Friday, August 07, 2015

I Don't Know!; Free 2016 Calendars; Debates; Global Warming; Obamacare; My Bucket List; Interesting Sayings

Time to flush out some more brain bugs..

01. The  "I Don't Care" tactic.

When I was a kid of 7 or 8, my mother taught me to be very polite and not to be "pushy."  So, I became quite shy.  One example of this was when I visited my cousin Charlie's home.  His mother, my aunt Hattie, made wonderful peanut butter filled dates.  I could eat them for hours if I could get my hands on them.

Hattie would ask me: "Joe, would you like a filled date?"   My whole body quivered with delight at the  thought of devouring one of these gems, but my mother's admonition that I should not be "pushy" overcame my desire.. and I would say:  "I  don't care"...  (But, of course, I did care).. However, I thought that I was being polite, even though I was scared that it might prevent me from getting one of  the treats.

But, my Uncle Charlie would see through my ploy each time and with a smirk would say what I  was hoping he would say.. which was:  "Goddammit, Hattie, give the kid a couple of those dates."

In time, he got tired of hearing me say my "I don't cares" and finally, he pointed his finger at me and said: "From now on, if you want one of those dates, say so, otherwise you will not get any."  My Uncle Charlie was big and scary, so I of course did what he suggested.  It was a lesson that I gladly learned.. and it worked for other treats as well.

02.  Free 2016 Calendars

Well, here it is.. time for all of my junk mailers to send me 2016 calendars.  Today, I took ten of them to our AARP meeting and they were eagerly gobbled up. Some have beautiful pictures.. scenery, portraits, birds,  dogs, cats, .. etc.  Speaking of 2016, I watched the first Republican debates on Fox News last night.  Sixteen losers, in my opinion, with the biggest A..H of them all, Donald Trump shooting his mouth and foot off at the same time.

The other day, the candidates debated in New Hampshire.  Guess what four of them said would be the first thing that they would do when elected?   That's right: overthrow Obamacare!   Come on, guys, use your heads for something other than hatracks.  I listened closely to hear if there were any solutions being offered for some of the major world problems, like Global Warming.  Not a word did I hear. 

03.  Bucket List

When I retired in 1995,  I made a list of things I wanted to do before I slipped off this blue ball.  My list had 162 items on it.  Today, I looked and I think there are only about 80 items left.  But.. I will not finish all the items, because.. well, take a look at a few of them...

Act in a Play
Become a Movie Extra
Earn a PhD
Join a Church
Learn Polish
Write a Book about Mozart

04.  Jon Winokur lists interesting things that famous persons say.  Here are a few from the August 2010 Funny Paper:

Daphne Du Maurier:  "Women want love to be a novel, men a short story."

Camille Paglia:  "There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper." (HUH?)

Elaine Boosler:  "When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping.  Men invade another country."

Sue Grafton:  "If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing them."

Lana Turner:  "A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.  A successful woman is one who can find such a man."


My breathing problems are making me rush around a bit, so, goodbye for now.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Conserve, Damn Ya!

Do you like getting yelled at?  I don't.  And still, the Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) Company insists on doing so at least once each week! 

Every week BGE has a day when they recommend all of their customers raise their air conditioner temperature, and not run their clothes washers and dryers until after 7 PM.  They keep track (somehow) to see who is not following their advice.

Usually, I get a telephone call and/or an email message the day after "savings day" letting me know how badly I have done.  For three weeks, BGE told me that compared with my 100 closest neighbors, our house used more gas and electric services than any of them, and our score was a big fat "zero."

Well, finally, I decided that I would at least try to join the environmental "savers".  So, on that "fatal" energy saving day, I did the following:

I left the curtains down.
I shut off the air conditioner. (It was 100 degrees outside!)
I did not wash any clothes, even though Elaine bugged the hell out of me to do so.
I did not dry any previously washed clothes, even though Elaine bugged the hell out of me to do so.
I was a good boy from 8 am to 7 pm, and what did it get me?

The next day, I got a robo-call from BGE:  "Your conservation efforts paid off a little.  You saved a total of $2.00 worth of energy, which amount will be deducted from your July usage statement."

"However," it continued, "all of your 100 closest neighbors saved at least $5.00 each! Please try to do better in the future."

OK.. OK ..  I'll try. Just stop nagging me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beautiful Carroll County; Ft. McHenry;Crime Examples; Guns; Knives; Spell Checker; Senior Joke

Every day I get up and look out the windows and see all of the greenness of Summer, and it makes me happy to be living in beautiful Wakefield Valley in beautiful Carroll County, in beautiful Maryland, in the beautiful U.S.A.  And tomorrow, Elaine and I get more patriotic feelings when we go on a trip to Fort McHenry.  I'm sure that before the day is over, we will have very wet handkerchiefs in response to the programs and singing.  Especially, of course, seeing the Star Spangled Banner flying over the Fort.. Long May it Wave!

In addition to beautiful greenness, Carroll County is also one of the safest Counties in Maryland and also in the United States.  However, we do have our moments.  Here are three crime (prime?) examples from today's Carroll County Times:

Farmer's Wife?

Apparently, a house guest must have said something his hostess did not like, and she tried to cut him  up with a kitchen knife.  He lived.  I hope he learned his lesson!

Tough Lady!

When she assaulted a visitor to her apartment, the victim called the police.  After a tussle, just as she was about to get into the police vehicle, she said that she was having a "diabetic attack", and the officer arranged for an ambulance to get her to the hospital.

After another tussle with EMT personnel, and a massive amount of obscenities being yelled out in the hospital, it was determined that she was faking her "diabetic attack,"  This announcement resulted in lots of kicking of hospital and police personnel, as well as a threat to burn down the hospital.  I think that they finally got her incarcerated.. one of the policemen involved thinks that this 59 year old lady may have been intoxicated.

This is not your basic "Bloom's Day!"

A group of people were standing outside of a local restaurant, waiting to be called to dinner, when a Mister Bloom showed up and must have said something that  rubbed them the wrong way, because an altercation occurred, in which Mister B.  sliced up one of them with his knife. He is now sleeping off his intoxication in the local jail.

Did you notice something strange in these three cases?   No guns involved.  Just knives, fists and legs.  Very seldom do I read about a case where a gun is involved.  And this is in Carroll County, where guns are a fairly common item in people's homes.  I love the people in Carroll County and I like to think that  they are a sensible lot when it comes to guns.  (Knives, I'm not so sure of.)

When I spent over three years in Germany during the 1950's, I was warned to carry a concealed weapon... i.e., a gun of some kind.   Well, I did not want to put myself in the position of getting into some kind of altercation with a German national and pulling out  a pistol to settle the argument.  But, I didn't want to be a complete dummy.. (this was just 7 years after Germany's defeat in WWII, afterall).. so, I kept a blank pistol in my right hand pocket.. it was only one inch long and took a very small charge of powder that would make a big bang and lots of smoke when the trigger was pulled.  Very scary.. especially for me. I never used it for anything except a conversation starter.

However, I did think that I needed some kind of real weapon to carry, so I purchased a German switchblade knife and also carried that for  three years.  I always wondered what I would have done if I had felt I had to use it.  I would have probably sliced myself up real bad.   But,  you know, that knife was a great tool for opening bottled beer and specialty beer cans.

Of course, back at the base, I always had my "burp gun".. and orders to "shoot any commies  trying to break into the Crypto van!"  Lucky as usual, I didn't have to fire the weapon.   (Somewhere else in these blog entries I have talked about the guy who was mad because I found out how he was cheating at Black Jack and conned him out of his beloved "shades"...  and how he fired at me in  the Crypto van one Sunday Afternoon.   Scary true story.. but complex, with lots of side stories that I need to write up someday.)  ("What Did You Do In The Army, Daddy?)

Jump to another subject, please, Joe.

Hillary's Spelling

I received a nice letter from Hillary Clinton, asking if she could count on me for a few bucks to help in her campaign.  As part of her background, she put out this sentence:  "I took a road trip to Iowa, spent a few days in New Hampshire, and will be heading to South Carolina and Neveda and I am working as hard as I can to earn every vote."

She must want my $15 so that she can buy a spell checker better that the one she has, that would let the name of a State be unfixed.

Finish with a Joke, Joe.

An older man walked into a jewelry store one Friday evening with a beautiful young woman at his side.

He told the jeweler he was looking for a special ring for his girlfriend.  The jeweler looked through his stock and brought out a $5,000 ring.  The old man said, "No, I'd like to see something more special."

With that, the jeweler went into his special stock and brought another ring over.  "Here's a stunning ring at only $40,000."  the jeweler said.

The young lady's eyes sparkled and her whole body trembled with excitement.  The old man, seeing this, said, "We'll take it."

The jeweler asked how payment would be made and the old man stated, "By check.  I know you need to make sure my check is  good, so I'll write it now and you can call the bank Monday to verify the funds and I'll pick the ring up on Monday afternoon."  He said

Monday morning, the jeweler phoned the old man.  "There's no money in that account."

"I know," said the old man.  "But, let me tell you about my weekend."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Graduation Jail Time; Government Give-Aways; Almonds; California Water; Vaccination; Facebook; Baltimore Raven; Flat Tires; Schizophrenia; Mooch; Hooch

Nice hot day with bright blue sky and white puffy clouds.  We were supposed to have a flood watch, but I guess the storms blew over.

The Progressive magazine mentions:

Three people got all excited during graduation ceremonies and yelled and clapped for their favorites.  This was in Mississippi, and they like to have peace and dignity maintained, so the police arrested the trio and allowed them to face potential $500 fines and six months jail sentences.  Good sense prevailed, however, and the charges were dropped.

A Republican Missouri State Senator, running for States Attorney General let it be known that he would oppose legislation that advocated paying living wages, paid sick leave, paid vacation, as well as disability payments. Kurt Schaefer thinks that such "give-aways" would cause chaos.

Almond grower, Paul Wenger feels picked on because of talk of curbing California's Almond industry that uses a vast amount of water.  One almond requires one gallon of water!

The Funny Paper for June 15th had a few interesting items:

Harper's Index says the number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States is an amazing to me: 16.

A South Carolina prisoner was placed in solitary confinement for 37 days for posting something to Facebook.

Chuck Shepherd says that John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens continues to shine in matter of the brain.. his latest article in the Journal of Computational Mathematics is titled: A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians.   So,, why does he play football?His answer: "I love hitting people."

Chuck also mentions businesswoman Hua Hin from Thailand, who was arrested for scattering screws on a busy street, in order to increase business for her husband's tire store.

Jon Winokur gives us  a few quotes to think about:

Lily Tomlin: "When we talk to God, we're praying, but when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic."

Jon Stewart:  "Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry,you're a moocher?"

Al Capone:  "When I sell liquor, it's called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on silver trays on Lake Shore Drive, it's called hospitality."



Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Portuguese Food; New Bedford, Massachusetts

I think Elaine and I have finally been cured of our breathing problems... miraculous recovery through the use of Steroids prescribed by Doctor Jacobs.. a little guy who is a three stooges fan.. but knows what the hell he is doing.  We thoroughly endorse him.

I'm sitting here with Cosi Fan Tutti  playing on my XM radio, as I nibble on a few cashews.  Elaine and I just came back from "swimming" in the Carroll Lutheran Village pool.  First time in over a month.. and we are both "beat"..

The New Yorker magazine for June 29, 2015, has a great food and drink review by Hannah Goldfield.  Her target is Lupulo  (Tables for two) on Sixth Avenue and 29th Street in NYC.  This is a Portuguese restaurant with dinner entrees from $14 to $45.   Hey!  I might be able to afford something there.  But first.... let's talk about Portuguese food:

One of the Chefs here in the Village was of Portuguese extraction and grew up in San Francisco.  Talking to him was fun.. and one day he promised to have Portuguese food night, with Kale Soup, Linguica, and other delicacies.  Before he could do so; however, his boss transferred him back to SF. Damn!

My late wife, Elaine, used to make great Kale soup, even though she was of French Canadian extraction.  One night she asked my daughter, Elizabeth, what she thought of the Kale soup she had just served.   Elizabeth replied: "It was great.. except for that green stuff!"

I can't remember a "high-class" Portuguese restaurant in New Bedford, Massachusetts (my home town)... but there probably was one.   I do remember lots and lots of bars and grills  where one could eat cod and other type fish to be washed down with buckets of Port and Madeira wine.

One of my New Bedford nephews mailed us a lot of Linguica.  I have it in the  freezer and every few weeks I cut off a slab of the sausage and fry it up.   Delicious item for those of us who grew up eating it throughout our formative  years.

Back to Lupulo.. which means "hops" by the way.. and they serve a variety of hopped beverages to wash down some of the Portuguese spices. 

Menu items

Grilled sardines in vinegary peppers.

Fava beans tossed with morels and blood sausage.

Razor-clam and cucumber salad. (You remember.. you picked razor shells on the beach.. but nobody that I know has ever seen a razor-clam alive (or recently deceased.)

Deep-fried salt-cod croquettes.

And Portuguese breads... the greatest gluten gift to mankind.  In New Bedford, it is just as important on Sunday to pick up fresh Portuguese bread .. as it is to get real Jewish bagels in NYC.

May I quote:  "Giant, ruby-red prawns known as carabineros, flown in seasonally from Portugual, are grilled, head on, until they are just cooked, their perfume nearly floral, their flavor lush and buttery. At thirteen dollars per shrimp, their juices must be sopped."

Caracois, meaty little knots of de-shelled snails, in a pool of alhinho, a mix of garlic, paprika and parsley.

And for dessert:  soft, grassy sheep's milk cheese with  a "pouf" of pastry, a "smear" of quince paste, and "scoop" of kaffier-lime sorbet.

Can you handle all this?  I'm sure that you can tell by now that I really miss New Bedford's wonderful Portuguese food.

PS.. I got a DNA reading from Ancestry.Com that indicated that I might have Portuguese blood.  My brother Joe has such a lineage, and perhaps I do too.  Right now I am investigating some possible DNA family matches through Ancestry...


Friday, June 26, 2015

Bible Study Killings; Obamacare Lives!; Same Sex Marriage Lives! Obama sings Amazing Grace; House of Cards; Obits; Salaries; Disability; Gun Shot; Opera Role

An amazing week!  9 innocent parishioners killed during their Bible study.. by a 21 year old devil who was invited in to share study with them.   He sat there for an hour before deciding to kill some of them, including the preacher/Senator who had invited him in.   Afterwards, the shooter was elated and showcased the Rebel (Confederate) Flag as he smiled about what he had done.

However there was some good news, in my opinion.   Yesterday, the Supremes decided 6 to 3 to allow Obamacare to survive the last ditch attempt by the GOP nutzies to kill it, and do away with health protection for millions of Americans.

And today... they decided that "same sex" marriage should be recognized as valid in all of the 50 states.  Hard-line Catholics immediately vowed to discredit the measure.  How?  I don't know.

I listened to CSPAN's broadcast of the preacher/Senator's funeral from Charleston, South Carolina. President Obama was magnificent!  I don't know if he, or some of his staff members wrote the eulogy, but he delivered it in what must have been the best manner of any President before him, except for Lincoln.  I bawled like a baby.   At the end, he led the choir in  Amazing Grace.. and it was a perfect catharsis moment.  God.. that guy is good!

I've been watching NETFLIX' House of Cards and it is causing me to look at our representatives in a different way.  One of the Washington Post's writers, says that the series is more than fantasy, because it can't possibly ever be true that the only intelligent man in DC might be like Francis Underwood.  Well... it is becoming more and more apparent to me every day that President Obama is the only intelligent man in DC.  Just look at the 16 assholes that are trying for the Republican nomination in 2016.

Well, let me jump to something else.  The July 2015 issue of the Funny Times is quite interesting in a couple of ways:

Obituaries:  A. G. Sloan has created a list of "specific qualities and accomplishments"  that could be used to good effect in an obituary or eulogy, such as:

Paid bills on time.

Never missed Garbage Day.

Asked for directions when lost.

Salaries: Harper's Index (not really funny if true):

The average amount that a male nurse's salary exceeds that of a female nurse in the US:  $5,100. !

Disability: (News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd)

Check out the accomodations at Australia's sixth annual National Disability Summit in Melbourne!

Who you lookin' at?  (News of the Weird  by Chuck Shepherd)  At Murphy's Express Gas station, one customer shot another in the foot, because he was being stared at while he pumped gas.

The World of Scatalogical Opera?

On Met Opera Radio (Sirius-XM) all week, an interview has been aired with recently deceased Margaret Juntwait (3/18/57 - 6/3/15)  talking to the fantastic Isobel Leonard.  At one point, Isobel is reminded that she has played one of her roles at the Met 100 times!  Surprised by the statistic, I guess, Isobel replies: "Are you shittin' me?"


Sunday, June 14, 2015

What's up lately?

Hello again!  It's been almost  three weeks since my last blog entry and a  lot has happened since then.   I'll try to recap a bit.

Elaine:   Elaine had a problem a couple of weeks ago and we had to pull our "life guard" cord to get help.  The nurses who came found that she had a rather high fever, so the Westminster Fire Station ambulance took her to Carroll Hospital Center.  They couldn't find anything wrong with her in the Emergency Room, so they had her committed to the regular hospital.

After a week of tests (580 cat scans; 200 exrays; 3,000 pokes and prods by nurses, doctors and technicians..... ok I exaggerate a little...  they gave up and sent her home.   Another mystery case that could probably only be solved by Dr. House, but he was busy I guess.

However, since she had a lot of tests, she now knows that she doesn't have cancer, pneumonia, aneurisms, sinus blockages, and a lot of other ailments.   So, even though we will probably never know what caused her fever, she certainly got some good diagnostics on her overall condition.

Joe:  My breathing problems have gotten much worse.  Elaine has a touch of breathing problems too.  We are both going to a Doctor Jacobs in a few days.  My cardiologist thinks that my fat belly is pushing on my esophoghas and that is probably true.  When I bend down to tie a shoe or pick up something, I lose my breath.  Also, when I walk, I walk slow, otherwise I lose my breath.

Elizabeth:  She did a very nice job of arranging for her ex-husband, Bob Clark's funeral needs, and she will be the executrix of his estate.  Lots of time-consuming activity to take of, considering that her school duties now require plans to be prepared for each of her 200 (?) clients.  But, if anyone can do it, Elizabeth can.

She let me eulogize Bob, and I'm glad that I could say something nice about a guy that I liked.  John Cole wrote a song for Bob and sang it at his funeral.  Very moving.

Diane:  Had the mourners over to the Farmstead house after the funeral service.  Good food and nice remembrances of Bob Clark.

Diane has all of her vegetable planting done.  She also manufactured an Earthbox and has tomato plants growing crazily in that setup.   Also,  John has removed some more shade in the yard so Diane can have a bigger garden.   How can she do all that and also keep up with her EBAY business?

Chris:  Chris is having a good time back at SSA.  He and Kathleen just got rid of one of their cars and now Kathleen is planning to buy a BMW.

Chris and his writing buddies have published a book.  Chris gave me a copy.   It is a compilation of stories.  Chris has the first and last positions.. two stories.    So far I have read and reread the first one, which has a twist.  Nice writing.

My Kids!

What did I ever do to deserve my three accomplished children?   I love them and enjoy seeing them make their determined way in the world.  Their mother would be so proud of them.  (And the grandchildren and great  grandson too!)