LET ME OUTTA HERE!

21 01 2018

 

Kids will be kids. http://www.cbc.ca

Last Wednesday morning it began to snow and the snow didn’t stop until it was nearly a foot deep. Or, as my good friend, Jim, would say, “axel deep to a Ferris wheel.” Then, true to form for the South, the next morning, the sun shined bright, the temperature rose to nearly sixty and everything began to melt. As you might imagine, after two days of unrelenting, copious melting, the ground is good and soggy.

 

So, today, Saturday, on my way to the store to do my weekly grocery shopping, I drove past a park and noticed there were a number of parents with their toddlers in the park. The little tykes were having a blast playing on the swings, sliding down the slides into the mud pool awaiting at the lower end, and doing what kids do in a park. I thought to myself, why would responsible parents bring their one, two and three-year olds to play in a park when the ground was so wet and muddy? Then (smack my forehead), like the floor when I fall, it hit me…these parents had been shut up in the house with these little hellions for three days and were at the end of their rope of tolerance. They were dying to get out of the house. Also, I’ll point out, this park was in one of the more “progressive” neighborhoods with “Resist” signs in the front yards of the older refurbished homes owned by young parents who believe spanking is a form of child abuse. Guess they figured they had better get out of the house before they snapped and betrayed their theory that little Aaron and Moonbeam should never experience spanking. Regardless of their parental theories, I can’t say as I blame them.

 

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Move Over Edison, There’s a New Inventor in Town!

26 11 2017

I consider myself somewhat of an inventor. I came up with the idea for the GLH System, but Ron Popeil, the most prolific inventor of our time, beat me to the patent office. You remember the GLH System, don’t you? GLH stands for “Great Looking Hair.” That was the hair-in-a-can. You get a color that matches your hair and spray your bald spot. What could be easier?

 

I was about 8-years old sitting in churchone Sunday morning, behind Lloyd Sturgis. Mr. Sturgis was about 180 years old with a grey ring of hair surrounding a large patch of bald, freckled scalp. The sunlight, streaming through the window behind me, lit up this bald spot and I thought to myself, if he had some grey paint, then he could paint that spot and it would blend in with his hair, and wouldn’t reflect the sun.

 

Then there was bacon scented underwear. Okay, I realized when I looked back and saw every dog in the neighborhood following me that I hadn’t thought that one through.

 

But this one is a sure-fire winner. I call it the writer-printer. It’s a machine with a standard keyboard. Above, and in front of the keyboardis a roller with a knob on each end. You simply roll a piece of blank paper in behind the roller, and using the keys, you type your message. At the same time, you print out a copy! Time saved! No separate printer to buy and hook up. Let’s see you beat me to the patent office this time, Ron Popeil!

The Writer-Printer

 





Targeting and Common Sense

29 09 2017

I have a strange way of looking at everything from a safety perspective. What can I say…I’m a forty-year veteran of professional safety? Well, this may be contrary to my creed but, I’ll go on record as saying I hate the targeting rule. Actually, it isn’t the rule I hate so much as it is its uncompromising, inflexible application. I would bet there are football officials who hate, under some circumstances, calling the penalty and ejecting a player. Case in point.  

 

C’mom, give me a break!

I was watching the NC State/Florida State game last Saturday, and NC State ran a reverse pass play. Just as the NC State player released the ball, a Florida State defender charged toward him with his arms reaching upward in an effort to block the pass. As he came down, his right arm hit the passer on the helmet. Play was stopped. Police were called. The K-9 units descended on the scene. The NCIS squad began shooting photos and gathering evidence in an effort to determine if, in fact, this Seminole bully was guilty of a crime. By the time the boys in the booth got through running and re-running the video evidence, the answer came down from that mysterious referee in the sky- that one we never get to see- and, suddenly, there was another victim of the targeting rule on his way to an early shower.

 

Now, ordinarily, I might stand and cheer over the fact that one of the opposition had been removed from the game; but, instead, I found myself thinking what a lousy turn of events. The guy’s arm accidentally hit the helmet of the opposing player. He didn’t swing at him. He didn’t take any violent action in an attempt to injure the player. In fact, he would be the one most likely to sustain an injury. A forearm against a football helmet is usually going to come out on the short end of that stick. But, because of the way the play transpired, it fell within the description of the rule and, according to rules, the player was thrown out of the game.

 

In a similar incident last week (I forget the game), one player dove in to tackle the ball carrier. His trajectory was taking him toward a collision with the thighs of the ball carrier but the ball carrier was hit from behind by another defender. As the ball carrier went to the ground, instead of hitting him in the legs, the defender’s helmet, through no fault of his own, hit the ball carrier’s helmet. Everything happened so quickly, there was no way the defender had time to stop, or alter his direction, to avoid the helmet-to-helmet contact. But the rule doesn’t allow for that, so again, officials followed the rule and the player was ejected.

 

Whatever happened to good ‘ole common sense?

The rule is good. It is necessary. The game has gotten more violent as players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster. But, it’s like the 6-year-old first grader who points his finger at a classmate and then is suspended from school for three days because of the school’s no-tolerance gun policy. Those in charge need to have the ability to use a little common sense and apply the rule when neededsay, when a child actually brings his mom’s gun to school for show-and-tell. Yes, I realize there are a few libtards out there who would be so anti-gun they would forego common sense in favor of personal politics and find this child’s suspension to be warranted. But it would still, in most cases, give the child a fighting chance.

 

Football gear is a perfect example of the Peltzman Effect in action.

 

A University of Chicago economics professor by the name of Sam Peltzman, theorized back in 1975 that people would be more likely to increase risky behavior if required to follow a safety rule or, in this case, wear protective equipment. A chemist, for example, would be much more cautious while pouring hydrofluoric acid if they had no eye or skin protection. However, if wearing gloves, chemical goggles, face shield, and an apron, they may be a little less cautious.

 

The Fearless Gladiator

You put 200 pounds of testosterone in full football gear and he’s afraid of nothing. I remember when I was issued my first football uniform. I was about 10 years old and playing for the Maplewood Midgets. Don’t get your butt on your shoulders. The term simply referred to a football league comprised of little boys. Anyway, I got home and put on my shoulder pads and helmet and started running into everything in the house. I don’t believe we ever did fix that hole in the wall-just moved a chair in front of it. Well, I remember, too, a game in which I was called for spearing. Spearing is when a defensive player leads with the crown of the helmet to make a tackle. I just dove into the pile of little guys head-first and unafraid. I never would have done that without a helmet.

 

I’m not saying let’s go back to leather helmets and the game will be safer. What I am saying is, let’s be a little more flexible and use a little common sense when it comes to applying the targeting rule. If the playback shows no intention then lay off. No harm-no foul.

 





Felix the Mouse

8 07 2017

My employer leases the entire second floor of our building. According to the building management’s janitorial staff, our downstairs neighbors are slobs who have so much food lying around the office it looks like the aftermath of a dormitory food fight. So, it was just a matter of time before we began to see signs of mice infestation.

 

Way back on March 29th, while working at my desk, I had a sudden hankering for something sweet-a piece of chocolate would be perfect. So, I walked to the kitchen at my office to see what was in the community snack basket. Only the day before, it had been filled with miniature Kit Kats, miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Tootsie Rolls. To my dismay, I looked inside and saw all the way to the bottom. But, I was in luck-there were two miniature peanut butter cups left. But then, I noticed the peanut butter cups weren’t the only prizes inside the basket. Whoa! There were more mouse droppings than peanut butter cups down there. I suddenly lost my craving for sugar and decided to take a pass on the peanut butter cups.

 

The very next day, I came into the office, opened my desk drawer and saw the unmistakable evidence of a mouse. I had a pack of Toasty crackers with peanut butter in my desk and the little varmint had chewed into the package and eaten half a cracker. He had also pulled about half the tissues out of a new box of Kleenex. There was also about a half-pound of mouse poop inside my desk drawer-he must have been eating someone else’s crackers, too. And he hadn’t been in only the one drawer; he had been in every drawer-he left a trail of black “rice” in every drawer. There was enough poop to fertilize a corn field. How on earth can something so small put out so much crap?

 

So, they called the exterminator, who came in and left several traps scattered around the building-6 in my office alone. But in spite of all the traps, he continued to frequent my office. He would come in, crap on top of the traps and make the rounds. And although mine isn’t the only office he would visit, it did seem to be his favorite.

 

This cat and mouse game-no pun intended-went on for several weeks so I finally decided to give him a name.

Such a neat-nik

At first, I named him Jerome (Jerry for short), but after considerable thought and studying one of the pictures, I decided Felix (of Odd Couple fame) would be more appropriate. In one picture, he had opened and eaten half a chocolate chip cookie. I noticed he moved all the wrappings to one side, away from where he was chowing down.

 

Well, I got tired of coming into the office only to find empty traps. I especially got tired of having to dump my desk drawers so I could wipe everything down with Clorox wipes. I decided to take matters in my own hands.

 

I took one of the traps set out by the exterminator, baited it with crackers and Chips Ahoy cookies and then placed it in his favorite drawer. The first morning after setting the trap- nothing. But the cookies were too much for him to resist. On day three, I came into my office, opened the drawer and tally ho! I got the little critter!

 

So, they called the exterminator to come and get their trap along with its contents. Thank goodness for the long holiday weekend. It’s given me time to adjust to life without Felix. The adventure ends.

Got ’em!!

 

He’s much larger when I tell the story





Boys: Precious Little Demons

2 07 2017

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!”

 

Many people have tried, over the years, to explain the meaning of the opening lines of this nursery rhyme. After all, what the heck is a snip? Well, suffice it to say, without any attempt at detailed explanations, it simply refers to the rambunctious nature of the typical little boy. He’s always into something. If not climbing on top of the stove, he’s putting butter on the dog. If not filling his pockets with worms and rocks to take home, he’s flushing toys down the toilet. He’s positively lovable but far from sugar and spice.

 

Now, that said, let me introduce you to my grandson, Cody. Cody just turned two this week so, of course, he’s going through the terrible twos. No, he isn’t just going through the terrible twos; he got a jump on the terrible twos and has been practicing for 6 months now. I think it’s fair to say, he has perfected the terrible twos.

 

But, Cody is the quintessential little boy. He is the kind of child whom you cannot, in fact, you had better not, turn your back on because he spends each waking moment practicing his craft of being a boy.

 

So, when Cody began making routine, unescorted trips up the stairs, my son and daughter-in-law put a child gate across the opening to the stairs. The other day, my son heard Cody call out for him. So, he went to see what mischief Cody had gotten into. It seems Cody was having a hard time negotiating the stair landing from outside the rails. As for me, granddaddy expected no less.

 

God called David a man after His own heart. Well, Cody, like all three of my sons, is my David.

So, pops, how much did you pay for that gate?





Char-Broil: The Bonnie and Clyde of Grilldom

28 06 2017

Okay. You’re shopping for a new grill and after an hour of checking out what’s available, you have it narrowed down to two. Then you notice a huge sticker glued to the top of one of your two finalists.

“MANUFACTUR’S WARRANTY:

Ø  99 YEARS-STAINLESS STEEL PARTS REPLACEMENT

Ø  FREE BURNER REPLACEMENT FOR AS LONG AS YOU OWN YOUR GRILL

Ø  10 YEARS-ELECTRONIC IGNITION

Ø  2 YEARS-ALL REMAINING COMPONENTS

MODEL 463242304”

I don’t know about you, but I interpret that to mean if I buy this grill, Char-Broil will replace stainless steel parts for 99 years and burners for as long as I own the grill. Now, that’s a great warranty. In fact, it was the warranty that made the choice an easy one.

 

Now, you get your new grill home, get out your tools and remove everything from its huge cardboard

Char-Broil Customer Support

container, including the manual which is still sealed inside a plastic bag. Finally, having completed the assembly of your new toy, you can relax and read the warranty. No. Of course you don’t read the warranty. Heck, you barely read the assembly instructions. Besides, why read the warranty? You already read it. What more could it say that wasn’t plastered all over the grill top on that sticker?

 

That was back in 2003. Every two or three years since, as my burners and stainless steel flame tamers needed replacing, I contacted Char-Broil, told them what I needed and paid them for shipping.

 

Recently, I called Char-Broil Customer Support to order replacement burners and flame tamers. I was told they would not be covered under warranty because I had exceeded the original price of the grill in free replacement parts. Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. After a brief, but calm protest, I was directed to the warranty printed inside the owner’s manual, which I still have…you know, the one that was sealed up inside the plastic bag and hiding inside the grill neatly packed in the large cardboard box that took two men and a Towmotor to get to the deck.

 

Char-Broil Director of Marketing

I took my protest to a higher level and spoke with a supervisor. He told me to send pictures of the grill, both inside and out, the burners and flame tamers and the sticker with the fake warranty. A few days later, I got their response. Char-Broil had denied my request but would offer me a discount on the parts. Well, I don’t see that happening because I’ll spend a thousand dollars on a new grill before I’ll spend another dime at Char-Broil.

 

The marketing gurus and legal team at Char-Broil know that few people will read the warranty, especially after they have plastered fake warranty information on a 12 by 17 inch sticker on the top of the display model. I believe there’s a name for that. It’s called bait and switch and I believe that’s illegal.  At best, it’s deceptive advertising. No, let me rephrase that…it’s lying. Of course, they blamed me for not reading the warranty inside the manual which was not available to me when I made the purchase. But any way you cut it, Char-Broil lied.

 

So, what’s the point of this minor diatribe? Just to warn anyone who reads it to be very careful when considering a made-in-China Char-Broil product. You may not get what you think.

 

 





Count Your Blessings

22 01 2017

Psalm 40:5

“Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.”

 

In Deuteronomy 29, a chapter in the lives of the Israelites was about to come to an end. Before sending the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, Moses wanted to be sure everyone realized what they had just experienced because they had so much for which to be thankful.

 

This is the way I hear Moses’ address to the crowd.

 

You people have been following me around this desert now for 40 years. Have you not realized that you’re still wearing the same clothes you wore on the night God delivered us from Egyptian bondage 40 years ago? Yet, your clothes are not worn and tattered. They look as if you just walked out of a Sears catalog.

 

Have you never stopped to think about where your food and water, here in the desert, have come from for the past 40 years? True, mana and water isn’t meatloaf and Merlot, but by the grace of God, you’ve managed to survive and survive well.

 

Everything you have needed, God has provided. And now, He’s about to give you land, a great land, where you can settle down and raise your families.

 

Stop for a minute, people, and think about the past 40 years and how we have survived. God has blessed us every day with innumerable blessings.

 

In many respects, we are much like the children of Israel. We go through each day of our lives and it never occurs to us just how many times God has blessed us. Our blessings, like those of the Israelites, are too many to count. Every possession, every gift and ability, our children, our friends, our very lives we owe to God. We work hard to build the lives we have, but it’s our God-given abilities that allow us to achieve; and, sometimes we need a reminder of how good God has been to us.

 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Take a moment every day to thank God for the things He has done for you.