Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One acre and a Kubota...

When I went to buy my lawn mower, they asked if me if I wanted a “zero-turn” mower.

Not knowing what they were talking about (and thinking I needed to be able to turn it) I told them no. This ended up saving me lots of money, but as I circle around in the yard going back to get that one foot wide strip to finish a section, I can understand why I should have gotten it.

As it stands, I now have more conversation chances with people, as in, “You mow yet this week?” and then the discussion of how wide my deck is and whether I’ve got the “zero-turn.”

The recent purchase of a chain saw may lead to questions such as, “Did you think you would miss those fingers so much?” or “When do you get that bandage off your knee?”

I'd write more, but I think the lawn is growing again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Einstein likes to color...

Holli has a Master's Degree, an undergraduate degree and an associate degree. I've got a degree myself from a small liberal arts school. We are educated people, academically speaking. But John doesn't seem to care.

John's most reliable source in the house is his five-year old sister. Monsters? Sure, says Gracie, so John believes regardless of what we tell him.

He listens to her advice on food like she is the editor of Gourmet Magazine. If she says it's (in her culinary lingo) "not yummy," the boy won't touch it.

Her cravings become his cravings, be it water, cookies or whatever.

She's not 4-feet tall and he thinks she's the encyclopedia of knowledge on all subjects.

I mean, she's smart, but how about a look our way?

Monday, September 28, 2009

What, me smile?

We went and had pictures of us and the kids made this weekend.

I’ve not been much of a picture taker, due to the fact that I don’t smile for them. I don’t know why this is, but the first thing that occurs to me is that I need a reason to smile. You can’t just say “smile” and I smile. I need a reason. Dance. Tell a joke. Something.

The idea of taking a picture, I think, is to capture the moment. Well, if the moment is standing with a bunch of people looking at someone with an electronic device, I fail to see the reason for unbridled joy.

I think I genuinely smile as much as anyone. But if you think my motivation to grin is solely because you have a camera and tell me to, my advice to you is get better material.

And if you want to see someone grin for no reason, buy Mad Magazine.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How to get along with everyone...

It always amuses me when the anarchists get together, because by definition, they aren't supposed to...but there they were, dressed in black holding signs with the anarchists "A" on it, shouting slogans in unison. Yes, in unison.

They came from all over, the news said, to unite (?!?) and made their voices heard. They were described as "self-described anarchists." Well, I hope so.

It's the same kind of chuckle I get when I hear of people saying they hate intolerance. To be truly tolerant, intolerance should be accepted with open arms, welcomed, and encouraged even. It's fine with me if you hate everything.

All of this points to the fact that we don't seem to be wired, as humans, to deal with the other humans. It's a sorry world. The divorce rate is 50% or so...the prisons are full...Miller Lite...etc, etc.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm about to merge onto the interstate...can you text me?

I was going to write about how I always get a to go cup when I get ice tea at a restaurant (wouldn't that have been exciting!) and how this mildly annoys my wife, but something else happened.

I was leaving the restaurant in a rainstorm when my cell phone rang. On the other end was the life insurance people (who have my home, work and cell numbers) to ask me when I would like to schedule my "quick" health exam. They'll take blood, find out my cholesterol is a good three game bowling series and then either raise my rate or deny me coverage altogether. Or they might cut my term from a 20 year policy to six months or so.

But anyway, I'm driving in the pouring rain talking on the phone to the life insurance people thinking...what would my rate increase to if they knew what I was doing right now?

On second thought, maybe I should have written about the ice tea thing...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three things...

There is a book I read when I was a kid about a guy who is supposed to meet up with a preacher to go to a revival, but the directions get all messed up and the guy goes to the wrong corner. By either providence, luck or fate (depending on your view of God), that night he is involved in a murder and gets sent to prison.

I don’t remember who was on the wrong corner, but it doesn’t really matter. This was an extreme case of a misunderstanding really messing things up for awhile.


I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I’m pretty sure there are guys out there betting on the team they think will win, even though they are rooting for the other team.

Such is it with life insurance. Yeah, I signed up, paying in case I die before age 62…but obviously hoping that I lose the wager. I can wrestle bears, hand-glide, eat all the beef jerky I want, and juggle chainsaws…but I can’t kill myself for at least two years. The underwriter asked me all kinds of questions about my personal life, stopping somewhere between if I had ever consumed alcohol to if I was planning to swim the English Channel with a brick tied to my leg.


And finally, it seems that I will have to buy a new television. The old one doesn’t work so well since the LCD screen was smashed by an unknown assailant using an unknown implement.

We’ve questioned John and he confessed. He also confessed to leaving the toilet seat up, putting the milk carton back empty, and the Korean conflict.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If only John could read...

Are you stuck in a dead end job with no chance of advancement? Need new skills to make yourself more marketable?

Well, we’ve got the answer. It’s potty training!

Yes, just think of the opportunities that will come your way once you’ve mastered going to the bathroom. You won’t have to ask prospective employers whether they have a changing table in the restroom and you’ll be able to leave the diaper bag and wipes at home when you report for work.

We start with the basics and work our way up to full toilet self-actualization. You’ll learn to go, flush and wash hands like a pro. You’ll learn how to handle those “middle of the night” missions, complete with a chart on when flushing is good and when it should wait until morning.

You’ll learn about how to avoid confrontations with other users by lifting the seat before beginning your mission. But, even if you forget, our Delta Force sniper team will equip you with advance aiming methods that will ensure you won’t be caught with your pants down.

Think of the advantage you'll have if you go into that job interview with a briefcase instead of a spare pair of Huggies. Learn to use the toilet. It’s the first step on the way to the American Dream!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blood is thicker than mud...

I was going to write about getting my Dad’s truck stuck in my front yard and needing a wrecker to pull it out, and in the meantime putting a “For Sale” sign in the window so people wouldn’t think I was an idiot to have driven in my own yard to pull bushes out of the ground when it had rained for seven straight days with a chain that cost $56, but something else happened.

Gracie and I went to dance class tonight and then to dinner, as is our habit on Monday nights. While she was dancing (the parents are not allowed to watch) I was reading Les Miserables.

“Cosette's instinct sought a father, as Jean Valjean's instinct sought a child. To meet was to find each other. At the mysterious moment when their hands touched, they were welded together. When these two souls perceived each other, they recognized each other as necessary to each other, and embraced each other closely.”

Victor Hugo understood having a little girl.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's First and Goal and I'm craving a Pepsi...

I got a call yesterday from someone who wanted me to do a live advertisement during tonight’s football game. He wanted me to do it RIGHT BEFORE the home team scored a touchdown.

I appreciated the belief that I, as an announcer, possess the knowledge of when a team is about to score a touchdown. But if I really could do this, I’d sit in the stands and make random bets with other spectators.

Now I realize that one might be able to predict with SOME accuracy when a team was about to score, but what if the home team fails to score? And what does right before mean?

“He crosses the 50…he could score…just like you can score with the incredible deals going on at the Vice Mart!”

“He brings his team to the line of scrimmage…just like you should bring your car to Bill’s Auto Body!”

And then there’s stuff we could do when the home team is on defense:

“He’ll be thrown for a loss of 10…just like the pounds you could shed by joining Joe’s Gym!”


I’d write more, but I have to make some sales calls before the game tonight….

Thursday, September 17, 2009

While cleaning my office...

I have various bags of radio related stuff. I have cords, extension, cords, microphone cords, various lengths of phone cords, etc, etc.

The cords are mostly NOT wound up properly, as I have discovered that they work just fine if they are wound up well or just jammed back in the bag after the broadcast.

Every once in a while, I’ll be packing up the stuff for the 5th time that week and some once a month guy will remark that my method is one of his “pet peeves.”

In college, I had a broadcast-related professor that believed the current would be hindered if a cord wasn’t in order, as if it were a garden hose with a kink in it. He devoted an entire class day to winding up audio cords, complete with a test at the end of the day.

(If you stayed awake to the end of it, you passed.)

He had lots of ideas that seemed to make sense. But when we found out his son was named Kermit, we took them with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Only 45 more shopping days until Halloween...

While searching for white face paint (a friend is in a play) in Wal-Mart, I was forced to the aisle that also had the Halloween Costumes. I forgot to be outraged (for the moment) that it is September 16th.

A mom and daughter came down the aisle. I heard this conversation.

"Mom, the school says I can't be the Devil for Halloween."

"Of course not, you aren't going to be the Devil. You were Delilah last year and that's as close are you are going to get."

"Yeah, but that costume is too small for me now."

"Well, we burned it anyway, so it doesn't matter. Come on."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I may resort to watching Lifetime TV...

I’m a little congested. Now you know.

Nyquil keeps me awake. So while everyone else gets their stuffy head, fever so you can rest medicine, I get the stuffy head, fever and watching re-runs of That 70’s Show until 2:30 or so in the morning.

I tried a new one last night, Mucinex. It would have been great if I was an overnight truck driver.

I took Tylenol PM once. I spent the night tossing and turning all while having a recurring nightmare that the tasteless people who bring us Miller Lite came out with something called the Grooler, a combination BBQ grill and cooler.

I’ve tried everything including, the “lay down and close your eyes” plan I keep telling Gracie to use. I’ve tried thinking, I’ve tried NOT thinking. I’ve tried not trying, although since I was trying it, it kind of negated the idea.

The only thing that works is utter exhaustion. And if I nap for even five minutes during the day, I’m awake again in the middle of the night watching 30-minute infomericals for the Shamwow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do you smoke? Do you blog?

I got a life insurance quote yesterday and it appears the people at the agency are willing to bet $500,000 of their money versus $13,075 of my money (or 38-1 odds) that I will live past age 62.

(I know they could earn interest on my money, but in order to turn $13,075 into $500,000 they would need to earn close to 90% on the money each year)

They must not read this blog.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The only thing that made the broadcast tough was the two minutes of silent prayer

This morning we were asked to do live coverage of the “Cry Out America” prayer meeting held on the town square.

We agreed to do it, but lamented that we couldn’t have had more time to sell the broadcast to a sponsor.

(just kidding)

On one hand, we would have a great chance to sell it…we could just tell them God wanted them to advertise and that He would be mad if they didn’t pitch in…and on the other hand I’m pretty sure this is how Jim Bakker got started. So we didn’t sell it.

But in thinking about my closing sales pitch, I thought I’d try this…

“Well, sir, I understand why you can’t advertise right now…but I’m not sure God will.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He's the one who drove the car to practice...

Two days ago at soccer practice, John escaped and ran out on to the field to talk to Gracie. I got there just as John got there. When she saw us, Grace told another little girl that this was her Daddy and her little brother. And then she added, “The one in the blue shirt is my daddy and the one in the yellow shirt is my brother.”

What is obvious to some is not obvious to others.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Religious Smorgasboard...

Dear Holli,

I think I have this figured out.

Sunday morning, we’ll go to the Baptist Church for services. We’ll fellowship with the laypeople and make plans for the Wednesday Pot Luck Supper and choir practice. Right when the service is about to begin, we’ll duck out and go over the Warren Community Church for the music…but right before the sermon we’re off again to the PCA church to hear about the grace we are being afforded for our sins, including possibly this plan. We’ll stay for communion if it is offered.

During the benediction, we’ll again leave and head back to the Baptist Church for the last few stanzas of “Just as I am” and to pick up the kids.

I'll play basketball with the Church of Christ/Christian Church crowd.

On Mondays and Wednesdays the kids can go to the Mother’s Morning Out at the Methodist Church.

On Ash Wednesday we’ll go to the Catholic Church and on Christmas Eve we’ll go back to catch the midnight mass.

Anyway, that’s it. I think it might work, but I’m happy to hear your suggestions. And by the way, you know anything about the Lutherans?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another one bites the dust...

Sales Positions Available

Qualifications: Must disappear into thin air in the days following training. Must have a cell phone that “doesn’t ring for some reason” on a regular basis and an email address that receives messages 4 to 6 days after sent by employer.

A qualified applicant will NOT be subjected to drug testing. Are you kidding?

If interested, stop by the office, mention something in passing or sort of nod when we ask you if you’d like to work for us.

Salary will be based qualifications. That is, showing up more than one day in a row.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hey...I believe my t-shirt explains why you can't have a dollar...

We've all seen these signs that say "no soliciting" on doors. My favorites are the ones on places that have "SALE!" right beside them.

So they can harass you when you come in, ("So what's it gonna take to put you in this car/satellite dish/blender/carpeting today?") but you can't ask THEM to buy something from you. ("So what's it gonna take for you to shut up and listen for a second?")

Also, this isn't a legally binding can't be sued or arrested just because somebody goes out and buys a $5 sign. If it was a legal sign with the law behind it, the democrats would have a tax on it and you'd need a lawyer to notarize it and there would be fine print, etc, etc. The sign would cost about $300. And you'd have to buy it from someone (a government authorized one) and they might come to the door and you be right back where you started from.

With or without the sign, I suppose if they told you to leave and you didn't, you'd be in trouble for trespassing, but if as a salesman you stay when someone says no and tells you to leave, you are missing the point of selling anyway.

I've thought to combat this I could wear a shirt that said, "No Rejections." Or I could buy one of these "no soliciting" stickers and put it on the window of my car. It would save me from answering the "do you want fries with that?" question.

I've always wanted to sell these worthless signs door-to-door...if they said no, I'd just say, "Okay, see you tomorrow!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

My competitive spirit...

I watched a football game last night where at the end of the game, a guy from the losing team punched a guy on the winning team.

This was the kind of thing I always wanted to do when I lost. I never did, but that was mostly because I knew I wouldn't get away with it.

Now I know the guy is going to be suspended and maybe his year and career are over and everyone will condemn his actions as they should be...but for the fact that I'm too old, skinny, weak and slow to play college football, go I.

The only people I don't mind losing to are my children...and my wife. Maybe my mother-in-law.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

He hasn't friended me yet on Facebook, but I'm still hoping...

Once upon a time, with my life ruined, upon advice of a friend, I apologized to a lot of people. It took some time to find some of them, but the internet was some help and I think I wrote about 7 or 8 letters.

In return, I got two "me, toos," six no responses (or so) and one threat upon my life.

The me toos were nice, the no responses were fine, but the threat upon my life was what got my attention. It seemed that one of the people I offended over the years had recounted the story to her significant, foul-mouthed other. He informed me he was "this close" to driving from Omaha to &&*(^&%^%! and then &%$#*&**( me.

I didn't try to talk him out of it or ask him who and what army. Instead I just listened, realizing that someone out there was more distraught and stressed than I was. Suddenly, my life didn't seem so ruined. He yelled for a bit longer and then hung up on me.

When I told my advice giving friend about it, he quickly sized up the situation.

"Hmm," he said.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cayenne Lemonade in, Cayenne Lemonade out

I was listening to the radio hard to believe as it is...and I heard a line in a song that went something like, "I'm old enough to know better but too young to care."

This is a common thing in the country music genre I've found. To take tired old sayings and make them into songs. Or maybe it was the other way around and the Stars and Legends of Country Music created the vernacular by which we live. There are a few I haven't heard yet, but might soon.

"It's not the heat, it's the humidity."
"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."
"Garbage in, Garbage out."
and of course...
"The smeller's the feller."

Well, anyway...tomorrow will be better, I hope.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pretty in Pink, Part II

After years of training, Gracie finally realized her dream of playing soccer as she was drafted in an undisclosed round of the Parks and Recreation 5-7 year old league by the Green Team.

"We wanted to call and let her know she made a squad," Coach Pardue said. "We look forward to having one or two practices before we start playing games."

The tryouts were an grueling 45 minutes of running the length of the field and back without getting distracted, dribbling in-between cones and shooting toward the net and a long lap around the entire field. While Gracie did not dominate the tryouts, her pink soccer socks, pink sneakers, and pink ribbons on her pigtails were clearly what the talent scouts were looking for.

One of the youngest players in the league (she made the age deadline by three days), Gracie looks forward to the season.

"Daddy! That was fun! But why does the field have two goals?"