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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bagpipes, burials, blunders & septic tanks . . .

To paraphrase Art Linkletter in his old-time television show, Kids say the darndest things, humor can be found in the darndest places. I received this e-mail recently from a lovely retired couple in Florida that migrated from North to South, legally of course, leaving the winters of Ohio and fleeing for the flora and fauna of Florida, going from icicles to iguanas, from shoveling snow to seeking shade, and apparently living and loving every minute of life in the sunshine state.

I freely admit, with not a smidgen of shame, that I took a few liberties with the original e-mail and in my not-so-humble opinion I approved it immeasurably. In the original e-mail, for example, the bagpipe player said he felt badly about being too late for the graveside services.

No, no, no, never—not no, but hell no! If one feels badly, then one has a deficiency in one’s ability to feel, to exercise the tactile sense of touch. Consider this: Does anyone ever say that they felt goodly about anything? No, they say they felt good, not goodly, about whatever the feeling was that generated how they felt. There were numerous other improvements involving wayward commas, failure to capitalize when needed, attempts to reflect regional dialects of Kentucky and redundant terms such as like I’ve never played before—the word never does not need before.

I rest my case, and I now offer the edited e-mail:

Bagpipes at a funeral . . .

As a bagpiper I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. The departed had no family or friends, and the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in rural Kentucky. I was not familiar with the backwoods and got lost, and being a typical man I didn’t stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw that the funeral workers were gone, and the hearse was nowhere in sight. Only the diggers and their equipment remained, and the men were eating lunch in the shade of a nearby tree.

I felt bad about being too late for the ceremony and I apologized to the workers. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and saw that the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and gathered around with their hardhats in hand. I played my heart and soul out for that man with no family and no friends. I played for that homeless man like I’ve never played for anyone.

I played Amazing Grace, and as I played the workers began to weep. They wept and I wept, and we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car I heard one of the workers say, I have never seen or heard of anything like that, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.

Apparently I was still lost—it must be a man thing.

Postscript: The internet offers several versions of this story by different bloggers—none are better than this one and some, while not necessarily worse, are not as good as this one—take your pick.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Detector dog team: A leash with a problem at both ends . . .

Long, long ago in a far-off land, way back in the good-old-days of the past century when I was gainfully and sometimes painfully employed, my managerial duties involved a close, professional and personal relationship with narcotic detector dog teams. On two separate occasions during mandatory training sessions in classes conducted in the field at various locations. the instructor defined a narcotic detector dog team as “a leash with a problem at both ends.”

I lodged my protest at such a definition and the instructor noted my objection. Whether the instructor continued to characterize the teams that way is unknown, at least to me, and in the not-too-distant future I severed ties with my employer—I retired, an act that was quite pleasing both for me and for my employer, and there-in lies a story—nay, a series of stories, but those I will hold in abeyance for now.

My reason for this posting? I submit that the president of the United States is at one end of a leash and our national unions are on the other end, therefore both are problems, and their actions are adversely affecting our nation. I refer, of course, to the current bru-ha-ha of Boeing’s new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, and to the actions of the NLRB, the National Labor Relations Board, and finally to our president’s apparent non-involvement in that conflict.

I considered going into detail concerning the current conflict between the Boeing Company, the unions and the NLRB, but I will resist the temptation—those who follow current events will be familiar with the situation and those that do not follow current events would not be interested in details. And I will not specify whether the president is leading or being led in my analogy, although I have an extremely strong opinion as to which position on the leash he occupies. I’ll leave it up to my readers to decide that, and I welcome any input, whether pro or con.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Jane Austen: I require so much!

The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! – Jane Austen.

That quote by Jane Austen was the THOUGHT OF THE DAY recently on the home page of Refdesk.com, a reference source that in my untutored opinion is one of the best reference sources available online. Try it—you’ll like it!

The writer died young at the age of 41 and garnered little fame during her lifetime. However, posthumous publications of her work established her as a major contributor to the world of literature. Austen never married but received a proposal for marriage, one that she accepted but then she withdrew her acceptance the following day. Her answer to a request for advice from a niece was this: Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection. Click here for a biography of Jane Austen provided by Wikipedia.

And now for my unprofessional and unlettered analysis of Jane Austen’s statement shown above. In a Herculean effort to understand it, I viewed the quote in physical rather than metaphysical terms and I may have perhaps unlocked her secret, that part of her that caused her to formulate the statement. The answer lies in her plaintive statement that I require so much!

I believed it first to be a mental or psychological aberration, and of course it may have been, but it perhaps could have referred to a physical flaw, albeit still an aberration. The psychological aberration refers, of course, to a person that has an inexhaustible need for sex, a condition termed by professional psychologists, psychiatrists, sexologists and to a lesser extent by the common man, an insatiable libido, a medical condition, a need for sex that can never be satisfied and makes life unbearable for those suffering from such a condition—yeah, right!

Now please don’t misunderstand me when I approach her comment from a different slant, so to speak, and postulate a condition somewhat different than an insatiable libido. Perhaps when Jane Austen said I require so much, she meant that her physical makeup includes a corporeal void rather than psychological, an area so large that she felt that it could not be filled by any man. One cannot help but wonder if she ever submitted to a trial effort. Or perhaps she was tremendously promiscuous and through trial and effort concluded that it was hopeless. She was engaged for a very brief period, less than 24 hours—she agreed to a proposal for marriage but retracted her agreement the following day. And a growing school of today’s scholars are exploring the possibility that Jane Austen may have been homosexual—some believe that her love for her sister kept her unmarried and uninvolved.

I know, I know—I’m being naughty but I can’t help it—it’s my nature, it’s in my genes. I cannot resist seeking out and elaborating on double entendres, no more than a squirrel can resist storing up nuts for the winter, or a dog resist barking, a cat resist meowing, a mule resist braying or a cow resist mooing—their natures demand those actions. They are involuntary, just as are my evaluations and explanations of double entendres. I suppose I should apologize, but my nature also precludes apologies. Besides, all things are possible, so the possibility exists that I am right in this instance—concerning the void, not Jane Austen’s love for her sister.

Postscript: Biographers of Jane Austen differ on the cause of her death, but at least one researcher, Katherine White of Britain’s Disease Self Help Group, suggests that Austen died of bovine tuberculosis, a disease associated with drinking unpasteurized milk. And that calls for a posting dealing with that subject.

Stay tuned—I’ll conjure up images from my childhood far back in the past century, shrouded in the mists of time but still quite vivid in my memories, and I’ll get back to you later with the intricate details of making butter the old-fashioned way, and I’ll tell you up front that today’s way is far better.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Daddy-O’s Doo Wop Diner in Farmersville, Texas . . .

The city of Farmersville, Texas is located in the far north corner of the state, with a population of 3,542 in 2009 and still growing, and in that city is a restaurant called—are y’all ready for this unusually alliterative name?

Daddy-O’s Doo Wop Diner
117 McKinney Street
Farmersville
TX 75442-2213
(972) 782-7341

Intrigued by the name, I reviewed some of the comments made by various customers. The first one below is a classic that has a typo—at least I believe it is a typo. It must be a typo because no sane husband would refer to his spouse as his wide rather than his wife, especially while stressing that she considers the fried peanut butter pie a special treat. Click here for a food critic’s review of the restaurant.

Here is the husband’s comment:

You have to try the fried peanut butter pie. It is wonderful. My wide and I have it as a special treat. Wow!

More raves about the restaurant:

Good home cookin’ here! I’ve never recommended a restaurant based on a side dish, but if you are anywhere near Farmersville, you have to try this fried cabbage. Nothing I ate was on my diet, and all of it was worth treating myself, but the cabbage was magnificent. I was told it is boiled, and then fried on the grill with onions. Oh wow! It is hard to mess up a chicken fried steak (though public schools do try), but the one I ate was very, very good. Not too much breading, plenty of actual meat, and gravy that will make health nuts cry. The fries were not great, but not bad, and mustard helped them. I did taste my wife’s okra and mashed potatoes. Fantastic. Daddy O’s it is worth the drive, especially if you like themed restaurants and southern cooking. Get there soon, and don’t take your doctor. http://mnmwrite.blogspot.com/2010/02/food-notes-daddy-os.html

Chantilly Lace and Some Great Food I love this diner!! This is a gem of a diner located in the heart of Farmersville. A true step back in time. There are all sorts of pictures and memorabilia from the 50s and 60s. Oh, and the food is fantastic.

Great atmosphere. This is a great restaurant to go to and have a wonderful hamburger. The food is great and the prices are reasonable. The staff is friendly and the 50s rock n’ roll theme is enough to make you want to stay for more.

“Loved loved loved this place. the food was great, the waitress was friendly and the place was very clean. Loved the decor. Live in Princeton, so we want to go back soon.”

Some excerpts from comments:

“The food is great and the prices are reasonable”
“great atmosphere “
“Even better is the chicken fried steak”
“Oh, and the food is fantastic”
“Chantilly Lace and Some Great Food “
“Loved the decor”
“I love this diner!!”
“Our server was quick to tak.”

I don’t understand the last excerpt, the one that states that the server was “quick to tak.” Was she/he quick to talk, perhaps, or quick to take, as in a gratuity, or was quick to task? I guess we’ll never know, unless the commenter reads this posting and decides to explain the meaning of “to tak.”

I now have Daddy-O’s Doo Wop Diner on my bucket list. In fact, it’s the only item on my bucket list, and I may or may not ever add another item on the list, but I will go to Farmersville and I will go to the diner and I will order the chicken-fried steak and the fried peanut butter pie. I have a trip scheduled to visit one of my daughters in Wylie, Texas this summer, and she lives just 39 miles from Farmersville, so the first and only item on my bucket list may well be crossed out after next week.

The only other item I may consider adding to my bucket list is riding the zip line (now in construction) from Mt. Everest, the highest attainable point on earth—29,029 feet above sea level—to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth on dry land—1,371 feet below sea level. The zip line will run for 7,500 kilometers or 4,750 miles. One should pack a lunch and wear several layers of Depends—even with an average speed of 100 miles per hour the ride will require 48 hours to move from top to bottom.

Perhaps depending on the public’s interest the zip line could become an aerial tramway with spacious cars fitted with bars, food counters, restrooms and sleeping accomodations something on the order of sky boxes at our sports arenas (I’m unsure whether the sky boxes have sleeping areas). If that should come to pass, I will insist on being compensated for my basic
suggestion to upgrade to the tramway system.

I’ll get back to you later with more details. Oh, and just one more thought—I made up that zip line thing, but wouldn’t it be great! Take a look at the globe and just imagine the scenes moving below, gorgeous even at 100 miles per hour—and just think about the photo possibilities!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: Every story has at least two sides, and what follows is the other side of this story. I found a somewhat negative review—well, actually it was a scathing rebuke of the diner, its servers, its services, its food and its restroom facilities.

The following comment was dated April 16, 2011 and is presented exactly as found online, with no effort made to correct punctuation, spelling, capitalization errors or sentence construction. Apparently the bottom line of this comment is that the writer probably would not recommend Daddy-O’s Doo Wop Diner in Farmersville, Texas, not for breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight chow, nor for a picnic basket to take out—of course, I could be wrong.

My first time there. And thank god my last! Worst service ever. We went there for breakfast, missed it by 4 minutes. The waitress appeared to look exausted and hung over. she acted like we were twisting her arm when we inqired about breakfast. She said the cook was in a bad mood mood and would not make any exceptions. I ordered an apetizer and pretty much recieved it WITH MY MEAL. where I come from you serve apetizer s before your meal. I ordered the sampler.with cheese sticks, fried mushrooms and corn nuggets.They arrived in a bed of oil. Every bite felt like drinking a cup of vegetable oil. The mac n cheese should of been called” water n mac” cause there was not any cheese flavor what so ever.she kept forgetting the little things like to check on us refresh our drinks and to smile. I took my 3 year old to used the bathroom and let me tell you it looked like the sewer scenes from the ninja turtle movie. Dont get me wrong I love diners, I will just try to pretend this was a bad dream.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

In defense of Aggies . . .

Let’s hear it for the Aggies!

Let’s hear it for those stalwarts that are presently in attendance at Texas A&M University, for those that have been graduated by that school and for those that were prematurely tossed out for various but completely understandable reasons—faults such as a predilection for unnatural communion with small animals, for example, or for failure to attend at least seven percent of required classes over a period of six years, failure to achieve a solid D average over the same period, and failure to qualify for an undergraduate bachelor degree in fewer than eight years.

I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Aggies. I don’t believe they deserve the fusillade of stones and arrows that rain down on them from all points of the globe and from persons in all walks of life—well, perhaps some deserve such treatment, maybe—okay, perhaps most deserve such treatment, but certainly not all—there must be at least a few good apples in the Aggie barrel.

Aggies are the abject targets of social discrimination. Apparently they don’t teach sociology at Texas A & M, because any group that wishes to protect itself from discrimination has only to declare itself as a minority and document the discrimination—properly documented, the Aggies would be a shoo-in for designation as a minority and thereby entitled to all the privileges and benefits thereof.

Their request for minority status and freedom from discrimination should include the jillions of jokes—love that alliteration—that target the Aggies, jokes that in large measure have been converted from jokes aimed at other so-called minorities. The Aggies need only to believe that they are the victims of discrimination, declare themselves a minority, express that belief and then document the discrimination.

How easy is that!

And on the same subject and using that same sociological definition of what constitutes a minority and discrimination, I suggest that white folks—I favor that term over hill billies, whities, white trash, honkies, gringos, rednecks and trailer trash—identify themselves as a sociological minority and claim discrimination. It really doesn’t matter whether they are or are not the victims of discrimination, nor does it matter that they constitute a majority of the US population. Discrimination does not depend on population—read on.

The 2009 population figures show a total US population of 307 million, and whites alone constitute 65% of that total even after excluding the 30 million White Hispanics and Latino Americans in the population. Whites only are obviously not a minority in numbers, but the sociological definition requires only that a group believes itself to be discriminated against, expresses that belief, and documents the discrimination and that definition is satisfied—it does not depend on the number of people in the minority group.

Come on, all you Aggies! Get your stuff together and force us to pick on some other group—unwed fathers, for example, or maybe cross-dressing homeless Lower Slobovian refugees. The current hordes of wannabes clamoring for attention as potential candidates for the presidency of the United States of America under the GOP banner would be an ideal target to replace the proud present and past people—there’s that alliteration again—-with ties to Texas’ Agricultural and Mechanical University, the state’s first public institution of higher education, established by the Texas state legislature ‘way back in April of 1871.

What follows next is a joke that includes some suggestions for replacements that qualify as targets for jokes in order to reduce the pressure on Aggies. For example, you might ask someone, Didja hear about the two community organizers that, blah, blah, blah?

Now for the joke:

Have you heard the one about the two (at this point insert political independents, republicans, democrats, communists, activists, community organizers, socialists, old maids or other persons) discussing the weather?

First person: It’s going to rain.

Second person: How do you know?

First person: My instincts.

Second person: My end stinks too, but it doesn’t predict the weather, rain or otherwise.

Click here for the original posting, dated 26 Feb 2011, that featured the instinct joke. In that one I used two little morons for the joke. There is some highly cogent political posturing included in that posting, so I’ll apologize in advance for that.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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Listen up, Chris Matthews: Palin knows more than you do!

In your show on the evening of Friday, June 3, 2011 you covered Sarah Palin’s visit to Boston. You skewered her when she said that Paul Revere rode his horse through the towns to warn the people that the British were coming, and you said that Palin knows nothing. You said that the warning was one if by land and two if by sea, and that everybody knows that.

That phrase was not a warning—it was merely a signal to Paul Revere, as immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem Paul Revere’s Ride. Click here for the poem and Wikipedia’s discussion. And Chris, for your enlightenment the first two verses of the poem are as follows:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hand a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal light,
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

So there, Chris Matthews—that one if by land, and two if by sea was merely a signal to Paul Revere to jump on his horse and spread the alarm through every Middlesex village and farm, and here it needs to be pointed out that Palin used the term town as opposed to the term village, but in my unlearned opinion the two terms are interchangeable. In summary, Palin was right and you were wrong. And now to wrap this one up, although I do not enjoy repeating myself, I will repeat myself:

Nanny, nanny, boo-boo, Palin knows more than you do!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Postscript: I would be remiss if I failed to insert at least a smidgen of humor into this posting. Many years ago, far back in the mist-shrouded years of my boyhood in the past century, a popular corruption of Paul Revere’s Ride was told and retold by me and by my fellow elementary students:

Listen, my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
He jumped in his car and stepped on the gas,
And the floorboard flew up and busted his donkey.

In case you haven’t noticed, please note that the final word in the ditty above, namely the word donkey, obviously does not rhyme with gas—it is a harmless synonym used in an effort to remain in compliance with the language limitations favored by WordPress.

 
 

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Listen up, Rachel Maddow—learn your possessives!

I voluntarily submitted myself to the excruciating torture of watching your show yesterday, June 3, 2011 and during your coverage of John Edwards’ current trials and tribulations I started counting the times you mispronounced John Edwards’ name. When you needed to show possession, without a single exception you pronounced his name as Edwardses, and somewhere around twenty I stopped counting, primarily because I ran out of fingers and toes.

Please note that I did not use an apostrophe in the word Edwardses in that last sentence—it’s impossible for a listener to detect the presence or the absence of an apostrophe in such usage. It may or may not have been present in the mind-numbing number of times you voiced it. With an apostrophe the word Edwards’es, or Edwards’s, is a violation of English usage—without an apostrophe Edwardses is a good word, forming the plural of the Edwards family, as in The Edwardses embarked on a family vacation aboard the Queen Elizabeth—I refer to the ocean liner, of course, not to the current royal monarch.

And no, in answer to the question that is probably forming in your mind one would not, or at least should not, identify the entire family as the Edwardss—the plural requires the es—that’s what makes it plural. Got it?

The es added to Edwards tells us that the whole famn damily went on vacation aboard the QE2. Based on that example, I would hazard a guess that each time you used the term it would be spelled thusly—Edwards’es—but I could be wrong. Words that end in an s are made possessive by the addition of an apostrophe only, not by an apostrophe and s, nor by the addition of an apostrophe and es.

Jumping Jehosaphat, Rachel! Even Sarah Palin knows that! If you were reading a teleprompter last night, I suggest that you fire the worker that compiled it, and if you were winging it I urge you to enroll in English 101—both you and your viewers will profit.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

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