A Decision I Kneeded to Correct

A few posts back, I mentioned that I needed to make a decision between walking with a cane and training for a 5K race. I decided on the 5K race. I soon came to regret that decision this past Saturday.

I injured my right knee while walking the dog on Saturday. Then I further injured it while walking through the store to purchase a knee brace. Why would I need a knee brace? So I could go on a planned run Saturday afternoon which went well with minimal pain. The brace worked! And then my knee inflated like Trump’s ego at one of his rallies.

This is not my knee, but this pic is highly representative of what mine looked like.

Knee swollen

The kneecap is under there somewhere. So, I rested and iced and expected it to get better quickly. Nope. There was no way I could exercise and do my deep knee bends.

knee bends

So I bit the bullet and went to see an orthopedist specializing in sports injuries which is a stretch. That’s like Trump going to see a psychiatrist specializing in geniuses.

We jointly decided on a treatment protocol and this is what she pulled from my knee.

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Coronavirus Stock-up

Now that the coronavirus has hit our local area, the stock-up has begun. We drink our tap water, so we don’t need to stock-up on that. I could survive off my winter blubber for months, so at least I don’t need to stock-up on food. My wife did decide to stock-up on toilet paper.

Toilet Paper

She was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t more excited about that. Am I supposed to be using that stuff? I thought that was more of an extravagence that the ladies use. Oh well, I guess I can learn.

Party Time!

I had sort of forgotten about a book of short stories being published with one of my stories in it until I got an email with an invitation to a Book Release Party! I imagined getting fitted for my tuxedo for the event. Leave it a bit loose in the crotch for dancing.

Tuxedo

Visions of my red carpet arrival danced in my head.

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RIP Max von Sydow

Max von Sydow died yesterday. RIP to a great actor. I know I should have immediately thought of one of his roles in an Ingmar Bergman film or at least “The Exorcist.” Instead, my mind immediately flashed on his role as Brewmeister Smith in “Strange Brew.” I found that role odd for such a great actor, but I think me remembering it first says more about me than him acting in such a bad movie.

Or is it a bad movie?

Yeah, it is. Yet another guilty pleasure of mine.

Too Much Iron(y) in the Water

Having been raised Catholic, I wanted to visit Lourdes to solve my acne problems of adolescence. I was convinced that just one face-washing in the healing water of Lourdes would zap my zits. But now this news article …

Lourdes

Shouldn’t we be bringing coronavirus patients to Lourdes to bathe them? Apparently, there’s not only iron, but irony in the waters of Lourdes. Oh well, back to drinking bleach.

Post Super Tuesday Voices

The voices I hear normally tell me to practice good personal hygiene and try to stay semi-sober. However, in the wake of Super Tuesday, they have been overshadowed by new voices as I contemplate my upcoming Illinois primary vote.

My wallet had been telling me to vote for Mike Bloomberg, but how can I trust my wallet? No matter how much money I put in it, I always find it empty. Moot point now as Bloomberg is out. Hey Mike, you can always look back and know that American Samoa was all in for you. I think him being in the race was good. He showed the rest of the Democrats exactly how to attack Trump. His anti-Trump ads were clever and effective. I hope they continue.

My heart has been telling me to vote for Elizabeth Warren. However, my heart is also responsible for me ending up with … Continue reading

Winnowing the Candidates – Super Tuesday Edition

When I last winnowed, I had no idea that we would be talking about a new candidate when I winnowed again. I also had no idea that I wouldn’t winnow again until Super Tuesday, but the candidates were doing sufficient self-winnowing. I really like that word … winnow. Anyway, welcome to the race, Mike Bloomberg, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass when you leave … quickly … like right now. Consider yourself winnowed. We don’t need 2 non-Democrats in the Democratic primary.

I’m not surprised Elizabeth Warren is still in the race. I love her as a politician and would be proud to vote for her for President. However, I appear to be in the minority. I have heard her described as shrill. The Return of Shrillary? I think the USA still has a ways to go before accepting and electing a female as President, and that makes me sad.

Over the course of this campaign, I have personally supported the candidacies of Beto O’Rourke, Eric Swalwell, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete, Liz Warren, and Joe Biden. Boy, can I ever pick the quitters. You may notice one big name candidate missing from that group. That candidate is who I voted for in the 2016 Democratic primary. That candidate is …

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New Music for Old Rockers – Acronym Edition

I’ve never been much of a Radiohead fan. I like some of their stuff and respect them as artists, but their music has never been fun enough for me. God, that makes me sound so shallow, so I guess it’s fairly accurate. Along comes Radiohead’s guitarist Ed O’Brien with a new EOB album called Earth to be released in April, and I’m having some musical fun with this EOB single just released this month. Take a listen …

I love the slow layering of tracks over the first 2 minutes of the song. Then the tune heats up, cools off, heats up, cools off, heats up, and finishes as layered tracks get stripped away to nothing. It’s not exactly a sing-along song, but this blogger’s toe was a-tappin’.

And if you want more EOB … Continue reading

You may have heard the news that Earth has picked-up a new mini-moon in its orbit. This new mini-moon is a former asteroid no bigger than a car that is now trapped in Earth’s orbit. For me, this generates 2 important questions:

  1. How does a new mini-moon affect our werewolf situation?
  2. Will the mini-moon only affect mini-werewolves?

Oh, sure. You think those questions are dumb, right? They’re not. You can howl in protest all you want, but I don’t think I’m barking up the wrong tree with this potentially hairy situation. Fangs for your understanding.

My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 2

After yesterday’s Part 1 post, I am sure that most readers would have preferred if I had taken the Tide Pod challenge to eliminate any possibility of a Part 2. Sorry, but here it is. Let’s get right into another 6 albums that shaped my musical landscape.

royal scam

Before Steely Dan fans stone me, I know this is not their best album. But it was the Dan album that caught my attention with the funk of “Kid Charlemagne” and opened my eyes and ears to their whole catalog. No regrets. Listening to Steely Dan has helped refine my musical sensibilities.

I regret I never saw them in concert. Walter Becker has now passed away, but Donald Fagen is still touring as Steely Dan. I don’t feel good about that. I think he should tour as Donald Fagen or Steely or Dan, but not Steely Dan. RIP Walter.

Now this next guy looks out of place on this album cover …

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My Non-Tide Pod Facebook Challenge, Part 1

Finally, I received a Facebook challenge that didn’t require me to eat a Tide Pod or dump a bucket of ice over my head or eat ice or dump a bucket of Tide Pods over my head. One of my nieces who will remain nameless to protect her anonymity challenged me to name 10 albums that influenced my musical tastes. Thanks a lot, Karen. I am supposed to offer 1 album a day over 10 days, but I fear that between my short attention span and memory loss, I won’t make it past 2 days. So, I am going to offer 6 albums a day for 2 days. I know what you’re thinking. Math? 6 x 2 = 12, not 10. Consider it coloring outside the lines and refusing to make hard decisions. Oh, I am also not supposed to comment on them. Well, that’s not happening. So, here are the first 6 in no particular order with full commentary.

London Calling

Okay, so I lied. London Calling is the most influential album for me, hands down. The sprawling musical genres and styles contained within this masterful double album greatly expanded my musical horizon. It’s an album that still sounds fresh and timeless to me when I listen to it today. I regret I never saw The Clash in concert, but one of my bosses went to see them (I’m recalling at the Aragon Brawlroom maybe?) and was thrilled when they spat upon him. Good times.

Okay, now the rest will be in totally random order …

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Cane I Make a Decision?

At this point in my life, I feel my next big decision will be to either start using a walking cane or training for a 5K run. I can go either way. I think canes look cool, and can double as weapons. I used a cane many years ago when I vacationed in Ireland with a broken pelvis. I felt good and quite jaunty when using a cane, even with a broken pelvic bone.

Despite my love for canes, I am not able to make the decision so easily. I’m feeling some pressure. This 62 year old Chicago area guy just set the planking record.

Old men should not look like this.

Plank

Too muscley and wrinkly at the same time. And at the 1 minute mark in the video, does that show him catheterized? Ew. I would have chosen an adult diaper while performing an inverted plank. Something like this …

plank reverse

I have unofficially gone well past 8 hours numerous times already in the inverted plank position. Maybe I need to get the Guinness people back here to Chicago, and this time they should bring some of their beer. I definitely cane support that.

 

New Music for Old Rockers – Prime Real Estate

My business travel plans were to take me back to St. Louis next in mid-April, where just coincidentally I planned to see Real Estate in concert. If you are not familiar with that band, I was introduced to them through this song a few years back.

That song breaks a major rule of songwriting about introducing lyrics within the first 8 seconds of a song, and the one about not having a horse contribute to your music video. Regardless, I fell in love with their soft, indie, jangly, pop-rock sound. My oldest daughter advised me to stay away from the band because one of the band members was too sexual assaulty. They bounced his abusive ass from the band, replaced him with a new lead guitarist, and have a new album to be released within days called The Main Thing. Here’s a single released from the new album called “Paper Cup” that I highly recommend.

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New Music for Old Rockers – Pearl Jammin’ Edition

I’ve never been much of a Pearl Jam fan. I like some of their music, but it really never moved me much. Pearl Jam is officially 30 years old this year, and their last album was released in 2013 to modest reviews, so I figured they had packed it in as a band. Oops, was I wrong. Welcome, Gigaton, due to be released in March. If the rest of the album is like the first 2 songs made available, then watch out.

“Dance of the Clairvoyants” was the first song released and it definitely cooks with propane. Take a listen.

Love the bass line and drumming that drive this song forward with a vengance. And just when I thought the song was ready to end as a tight 3 minute tune, the song morphs into a dreamy jam for a tasty ending.

WARNING: Dad joke ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

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Time for a New Phone!

I’m starting to think about getting a new cell phone which means that I should get one within the next 2 to 3 years. I tend to take my time on big decisions like that. The hot new phones on the market are flip phones. Wait, what? Didn’t we do flip phones already? Ah, but these have foldable glass, like the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.

samsung flip

I got news for Samsung. Glass doesn’t fold. If it did, I wouldn’t have a nasty scar on the bottom of my foot from when I stepped on a fish bowl. Long story.

And isn’t it going to be hard to touch those icons that are in the fold unless you have tiny fingers?

Samsung galaxy flip

If we are going back to flip phones, how about we go super-retro back to a rotary cell phone?

Cell phone rotary

Yes, it actually exists, and can be yours.

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A Disconcerting Effort to Start the Year

2019 was a great concert year for me. I went to 11 concerts, maybe more but my memory fails me on additional ones. Here they are ranked from worst to first.

11) Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple – Imagine playing only Deep Purple songs from the time when you were in the band and the group was no longer making memorable music. I walked out.

10) Black Keys/Modest Mouse – Disappointing.

9) Mt. Joy – Fun.

8) War – Free concert in the park performed with enthusiastic joy.

7) Car Seat Headrest – An pleasant evening with my oldest son listening to music by a band I was unfamiliar with on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.

6) Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw on lead vocals – Surprisingly good blending of talents.

5) Beatles White Album Tribute – Todd Rundgren, Mickey Dolenz, Christopher Cross, Joey Molland of Badfinger, and some guy formerly with the group Chicago performing all songs from the Beatles White Album with fun and style.

4) Heart/Sheryl Crow – Crow > Heart.

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Another Sign of the Apocalypse

After surviving a coldpocalypse last night (-10F/-23C), I noticed this sign of the coming final apocalypse …

Frog Pepper

For full article, click HERE.

For a discussion of various explanations as to how a live frog was found inside an intact pepper, click HERE.

You can believe what you want to believe. I know the truth.

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48 > 50

We have a problem in the USA much bigger than Donald Trump, and that’s an awful big one. We have 2 Senators each coming from states with fewer people than many cities have. I’m talking about you Montana, Wyoming, North & South Dakota. Most of those Senators are Republican. There is absolutely no reason for us to have 4 states that are so lightly populated, and no reason to have so many Republican Senators representing those states. Our map now looks like this …

us-states-map

The solution is simple …

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The Single Biggest Threat to Democracy

There are those that think that having a cruel, vindictive, racist, sexual predatory, dementia addled, Adderall snorting, Fox News watching, fast food & Diet Coke guzzling, fake tan and hair wearing, popular vote losing, foreign government conspiring, forever impeached moron in the White House is the single biggest threat to our democracy. Maybe. I think a case could legitimately be made.

However, consider this …

Ballot 2020

Yes, I am running again for a position nobody wants. The fact that a dope like me can get on a ballot should also get some consideration as a threat to our democracy.  I highly suggest some guardrails be added in the future to prevent this abomination from ever happening again.

A Tempting Offer

My small import/export business is always being offered money to pay down debt that we don’t have. These 2 offers just came in.

Checks

I’m really tempted to take the combined $1.5 million and run. I could give you a hint that if there is no Mite Be Funny this Sunday, you’ll know what happened, but then you’d be rooting for me to take the money and run.

Brace Yourself for my Flip-Flop

I have 5 kids and consider myself fortunate that I have only paid for braces for 1 of the kids so far. My youngest son probably needed braces, but never got them. He was born with too many teeth in his mouth and had to have several extracted including the one growing from the roof of his mouth. Something like this, but only one extra tooth in the roof of his mouth, not a whole second set of choppers. Yikes!

teeth too many

Geez, you could go broke just buying toothpaste for that mouth, but you might be able to chew your food twice as fast. Anyway, my son never got braces for several reasons:

  • I am cheap.
  • He was playing sports that required mouthguards.
  • He didn’t want them.
  • I am cheap.

Now my wife tells me our youngest daughter who is 11 needs braces. I immediately began spewing reasons why she didn’t need them. And then I did a complete 180 degree flip-flop after I heard this …

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I stumbled across this article on Twitter.

It leads me to a troubling moral dilemma. Should we stay silent and allow the QAnon morons to seriously hurt or even kill themselves, thus making the world a better place? Or do we save the lives of the QAnon pond scum by telling them not to drink bleach? If we choose the latter, they won’t believe us, and that may cause them to drink even more bleach.

I think my decision is made. What article?

A Questionable Record

No, the title of this post does not refer to the Trump Administration. If it did, the title would be “A Criminal Record.” This post is about clearing out some of my old records with a focus on my religious albums. Although a “criminal record” definitely would apply to Trump campaign ally George Nader who we saw earlier this month pleading guilty to more child porn charges.

records3

Maybe, Greg. Wasn’t one stretch in a Czech prison on child porn charges enough for Nader? Who knows how many in the Trump administration would approve? How about these guys?

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My Brain May Be Melting

We don’t subscribe to movie channels with our cable subscription. Every once in a while when the stars align properly, we get free HBO for a few days. I record a bunch of movies, and we watch some of them until the next time we get free HBO. It’s a perfect system, except so many of the movies suck. I use the Rotten Tomatoes website to sort the viewable from the unwatchable.

I recorded Rock the Kasbah from 2015 starring Bill Murray because, well, I love Bill Murray and most everything he has ever done. I didn’t see the movie when it was released, because I heard it was terrible. And this did not look at all promising per Rotten Tomatoes …

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Plunging into a War on Toilets

This past week was historic. We went to the brink of war with Iran. The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump began. Documents and testimony became public showing how agents of Donald Trump conspired to remove and possibly harm former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. But at Trump’s latest rally in Milwaukee, what did he identify as a danger to the USA? That’s right, household appliances. Toilets, sinks, showers, dishwashers, light bulbs, and even refrigerators. Here’s a transcript of that part of his speech or rant or dementia-addled diatribe attacking the appliances. The bolding is from me at crucial parts.

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My Search for an Alternate Reality

The past few days have been horribly dingy, dark, cold winter days with occasional precipitation thrown in. For someone like me with seasonal depression, those days are hard to handle. I need an alternate reality with sunshine and warmth. I guess that’s called going on a vacation holiday. But my wife is working and my youngest daughter is in school. I could go to St. Louis again on business. Ugh, no. What am I thinking? I can’t find any good concerts playing there until February.

So here I sat, shivering in the dark. The TV show Stranger Things offered the upside-down world as an alternate reality.

upside down world

Okay, so that doesn’t look too good.

The Man in the High Castle TV show offered numerous alternate realities as part of the multiverse.

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Emasculation Conversation

I feel so emasculated, but any emasculating done was self-emasculation. I love football, but had ZERO interest in watching the college football National Championship game on Monday night. I rated these 4 TV events as “must see,” well above the college football game.

1)  Jeopardy Greatest of all Time finale. I was rooting for James since he is from the Chicago suburbs, but all props to Ken as Jeopardy GOAT. I felt sorry for badly overmatched Brad until hearing he is a multi-millionaire thanks to Jeopardy. Boo-hoo. And he won another $250K for being bad. Geesch.

2) Tonight’s Rachel Maddow interview with indicted Trump associate Lev Parnas. I expect a lot of “no comments” from Lev’s attorney, but I hope Rachel elicits a juicy tidbit or two.

3) Last night’s Rachel Maddow dissection of the Lev Parnas document drop showing just how mobbed-up the Trump crime family is.

4) The Democratic debate. I thought they all did well and nobody did terrible. Yawn. They are all so much better than Trump. Sounds like a new blog post on Winnowing the Candidates is overdue.

And then, the LSU-Clemson (I hope I got the teams right) game checks in. Oh, I forgot that Seinfeld rerun I watched. And Trump and Melanoma wearing a raincoat were at the indoor football game. Football just got bumped from my Top 5.

War with Iran has weighed heavy on my mind this past week. I think I have figured out how this Iran mess transpired. Here’s my recreation of possible actual, imaginary conversations.

January 2

Advisor: Happy New Year, President Trump. Impeachment chatter will start again soon.

Trump: We need a distraction. What’s the craziest thing I can do in response to pro-Iranian militants storming our embassy in Iraq?

Advisor: Well, the military’s most extreme option, which they only submitted to make the other options look more attractive, is to assasinate Iran’s #2 in command.

Trump: Hmmm, taking out the Iranian Pence. Sounds good. Let’s do that.

Advisor: But, Mr. President …

Trump: My gut tells me that’s right and that I need a Big Mac. It’s go time on both.

January 8

Advisor: Missiles launched by Iran have landed at 2 of our air bases in Iraq.

Trump: Hmmm, Iranians must like their Pence more than America likes ours. More importantly, how do the polls look?

Advisor: Republicans and Democrats polled are united in their opposition to war with Iran.

Trump: Hmmm, let’s take a look at that sanctions thingy.

Goodbye USA, Hello Talossa

I was in a fit of pique Tuesday night over Trump’s potential war with Iran. I felt like that was the last straw. I was done with the USA. Sure, I will be on the ballot in Spring of 2020 as a candidate for Democratic Precinct Committeperson. But do I really want to live in a country that would elect me for any position?

First things first though. I needed to get my middle daughter up to Milwaukee for some dance thing in preparation for her dancing in Milwaukee over the summer. Yes, she’s majoring in dance in college. That’s the good news. The bad news is that she’s returning to college for a fifth year so she can also major in history. I’m not sure if she plans to be a dancing historian or a historical dancer.

After dumping my daughter off in downtown Milwaukee, my first sightseeing stop was the Arthur Fonzarelli statue. Who, you ask? That would be Fonzie from the old Happy Days television show, as portrayed by actor Henry Winkler. I’d love to show the selfie I took with The Fonz, but I couldn’t find the statue. In fairness, I didn’t look hard and didn’t leave the car. So as not to disappoint this blog’s readers (as if I could disappoint you even more than normal), here’s a pic I found on the internet.

Fonz Bronze

Looks fun … until you get close. Take a look.

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The Day the Ornament Died

It’s New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to you. It turns out that my wife is allergic to the Christmas tree that has been up in our house for 3 weeks now. Nothing too serious. Just her throat closing up when she’s in the same room with it. But we entertained company on 5 different occasions over the holidays including last night, so up the tree stayed. Until today.

The tree is coming down today and heading out for chipping and mulching. No longer do we live in the neighborhood where we attach trees to old toilets and dump them in the neighborhhood lake for the fish to use as breeding grounds. That’s a blog post for another day. Nope. Out to the curb with it, maybe with an ornament left on it.

Having 5 kids, our tree features a lot of homemade or kid-centric ornaments. I’m guessing a child may have made this one …

ornament1.jpg

Heck, there are even ornaments that I painted many years ago on the tree …

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Christmas Wrap-up

Now that Christmas is over, I don’t want to do any more wrapping for a while except to wrap-up a few holiday loose ends. And if you somehow make it to the end of this post, I have a very special gift for you there.

for me

Yes, a gift just for you (and the tens of other readers of this blog). WARNING: Gift receipt not included. Don’t waste your time looking for it.

First, the mystery of the mini wine gift basket coming my way has been solved. It wasn’t tiny bottles of wine after all. It was this in the 2 lb. box …

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A Small Gift at Christmas – Literally

Do you know any of those people that give valuable gifts at Christmas and then say, “It’s nothing really, just a small gift to show my appreciation?” If you do, can you introduce me? Anyway, I thought I was one of those people getting a valuable gift today. I got this UPS notification yesterday …

UPS Notification

How festive looking, and classy. Wine country, huh? Our extended family comes over to our house Christmas Eve, so this basket of wine may be coming just in time for me to get my booze on before they descend upon our humble abode.

But then I tracked the shipment and saw this …

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Who Ate Chocolate Jesus?

Is this to become a beloved Christmas tradition or just a quirky annual post from Jim Flanigan Looks at the World? This is indeed a repost from December 2015 that continually gets lots of views. I’m lazy, and I have to start Christmas shopping, so I’m reposting it again. I hope you enjoy it and Merry Christmas.

While waiting in line at a local sweet shop, I could not take my eyes off their chocolate nativity for sale. Continue reading

SAD is Bad

A couple years ago, I wrote about having SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. It was bad this year with some cold weather and snow coming early after Halloween. I was having such a hard time getting up in the morning in total darkness. I have 3 SAD lights in my office designed to simulate sunlight and help elevate my mood. In the mornings, I’ve been like this …

Light Box.gif

Except, without turning the lights off for much of the day. My lights do help me during the dark days of winter. However, I use them so much that I am concerned about sunburn and skin cancer.

After the winter solstice with the days lengthening, I expected the problem to be immediately solved yesterday. It wasn’t. It never is. Disappointment set in. However, I did come up with a solution that was brilliant for an idiot like me. I woke up 90 minutes later in the morning today. Voila! Sunlight greeted me. Starting work late won’t help keep my small business afloat and successful, but first things first. Mental health is most important. Take care of yours during these dark days of winter.

New Music for Old Rockers – New Yorn Yule Yarn

Christmas can be a fun time, but also a very stressful time. There are gifts to buy, MAGA relatives to rub shoulders with, and decorations to put up outside often in less than ideal conditions. But Pete Yorn is back with some sage advice for this season.

Where’s Yorn been since he captivated us musically a decade ago with lyrical tales of his “Strange Condition?” Well, he’s been making music, but just not super memorable. This new tune from his 7th album may not be memorable, but it excellent advice to just calm the hell down.

If you aren’t calm after listening to that tune, then there’s something seriously wrong. Calm down. The gifts will get wrapped. The tree will be trimmed. You’ll get to go a-Wassailing, whatever that is. Ask Uncle George in his MAGA hat about his health. He won’t have time to talk about Trump. He’ll be too busy talking about his gout and the root canal he needs and the fried foods he can’t eat anymore because his cholesterol is too high and … well, you get the idea. When he’s done, just tell him to calm down because he looks great. Okay, that’s probably a lie. What is that spot on his head? But, what the hell, it’s the holidays. Maybe that Christmas lie will help him enjoy a Merry Christmas, like all of us will if we just calm down.

 

Elf on the Shelf to Unionize – Repost with New Content

Work is surprisingly busy this time of the year when I thought business would be winding down a bit. That is actually good since my income is directly linked to my sales, and I just got a peek at my wife’s credit card bill with all the Christmas gift charges on it. I’m swooning just thinking about it. My charge card is also filled with holiday gift charges, but mostly from the Dollar Store so the total hasn’t hit triple digits yet. The bottom line is that I don’t seem to have much time to generate clever posts. I know, you’re asking yourself, “What’s his excuse for the rest of the year?”

Anyway, it seems like a good time to dust off an old Elf on the Shelf post from 4 years ago that continues to get a lot of views around Christmas. Our youngest child is now past the Elf on the Shelf stage, so that frees up some of my time at night that previously had me occupied finding clever hiding spots for Holly, my daughter’s Elf. I still regret perching Holly on the toilet that one time.

elf toilet.jpg

 

I wish my son had paid more attention before peeing in the middle of the night. No big deal. A couple flushes and Holly was rinsed nicely.

Anyway, here’s the original Elf on the Shelf post from 2015 (with some punctuation corrections) …

The popular elves from The Elf on the Shelf fame have had it with working conditions and are organizing a union. Continue reading

Got Questions? I Have Answers!

Yesterday, I announced that a short story of mine had been accepted for publication. As a bonus, I found out that I get to supply a short bio and answer some questions. Of course, I plan to submit a totally ficticious biography describing me as a left-handed, free-thinking Methodist with a proclivity for public outbursts in pig Latin. Okay, so that last part is true. Oway ymay!

Here are the questions I have been asked to answer …

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One Small Writing Step Forward

I signed my first writing contract this past weekend. I’m trying not to make too big of a deal out of it until I ink the movie deal. I’m sure that will be coming shortly after publication.

I’ve been writing this wildly uneven blog for 4+ years now to hone my writing skills. I have tried anything and everything that has crossed my suspect mind. Some things have worked. Others, not so much. I mean, really, cartoons about mites and mulch?

But all the practice must have worked because the short story I submitted for consideration was easy to write, and it was accepted for publication in an anthology of short stories. Take a look …

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Treemendous Christmas

My daughter and her friends sometimes play an Expectations vs. Reality game. They talk about what they expect to do, and then spectacularly fail in the reality of attempting to do it. For example, they can talk about expecting to make a perfect dive like this …

dive good

And then in reality do this at the pool …

German dive

Except without all the somersaults. Just the flop at the end is more like it for them.

I had grandiose expectations to decorate a tree outside this year. My wife decorated the outside of the house and it looks great again this year. It always does. She’s an awesome decorator. Not to be outdone, I eyed a large tree on the side of our house that would look incredible decked out with any leftover lights. I suggested to my wife that some icicle lights would look good on that tree. Nope. She pointed out that the white wire on the green tree would look terrible, and those icicle lights should only be used along the gutter. Well, duh. I knew that. Of course, I was just testing her. She passed along to me several old sets of appropriate lights and off to work I went.

My expectations were something like this …

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Best Hotel Ever?

I was on the road again this week, and may have discovered the best hotel ever. Okay, so maybe some Trump Hotel properties are nicer, am I right?

vomit baby

Agreed.

I walked into my hotel behind a business dude all dressed up in a fancy suit. I saw him look at me with a bit of disdain. In fairness to him, the jeans I had on were super-faded, threadbare, and frayed. I am sure the biz guy was wondering who the homeless guy behind him stole the nice luggage from that I was rolling behind me.

The biz exec checked in as a Gold member. I saw the welcome sign in the lobby with his name on it under the Gold Member column … right next to my name as a freakin’ Platinum member. The hotel counter worker greeted the biz dude with “Thank you for being a Gold member.” I wanted to somehow, someway keep the businessman in the lobby as I bellied up to the counter to check in just so he would hear the counter guy greet me with, “Thank you for being a Platinum member.” Yes, I can be that petty. However, I let him exit the lobby and I had to be satisified with my Platinum member bonus points.

I was a little bummed until I saw this on my hotel room door …

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A Twitter Mystery

As the election cycle heats up, Russian Twitter bots are starting to swarm. If I get a new follower with a Twitter name including a long string of numbers, bad grammar in their tweets, and pro-Trump tweets, I’m pretty sure that it’s a Russian bot. They get an automatic block. I follow an outstanding political cartoonist, @repeat1968, who imagined what those pro-Trump Russian bots look like …

yolo4

Terrifying. I always keep my eyes to the skies now.

When I got the following notifcation from Twitter, I immediately thought “eat” because I was hungry at the time. And then I thought “bot” because of the Twitter name. But that’s when the mystery started. Take a look …

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Don’t Look Back

In 1978, the band Boston was urging us to “Don’t Look Back.” However, recently I have been looking back because what’s behind me is more than what’s ahead of me. And I’m not referring to my fat ass. I’m taking about life. In 1978, I looked to my life ahead of me. In 2019, I do tend to reminisce a bit.

Recently, my elementary school was holding an all-alumni school reunion before it closed forever. I didn’t go, but after seeing on Facebook who went from my grade, I waxed a bit nostalgic. If only I had waxed my neck and shoulders before the reunion, maybe I would have gone.

But then, reality hit me in the face like a fish out of water. I think I’m mixing metaphors, but that allows me to use this gif …

fish in face.gif

I think I know what Boston was getting at back in ’78. I’ll explain.

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Fun with Food

I’ve always had fun with food. My kids, nephews, and nieces were always entertained/embarrassed/embarrassed for me when I took on a challenge like this …

Bluto eating.gif

As I’ve aged/matured/slightly spoiled, I have toned down my gastronomic games. However, I stumbled onto a great new way to have fun with food.

I found this in the freezer …

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I was at an industry trade show yesterday and got in well more than the recommended 10,000 steps in one day.

Steps

In addition, I really didn’t eat much yesterday. I was busy. And yet, when I stepped on the scale this morning, I had gained weight. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where I gain weight after walking over 5 miles. I want to live in a world where I can eat a spaghetti sundae after walking 5 miles and lose weight.

Spaghetti Sundae

Almost forgot, with chocolate syrup on top.

Spaghetti Sundae with chocolate

 

New Music for Old Rockers – Special Old Music Edition

So this show came to town last night …

WhiteAlbum_600x600.jpg

Again. It was here a couple months ago and sold out. Last night it sold out thanks to me and a couple friends being in the crowd. We were intrigued by the concept, but were glad our seats were by the emergency exit, just in case the show was a train wreck, and we did think that was a distinct possibility. I was especially skeptical of the inclusion of Jason Scheff who provided bass and vocals for Chicago in the 1980s when Chicago was cranking out sappy love songs.

Boy, was I wrong.

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The Pie’s the Limit

I set my goal lofty for Thanksgiving yesterday. I planned to eat pie in the morning, afternoon, and evening. An early start saw me down this piece of expiring pie for breakfast …

pie1.jpg

I’m not sure if I like ‘Expiring Pie’ better as a band name or as an album title. On Thanksgiving, it was just what I had for breakfast. I really had no choice.

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A Gem of an Idea

Christmas is coming, and I considered having this gem polished up to present to my wife.

Tooth1

Of course, I couldn’t just hand it to her. I mean, she even tried to throw it out. In fact, she did! I had to rescue this precious gem from the garbage. You have to admit, it does look beautiful against my delicate, hairy knuckle …

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Mite Be Funny #144 (with backstory)

Mite Be Funny #144 Children

I was inspired to create this cartoon after watching our middle daughter dance at her university yesterday. She did a fine job. On the way home, somehow the discussion between my wife, middle daughter, youngest daughter, and I drifted to who is our favorite child. I believe our middle daughter “drifted” the conversation that way. My wife and I really don’t have favorites, although none of our five children will ever believe that. We are proud of each of them for their achievements, and do our best to support their attempts to achieve. Our youngest daughter is currently intent on achieving becoming taller than our middle daughter. She’s well on her way.

Yesterday, we were proud of our middle daughter’s performance along with hearing that she will start her professional dance career in Milwaukee this summer where she’s accepted a paid position in a dance company for one month. It’s a start. She’ll return for a 5th year at the university in 2020 to finish up double majors and minors.

If you are interested, here’s a short snippet of a longer dance from last year’s fall dance concert at her university. Our daughter enters the stage first.

 

New Music for Old Rockers – Less is Not More Beck Hyperspace Edition

I have grown to really like and appreciate Beck’s music as time has passed, enough to actually go see him put on a great live show this summer. I was anxious for his new album Hyperspace to be released after hearing the first song from the album, “Saw Lightning” that dropped over the summer. That song is a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, and it took a while, but it grew on me. I like songs that grab me and pull me toward the speaker or are so melodic that they cause me to sing along. My family prefers I get pulled to the speaker rather than the latter.

I started my listening relationship tentatively with “Saw Lightning.” At first, I took some baby steps toward the speaker, but eventually ran to it. But not so much with his second release from the album “Uneventful Days.” It’s a dreamy and ethereal tune, floating from the speaker to lull me into wanting to be in an elevator heading up to the 17th floor of a nondescript office building on Main Street in Anytown, USA. It doesn’t pull me to the speaker or make me want to sing along. It’s not a bad song, just … uneventful. And I find the music video to be a bit depressing.

The whole album is more minimalist than Beck’s 2017 release Colors which just roars from the speakers with layered perfection. Hyperspace has some decent tunes like “Star” and “Die Waiting,” but none that make me want to turn up the volume and shush whoever I’m with.  I’m just not sure if I can stay awake between the moderately decent tracks to get to them. It’s not like it’s a bad album. Beck breaks new ground with his new sound once again. Illinois legalizes recreational pot on January 1st. I think I may enjoy this album a lot more after a few edibles on New Year’s Day.

I feel bad about not sharing some cool new song, so I’ll close by offering up Sturgill Simpson’s new country rocker called “Sing Along,” complete with wild cartoon video.

Makes me want to get in the car, roll down the windows (brrr!), crank this tune, and speed just enough that the cops allow it without pulling me over.

The Last Straw

I can’t tell you how many times my wife has told me that I took something too far. My jokes? Initially, fine, but then I push them over that imaginary line I can never gauge into what she considers the bad taste zone. My manscaping? Fine when it is out of sight, but last Valentine’s Day was too much for my wife.

Back hair heart

I admit that I crossed the line. I should have stuck with the more traditional Cupid.

back hair cupid

And my personal hygiene? Well, I have to admit that always crosses the line.

But I really thought I was helping this time. Especially after my wife thoughtlessly destroyed a valued vintage item in the sprawling Flanigan estate. I’ll explain.

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My Wife’s Car Smells Like Little Jimmy

No, not that Little Jimmy. Get your mind out of the gutter. It smells like me as a young lad. I couldn’t figure out why. I smelled the air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror.

Bahama.JPG

I’m not sure what a breeze in the Bahamas smells like, but this air freshener smells like a tropical drink. I’m also not sure why my wife even needs an air freshener in the car. She always smells good to me.

So, I wasn’t sure where the Little Jimmy smell came from until I spotted this …

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The early onset of winter has caused me to fall ill. I’m afraid I have become afflicted with a severe case of reverse vampirism. Now that cold and snow has settled in here for the next few months, I feel the need to get indoors before the sun sets. There is just no way I feel I can be outside in the cold, snow, and darkness. It’s going to be a long next 3 to 4 months.

Waging War on Holidays

As DC burns with the fire of a pending Trump impeachment, the Nerotic fools at Fox News once again fiddle around with creating a new battle in the fictional War on Christmas as a shiny distraction from Trump’s crimes.

War on christmas tree

I have NEVER heard anyone describe a Christmas tree as a Holiday tree. If I ever did, I would tell them that it’s a Christmas tree, but they can call it a Covfefe Hamberder for all I care. As far as Fox News goes, it looks like they are making Trump look foolish once again (shooting fish in a barrel) since Trump said everyone would be saying “Merry Christmas” with him in charge. Mission Accomplished?

Mission accomplished trump

I think not. Happy Holidays. I can’t wait to chop down and trim our Covfefe Hamberder this holiday season. The Resistance continues.

Challenge Yourself

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw that Trump was running a new MAGA Challenge.

Maga Challenge

What do you get if you lose? 2 visits to the White House to meet that moron?

My mind spun (as always) with the possibilities of what Trump might be challeging us to do. Here’s a partial list of what I came up with …

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My Most Embarrassing Favorite Song

I was surprised when someone I have known since high school turned up his nose at “Brandy” by the Looking Glass as a fine song. Yeah, it is a mere wisp of a song, but I love it. And if it’s good enough for a  Guardians of the Galaxy movie soundtrack, it should be good enough for all of us.

I’m a sucker for catchy pop songs. “Brandy” is one of those. I filled my 2019 summer playlist with light, breezy, fun, and wistful songs. Although summer has ended, I find myself going back to that playlist for certain songs when I’m down and need cheering up or when I am already cheerful, so basically all the time. Some of those select songs include …

  • Happy Hour by Weezer
  • 24 Frames by Jason Isbell
  • King of a One Horse Town by Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys)
  • Up All Night by Beck
  • Renegades by X Ambassadors
  • Spirits by the Strumbellas

And then there’s one more older song that I can’t stop listening to, but I should. I need an intervention. Stop me before I listen to this song again …

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Unhappy Halloween

How did I miss it? I was so excited when I saw the sign announcing the upcoming celebrity appearance. It’s not that we are not used to celebrities in our town. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys used to live here, despite our lack of beaches. Prominent anti-vaxxer, actress, and former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy lives here now, along with her husband Donnie Wahlberg, actor and former New Kid on the Block. So proud. We have minor (and occasionally major) musical and comedic acts coming through town every week to play our local theater. And a former professional football player, and son of an NFL Hall of Famer, calls our town home. My wife works at the school where his son attends. So we know how to handle celebrities. We ignore them.

Except for students who see my wife. I get a kick out of seeing the reaction on student’s faces when my wife runs into them out in public. You would think my wife was a Hollywood A-list celebrity. Well, she is in my book.

In a similar manner, I was all agog when I saw this upcoming celebrity appearance advertised …

Munster Monday

Would Butch remember me? Yes, we met before. It seems like only yesterday …

wayne's world dream sequence

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