The other day, I rode past this big store called, ” The Halloween Center.”  I could not believe it. Here was a huge emporium devoted to nothing but Halloween accessories. Costumes, party needs, scary items of all kinds were displayed in the huge windows.  The idea that a store could just sell Halloween stuff scared the bejesus out of me.

Back in the day, when I was young, we did not have multimillion dollar companies vying for our Halloween dollars. Heck, we had no dollars to spend, Halloween or otherwise. If you wanted to dress up, you went  to the attic and got some old clothes, rags and sheets or whatever and made your own pirate, ghost or princess costume. You applied a little grease pencil on your face and you were done.

Done, that is, except for the Halloween from hell that I experienced one year when I was about nine or ten. It was during the sputnik space race era and everything in the news was robotic and space related. My mother decided she was going to make me a costume. I was to be “Robert the Robot.”  She had some cardboard boxes lying around so she got six of them. One each for my arms and legs, one for my body and one for my head. She provided straws for my antennae and an empty toilet paper tube for my nose. She painted the boxes silver with black accent rivets and lightning bolts and the name, “Robert” at the bottom of the torso.

Well, I was not too keen on this thing because once inside it, I could not see, walk or breathe. But, mom said I looked great. She gave me a pillow case to carry my treats in and sent me on my way.

My first problem was walking. Since the cardboard “legs” did not bend with my knees, I had to walk stiff-legged which was uncomfortable and caused chaffing!  Then, I could not see well out of the little holes she cut for my eyes so, I kept running into bushes, fences and other kids. But the worst part was I could not bend or use my arms to open up my pillow case to let the treats drop in. I just held it out with one hand, so it was only partially opened and the candies kept falling on the ground where other kids would steal them.

The coup de grace occurred when it started to rain and my cardboard “skin” got wet and heavy and the paint began to run. I looked like a soggy, silver, blocked-headed pile of wet cardboard; scary, but not very robotic.

Worst, my treat bag got wet  and my coveted candy melted into a soggy, muddy,  rainbow colored mess in the bottom of the pillow case. Cold, wet and uncomfortable, I did the sad zombie walk back home dragging my pillow case behind.

Later, I sat on the couch, sipping hot chocolate, staring at the three surviving pieces of candy I salvaged from the pillowcase.  The soaked and soggy silver cardboard skin was left in a pile by the back porch awaiting the trash man.

Halloween is not supposed to be like this, I thought. It is supposed to be fun. This was way too scary.

Hope you have a wickedly scary and fun weekend.

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Blah, Blah, Blah

October 28, 2010

Are you getting as tired of these political ads as I am? Every night just when I am watching the news or some program I like,  there appears a battalion of political ads for one candidate or another assaulting my senses.

The ads are all the same. They tell you that their candidate walks on water and the opposition candidate is a dirty, rotten, sleazy, slimy, filthy, ugly, disgusting, lying sack of litter. The names and the parties are interchangeable, but the message is always the same and always interferes with my private time with my TV.

Besides, who is paying for all this TV time anyway? If they would put the money towards reducing the national debt, maybe we could pay off a loan or two.

OK, you  say, I should just Tivo or tape over or whatever it is that Trudy says she does to screen out these ads, but I can’t. For one reason, I don’t know how and secondly, I feel as if I should not have to do that.

I have figured out a long time ago that all politicians are like Ivory soap. They are  99 and 44/100s percent pure…liars. It does not matter who they are, where they come from or what they promise, once they get to dine at the public trough at our expense, you can count on them to serve only one master, themselves.

And many consider our system of government the best that has ever been invented.  Well, maybe with Ben Franklin and George Washington and those guys, OK.  But ever since then, once they hit this District of Columbia scene, they turn into the devil’s spawn. I think that whole inside the beltway lifestyle has something to do with it.

So, I have a few more days of these political interruptions, then things will get back to normal with just the fast food and car commercials to annoy me.

A matter of taste

October 27, 2010

Congratulations and a very happy birthday wish to my grandson, Bennett Woodrow. He is 730 days old today!

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And now, the news.

Over the years, I have come to understand what kids like and what tastes good to them. In fact, a mantra among some of my grandkids is, “We love Papa,  he knows what kids like.”

For a time, I took pride in this ability and used it to engender myself  into the good graces of the little ones; that coveted cross generational bonding that keeps the parents out of the loop.  

Like the time, I was watching Miss Kate while her mother went out somewhere.

We were sitting at the kitchen table coloring some important fall Halloween pictures, when Kate decided she wanted something to eat, so I said,  “Well here are some apples, and bananas in this basket.”

But, Kate always with her chocolate craving sweet tooth, responded, “Papa, there are some M&Ms in the cupboard.”

Me: “I thought your mom did not want you to have that candy.”

Kate: “Its Ok Papa. you’re here to watch me.”

Me: “What?”

She then proceeded to eat the M&Ms with the speed and efficiency of a Great White downing a mackerel.

Nicely satisfied , She went back to her coloring.

Shortly thereafter, Wendy arrived home and I was getting ready to go when,  I heard my daughter ask Kate,

“Did you have a snack?”

Kate: “Yes”

Wendy: “What did Papa give  you?”

Kate, with all the straight-faced innocence she could muster said softly,  “A banana”

Oh wow, she is good, I thought to myself as I walked out the door.

The next situation involving food and grandkids was an episode with Ellie; granddaughter number three, who is 3 1/2.

I was in the kitchen, fixing  Ellie some dinner. She already had some meat and  noodles on her plate, so I was going to give her some green beans. I did them Italian style, sauteing them is a little butter and olive oil and some chopped parsley and a little salt. I presented them on her plate with all the flourish of Mario Batali in an Iron Chef contest. “Enjoy your green beans”, I offered.

After, tasting a couple of the perfectly cooked beans, she turned her fork’s attention to her noodles.

Thinking that she was saving them for dessert, I asked her if she liked the haricots vert.

“Actually Papa,  they are just not tasty enough.”

Her reply left me stunned. How could this be? I tasted the beans they were worthy as a side dish in any 3 star Michelin restaurant. How could Miss Eleanor dismiss them so cruelly?

I harbored this bean insecurity for months.

Last week, when I heard about Miss Ellie being sick for a few days in a row. I was saddened and concerned to hear she was ill, so I called Aimee to get the story.

 Ellie was eating well, but each day, in the evening, she would develop a stomach ache. Aimee, tried to determine what was the problem to no result so she took Miss Ellie to the doctor. There after a brief examination and interrogation, it seems  the doctor wormed  the story out of Miss Ellie that she and taken several bites out of a toy foam sword she had as part of her Halloween pirate costume.

The doctor gave Ellie some medicine and said she would be ok in a day or two. But no more sword eating. Upon returning home, Aimee did discover the  sword in the toybox. It had six bites taken out of it.

“Why would you eat your sword, Ellie?” was the begging question…with no answer.

Apparently, the sword WAS tasty enough.

Whither thou goest?

October 26, 2010

“… for whither thou goest, I will go.” … The book of Ruth 1:16-17

Just when did we become a nation of whiners? We used to lead the world in every category of national achievement. Now, all we seem to be able to do is wring our hands and lament,  “Woe is us….What can we do? Who will help us?”  Where is my free stuff? 

Just where has that “good old American know how” gone?  Have we forgotten how solve problems and make things right? The recent rescue of the 33 Chilean miners is an example of what Americans can do. The rescue equipment, managers and operators were American. Apparently, however, this unique problem solving skill, with the exception of the US military,  is not found within our Government.

Meanwhile around the world other countries are recognizing a need  and fixing what needs fixing.

China, is taking charge of its undervalued currency, and managing its explosive runaway economic growth by raising Yuan interest rates. Did you know that China is the world’s number one internet user? Internet usage means knowledge, and knowledge fuels economies.

France is taking a hard-line against its past welfare economic sins. They even might be successful if the unions don’t bury the country with trash first.

Germany has recognized that to have one nation pulling together you must have a common set of values, principles and goals. I suspect Angela Merkel has read Lincoln’s A house divided against its self  cannot stand speech.

Even the out of control UK is seeing a way out of its mess with George Osborne cutting a half a million unnecessary government jobs.

Yet here in the United States, we are set adrift by a reckless Congress which went home to campaign instead of legislating a confidence building, economic friendly tax policy.

Unemployment remains annoyingly stuck at ten percent, with the government at a loss of what to do.

The Federal budget deficit has reached  ONE TRILLION DOLLARS and the public debt now exceeds $13.6 TRILLION.

The real estate industry is moribund and the American dream of home ownership is in tatters for many.

Our military men and women remain handcuffed in harm’s way while terrorists grow daily around the world.

Our once proud heritage of a country of immigrants is broken because of deliberate federal government inaction to uphold the laws of immigration and border protection.

Unless people begin taking charge of problems and getting them fixed, look for more civil discord and unrest. A bloated federal government living inside the beltway fantasyland is not the answer.

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 Ruth’s pledge of  fidelity to her mother in law, Naomi was complete, committed and unconditional.  Millions of Americans would like to make the same pledge to their country, but often it comes out, 

 Whiter thou goest,  USA, I will follow… but gosh darn it you make it difficult sometimes.”

Dressed for dinner

October 25, 2010

                                                                                     Lady Gaga, the hamburger helper

 

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“It is not the quantity of the meat, but the cheerfulness of the guests,  which makes the feast”

Sir Edward Hyde

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Ok,  last spring I thought I had seen everything when I went to a restaurant in southwest Florida where  they were serving naked sushi. ( see But Why… April, 18th, 2010).  I guess that was the surf, now here is the turf.

Just in time for Halloween comes a new even more unsavory “delight”,  The Lady Gaga Meat Dress.

It is sort of Oscar de la Renta gone carpaccio. It is so toxic that even the butchers in New Jersey are recommending not getting wrapped up in it. But, they say,  if you must,  make sure the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and keep some bug spray in your purse, just in case you are pursued by flies…to say nothing of stray dogs and cats.

Like naked sushi, this dish is just so wrong and wasteful in so many ways. but being a meat eater myself  from time to time, I am not passing judgement.   But, Miss Gaga, please just try to think about the massive waste of strength-giving protein used in your “costume” nightly; protein which could feed a whole village in China for a week.

But, there are many others whom you have offended by your carnivorous clothing.

First wearing  fur, now flesh.

You just gotta know the PETA people are having a psychotic conniption over this. 

And the “Climate Change”  folks are just wringing their hands over the rising temperature produced by the cows needed for your bizarre beefy look.  They have even been searching for Al Gore, who was last seen ducking into a Memphis BBQ joint.

I admit it I have no idea who Lady Gaga is or what her appeal might be, but apparently she has a herd of fans just dying to be slathered with bovine parts during their Halloween parties.  I did some research and even listened to a couple of Miss Gaga’s songs. They were not too bad, but in that genre, I prefer “Queen”. I even have “Killer Queen” on my iPod. But I digress.

I did see some pictures of Miss Gaga wearing this dress o’ beef.  It contained more slices of meat than a third avenue kosher deli. I just have to wonder how the seamstress dealt with the bones when attaching the zippers. And for heaven’s sake, what scent of perfume is correct with a meat dress, eau de pot roast?

During my research, I went on to discover that Miss Gaga seemed to have had a somewhat normal childhood, although she went to a Catholic convent school in Manhattan where meat in any form was  probably not permitted on Fridays. (Perhaps this is the cause of this current overindulgence.)

My next question is what the heck are those nuns teaching in these Catholic schools to produce graduates such as Miss Gaga and Madonna? Then again, I suppose they don’t have nuns teaching anymore. I just know that when I went to school, the Catholic girls never were this flamboyant. I mean plaid jumpers and knee socks were about as wild as they got.

I can’t  imagine my eight grade heart-throb, Mary Ann Martin eating a hot dog much less wearing  a meat dress.

Meat dress, Holy Cow!

Water

October 22, 2010

 

Throughout human history, mankind has sought to have clean fresh water, when it was wanted and where it was wanted. If either the when or the where  is misapplied, then water becomes not the magnificent sustainer of life, but a relentless foe that must be defeated.

Just think how inconvenient it would be if you went to the tap for a drink and no water came out.

Or, how uncomfortable it would be if it was raining like hamsters outside and also through the hole in the roof over your bed.

Or imagine how unpleasant it would be if you flushed the toilet and the water came back up, because your young daughter tried to flush a purple plastic pig earlier in the day.

See what I mean.

Recently, I have had a private war going with water.

The first battle was when my creek rose and the dam broke, which flooded my neighbor’s road and left the poor guy stranded. Thank God for backhoes.

Then, the town’s heavy trash truck ran over  and cracked a sourcing pipe; no damage, just water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

Now, just this morning, while attempting to park my yard cart full of firewood in the garage, I hit and tore up a faucet, which never should have been there in the first place. Water continued to flood the garage until I ran (yeah, right) downstairs to shut off the water. Then  I had to go back upstairs to get a ladder, as the demonic shutoff valve in the basement was ten feet high. Then I went back down again, cursing all the way, with ladder in hand to reach the elusive  valve . Finally, I got Little Niagara to stop flowing.

I just want to know, do these people who design where water accesses and sources are placed ever actually try to use them? I really think they need to go to Rome and study how the ancients did it. I bet Caesar never had the water troubles I have known.

In the meantime, I am getting a glass of  some frozen water and adding a little barrel-aged firewater to it. Then, I will sit in my chair, and let the water’s soothing effect calm my frazzled nerves while I watch the baseball game.

Have a nice weekend, and enjoy your water when and where you want it.

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

First Ammendment of the United States Constitition.

 

This week, National Public Radio (NPR) fired long time liberal commentator, Juan Williams for some remarks he made with Bill O’ Reilly. (see text of remarks below).

Now, it is clearly the right of any private employer to dismiss an employee who is determined to be offensive or problematic in behavior or speech. And if say KMOX in St. Louis had a problem with an announcer, they could fire him at once. But this case with Mr. Williams and NPR is different in a very real and fundamental way. You see, NPR is funded with public government money, (your tax money) and as such, it can be argued that NPR is a de facto agent of the federal government approved by Congress.

Further, agency law requires an agent to act upon the request and desires of its Principal. So by firing Juan Williams for his remarks, the Government through its agent NPR has abridged Mr. Williams’ right of  free speech and violated his First Amendment rights.

It seems to me that in its zeal to push a politically correct agenda, the Federal Government has trampled on a citizen’s rights. Yes, I know not all Muslims are terrorists, in fact the vast majority of muslims are model citizens. However, it has also been proven that the vast majority of terrorists are indeed muslims intent on dealing a deathblow to America. What came first the Muslim or the terrorist?

I think Mr. Williams was just saying what everybody on the plane was thinking, so the jackbooted PC crowd stomped on him. What is next?

When the Government begins political correctness on our thoughts, then the Brave New World  will  most certainly have arrived. 

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Juan Williams’ comments….

“Look, Bill, ( O’ Reilly)I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”