Monday, December 29, 2008

That was NOT easy

Time for a little rant. I bought a memory card for Lady Nottaguy-TYG for Christmas at Staples. A 4 gig card for her phone so she could download songs or pictures to her heart's content.

When she tried to load it in her phone, it didn't work. She took it to church and tried it on three other phones and a PDA. Nothing. So I gave her the other one I bought (I bought it, but forgot for who, we were going to use it in my future phone). Nothing on that one either.

I took them back today and explained to the employee at the customer service counter what was going on. At first she told me that since it had been more than 14 days since purchase, there was nothing that could be done. I then asked her, "If you buy something for a Christmas present, how can you return it within 14 days, if Christmas is more than 14 days after Black Friday, when I purchased it?" "Well," she said, since it was a Christmas present, I guess we can give you your money back." "Can't I exchange them for ones that work?" I asked. "No, I'll refund your money."

Yes, I did get a refund, but I would rather have two working memory cards. I don't think I will be going to Staples any time in the near future, regardless of how good the Black Friday sales are. As a rare man that loves to shop, this is a big step for me. But when you're not satisfied, you're not satisfied.

Alienating a customer who pays cash, "That was easy!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flashback Friday #18


As the songwriter wrote "It's the most wonderful time of the year". What child doesn't like Christmas. Even if you are a rotten brat all year long (I won't mention any names), you still gets gifts. At least you did at our house.

It was tradition that the brothers wrapped each other's gifts. Mom wasn't too keen on wrapping, and Dad didn't, so this got the majority of the gifts wrapped (Here, while you're wrapping, wrap this gift to Grandma). It was a great system.

It did have one major flaw. After the gifts were wrapped, my brother & I would get together to tell each other what we got. "Remember, you have to act surprised." my brother would warn me. We were good actors.

The one Christmas that I remember most was the year my brother got a cassette recorder (That's probably because he recorded nearly everything that went on that day, and we played them back year after year.) I think Mom was on to our sharing the information gig. After the gifts were wrapped we got together to swap tales of the riches to be found under the tree. The exchange was I would tell him one, he would tell me one. He started off, "You got a View Master projector." YES! I loved View Masters (and still do). I then told him "You got a gym bag." He exploded and grabbed the front of my shirt. "A GYM BAG!!!!" "I DON'T CARE ABOUT A GYM BAG, DID I GET A CASSETTE RECORDER??" "I don't know," I answered, "I didn't see one." With that the exchange was over and he sulked off.

On Christmas morning, we opened our gifts, and he did indeed get his beloved cassette recorder. He also got five 3-packs of blank tapes for a total recording time of 15 hours. Mom always gave us a "Toy Party" book to mark things we wanted. I believe I got everything I marked that year.

One year, Dad forbade Mom to go to any toy parties. It was the barest Christmas present wise. He apologized to her and told her that she could go to as many as she wanted the next year.

We always went to my paternal grandma's house for Christmas (by this time, all my other grandparents had passed away). My brother got the bright idea of playing "Candid Recorder". He would hide the recorder, and then turn it on to secretly record conversations. He was overjoyed when when one of the adults exclaimed "Oh (expletive delete)"

Mom also made Christmas cookies by the truckloads. I believe one year she made 100 dozen. That was the year my brother ate 10 dozen as they were coming out of the oven. Snatch one or two out of every 12 and they add up fast. He was a teen age boy, need I say more.

We didn't often have a lot of expensive gifts under the tree, but we always had a lot of gifts. Mom was a great shopper, and passed that trait unto me. I hope I have done the same with my daughters.
I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Bit Of Twisted Holiday Humor

Those who know me, kow that my sense of humor is quite warped. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed playing with The Weepies snowglobe. I hope you enjoy it too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It... is...finished.

Last night Lady Nottaguy-TYG and I went out to finish our Christmas shopping. She hates shopping, but we also had Red Lobster gift cards to use, plus a coupon that expired soon, so it was worth the hassle of shopping to dine out as a couple at her favorite restaurant.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw this:

Why was this truck parked this this you ask? We wondered too. Here are some of our thoughts:

A. New driver coming to celebrate getting his (or her) drivers license.

B. Someone who was celebrating before, and now needs to get something to eat.

C. Someone who was afraid of getting their vehicle scratched.

D. A complete anti-social punk who will do as he pleases.

E. Someone who is REALLY big, and needed the extra room to get out of the truck.

F. All of the above.

We had a 20-25 minute wait to be seated. While we were waiting, a group of three came in and told the seating person "Harvey, party of four." I looked at my wife puzzled for a moment, and then it came to me. If you are an old movie buff like me, it came to you too. Jimmy Stewart's friend in the movie Harvey was an invisible, six foot rabbit. "I didn't know rabbits liked seafood." I told my wife. She replied "They also serve salads here." I guess that explains it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flashback Friday #17

Winter Wonderland

I grew up in a small town in central Ohio (We didn't even have a stop light). Living in Ohio means you live through Ohio winters. When you are a kid, Ohio winters are great (Not so much after you grow up).

When we were kids, we loved to see it snow. Living in the rural community where we did, snow usually meant school closings, and what kid doesn't like that. School closings created an outdoor adventure for us.

We lived close to a creek that froze over during the winter and we would go back there and slide on the ice (We never owned a set of ice skates). This was great fun until you would find a piece of thin ice. CRACK was a sound you didn't want to hear. I went through the ice once. Fortunately I just went in up to my right hip. Going home was very cold, wearing wet jeans. It's a wonder I didn't drowned in that creek, seeing that I can't swim. We have also seen the ice get up to a foot thick.

We never owned a sled either. We would take a piece of plastic, a garbage can lid, a car hood (yes, we were rednecks), or anything else we could find that would make us zip down the hills. One year I made my own sled out of scrap lumber. You couldn't steer, but you could ride. I set up a four by eight sheet of plywood on a mound of dirt by our house to make a "ski slope". I brought shovel after shovel of snow over to make the base slope. When it was finished, I laid down on my homemade sled and slid down the slope. It was great fun until I hit the bottom and came to such an abrupt stop that my hands jammed into the front of the sled, and I catapulted through the air and landed on my back. I threw the homemade sled onto the burn pile.

Snowball fights were big around our house, especially if Aunt Shelly's kids came over. Eight to ten kids in a snowball fight is a lot of fun. The only problem with snowball fights is that someone always thinks he has to play dirty. Rocks in snowballs are bad news. So are snowballs packed so tight that you might as well be throwing a rock. The worst are snowballs dipped in water, and allowed to refreeze.

When the snow would drift, we would tunnel through the drifts. Back then, we were invincible. It didn't dawn on us that if the snow tunnel collapsed with us in it, it could possible kill us.

We loved making snow men, but with the vast amount of leaves that were always present in late fall, early winter, our snowmen looked nothing like the pictures in books. Ours were a sort of mottled brown. A friend of mine said she always thought part of the song "Winter Wonderland" went like this: "In the meadow we can build a snowman, and we can pretend he's parched and brown." Sounds like ours.

What was your favorite winter activity as a child?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Communication, communication, communication

Last night, I was reading through the ad papers while Lady Nottaguy-TYG was sitting nearby surfing the net. I read aloud from the Wal-Mart ad about FurReal Friends Biscuit My Loving Pup. "Obeys 6 commands and responds to touch". I then yelled into the living room to where Sparky was laying on the couch, "Hey, that more than you do." My wife turned quickly, glared at me and said, "You better be talking to the dog!" LOL & ROFL does not even come close to what I did.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My favorite goat

Yesterday our church had their Christmas program. My grandson, "The Boy" played one of the goats that inhabited the stable that glorious night. You can't go wrong with kids productions. Even if they don't do it right, it's still very enjoyable.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ninja John & the Black Belt

Congrats to Ninja John for attaining his black belt in karate. After "the accident", he was told that he would never be able to perform martial arts again. With God, all things are possible. I'm just glad that Ninja John is one of the good guys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday #16

Aunt Shelly's house

My faithful readers (both of them) know of Aunt Shelly. She is one of my Mom's younger sisters and the inspiration of a great many Jeff Foxworthy jokes. I think Jeff may have been there a few times while I was there playing with the cousins.

Aunt Shelly & Uncle Phil had 14 kids (again I say, no multiple births). They lived in a four bedroom house about three miles from us. The house also had a living room, kitchen & small dining room. The dining room was mostly taken up with a picnic table that served as the dinner table. The living room had a wood burning stove, a TV, an armchair for each parent, and three to four couches.

How do you feed 14 kids breakfast? Those who did odd jobs for the neighbors, or had money of their own, had their own box of cereal, purchased with their own cold cash. Nobody else was allowed to eat this cereal without the permission of the owner. Everyone else got corn flakes or whatever was on sale. When the milk was gone, the latecomers would put water on their cereal.

Since there were so many kids, they were able to get the reduced price for the school lunches, and nobody had to pack a lunch. After school, "sugar bread" was a favorite snack. This consisted of a buttered piece of bread with sugar sprinkled onto it.

At dinner, it was chaos. "Please pass the..." wasn't spoken. You just reached for what you wanted. Like the Serengeti, it was survival of the fittest. When the tribe was finished eating dinner (that was the only meal they all ate together), the dishes would be removed, and Aunt Shelly would stand on the picnic table bench and sweep off the table with a broom. The various dogs would gobble up the crumbs & scraps.

Unlike our house, they had running water, mostly. They had running water to the kitchen, but not to the bathroom. Water was heated on the stove to bathe, with several kids using the same water. The toilet was flushed once a day by pouring a large kettle of water into the bowl.

I thought the toys I played with used imagination. Their toys were imaginary. Sticks became guns or swords. small pieces of two-by fours became cars in the sand pile. Old tires became race cars and there were always races going on by seeing who could roll their tire so many laps around the house. A corn cob with feathers stuck in the end became racing pigeons, and who ever could throw theirs the farthest won. (Uncle Phil raised racing homing pigeons, and won several trophies with them). Discarded pantyhose were knotted up to play "cat, cat, get the cat" with the dogs.

A bike was a prized possession. It meant mobility, and mobility meant either a way to make extra money doing odd jobs, or peace & quite away from your siblings. Sometimes bikes were put together with pieces from several different bicycles. Sometimes brothers would combine the pieces they had to make a shared bike. One time two brothers who shared a bike quarreled. "Give me back my seat & handlebars." one of them shouted. How do you ride a bike with no seat or handlebars? You improvise. The other brother cut off a broom handle to use as handlebars, and used a brace & bit to bore a hole into (not through) a piece of two-by four. This became the seat. It looked crazy, but it gave him the mobility he craved.

At bedtime, the three girls shared a room, with the 11 boys vying for places on the beds in the other two bedrooms. Whoever didn't get a place on the bed slept on one of the couches. There were sometimes three to four to a bed, depending on the size of the young-un. Clothing was communal. If it fit you , you wore it.

These were some of my closest cousins. This may explain some of the idiosyncrasies I have. Then again, maybe not. Shake your family tree. Do any nuts fall out?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flying in the sanctuary

On a post on my daughter's blog, she explained how graceful she can be. My wife posted a comment that spoke of me "flying in the sanctuary.' Valarie asked to hear the story. Here it is.

This is a picture of our church sanctuary. There is a wedding being planned in this pic. Please note the four steps that lead to the platform, and the staircases on each side leading to the baptistery.

I love dressing up and being silly for Sunday school or other children's ministries. I have a costume left over from the time I played Reuben the royal rodent in "My Way or Yahweh" about 20 years ago. I have resurrected the character as Ruben the church rat ("Church mice are a dime a dozen, I'm an original."). He has an alter ego as Ratman, who with his puppet sidekick, Squeaky, play the heroes in a lot of my skits.

In this particular skit, Squeaky is at the very top of the platform, which has a three foot wall which serves as a handy, impromptu puppet stage. I ascend the stairs on the right while engaging in conversation with Squeaky. I speak of needing to get back to the "Rat Hole" to recharge my batteries. With that I grab Sqeaky from the puppeteer's hand (a tricky move) and rush down the stairs. When I get to the platform, there are about three steps before you get to the stairs that lead to the floor.
Then (I tried it several times before the actual skit) I jumped from the platform to the sanctuary floor.I had planned to land, sprint to the double crash doors nearby, strike the Heisman pose with Squeaky, and crash through the doors.

The problem being was that on the way down, my heel caught the last step. This caused me to stumble, and wobble & stagger to keep my balance. As I got to the crash doors, I flung myself to the left to hit the crash bar. I missed, and crashed into the door. On the second try, I made it through the door.

I have learned that being 40+, fat, and non-athletic, this isn't a good thing to do. My flying days are over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The missing tooth

Our oldest grandson, "The Boy" lost his first tooth. He had been stressing because all the cousins had lost teeth, but he hadn't. He noticed Friday that it was gone. The problem is, he doesn't know when or where it came out. He really did lose it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flashback Friday # 15

Nicknames & Cousins

In my last post, I referred to a set of cousins who referred to me as "Gertrude", because I was such a momma's boy. I didn't see this set of cousins only but once or twice a year (and that was plenty for me.) There were two boys who were 9 & 10 years older than me, and two girls who were 7 & 5 years older. Other than reunions, They would go over to Aunt Pam's house where we would meet them. Her son, my brother & the two other cousins would barricade themselves in the son's bedroom & play electric football all day, while her daughter & the two girls would barricade themselves in her room and use perfume bottles as microphone to belt out the newest hit songs. (Rolling Stones, Beetles & Credence Clearwater Revival were the favorites). Now you know why I never grew close to either set of these cousins.

My closest set of cousins were Aunt Shelly's kids (she of the great outhouse adventure of Flashback Friday #2). She had 14 kids (no multiple births). I wasn't real close to the first six who were older than me, but the next five, all boys, were my constant companions. These are some of the nicknames I can remember from that family: Snook, Worm, Bean, Pork, Skeeter, Munch, Devil, & Dino. Munch got his nickname because my Dad caught him eating our cats canned food one time. Every year at the reunion, he asks me if I brought him canned cat food.

Another set of cousins had a couple of unusual nicknames also. The oldest boy was called Gooch. I was in my 30's when I first heard his real name. He had a sister called Pudgy. (I bet that helped her self-esteem)

The nickname everyone hated to be called in our family was Butch. That was the nickname of my Mom's youngest brother, who sometimes wasn't too bright. You could start a fight with the phrase "You're such a Butch".

Did you have a nickname when you were younger?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I hate being sick

I didn't go to work or church today because I was sick. I guess my last post was somewhat incorrect. Even though I did make some poor choices, they wouldn't have caused a 100.7 temp.
All I did today was lay around, watch old movies & sleep.

I think the thing I hate most about being sick is that I am a whiner baby when I'm sick. I was a Momma's boy growing up (hence the nickname "Gertrude" from a certain set of cousins). I tend to moan and whine and generally feel like I'm dying. (see my Flashback Friday posts for more on that).

My wife on the other hand likes to be left alone when she is sick. Don't ask her twice if she needs anything. A real frontier/pioneer type.

She took me for better or worse, sicker or poorer. This is definitely the sicker & worse of times.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh what a night

A thousand pardons to the anti-nausea medicine Emetrol for ripping off their radio ad:

"Ralph, blow chunks, toss your cookies, heave, hurl, gak, upchuck, puke, spew, vomit, technicolor yawn, pray to the porcelain god, bow before the thrown... No matter what you call it nausea is no fun."

I did all of these, plus some I hadn't come up with names for last night, but as Andrew Lloyd Weber wrote"Don't cry for me Argentina". It was my own doing through a series a bad decisions. Kinda like a self-inflicted gunshot wound. If I were to tell the whole story, it would rival some of my Flashback Friday post in length. BTW, It had nothing to do with booze, I haven't touched that since I was 15. Please just pray that I will be feeling better real soon. Thanks.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday #14

The World's Pickiest Eater

The Thanksgiving holiday has just passed. At our gatherings we would have the following:
mashed potatoes & gravy
pasta salad
deviled eggs
scalloped corn
green bean casserole
cranberry sauce
pumpkin pie

This is what I would eat:

turkey, ham, mashed potatoes w/ butter, and pumpkin pie.

When Mom was a little girl, her parents served a can of spinach that had become rancid. She complained and was severely punished & made to eat it. She then became very sick. She then vowed that she would never make her kids eat anything that they didn't want to.

Because of this, I never tried anything that looked "yucky" or smelled weird. My staple food group growing up was the peanut butter food group. I ate peanut butter all the time. I have never outgrown my love of peanut butter.

Since I have grown older & married, my menu has expanded. When I got married, my wife gave me two choices for supper: take it or leave it. There are still things I don't like, and my wife knows it, but I do like things that my Mom has trouble beliving that I will now eat, because I didn't when I was a kid.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Blur

There has been an eerie sighting in the Castle Nottaguy-Imadad landholdings:

The whitish blur seen in this picture has been spotted several times by multiple people. I was fortunate enough to catch it on my camera phone one day. What is it you ask? A ghost? An alien? A being from another dimension?

Nope. It's Sparky the wonder dragon making his security patrol around the grounds. He can really fly around that yard. I've checked him several times for wings, but I haven't found them yet

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rivaly week in college football

There are lots of great rivalries in college football. Where you are reading this from has their "big game" every year. Around these parts it's Ohio State- Michigan. (Notice the placement of the teams? That should clue you in on my loyalty.)

While checking a Steve & Barry's store closing sale, I showed my grandson, "the Boy", A Michigan shirt. This was his reaction:

He has his father's, "The Woodsman", genes. His mother "The Ogre" was a U of M fan growing up., but I think she may be coming around. Let's hope "the player to be named later" has those OSU fan genes.

Here is one of my favorite "Zesty" pics:

His momma is a big OSU fan. We will keep praying for his daddy.

Here are a few more pics for today's game:

U of M is finishing the worst seasons it has ever had. Will that take any of the luster off an OSU victory? Are you kidding me? Any victory over them is sweet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flashback Friday #13

I'm a big boy now.

When I was going to elementary school, our neighbor watched us in the mornings after Mom & Dad left for work. She watched me & my brother, the three kids next door, and four more kids about a mile down the road. We all had a great time playing together in the mornings because our ages were so close. Nine kids in the morning was a sure way to make sure you were wide awake and ready to face the morning.

Since we all rode the bus to get to school, and the sitter's house was set back from the road on a small hill, one of us got to stand outside and watch for the bus. It was considered a great privilege. How did one get the privilege, you ask? Whoever did the sitter's dishes from the previous night, got to watch for the bus the next day. There were 5 boys, and 4 girls in the group, and the girls did most of the dishes, therefore got to watch for the bus more often. Then the family next door moved, and reduced the number of girls by half. Now there were 2 girls, and 4 boys.

In the school system where I grew up, elementary school was grades K-6, Jr. High was 7 & 8, and High School was 9-12. When I went into 3rd grade, my brother went into 7th. Since the Jr. High & the High School rode the same bus, his bus left earlier than mine. It would pick up all the 7-12 kids, drop them off, and begin the elementary route. Since the bus arrived moments after Mom & Dad left, my brother was allowed to stay at home to catch the bus. Now there were 3 boys and a girl at the babysitting neighbor.

Then tragedy struck. One day I went over to the neighbor's to wait for the bus, and there were no other kids there. "Where are the others?" I asked. "They moved away." I was told. It was only me, with last nights dishes waiting for me. I wanted no part of being the only child there (her kids had grown up and moved away years before). So I made up my mind. I didn't need a babysitter. I picked up my stuff while the sitter was in the bathroom and marched right back home. I kept a sharp eye out for the bus, and stood out by the road in plenty of time for the driver to see that I was at a different house. I told the driver that I would be getting on at my house from now on. (Pretentious wasn't I?)

When Mom & Dad got home, the sitter called and informed them that I went back home this morning. She watched as the bus came, and I got on. My parents asked why I did this. "I didn't want to be there by myself." "But your by yourself here." they reasoned. "Yes," I replied, "But this is my house, and I'm not afraid." So they let me (On a trial basis, I'm sure) stay home and catch the bus by myself. I never missed the bus, and I never had another babysitter. (Kids, don't try this at home, this is a far different world than what I grew up in.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November Rose Revisited

Those who pay attentoion to the rambling here have read about our November rose.

This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon:

We had a thunder snowstorm yesterday. It thundered and the snow came down really fast and really hard. It dropped about 1 1/2 inches in just a short period of time. Sparky didn't know what to think of it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes

While taking prayer requests yesterday in my Sunday school class, one of my 3rd graders had this request:
" Please pray for those people who are just plain wierd."
I think God knows exactly who she was refering to.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Been tagged

I was tagged for this meme from Down In My Little Valley. I am to list 15 things that I'm not afraid to admit. Here goes:

1) I can't swim.

2) I don't feel that I am very photogenic.

3) I'll watch kid's videos even if there are no kids around.

4) That's because I love Veggie Tales.

5) I still have my Grandmother's house key. (She's been gone for 30+ years. It's a skeleton key.)

6) I've worked at the same factory for 20 years.

7) I've read the Bible clear through for 14 years straight. (It will be 15 shortly).

8) I am a pack rat.

9) My feet are almost as wide as long. (9 1/2 EEE)

10) I've gone to the same church for over 25 years.

11) I snore.

12) I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

13) I like to get out the toys and play with the grandkids.

14) I enjoy dressing up and "being silly" for kid's musical, revivals or Sunday school.

15) I am madly in love with my wife.

I'm not much for tagging people, so if you read this, and have lost your bloggy grove, and your creativity has tanked, consider yourself tagged. List your 15, and if you need a scapegoat, say I tagged you. I have broad shoulder & can handle it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday #12


In the summer between 3rd & 4th grade I got the most awful sore throat. We didn't run to the doctor at a drop of a hat, so I must have convinced Mom that I was dying. She took me in, and I got the prognosis that I didn't want to hear. Then he gave me a shot. I hate needles.

The plans were made for me to go to the hospital and have my tonsils removed. On all of the TV shows that I watched, you got lots of ice cream, and were uncomfortable for the rest of the program. Nobody prepared me for what it was really like.

I was put in a less than private room in the children's ward. There were four beds, and you had to share the TV with the tyke beside you. The girl who was beside me was a big "Sesame Street" fan. I now love and appreciate everything that Jim Henson did, but at the time, I was too old for "kiddie programs", and would have much rather have watched game shows. But since she was a girl, she got the remote. And like most little girls, she knew not the word "silence".

And about that ice cream. I had Sister Mary Clarence flavor. Nun. None. Nada. Zilch. No ice cream whatsoever. Ice cream coats the throat, heaven forbid my throat got coated. I did have a "Push-Up" the night before the surgery, but that's sherbet, and doesn't count.

The day of the surgery, they prepped me, and wheeled me back. I remember them putting the mask over my face, and asking me to count backwards from 20. I think I got to 18. When I woke up from surgery, the first thing I remember was someone handing me a cup of liquid, and telling me to "Drink this". I should have remembered that every time Alice from "Alice in Wonderland" drank something labeled "Drink this", something bad happened. I drank it, and immediately threw up. I hate throwing up as much as needles.

Well they got me back to my semi-private less room and put an ice pack on my throat. It felt like Freddy Krueger had scratched the tickle in my throat. We were encouraged to let ice chips melt in our mouths, and swallow the cold liquid to ease our throats (everyone in the room was having their tonsils out). Every time I swallowed, it felt like I was swallowing a brick. We got 7 Up and jello to eat (Woo woo, I got jello all the time at home, I wanted ice cream). At least "chatty Cathy" beside me was quiet.

When I was released, I was to eat jello and 7Up for about a week, or until I felt like eating solid foods again. I got so sick of jello, I could scream (but I couldn't because it hurt too much). The first "solid" food that I ate was some mashed potatoes out of a TV dinner (yum).

During the time that I was down recovering, my brother was somewhat civil. Perhaps it was because Mom was home (she took a week of vacation). I don't think he beat me up once during my recovery. I think he felt sorry to see me in pain that he didn't inflict. I didn't have another surgery for 35 years (Thank you BWC).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lousy Timing?

Tonight while Lady Nottaguy-TYG was making supper, she asked me if I would like baked or mashed potatoes. I told her mashed. When I finished the page that I was reading online, I walked into the kitchen to see if she wanted any help peeling potatoes. She looked at me and said "This is the last potato." At least I asked.

Monday, November 10, 2008

You've got to be kidding

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I love sock monkeys. I had a dozen of them as a child, and I have one upstairs with "Papa's cool toys". I even got a sock monkey keychain for my birthday (Thanks H Family). While cruising Ebay yesterday, I found this:

It's an Obama sock monkey. There were 11 bids, and it sold for over $89. There are more of them listed, with starting bids over $35. I like sock monkeys, but my wealth is not going to be re-distributed for one of these any time soon.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flashback Friday #11

The Shotgun

Those who have been following my true-life adventure I so fondly call Flashback Friday know that toy guns were a staple toy around our house. Cap guns. Dart guns. Squirt guns. Disc shooting guns. But one day, a real gun came on the scene.

My Uncle Felix came by one day and asked Mom & Dad if they thought that we boys were mature enough to have a real gun. I was 10, and my brother, Sir Gattabout, was 14. He had a shotgun, and since he no longer went hunting, it was worthless to him. We lived in the country, so we were the first of his nephews that he would offer it to.

My parents agreed, so Uncle Felix took my brother to the back yard to show him how to load & properly handle a firearm. I was not taken back, because "Gattabout can show him ". BOOM, BOOM, went the shotgun. Cans went flying. It was so totally cool.

Many days later, After school, Sir Gattabout was out back practicing his marksmanship. I went out back after I heard the first shot to watch. "Do you want to set some cans up for me?" he asked. "Sure." I replied. I set up six cans for him to shoot. After I got behind him, he proceeded to pick the cans off one by one. When there was only one can left, he asked me"Do you want to shoot the last one?" Oh boy did I ever.

He loaded the shotgun, and helped me to bring it up. (It was pretty heavy) He showed me how to use the target sights. Finally he reminded me how to hold the shotgun. " You've got to keep the shotgun about this far away from you shoulder (while holding his finger & thumb about three inches apart). I did everything he told me, sighted my target, and squeezed the trigger.

BOOOOOOOOM. Everything happened so fast. Anyone who has ever shot a shotgun before knows what happened. For you who never have, here is what happened.

If you are going to shoot a shotgun, you must (I repeat MUST) hold the the stock firmly against you shoulder. A shotgun will kick. This was a 10 gauge, so the kick was pretty good even if you held it properly. This one kicked me like I had walked up behind a mule and smacked it in the rear with a two by four. When I squeezed the trigger, it slammed back into my shoulder with such force that it hurled me against an old truck that we had setting in the yard. (all rednecks had old trucks in their yard, didn't they?). I collapsed to the ground, and rolled there in agony.

"HA HA HA HA HA, That was the funniest thing I ever saw in my life!" my brother roared. When he stopped laughing, he said "If you tell, the pain you are feeling now will feel like NOTHING." I believed him, because he made it a point to devise new and improved torture methods daily. I had been one the wrong end of several of them, so I kept my mouth shut, and never touched the shotgun again. It was stolen from our house a few years later.

Parents, If you live in an area that supports shooting, take the time to show each child individually how to properly use the firearm. Don't expect your oldest to pass along his wisdom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Wild Ride

The results of the election remind me of when I rode "The Blue Streak" at Cedar Point with the safety features disabled. We're in for a wild ride.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November Rose

Saturday, I was doing some yard work and I spotted this:

We have three rose bushes in our yard, and they all bloom in late spring. With the indian summer weather that we have been having, I think this bush was fooled into thinking that it is spring again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flashback Friday #10

A Halloween Thriller

In my first edition of Flashback Friday I told my faithful readers that sometimes you would have jump the timeline with me. This is one of those time, because with this being Halloween, here is my favorite Halloween story as a child.

We fast forward six years from my Florida vacation posts. I am now 16, and my brother, Sir Gattabout is in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. Since he moved out, I commandeered his old bedroom, because we had set up a pool table in the other upstairs bedroom (more on that in a future post). When he came home on leave, he would sleep over at old friend's houses, or sleep on the couch. He just happened to come home around Halloween.

Prior to him coming home, some friends and I went to the semi-local movie theater (at the county seat, 25 minutes away), and saw "Halloween". The movie house showed second run movies, and just happened to be showing this movie the week of Halloween. This movie is the grandfather of the slasher movie genre that was HUGE in the 80's, and is still popular today. Probably everyone reading this has seen it, but if you haven't , it is quite the thriller.

As I stated, I saw the movie prior to my brother coming home. When he came home, I asked him if he wanted to go see it. "Nah, I don't do indoor movies (We still had drive-in theaters then). That night, he went out with some friend, while I did my homework, watched TV, and finally went to bed after the news.

If you have never slept in a house with a tin roof, it sounds like someone is walking on the roof when the wind blows. Our house had a tin roof as the main roof, and also as the small roof over our parents bedroom, which was outside my bedroom window.

I woke up about 1AM with what sounded like a terrible storm in the making. "Boy, the wind must really be blowing, it sounds like someone's on the roof". Then the window started rattling. "Man, that wind is really picking up." I thought. Just then the bottom of the window starts to rise, and a leg starts coming slowly into my bedroom.My eyes got really big. I thought my heart would stop. If I wasn't fully awake during the noises, I sure was now! I sprang from my bed and flipped on the light to discover my brother entering my bedroom through my window.

"What are you doing?" I asked. "You nearly scared me to death!" " I forgot my house key when I left." he said. "Since this used to be my room, I figured that Dad hadn't fixed the lock on the window, and I could still unlock it from outside like I used to do when I would come in late. All you have to do is climb onto the fuel oil tank, boost yourself onto the small roof, and slide into the room. I would tell Mom I forgot to wake her when I came in. It sure saved me from a lot of groundings."Needless to say, I was far too wired to get back to sleep.

I only saw a few horror flicks after that, mostly at the request of my girlfriend. With a vivid imagination like I had (And still have), there were people on the roof all the time. I even installed a new lock on the window myself.

I got a call from my brother yesterday. He asked If I was going to be home at 5 PM. I told him that Lady Nottaguy-TYG and I had plans to go out to eat. "That too bad, I was looking out the TV listings, and saw that "The Tingler" was going to be on. I told him that it was probably scarier in my imagination than in real life. He agreed, and we both got a laugh.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You Never Know

We were attending the calling hours of an elderly saint who had gone on to be with the Lord last night. While there we ran into her grandson, who had flown in from Texas for the funeral. He introduced me to his wife as his former bible quizzing coach and Sunday school teacher. She replied "You had him in Sunday school? You poor man." After talking awhile, I found out that he had been elected pastor of a church there in Texas.

Later that night I got to thinking about some of the kids that have been in my Sunday school classes and on the van routes that I drove. I have taught & driven for over 20 years, so I have seen a lot of kids go through my class. It still tickles me to have kids tell me that they don't want to grow older because that means they will have to leave my class.

In addition to the above mentioned pastor, There have also been a wealth of other ministers who have called me teacher. One young man has been an Associate in Missions, preaching and teaching in The United Kingdom (mostly in Scotland) and in Eastern Europe (mostly in the Czech Republic). Current and former church music directors, numerous church musicians, choir members, Sunday school teachers, and bible college students have also been my pupils. In the secular world, nurses, nurses aides, and airports security screeners spent time as youth in my ministries.

I does me good to see the young person who was backward (or perhaps the other extreme) become responsible young adults. You never know what that child in you class will grow to be.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday #9

The Florida Vacation-Conclusion

As I left off on my last Flashback Friday post, we were heading for a motel. I had never been to a motel. I had only seen them on TV. Glamorous places with chandeliers, spiral staircases & bellhops who want to carry your bags.(Oh, those are hotels, I didn't know there was a difference) What we got was a 12 room, single floor plan, with a guy in his undershirt at the front desk. There were two bed, so my brother & I shared a bed (compared to the cozy conditions that we had endured, it felt quite roomy).

Mom & Dad sent us out to the car to bring in the rest of the luggage. My brother handed me a bag and told me to take it to the room. As I turned around, it dawned on me that I didn't remember which room we were in. "Which room is ours?", I asked him. "The second one.", he replied. I opened the door and to my surprise, there was luggage on the bed that didn't belong to us, and nobody was in the room (this is when you still used a key to lock the motel door). I shut the door fast and turned back to my brother. He was practically rolling on the ground in laughter. "I can't believe you went into the wrong room", he howled. Not cool. After the bags were in the room, we were heading to the beach.

When we got to the beach, the gulf was pretty rough, and the waves were coming in three to four feet high. Mom sat on the beach while the rest of us headed to the water. I couldn't swim (still can't), but that didn't stop me from enjoying the Gulf of Mexico, and all the cool shells that were washing up. The sand was a mix of about 60% sand and 40% tiny shells. I collected several larger shells, and put them over by Mom. Once Dad asked my brother where I was. He pointed to a large wave, and said "Keep watching". As the wave crested, then fell, I was seen under it, sputtering, and spitting out salt water. I had bent over to get another shell,and the wave had completely engulfed me. I got my shell, and ran over to where Mom was. As I was running, I stumbled and fell. In doing so, I lacerated my knee on the tiny shells in the sand. As I mentioned, the Gulf is salt water, so the onrushing waves aggravated my injury. It looked like I took a grater to my knee. I thought I was dying.

Well, that ended the fun at the beach. Mom & Dad took me over to Uncle Percy's, and he cleaned my wound and patched me up. I think he was a health care provider, or a former military medic. Dad & my brother went back to the beach, while Mom & I were getting taken care of & calming down.

We visited a lot of the "touristy" sites around there like "Sunken Gardens" and a roadside mini-zoo where you could feed the monkeys by hand. We also went to a place called the shell factory that sold shells (imagine that).

Just before we left to go pick Doris & Bonnie up again, we made one last stop at a beach. This was a different beach, and there wasn't very many people on it. It might have had something to do with it being 11AM on a school day. I was determined to wade to my ankles, while Dad & my brother swam. Mom saw two seagulls, and decided to feed them with some leftover popcorn that was in the car (she loves feeding birds). She was having the best time because those seagulls kept asking for more. Suddenly, were heard Mom scream. We turned, and saw here surrounded by seagulls. There must have been 20 of them, all wanting fed. "Throw the popcorn as far as you can!" hollered Dad. Mom did, and her flock of seagulls scurried away to get it. Mom said she was really scared and it reminded her of the movie "The Birds".

We got back to Violet's house, and got everything packed into the car. All the goodbyes were said and were piled into the car. We were headed back to Ohio with another marathon driving session. We would be doing most of the driving at night because traffic wouldn't be as heavy.
We stopped to eat dinner near the Florida/Georgia border. When we got back in the car, I had a place on the back seat. By the time we got to Georgia, Nigel had fallen asleep, an had scooted me of the seat, unto the floor. I slept through most of Georgia on the floor of the car, not the most comfortable place in the world.

We made it home without incident. Bonnie was dropped off first, then Doris dropped our family off. I liked Florida, but I was glad to be back home. It would be another 25 years or so before I ever made it back to Florida.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meet Sparky Again

In one of my first posts, I invited you to "Meet Sparky", our fierce dragon, and protector of the realm. Today, I would like you to meet the real thing.

When our old dog "Onyx" passed, we decided that we really didn't want another dog. As the weeks passed, we decided that we were too much "dog-people" not to have another dog roaming the halls of Castle Nottaguy. We contacted the local animal shelter, and told them to give us a call if a small dog came in.

A few weeks later the phone rang, and we were asked to come take a look at a Rat Terrier that had been picked up because the older lady who had it could no longer care for it. She had nine dogs, and she was allowed to keep three. This dog being the smallest, didn't get much food, therefore, he would tear into the neighbors garbage.

He was bigger than what we wanted, but decided to take him anyway. When the worker reached into the kennel to put a leash on him, he bit at the worker. "What kind of crazy dog are we getting?", I asked Lady Nottaguy-TYG. "He's just scared.", she replied. We took the leash, filled out the paperwork, and exited the animal shelter.

When we got to the car, he wouldn't get in. In fact, he vigorously shook himself, and off went the collar & leash. Zoom, he was off & running. I've seen greyhounds that looked slow compared to the speed that he was displaying.

A week & a half later, we get a call from the animal shelter. "We found the dog again, if you still want him, you can come pick him up". We were ready this time. We had picked up a harness to use, instead of a collar. We got to the shelter, put the harness on him, put him in an animal carrier, and got him home. We named him "Sparky" because he reminded us of the small dog in the movie "Beethoven" that bites the bad guy in the rear at the end of the movie.

When I took him into the house, we put him into a back room, with the carrier door open. We checked on him every 10 minutes to see if he had come out yet. After a while, with him still in the carrier, I decided to take him out. Remember the dog shelter worker, I donned gloves, and approached the carrier. GROOOOWL, came the sound from the carrier. Undaunted, I reached in to take him out. In a flurry of snaps, bites & gnaws, I finally got him out of the carrier. It was almost like putting my hands into a food processor.

I lead him out the front door on the leash attached to the harness. I walked him around our landholdings so he could know his property. Since it was January, I didn't want him to get too cold, so we headed back to the house. When we reached the stairs, he had no desire to go back in the house. I gave a small tug on the leash. He responded by shaking like a hula dancer having a seizure. Before I knew what had happened, he had slipped out of the harness, and away he went.
Two weeks later, we get another call from the animal shelter. We had hunted, the area for Sparky to no avail. They found him a mile away. " If you still want this dog, you can pick him up, but if he escapes, and we pick him up again, it will cost you the adoption fee again". Off to the shelter we go again. This time, we have harness and a choker chair (I preferred not to use one, but we were at our wits end). We head Sparky to the car using two leashes (one for the harness, one for the choker chain). When it was time to take him for a walk, we did the same thing. Boy, did we get some strange looks, but he didn't get away.

That night we put him in a downstairs room when we went to bed. Yap yap. Bark bark. Scratch scratch. Whine whine. Lady Nottaguy-TYG said "He sounds lonely, why don't you bring him upstairs to sleep with us?". I looked at her, and said "Are you crazy? This dog just came from the pound. How do you know that he won't rip our throats out while we sleep?". "Go get him." she says. So I go downstairs, open his crate, and coax him upstairs. He follows, and jumps on the bed, rolling over to show us his belly. "See, he is showing us that he trusts us." my wife says. We both pet him for awhile, and allow him to sleep at the foot of the bed.

Now we wish he would stay at the foot. He likes best to work his way between me & my wife. He also likes to sleep under the bedspread. If he gets cold, he will jump off the bed, and pat the side of the bed with his front paw to tell us he wants covered up. My wife spoiled him too much. Whats funny is that if he is under the bedspread, and someone becomes "The Wind Beneath My Sheets", he will jump off, and stay in the other room for a few minutes.

Loud noise also scare him (maybe that's why he jumps off the bed?). During a thunderstorm, or around July 4th, he is a basket case. I was showering one day during a pretty bad storm. BOOM, the thunder crashed, and before I knew it, I had company in the shower. We think that perhaps he was shot at when he was tearing into people's trash, and that's why loud noises scare him. We normally wrap him in a blanket, and sit with him to calm him down

He also HATES radio controlled cars, or any toy car that makes a similar noise. When Ninja John lived with us, he would at times take out his RC car and let Sparky go after it. One year, we found a Christmas train at a yard sale. When we had set up the Christmas tree, I got the train out and set it around the tree, like you see in the old pictures. When I turned the train on, Sparky became "Dogzilla", and ran over, bit the engine, and derailed the train. Oh well, maybe another year.

He may have his quirks & idiosyncrasies, but we love him anyway.

Monday, October 20, 2008

6 Things

My wife tagged my for this meme (I've never memed before, good thing it was my wife). Here are the rules:
1. Link the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules
3. List 6 unspectacular things about yourself
4. Tag 6 other bloggers

Since nearly everything I do is unspectacular, it is difficult to narrow it to six, but here goes.
1) I've worked at the same factory for over 20 years, the same position for over 19 years.
2) I am a packrat, both at home & professionally at work.
3)I enjoy playing fantasy sports.
4) I've read the entire writings of Louis L'Amour.
5)I'm a meat & potatoes kind of guy.
6)I also like to spend time with my grandchildren.

Since I don't have six friends (because I'm so anti-social), I tag YOU. (Too late to hit the back arrow on your browser.) If you decide to play along, please leave a comment saying so.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I took part in a drive-by shooting

Yes the title is true. Today the county board of health conducted a drive through flu shoot clinic.
It was to have started at 9AM, but there were people already lined up at 8AM (Me included), so when the workers got into place, they opened early. Hand in the paperwork (Which I already had filled out), pay the fee, drive up to a nurse, and get shot. I was through before 8:30. I thought it was a great idea.
Related joke: Q:What goes clip clop, clip clop, bang, clip clop, clip clop?
A: An Amish drive-by shooting.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday #8

The Florida vacation. Part 1

When I was but a young lad, that thought of going away anywhere for vacation was as foreign as eating escargot. It just didn't happen around our house. But one day, that all changed.

Dad's best friend Chuck, was married to Doris. Doris had a sister, Violet, who lived in Florida. Doris, and her sister Bonnie wanted to go visit Violet, but with just the two of them driving, they were afraid that the driver would fall asleep while the passenger slept. Chuck couldn't go because he couldn't get off of work (a likely story), so they asked Mom & Dad if they wanted to go along.

They agreed, and the seating arrangements were like this: Picture a '72 Buick with three adults & one baby in the front seat (Doris, her baby Jewel, Bonnie & Dad), and one adult with three children in the back seat (Mom, Sir Gattabout who was 14, Me at age 10, and Doris' oldest child Nigel who was four). Cozy, hmmm?

The plan was to drive non-stop from central Ohio to Fort Meyers Florida where Violet & my Mom's Uncle Percy lived. When the driver would get tired, the front seat would rotate like a volleyball game. Driver takes passenger seat, passenger seat takes middle holding baby Jewel, and middle becomes driver (this was before child car seats were around). Pull out your map kiddies, this is a long drive (Yahoo Maps says it takes 18+ hours to make the trip).

Well, the trip was made, but it wasn't non-stop (you tell eight people that they have to drive nearly 1200 miles without a potty break and see what happens). During one stop in Tennessee, we were at "tourist trap" showcasing mountain life (log cabins, smoke houses, stills, etc.). Part of the mountain life was that the bathroom facilities consisted of outhouses (Woo Woo! We drive 600 miles to use an outhouse, when we have two in the backyard?). When we were ready to leave, we couldn't find Mom. Not in the gift shop. Not over by the car. Not anywhere to be found. The search was on. Dad finally found her. She was the last to "use the facilities (or lack thereof). When she entered the outhouse, part of the door frame trim came loose, preventing her from opening the door & exiting the outhouse. She was locked in. Dad said this must be how the mountain men got their wives. While we were looking for Mom, Nigel swiped the rest of my can of Mountain Dew. Little creep.

When we entered Fort Meyers city limits, I had a major letdown. It was a fort, wasn't it? Where was the tall wooden stockade fence like in Fort Apache? We finally got to Violet's house. There was much hugging & mushy stuff. It was determined that we would spend the night at Violet's before making our way to Uncle Percy's. Violet lived in a three bedroom trailer, and she had a husband and four kids. Add the eight of us, and we got cozy again. In the morning, we took Doris' car (the '72 Buick) to Uncle Percy's as Doris & Bonnie were going to stay the week at Violet's.

When we got to Uncle Percy's, I was amazed. He was a fisherman deluxe. He had all kinds of large fish mounted on his walls. I walked from room to room looking at his trophy fish while the adults talked. To this day I don't remember what he looks like, but I sure remember those fish (especially the sailfish). Since he and his wife lived in a small bungalow, there wasn't room for us to stay there, so we went to get a room at a motel.

I had never stayed in a motel before.

To be continued.......

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In Search Of The Holy Grail

Sorry, Im not talking about Indiana Jones, or Monty Python. It's that time of year. I love hockey. Let the quest begin for the most coveted trophy in hocky: The Stanley Cup.

Cup ediquette states that only players on Cup winning teams may hold the trophy over their head, but anyone can get their picture taken with it (like I did during Lady Lemon's band trip to Toronto during her senior year in high school).
But please don't do this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday #7

We now have indoor plumbing.

Indoor plumbing is something that most people take for granted, until they are forced to do without it. Most of us can find the bathroom in a half-sleep stupor. Go, flush, go back to bed. Nothing to it. But what if it wasn't so easy? Most of us have had to stop at an "outhouse rest area" a time or two in our lives. If you haven't read it yet, I have a Flashback Friday about our outhouse. But this post isn't about outhouses, it is about us getting running water indoors for the first time.

I was at an auction recently and spotted this chamber pot (the auctioneer called it a "thunder pot"). This is similar to what our indoor toilet looked like until I was nine or ten years old. I am currently mid 40's, so I am referring to 1972 or 1973. It was the responsibility of the kids to empty the pot. We had to carry it back to the back fence & dump it. During the "Tingler" & the"Blackmail" days, it became my daily duty.

In the house that we lived in, there was no bathroom. We kept a chamber pot like the one above setting on a couple cement blocks by the side entrance of the house. The room it was in had some shelves on the wall, so it held everything from extra canned goods to tools. The "pot room" was to be used only at night, or in bad weather, as we had two fully functional outhouses on our property. The room had no door, just a blanket hanging from a couple of nails. The rest of the house contained two bedrooms downstairs, plus a living room & an eat in kitchen. There were two bedrooms upstairs.

Dad decided that we needed to get water hooked up to the house, so we moved the items from the kids bedroom to one of the bedrooms upstairs. My parents took over what used to be the kids bedroom, and the now empty bedroom was to be fitted as a bathroom. We had no fixtures, but with Dad being a carpenter & all-round handyman, he rounded up what was needed.

The first thing you need in a bathroom is running water. I don't know too many bedrooms that have that, so Dad had to run a water line under the floor. The house had an almost full basement, but not under this room. Dad, and his best friend Chuck, cut a three foot by six foot hole in the floor to give them access to the crawlspace under the floor. This they would cover over with a four by eight sheet of plywood when they weren't working.

Things went together quickly and before you know it, they were just about finished. As the final water lines were hooked up, a cautious still hung in the air. Chuck was in the basement at the main valve, while Dad was upstairs ready for the final inspection. As each knob was turned, water flowed. YAY! Now the shower, again water flowed freely. Now the toilet. We all waited anxiously. FLUSH. Hooray! It Works.

Dad asked "Who wants to try it out first?" Of course, I had to be first. Dad picked up his tools, carried them out & shut the door. But the one thing he forgot was to put the plywood over the gaping hole in the floor. I knew I couldn't, so I inched by it over to the toilet. When I was finished, and all the paperwork done, I stood up to pull up my pants. In doing so, I lost my balance and plunged into the hole. SNAP, went the new water line, and before I knew what had happened, there was a beautiful fountain in our bathroom, shooting all the way up to the ceiling.

"HELP, HELP" I cried. Dad shot into the room, saw the fountain, and hollered "Turn the water off Chuck, Hurry". The water was turned off, and Dad pulled my soggy little body out of the hole. About an hour later, the line was fixed, and the hole covered. Until the day we moved out, the sheet of plywood was never nailed down (It was the access panel for the plumbing). The bathroom may have had a "redneck" look to it, but at least it was indoors.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Buckeye Fever, Catch it!

Those of you who know me know that I am a huge Ohio State Buckeyes fan. As a said fan, I have little use for "The State Up North". But I came across some vanity licence plates that say it all

The first picture, I took last year during "Black Friday" in Columbus (You can see my reflection in the bumper). The second was sent to me by a friend who know my feelings on the subject. "Nuff said!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Century and Counting Part II

The Ogre suggested that I inform my readers why I was so sure the Cubs would not win, and why the Cubs have been so long without winning the National league pennant. Click here for the answer. I'm not sure I believe it, but do you have a better explanation?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Century And Counting

The Chicago Cubs were swept out of the playoffs this year by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It makes 100 years since the Cubbies have won the World Series. When asked by a co-worker who I thought would represent the NL in the series, I told him the Dodgers or Phillies. "What about the Cubs, they have the best record in the National League?", he asked. I looked at him and replied "They're the Cubs.". 'Nuff said.
On a side note, I am also thoroughly enjoying the fact that the Yankees are watching the playoffs on TV, while their former manager, Joe Torre, is taking the Dodgers to the second round.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Flashback Friday #6

In this edition of Flashback Friday we will entertain an element of childhood that some of us don't outgrow. Toys. I am mid 40's and still enjoy getting down on the floor and playing with toys with my grandchildren (or any other kids who want to play). When I heard that I was going to become a grandpa, I went looking for some of the toys I played with as a child.

When I was young, there wasn't all the electronic gizmos you see today. Toys didn't play with themselves while you watched them. The vast majority of toys I had would do nothing at all, unless you added a secret ingredient. Imagination.

When playing with plastic soldiers (of which I had hundreds), small scraps of wood became buildings. Sticks became corrals that the cowboys kept their horses in. Tin cans turned into rocket ships that propelled astronauts through space. Give me some plastic soldiers & a pile of dirt and I was good for an hour or so.

We never had any new, but we scoured yard sales for Tinker toys, Lincoln logs, and later on Legos. I did have a building set called Ring-ma-jigs. They looked like mini donuts with legs that you could snap together. You could build & stack to your hearts content. My Uncle Chet was so fascinated with them, every time he came over, he would have me get them out. We eventually bought him a set for Christmas.

I also had an affection for stuffed animals. Mom knew a lady who made sock monkeys, and she brought a dozen over for me to pick one. I loved them all, so mom bought all 12 of them for me. For a while, they went everywhere with me. I took them over to Aunt Shelly's house one time, and forgot one. The next day when we went to get it, we had discovered that one of my cousins had taken a butcher knife to it. He had cut off most of the tail, half of one arm & gouged out a hole in the stomach. Mom did what she could to fix him. He looked odd, but I loved him anyway.

What young boy doesn't like toy cars? I had a few Hot Wheels & Matchbox cars, but a lot of what was called "Tootsie Toys" cars. They were twice the size of Hotwheels, and I always got some for Christmas (mom ordered them out of one of the "toy party" books). They were sturdy & held up through many years & many dirt piles.

Currently in my "toyroom, you will find the above mentioned toys (with the exception of Ring-ma-jigs) along with Etch-a-sketch, View Master, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, & a Fisher Price castle with knights. There is also quite the collection of a newer favorite "Rescue Heroes" & their rescue vehicles. The grandkids like to come over to Papa's house to play "cause he's got some cool toys".

(Pictured-Sock Monkey, Lincoln logs, Tinkertoys, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Legos, plastic soldiers and cowboys & indians)

As I grow older, and I walk through flea markets, I tend to look for the "older" toys. I say to myself, or to Lady Nottaguy-TYG, "I used to have some of those". Then I look at the price. GULP. I wish I still had some of those. But if I did, could I get rid of them? You're right, probably not? What did you like to play with when you were little?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


All of the following conversations were either personally overheard by me, or I was part of the conversation. All are 100% true.

1) While at a large retail store, a couple (man & woman, these days you have to clarify) asked the salesman where they could find matching shirts. The salesman told them" Please follow me, there are some bi-sexual shirts over here". Really now?

2) At work we were talking about a local funeral home building a crematorium near several restaurants. A blonde female co-worker came into the conversation at the end.
Me- I think having a crematorium next to a restaurant is gross.
Blonde- What's so bad about it?
Me- You do know what a crematorium is, don't you?
Blonde- Isn't that where the make donuts?
Me- What????
Blonde- You know, cream filled donuts.
I love donuts, but I think I'll pass on those, thank you.

3) In Sunday school we were talking about going to Heaven. I told the children that when we get there we will all get a crown. Then when we see Jesus, we will take the crown off and cast it at his feet. One little boy raised his hand, and said " I don't think I want to do that". "Why not?" I asked. He replied, very seriously " I don't throw very good, and I'd be afraid that I'd hit Him in the head with it."
How do you retain your composure after a remark like that. I assured him that he would do just fine.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flashback Friday #5

You've got mail........and it's all black

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Flashback Friday. I hinted last week about how you go about blackmailing a seven year old. Here is the story behind it.

When I was seven, I wanted to grow up to be something brave & daring, like a big game hunter or pirate. As kids we ALWAYS had toy guns available, and if all of those were in use, a trusty stick would work.

One day my brother and I were sword fighting with dowel rods that dad had for some woodworking project he had going. The mock battle took place in the living room. We had futuristic swords, as they could transform into guns or spears at a moments notice. My brother hefted his dowel rod, and threw it like a spear at me, striking me in the chest. Mortally wounded, I heaved mine at him. He became a Dickens's character (The Artful Dodger) and jumped out of the way. The projectile sailed past him, right through the lampshade of the ruby red lamp that sat on top of the TV.

"AWWWWW!!!! I'm gonna tell mom that you damaged her antique lamp". I wasn't sure what antique meant, but it didn't sound good. "Nooooooo!!! Don't tell". I implored. "Can it be fixed?", I asked. At the bottom of the shade was a neat little hole that looked like I had taken a rather large hole punch to. We put the cutout hole back in, and turned the shade around, so no one would notice. "You're gonna be in big trouble when mom finds out." my brother growled.

"Please don't tell, I'll do anything." (Kids, if you ever find yourself saying these words, go immediately to your parents & tell on yourself. It will be much easier, I promise.) "OK, I won't tell if you do my chores today.", he said. Thinking I was in the clear, I heartily agreed. One day lead to another, which lead to another, (you get my drift). Between blackmail & the Tingler (see last Flashback Friday), he never had to do anything he didn't want to up to the time he joined the Army, seven years later.

After he went into the Army, I confessed to my mom that I had damaged her antique lamp. "What antique lamp" she asked. "The red one on the TV." I replied. "That's not an antique lamp." she said, "Your grandpa found that in the trash on his garbage route. It doesn't even work. I just thought it was pretty, and use it for decoration." To quote Charlie Brown "ARRRGGGHHH". Seven years of forced servitude for a lamp that was picked out of the trash.
If you get nothing else from this post, take these words of wisdom, "Mess up- Fess up". It could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I work with Neanderthals

This was written on the men's room wall, over the urinal at my place of employment. I thought you were taught that in kindergarten. Someone later added "unzip" at the top, and "wash hands" at the bottom. I looked at the door, and it said "Gentlemen". No wonder it was empty when I walked in. Which is worse, the graffiti, or the unflushed urinals that prompted it?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Political Correctness Run Amok

Anybody who knows me well, knows that I HATE political correctness. "Be careful what you say, you might hurt some one's feelings". When I grew up it was "Sticks & stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me. I received the following in an e-mail, I thought they were so hilarious, that I had to share them with all of my readers (both of you).

If Biblical Headlines were written by today's liberal media...

On Red Sea crossing:
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed

On David vs. Goliath:
Psychologist Questions Influence of Rock

On Elijah on Mt. Carmel:
400 Killed

On the birth of Christ:
Animal Rights Activists Enraged by Insensitive Couple

On feeding the 5,000:
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior

On healing the 10 lepers:
"Faith Healer" Causes Bankruptcy

On healing of the Gadarene demoniac:
Local Farmer's Investment Lost

On raising Lazarus from the dead:
Reading of Will Delayed

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flashback Friday #4

Fear Factor Edition

What makes a child afraid? I don't know about anyone else, but I know what I feared as a child. In today's edition, we'll look at some of the things that scared me, and let you Freud wannabes analyze.

Fear #1- I am over 40 years old, and I still have a morbid fear of the dentist. The last time I was in for a cleaning, I came out wringing wet with sweat. What caused this, you ask? When I was four, I had something wrong with my baby molars (cavities?). I was taken to a dentist whose name was probably Dr. I. Yankum (we really do have a local dentist named Dr. Payne). He said they needed to come out, and either gave me no or too little anesthesia. His dental assistant had to wrap her arms around the chair and hold me down. I screamed like something was being ripped from my body (oh, I guess they were). I got a little toy jeep for my trouble. The next time I went to the dentist, I was 16 years old.

Fear #2- I cannot swim. I grew up around water, but swimming is beyond me. When I was five, we went to a family reunion. At the park where the reunion was held, there was a swimming pool. I've always loved wading, and being in the water, so mom let me go with my brother (Sir Gattabout) to the pool. He watched me like a hawk, until some of our other cousins joined us.

I was at the shallow end of the pool, with the water at neck level. I was having a grand time, until one of my cousins kicked my feet out from underneath me. The next thing I knew, I was laying on the bottom of the pool, looking at legs & feet. I couldn't figure out what to do. I felt hands picking me up and bringing me to the surface. I screamed like I was dying (see last Friday's post). Mom comforted me, and tried to find out who did it. Nobody confessed (would you?). I have had people try to teach me to swim as an adult, with no success.

Fear #3-The Tingler. When I was 5 or 6, Mom & Dad would go over to Uncle Kevin & Aunt Bessie's house to play cards every Friday night until the wee hours of the morning. Their two boys, and me & my brother were allowed to stay up, and play or watch TV. If I was six, my brother was 10, and my cousins would have been 12 & 14 respectively. What do kids that age like to watch? Scary movies that's what. We had a program on every Friday night called "Chiller Theatre". It showed a double feature of old horror flicks. There was one in particular that must have really scared me. It was called "The Tingler". I told my brother that that was a really scary movie (please note: if someone has a history of antagonizing you, DON'T tell them something scared you).

From that time on, If my brother wanted me to do something that I didn't want to, he would throw his head back, bunch his shoulders & arms up, roll his eyes into his head and protrude his bottom teeth over his top lip. He would then growl "Tingler, ...Tingler" (The hair is standing up on the back of my neck as I type this). I did his chores, fixed him snacks, anything he wanted, just to make the tingler go away. I think I was 18 before I would enter a dark room without first reaching & turning on a light.

Fear #4-Blackmail. How do you blackmail a seven year old child? I guess you'll have to wait until next week to find out (was that a shameless plug for my next Flashback Friday or what?).

Some of the greatest comedians faced adversity as a child. Perhaps these were some of the things that shaped (or warped) my sense of humor. What were you afraid of as a child?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm where, and it's doing what?

Most of you know that I live in the central Ohio region. I can be at the geographic center of Ohio in 15 minutes So why were we getting 75 mph winds? Hello, Hurricane Ike is 2000 some miles away.

We went to church Sunday afternoon at 4:30PM for choir practice. During practice, the lights flickered, went off, then came back on. Our choir director asked everyone to refrain from squealing & gasping if the lights went out while we were on the platform singing during service.

Since I drive the church van for Sunday night service, I have to leave while practice is still going on. While driving to our first stop, I watched a large limb fall out of a tree and land on a sub-compact car a block away.There were trees on houses & vehicles. We also had to watch for fire trucks heading out to extinguish flaming transformers. After detouring around trees across the road, i get a call from Lady Nottaguy-Tyg that the church has no power, take everyone back home & park the van. I was cool with that, the van was rocking like a boat in the waves.

When we got back to church the pastor says, I can have church with no light, I can have church with no air conditioning, I can have church with no music, but with no power, there are no bathrooms. (wells require a pump which is run with electricity). Those with small children had already left, so the rest of us had a time of prayer, and went home.

When we got home, several large limbs had fallen out of our tree out front, some in our elderly neighbors driveway. I pulled them all up front near the road, and went to the side to pick up the trashcans that had blown over. Before I had finished picking up the trash, more limbs had blown down. I waited until closer to bedtime to clear them, in fear more would come down.

Monday morning I drove to work, and there were detours all over due to fallen trees. When I got to work, there was a sign on the door. "We have no power, we will be closed 9/15". Thanks for calling the radio station.

Monday, at our compost area, it looked like a pick-up truck convention. I took three pick-up loads from my yard (and I have an 8 foot bed on my truck). There were a lot of trees & limbs down from the windstorm. I'm just glad we were 2000 some miles away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Time To Roar

Usually this blog is humorous and light-hearted. BUT, There are times when, as the blog title states, I can rear upon my hind legs and roar.
I have fired off e-mails to the following links, and if you are offended with this cartoon that ran in the Washington Post on Sept. 9th,2008, I suggest that you do the same.
As a Christian, please don't make the e-mail mean spirited, but be firm. I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that they wouldn't have made fun of Sarah Palin's religion if she was Islamic. The radical arm of Islam would have burned the building to the ground.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time to clean the grill

Admit it, isn't this how we all do it? It would work for me, but Sparky the dragon would eat the cat before the grill was cleaned. Perhaps he would use the grill FOR the cat.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Flashback Friday #3

I'm dying. No, let me rephrase that. (Roll eyes back in head, unhinge jaw, and bellow from the most inner part of your being) I'M DYING!!!

This was a familiar refrain heard around my house when I was but a lad. I must have felt that I was more fragile than a Ming Dynasty vase or something. Anytime I was injured in any way, I seemed to me that I was dying.

The earliest remembrance of this line comes when I was about six or seven. We were roasting hot dogs & marshmallows out back with the neighbor kids. One of the neighbors caught his mallow on fire and waved it around trying to put out the fire. SPLAT, flaming marshmallow on my bare leg (this is only one of the reasons that I am not outside in shorts anymore). I screamed, but didn't die. The fireball had left a blister on my leg as big as a silver dollar (Eisenhower, not Sacajawea). I somehow got the idea that if that blister popped, I would die (what a great way to keep a kid from picking at it).

Later that week, my brother (Sir Gattabout) was pulling me up the driveway at a rapid trot in our Radio Flyer wagon. He took a turn quickly, and spilled me out of the wagon into the gravel. That hurt. I looked down at my leg, and the blister was gone, replaced with a nasty scrape. I let out a scream that would frighten any Halloween ghoul. "I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm dying" I yelled out, and ran as fast as my wounded body could go. Mom assured me that I was still quite alive.

Another such instance came about two years later. While playing tag my brother went up a tree, and wouldn't come down, therefore he won because I couldn't tag him. I told him, you come down right now. He jumped from one branch to another only to hear a sickening CRACK! The branch broke under his weight, and he plummeted earthward. Luckily he had a little brother directly beneath him to cushion his fall. As he landed upon me, all of the air in my lungs was knocked out. I couldn't breathe. I ran into the house to my parents mouthing the words "I'm dying, I'm dying". If you try telling somebody something when you can't breathe, they just look at you strange, and say "what?". As I was turning blue, dad figured I had the wind knocked out of me, so he whomps me on the back. Sweet air flowed into my lungs. I then proceeded to continue with my dying monologue.

The last such instance that I will bring forth deals with the mother of all boils that I had on my neck. Dad wanted to lance it, but, OH NO, you're not coming near me with that needle. Mom had some kind of cream that she applied daily. After a while, it looked like I had a mutant hickey on my neck. While over at my cousins' house (Aunt Shelly & Uncle Phil's from last post) playing "Army", one of my cousins played some "gorilla warfare" on me.(yes gorilla, not guerrilla) He was hiding up a tree, and jumped out and grabbed my neck. The boil exploded like the Hindenburg. I was sure I was dying then, but Aunt Shelly told me to shut up and go back outside and play (her kids, all 14 of them, spent ALOT of time outside playing).

To this day, there are times I whine & moan when I'm not feeling well, or hurting. However, I know that I'm not dying, because Lady Nottaguy-TYG tells me I'm not.