Sunday, February 28, 2010

The plastic looks pretty, but to owe is a pity

commerce bank card 1
I just calculated that it will take me only 137 years to pay off all my credit card debt – which is good news because I thought I’d be paying on those bills forever.

I’m not really sure how I got so deep in credit card debt, but I’m sure it has something to do with me having to purchase something right now. No, not later. It might not be there later. And look at that price. If we don’t buy it right now, we’ll miss the savings. This is something I really need. Not like all those other things. This is the one. And I promise I won’t buy another thing for 12 months. I guarantee!

Yep, that’s how I got in this mess. I “needed” all those things; couldn’t live without them; had to have “it” right then and there, no matter what “it” was, even though I didn’t exactly have the money to pay for “it.”

“Sir, have you ever seen something so high tech? Of course you haven’t because this is hot off the drawing board, right off the assembly line, custom made to your specifications, guaranteed to work right out of the box, plug and play, with a 12-month warranty, parts and labor, and if you charge it to your ‘Gotta Have Expensive Tech Credit Card’ this morning, you’ll receive our 2-percent-off sales price, first-time buyers discount and only have to pay $11.95 per month until it’s all paid off. Sir, this is not just a wish or a desire – you NEED this. And you’ll be unhappy to your dying day if you let this deal slip through your fingers.”

I probably should have let a few of those deals slip right through my fingers. On second thought, I should have let ALL of them slip through.

I got my first credit card when I was in college. It was a Montgomery Ward card. I remember going to one of their stores and walking tall through the aisles, knowing I could flash a little plastic and get anything I wanted.

At its height, Montgomery Ward was one of the largest retailers in America, and boy was I proud to have one of their cards. Unfortunately, they went out of business in 2001. But for me, Montgomery Ward will live on and on and on. I’m still paying on a top-of-the-line car stereo I bought for a car I sold almost 30 years ago.

At one time I had so many credit cards that they barely fit in my wallet, and my wallet barely fit in my pocket. I had cards from J.C. Penney, Sears, Dillard’s, Exxon, Texaco and a few others I can’t even remember, but they must have loved my business because they were always giving me more credit than I deserved.

I never did get one of those American Express cards because I didn’t like the thought of having to pay off the card, in full, at the end of the month (how barbarian). Besides, I never had a job which put me in the American Express demographic.

Currently, I have two credit cards in my wallet and receive bills for five. I’m not exactly sure how that happened (maybe the magic of David Blaine?), but it did. Of the two cards, it’s probably okay if I use one of them, but if I ever try to use the other one, I’ll be so over my credit limit that my great grandkids will be paying off my debts.

Wait a minute. Now THAT sounds like a plan! Use the plastic now, buy the things I “need,” and maybe a few things I just want, and let my children’s children pay it all off for me. It’s the least they can do for me, seeing that I pert near gave them life.

The Moral of the Story is: “A wise man gives no attention to credit cards, but a fool does, with interest.”

Saturday, February 27, 2010

When to listen to advice, and when not to

Pumping gas
I've never heard such balderdash in my life, and I've heard plenty, let me tell you!

The Internet is awash with helpful advice on a wide variety of subjects. You can get advice on which video games are actually good for you; how to prevent an affair; how to avoid diet pitfalls, Farmville tips and tricks; and rules for drafting a quarterback. But the advice I was looking for recently had to do with knowing who to tip and how much to tip them.

And what I found was shocking!

Everybody knows you tip the wait staff -- 15 percent if great service, 10 percent if they spit in your food -- and according to a Yahoo! Finance series on being financially fit, you also need to tip doormen and skycaps ($1 per bag), bartenders (15-20%), the pizza delivery guy (10%), and the person who shampoos your hair at the stylist ($2).

But do you know how much they suggest tipping the gas attendant who provides you with full service at the pump?

Absolutely Nothing!

An attendant comes out to your car (rain or shine), fills up your tank (in sickness or in health), washes the windshield (forsaking all others), checks your oil and tire pressure (till death do you part), and you don't tip him or her one red cent? Like I said -- balderdash. Absolutely balderdash!

I'm guessing the person who wrote the article (had to be female) just went through a nasty breakup with her long-time live-in lover, who admitted he was seeing a beautiful gas attendant (you know, the one who works at the corner gas station that got all that news lately about having beautiful half-naked women filling up the tanks of mostly men customers who waited hours in line just to get serviced), and that they had plans to jet off to Rio and open up a coffee shop together, leaving poor Tiza (just guessing that's her name) all in a tizzy.

You want to tip that girly-man for shampooing your hair? You go right ahead. You want to tip that doorman for carrying your bag up a flight a stairs to your apartment because you don't want to spill your Starbucks? Fine with me. But to suggest that you don't have to tip a gas station attendant who just got his hands dirty while changing the oil in your car -- well, that's just un-American!

I don't care what Yahoo!Finance says -- gas station attendants are an endangered species, and if I can save just one with my $2-5 tip, then by golly, I'm going to give them a tip.

All in favor, say Amen!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fishing Without Oprah

I’m hoping that at sometime during Oprah’s last season, she’ll have a show about fishing – but I’m not holding my breath.

Oprah's been doing her TV show for 25 years and has had plenty of shows about sex, but none about fishing, and I don't suspect her last season will push that kind of boundary. Why? Because "sex shows" are good for ratings, and because "fishing shows" require squishy worms and insect repellent.

Fishing is good for the soul. Fishing is good for stress reduction. Fishing is good for almost anything that ails you. But c'mon! Can you really see Oprah pulling a worm from a bucket, skewering it onto a hook, and then casting it into a lake without washing her hands before, during and after? Of course you can't. What's worse, if she ever DID dedicate a show to fishing, she'd probably make a joke out of it by making weird faces when she had to "pull one in," which in turn would make her audience squeal with laughter, which is the last thing a fisherman wants to hear when he's been out on the lake all day and hasn't caught squat!

Fishing and sex have a lot of things in common. They both use "lures." They both come with strings attached. They both require patience in order to get something good from it. They both involve the "thrill of the chase" and the "agony of defeat." They both deal with throwing back the little ones in hopes of landing "a keeper."

So why isn't fishing a good enough subject for the Oprah show? I don't know. I don't sit around worrying about it all that much. I'm too busy out on the river, casting for trout. Which is exactly where YOU should be right now -- so getalong with ya...and good luck!

Are you ready to Live Without Oprah?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life is a lot like Vegas Solitaire

Ace of Spades Card Deck Trick Magic Macro 10-19-09 2
For some reason, even though I can't find the time to do the things around the house like I should (like take out the garbage, mow the lawn or feed the goats), I can always find time to play one more hand of Solitaire on the computer.

And I don't enjoy just the plain-Jane version of the game --  I prefer playing the Vegas version, wracking up imaginary money, depositing it in my imaginary off-shore checking account, and buying imaginary Lear jets that fly me to exotic places because that’s what we big spenders do. Of course, that’s when I’m winning. When I’m losing, it’s a whole different ballgame.

When I’m losing, I always approach Bruno the floor manager to see if he can spot me another Grant (which in gambling lingo means a $50 bill). Bruno’s a good friend of mine. We’ve known each other since 6:30 p.m. yesterday evening when I walked into this joint. He’s more than happy to loan me the money – just as long as I know there are strings attached.

“You know me, Bruno,” I say. “I’m always good for it.”

“Yes, Mr. Farr, you’re one of our better customers,” he says, “but losing is for losers, and we don’t like losers. So don’t lose, or you’ll find yourself lost, do ya’ know what I mean?”

He has a way with words, doesn't he?

I pay Roxanne, the Vegas Solitaire dealer, $50 for a new deck of cards and spread them out. I go through the motions of flipping cards here and flipping cards there, but five minutes later I’ve lost again. I’m now $975 in the hole, and Bruno is breathing down my neck.

“Just one more chance, Bruno,” I beg. “You saw how close I was to winning. I’ll do it next time, you watch.”

“Against my better judgment I’m going to give you another Grant,” Bruno tells me. “But if you lose this time, I’ll have to call Mr. Happy to come over and make an adjustment on a leg or two. Do you get me?”

Bruno snaps his fingers, a big stocky hulk of a guy walks up, and I know without a shadow of doubt that this is Mr. Happy. And he doesn’t look a bit happy.

“Of course I understand Bruno,” I say. “No need to worry. This time I know I’ll win.”

Roxanne the dealer shakes her head at me, trying to get me to stop and pay up before I get even more in debt, but I don’t listen. I pay the $50 and play another hand -- and I lose again.

“Well Mr. Farr, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Happy,” Bruno says. “He’s going to take you out back and make sure your mowing days are over, so to speak.”

“What did you say?” I ask.

“I thought you said you were going to mow the yard today,” my wife repeats. “Well, are you or aren’t you?”

It takes every ounce of willpower I have to get up and walk away from the computer – especially since I was so close to winning.

WARNING: Playing computers games like Solitaire, FreeCell and Hearts may seem like wonderful diversions for when there is nothing better to do, but it’s a trap – a trap that will eventually suck the life out of every human being on this planet.

And with that, dear readers, I have nothing more to say.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

French fries are unhealthy? So What!

Oven roasted french fries
A couple of guys who wrote some books on what to eat and what not to eat (that's right, I said guys), these two guys recently did some research on the three worst French fries you can get at chain restaurants, basing their list on things like fat content, calories and sodium.

SIDEBAR: Can the words "worst" and "French fries" actually be used in the same sentence? Isn't there some English grammar rule that says that's a no-no? (By the way, fat content, calories and sodium are the three things that make French fries great!)

According to these two guys (at least they SAY they're guys), Arby's serves the worst Curly Fries money can buy. They'll cost you 640 calories, have 34 grams of fat, and 1,460 mg of sodium -- and if there was an Arby's nearby, I think I'd go rustle me up an order.

Next are the wedge fries -- my personal favorite.

They say (they being those two quasi-guy writers), they say the worst wedge fries in America are the Bacon Cheddar Wedges from Jack in the Box. Well, I say I doubt very seriously these guys have ever tasted the Bacon Cheddar Wedges from Jack in the Box. I bet they have some kind of machine they plug right into the spuds and it does all the counting for them -- so as not to taint their healthy hearts with something so sinfully "bad."

And now for the Worst Fries in America:

These two girly-men (thanks Mr. Schwarzenegger) say the Worst Fries in America are the Texas Cheese Fries w/Jalapeno Ranch from Chili's. Did you see that? They used "worst" and TEXAS in the same sentence, and I KNOW that's a no-no.

Gentlemen -- if that's what you be -- I appreciate the fact that you've done some mighty fine French Fried research on America's favorite side order, but we really could care less about all those non-healthy numbers. We don't want salad, we could care less about fiber, we don't give a flip about fat, and if an order of Texas Cheese Fries w/Jalapeno Ranch has enough sodium in it to kill a horse -- then don't feed it to a horse.

Luckily, we have a Chili's in town. Can you guess what I'm going to order next time I'm there? Of course you can!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Knots 101: Learning to tie one on the right way!

tying the knot
In my humble opinion, I think our God-Bless American children are not getting the education they need, that we pay for, and that was mandated by the government and we just went along with it because it got those little buggers out of our hair for most of the day so we could go to work and pay taxes that help support education.

And what are they learning? Things like Calculus, Information Technology, Analytical Chemistry, The History of Linguistics and a lot of other high-falutin' courses that may impress you and the horse you rode in on, but it doesn't mean squat when they need to secure a tarp over a truckload of stuff they're bringing home from college.

Our kids need to know how to tie knots!

Okay, your car slid off an icy road. You're stuck in a ditch. A truck comes along but the driver doesn't have a chain to pull you out. Instead, he has rope. You tie one of those "pull my car out of the ditch" knots, and away you go!

Oh, you don't know how to tie one of those knots? You didn't learn that in school? But you do know how to dissect a pig? Well, I'm sure that will get your car out of the ditch!

Our God-Bless American kids need to learn how to tie a bowline. They need to be proficient at tying a sheet bend. And they should be able to tie a clove hitch in their sleep.

And I say, no student should ever be allowed to graduate from high school without a thorough knowledge of Knot Theory: "A branch of topology. It deals with the mathematical analysis of knots, their structure and properties, and with the relationships between different knots. In topology, a knot is a figure consisting of a single loop, abstracted from any physical rope or line, with any number of crossing or "knotted" elements. As such, it has no proper ends, and cannot be undone or untied. Various mathematical techniques are used to classify and distinguish knots. For instance, the Alexander polynomial can be used to distinguish the trefoil knot from the figure-of-eight knot and ..." Wikipedia

Sounds pretty scholarly to me.

Anyways, I needed to tie a knot the other day and I only knew the Granny knot. And since I would never blame myself for being "knot stupid", I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of our education system.

Are you Government Education folk listening?

Knot Theory! Let's teach our kids how to properly tie one on!

Monday, February 22, 2010

We Men Are Complicated

I recently read that women believe a man’s wants and desires can be boiled down to three things – food, a clean house and ...well, you know – sex.

I have no idea why anyone would think all men can be categorized so simply. But being a man, and being a better judge of what men REALLY want, I humbly submit the following rebuttal:

Yes! We want food, but not just any old food you can throw at us. We want Pot Roast, slow cooked all day and smothered in gravy. We want freshly picked green beans, a baked potato with all the trimmings, a cold glass of our favorite beverage, and for dessert, a heaping bowl of homemade apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top.

I’m in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

With regards to the house – basically, we men could care less if it’s clean or not. As long as we can get through the door, find the remote, relax in our recliner and watch TV while eating our Pot Roast, we’re more or less happy campers.

And finally, we come to the most misunderstood “want” that a man can want. A want so infused in the male psyche that to deny him of it would be tantamount to ripping out his soul, throwing it to the floor and stomping the ever-loving life out of it. And no, I'm not taking about sex.

I’m talking about the male need to own a 52-inch Plasma HD TV with Dolby High Definition Surround Sound, plugged into a 575-channel cable service that can beam into our home 574 sports channels from around the world, with one channel left over for whatever the wife thinks she needs.

After that, THEN sex.

So, as you can see, men are much more complicated than they appear to be. And next time you read differently, read it with an ounce of skepticism. Why? Because I said so.

I am man, hear me snore.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What the world needs now is a bit more Hoopla!

In the interest of being politically political for politics’ sake, I denounce my association with the Democratic Party, I shun any connection to the Republican Party, and I will not sit and be pandered to by the TEA Party, the Green Party, the Red & Blue Party, or the Tupperware Party.

Instead, I shall endeavor to style my own political party, herewith referred to as the Hoopla Under Farr Party (HUF), and turn it into a new grass-roots movement fashioned upon beliefs, values and principles that I hold near and dear to my heart.

Those beliefs, values and principles include the following:

1. If snow is falling anywhere within a county, parish or territory, officials in said county, parish or territory are legally bound to declare a Snow Day.

America did not ascend to its supremacy among countries by being dogmatic and narrow-minded. It got there through thinking outside of the box, through imaginativeness, through finding unique solutions to problems that didn’t even require answering, and more importantly, through spontaneity.

If America is to remain the greatest country on the planet, it behooves us to teach our children, through example, that being spontaneous is okay; that the world will not end if we do something out of the ordinary; and to embrace the unexpected is to embrace the future survival of our species.

Declaring a Snow Day is spontaneous. Staying at work or school when snow is falling is narrow-mindedness. Therefore, the HUF party advocates the immediate impeachment of all elected officials who do not declare a Snow Day upon the first drop of the fluffy white stuff.

2. Citizens wishing to run for public office must show proof of ownership of an old truck and goats.

A person who owns and drives an old truck is someone who is resilient, trustworthy, thrifty, a problem solver, able to make do with little, and stubborn, but in a good way. Throw a couple of goats in the back, and that person, in our eyes, can do no wrong.

Politicians who drive around in fancy cars and have Pugs named Sebastian are hard to relate to. They seem not to have our best interests at heart. They exude selfishness, wantonness, and the inability to shop at Wal-Mart like the rest of us.

Therefore, the HUF party advocates the firing of all non-truck driving, non-goat owning elected officials. Re-elections should be scheduled immediately, but not to interfere with any called Snow Days.

3. Teacher pay must equal the amount of compensation Washington politicians receive, plus another half more for those teachers who once instructed said politicians.

It is a tragedy to admit that our elected officials in Washington make three or four times as much as the teacher who instructed said elected officials to read or write or to do really hard math problems on the blackboard with squeaky chalk.

If it weren’t for said teachers, those same said elected officials would not enjoy the comfy surroundings, the opulent lifestyle, the jetting back and forth to Europe and Asia to conduct “fact finding” missions, all the while said teacher sits in the classroom, instructing a future generation of said politicians who will go on and continue the cycle of discrepancy.

Therefore, the HUF party advocates that all said elected officials should compensate said teachers for said lack of salary, post haste, because said teachers would love to take a cruise this summer to Alaska, and the deposit is due next week. Enough said.

4. Congress should declare the banjo as the National Instrument of America.

Out of all the musical instruments in the world, the banjo is the one and only, truly American instrument. The harmonica comes a close second, but it’s still second.

Could we have ever made it from Alabama to Louisiana, to see our dear Suzanna, without a banjo on our knee? Never! Would dueling with pistols still be in vogue if it weren’t for banjos? Absolutely! Would “deliverance” be even possible without the haunting sounds of a twanging banjo? Heaven forbid.

Therefore, the HUF party supports the recognition of the banjo as the one and only National Instrument of America. To not do so would be totally unpatriotic.

My fellow Americans, in these dark days of government wastefulness, political meandering, partisan vindictiveness, and the use of really big words by the mighty to subjugate the poor and repressed, we need a party like the HUF Party to remind us what we stand for, who we are and what we’re meant to be.

So, come get HUFfy with us. It’s a truly American thing to do!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

You've Got To Have a Plan

Saturday is a day of getting things done, of making yourself useful, and of doing what needed to be done on Monday but you were too busy then, so you put it off until Saturday, hoping it wouldn’t rain, but the forecast doesn’t look so good, and now you’re thinking next Saturday might be better.
To-do list book.
Yes indeed, there’s no other word in the English language that means “work” more than Saturday (except for maybe the word “work”), but in order to be successful at getting something done, it's very important to develop a routine and stick to it. My Saturday routine consists of waking up early, fixing myself a hug cup of coffee, reading a couple of home improvement magazines to get lawn and garden ideas, then immediately going back to bed and not getting up until lunch time.

When I finally do get up, the first thing I do is create a plan for accomplishing whatever it is I might think about doing for the day. You can’t just go about doing things all willy-nilly, hoping to discover what it is you want to do. No sir! You have to give some actual thought to what you might want to do, then write it down on paper in outline form, making it easy to be followed to the letter.

(Some people write down their plans in an official-looking notebook. I prefer to write mine on the back of old Wal-Mart receipts – because they’re easier to lose).

WARNING: Never develop a plan without having a “Plan B.” If your initial plan does not work like you envisioned, it’s much better to change direction than it is to give up and settle for getting nothing accomplished. Unless, of course, giving up and settling for getting nothing accomplished IS your “Plan B,” then that’s okay.

Come to think of it, I think plans are overrated. Nothing can ruin a good “getting something done” day faster than having to follow a plan. That’s why I believe that once you have your plan all written down, you should throw it away and go outside and wait for inspiration. If nothing happens within five minutes, go back inside, open up the fridge and wait for inspiration there.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Let's Go Camping!

New Tent
Camping is a time-honored American tradition where families shuck the pressures of modern living, gather together by an open fire to roast hotdogs and S'mores, snuggle up together in weather-worn tents, all in an effort to bring the family together to produce memories that will last a lifetime.

Oprah, unfortunately, has deemed camping as a cheap alternative to going on a REAL vacation -- say to Bermuda or Saks Fifth Avenue. But with the Oprah show going off the air next year, I'm hoping Oprah fans will break free from the shackles of "we need to take a cruise" vacationing, and pull out the old tent and head to a state park to go camping.

You haven't lived until you've pitched a tent, caught a fish or two on a cane pole, gathered sticks for firewood, built a fire to stay warm, and peed in the woods. You haven't lived until you've spent the evening playing dominoes by lantern light, swatting at mosquitoes because someone forgot to pack the insect repellent. You haven't lived until you've been awakened in the middle of the night by a woman screaming bloody murder, only to find out it's really two raccoons trying to get intimate in the woods.

And you haven't lived until the morning sun peeks through your tent window, and you can smell the aroma of coffee brewing and bacon frying in a cast iron skillet.

No, camping is not an alternative vacation. It's a way of life. And you and I both know if we had more money than God, we'd STILL go camping -- and I don't mean in some sissy travel trailer.

Are you ready to Live Without Oprah?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter 2010 - Here One Day, Gone The Next

The thing I like most about winter is that I look a whole lot skinner when I put on a heavy jacket. No matter how hard you try, you can't hide those love handles during the summer. Unfortunately, in Texas, winter doesn't last for long. So when it comes, you have to take advantage of it the best you can.

Here are some photos I took during the "Texas Blizzard of 2010," which began Thursday morning and was all melted away by Sunday. I hope you enjoy them:

Winter 2010 No. 3

Winter 2010 No. 4

Winter 2010 No. 5

Winter 2010 No. 1

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A man can’t be truly happy until he has a truck to work on

Every man worth his weight in motor oil needs to own a broken-down truck that sits in the driveway waiting to be put back together and driven until it falls apart again five miles down the road.

It doesn’t matter if the man actually knows how to repair the truck, it just matters that he has one. A truck like that builds character; it reinforces patience; it makes you understand that there are a million things in this universe that you can do, and a million things you can’t – and there’s no use crying about it!

I, apparently, am worth my weight in motor oil because I own one of those kinds of trucks. And even though I bought it specifically to learn how to fix it up, thus transforming myself into a handyman when it comes to working on engines and tailpipes, it’s still just oily alchemy to me, and I will understand its workings at about the same time I understand women.

Yesterday, I tried to fix a fuel leak on my 1982 Ford Flareside F-100 Pickup. I really needed to fix an alternator problem, but the fuel leak seemed an easier task. Someday I'll look into ripping out my transmission, tearing it apart and wondering what the world I was thinking of because I know nothing about transmissions, but for now, as long as it gets me where I'm going, I don't mind the stares I get when I do a little grinding between gears.

So, I tackled the fuel leak. Okay, tackle may be too strong a word, but I didn’t know that then, like I do now.

This is what happened: I had a friend look at an oil-drip problem (Yep, had an oil leak, too). Anyways, my friend showed me where it was leaking, tightened a bolt, and everything seemed to dry up – except his tightening caused a fuel leak. I deduced this because I kept smelling gasoline whenever I turned off the engine.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I smelled the gasoline but thought it was just part and parcel to owning an old truck. You know, you make popcorn, the house smells like popcorn. Own an old truck, it smells like gasoline and stinky feet. So, the gasoline smell really didn’t bother me much until I filled my tank Thursday morning and it was empty by Thursday evening; and it had been sitting still in a parking lot all day.

My truck gets about 8 mpg, whether it's standing still or on the highway, and the thought of losing my expensive fuel because of a leak was driving me nuts.

So, I asked a different friend, Ron is his name, to look at it. He's a mechanically-minded kind of guy, and he’s great at making me feel like an idiot when it comes to engines – which I am, so it doesn’t bother me much. Ron showed me where the leak was and said, "It's an easy fix. Just tighten that bolt and you'll be good as new!"

When I got the truck home, I pulled out my tools, pulled out my oil rags, opened the hood, disconnected the big round thing from the top of the even bigger square thing, and got to work.

It only took me 10 minutes to bust a brass-colored thingamajig that screws into the really weird device that sits on top of the square thing. I knew it was broken because a part of it was in my hands, and the other part was sticking out of where it shouldn’t have been sticking out of.

Try as I might, I couldn’t fix my new problem (What am I saying? I couldn’t fix the old one, either!), so I did the only thing I could do. I pulled out my cell phone and called for help.

When Ron came over, he took one look at the problem and said, “You weren’t supposed to over-tighten that bolt. Time to go to the auto parts store. Grab your checkbook.” And off we went.

Did I tell you Ron has a way of making me feel like an idiot when it comes to working on trucks? I did? Okay then, never mind.

Two hours later, everything was back to normal. The leak is now gone, I can drive the truck instead of cursing at it, and I’ve learned a very powerful lesson: Sometimes, the most important tool in your toolbox is a Fully-Charged Cell Phone.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

There's No Man Like a Snowman!

Rebecca and Her Snowman
My daughter built her first snowman yesterday. It was a dapper young gent, complete with scarf and pinecone eyes, a cute little baby-cut carrot nose, and rock-hard abs (she insisted).

I built a snowgal with big boobs, but she turned out to be a little too frigid for me.

It's not every day you get to build a snowman. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve built one. And I’m not talking about one of those pipsqueak snowmen you build on the hood of your car. I’m talking about a World Federation Wrestler-size Snowman—a snowman so big it would laugh in the face of a sunny day, if it could laugh.

Me and My Snowgal
When I was younger, my brother and I made a snowman that was so big, a newspaper reporter stopped at our house to take a picture of it. I still have that picture. That snowman stayed in our front yard for weeks. It was too stubborn to melt. I would hate to meet a snowman like that today in some dark alley. I bet it would eat icicles for breakfast and little boys for lunch.

Yes, when God gives you enough snow to build a snowman (or gal), it's just not right to go into work and NOT take advantage of the opportunity. So, early Friday morning, I declared a Snow Day by Executive Decision, and stayed home. With all the reports out there about global warming and the changing of our environment, it was the only decent thing to do.

Speaking of, I read a news report the other day about a certain species of bird that no longer inhabits the southern regions of our country because of “environmental changes” — which in plain English means it's just too darn hot for them. And if it’s too darn hot for those birds, you KNOW one of these days it's going to be too darn hot for snowmen.

And if it’s too hot for snowmen, then it’s too hot for snow angels, snow forts, snowball fights, snow ice cream and yellow snow (which I don’t think anybody will miss). Can you imagine a world without snow angels and snow ice cream? My very first “brain freeze” was due to a bowl of snow ice cream made by my grandmother. The ice cream was delicious. The pain was excruciating.

There are times during the winter months when we get what looks like snow, but it’s really just ice. You can’t make a snowball out of ice. With ice you get slush balls. Throwing a slush ball is like throwing a rock, and it really hurts to get hit by one. You might as well throw a rock and bypass getting cold hands. Snowballs, on the other hand, never really hurt when you get hit by one because they explode into a million snowflakes that drift away with the wind. Slush balls can leave scars.

Building a snowman can teach a person a lot about life. For instance, it’s easier to build a snowman’s body by rolling it downhill, unless you want him to stand at the top of the hill so everybody can see him. Lesson No. 1: If you don’t plan ahead, things can go downhill pretty quick.

Building a Monster Snowman requires heavy lifting. Heavy lifting requires teamwork. Teamwork requires a Team. If you don't have a Team, you might throw out your back. Lesson No. 2: Bend your knees when lifting heavy objects.

A snowman requires stick arms, a carrot nose, charcoal facial features, and a hat. A scarf and pipe would look good, but they’re optional. Lesson No. 3: There are rules for everything, such as “ask before borrowing your dad’s scarf and pipe.”

Snowmen melt. Lesson No. 4: Life is short.

Unfortunately, our children’s children may never learn the lessons my daughter and I have learned by building snowmen (and gals). They may never experience the thrill of creation at the cost of a few frostbitten toes and fingers. To them, snowmen will be creatures of a bygone era, only seen in photographs and artwork.

What a shame.

Friday, February 12, 2010

You should sit around and do absolutely nothing

People like Oprah are always busy, always doing something, always in the middle of whatever's going on because that's what they do -- and to NOT do it would mean the end of civilization as they know it. To them, doing absolutely nothing is a fate worse than death.

Well, I've done absolutely nothing many times, and I kind of like it.

It's not that hard to do absolutely nothing. You just get out of bed, fix yourself a huge cup of coffee (which sounds like you're doing something, but isn't), then find a comfy place to relax (a couch or wing-back chair would do fine) and concentrate! Yes, to do absolutely nothing requires concentration because what you'll WANT to do is think about what you SHOULD be doing -- and we can't have any of that!

You've got to forget about mowing the yard, forget about paying the bills, forget about calling your parents so they'll know you're still alive, and forget about the sorry shape of our economy.

You've got to forget about the company downsizing you right out of your job, forget about that reunion you went to and how good Marylou looks after all these years, and forget about wishing you'd dated HER in high school instead of Imagene (believe me, just forget it right now!)

You've got to forget about digital TV, forget about iPhones, forget Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and about all those other things that drive you absolutely bonkers, but you put up with them because "that's progress."

All you need to do is sit there, forget, and be happy in your nothing-ness. A ham and turkey sandwich with Pepper Jack cheese on wheat, lightly toasted, with the works, couldn't hurt, either.

I bet you didn't know that doing absolutely nothing was hard work. Well, it is. It's not for wimps. But with a little practice and a little self-determination, I know you can do it! And you'll enjoy it.

Now, jump to it! Get in that chair. Raise those feet! Let those eyelids droop! And concentrate!

Are you ready to Live Without Oprah?

Monday, February 8, 2010

And Now, The Almost Live Super Bowl Twitter Fest Recap!

American football
Okay, so I didn't watch the Super Bowl. But, that doesn't mean I didn't have a good time on Super Bowl Sunday! I fixed some hamburgers, washed the dishes, fed the goats, drank a Rootbeer, and then broadcasted a totally made-up version of the Super Bowl on Twitter, calling it my "Almost Live Super Bowl Tweet Fest." My wife thought I was crazy, but she didn't complain too much, seeing that I DID fix dinner and wash dishes.

Anyways, here's what went on during the Tweet Fest. It's a little long, but I've got the space!

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, I will now have a Super Bowl of French Vanilla Ice Cream with Choc. Syrup, and eat it with my Super Spoon!

I might do a Live Super Bowl Tweeting event, even though I'm not watching it. I'll just make it up. So, when's the game?

Alright! Let's get this game started! I'm all pumped up! Bring on the GOOD commercials!

What a great game so far. Can't believe the reception! Can't see a thing, but that ain't gonna stop me!

Saints have the ball. And they should, being America's team and all, and...Holy Goat Poop! C'mon guys!

Now THAT's what I'm talking about. I have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's it! What a Super Bowl!

More beer please! Make it two. These Saints are making me thirsty! BTW..who are they playing?

Colts. Okay, these big fat guys are the Colts. Thanks for clearing that up!

Ho-hum, ho-hum, we interrupt these commercials for The Super Bowl! Hey, where's my beer?

Holy Cow! Did you see that, 'cause I certainly didn't. What a pass. Or was it a run? Boy, they're playing sneaky tonight, aren't they!

Don't miss a single minute of my Practically Live Super Bowl Tweet Fest! Going on NOW -- sortof!

I'm sorry. But are there any Saints in the house? Please, we need some Saints! Anybody?

Holy Cow! Did you see that half-naked blonde on the Jumbo Tron? Yeah, me neither. What a Super Bowl. Let's keep things moving!

Hey, can they do that? Sheesh! Go figure. I think this calls for a hamburger.

Okay, Saints, it's time to live up to whatever you were meant to live up to. So, get that ball moving and...oh, a commerical? BRB

Alright, I'm back. Had to take a little wee-wee and...Holy Saints! What did I miss this time? I can't see a thing!

Colts vs. The Saints. Mano y Mano. Hooves vs. Bibles. It's like nothing you've ever seen before. Me neither!

Ouch, I bet that hurt! What a hit!

Commercial time, and that means hamburgers. Got to beef up for this Super Bowl thing! I have no idea what I'll see next!

Alright. Back from the grill, and now....HEY, who changed the station? You better put it right...that's better. I am NOT missing Super Bowl!

Last call for Saints. Are there any Saints in the house? C'mon, it's time to Bible up and kick some Colt .... Hey, what was that?

Okay, now that's more like it. I don't know what it's more like, but that's it! Keep the ball moving!

Oh, crap! Hamburgers are burning! Hey, don't touch that dial. Super Bowl Live Tweet Fest -- almost!

Do you get the feeling Twitter is going to be Over-Twitterfied any minute now? Like on 3rd and one at the goalline and...

Holy Mother of Saint Someone or Other -- I've never seen a move like that. I didn't see it this time either, but what the...

I could have spotted the ball better than that, and I'm not even watching. Super Bowl refs...they think they own the place!

Holy Concussion Batman! This is really a hard-hitting Super Bowl!

I'd do some Color Commentary, but I'm Color Blind. Sorry!

Hey, is that even LEGAL? Even I could see that, and I wasn't even watching. C'mon refs, pull your heads out!

Hey, I think I know that cheerleader! What dear? No, I didn't say a thing. I've never seen her before in my life!

Man, I'm glad it's halftime. I don't think I could take anymore of that kind of action!

Okay, got more snacks, got more drinks, got more room on the couch, bring on 3rd Quarter -- Bring on The Saints! Please!

Twitter up. Twitter down. Let's go Super Bowl. Isn't haltime over yet?

Hey, what's going on. I can't see. Can somebody give me a boost?

'Bout time we got this game going again. I don't know WHO that was, but it wasn't WHO it was supposed to be. C'mon Super Bowl.

Okay, you probably missed it, but there was a nekid man down in the other end zone. Cops got him. He was running, but petered out.

Okay, now we're talking. I mean, I am. I don't know what you're doing. C'mon Saints. It's yours to win, lose, place or...

Man, they didn't have cheerleaders that looked like THAT at school. No dear, I wasn't looking, sortof...C'mon Super Bowl Cheerleaders!

Even the little gains can add up to big gains, and big gains can add up to even bigger gains, and then....Wait a minute! C'mon coach!

Third quarter. Who knows what's going to happen next. Certainly not me 'cause I'm not watching! Go Saints! and who are they playing?

You know, you've got to stop stuff like that? Did you ever play in high school?

That chain guy. The one holding the number thing. Doesn't he look familiar? J.J. Abrams, maybe? I don't know. I'll figure it out!

What a kick. What a run. What a mixture of infield razzledazzle. I've never seen the likes -- and probably won't! C'mon boys, keep moving!

What a Super Bowl! It's the Saints. It's the Colts. It is the Saints and Colts, right? It's getting down and dirty! Just the way I like it!

This portion of the Almost Live Super Bowl Tweet Fest is brought to you with limited commercial interruptions!

C'mon, God! Let the Saints kick some butt!

In the end, it's just a game. But right now, at this moment -- it's -- just a game! 4th quarter up! Let's Kick Some Butt!

Shoot -- go to take a leak, come back, and everything's changed. How did THAT happen!

You'd think they'd practice that more so things like that wouldn't happen. I have no idea what I'm talking about, but you know what I mean.

Okay, the guy on the chain can't be J.J. Abrams. Chris Piner, maybe? I don't know. It'll come to me!

Time's getting short, but if they can hold on, and not let the other big fat guys have their way, somebody's going to win!

Let me just say, that was totally amazing, what just happened, a few minutes ago. Oh, c'mon, you know what I'm talking about!

No. It can't be. I just saw my uncle on the Jumbo Tron. What's he doing in Miami. And who's he doing it with, because that was NOT...

That was clipping! CLIPPING bigger than day! Bigger than night! So big I didn't really see it, it was so big! C'mon refs!

Only minutes left. Minutes. Which, if you divide into seconds is a bit longer, but not much!

Oh, sorry, that was NOT clipping! I'm not sure what it was but it wasn't clipping! Maybe I need new glasses. Or TV.

Can it be? YES! I don't know. Maybe! We shall see. Until then...Play Ball!

Okay, for those who are not watching, let me explain what is happening. It's crazy out there. It's a madhouse. It's pandemonium (sp?)

Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that? I SAID, Did you see that?.....Wish I had. :-(

Two minute warning coming up and I ain't going to miss a thing! Well, sortof!

And God said, "Don't bother me now -- I'm communing with the Saints!"

Oh, my, Mother of Holy Pigskin, that was some pileup!

And the clock is ticking. And time is running out. And the seconds are flying by. And my wife wants on the computer, NOW!

That was some fancy footwork there. Even though the future is sealed, those skinny guys are NOT giving up. The fat ones look pooped!

Oh, man, did you see that hit. I'm surprised...What? The game's over? Great Game! Congrats! Who won?

Well, I hope you enjoyed my Almost Live Super Bowl Tweet Fest brought to you with limited commercial interruptions. Saints be praised!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

´´´´ (rain!) ´´´´
This is to inform you that I've put in a work order concerning the rain problem we seem to be having, and I suggest that if the matter is not looked into in a timely manner, we form an ad hoc committee to address the issue with the All-Powers That Be as soon as possible.

Personally, my complaints concern: (1) access to my humble abode, which is currently surrounded by water, and (2) the use of "the facilities," which really means the NON use of "the facilities."

In reference to "access" -- I would be better able to access my humble abode if given some kind of floating apparatus that is large enough to comfortably transport a family of five. I'm not suggesting something as grandiose as an Ark, but a U.S. Marine Corps Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), might just fit the bill.

In reference to "the facilities" -- Because my humble abode sits on an acre out in the country, I do not have access to the public sewage utilities. Instead, I must use the tried-and-true septic tank system, which truly works well in dry weather, but I just tried it a few minutes ago (I needed to go after drinking two cups of coffee) and all functionality is at a standstill. Therefore, I have just raised our Alert Level to "Def-Con One."

Def-Con One: All personnel must adhere to the "Pee-Little Principle" until further notice. Number Two is off limits except for emergency situations. Chemical Warfare Gear is advised until Flushing is reinstated.

Personnel not adhereing to Def-Con One face persecution under the Uniform Code of My Justice, with possibility of monetary fine, jail time and reduction in rank.

"To be an asset to your community and country, avoid Dishonorable Discharges."