Archive for May, 2012

In Recognition Of….

May 31, 2012

Okay, maybe I’m out of order…no you’re out of order… but when I heard about this little tidbit, I immediately thought of an aunt of mine, who is now deceased, and whether or not she was, in fact, a bully. Let me explain.

One time, when I was quite young,  I had a toy train, the type that would roll along the floor and when it would bump into a wall, the leg of a chair or any obstacle it would turn around and go the other way. It would make a choo-choo sound and it would also blow smoke from the smoke stack. I guess that technology was the precursor to the Roomba vacuum cleaner thing that crawls along the floor and shifts directions when it hits something in its path. Honestly, how long does that take to get your floor clean? Wouldn’t it be less of a hassle to just dig the old Kirby out of the closet and sing “Old Man River” from Showboat. Either version; William Warfield or Paul Robeson will do. Well, the train has nothing to do with the story, really, I only thought of it because as I remember this possible bullying story, I remember I had that train with me.

Something happened and it didn’t sit well with me, as things often do still in my ripe old age, and Aunt Georgie wasn’t having it. She made a little sign and safety pinned it to my shirt, labeling me a “pouter”.   I had to wear that sign in front of my uncle and my cousins until I was ready to stop being in a pissy mood.

I just found it funny how that incident came to mind in an instant when I heard about the poor 8-year-old Arizona girl, Cassandra Garcia, who was given a Catastrophe Award by her teacher, For Most Excuses for Not Having Homework. Cute, right?

Guess again!  The other students laughed at the girl and when she came home with the paper award signed by her teacher and adorned with a smiley face and told her mother, Mrs. Valdez called the school and was “blown off” by the principal, who said that it was a joke played by the teacher. “I think it’s cruel and no child should be given an award like this. It’s disturbing,” added Mrs. Valdez.

A psychologist queried about this incident cited it as an act of bullying.

In that regard, then, a teacher asking a student to answer a question in class and the student doesn’t know the answer and the other kids snicker, they would all be bullies. And at that point, shouldn’t the teacher lose his or her job for not having control over the rest of the kids?

It’s a tough world out there.

Mrs. Valdez, maybe the bigger issue here is not making sure your daughter is doing her homework.  Whatever happened to that proverbial village it supposedly takes to raise a child? I think the grown-ups all moved out and left the raising to others, but when others step in and do their jobs, the grown-ups get all worked up if they don’t agree with how things should be done and raise all kinds of Cain.

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Hey, Eurotrash, What Time Is It?

May 30, 2012

Over the weekend, while we sat on our site having breakfast, or maybe it was lunch… hmm, now I’m not sure if we were even eating or not or what the heck was going on, a friend of ours…let’s call him Scott…came by and saw us playing with our phones and he quizzed us on the benefits and drawbacks of each–the iPhone and the Droid. He currently has a Droid and decided that he will get one like I have, the Razr Maxx.

We got to talking about the Siri feature on the iPhone and the fact that Ariel disconnected her from his phone because she really doesn’t help. It’s quite curious how those TV commercials have that little disclaimer line that actual segments were edited. We can understand that, for sure, because no matter what the task Ariel would assign Siri, her responses would be rife, with “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean” or “I’m sorry, I cannot do that right now,” and things of that nature.

I was telling this Scott, which, as it happens, is his name, how I have a comparable Siri-like feature simply called Assistant. I have the choice between a male or female assistant, can change hair styles, and clothes whether he or she had glasses or not…you get the idea. Well, I had a male assistant and he started off being named Sam, by default, but I asked him if I could change his name to David and he replied to me in his British accent (which I also chose) “That would suit me fine, Brian.”

Well, I was demonstrating David for Scott and I guess because of the compromised connection speed so high up in the mountains, there was a big delay so he was slow in responding to my requests. When he finally spoke and greeted me with something cheery like “It’s a pleasure to see you, Brian, what can I do for you?” and Scott realized it was with the British accent, he laughed and said, “Oh my God, he’s British. He’s Eurotrash” and we all laughed at that. The next thing we heard David say was “That was very disrespectful, Brian” and we just about peed our pants.  But how typical; David gets the word Eurotrash, but he can never seem to answer a simple question like, “What time is it?”

I waited all day and it was finally at the bonfire later that evening when we saw Scott again and I told him my phone was still not talking to me.

I haven’t tried getting back to him. I’m afraid he’ll remember that Eurotrash comment. And I hope he’s not reading this…

The Rainman Danceth

May 29, 2012

This past weekend was our first, much anticipated camping trip of the season. It got off to a bleakish beginning when we left early Friday morning for the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania. In fact, the evening before, too, as we packed up the truck, seemed a dismal prospect, bringing an apparent disappointing reality to the ever increasing chances of rain forecast throughout the week for Memorial Day Weekend. But we’d been there before, as any reader of this blog knows, ad nauseum, and why would our first event of the season be any different?

Our trip was quick, thanks to a shorter route Ingrid found for us and in spite of the low lying clouds that hung from the sky as we rode on, the rain held off and even quite so as we set up camp. And a curious thing happened as we had a bite for lunch, dapples of sunlight began appearing on the ground through surrounding tall swaying trees. In and out behind the clouds the sun continued teasing for the rest of the afternoon until the sky finally became a clear blue, and remained so  into nightfall for the bonfire.

We roasted in the sun for a beer party by the rec hall on Saturday afternoon and then joined friends for dinner at the house of Hellfire before the big camp-wide party event: Love Boat Dead Celebrities which Ariel and I attended as Sonny Bono and the tree. There were several fun costumes ranging from the Marx Brothers, to Farrah Fawcett to Mama Cass handing out ham sandwiches. Reactions to Sonny and the tree were a mixed bag of horror, sheer delight and one unnecessary reprimand on the late Mr. Bono’s political affiliation. But the alcohol flowed in various forms. Then, later, after shedding that hot sweaty costume we continued partying at the bonfire.

Sunday we spent a little time by the pool before showering and making our way to another beer party and the annual Memorial Day show. Afterwards we learned Site 60, the communal site, was hosting yet another party and I did my best to help deplete the Mai Tai supply.  Because, you know, at camp, we everyone pitches in when needed. Well, that was the beginning of the end of the partying. We had a bite to eat and that put us into an even more belabored state of staying awake, but we knew if we had gone inside the tent, even for a 20 minute power nap, we’d never see the bonfire.

As we started down the darkened unsure rutted road to the bonfire there was a familiar feeling. A drop of rain hit my arm. And then Ariel felt one and the chatter by the fire was there was torrential rain a-happening as close as two exits off the highway to the south of us. But little by little, the faint mizzle let up and by the time we left the bonfire the stars were once again twinkling in the Pennsylvania sky where they look so close you could almost touch them.

I mentioned once before about a guardian angel I believe I have and I don’t know if this particularly falls into that category, but I’m holding on to the thought that because we don’t know for sure really, that it does. When my father was alive, he was known as The Rainman to his Gold Wing group who would “stop the rains” that were to otherwise have dampened any of their events. Oftentimes when we talked on the phone he assured me he’d do his dance of magical contortions for me, which he assured me was something I’d rather not witness. But he couldn’t guarantee promising results from such a distance.

So, I’d like to think this one time The Rainman was still doing his dance.

Call For Pretty Maids and Cockle Shells

May 11, 2012

I’m telling you right now, the one thing you don’t want happening when you’re bravely trying not to be scared while you’re stomping the stuffings out of three wasps and their nest you spotted up inside the grill cover when you were about to put it back on the grill and go back inside and sit comfortably in your red chair and watch television, is feel a loose hanging thread from the bottom of your fleece shorts brushing up against your leg. Just sayin’.

When the rain finally let up (as of this writing, two days ago), we went outside to check on the plantings in the garden. So far, the tomatoes are holding their own, still looking a little on the wilty side, but we’re confident they’ll bounce back, as long as they can get some sun, (and perhaps some warmth, but beggars can’t be choosers) which they will at some point, but not at the points, apparently, our illustrious weathermen on radio and TV would have us believe. See, I’m on that again. But I’ll get back to that.

So, here’s why I brought up the garden. We were looking around, deciding where the as yet unplanted purple basil, nasturtium and parsley seeds would go when I would get to it (as it turns out, yesterday during my lunch hour) when we discovered one of my corn cups had been dug up. Last year, because our soil out there tends to be quite weed-laden, we thought of ways to mark where we planted so we don’t inadvertently pull out a veggie. We use those sort of tiny Dixie cups like you might get 3 Jordan almonds in at your place setting at a wedding reception, cut the bottom out so the seeds can take root in the soil and still grow and we have a general idea where not to pull weeds from. So, there was one of the corn cups up turned, pulled out of the ground and huge hole left in its place. At first we thought, bird, but that looked like too big a job for a bird. Then we thought rabbit, but with the patio/garden barricaded like Fort Knox (or so I thought) we decided it couldn’t be a rabbit. There’s no way a rabbit could get in through the wire mesh that blocks any gaps, and I don’t think rabbits can jump that high. Deer? Well, maybe it could get in, if it took off from a distance to get airborne enough, but then it would never be able to get out without destroying the fence. Then we thought it was a squirrel. And then we immediately thought, dead squirrel.

Back to the quick rant on the weather. All I heard yesterday since I woke up at 4:45 on the radio and then the TV that it was going to be sunny and mid 60’s. Great. During my lunch time, I’d run out and get my additional stuff planted and my one corn fixed and get some sun. Oh, the sky was a beautiful crystal blue with nary a cloud, giving promise to a glorious day. But then it started graying and every now and then the sun would peek out. 1pm came, I gathered my stuff, my seed packets, my paper cups, the parsley and nasturtium seeds in 2 separate cups of water that had been soaking overnight and went outside. Not 5 minutes into my project, the sky opened up and I had to hustle gathering all my stuff and rush back into the house. Well, you know me and rain. And…camping season is coming, so you know what that means! But as quick as the rain started, it ended and I started all over again and completed my task.

For those of you on Facebook, you probably saw this, but for those of you not on Facebook–I’m trying to self-diagnose my recent bout of night-sweats and I am quite confident that pregnancy is not one of the causes.

Oh wow. I just realized it’s Friday, which means I have an appointment with my colonoscopy doctor this morning. Not for the procedure, but more like a meet and greet with him.

 Happy Mother’s Day 

Come Back, Derwood Stevens

May 10, 2012

Okay, now they’ve done it. First Wonder Bread bragged how it could build bodies twelve ways. And Duncan Hines cakes were so light you could cut them with a feather. And who could forget cooking with Crisco when all the oil came back except one tablespoon? Farrah Fawcett lathered up Joe Namath’s face with Noxema brand shaving cream and Virginia Slims cigarettes showed how the modern woman could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. And June Allyson admitted to wearing Depends adult diapers. And full-figured girl Jane Russell showed off her 18-hour bra.  All innocent stuff, indeed.

Then suddenly we got deluged by feminine hygiene products; for light days, for heavy days, for if you piddle some when you laugh too hard or if you just don’t have control of your “plumbing”. Okay, to be fair, we guys got a quick, almost forgettable mention when it came to having jock itch…with just one product.

Then there’s general hygiene; is your toilet paper too soft? Too hard? Does it get you clean? Does it scrape you like a cheese grater? Is it 1-ply? 2? Quilted? Can you pick up a dollar and forty cents worth of quarters, dimes and nickels with a wet sheet of your favorite tissue? Does it leave pieces like it does on the cute and cuddly cartoon bear. Really? Do we need to be that graphic, even with cartoons?  And now there’s a contest to name the regime of using both wet and dry Cottenelle. Yeah, life is good.  

Then we sort of delved into softcore porn with Yours + Mine KY lubricant. You know, the blue (for him) and purple (for her) complimenting set that warms and tingles (respectively) to get you off to a rip roaring intimate session in the bedroom. According to the commercial, which is just shy of a visual aid, you’ll be roasting marshmallows in no time.

And now we have pretty much stepped over another line: Please enjoy one or both of these short videos.

After that mess, it’s time for a cleansing, I think.  Any guesses who this could be?

(more…)

Bacon. It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

May 9, 2012

By now everyone knows sun-tan mom, Patricia Krentcil. I’ve seen so many things on Facebook and all across the internet (or internets, if you prefer, or perhaps the W.W.W.) and one that readily sticks out is a pseudo- poster with her face and a caption that reads “I always wanted to be something so I decided to become a suitcase.” Or something to that effect. I think she looks like overdone bacon, or maybe even a patch for the worn spot in my

Nice touch with the Herman Munster Outfit.

leather sofa. But, like all who achieve fame in today’s society she now also has become immortalized in plastic, with her very own action figure.

You know what? We all have something we do that displeases others or makes others question everyone else’s sanity. And yes, some of those shots of her are rather freakish, but if that’s what she chooses to do then so be it. As far as having her kid in the tanning bed with her, well, first of all, unless that news footage was from another time, that kid didn’t look in any way shape or form burned. And quite frankly, it really isn’t my concern if she took the kid in there with her and am furthermore growing weary of listening to the debate day in and day out, whether the authorities do or do not believe her or the salon owner’s testimony the kid was not in the tanning bed with her. What makes me go hmm… is that she thinks she looks good. Hey! Is she trying to upstage the perennially tanned one, George Hamilton, with her overdose of gamma rays?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, also this weekend, we put in the garden, on the afternoon after got home from Harrisburg and our delicious sojourn in the Blue Comet. Even though the weather suddenly became not so favorable, when you consider that in March we were having 80 degree weather and now it’s hovering in the mid 60’s with freeze warnings at night we needed to get those seedlings outside. They had long since outgrown their pots and rather than handle them again into larger pots, we took a chance and put them outside. And planted seeds as well.

We started something different this year with the tomato plants. I saw in a magazine something called a Florida Weave, which is a way of supporting the stalks with twine interwoven between the plants around stakes. So, the plants are in a single row and as they grow you just add more twine, higher and higher as they grow, and that solves the problem of how to position all those tomato cages in the little space we have. Besides the tomatoes we also have peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, cantaloupe, the mint that wouldn’t go away from last year, scallions that wintered surprisingly well, nasturtium, basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, corn. Lots of corn. 30 stalks. Let’s just see how many grow. Last year with 12 plants we got 7 ears of corn.

We’re also doing the three sisters planting configuration. Beans and squash will get planted among the corn stalks. The stalks help support the beans which supply nitrogen to the soil and the squash will act as living mulch, providing shade to retain moisture.

So far the tomato seedlings seem to be holding their own, which is what I was worried about. There’s nothing like a fresh home-grown tomato. And possibly as early as this weekend we could be seeing corn sprouts and maybe all the other seeds we planted directly in the ground.

Oh, yeah

The Waitress

May 8, 2012

On the way home from the Harrisburg event this past Sunday afternoon, we stopped for lunch, despite much debating over whether we were hungry enough or too full from our room service breakfast which we’d ordered with that card you hang on your hotel doorknob, for between 10:30 and 11 to accordingly compliment our prematurely planned expected later check out time. The prior night was not as rambunctious as we had anticipated and we were both wide awake by 8 Sunday morning and breakfast was not due for, at the least, another 2 ½ hours, an impossible window for me to abide, so we had it sent up earlier.

So, we were hastily greeted and promptly shown our seats. And it was fortunate timing because it’s a shame to not be able to get a seat in the observation car of the Blue Comet at the Clinton Station Diner. After all…

The first thing I noticed was a youngish mother, maybe mid 30’s sitting at a table with her 3 young sons diagonally across from me and behind Ariel. Pretty. She almost looked familiar to me, but not enough for me to be overly concerned about it. What struck me, besides the enormity of her chestal region held surprisingly securely within the flimsy camisole top, was that her attention was dedicated to clicking out a lengthy something or other on her cell phone. It was just me observing, perhaps with a little concern that here she was out with her kids and spending most of her time with her phone. But she was also constantly looking up at them and responding when they needed her. And they were quite well behaved.

I also noticed the older couple, I’d say mid-60’s,  at the table for four directly behind camisole mom and even though he sat in the seat next to his wife rather than across from her, his eyes seemed fixed on the view in front of him. I tried to imagine where they were coming from, or perhaps where they on the way to judging from their mode of dress. He was in a suit and tie and she wore an elegant pant suit. She would lean closer and whisper something and then giggle like a school girl. And try as she might to squeeze ketchup from the bottle, it kept sputtering, sounding all indecent. And she would laugh again. And as she lifted each French fry between thumb and forefinger, her other three fingers were held up stiff and erect. And they sat in silence after a time, her hand caressing the inside of his thigh and she seemed content just looking at him. And when they were leaving, she held on for dear life and hoisted herself into his arms on unsteady legs and off they went.

I also noticed there was no silverware on the table when the waitress brought our food. She promptly apologized and went off to get us some. She was gone for quite a while and finally Ariel got up and walked to the front of the observation car; he had just seen our waitress sit at an empty table with a plate of food for herself. She never brought our utensils. But seeing him approach her, she brought us each a set and in a flash Ariel was up again. His fork was, well, let’s just say, not clean and he went to get a replacement. It happens, I guess.

And then there was the woman who got into her car in the parking lot, sat for a while, backed out of her space, turned around and then backed into the space, only halfway and sat there, half in and half out of the space  for a about five minutes before driving away. And while that was going on there was the bawling kid at the table next us with parents who tried everything to keep him quiet and who were mortified, yet somehow in a state of preparedness, when the kid started throwing things on the floor and his shoes at Ariel. Thankfully this was happening as we were getting ready to leave.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write about any of this, other than the myriad possible stories I could concoct revolving around these peoples’ lives. My surroundings just seem to captivate me.  It was the observation car, after all.