insipid and that he reflects the norms of conventional Victorian society or some such.

I'm thinking, This guy's this famous and he's just a hack? It sounded good to me. But what I know! I only hope I fare better when they finally get around to compiling all my blog posts. I don't want some ignorant schmuck reading them 150 years from now just to discover that I was "insipid" all the while. Not that I picture that happening. True genius can't be dismissed by a "Reader's Encyclopedia."

So I did that. Started off with Tennyson -- read "Enoch Arden" again last night -- now spitting it out.

While on the page about about "Tiresias," which the Encyclopedia did have an article on, although not relating to Tennyson, I saw a little article about St. Theresa, so I was looking around for my copy of "The Inner Castle." Which I couldn't find. My own castle isn't arranged neatly enough or systematically to ever find anything when I want it. Other days I'm moving big piles of them around.

Speaking of big piles, next I took the dog out early, since I heard her clomping by my door, meaning she was on the way to the kitchen to pee on the floor. I made a decision a couple days ago that if I heard her go by I'd intercept her and we'd go outside early. She seemed stunned, but my quick thinking prevented a puddle on the floor.

She really went too, a few Number Ones and a couple Number Twos. With Tennyson on my mind, it led me to rhyme, "I wonder how it got in her / Must've been her dinner."

That accomplished, my mind was racing. I had a lot of other inspired thoughts.

Right, now I remember, I was also reading the first few pages of "Faust -- Part 2," that starts off with a reverie on the greatness of the day. So I'm out with Underbrush and her poop bag, looking up to see one big star (other than the sun just under the horizon), and to think about my existence. I heard a bird off in the distance make a noise and thought about him sleeping outside all night and how much better I had it. I reached down and felt some cold snow on my hand. It melted right away, meaning we could get rid of all the snow if everyone would go out for 10 minutes everyday and grab a few handfuls of it.

Now a quick bagel, milk, grape juice, and freshly ground coffee, a cup of it, and typing this report, and it's about time to do something else.

Note: My copy of Benet's "Reader's Encyclopedia" is considerably older than the Fifth Edition, so I don't know if Tennyson's reputation has been rehabilitated in the meantime.

Friday, March 19, 2010

An Idea On The Vine

Any idea, you should let it ripen on the vine.

The seeds of an idea, its first hint, takes root in the soil of thought. The posts and poles, horizontal and vertical, are there as a structure for it. That would be the architecture of your brain, your mind.

Somehow then your idea starts out as a seed in the tender, unpredictable soil of thought. It's pushing and striving to get buried in the best soil. There's lots of other seeds already in the area. The image is easy to see.

Now, you as the owner of the vineyard, the dresser of the thing, are paying attention to your best soil and best seed. You want to get the thing going. You already have other vines producing, of course, but this is for the future, immediate or distant, and it's not good to rely only on what you already have.

So there it is, the one seed, this seed, and all the other seeds, in the soil of thought, and they -- or it -- gets going. You see it growing, it grows rich and lustrous until it's seed days are way behind it.

Your idea has sprouted and is out of the ground, up on the structure, starting to wind around, starting to toughen up and develop further, starting to cling, to take possession of the structure, while down here it's choking and putting other seeds and sprouts out of their misery. This is one killer idea.

A little time passes, while you're carefully tending, carefully watering, pruning and nurturing it. It's big enough and strong enough, really, to stand on its own. You could go back to the house and take a nap. And it'd be good if you did.

Then you can come back and the idea is virtually full grown, pretty enough on the vine that you start bringing in decorative trellises to make it look at home. They've got horizontal and vertical aspects and are made out of the prettiest wood painted white.

As time goes by, quickly, you're doing the last little touches on the idea, pictured here as quite a lively vine, which has flowered up and is giving life to little bits of fruit, that then become bigger, plumper, mature, obviously juicy.

You hate to waste anything, but you simply have to have a bite, so you find one off at the edge somewhere and bite in. Ahh, it's perfection!

Now it's time to stand back and let the natural elements do their thing. Any meddling at this point would be superfluous, and potentially harmful to the thing. You've done your part in giving it life, now it's time to let it live freely. All the while producing fruit for you that will be the richest, best, most welcome fruit.

It's good for the taste, and good for the soul.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Come Together, Men Of The World

Men of the world, let us unite, joining in common cause for the good of all men!

Recent photos taken of the Earth from outer space by NASA have given me a new sense that we really do live on a finite, single planet. I don't know if you've seen any of these -- I believe they were taken 40 years ago -- but they're beautiful, in fact they're stunning in their beauty. The world is suspended in space, a blue ball that seems bigger the closer you get, and conversely smaller the farther you get.

To see the Earth like that really gives me pause and I reflect, All men live on that finite planet.

It's true. All men -- whether they're male or female, boys or girls -- dwell on this one relatively small planet. The thought that we shouldn't come together, that we shouldn't be united in common cause is too absurd to consider. And yet, we know that's exactly the state of things among men.

Men are separated and divided by many aspects of our lives. We could give a long, boring list: socially, economically, politically, linguistically, the haves and have-nots, those who like boiled cabbage and those who don't, blue eyes, brown eyes, blind. We know that one nation holds a knife to the throat of another nation, and in terms of getting along, nobody's winning any prizes. Terrorists ply their evil trade, throwing anvils from planes, sparking fear on all fronts. It's a mess.

Yet they too are men! Whether you're old, young, middle-aged, fat, skinny, or a million different other things, you are among the world of men. You have that in common with other men. There's no good reason we shouldn't be banding together for the good of all men. The world is depending on us to do our best.

As for myself, my resolution is to find common ground and build on it, in the interests and for the well being of all men. That is my vow and my determination.

UPDATE: What does it do to your psyche to know that when Apollo 17 took that picture of the earth that both LBJ and Nixon were still alive? That is one seriously out of date picture. We need to get up there and get some fresh pictures!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Local Man Supports Men

In the perfect world, where every man's voice would have equal weight among men, there would be an honest discussion of the issues that every man raises, as to his opinions and feelings concerning the affairs and well being of men in general.

Man, as is well known in the highest echelons of all of man's disciplines, is a social animal. Because of this, a man's ideas are not meant to wither and die on the vine of thought, but are meant to be shared within his society of men. As every man is a brother, every man has something to contribute to the family of man, that men everywhere might be blessed and prosper.

The prosperity and blessing of men everywhere depends on what happens within this social network or scheme. The one and the many are together. Such is the truth among men, the truth whereby man lives.

In the light of these truths, the fact that I -- one local man -- supports the raising up and affirming of men everywhere -- women, boys, and girls being included as men -- is an important thing. Every other man may be unconscious of his place in the family of man, and may lack the ideas and follow through to act on his ideas were he to have any. Then there are the many levels of functionaries, who are entrusted to be working on man's behalf day in and day out, scratching out ideas on tablets or manning the many levers of machines. They may be drifting off because of the monotony of their work. It takes a few bright men somewhere, men like me, at the local level, to really say, "Hey, what about this idea?"

My idea is to restore the designation of man and men back to their proper place in our language and the affairs of social intercourse. For too long, man has bucked his past, and has allowed the tampering of the old ways, trying, with no good reason, to dilute the language pool, to his hurt. This has not helped anyone. It has only muddied up the water, and mucked up some of our self consciousness as men.

So note it. One man can make a difference, in this case to restore language and our consciousness. One local man who supports all men and the dignity of man. That local man is me.

This is a solemn call to the rest of my species, to exalt yourself as men, letting man prevail in a proud way, with no lingering doubts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Nostalgia for MEN

All of us are men, from the smallest girl to the tallest man. We were created men, hatched or wherever we came from, and men we'll ever be. World without end, Amen.

So naturally I have a nostalgia for the terminology of manhood, since it's been missing in recent years, for expressing the brotherhood of all men. Language has become a namby pamby exercise in obscuring our nature. People, folks, exalting the divisions at the expense of the whole.

I myself am a man among men, whether they're women, children, or other men. When I get up in the morning, I shave, but I know all men don't, especially children. Of course women are among the men who shave, but in their case it's their legs and armpits. My mom was one of the men who liked to have smooth legs, since a bunch of hair under panty hose is a bad look.

Our country was founded by great men, and the world system depends on all men to keep it going in a forward looking way. Each of us has a part in the system, like cogs, whether we're at the top grinding downward or at the bottom grinding upward. I see myself personally in the middle grinding both up and down, depending on how the mood strikes me. I might grind sideways. Whichever way you or I grind in this important effort, each of us is a man among men.

I can hear the garbage man outside right now -- what a funny thing that I'm just now writing about him. His truck was made by men, tested and honed to be the garbage crunching behemoth it is. Then it needs other men, like this particular man, to put the tub in its mouth, to push the button, and to stand back. That's done in a flash, and another man looks in the mirror and sees it's all clear and drives the truck up the hill. They're grinding uphill.

I met a really big man the other day. He was seven feet tall and had to duck to get through the door. He had on a huge suit, just like a normal suit but twice as big. You'd think that much fabric would come apart at the seams. The back of his suit, just to mention one enormous section, is such a large field of fabric, with no support from a seam or gathering for miles, that I'd be afraid it'd fall apart. I asked him where he got his shoes and suit -- whether at a normal store or a big and tall men's store -- and he said at a big and tall men's store. But he seemed disinterested in the subject, so I dropped it immediately.

So let's get back to where we used to be, to talking about men -- all races, sizes, genders, ages, whether mothers, fathers, aunts, rich or poor effeminate or macho, Mr. Felix or Charles Atlas. There's no distinction. And in talking about men, if we just let the chips fall where they may, one day we'll look back on it all and know we didn't go too far wrong.

God loves all men.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Meat Of The Goodie

All roads lead to the meat of the goodie.

Then again, it's a narrow, one way street that gets there. You have to zero in. It's the treasure at the center, and there's some narrowing, focusing, and honing of your sights, before you eventually arrive.

I'm eating the meat of the goodie in a peanut butter cup right now. At that's right at the heart of the thing, surrounded as it is by chocolate, then a paper cup, then a sealed paper wrapper, then a cardboard tray, then an outer wrapping of plastic that must be pierced. But before being in your hands and ready to pierce, you have to go get one at the store, requiring your desire, attention, and all the rest. And requiring before that a job (or government disability, in my case -- game toe) in order to have the money to procure a pack of them.

Grandpa Slump taught me about the meat of the goodie, in all his years of cracking and removing the meat from hickory nuts. I used to watch him do it. That's the only time he ever wore glasses, because I guess he really wanted to focus on doing it right. Some of the details escape me now after all these years. He'd be at the dining room table with his glasses on, a knife in hand, maybe a cracker of some sort, working endlessly at piling up a bowl full of the meat of the goodie.

That was his phrase actually -- the meat of the goodie. Maybe he heard it said by his Grandpa down in the southern part of Missouri. If so, it could've gone back many generations to the very first Grandpa, who simply made it up as an apt description of what we're all after. We're all zeroing in on that center. That meat. Of the goodie.

Think of your honeymoon. Or having to wash up during a shower.

Think of the Temple in Jerusalem. They had the meat of the goodie there. All the outside business, the courts, the chambers, the other courts, the other chambers, and we're getting closer. Then -- you and I can't see it -- there it is, in there somewhere, right at the heart of the thing.

It's good to remind myself about the meat of the goodie. May all your thoughts, say in the next three minutes, focus in on the meat of the goodie.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


The world is made up of a lot of men. We know God loves the whole world, all men.

From the time I was a youngster, I was taught that we should love all men too, our fellow man. That's still the basic philosophy that I abide by today, showing care and compassion as well to all men.

Red, yellow, black, yellow, or white, it doesn't make any difference. All men are made of one blood, the same blood.

In the values I have, there's no separation, no difference. I believe in equal rights for all men, opportunity for all men, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To me, if one man suffers all men suffer.

On the other hand, there is great evil among men. The drive toward evil seems to be intrinsic to men. It's man against man, as well as man against God. So men need a certain transformation to be all they were meant to be.

I want to be a part of that, taking care of myself first -- this man, then reaching out in love and grace to all men.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Feel Like Having Something Fattening

I feel like having something fattening, but I know I shouldn't, because I'm fat enough. Or at least I feel fat enough.

What sounds good is a big, fat, juicy, mouth watering, taste tempting banana split from Dairy Queen. I had one of these a couple weeks ago, and it was, [insert many mouth noises], very good.

I substituted caramel for the pineapple sauce, which makes it better. Other than that, whatever the standard model was, I went with it. There was a difference from what I used to have years ago, the last time I had one of these. The difference, they didn't put the banana at the bottom of the whole works then build around it anymore. Instead they put the ice cream (ice milk) in place, then the banana on top of that, maybe pushed down slightly. That was the difference.

Still, it didn't affect the taste one bit, of course, just the appearance. It still looked good, but more modular or modern, a banana more in your face or hovering above its normal station.

It could be that I will actually go ... but I'm telling myself it shouldn't be done.

I really showed my steely resolve today on at least one front. I quit drinking soda pop a couple years ago, except for the family's traditional red pop at Christmas, and I've stuck to that scrupulously. The only variance from the red pop only rule was the fact that someone did put 7 Up in the Christmas punchbowl. But I figured it was Christmas and just lumped it in, since with the Hawaiian Punch, it was still red.

Anyway, someone also gave me a decorative bottle of Coke at Christmas, a bottle that was squat and round, the same way I'd be if I drank it. So it's been setting around the house since Christmas, not really presenting a temptation to me, since I knew I wouldn't drink it. But still I didn't like having it around, so today I poured it down the drain. So I can at least be proud of that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cancer Cured In 1911

This ad is from 1911. Meaning we've gone almost 100 years and the good news hasn't sunk in yet, that cancer is cured.

This guy, Samuel Franklin De Vore, M.D., was able to do it with "no knife, no operation, no chloroform, little or no pain." I don't know what that would leave exactly, maybe magnets and garlic necklaces. But whatever it was, His method succeeds in all cases not too far advanced.

Maybe that last phrase was his out. If his method didn't succeed, that would've been a case too far advanced. But no one had to wait forever to find out, because, "I tell you at once whether you can be cured..." Once he accepted your case you knew you'd be OK, because, "I positively will not accept a hopeless case under any circumstance."

And no need for an expensive hospital stay, since you would be right there in Dr. De Vore's own home! Just his reasonable terms, with satisfaction guaranteed. Can't beat that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kick Yourself For Being A Chump

I've got a huge stack of newspapers setting here by my chair. I'm a bit backed up. I'm trying to catch up on my reading. Either that or I need to cancel my subscription. Some of the issues are getting fairly old and stale, but still, money's money. I've got them, I need to read them, even if it takes me forever!

Anyway, a copy of The Nashua Reporter, Nashua, Iowa, from Feb. 13, 1908, has worked itself to the top of the stack. Of course I'm thinking, 1908? I've got to read faster! But still when my eye caught an article on the vaudeville show coming up at Lampson's Opera House, I took my time and read it over carefully.

This is definitely a show I need to catch -- or, more accurately, a show I would've liked to have caught had I been born in time and it was happening when I had free time. It's a good thing it's not this week or next week because I'm really busy and might've had to miss it. The best thing I can say at this point is, It's been over with for over 100 years, so there's no reason worrying about it. Still ... I am sorry I missed it.

And I should be sorry, since, according to this little article, I missed a treat, and "those who fail to avail themselves of the opportunity to see and hear" this show will "kick themselves for being a chump after the company has gone." OK, the opportunity and the company is now entirely gone -- dead and gone -- leaving me to kick myself for being a chump. Except, obviously I didn't have the opportunity in the first place, so there was no way I could've availed myself of it. Still, a swift donkey kick backwards, hitting my tush, lets me know that not being born in time is no excuse.

The rest of the article (not pictured) tells us that Mrs. I. Delight Dillenbeck (seriously, that's the name given) was among the advance guard of road attractions, and she was the newspaper's authority in saying that Fitzgerald's fashionable Vaudeville Company "is the best, cleanest and most refined attraction of its kind before the public today."

Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald are in charge of the company, and they are artists, as is every member of the company. Then you can see from the excerpt that "Fitz" has some character and dance specialties: 1) "Huntress," the female impersonator in his spherical work; 2) "Zaneta," the contortionist; and, 3) The human frog. That's the way I read it. But it could be that "Fitz" does other characters and dance specialties, then there's other members of the company who are the Huntress, Zaneta, and human frog characters. And it's also possible that Zaneta the contortionist is also the human frog, whether being played by "Fitz" or another person.

Whatever way you want to sort that out, it sounds like a heck of a show, and -- swift kick, I'm such a chump -- I'm sorry I missed it. (If I see any other clues as to "Fitz" and the other performers' identities, I will post them.)

The last paragraph tells us that Mrs. Dillenbeck, while part of the advance guard of road attractions, doesn't actually represent the Fitzgerald team, so that's quite a testimony on her part, "Giving unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

So there it is, they were coming up at the opera house on Monday night -- the week of Feb. 17. And any one number of their bill being worth the entire price of admission, that means the human frog, just to name one item, would've been as good as free.

UPDATE: I've studied this issue now for a while and I believe I can conclusively say that "Fitz" was not Huntress the female impersonator. There's enough references to Huntress out there, not connected with the Fitzgerald name, that he was clearly a separate performer. I suppose I should've immediately known that because Fitz wouldn't likely also be the contortionist, etc. So it's "Fitz" in his characters and dances, then Huntress, then Zaneta, who would be the contortionist and the human frog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ain't Got No

I was listening to an old song the other day that I've heard a hundred times in my life, "Ain't Got No Home," by Clarence "Frogman" Henry.

Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. Usually I do. It seems very off the cuff as songs go. The fact that Frogman can sing like a frog and can sing like a girl always amazed me as lyrics, since anyone with a normal throat and the ability to utter sounds can sing like a frog and a girl, assuming you're not already a frog or a girl.

The first part is straightforward enough. He seems like a normal guy, but he "ain't got no home." He's a lonely boy, he ain't go no home. Then he goes on to sing like a girl, that he ain't got a man or other familial relationships that would be good from girl's point of view. Then my favorite, he drops it a few registers, way down deep in the swamp, to lament from a frog's point of view that he ain't got a mudder, fahder, sister, or brudder.

He's lonely, he ain't got no home. Whether man, woman, or amphibian.

Concerning his great ability to sing like a girl and a frog, like I said, that's not that tough. If you start singing as a tadpole, you don't lose it after the transition. I remember us kids singing, or especially talking, like a frog a lot. It's just a matter of burrowing down a little deeper in your throat and letting the sounds grind through your gears a little differently than usual. The unusual thing about it is that a guy could put it on a record and not only get a hit out of it but also an enduring nickname!

Personally, I got a home. I've lived in one all my life. It's the place I sit everyday watching the world turn round. But there is something I woke up to that I ain't got none of, and that's my morning milk. I'm used to having a big tall glass of milk everyday, but we ran out yesterday and I didn't make it to the store. O for the days when the milkman came! I ain't got no milk!

Plus I ain't got no cow, so I can't go out and get it straight from the spiggot. Loosening up my hands a bit, pushing the arthritis over to the side, just in case a cow shows up at my front door. But I ain't got no milk pail. And I ain't got no stool. Ain't got no hay. Ain't got no rope. Ain't got no pasteurizer. Just a glass. I got a glass, a big fat empty glass.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Local Man Writes For Highlights Magazine

I was at the doctor's office yesterday, and I think there was a slip up. I was left in one of the little holding cells they have and apparently forgotten.

I was sitting there, 40-45 minutes or something, thinking, How come no one ever comes into this room for a normal errand, let alone to check on me?

After that whole time, I heard the doctor in the hallway saying he was done with me, they came in and directed me out, and the doctor said he was sorry about that. As angry as I could've been, I was actually relieved, because it answered a question I'd always had, which is whether you're under video surveillance in there. It turns out you're not.

But while there, I had plenty of time to look at the magazines. I looked through the "Entertainment" magazine, then the "National Geographic." Finally I was down to the "Highlights" magazine for kids. Which turned out to be more fascinating than the others.

It's been a long time since I've looked at this magazine! I'm so old the doc used to bring it with him when he made house calls. And even back then they had hidden pictures where you had to find things, like the crank to Grandpa's car and Grandma's war bonds.

Looking through it, the Feb. 2010 issue (so we're right up to date!), I was very pleased with the fun activities and cute stuff. I was trying one of the Hidden Pictures, and the stuff was very hard to find. Let's say you have to find a ring. It's not just a normal ring laying on the table. It's a ring that is big and doubles as a cup or a planter. And so forth. I'd go insane without the key to the things hidden off to the side.

The page of jokes ... I can't say too many good things about it. The jokes are corny, bad, and stale. Some weren't even jokes, just witty plays on words, like the word "herd" and "heard" as they relate to a herd of cows or hearing cows. They had that old moldy chestnut that 'my teacher yelled at me for something I didn't do ... my homework.' I'm thinking, I could write better stuff than this, maybe I ought to get a job there. But this page of jokes was written by kids (so they claim ... and it's probably true ... although I can see them sneaking in a guy like me, worldly wise and who knows all the moldy chestnuts to write it and just sign it "Billy, age 6.") Anyway, kids aren't psychologically devious enough yet to do humor well.

There was a picture search for homophones. That was wild. Words that are different but sound alike, like "flower" and "flour." Another activity that would take all day to do.

My favorite thing in the magazine was the two page spread of artwork. Some of the kids did some terrific artwork. One of them was a mournful sun over a lonesome beach with a broken down fence stuck in the sand. It was beautiful, and perhaps copied from something in the child's home. I shouldn't say that, because children are geniuses, like Mozart, or myself when I was five. Mozart could write symphonies and I could hum really well.

But the fence was a little too perfect, too evocative of the emotions of forlornness. But the only rule the magazine gave for artwork was that it had to be on unlined paper. It didn't say you couldn't take your inspiration from the picture over the couch. And I don't think they gave an age restriction, so I might submit something. Like a knockoff of this beach scene, if only I could do it half as well.

Also there was a page of poems. Some really good ones, too! The only restriction on this was that it had to come "out of your own head." I can't think of any particular examples but I was impressed.

The kids got to do a creative thing about what creature would come forth from a big egg. The publishers had a big yellow foot sticking out, so naturally most of the creatures the kids pictured, however different in other ways, had one or more big yellow feet on their creatures. I believe there was just one, maybe two, that didn't go with the yellow feet, which had to be wrong in the context, of course, but those are the kind of people I like.

All in all, it was a joy to look through this and know the kids of the world have this magazine. It's just too bad you have to be at the doctor's office to see it. Or you could get a subscription. But since we only associate it with doctor visits, that might cause a lot of false symptoms.

It'd be great as a kid to get a call from someone saying your picture will be in next month's issue. Or your joke. That'd be something I'd keep forever.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In God We Trust

Do you ever get emails from distant relatives and older friends who worry that they might take "In God We Trust" off our money? I do too. They're feeble and don't know where their next breath is coming from, but this is what they care about.

They care enough to forward it to me, like I'm going to be outraged and march on Washington. LOL.

If they really mean what they say, they ought to just pray about it and then trust God to work it out. If indeed "In God We Trust," don't we think He can keep His name on our money if He wants?

It'd be cool, really, to be at the mint. They're feverishly trying to get rid of the phrase, scratching, burning, pounding, but through a great miracle it keeps reappearing on all the coin stamps!

Suddenly a cloud descends and a voice booms out a majestic, "Try to take my name off the money one more time -- just one more time -- and I'm pulling out the big guns!"

Medical Brochure Mash-up

Here's one that caught my eye, a mash-up of old and young. Photo today by me, your humble correspondent at Grandma Slump.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Taking The Census Was Very Easy

I guess I forgot in the last 10 years how easy it was.

The big census form came in the mail and I thought it'd be like doing taxes, so I set aside a good chunk of time to get it done. Got my pen, a hard surface to put it on, and sat on the couch -- grinning and bearing it -- dedicated to getting it done whatever it took.

Then I started and I finished. It was just that easy. Five minutes tops!

Basically, they don't want any information, just your name, address, date of birth, race, and it seems like that was it. Person number 1, that's me. Person number 2, that's Grandma. And that's it. Nothing about your occupation, how big your house is, how many rooms you have, what you collect, your income, your opinions, your politics, clubs you belong to, religion, how often you go out to eat, whether you like Windows or Macs, and no essay questions on your hopes for the future or your regrets about yesterday.

So this is the big information that genealogists are longing for, clamoring for all the time? This is the big information that we have to keep confidential for 72 years? My name and address are in the phone book. What if they said they couldn't print the phone book for 72 years? Nobody would be clamoring for that.

Anyway, I got Person number 1 and Person number 2 done. And I was thinking, some of the questions following are going to have to pertain to other Persons, since of course some households still have their Grandpa. Ours died. So I started leafing through those pages, taking us from Person number 3 all the way through Person number 12! And that was the end of the book!

I leafed through it again. I felt like the other questions had to be in there somewhere, but that was all they wanted to know! Our government isn't very nosy, it seems.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

No One Likes A Grump -- It's A Great Day

I could just sit here and complain, thinking over some of the more complicated things of my life. But no one likes a grump or a complainer, so I may as well just claim something different for myself, joy. And say it's a great day regardless of what else may be going on.

I was reminding myself of this yesterday in the middle of a crisis, Enjoy yourself, enjoy it. It's a thought that comes to me when things are going wrong. Like stuff no one can help, like if we have an enormous blizzard. Of course it's going to complicate everyone's life, but enjoy it. There's plenty of interesting things about it.

The same thing is true about having a busy schedule and hoping you can do justice to all of it. Or even make it, the basic accomplishments plus actual survival from the strain. If I'm looking at a schedule like that, I'm thinking many things. Like, What can I get done in advance? How can I make it work out? Should I go through it simply dreading it? Or should I put myself into it with a different attitude, one of happiness?

Today is a day for me where there's a few things to be done. But I know the next few weeks are going to be crazy. I could sketch it out, make a chart even, even though there's unforeseeable things. The things I can foresee I can chart, then knock a few of those things off with some quick effort. And everything else will be that much easier.

My first thought on the unforeseeable is Oh No! But it's always going to be that way, so there's no use wishing your life away, wishing yourself through it. Instead, step through it, and do your best, and have a sense of joy along the way.

Life is fun ... even when it's not.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Russian Ad

I said something about the Russians the other day and now I've got a Russian ad on the blog!

I have no idea what it's selling, but it's only $39.99 per mec, so you probably can't go wrong.

But this could be bad, to have my blog associated with the wrong crowd. Joseph McCarthy is dead, right?

It'll Take Lots Of Sugar To Keep My Big Mouth Shut

This is a panel from a cartoon strip called "Jeff Cobb." By Pete Hoffman. Printed in the Bakersfield Californian, Bakersfield, CA, Sept. 24, 1958, p. 50. The character's name is Rona.

I touched up a big white spot on the lips. I hope it wasn't supposed to be a big reflection.

UPDATE: It was supposed to be there. The big white spot on the lips is supposed to be there.

My Town Needs To Be More Poetic

One of the truths of life is that everything changes. If it didn't, it wouldn't be life as we know it. But it'd be like something in a wax museum, just standing there motionless.

But even in a wax museum, things are still changing. The wax will droop, slowly melt, and fall away.  It's decomposing, so that if you looked way ahead you'd eventually see clumps and hardened puddles of melted wax all over the floor and a humanoid scaffolding left behind of nothing but clothes pins and twisted pipe cleaners.

There is after all a network under girding everything, like the frame of your house or the skeleton in your body. Once you peek behind the curtain, or see behind the facade, that there's workers back there peeing on the backside, you're more content, like me, to live with the illusion. Except I know it's there.

My town is just like everyone else's town. There's the good side of town, and of course the bad side, where the filth goes to prosper. In the part of town where the dives flourish, the houses of ill repute do a good trade, and fly by night carpet dealers scam their victims.

I was thinking that if it were more poetic -- the town -- that at least we'd have the heroic image of something that doesn't change. We could hear the songs and read the words. Like "In a little Spanish town, on a night like this" or "Out in the west Texas town of El Paso." It freezes it, the imagery, to a particular place and time. Even the cactus at the edge of town stands eternal.

I need to read more poetry, so I'd know how it goes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We Know You Took Our Dog

Of course I'll never know how this turned out.

But it raises the question, Were they bluffing? Did they really know who picked up their dog?

The ad is from The Coshocton Tribune, Coshocton, Ohio, July 20, 1954, p. 10.

And this was before TV cameras on every corner. Somehow they figured it out the old fashioned way!

My Secret Late Night Job

I'm able to write about my secret late night job and still keep it a secret, I think, because I've sufficiently kept my true identity under wraps. Even the government, with their agents and feelers, haven't been able to crack the code.

There are certain things I can say with impunity, such as how I'm able to circumvent the explicit laws of the United States and supplement my income. I'm like the guy I saw on TV the other day in a poor neighborhood of Chicago advocating for more guns there. They blurred out the house numbers, therefore no one would be able to figure out who he was.

Now, we all know that when you're on full disability, you're not allowed to make money. Their reasoning is simple, of course. If you're disabled, that literally means you have no abilities. That's simple enough. If you had abilities and could make money on your own you wouldn't need the government to supply it. But I have tested the limits and have found that I actually do have abilities even though I'm disabled.

How I got on full disability is another story -- I have a game toe -- that I won't take the time or risk of telling here. The fact is, I get a big fat check every month and the government's largesse definitely soothes away some of the pain.

But I find that I have greater expenses to cover, such as DVDs, CDs, and now my latest guilty pleasures, MP3 downloads, expensive Belgian chocolate, and lattes at the college coffee shop. Meaning I needed some way to supplement what I get on the public dole.

Enter my secret late night job! I've been vacuuming and cleaning up at a local church. They said I could set my own hours, so I picked late at night. One, this frees up the rest of my day for other activities. And, more important, my government minder -- the parole-type officer that every disabled American has trailing him around -- is asleep then and thinks I'm sleeping too. The electronic monitor they put on my toe all those years ago, I wriggled out of it shortly after, and they only think they know my comings and goings!

(I can say all this with impunity, because there's a lot more disabled people with game toes than you might guess.)

So the short story of it is, now I'm up practically all night a couple nights a week, doing janitor work, sweeping around the pews, etc., with an Oreck vacuum (seriously, Nothing Gets By An Oreck, as long as you're willing to go over the same spot an infinite number of times.)

The money's good, the government doesn't know what's going on, and my life couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Emotional Catharsis Of Putting A Pet Down

It's been a week and half or so since we had to put one of our cats down. In case you don't know the terminology there, putting them down means putting them to sleep, or having the vet give them a sedative, then ending their life in a peaceful way.

Of course it's much more costly and sanitary than the way Grandpa used to put them down, which involved a gunny sack and a body of water. But that's OK, because we love our cats and other animals a lot more these days than the unsentimental (and more detached) people of the past loved theirs.

That'd be a good sociological study right there, what some of the reasons are for our increased sentimentality and attachment to pets, when back in the old days, if you had a wild animal carrying off one of your pets, that was their problem. Or if they got run over it wasn't any big deal. I knew people with barns who didn't know how many cats they had, and also didn't know how many were carried off by coyotes on any given day.

But it's definitely a big deal to me. We had the cat around 15 years, then suddenly we had to put her down. I was crying, it was a real sad day. In fact, it was so sad that the emotional catharsis really was something. I hadn't had anything to cry over like that in quite a while. But that day it was really something. Like the dark night of the soul -- bitter tears that led to ascent.

Which makes me think, I hope I don't start longing for it. You know, finding myself wanting to have a pet put down just to give me something to cry over, since it really was an emotional experience. When it all wears off, what if I think, The other cat would be good for that too. He does seem a little sick, doesn't he? And it was only 40 bucks.

So I could be out there with the other cat, getting him put down too. Then in a few weeks, my beloved dog, since by then my addiction to an ever deepening emotional catharsis would be real. Then I'd be hitting rescue leagues, adopting every animal I see, especially the sick ones, just to be with them in their hour of crisis. Because crying like that is such a powerful experience. You're suddenly helpless as a child to the emotions of the moment.

I remember carrying a dog one time that had died from worms. I must have been a pathetic figure -- like someone from the movies -- carrying that dog to his grave. I was crying ear to ear.*

Then let's say I'd run out of big animals, I'd be checking out my 10 gallon jobbie -- my aquarium -- for sick and dragging fish. I'd have to really work at that one, though, because it's tough to get emotional over a fish. Maybe the vet could take three or four fish at a time. That'd bring up a tear or two, maybe.

*I heard someone say this the other day. I'm not giving a specific attribution, I just want to acknowledge that someone else said it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Russians Are Coming!

Guess what, this blog (Grandma Slump) has had two visitors from Russia in the last week!

That's mind-blowing to me. Someone from St. Petersburg and someone from Moscow. This is something I didn't imagine happening.

It does a couple things for me. 1) It widens my perspective. Now I know that a great blog is indeed a universal thing. 2) It qualifies me to be president, like Sarah Palin. Because the Russians can see me from there.

I could go on and on about Number 1. Do I think this blog is great? Yes, of course I do. I brag about it all the time in my own personal time. I'll be walking anonymously outside, taking Underbrush out to poop. And I'll be thinking about the people driving by in their cars, glancing over to see if I'm going to pick it up in a bag, "If they only knew who I was! I'm the brains behind the whole thing!"

Or I'll be out at Walmart standing in the checkout line, thinking, "If they only knew who I was! I'm sure they'd let me go to the front of the line, 1) Out of respect; and, 2) So I can get home quicker to write more blog posts." They're that good!

Or I'll be in church, listening to the preacher pray for everything else under the sun, and I'm thinking, "If he only knew who I was! He's certainly be thanking God for everything I provide the world (that God so loveth) via my blog."

And now I have Number 2 to think about, the fact that even the Russians are checking me out! So who says detente, the SALT talks, perestroika, and the arms race weren't good things? They kept us alive long enough, despite our fear at the time of mutual assured destruction, to now have this new age of mutual assured something else -- blog reading.

I might become the dictator (benevolent) of the world if this keeps up. Because there's millions of them and only one of me. They'll want me for the Beloved Leader as sure as anything. Then I (or one of my security doubles) can ride in a big car, with motorcycles riding along side, and they'll be tossing me flowers and big wet hand kisses. It'll be great.

No one knows the fear I had of Russians when I was a kid. In the '60s I literally slept under my bed because we thought they were coming. I was one of the kids you heard about who peed the floor.

But then everything thawed out when Nixon stole Khrushchev's shoe during the kitchen debate and buried it, and now we can live in peace, harmony, and camaraderie.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More On My Hypothetical Debtor And Getting Paid Back

It's hard to believe I was writing about this way back in January. That is, the hypothetical case of someone who would want to borrow some money, of course with the promise of paying you back. On a particular date in February, let's say.

In January I was thinking about the psychology of possibly getting them indeed to pay you back. Because these things obviously have to be finessed, or you'll be high and dry, in a conflict and out. But let's say the particular date in February has come and gone and that I am still sitting here on March 1, wondering what happened.

What if I was thinking about calling the guy? Then what if I decided against it? Then what if within five minutes of thinking that the guy called me? Isn't that wild? I think that's an amazing coincidence, and a very helpful one at that. Because, in this scenario, that tells me that he still has the best of intentions, even if the original date came and went.

Someone who wasn't going to pay you back, yet had promised that it'd be on a particular date in February, wouldn't be calling you on March 1 with more assurances. It just wouldn't happen. I would definitely see it as a positive sign. Let's say he promised to pay it back on March 18, then amends that to "or March 25 at the latest." That would still be very positive.

You never know about human nature. I could easily picture him running for the hills. Maybe I would've thought that if the February date had slipped by without any notice. But sometimes people do surprise you. Rarely, but sometimes.

One of the things I remember reading about James Joyce was how much money he owed people. I don't remember the particulars, but I can imagine him hitting up someone for a few bucks here and there, then avoiding them so he wouldn't be called on it. Maybe that's why he knew Dublin so well, because of all the places he ducked in to keep from meeting his creditors.

I hope my hypothetical guy is more honest than James Joyce.