Archive for November 2012

11-29-1012   1 comment

Frigid cold last night and a very thin blanket of snow covering everything this morning.  I walked outside for a few minutes and the air has that snap in it that I miss so much sometimes.  When I can feel my nose hairs freezing and my face being chapped by the cold wind.  These are some of the insane reasons I thoroughly enjoy Winter.

The thing I really don’t enjoy is the garbage that’s frozen to my driveway after a rather sloppy pickup by the local trash company yesterday.  I needed a freaking ice pick and a shovel just to break it’s hold on the asphalt.  Another of life’s little annoyances to kick you in the butt and to help you forget just how sentimental and emotionally sloppy your becoming over a little cold air and a brisk wind.  I worry about myself a little when I begin waxing philosophic about weather changes.

Maybe it’s just this junior league hangover I’m sporting this morning.  A few too many glasses of a reasonably good Chardonnay will do it to you every time. 

I’m being forced by the passing days to complete my Christmas shopping but I can’t seem to get motivated about the holidays thus far.  I’ve been avoiding the crowds and the all of the Christmas related decorations and music just through a total lack of interest.  I’m hoping for a minor miracle that will somehow infuse me with that hard to find spirit just to keep my better-half happy.

I may be forced to surprise her when she gets home later today.  I’ll unpack that beautiful eight foot fake Christmas tree and get it set up for her.  I’ll need  EMT’s standing by if I do because the shock might kill her.  But . . . If I’m foolish enough to set up that tree then chaos will certainly follow.  Before she goes to work tomorrow there will be boxes of ornaments, strings of lights, and dozens of feet of tinsel awaiting me. “You were so sweet to put up the tree for me, how about finishing the rest of the decorating today?”.   I may have to take a short break, have a coffee, and then have my freaking head examined.  Why in Gods name would I do that to myself.  Wait just a second . . . .

. . . . OK I’m back.  I went away for a while to a happy place where my inner voices told me to shut up, forget the damn decorations, and stop being stupid.  Thank God for them.  I’m getting in my car and taking my camera to  begin another search for a few of those elusive Kodak moments anywhere but where Christmas music is playing.

FA, LA, LA, LA ,LA . . . .. LA ,LA, LA, LA!

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11-28-2012   4 comments

Another month has screamed by at warp speed and winter has arrived here in Maine.  We haven’t received much snow yet but the temps are in the mid twenties at night and low forties during the day.  It always takes me a few weeks to adjust my body to the winter temperatures but once that’s over it’s smooth sailing for the next five months.

I’d  like to thank those of you who persuaded me into sticking with my goal of reading all of the Harry Potter books.  As I thought, the books tell a better story than the films but the films special effects really do bring the stories to life in a different way. It’s hard to deny how important special effects can be when making movies about witches and wizards and a host of really strange creatures.  If I were to make a recommendation I’d still suggest reading the books before seeing the movies.  That’s almost impossible I know but it’s what I think.  Since the films have been released to TV I’m sure just about everyone on the planet has seen most of them.  That’s OK but if you’re a real fan then sit down and read them, you’ll love it.

I finished book three a few days ago, took a breath and immediately started on book four.  I’m only a few chapters into it but can already see the changeover to a more adult approach to the story.  A couple of early murders and a little sexual innuendo go a long way to making that point.  I’m actually looking forward to finishing the remainder of the books which shouldn’t take more than a few more weeks after my return from Maryland.

I’m sitting here this morning trying to solve a problem I’ve seen having recently.  We live in a very rural area filled with forests, farm fields, a few neighbors, and a plethora of animals roaming in and around the property.   I need to preface this with a tidbit of information to help you understand.  A number of months ago we had an unknown number of fucking thieves enter our home while we were out and they stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. The details are unimportant but the effect it had on us was profound.  I’ve since turned my home into a fortress with lock replacements, industrial strength deadbolts, a top of the line alarm system, and sensor controlled lights surrounding the house.  If you even fart within two hundred feet of my house the place will light up like Rockefeller Center and you’ll likely get to meet me and my Smith & Wesson.  The police should arrive just in time to save you.

Your asking I know, “What’s the big problem then?”.   Sounds great right? Not so much.  The problem began shortly after the lights were installed when I was in a much more paranoid place than I am now.  I was lying in bed at two in the morning and all of a sudden the entire rear of the house lit up.  I grabbed my gun and headed down stairs to investigate.  I looked out the windows and could see nothing so I opened the back door to look around and almost stepped on one of the largest skunks I’ve ever seen.  He was sitting almost against the door and I was one step away from a smelling and disgusting disaster.  Of course, I retreated immediately but that SOB hung around for another half hour keeping all of the lights lit.  A few times every week now I’m awakened not just by roaming wild animals but also my neighbors cat. He loves patrolling around my house in the wee hours and might even get some kind of a feline related thrill by turning on all my lights every so often.

“It’s a pickle I tell ya!”, to quote Frank Barone.  How do I take steps to deal with that cat?  Maybe I shoot him in the ass with a BB gun? I really don’t want to harm the little bastard because he’s been keeping the chipmunk population under control for a few years now.  I’m afraid there’s just no solution. I’ll  have to get darker curtains on my bedroom windows and just let it go.  My other problem is that I’m not very good at letting things go.

Time to go and enjoy the day.

Posted November 29, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Humor, Just Saying

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11-27-2012   1 comment

After yesterdays rant I found myself feeling somewhat better about the upcoming holidays.  Now for the next week we will be preparing for our trip to Maryland.  It’s going to be a long week because we’re already fighting and arguing with each other over preparations. 

Part of those preparations include topping off the home heating oil tank so we don’t run out of fuel while we’re away. We had the tank filled up today and what a bargain, only five hundred and fifty dollars to keep the house at an uncomfortably cold sixty-two degrees until late January.  I guess I shouldn’t complain because last winter we maintained the house in the range of 55-65 degrees for the entire season and let me tell you a little secret.  It’s really hard to get a good nights sleep when your wearing long johns, socks, a tassel hat, and two layers of clothing. That’s the conundrum, not spending the money you save by keeping the house cooler for extra clothing to keep your body warmer. The bottom line is this, winter is expensive and you can’t avoid paying through the nose for it. 

The government energy experts love advising people to use alternative sources of energy.  Wood burning, solar power, and wind power are their favorites.  After doing my research I come to find out it pretty much is a huge load of manure.  To equip my home with just a basic solar system would cost ten to twenty thousand dollars.  If I saved just $20.00 a month based on a fifteen thousand dollar expenditure it would require 62.5 years to recoup my money.  What a deal.  Pellet stoves are cheaper but not by much.  If I wanted wind power it could cost in the area of four thousand dollars and would give me the ability to light a limited number of lights in a few rooms of my home.  So much for the alternative energy sources.  They may become economical at some time in the future but unfortunately I’ll probably be dead for twenty years.

I’m leaving in a few minutes to  visit the local tire store for maintenance on my vehicle before the trip.  I been having issues with a slow leak that’s been driving me crazy for over a month.  Hopefully it won’t cost me an arm and a leg for repairs but as always expect the worst and when it doesn’t happen, celebrate.

I also need to do a little shopping for clothes that pass my better-half’s inspection.  I wouldn’t want to show up at any gathering with her family looking like my normal self.  I’ve been told to clean up my act, cut my hair, shave my face, and scrub my filthy body.  I’m not only required to look good but to smell good as well.  I won’t be permitted to make the trip if I have one freaking hair out of place.  This get together is just going to be “the cats ass”.  Deck the effing halls!

11-26-2012   4 comments

First we had Black Friday and the week long barrage of advertisements that preceded it.  The bombardment was brutal as always and made it virtually impossible for me to comfortably watch TV, listen to the radio, or read my emails.  Spam was worse than usual on the net and there was just no let up.  Some time Friday afternoon I expected some relief when the end of Black Friday was in sight.  Wrong! Visiting a few stores during that week was a huge disappointment for me too.  In years past the Christmas holiday really didn’t take off until the weekend following Black Friday, but no more.  For example, Lowes was setting Christmas displays two weeks before Black Friday and  I can only assume they were following the example set by the Big Daddy retailer, Walmart.  I was already sick of the Christmas season in late September with their  slashed prices, great deals, giveaways, and enough coupons mailed to kill off a large forest. It was just plain stupid but I was certain it would soon decline in frequency.  Wrong again.

I wake up bright and early on Sunday and the barrage had changed focus.  It’s now the beginning of the ramp up to Cyber Monday.  I wonder what genius thought up that pain-in-the-ass promotion.  Chances are good it was a combination of people from  Best Buy, Apple, and of course Amazon.  My mail box was suddenly filled anew with another round of nonsense.  The old Circuit City brand that closed it’s retail establishments five years ago is now alive and well as an internet business and returned once more to bother me.  Prices were being  lowered again and again with the drumbeat continuing on both television and radio.  I was forced to abandon electronic media for a day or two and just sit quietly and read a good book. 

Monday arrived and again I was hoping for a reprieve from the advertising onslaught  with the end of the Cyber Monday debacle.  Wrong again.  Late Monday I began hearing a new phrase being bandied about, Cyber Week!  These effing people are relentless in their need to make most of us as miserable and brainwashed as possible. Maybe next year November can become Cyber Month and Christmas resets can begin in August. This country is on advertising overload and has been for quite some time.   I recall a time when cable TV was first introduced and they called it Pay TV.  We were assured that with the advent of cable we could watch television commercial-free for just a small monthly payment.  That claim lasted about a week before they began to clog the new cable airways with ads and began jacking up the monthly fee.   

I sat with a stop watch one evening earlier this year and decided to determine how much time was spent on actual TV programming.  In a standard one half hour sitcom we’re being force-fed  approximately ten minutes of boring, annoying, and stupid advertisements.  That means for a two hour movie special we are fed forty minutes of ads.  It won’t be long before what used to be an hour special will become a three and a half hour advertising fiasco.  When will it end?  I think the answer to  that would be “Never”. 

We aren’t permitted any ad free  time to sit and think about anything but spend, spend, spend.  Walmart seems to be the trend setter in all things retail and it doesn’t take long for Target, Best Buy, and all of the others to follow suit.  Walmart is constantly in our face on TV and upon arrival at their stores you’ll find endless numbers of signs posted everywhere.  You enter the building and there are signs for the Donut Shop, Pharmacy, Bank, Eyeglasses, Beauty Shop and even Nail Salons.  The entire building is covered in signs for just about every product they carry.  Their latest and greatest devices to drive me crazy  are those little LCD screens located on end-caps that activate as you approach.  Another sales pitch for some bullshit useless product I didn’t want to begin with.  My first introduction to those little devices scared the crap out of me as I was walking along minding my own business and all of a sudden I have a female voice bellowing at  me  to buy some stupid product I really didn’t need.  Criminally annoying.

My rant is over for now.  The problem  with all of these advertisements is two fold.  First, they seem to work which gives the companies incentive to continue using them and second, it gives them the power to manipulate large numbers of the population to do their bidding.  As always my bitch about the Media in general is their constant attempts to control not only politics in this country but everything else as well.  If that doesn’t give you pause and scare you a little then we’ve already lost the battle.

I’m leaving now because I feel the need to scream and then run to Walmart and buy something stupid. Merry Effing Christmas!

11-25-2012   Leave a comment

I mentioned yesterday about my favorite blogger, Rob “Acidman” Smith, who passed away in 2006.  I  visited his site again yesterday, Gut Rumbles, for a trip down memory lane.  With Christmas coming I’m always at a loss for stories that don’t end up being tear-jerkers about some family member or friend who has passed away.  I’ve decided to again introduce all of you to Rob by reposting one of his favorite Christmas stories posted on the last Christmas before his untimely death.  Nothing else could possibly explain to you how he felt about things except this sample of his great sense of humor. Read and enjoy it like I did yesterday.

* * *

December 23, 2005

A Christmas Story:

INFANT DISCOVERED IN BARN, CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES LAUNCH PROBE

Nazareth Carpenter Being Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother

Bethlehem, Judea – Authorities were today alerted by a concerned citizen who noticed a family living in a barn. Upon arrival, Family Protective Service personnel, accompanied by police, took into protective care an infant child named Jesus, who had been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding trough by his 14-year old mother, Mary of Nazareth. During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph, also of Nazareth, attempted to stop the social workers.  Joseph, aided by several local shepherds and some unidentified foreigners, tried to forestall efforts to take the child, but were restrained by the police.

Also being held for questioning are the three foreigners who allege to be wise men from an eastern country. The INS and Homeland Security officials are seeking information about these who may be in the country illegally.  A source with the INS states that they had no passports, but were in possession of gold and other possibly illegal substances. They resisted arrest saying that they had been warned by God to avoid officials in Jerusalem and to return quickly to their own country. The chemical substances in their possession will be tested.

Yeah, it’s funny, but only because we can see something like that actually happening today.

Posted by Acidman @ 12:51 AM

* * *

His common sense approach to life made him all the more interesting to read.  He could make you laugh, make you cry, and make you scratch your head and think.  He’s still missed but his site lives on.  Lucky us.

Posted November 26, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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11-24-2012   1 comment

They’ll be no more mentions of Thanksgiving and related food topics.  I’ve eaten enough turkey, turkey pies, turkey soup, and turkey sandwiches for this year. It’s onward and upward to the next step on the stairway to 2013.  My better-half and I have begun planning another of our annual holiday visits to faraway family members.  Since my mom passed this year a trip to western Pennsylvania won’t be happening.  Instead we’ll be on our way to the state of Maryland for a birthday bash/holiday visit for my better-half’s mom who is turning eighty.  Her many siblings and their spouses, partners, and significant others will also be in attendance for the festivities.  I’m not at all thrilled about traveling during the Christmas season because it seems every time we do something bad happens.  In years past I’ve had two near-death experiences in unexpected blizzards where we played bumper cars in the snow.  I’m beginning to appreciate all of those years I lived in Pennsylvania and was within driving distance of most of my  relatives.

My better-half has been in great spirits for the last few days and I suspect she’s suffering from Pre-Vacation Silliness Syndrome.  She has a vacation scheduled to start in fours days but mentally she’s already checked out.  Combining that with her never ending Christmas cheer might be enough to drive me “over the edge”. How would you like to drive for eight and a half hours through possible snowy conditions with a tone deal Christmas elf singing carols in your ear.  I hope her sister and brother-in-law have a good supply of alcoholic refreshments chilled and waiting my arrival. I’m going to try my best to hide those stupid red antlers she soooo loves to wear because I just know the first police officer that sees her in that outfit will most  likely what me to stop and chat so he can smell my breath. I hope and pray the weather cooperates and we get there and back without incident.

Now for some new business.  I received a message from Matthew Ryan at A Toast to Dragons nominating me for the coveted and spectacular, Very Inspiring Blog Award.  As part of my acceptance I ‘m told I need to list 15 of my favorite blogs.  Since I ‘m a very discerning reader fifteen is out of the question.  Here are five in addition to Matt that I read religiously.  For sweetness and poetry – Don’t Quote Lily, for sexy – Snarky Snatch, for our military – Brain Rants, and for an Australian perspective – Polly Woffle.  I have one last blog that I’ve read for years even though the blogger passed away in 2006.  His family maintains the blog and it’s archives and I still visit it every chance I get.  Go to Gut Rumbles as written by the late great Rob “Acidman” Smith.  He’s the only reason I’m blogging today.  Any one of these blogs is well worth your time.

I’d like to continue this but I’ve been assigned repair duties today.  Fix the kitchen light, put out the Christmas flag, take down the screens, and blah blah blah.  Just another day in this paradise that is my life.  Tomorrow is another day.

11-23-2012   5 comments

The day after any holiday can sometimes be better than the holiday itself.  I feel bad for my better-half who was up and on her way at 3:30 am to her retail nightmare.  Black Friday in my opinion has always been the worst day of the year.  I spent way too many years working on Black Friday and dealing with complete and total idiots in extremely large numbers.  She actually asked if I would make a coffee run in late morning and visit her at the store.  I love ya honey but no effing way.  Twenty-five years of retail adventures on this day convinced me to be a selfish ass and refuse her request.

My better-half is a shopping freak and she can’t wait to get off work to go shopping.  She is the ultimate glutton for punishment.  Then I’ll be forced to listen for an hour after she gets home tonight to “OMG I’m so tired”, OMG My feet hurt”, OMG People are idiots”, and on and on and on. She spent a portion of Thanksgiving Day sitting on the living room floor with her daughter going through newspaper coupons and discussing their shopping strategy.  General Eisenhower spent less time preparing for D-Day.

Unfortunately the daughter’s husband of one year is about to lose his “shopping cherry”.  Being officially married for one year yesterday made him the prime candidate to hit the shopping trail with the wife and new baby.  Isn’t true love a bitch sometimes.  I didn’t harass him much about it yesterday because we should all attempt to be nice on Thanksgiving but I could see from the look on his face he just wasn’t looking forward to any of it.  Who wouldn’t prefer a football game to having to rub elbows with the “great unwashed”.

Enough of my pessimism.  I’m relaxing in my man cave, watching a Steven Seagal movie, and blogging my life away.  I have a good cup of coffee and a huge turkey sandwich to carry me through until dinner.  The cat’s sleeping in his chair next to me and he’s happy as hell too.  I can relax until sometime this evening when the shopping storm troopers arrive.  I might even sneak in a power nap to prepare for their arrival.

Life can be good if you let it.

11-22-2012   2 comments

Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year but for a change I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Since I’m not a religious person the holidays of Christmas and Easter don’t get me all that excited.  I participate in the activities but only because I care for the family members who go dog-shit crazy over them.  New Years was a great holiday when I was younger when drinking and carousing were the rule of the day but that ended a while back.

The Fall of the year is my favorite season.  It’s that old harvest time mindset in Maine that really attracts me.  Every weekend from Labor Day until Thanksgiving will find people at Town Fairs, Farm Shows, and festivals of all kinds.  Home made foods, home made gifts, and farm animals are the order of the day.  It’s still a place where many Maine families carry on the tradition of visiting one of our local tree farms for picking out the family Christmas tree.  It’s even cooler when you’ve had a fresh snow fall and you get to walk out in the woods with a saw in one hand and your kid hanging onto the other. It just makes the seasons feel more meaningful and it gives those kids a life-long memory to enjoy.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to have attended many family Thanksgiving gatherings with my family and the families of others.  That’s really what makes Thanksgiving mean more to me than any of the other holidays.  It’s the tradition of the day more than the food that makes it extra special.  The fact that the Pilgrims created the  first Thanksgiving is nice but so what.  What’s important to me is the family members making the effort to be together and be thankful for the things and people in their lives.  Our celebration this year was a small intimate family group with the new grandson enjoying his first Thanksgiving. He was the lucky one who didn’t overeat and got to sleep through the meal.  The food was great and the company was too.  I was in charge of the bird this year and (patting myself on the back) it was delicious.  That bird made the ultimate sacrifice and we all appreciated it.  I’ll appreciate it again over the next month or two when we can snack on those homemade pot pies he’s going to be a part of. Yummmm!

I hope all of you enjoyed  the day and your time with your families.  We’ve lost a few family members this year and have welcomed a new arrival as well.  Keep them all in your thoughts.

Posted November 23, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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11-21-2012   3 comments

Here’s a few poems and stray thoughts on this Thanksgiving Eve:

 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off’rings, and a thankful strain.

~Alexander Pope

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” ~Irv Kupcinet

Ah! on Thanksgiving day….
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
~John Greenleaf Whittier

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~Thornton Wilder

“On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment – halftime.” ~Author Unknown

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.” ~Seneca

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Posted November 22, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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11-20-2012   2 comments

I’m a loyal and patriotic American as most of us are. The discussions I’ve been listening to recently and that many people are dwelling on are serious matters as they’ve always been.  Are we in decline?  Is the younger generations capable of taking over and keeping America strong? Why does everyone in the world hate us?  I’m not here to answer those questions or to solve those problems. I’m here mainly to convey my thoughts and the thoughts of other Americans and non-Americans who’ve had something to say about these same matters in the past.

The results of this last election were an eye opener for me as I’ve mentioned before.  Many millions of voters feel betrayed when so many of their fellow citizens were bamboozled by the Obama propaganda machine and just don’t seem to care about the welfare of the country.  Well people, I’m here to tell you that it’ll take more than Obama and a handful of well placed Democrats to destroy this nation.  I admit they’ve been working extremely hard to do as much damage as possible but since it’s been done within the laws of the land (for the most part) that’s their right to do so. They can’t do much more than we permit them to do. The bottom line is that long after all of them and all of us are gone this country will be rolling along like nothing happened.

Sit down, relax, and listen in.

       

  • "The American dream is not over, America is an adventure." Theodore White

  • "What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from." Marilyn Vos Savant

  • "America is a place where Jewish merchants sell Zen love beads to agnostics for Christmas." John Burton Brimer

  • "What’s right with America is a willingness to discuss what’s wrong with America." Harry C Bauer

  • "America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way around. Human rights invented America." Jimmy Carter

  • "The saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities-a sense of humor and a sense of proportion." Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • "Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." Pope John Paul II

  • "My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular." Adlai E Stevenson

  • "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want rain without thunder and lightning." Frederick Douglass

  • "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Dwight D Eisenhower

  • "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." Thomas Jefferson

  • "Patriotism is not so much protecting the land of our fathers as preserving the land of our children." José Ortega y Gasset

     

I couldn’t have said it any better.  Four years to a new regime and hopefully a better outcome.

Posted November 22, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying Again

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