Thursday, June 30, 2011

Road trip!!

On Monday, I started on a road trip to Spring Arbor University, which as luck would have it, is located in Spring Arbor Michigan. I was traveling with 13 teenagers and 2 other adults. The adults split up the driving. I will share more on the purpose of this trip in a later post.

Mr. Ted Dancing-Burger, one of the other adult drivers, and I, made some interesting observations. First, Michigan is very serious about keeping their construction workers safe. I am sure all states are, but Michigan boldly puts up signage indicating that penalties for driving infractions are doubled in work-zones. They also clearly post the penalties for injuring or killing a worker in a construction zone.

In Michigan, injuring or killing a worker in a construction zone is 15 years in prison and a $7,500 dollar fine. Mr Dancing-Burger and myself, being quite intelligent and very analytical, surmised that the if the penalties in a work-zone were doubled, then hitting a worker outside a zone would only result in 7.5 years in prison and a $3,750 fine.

With that information, our plan, should we have an unfortunate mishap and strike a worker, was hatched. The driver would stop the van, the passenger would jump out, grab the injured worker, and put him or her into the van. The driver would then drive outside the work-zone, where we would call for emergency medical services. By driving out of the construction zone we would be able to cut our possible jail time in half. Combine that with splitting the penalty between the two of us, we probably would be eligible for parole before the trip was over.

As we traveled down Michigan’s wonderfully maintained highways, Mr Dancing-Burger and I looked carefully for any workers who might be straying onto the driving lane. We did not see any. They were all well off the road and there was little chance of our hitting them, no matter how hard we might try. Since we could not hit any workers, we dutifully followed the signs and drove with caution, kept an eye out for workers, lowered our speed, and generally were well behaved motorists. Just like all the other motorists around us.

Then we reached the “end of construction” road signs. Freedom. Liberty. It was as if there was another sign with the “end of construction” sign, one that said, “Drive with Reckless Abandon.”

And so we did.

The next observation we made was that there were people who blatantly refused to use their cruise control. When I first started to drive, I was excited about the possibility of cruise control. I was eager to try cruise control - to set that magic button, lean back, put my feet up on the dashboard and take a nap while the car automagically drove to my desired destination.

My driver instructor, whom I will call Dad, told me that was not how cruise control worked. He explained that cruise control simply kept the speed constant. I think Dad took great delight in crushing my delight. I, too, then, have endeavored to crush my children’s delight in like manner.

I am amazed at how many many motorists do not use their cruise control. They drive past me at break neck speed, and a few miles down the road, as I start to pass them, they look over in a stupor. I can almost hear them thinking, “I just passed that guy....why is he passing me? What is going on? How is he doing that?” Then a look of moderate understanding comes over their face. “Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I sloooowed down.” They then correct their error in forward velocity, accelerate, and waste fossil fuel.

The last observation we made was regarding those that text while driving. Back in the day, when you saw someone careening across all three lanes of a highway, it could be safely assumed they were drunk. Now it is safe to assume they are texting.

That is all I can type now, I need to put this van in park and get it unloaded.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Illegal Aliens, not as bad as we think.

The state of Georgia has passed a law. The law criminalizes harboring or concealing an illegal alien. I say, “It is about time.” Anyone who has carefully monitored this situation realizes that aliens, illegal or otherwise, are an evil breed. The only two aliens known to have not been evil, vile creatures are E.T. and Martin, from “My Favorite Martian.” Every other alien has been blood sucking, laser shooting, humanity destroying, peanut butter and jelly sandwich stealing creature from other planets.

My youngest daughter, Littlest, has just read my first paragraph, over my shoulder and corrected me. Apparently, Georgia is not concerned with aliens from outer space intent upon harvesting our brains, they are more concerned with people from other countries in the US illegally, and who are here to harvest our crops.

The Georgia General Assembly, concerned about illegal immigrants taking jobs from citizens has taken these steps to preserve these jobs for the fine citizens of that state. There is only one problem. No one wants those jobs. Farming is hard work, which apparently Lawmakers know nothing about. I have spent some time tossing bales of hay around, up onto hay wagons, and stacking them in the barn. It was hard work and that was a few years ago. More recently, I have picked strawberries, not a large amount, just a few quarts. I am older, and it was harder. My back was so sore I had to lay flat on my back for months.

Tom Rivers, a fine, strong, young, journalist, has written a book, “Farm Hands”. The Georgia General Assembly would have done well to read. (I think that they should be able read, even if they do not know anything about hard work.) Tom nicely relates how difficult farm work is, and how hard agricultural laborers work.

Because of the new penalties against illegal aliens working, there are 11,000 to few laborers on farms in Georgia. Crops are going to waste. Fear not, the state of Georgia has a solution. Criminals. Yes, ex criminals, who cannot find work, are encouraged to toil under the hot Georgia sun, picking peanuts, cucumbers and other vegetables. I have observed that criminals have something in common with Lawmakers, besides the obvious penchant for breaking laws, neither like to work hard. Lawmakers become lawmakers to avoid toiling under the hot sun, and criminals commit crimes, rather than finding a job. Criminals are not flocking en masse to Georgia farms to labor, thankful that they have work and there is still 11,000 too few agricultural workers.

In other news, economists predict that we will all be paying higher prices for food…well no duh! The largest producer of peanut butter, when asked about the lack of peanuts, responded that they are “Watching this sticky situation closely.” The leading maker of condiments has stated, “We do not relish the possibility of higher cucumber prices.”

My sources tell me that NASA has been transmitting world maps into space. The maps have an arrow pointing to Georgia, along with the words written in 6 different languages, including Klingon, “Attention Illegal Aliens, You are welcome here.”

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My day as a crime scene investigator.

The sun hung high in the sky, beating down on the burning pavement. Sweat dampened my shirt. I stepped inside the door of the house and immediately detected the smell of death. I quickly pulled on a pair of latex gloves and opened the door to the dark, musty basement.

The stench of death hit me squarely. My stomach rolled and I felt myself wanting to vomit. I knew I had to be strong so I took a deep breath and slowly descended the wooden stairs. As darkness closed over me I turned on my small flashlight. I opted for the small one, since those famous CSI agents on TV only used those. I left the larger, bulkier, brighter light for less seasoned and more inept investigators who actually needed to see.

All around me were the artifacts of a household’s civilization; a once loved and used crib, part of a pair of bunk beds, a case of old LP records. The stuff of a lifetime, stored in hopes of use again someday.

Sweeping long cobwebs out of the way, searching diligently with the aid of my small light. I moved a few boxes and an old dresser. All the while, I was becoming indifferent to the smell of rotting flesh. My keen eyes took in the scene, noting every clue as to the cause of death.

Then I saw it. The body. The poor creature was bloated almost beyond recognition. With care and precision, I bagged and tagged all the evidence and carefully removed it from the damp subterranean grave. Moving the items up the stairs  I placed them in containers to for transport.

The sun shone brightly and the leaves danced in the light breeze. I pulled out my cell phone from the pocket next to the flashlight. Dialing the familiar number, beloved answered.


“Hi, I found the dead mouse.”

“Oh good, now maybe the basement won’t stink. You are such a pal.”

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I learned this week.

I try to write a blog post once a week and up until this week, it has not been a problem. This week, however, was a problem since I could not think of anything remotely humorous to write about. I am not even going to stoop to analyze the Weiner role, his grilling in the media or the hot water he is in.

You see, I fell this week too. That is good, since it is giving me something to blog about. No, I did not fall like Mr. Weiner. I was at home, minding my own business, not twittering or bookfacing. I was doing laundry. Yes, dirty laundry, believe it or not, I have some. I was coming down the steps when apparently, someone hacked my staircase and left a shoebox there.

Shoeboxes are slippery.

I fell hard and immediately uttered words that I do not like to say very often. Words like, “ouch” and “that hurt” and “help, I have fallen and I can’t get up.” Those are not pleasant words to say at all. I lay on the floor and checked for broken bones. Finding none, I slowly stood up and yet again launched into those words I do not like to say. I hobbled around for a few moments, gathered up the laundry, and descended to the basement to put the laundry in the wash.

After hobbling up from the basement, I sat on a soft sofa and texted my wife. The conversation went something like this.

Me: If those stairs don’t get cleaned off, I may send someone to the HOSPITAL
Wife (sensing my anger and worried I might do something rash): things just get forgotten, I am sure they will clean them off. Don’t be too hard on them.
Me: I am talking about myself. I just fell down the stairs and think I broke my tookus.

Tookus is the word I use for…well, butt. I do not like butt; it seems a little coarse. I suppose I could use derriere, but that seems to pompous a word to describe a tookus. It stinks that derriere makes a nice pun, since the main causes of ‘dairy air’ are cow’s tookus’.

So I have learned a valuable lesson this week, and I hope a certain politician from NYC has too, and it can all be summed up in the Sunday School song, “Oh be careful little hands what you do, oh be careful little feet where you go…”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sarah Palin visits Donald Trump and they have dinner together.

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump met in New York City this past week to discuss something. No one is saying what they discussed, so it is up to good old-fashioned rumor and innuendo to illuminate the topics of conversation. The first stop on Palin’s itinerary was Trump’s apartment, which is the top three stories of the tallest apartment building in NYC. As they gazed out the window, it is reported that Trump pointed out that they could actually see Jersey. To which Palin replied, “I am not even going to tell you what you can see from Alaska.”

It seems, the double-dip real estate bust has hit Trump hard. He reportedly has been firing some highly visible unpaid interns within his company. Trump invited Palin to dinner for some “real American food.” They stopped at a pizzeria well known for its New York style pizza.

American’s, especially those living in Large Urban Areas, have lost sight of the cultural origins of many foods. Take polenta for instance. When I was growing up and we did not have much in liquid assets, my mother would boil corn meal into mush. Then she would make a circle of it on a plate, cover it in tomato sauce. “Polenta, my father would say, it is a staple in Italy.” Which, I think, meant, “it is what poor people in Italy eat.” Amazingly enough, the food section in the newspaper carried a long article about the latest in Italian cuisine sweeping major cities. Polenta. The food critic could not stop raving about it.

Now take pizza. In Italy, it is leftovers. If you have a refrigerator full of leftovers, you roll out a piece of dough, coat it with sauce so everything will stick, open the refrigerator and start tossing stuff on top of the dough. Finally, you cover it with cheese to fool the children into eating it.
New Yorkers make their pizza with a thin crust, and few toppings, so you have to fold it to eat it. Chicagoans make theirs in deep dishes (it seems that, they have more leftovers than New Yorkers.) By the time pizza makes it to the west coast they put so much weird stuff on top that no one eats in the first place it can hardly be called leftovers.

It is a good thing that they ate pizza. It gave the normal American a chance to observe these odd species in our own natural habitat. Palin cut the tiniest piece of pizza and furtively put it in her mouth, glancing furtively around to see if anyone was watching; which was silly, since there were more cameras in the pie joint then there were slices of pepperoni on the pizza. It appears that she had never seen a pizza before, and in fact it is rumored she said to Trump, “Alaska is closer to Russia than it is to America, so this—what do you call it—pizza is kind of strange.”

Trump very adroitly never touched his piece of pie. It is alleged that he said, “I ain’t eating no leftovers.”