Thursday, November 28, 2013
It's been a great Thanksgiving so far. I just got up from a long nap after eating the big traditional meal. And now all that's left is to drive around town and see the Thanksgiving lights.
That's a lot of fun -- even though I don't personally decorate for it -- the way the neighbors and folks around town go all out, their houses decked out in lights, lawn ornaments, and the whole bit. They really get into it, outdoing one another if possible, with displays that are very elaborate.
Of course we have the poorer side of town, where they're lucky to have a small lit turkey. Those aren't really much fun, although I guess everyone has to start somewhere. You never know, you might hit the lottery and be able to step up your game. Certainly everyone's trying to hit it, those with an extra dollar every now and then. One family I know of has a little lame son, and that's his dream, to win the big prize, hopefully then to get his leg fixed, but more importantly to be able to get into the Thanksgiving spirit with the best of them. Until then, he and the others just stumble along.
My own neighborhood is between that and the others. We're not too poor but neither are we rolling in it. The decorations are nothing to get excited about but neither are they anything to be overly ashamed of. Any lame kids we happen to have are more or less secure, and more or less proud of what their family puts out. A decent medium-sized turkey, strings on the trees, an inflatable pilgrim, etc., they're doing OK.
Frankly, I like driving around neighborhoods like mine. I don't get angst pains, as you can readily imagine a sensitive guy like me gets when I know people want to do better but are frustrated and stumbling along. After all, it's meant to be a fun thing, not frustrating. Although I'm just as quick to throw out a word of encouragement: No matter how poor you are, there's always someone somewhere worse off. So be encouraged! However, and this is equally as important, you need to do your best, because they might catch up and leave you behind.
Then there's the real fun, the culmination of the whole thing, getting over to the rich side of town. Where they've got enormous turkeys, and every color of the rainbow for lights, and elaborate pilgrim scenes with moving parts. It's great, with the only downside being the traffic. The folks over there are playing for the crowds. And that really takes some effort, with a couple of families even putting out a short-range radio signal for passersby to hear the story of Thanksgiving and their good wishes.
With money comes great responsibility. Your town depends on you for the good stuff. And obviously some of them get an early start, probably sketching out their display as early as July, and getting the stuff up anytime throughout October. As for their lame kids, if they have any, they're waving from the windows, beaming with great pride, happy as clams.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I did something a little different this year. I was with a friend at a farm sale and bought a baby turkey, just the cutest little thing, not nearly as big as a full grown bird. The idea, of course, was that I would raise it for my Thanksgiving meal.
After I got it, then, I realized there was lots of stuff I needed, actually making my meal this year more expensive than if I'd simply gone to the store. You need a good cage, a bunch of feed, fresh water, etc., right down to shots and an occasional visit to the vet.
Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the downside. Because having a baby turkey is actually a lot of fun. A rewarding experience. I had a good time petting his little feathers when he was young. And I named him, Sammy. My little Sammy! But he wasn't little for long. Sammy got some real girth on his bones, a good display of white meat and dark, all covered with some pretty cool feathers. One of which is going in my scrapbook. That is my vow.
Most of you might recall this wasn't exactly a great year for me. My mom died in August. And there were a couple days around that time when I didn't have a single friend in the world to share my feelings with. Except Sammy. Who patiently listened to me, and even seemed to reach out a drumstick as a gesture of comfort. It was about that time that I gave him a middle name, calling him Sammy Dale, and even sang him to sleep a few times: "Go to your sleep, O Sammy Dale..." Thinking about it now still makes me emotional.
But, you know how it goes, time stops for no man. Thanksgiving has been drawing near for the last month, and there's been no stopping it, no matter what. Sammy Dale was raised for this purpose, and so he couldn't be spared, no matter how much anguish it caused me to lift that damned hatchet and bring it down. One thing I was careful to do was to make it swift and sure. No rust on the blade, the thing completely sharp, nothing that would cause suffering and prolong it.
That was all yesterday, Tuesday, because I wanted it to be far enough in advance of Thursday to get rid of the emotions, allowing me to detach as much as I could from the bond we shared.
So tomorrow, then, Thanksgiving Day, it will be into the oven with what's-his-name, and he will be a beautiful spread of meat on my table. Carving him will be an experience, I hope not too sad. Because of course he's already passed on. There's no time for regrets when it's too late to go back. And honestly, he isn't really any different than any other turkey I might've gotten at the store.
Plus -- and I know you'll think this is pretty cool -- I will have one extra thing to be thankful for this year, that we had that quality time through the year. I bet most of the birds at the store didn't have that luxury.
I've always believed in coincidences. Even though I've had plenty of friends who've said there's no such thing. Which is a coincidence, because I knew they were going to say that.
Of course there's coincidences! If a man is riding a horse in California and another man is hiding a horse in Siberia, that's a coincidence. Only if it's the same horse is it not a coincidence.
Because coincidence is a real thing, right there's your defense against a murder charge. My topic for the day.
I was just reading the murder news in the paper, and realized these are the guys who get all the press, all the great attention. We pay more attention to the aftermath of an apparent murder than anything else. A guy supposedly kills his wife because she's in terrible health, a guy supposedly snaps and kills his four friends and an infant, or a guy supposedly commits mass murder in a bus station, airport, theater, mall, church, school, grocery store, parade, or anywhere else people gather in numbers above 10, and that's all we can think of.
With the supposed murder comes the long hard slog through the legal system, because, and I support this, even if a million people saw him do it, he only "allegedly" did it. I'm actually a stickler for this. Even as a kid I liked that sense of innocence before declaring him guilty. Even if he shot at me and I saw the bullet coming through the air straight between my eyes, my last thought would be, "He's only allegedly doing that to me. There could be all kinds of extenuating circumstances. Maybe he didn't mean to shoot. It could be a weird trigger. Maybe he was cleaning the gun. Maybe he saw Sasquatch behind me and missed. Or it's a simple case of temporary insanity." Then after death, if I had the power to think one more thought, it'd be, "Maybe I died just before the bullet hit me, therefore exonerating the guy from murder, with the charge being at most desecration of a corpse."
It could happen to one single "victim." You were going to die anyway just before the bullet reached you. And it could happen to 1,000. Right down the line the alleged murderer goes, with all 1,000 of his supposed victims dying by natural causes just before the bullet got there.
Therefore, that's a good defense. Which I'm calling the "Good Timin'" defense, after the old Jimmy Jones song (1960). The way I remember it is it asks the question, "What would've happened if you and I hadn't just happened to meet?" A great question. But as it turned out, "We had timin', a tick, a tick, a tick a, good timin', a tock, a tock, a tock, a tock a, timin' is a thing it's true, good timin' brought me to you!"
So there you are, the alleged murderer, with the only friend you have in the world, your public defender, suggesting that it was a matter of "Good Timin'" that your supposed victims all dropped dead. It was a coincidence, each person beating the bullet by a fraction of a second, thereby exonerating you completely ... or, again, reducing your charge to the desecration of one or many corpses.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Every reader of this blog knows that I am equipped with an enormous well-functioning brain. It's one of the things I'm proudest of, my ability to put my forefinger to my head, make a few clicking noises, and come out with the answer to any problem. My brain's usually a blessing, but sometimes a curse, like if people want problems solved but don't realize I have to live too and therefore don't come across with payment in addition to their expressed appreciation.
Not to belabor the point -- it's hard to be humble -- but God! Am I smart! Sometimes I wish I weren't so smart, because the ignorance I see around me is staggering. It might be that the only redemption for me is to stagger and fall on my head and hurt my brain. Then even though I'd probably still be twice as smart as everyone else, at least we'd be that much closer.
Now, getting to my point, my brain isn't really all my doing. I chose it in Heaven, you know, right before I was conceived. Because that's the way it works. We choose what we're going to take with us in that time. And there's a lot of laziness in Heaven, since there's very few challenges to keep us sharp. So future kids are putting it off, getting prepared, and they show up incomplete.
In Heaven they're saying, "Hurry up, get your body parts: Arms, legs, brains, hearts, kidneys, stomachs, etc., and all the various valves that go the parts, etc.," but these idiots answer back, "Yeah, yeah, get off my ass! I'll do it when I'm good and ready!" Then they doze off, many, unfortunately, just as their parents are finishing up, and the thing is done. And it's too late.
Me, on the other hand, I was ready weeks in advance. In fact, I can remember sitting on a lawn chair outside a storage unit with a gun on my heavenly lap, holding off looters. Being, however, smart enough not to let on the wonderful assembly of parts I had inside. A brain to beat the band, and all the rest. As soon as my parents were in the grips of passion -- I was timing it, having watched all the training movies -- I opened the unit and everything came into me, all in miniature form of course, and I was off.
Then later, a lot later, I'm in school. And there's kids missing an arm, missing a leg, having diabetes, having various heart valves, stints, or they're virtually brain dead. And all I could do was shake my head and wonder what happened. (You temporarily lose memory of what came before.)
I knew this one guy. True story. The guy was nothing but a misshapen head with a spinal column, that's it, and a covering of skin. No heart, no liver, no kidneys, etc. A head and tiny brain, the size of a pea, the spinal column, and a covering of skin. They said the only reason he was alive was sheer cussedness.
And here's the other part of the story, how I knew him so well. Because my growing brain was giving me headaches in my sophomore year, and because this guy was so extremely deformed, he and I were the only boys in the whole class to be excused from an otherwise-mandatory semester of wrestling. We simply sat there in the guidance counselor's office, me thinking vast thoughts and him with his cussedness.
Friday, November 22, 2013
I recently came across this cool graphic. I didn't make it up. It's an oldie, one of the great cuts from the old printer's supply catalogs from the Kelsey Company of Meriden, Connecticut. Remember those? (I used to have one of their Excelsior printings presses, so reading and rereading their catalog was a joy of my childhood.)
Anyway, pretty cool graphic, huh? There's a blank spot to write in your name. So you can say "I AM so and so. WHO THE DEVIL ARE YOU?"
My incredible offer to you is really wild. If you send me your name -- either real or fake -- I will make a graphic like this for you and post it on my blog. My email is dbkundalini [at sign, of course] gmail.com. Or you can leave your request in a comment. I check my email every three or four weeks, so it won't take very long to get this accomplished.
SMALL PRINT STUFF: This offer is good for the first 100 people, with one name per person. At my discretion, I might do more than 100, but there's no guarantee. Your "name" can't be any weird message, to be determined by me alone. I hate to give any examples. Just let your imagination run wild. If your name is very long, like RUMPLESTILTSKIN, it might end up more condensed or smaller. This offer may be discontinued at any time, without notice, by me alone. If I happen to die or am incapacitated, my heirs will be held harmless to fulfill the offer. Everything about the finished graphic will be for entertainment purposes only. There are no guarantees of satisfaction on your part. The results are strictly take it or leave it.
MORE SMALL PRINT STUFF: If the true owner of the graphic, in all likelihood probably dead for 40 years, steps forward and sues for royalties, the offer will be immediately terminated. No warning, no notice, no nothing. If time is of the essence for you, please get your request in as soon as possible. I cannot be held responsible for any dilly-dallying vis-a-vis your requests. I.e., if you fail to request a graphic, one will not be made for you. I repeat: I am not a mind reader!
PENULTIMATE SMALL PRINT STUFF: The above small print stuff does not exhaustively cover all the terms of this offer. Any needed small print stuff, as determined by me alone, will be immediately formulated and triple-rushed into service as the exigencies of any future moment are determined to warrant it. Such warranting to be determined by me alone, with my decisions alone final, if finality indeed is something I choose. You, the requesting party, agree that you have no rights and no recourse regardless of any grievance you may claim or experience. If I am given the slightest bit of grief -- even the slightest bit -- I will terminate the offer with prejudice, as though I am holding a cudgel and am prepared to use it, and your name in the mortice will not appear. Quite simply, you are holding me harmless whatever your beef. If you have a beef, save it. No one cares.
LAST SMALL PRINT STUFF: Death threats will be taken seriously. You will do time. I will see to it.
OK, everyone. This will be fun. Send me your name, or post it in a comment, and, going by the above conditions, I will work up a graphic. So people will know "who the devil" you are. Also, you will be asking "who the devil?" someone else is!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
There's big business in boarding dogs. You wouldn't think it was so. You'd think nearly everyone would have relatives to leave them with, cutting out the middleman so often that the middleman couldn't make it. That's the way it's been for me all these years.
Frankly, I'm not sure my relatives are as "busy" as they say they are or if they're just sick of my dog. Underbrush, being 14 years old, is a lot more to handle than she used to be. All the coughing -- congestive heart failure or maybe just something wrong with her throat -- can be a lot to handle. I have some pills for her but she hates to take them. You need about a pound of hamburger, then if you embed it just right, with a leaf of parsley camouflage, she'll get it down without eating all the meat and spitting it out.
Whatever the case with the relatives, I was left with no option but to take her to one of these boarding places. Which means, you know, a slight trouble with trust on my part. I want my old baby to have the best. And if one of these guys turned out to be a Nazi, I'd never forgive myself.
One of the worst ones I saw was in the country. Two big buildings, lined with cages for the dogs. What immediately jumped out at me was the terrible noise. When I went in the dogs went ballistic barking, literally raising the roof and perhaps moving the place slightly off its foundation. Like I've said before, Underbrush is virtually deaf in her old age, but this was ridiculous. It's Death Row waiting to happen!
Most of the others looked much more humane, being part of veterinarian clinics. Of course there's was no sign of hominess. Stainless steel grates on the cages, mass-produced chew toys, not a table scrap in sight.
I really took my time, interviewing the kennelmeisters who happened to be on site. (And several weren't, some of these being corporate veterinarian clinics, where the Big Man is in a metropolitan office somewhere and the Underlings are the boys in charge. Those I eliminated.)
I found one kennelmeister who looked sort of like me, with the same nervous looking demeanor. We shook hands tentatively, which made me feel comfortable. Both of us sat in chairs, a nice touch. I could tell this might be the place. Then we got down to brass tacks, me broaching some of my concerns. He was easily able to smooth my ruffled feathers, giving me various assurances -- and in a soothing voice -- that the various dogs who come through their door are treated well.
One of my biggest concerns was whether the dogs were provided with fresh water on a daily basis. Had he not been a kennelmeister, he probably could've been a psychologist. We clicked just like that. He saw my concern, and instead of replying with mere words, he took me back to the kennel area and showed me several clean bowls by the sink, just waiting to be filled and put in the cages as needed.
Given the opportunity, I glanced in a few cages and saw the water looking fresh, like the flowing water I see in commercials for the Rocky Mountains. This was the place! We shook on it! And that's where Underbrush will be going when I go out of town tomorrow. (She actually has to go tonight, because I need to leave early in the morning before the vet's office opens.)
Friday, November 15, 2013
His wife was having a hard time slicing a ham sandwich. The blade seemed a bit dull, prompting the man to comment on it. She made a motion toward him to show how sharp the knife was, apparently joking, then immediately pulled back. As luck would have it.
He reached over, thanking his lucky stars for his life and health, and took the knife and stabbed her to death, the love of his life. That was all she wrote, as the saying has it. She slumped to the floor, a tangled mess of body stuff, without life, her lifeblood there, the whole scene.
An investigation revealed the truth, that it was a matter of confusion, not the fulfilling of a premeditated plan. Sometimes you just act on instinct, kill or be killed. And the only time he would end up serving would be a life sentence, not confined but alone at home, wondering how things might've been different. How can ham sliced so thin be so damned hard to cut? It seems to toughen up when fried.
They were all gathered at the funeral, her relatives and his. Just like their wedding, each side of the chapel hosted the respective sides of the family. But now he was all alone, released on his own recognizance but wisely keeping a low profile until he had to appear.
The casket was in place, the flowers primped and fluffed, the cards of remembrance in their little basket. There was a kind of hush in the place, the pall of sadness more than you could easily bear. The husband was the last one to enter, escorted to his front row seat by an understanding daughter.
He stood up to eulogize the dearly departed. He thanked everyone for coming to pay tribute to the love of his life. Then he touched on his sadness how she had "jokingly" came at him that way with the knife. He knew she was smiling, but perhaps something more maniacal lay behind it. In short, he didn't think, he acted, like you'd act if a wild beast lunged at you.
He paused for a long time, choking back tears. And concluded with a barely audible, "Love conquers all," before he was escorted away, lost in loud sobbing.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I had the "pleasure" of passing a begging bum today and getting the dreaded "God bless you" with my refusal to part with my "change." (He wanted "change," presumably prepared to turn down bills.) I actually didn't have any change, since carrying money went out when the debit card came in, but that was no business of his.
This idiot wasn't the average beggar, not having a vacant look or the apparent patience of Job. He appeared competent and able-bodied. I might've given him $5,000 if I could trade places with him in terms of youth and health. Here I am on my last legs, but still able to get around without help.
The guy was spread out on a bench downtown, sitting there, hands up, arms spread on the back of the bench, looking as comfortable as can be. He might've been sitting on a white sand beach with a six pack of Coronas, he was that comfortable. "Excuse me, sir," he says, "Could you spare some change?" or words to that effect. I kept passing and said no and looked back at him, to which he called out, "God bless you!" I replied, "I don't do that." To which he replied, "Well, I do! So God bless you two times!" Meaning, he thought I was saying something against religion and God and not saying "I don't do that," i.e., giving to people on the street.
Another guy walking along the sidewalk, close to me, said to me, "They learn that in beggar's school," the "God bless you" crap. I said that I knew that to be true, recalling another guy telling everyone, "Jesus loves you."
I am not anti-religion or anti-God or anything. I go to church regularly and read my Bible and holy books daily and do my little meditations. Hell, I was in the dentist chair just today, saying my prayers. So for this idiot to think his little passive-aggressive "God bless you" was going to really push my buttons in some sort of affirming way was a bad thought. Again, just like me at the dentist, I know the drill.
Instead, it gave me something to laugh about and gesticulate about on the way back to the car with my companion. "I'm young and able-bodied and yet seemingly unable to do anything but sit comfortably on the bench downtown and beg for change!" And "God bless" people with one tone when they give change and another tone when they don't! Yes, I'm quite the sidewalk theologian, yet likely having no conception of what I'm even saying when I say that.
The other guy was right, beggar's school covers this base very well ... for anyone out there who might be easily fooled.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
If you happened to see "Wheel of Fortune" last night, you saw a heartbreaker. Oh! how terrible!
The contestant in question was a deputy sheriff named Syeeta, who managed to accrue over $19,000 before attempting to solve the puzzle. The puzzle was this: HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Syetta had enough letters that the solution was obvious.
She seemed tentative as she launched out on solving it. Getting everything but WIZARDRY right. I thought she said WIZARDY without the R. My companion thought she simply said WIZARD. Whichever she said, the final R of the word was already revealed. So if I'm right, she mispronounced the final syllable, more likely. And if my companion is right, she stopped a little early. Either way, she lost.
That's a sure $19,000+ down the drain, simply gone. How horrible would that be?! Ghastly. I don't think I'd even be able to watch my episode later at home, knowing that happened. For most of us it takes a lot of time and effort to get $19,000+. Then to see it just [POOF] right out of our grasp would be too much. I felt sick for her.
But for me, the cherry on top was Pat Sajak at the end of the show wishing her well, saying he hoped it was "a good experience" for her! Think of everything you could say to that. "Yes, it was a fantastic experience ... seeing $19,000 go down the toilet ... I only wish it happened everyday!"
I got some laughs from my companion when I was kicking my leg up in the air. "Yes, I love kicking myself in the ass so much! It's such 'a great experience' for me! Great experience?!" And there I go chasing Pat Sajak around the studio. Vanna would have to step in and be the temporary host the last few minutes.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
It surprises me that the stars aren't bigger news than they are. It's been a long time since I saw a decent article in the paper about the stars, that they're there and anything else about them.
When I take my dog out for her business, sometimes it's after dark or dark in the early morning hours. Each time, if the sky is clear, I look up at the stars and feel kind of amazed that they're there and about some of the things I know about them. Then, amazingly, I don't see much news about them!
The little bit of study I've done on the stars was a year or so ago. Since then, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned. But there for a while I knew the names of maybe 15 different ones. Still, anyone can look up at them and enjoy them, which I do.
The grouping that has Orion's Belt is the one that always catches my eye, in the times of the year that I can see it. It has Betelgeuse in it. This is an interesting star, in that it's expected sometime to blow up. Seriously. An interesting thing about it is that when it does blow up, it will have blown up something like 600 years ago. Meaning, by the time we see it blow up, if it does in our lifetimes, that will mean it blew up like 600 years before. Because even though the speed of light is totally fast, it still takes quite a while to get here if the source of light is extra distant! To me that's big news!
I don't have a good view of the northern sky, but that's where the dippers are. Sometimes I can see the Big Dipper, which I always enjoy. I see it only sometimes because it's busy, from our point of view, going around in circles. If you look at the top (sometimes bottom) edge of the dipper and extrapolate out from those two stars with a straight line, they lead you to the northern star every time. To me that deserves a story!
Then there is the immensity of the stars, which should be big news. Because there's nothing bigger, except black holes and various distances. We think the Sun is enormous, and it is, but a bunch of these stars in the night sky dwarf the Sun. They're immense ... and so far away that -- I haven't tested this -- even a pair of binoculars doesn't make them seem any closer.
I hesitated posting this article about the stars. Because it's a little too much a straightforward serious science article and not something humorous, which I prefer posting. Call it a big complaint I have, though, and sometimes I simply need to use my huge soapbox on the internet to agitate for progress. If you agree with me that the stars are getting the short end of the stick in the news, please contact your local newspaper and tell them you want more.
I really don't think the papers have it in for the stars or anything. That would be ridiculous. What I think it is, is the stars are always there and we take them for granted. Like trees or Dairy Queens. So we're not giving them a second thought. But when we do, ah, things are different. The fact that they could blow up any minute, 600 years ago, is really something. The fact that they point to the northern star, and thereby to the cardinal direction north, is unbelievable but true. And the fact that they're enormous and very distant is a bit of trivia -- truth -- that ought to be more generally known.
They're so busy reporting everything else, the newspapers ... how about giving the stars their due?
Friday, November 1, 2013
Here's a scam I know of that's making big money. Just last week I -- I mean an anonymous friend -- took in over $1,000, and it doesn't show any signs of stopping. The only reason I'm saying anything is because I feel like bragging to someone ... about my anonymous friend.
I start like this -- meaning of course my anonymous friend -- by researching a particular place and event. I'll give an example of car racing in Harlan, Iowa, just a place the dart hit on the map. (See the ad.) This tells me that in 1971 they had a place called the Shelby County Speedway with races that cost $2.00 to get into. Then I -- my anonymous friend, we'll call him Walt -- join the "You Know You're From Harlan When" group.
The first thing 'Walt" does, also based on research, is ask if anyone remembers certain teen hangouts in the early '70s, like, you know, the slot car place or whatever. It establishes him as a one-time local. Then, speaking of racing, "Boy, I really remember some wild times at the races over at the Speedway... Crap, it only cost 2 bucks, but that was big money for me back then. So me and a bunch of guys would just sneak in ... so sweet!" Next thing you know, there's other guys confessing to all kinds of things: "I snuck in, too! Saved me 20 bucks on the whole season!"
Then behind the scenes, "Walt," using a different name, like "Stan," has a bunch of letterheads from a fake law office, always with the town in question as the locale. It seems this law office has been retained to collect on past debts, cold case stuff going way back, and it's come to their attention that you posted online several confessions of wrongdoings against their clients. "In the aforementioned instance," the letter says, "our client, the Speedway, hereafter to be known as the party you ripped off, claims damages in the amount of $20, augmented with interest and adjusted for inflation since 1971." "Walt" pulls a number out of the air, in this case $200.
Sweet deal, huh? Please don't tell anyone. I don't want "Walt" to get in trouble.
And it's not just the races, of course. But school plays, ice cream at the Tastee Freez, pilfered candy at Woolworth's, and even breach of contract suits from jilted elementary school hopefuls, like that little girl you knew in 4th grade and promised to marry. Didn't think anyone remembered, did you? Well, they didn't, until you confessed it on Facebook! You didn't know you broke her little heart, which now can only be mended to the tune of $4,000 a month for life!
Remember, this is just between you and me and "Walt." For entertainment purposes and every other disclaimer we can throw in, wink wink.