Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Slippers On The Ground

  We seniors are sick of terrorism, but what can we do other than watch cable news all day and vote for the guy who says he'll drop the most bombs. Our enemy is young, fit and tireless while we are old, slack, and addicted to naps. The terrorists entice new recruits with videos of beheadings. I'm looking at a  recruitment video for a new organization called OMAI: Old Men Against ISIS. We codgers are certainly not going to the battlefield. We'd soon become fodder for a new round of beheading videos. Rather we will go to work at the nearest Air Force base where we will be trained to operate drones. Since we're not members of the military, we're not allowed to kill anyone. Our strategy will be distraction, annoyance, disaffection (DAD); things we're already good at. We'll be piloting mini-drones such as people are already using here to scare their neighbors. These drones are vulnerable to a well thrown roll of toilet paper, but our drones will use the latest stealth technology. We will fly onto the battlefield in Iraq or Syria and as an ISIS or an ISIL fighter is about to fire his rifle, we'll hoist his shirt over his head using old Three Stooges technology. When he frees himself, we squirt honey in his face to teach him life is sweet, don't waste it, punk. Finally, we'll leave him a flash drive with instructions on how to turn himself in plus a coupon for one year off his sentence.
  Congress has funded the OMAI program, less pilot salaries, however we can claim expenses on our tax return. And, depending on who wins the election, there might a free massage after the first hundred missions.

Monday, March 21, 2016


  Thanks to my friends from Beltrami Island Forest, J&C S. I've been bloging more often lately. I awake each day with ideas buzzing around my head like mosquitoes on a damp morning. But these ideas are too random to grow into a blog, yet I hate to let them all pop in the ether.
 Thought 1: I'm going to be 69 in a few days. A nice rotund number. I was born in 1947 and when looking ahead as a kid to the new century, I realized I would be 53 in 2000; an age that seemed creepy and mummy-like. However I have skidded another 16 years beyond 53. I am still fairly nimble, though no warlord would ever recruit me as a child soldier.
  2: "What, me scared?" I'm not afraid of the government or the NSA, but I have opened a  separate, secret internet account for when I want to look up stuff about Islam or ISIS. I have dealt with the IRS and the Social Security Administration and have seen how one innocent mistake can lead to much gnashing of teeth. Kafka was on to something.
  3. "Blue is the color of my true love's hair, in the morning, when we rise..." I used to mix up the words of the old Donovan song, for a cheap laugh. But with blue hair commonplace, no one's laughing anymore. Now that people are tattooed and pierced and f-bombs are going off all over, how does a person stand out anymore. With politically incorrect rants,...or massacres in public places?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

If Trash Could Talk

  Twenty-five years ago our family adopted a two mile stretch of State Highway 89 a mile north and south of where 89 intersects with County Road 8. The state put up a sign on either end of our stretch notifying the public of this fact. Some drivers threw less litter because of this sign and others threw more. The first year of cleaning was brutal. We were cleaning up fifty years of junk, but at least we had the three boys to help. The state gave us trash bags and florescent vests and when we were done, they sent a truck to pick up the harvest. There were several old tires and logs (which we kept for our stove), but most of the trash was beer cans and beer bottles and plastic pop bottles. It is illegal to have an open beer bottle in your car so I could understand all the empties in the ditch. The state of Mississippi allows drivers to drink and I wondered if their ditches were cleaner than ours.
  A few years after we started cleaning, the gas stations in Roseau opened mini fast food shops. Our ditches are about 15 minutes south of town, just the amount of time it takes to consume a pizza or a taco, and we started seeing Taco John and Pizza Hut packaging in the ditch. I could kind of empathize with the beer drinkers, but there is no open burrito law in Minnesota. I began to have hateful thoughts about the southbound "pigs" who thought it was ok to let fly their garbage in my ditch. I calmed myself by imagining the trash being sucked out of the car when the driver opened his window to dispel the smell of refried beans. He wanted to stop, but there was a probably a semi on his tail. The perpetrator would mentally chastise himself and vow to adopt a highway of his own, once he got out of treatment.
  Anyway, the boys grew up and moved away and now, once a year, Teresa and I (mostly Teresa) walk the ditches. The beer cans and beer bottles are still our greatest challenge. Why can't we be more like Mississippi?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Final Countdown

About a year before I retired I went to and plugged in my last day of work.
  Not a sign of someone giving 110% to his job.
The site calculated exactly how many hours, minutes and seconds to go until my celebratory
Bacon and eggs at Raven Global Hdqts. This was back in the day when my cholesterol was low.
I just now created my own  countdown till Teresa retires, but it’s in salads not seconds.
You see, the bane of my existence is having to make a salad every day for Teresa’s lunch.
Yes I love the girl, and yes it saves us a good $4.00 per day vs. a Subway salad.
But it’s a pain I tell you. And she keeps making little “suggestions,” like
“Couldn’t I have more lettuce?”, or “Couldn’t you make it not so same old same old?”
Who does she think I am? Julia Child?
I have bottles to recycle.
Ennaways, I have come up with the following salad countdown so I can see where I stand.
There are twenty-five weeks till Teresa retires on September 1.
I usually make four salads per week since most weeks she’ll have a pot luck at work one day
or will forget to bring her salad which I make her eat the next day.
So that totals one hundred salads till her celebratory eggs (1) and (turkey) bacon.
Based on the height of my salad containers (from Subway) that’s a stack 20.83 feet tall!
Or to put it in context, .0000222 of the distance between Stonington, Maine and Hull, Mass.
She gagged when I tried to jazz up her salad with Spam.
Oh well, I’ll survive. People are always telling me I sound like a guy with too much time on his hands.
  Easily, I say

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

iPhone as Thermometer

I was scared of Siri at first until I realized she’s just a bot.
She’s not going to tell the other Siris the stupid things I ask her.
That kind of set me free.
I use her mostly for setting the timer when I’m cooking.
(Tip: the only way to set seconds is to have Siri do it.)
She’s also good at opening apps and calling people
Though she sometimes mixes contacts up.
I recently started asking her for the temperature.
This was a couple of weeks ago during our last cold snap,
And she would say “Brrr, it’s minus one Fahrenheit.”
But she doesn’t say “brrr”, it’s more like “mrrrrh.”
As the temperature warmed she continued to shiver.
Even at 34 degree she was still at it.
She’s obviously not from Minnesota.
Yesterday it was 43, the warmest temp since last November.
Finally no mrrrrh.
It did not freeze last night for the first time in months.
But at 36 degrees just now, she was still going “mrrrrh.”

I could keep checking the local temperature until I narrow
It down to the exact degree when she either does or does not shiver
As much as a bot ever does shiver, or not.

To speed up the process
I asked her for the temperature in Anchorage.
"It's pretty cold, 34 degrees."
Vladivostok? "Pretty cold, 18 degrees."
South Pole? She wouldn't even tell me,
She just gave me a website with hourly readings.
She can be trying.
By the way, it was -68 degrees there.