Archive for the ‘winter’ Tag

12/07/2022 “You’d Better Watch Out”   Leave a comment

This is a favorite post that I pull out once a year because it takes me back to a time when Christmas was still something special for a young kid. This is one of those incidents that stays with you for your entire life and the older you get the funnier it seems. At the time I wasn’t laughing all that much, but the prank was done with the best of intentions by my favorite aunt. Enjoy!

As a young child my parents made every attempt to make Christmas as memorable as possible for my sister and for me. I was almost 6 years old when this incident took place back when I still firmly believed the tales of Santa and his elves and all that good stuff. But in the back of my young mind, I secretly was beginning to have doubts. A lot of what I was being told by the family wasn’t what I was hearing on the playground. My friends had almost convinced me there was no Santa and that my parents were actually the real gift givers. My parents apparently began to suspect that I was wavering, and their propaganda was falling on deaf ears. In a conspiracy involving my mother’s sister, Annamae, they decided drastic action was needed. I’d been acting out and being a little disrespectful, so it was time for Santa to straighten me out.

It was about a week before Christmas, and we were visiting my grandparents. I was being a huge pain in the butt like a lot of six-year-olds can be. It was just after dark, and I was walking through the house to the kitchen. As I passed by a window in the hallway I glanced over and almost crapped my pants. There was Santa standing there staring right back at me and smiling. I was terrified and quickly ran upstairs and hid under the bed and refused to come out until the coast was clear. My parents let me know in no uncertain terms that Santa was out looking for those children who were being good and only visiting those that weren’t.

For the next day or so I was a perfect little angel but after dark I was afraid to look out the windows or to enter a dark room. Santa the terrorist had accomplished his mission. I saw him on two or three other occasions during the next few years, once at our home, and again in the cellar of my grandparents’ house. Unfortunately, I was already a nonbeliever by that time but went along with the charade to keep peace in the family and not to scare my little sister. By then I knew my parents were the ones I needed to suck up to and I did it in grand fashion.

Many years later while I was digging through a trunk in my aunt’s bedroom I discovered where Santa had been hiding for all these years. His retirement consisted of being hidden under a pile of sheets and pillowcases in an old trunk. My aunt laughed like crazy when I confronted her, and we both enjoyed the moment very much while I modeled the hat and beard one last time. It was a real Hallmark moment for both of us.

What I never told her, or my parents was that there was some lingering collateral damage from their actions. My first case of Christmas PTSD. To this day during the Christmas season, I’m careful in dark rooms and try never to look out the windows after sunset. In the malls or stores where Santas is holding court, I usually just walk on by without making eye contact. The guy still scares the bejesus out of me. LOL

11/24/2022 “Football History”   Leave a comment

It’s unusual for me to post about sports but occasionally I do so anyway. My favorite sport by far is baseball but over the years football has wormed its way into my life. It all started back in the seventies with the “Steel Curtain” and the “Immaculate Reception” and my one and only hometown team the Steelers. Football has slowly become Americas pastime by not so gently nudging baseball aside. Today I would like to do a short history lesson about football, it’s origins, during the years 1861 – 1946 (my birth year). Read on, you may learn a few interesting things beacuse I certainly did.

  • 1861: The first documented football game that was essentially rugby and was played at the University of Toronto..
  • 1874: McGill University and Harvard play a hybrid version of rugby. The rule changes affect the game in the United States.
  • 1875: The official game ball becomes an egg-shaped rugby ball. The field is now 100 yards long by 53.5 yards wide and teams are cut to 15 players per side referees are also added to the game.
  • 1876: With the addition of the crossbar official goalposts now look like the letter “H”.
  • 1880 – 1885: Game fundamentals are introduced such as the down system (going 5 yards in three downs equals a first down), along with a scrimmage line and yard lines. Teams are now eleven to a side. A field goal is worth five points, a touchdown and conversion, four points each, and a safety is two points. The first play calling signals and planned plays are introduced.
  • 1894: The officiating crew is increased to three; a referee and two bodyguards, also known as the umpire and linesman.
  • 1896: Only one backfield man may now be in motion before the snap, any can be moving forward.
  • 1897: A touchdown now counts as five points.
  • 1909: Now a field goal is worth three points.

  • 1910: Seven players must now be on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped, establishing the basic offensive formation concept. The forward pass becomes commonplace in college football.
  • 1912: A rules committee determines that a touchdown is now worth six points and adds a fourth down. It is now practical to punt.
  • 1922: The American Professional Football Association becomes the National Football League.
  • 1932: The NFL begins keeping statistics.
  • 1933: There is a major NFL rule change: the passer can throw from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.
  • 1934: The modern football takes its current shape after a gradual evolution from the oddly shaped egg like rugby ball.
  • 1939: Helmets became mandatory in college football, and the pros followed within a decade.
  • 1941: It’s the end of the dropkick era. Ray McClean boots a conversion off the turf in the NFL championship game. In 2005, Doug Flutie created a sensation by doing it once again.
  • 1946: The NFL’s first major rival league, the All-American Football Conference begins play. It lasts just four seasons with the Cleveland Browns winning all four titles.

It took another eight years before I realized from my father that I had been born a Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I first became a rabid baseball fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates for the next 20 years. Slowly but surely football reached out and grabbed me and when the 1970’s hit I was hooked. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much to cheer about with the Steelers in recent years. I was fortunate enough to move to New England and got to enjoy all of the years of Tom Brady and the Patriots. My allegiance wavered when Brady moved to Tampa Bay, but everything must come to an end at some point. Now I’m what would be called a fair-weather fan.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

and

GO VIKINGS!

10/04/2022 “Weather   Leave a comment

Living in Maine has given me a great appreciation for monitoring the weather. Our winter here starts in late October and extends itself to the end of April, a full six months of snow, sleet, and cold. If you’re not a lover of miserable weather, I recommend you never move here. Today’s posting contains random weather tidbits you haven’t likely heard before. Enjoy!

  • Lightning strikes the earth of hundred times every second, from the 1800 thunderstorms in progress at any given moment.
  • Rain contains vitamin B-12.
  • Observations of increased rain after US Civil War battles led to abortive experiments with weather control. Cannon volleys were fired into the clouds in order to induce rain.
  • Nearly 100 pollution-filled, weather-beaten years in New York have done more damage to Cleopatra’s Needle – a granite obelisk covered with hieroglyphics – than did 3500 arid years in Egypt.
  • 17 1/2 inches in circumference and 1.67 pounds in weight: that’s the size of the largest hailstone known to have fallen in the United States. It struck during a severe storm at Coffeyville, Kansas, in September of 1970.

  • In 1816, there was no summer in many areas of the world. In parts of New England, snow stayed on the ground all year. Crops there and in Europe were ruined. Volcanic dust from the corruption of Tomboro in Indonesia that blocked the rays of the sun has been blamed.
  • In living memory, it was not until February 18, 1979, that snow fell on the Sahara Desert. A half-hour storm in southern Algeria stopped traffic but within a few hours all of the snow had melted away.
  • Residents in a small village in Scotland schedule their television viewing according to the tides. At low tide, the nearby mudflats absorbed the broadcast “waves”. Thank God for cable.
  • On June 10, 1958, a tornado was crashing through El Dorado, Kansas. The storm pulled a woman out of her house and carried her 60 feet away. She landed, relatively unharmed, next to a phonograph record titled “Stormy Weather”.
  • Due to friction with the surface of the planet, the wind retards or accelerates the spin of the Earth very slightly. A peak in the seasonal slowing of the planet is most evident during the northern winter.

C’MON WINTER

09/30/2022 “Fall”   1 comment

With September already over and cold temperatures beginning, it’s time to have some fun before the snow starts flying. With the holidays approaching I thought I’d publish a revised version of the Worker’s Prayer. This is posted for all of those people (my better-half included) that are stuck in thankless retail jobs across the country.

The Worker’s Prayer

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I cannot accept and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill today because they pissed me off, and also help me to be careful of the toes I step on today, as they may be connected to the ass I may have to kiss tomorrow.”

And just for the hell of it I decided to author a haiku as requested by a friend. Here it is.

❤️

The sky is so blue

A dot of sunshine yellow.

Forget me never.

T.G.I.F.

08/17/2021 Snow Clutz   Leave a comment

I am the poster boy for clumsy. I love winter and I love the snow but I just can’t seem to walk all that well on it or even near it. Winter is right around the corner and I’ve been trying to get myself mentally prepared for what’s coming. Every year before the snow starts to fly I try to determine exactly when I will fall and what damage I’ll might do to myself. It isn’t a matter of when but how often.

As a kid growing up my friends and I spent a great deal of time in the woods exploring. Even then it was the joke amongst the group as to when I would fall and hurt myself. Everyone thought it was funny and for years I fulfilled my role as the group clutz. I thought it was funny too but only because I hoped at some point it would end, you know, after I got all grown up. Must have been a figment of my imagination.

Let’s spring forward to my college years. I attended Edinboro College in Pennsylvania which just happens to be located in one of the Great Lakes worst snow belts. I couldn’t catch a break, I was on my back a lot in those days and not in a good way.

I then enlisted in the Army in the sixties and ended up in the northern section of South Korea with howling Siberian winds and snow up in my butt. Again, guard duty became quite the adventure as I attempted to remain totally silent while sliding down an icy hill on my back in the middle of the night. I have a scar or two that are constant reminders of those fun days.

Then came the 1970’s. I was enroute home from a job in a really nasty ice storm. I stopped to clean my windows and to take a much needed whiz. I lost my footing while whizzing and slid approximately fifty yards down an icy hill ending up under a nearby parked car. I couldn’t walk for more than a week and spent Super Bowl Sunday propped up in a chair so I can watch the game. I think the Steelers won but I can’t be sure, but those pain pills were the best.

I could go on but I think I’ve made my point. I’ve had a few falls in the ensuing years like breaking a leg and then two years later breaking an arm. Once the snow begins to fly I can guarantee you at least two or three more falls as I wrestle with my snow blower in the driveway. Those kind of things are minor and don’t even bother me anymore. I really hope your winter goes better than the one I’m anticipating.

The Snow Clutz is signing off for now. LOL.

03-25-2016 Journal – Organizational Arrogance!   Leave a comment

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Have you ever had your credit card information stolen by someone?  I have.

For the second time in a year my bank sent me a notice that I’m being issued a new credit card because mine may have been compromised.  No explanations as to how or when or why, just shut up and do it. I hate pushy people, pushy governments, pushy companies, and now this pushy bank.  Ordering me to change cards without giving me the specifics seems to be a tad arrogant. If it’s just a preventative measure then tell me that. I don’t appreciate being treated like a moron child, being ordered around by a know-it-all parent. That may have worked when I was five but trust me, I’m no longer five.

I allow these people the privilege of using my money to make money for themselves but this Big Brother attitude pisses me off. It seems to be the way of things these days especially with the government and Big Business. They see us as a pack of slobbering idiots who need their hands held to make any sort of decision.

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Now I get to spend a couple of hours today on the Net changing my credit card numbers on a myriad of websites.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain since they are allegedly protecting my money and accounts but talking down to me is unacceptable.

Over the last five years I’ve had my information stolen twice when unauthorized purchases were made in Canada and Europe. Throw in two changes of debit cards (because of hacked companies) and three new credit cards (for unexplained reasons) and OMFG what the hell is going on. If you’re doing something to benefit me all that’s required is a simple explanation. I guess it’s too much to hope for in these days of big government and big business arrogance. They’re too busy to deal with the feelings of the “great unwashed”.

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I sometimes wonder whether it would be worth it to remove myself from the grid entirely and go back to writing checks and mailing payments. Is simple convenience worth all of this grief and aggravation?  I don’t want to get too crazy but maybe it’s time for some common sense to enter into my approach to the Net, my use of credit and debit cards, and banking in general. I need to think on it for a while longer and try to come up with some good solid solutions to this nightmare.

I’d ask the bank for help but they’d just replace all of my cards once again and send me that condescending form letter as well.

THE BIGGER THE ORGANIZATION, THE LESS THEY CARE.

03-23-2016 Journal– Some Dirty Humor!   Leave a comment

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Today is what will probably turn into a do-nothing, boring, day of reading, and not much else.  We’re still caught in between seasons here in Maine which means the weather is all screwed up and annoying. The snowfall from our recent storm is 90% gone but it’s still awfully cold at night. It’s just cold enough to require heavy clothing that makes you begin to sweat as soon as you put it on. Then you remove it to cool down, get cold, and put the clothing back on and sweat some more. It’s no wonder everyone seems to be suffering either from colds or any one of many flu viruses that seem to be going around.

I’ve spent the last few days at home and only leaving the house for wine or food emergencies. All that means is if I’m short on wine and my favorite foods I will brave the cold and crappy weather regardless. Minor errands or stupid shopping forays are not what I consider an emergency no matter what my better-half tells me.

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While I’m thinking about that here are a few dirty jokes to brighten your day. We’ll start with a bar joke. Everyone loves a good and dirty bar joke.

  • A guy walks into a pub and sees a sign hanging over the bar that reads: CHEESEBURGER: $1.50 CHICKEN SANDWICH: $2.50 HAND JOB: $10.00 He walks up to the bar and beckons one of the three exceptionally attractive blondes serving drinks. "Can I help you?" she asks. "I was wondering," whispers the man. "Are you the one who gives the hand jobs?" "Yes," she purrs. "I am." The man replies, "Well, wash your hands. I want a cheeseburger."

Having worked for a few retail companies over the years I thought a little retail humor was warranted. I looked for years trying to find a salesman like this.

  • A young guy from Nebraska moves to Florida and goes to a big "everything under one roof" department store looking for a job. The Manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?" The kid says, "Yeah. I was a salesman back in Omaha." Well, the boss liked the kid and gave him the job. "You start tomorrow." I’ll come down after we close and see how you did." His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. "How many customers bought something from you today? The kid says, "One". The boss says, "Just one? Our sales people average 20 to 30 customers a day. How much was the sale for?" The kid says, "$101,237.65 ". The boss says, "$101,237.65? What the heck did you sell?" The kid says, "First, I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fishhook. Then I sold him a larger fishhook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Boston Whaler. Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4×4 Expedition." The boss said, "A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a BOAT and a TRUCK?" The kid said, "No, the guy came in here to buy Tampons for his wife, and I said, ‘Dude, your weekend’s shot, you should go fishing.’"

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This joke goes a long way to explain how long term marriages seem to work.

  • Husband always insisted on making love in the dark. After 20 years wife turns on the light, finds him holding a vibrator. She goes ballistic, "You impotent bastard! How could you lie to me all these years?" Husband looks her straight in the eyes & calmly says, "I’ll explain the toy, you explain the kids….."

You Think A Gallon Of Gas Is Expensive? This little list makes one think, and may put things in perspective:

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 $ 9.52 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 $10.00 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 $10.17 per gallon
Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 $10.32 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 $25.42 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 $33.60 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 $84.48 per gallon
Pepto-Bismol 4 oz $3.85 $123.20 per gallon
Vick’s Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 $178.13 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER . . .
Evian water 9 oz $1.49 $21.19 per gallon!
$21.19 FOR WATER! . . . and most buyers don’t even
know the source. But then again "EVIAN" spelled
backwards is "Naïve."

HAVE A GREAT DAY

03-21-201 Journal–A Day in the White Mountains!   Leave a comment

I’d just like to send out to Mother Nature a big huge kick in the butt. I awoke this morning to her latest gift . . . 6 inches of snow with more expected. I think it’s just her way of letting us know who’s really in charge around here.  So I spent this morning getting the snowblower out of storage, gassing it up one more time, and clearing the driveway again. Dammit!!

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I much prefer to talk about our day trip yesterday which was much nicer than all this crappy snow today. We took a ride west into New Hampshire to the foothills of Mt. Washington.  It was a cold and sunny day which made for  a great drive.  We were headed once again to North Conway, NH known for it’s many cool little shops and outlet stores. Here a photo looking down Maine Street towards Mt. Washington.

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The town was packed full of visitors and every store and shop was crowded. A little sunshine goes a long way in helping to open purses and wallets. I actually opened mine for a change and did my part to help the local economy.

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After walking a few miles and looking at damn near everything we decided to stop for lunch at a restaurant called Horsefeathers.

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Their menu had a lot to offer but I always lean towards seafood whenever possible.  The better half had a great crab and cheese sandwich and loved it. I ordered some super garlicky mussels and this was all that was left a short time later.

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The food and drinks were terrific and we returned to the car fat, dumb, and happy.  All of our purchases were loaded up and as we drove down Main Street towards home this was what I saw in my rearview mirror. Just a beautiful area.

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I can’t wait to return later in the summer to make the trek to the summit of Mt. Washington. We’ve done it before because the view will take your breath away. If I remember correctly on a clear day you can see five states from up there and parts of Canada as well.

JUST A GREAT DAY TO SHAKE OFF THE WINTER DOLDRUMS

03-11-2016 Journal–Condoms and Pregnancies!   Leave a comment

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I was seriously thinking about writing a political rant today but after giving it a little thought (10 seconds) I decided against it.  While many agree that the political campaigns this year are more interesting than usual I just don’t care enough to write about them.

With that anti-political statement completed I changed over to topics that have always interested me more than politics . . . . condoms and pregnancies.  I’ve compiled some stats from people like Planned Parenthood and others in my attempt to get at some truth.  Lets start with a little condom trivia.

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Percent of teenagers who claim to use condoms. – 60 %

Total number of condoms sold in the U.S. each year. – 450,000,000

Percent of couples who use a condom consistently and regularly that get pregnant. – 2 %

Percent of teen girls who used a condom the first time they had sex. – 68 %

Percent of teen males who used a condom the first time they had sex. – 82 %

Condom use by adolescent men during their past 10 vaginal intercourse events. – 79.1 %

Condom use by adolescent women during their past 10 vaginal intercourse events. – 58.1 %

Sexually active teens who reported using a condom along with birth control the last time they had sex. – 20 %

Percent of sexually active women with a partner who used a condom. – 93 %

Average cost of a single condom – $0.45

Percent of high school students who are taught how to correctly use a condom in their health class. – 39 %

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It’s fairly obvious that there is a lot of sex going on and condom use is much higher than I thought.  Next of the agenda is the percentage of condoms sold by Company.

Condom Brand Market Share
Percent

Trojan
69 %

Durex
15 %

Others
16 %

Trojans annual advertising budget – $33,600,000

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Condom use has increased over the years yet people still say they don’t like to use them. Here’s the long and short (no pun intended) of condom use.

Total Number of U.S. Women in their childbearing years. – 62 million

Percent of women who get pregnant while on the pill. – 6 %

Percent of people who rely on male condoms that do not get pregnant. – 85 %

Total percent of U.S. births that are from mothers younger than 19. – 10%

Total Number of U.S. women in childbearing years that use some form of contraception. – 62%

Among those who don’t use contraception, 31% are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, postpartum, sterile or not sexually active. The other 7% take their chances. Among those using contraceptives, here’s what they use:

Contraceptive
Percent Used

The Pill
28%

Sterilization
27.1%

Condom
16.1%

Vasectomy
9.9%

IUD
5.5%

There you have it.  Everything you ever wanted to know about condoms and their use but were afraid to ask.  Overall people don’t like using condoms but the alternatives are much too scary to deal with or even think about.

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So all of you sexual active animals out there, keep slipping them on and being sexually responsible and smart. One small personal opinion from me on female condoms. They are ridiculous. I wrestled with them enough times to know I’d sooner spend my valuable pre-entry time putting on a Ziploc bag.  What a nightmare. By the time you get it properly placed the lust has dissipated, the erection is gone, and you’ve missed five minutes of the first quarter.

BUY CONDOM STOCKS, YOU MAY GET LUCKY AND MAKE MONEY TOO.

03-9-2016 Journal – Return to the Garden!   Leave a comment

It’s 4am and my insomnia has me sitting in a comfortable chair, drinking a hot coffee, and reading one of my favorite authors, John Sanford, and enjoying his finest character, Lucas Davenport. The Prey series is 25 novels that are as well written as any I’ve ever read. If you like murder mysteries you should pick up some of these and just sit back and enjoy.

For the first time I finally have the complete series on my Kindle and I’m reading them in the order they were written. It’s now 730am and I just finished "Certain Prey", book number 10 in the series. I’m still not sleepy but I think it might be the four cups of coffee I’ve already had today. I’ll read one chapter of the next book “Easy Prey” and then I’ll get my day started.

The weather forecast is for warmer than usual temps with some sunshine thrown in for good measure. I’ll be outside in the garden shortly to begin the winter cleanup of my garden. I need to repair some minor damage to the fence which I caused last Fall and then a remodel of the frames surrounding the rhubarb patch.

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‘Remove the old frame.’

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‘Discard the old wood.’

I made my first Lowe’s trip for 2016 yesterday to pickup some pressure treated lumber. This was the first of many more trips I’m anticipating.  I ‘ll take a few photos today just to begin the documentation of  the garden for this year. I keep good records of all of my mistakes and failures so I never repeat them again accidently.

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‘Replace with the new lumber.’

It’s now 900am and my main chore has been completed. I tore out the old nasty lumber, expanded the rhubarb area , and rebuilt it with new PT lumber.  The job was much easier than expected because I happily discovered that the ground had thawed during the last few weeks of warmer weather. Hooray for me.

I know I’m jumping the gun a little with this garden work but it just feels so good to breath some fresh air and to get my hands a little dirty.

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