I believe I mentioned before that I am a tech wizard, well, at least in my own head, but, I am common sense stupid. Lacking, sadly, in that small area of the brain that says ‘What?’ or ‘Hey wait a second!’ Nope. My brain just says, ‘Yeah, go ahead, who cares,’ or, ‘Hey, it ain’t my problem, know what I mean?’
Here’s an example: I picked up a screwdriver yesterday that I had bought in case I needed it. Brilliant, because, six months after I bought it? I needed it. Brilliant. There is the brain in action. I did not have to go buy one, simply go get it and use it. But since I needed it I had to open it. Except it was packaged in that stiff, molded, welded-plastic stuff. You know, the stuff that was predicted to be gone soon because Walmart supposedly hated it? And because there were several injuries reported after trying to tear it open. Yes. That is the knowledge I had when I picked up the package, that it could hurt me. I think that is as far as my common sense thinking went because immediately my Brain said, ‘Yeah, may be, but it won’t hurt me.’ No explanation as to why it wouldn’t, just that it wouldn’t. And that is the problem with my lack of common sense. My dumb self went… ‘Okay’ and immediately began to try to rip the package open.
After ten minutes and two cuts I gave up and admitted that my brainiac self had duped me again, bandaged my two hurt fingers, thanked God I had not lost a limb, and marveled over why we don’t issue this to our soldiers. They could present it to the enemy… ‘Here. Enjoy this Swiss Army knife that you can use to stab me to death.’ Our Soldier Smiles at his enemy. The enemy looks suspicious, but I have found a lack of common sense is a pretty, well, common thing. Especially in undeveloped countries that don’t know what that stuff is. So he tries to open it and end up slicing himself all up. Great weapon. I’m sure it could work.
Eventually, with the help of a pair of scissors, I did get the screw driver out, but I cut myself once more because the edge where I had cut it was so sharp. And I wondered, because people who lack common sense often wonder about stupid things and I am no exception, what if you bought a pair of scissors encased in that crap? And you bought them because you had to have them to open that sort of packaging?. What could you do? Could you go back to the store and use a complimentary pair of scissors to cut open the packaging? Could you go get your carpenters knife (Razor Knife) and slice it open with that? (I did this once while holding the packaging on my lap. NOT Recommended.). Do you even have or own a Carpenter’s Knife? Could you run over it with the car and break the packaging? Nope. Doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I thought of all these things anyway. No, I decided, I would bend the package until the scissors popped through. That would work. So now I plan a trip to my local Walmart so I can buy a pair of scissors and try my theories. And once I get them open I’m going to run with them and see if that old wives’ tale is true. I mean, after all, how can it be dangerous if you don’t fall? I don’t plan to fall.
Well that’s my week. I hope your work week had some amusement in it for you as mine did. It’s a beautiful night here in New York, 68 degrees and low humidity. I just mowed the lawn a little while ago, so add the smell of fresh mown grass to that. If I had a pond and a fishing pole I’d be all set, but I do have a chair and a porch and I think I’ll go watch the sunset. I like the way my characters in my books get to do that. They think of those things, maybe because they have lost so much. They take time to enjoy and appreciate those simple pleasures now. Enjoy the Week…
These are random thoughts I wrote out and then left: As a writer there are somewhere around three million thoughts streaming into your brain at the speed of light all the time unless you are sleeping…
What if you knew that the last image of you in death, like Elvis sitting on the toilet seat, would be seen by everyone? Would it make you live your life differently if you knew at the very last breath that everyone would know who you are, what you were in life, see a clear picture, see a picture of you, dead, reduced to an inanimate corpse. No magic. You can’t fly. You didn’t miss the bullet. You are no longer a star, bigger than life, you died, just like everyone else. And all the things you covered up during that lifetime, all the times when you could have bent, changed, helped, are gone. And everybody knows what you did and didn’t do. Would it change you? Would it mean anything to you to know that, or would you continue to be the person you are right now? (I went searching for a picture of Elvis. I found a picture of Elvis dead, sitting on the toilet. I was sort of shocked. I felt as though it made who he was kind of small. In the end there he was, dead, sitting on his toilet.)…
Did you know there are places in this world where people start their day without coffee? Like a refugee. A refugee doesn’t get the chance to have coffee in the morning. If I was a refugee I’d be like, “Hold your ass! I’m having my coffee here! You rebels are starting to piss me off!” (One of those mornings, any morning really, when I have to do things before I have had my coffee.)…
The Litter box zone:
If you have a cat you have a litter box, unless you’re one of those aliens that teach their cats to use the toilet (They’re probably alien cats. I tried to teach mine and it nearly drowned… Twice). We scoop cat crap, get embarrassed when our friends come over and the cat suddenly decides that fancy fish dinner has settled enough and blows up the house, but if your friend Bob came over, walked into the corner of one of your rooms and took a crap, and then threw some sand over it, would that be okay?
“Whew,” says Bob as you are trying to decide what in hell just happened. “That fancy fish dinner had to go.”
Of course it wouldn’t be okay, so why do we allow cats to do the very same thing and then calmly take a scoop and cover it or remove it? And what about litter that absorbs odor? Doesn’t work. You could blindfold me, walk me around my house and I guarantee I could tell you when I hit the liter box zone. “Yep… Right here. Smells like wet sand/clay and cat sh*t,” I would say. (Do you have a cat? Enough said then.)…
Cat Trials: To determine whether cats truly do have nine lives.
Closed after one test… No, Cats do not have nine lives.
Excuses for why the cat is gone.
It was past it’s expiration date so I had to chuck it.
There was a terrible showdown between the cat and three mice. I think the mice were carrying knives. It was bad. Yes, they may have been blind mice, but they were friggin’ mean blind mice.
I traded that cat for a Volkswagen
What cat? We had a cat?
Other Cat Stuff…
Used cats: You never see ads for used cats, you know, “Gently used cat. Very low miles. Will trade for good dog, beaver or camping tent.”
One of the things I have against cats: They have fur all over them, and since I am in denial about having evolved from some sort of monkey or other animal, it bothers me to know they may rise and take over the world some day. Funny? I’ll bet that’s what the other monkeys thought about 25,000 years ago when Bob the different monkey shocked them all by fixing a hamburger and fries for dinner instead of insects and grass.
Whistling: If you whistle to a dog they’re coming. He or she will be right there. Whistle to a cat and they may flip you off, but they’re not coming.
Things you never hear… “Brother, can you spare a cat?”
“Give a man a potato he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to grow a potato and a cat will probably come along, dig up his garden and crap in it.”
Things I have not seen:
Three legged cats. Cats with their suitcases packed (Do they have suitcases?). Cats with a drivers license. Talking cats. Unpretentious cats.
From a real Social Website Commentary
The following conversation contains bad remarks about cats and cat like creatures. If bad remarks about cats or cat like creatures offend you, you should not read this. Also, no cats were harmed in the making of this commentary, nor do any of the participants wish any cats to be harmed for any reason… Except the ones trying to take over the world…
(The conversation started in response to an Article about Cat Allergies)…
Geo Dell: I am not going to read it. I don’t want to learn how to get along with cats… Here’s my theory of how cat allergies happen. I think the ACD Gene detects their presence and alerts you. Of course we should pay attention, but we don’t. I also have another theory. There is a pheromone cats send out. This enters the brain through our olfactory organs and then is, unfortunately, absorbed into the blood stream. Suddenly, usually within hours, you find yourself liking cats. WHAT? you think, How in heck did that happen? Easy, that pheromone carried a destructive gene sequence that attacked and overcame the ACD gene. After that contaminated people are screwed. Those people will continue to like cats, and, unfortunately again, the cats will take over the world and make us their enslaved race of human pets… Or… When the ‘Fridge is empty… Pet Food…
(Name Changed for protection): I had a dream like that once where cats had taken over the world and people had to worship them or be killed. lol
Geo Dell: True, sad, but true. It will happen. It’s inevitable…
Geo Dell: Oh… ACD = A**hole Cat Detector
Geo Dell: Reasons to not like cats… They used to be ten feet tall at the shoulder… They used to catch us and take us back for the kits to chase around and learn to hunt… They are only tolerant of us… THEY WANT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
Geo Dell: Every year thousands of people die in their homes and are eaten by cats. You never hear of cats dying in their homes and being eaten by us, do you?
(Name Changed for protection): lol
Geo Dell: Old people are forced to eat dog food. Well, cats are cheaper.
(Name Changed for protection): Hey, I think people forget they are living with animals. if you die, they will eat you. You’re meat at that point
Geo Dell: Yes, but I believe cats have secretly learned how to use the phone and call their friends over. Sort of like a… Fancy Feast
(Name Changed for protection): “Hey Oscar, this is Simon, my food supply died. you wanna come over and help me eat him? Tell whiskers and the crew that dinner’s on me this weekend.”
Geo Dell: Exactly. Now you are thinking. Rise up! Rise up, I say. And… Uh, well, I really don’t have a plan, but I would say start installing video cameras, keep track of these cats, especially the radical Pink Panther cats. And then, well, we’ll do something. Start a revolution or something. Sit around smoke pot, drink and say really deep things that nobody remembers the next day. At least that’s the way it was in the Seventies when we used to talk about revolution…
(Name Changed for protection): lol…
Okay, enough foolishness…
On other fronts….
I don’t know why I should be surprised when Monday shows up and I am no further ahead to catching up on things than I was the week before. Yet every Monday here I am, surprised again. And that would be funny except it’s true, which sort of makes it even funnier.
There was progress last week of course, just not as much as I would like to see. I always want mega progress, the whole board wiped clean, and of course that is not going to happen because as the board empties on one end it fills on the other. That is life for most of us I would bet.
The fifth Earth’s Survivors book Plague, the last book for the series until next year (maybe).
This blog is where you will find information from me every Monday. Dell will do informational blogs as well, usually on Fridays or the weekend. Ami will do blogs throughout the week and load blogs for others.
That’s it for this Monday. I hope your week was a good one, I’ll be back next week, Geo Dell
I am in the middle of home construction, writing, and a half dozen other projects. I spent yesterday doing yard work, cutting tree limbs and trees, clearing out an old garden, and in the midst of that the delivery truck showed up with all the building materials I ordered and, of course, I was here alone when it showed up.
The delivery guy uses a lift to take the stuff off the truck bed, a tractor trailer flatbed actually, and sets it on the ground. So there it was, a pile of Sheetrock, studs, and other building materials sitting in my driveway. I had been in the middle of cutting down a tree, so I went back to that. A kind of, ‘Finish one thing before you start the next thing,’ approach. And of course I was hoping someone might show up to help.
The Tree: If you have ever cut down a tree you have maybe been where I was yesterday. In the ground, stretching up into the sky, the tree didn’t look so big, tall, formidable. First, a short explanation about why I had to cut down the tree: It was where it should not have been. Maybe that’s a little too short, here is a longer explanation: Over the years the previous owners had allowed the tree to grow right next to the house. As a result the trunk was now touching the roof edge, and towering over the garage, and the base was right up against the garage wall, to one side of the door.
At first, I thought, I’ll buy an ax and chop it down. Then I looked it over and decided it would take all weekend to chop it down, and, besides, I don’t know anything about chopping trees down, so I canned that idea. Next I thought of a chainsaw. But, I thought, if I buy a chainsaw to cut down this one tree that isn’t a very good tool cost to tool return ratio. And, knowing me, I will begin to look for other things to cut down. And that is bad as there is a whole forest behind my house. And I have seen people juggle chainsaws, not that I would, but… So, I decided against the chainsaw. So how to get the tree down?
I looked it over, judged the tree to be no big deal. Went and got my new reciprocating saw (This is a great tool for any do it yourself-er.). It is like the electric knife you use to slice the turkey with, only a lot bigger and with a selection of blades to cut through nearly anything at all. Cut a car in half? No problem. Cut a wall right out of your house? No problem. Cut a pipe, piece of wood, window opening into a wall (That is why I bought it. I want a window where there is none), no problem. I know these things are true because I have used a reciprocating saw to do them at various times in my life, but cut down a tree? No. Never.
I sorted through the blades. I bought blades for everything, but there were none marked ‘Tree Cutting’ so I selected one marked ‘Wood and Metal’. I ran out the extension cord, plugged in the saw and started cutting. I mean, why think it out first? It’s a tree. It needs to be cut down. The saw is in my hand. Could it be any clearer? Well, as it turns out, it could be.
I began my cuts on the front, a wedge chunk cut out in the direction I wanted the tree to fall (I saw that as a kid hanging around loggers one day in the woods. The north country used to be full of loggers. That’s how they did it). Step one done. My cat, Buster, peeked around the corner of the house at me, decided I was crazy, and took off toward the other side of the house. But I have noticed, unlike dogs, cats will abandon you in times of need, or just when you need a little encouragement. A dog will look at you and grin, and your confidence soars. A cat looks at you, shakes it head and runs away and you begin to rethink your entire life. Don’t get me started on cats.
Okay, I moved on to step two, coming from the back of the tree and cutting towards the front notch I had made. I guess now would be the appropriate time to say I had taken off my gloves, believing I did not need them. And also, to note three other things. First: A reciprocating saw is not made to cut down trees. Second: If you’re going to use a reciprocating, or any type of saw, for something other than what it was intended for, wear your damn gloves! And Third: Don’t try this at home kids. I’m a trained professional writer, and I have written about people who have cut down trees with reciprocating saws, so I have some experience.
Ten minutes later, I realized my plan was not going according to, well, my plan. My plan was simple and effective, cut the tree through until it fell. I like simple plans like that because there isn’t much to go wrong. But, the blade was not coming through the tree, so I stopped. That is when I realized I had misjudged my angle, I had cut through part of the trunk and was now cutting a swath through the dirt, stone, etc, that surrounded the tree, but not actually making any progress into the trunk itself.
$#@%*$#, I said. And then a few other things I have neglected to write down here. I looked at my palm, no gloves, so I had blistered the palm in a quarter sized circle. Brilliant, I thought. Then, @#$%^*$# Tree, I muttered. The tree didn’t seem to mind. It sort of just stood there. I re-positioned the saw, and began again. This would have been a good time for someone to interfere, but no one did.
It only took a half minute of cutting at the right angle to cut through to the notch, and then the tree swayed back onto the garage and the blade, stopping the saw. The tree seemed about to go over onto the roof, and that was when I realized just how big that tree was. Even so, I put my weight into it, convinced it to pivot, and down it came, away from the roof and the garage, just like I had planned it.
That was when I noticed that neighbors on both sides had stopped to watch. Probably sure I would drop the tree on the house or the garage, but I disappointed them and dropped the tree on my truck instead. Everything got quiet instantly it seemed. I heard my neighbor on one side snigger, but when I turned in that direction he seemed to be looking up at the sky for rain. Which, I might add, I should have been doing.
So, there I am. Tree on truck. A huge load of building materials sitting in my driveway, neighbors amused to say the least, a hole worn into my palm. A second blister on my thumb.
I know, quit whining.
Okay, I will.
After I cut up the tree into manageable chunks with the reciprocating saw, I realized that my mistake had been misjudging the size of the tree. And the weight of the tree. And the wisdom of cutting down a tree with a reciprocating saw. And, well, maybe the cat was smart to hit the road early on. Once it was in pieces it didn’t seem so big to me. I had planned to load the pieces into the truck and take them to the land fill. But the truck was a little messed up, so I dragged the trees around to the back of the house and made a pile, called the wrecker for the truck, and about the time I had that done it was obvious I had to get the materials inside before the rain began. I barely made it.
In the end I sat and watched the rain fall as I sipped a Lipton Iced tea (Love that stuff), picked at the broken blister on my injured hand, and wondered why I ever decided I could cut down a tree with a reciprocating saw in the first place. Was I really an idiot, or only a throw back to the days when… Uh, I have no ending for that, because I’m pretty sure there never were days where men and women cut down trees with reciprocating saws. I mean, how would they get the power out there in the deep woods? And in my deep woods there are always bad things lurking about, so they would have been killed and eaten by something long before they cut any trees down, with or without a reciprocating saw.
I thanked God that I didn’t hit the car too, which had been sitting right next to the truck. At least there is something to drive until the truck comes back… If the truck comes back. On the plus side, the tree is no longer growing into the garage roof, and since I was on a roll I actually raked up all the mess I made and things look pretty good. And all the materials are here for me to start the remodeling job on Monday. And skin grows back. My palm will heal. I fear the truck is terminal though.
In other news. I got very little work done on Earth’s Survivors Six, but it is progressing. The Zombie Killers book three is still with the editor. The oppressive heat wave and high humidity broke for a while last night. A promise of things to come? I hope so. And, Open Office, the software I use, has a new version 4.0 if you are an Open Office fan. If you aren’t, you should be. It is very good.
The rain was good for all things living, except the cat. He did not appreciate the rain at all. Came running up to me and jumped on my lap soaking wet, and cats do not like being wet, so, instead of shaking like a dog will, he just rubbed against me until he was dry again. Great. None of the drywall got wet. That would have been worse. And nothing lasts forever. And, the tree is not rubbing against the garage. I know I said that but it bears repeating because it was the whole reason I went out there in the first place. Oh, and the reciprocating saw was not damaged at all. So I can cut that hole in the wall tomorrow that I wanted to cut to install a new window. Wish me luck…
Have you ever been on your way to the kitchen to make a peanut butter sandwich, with jelly of course, at 1:30 A.M. and of course you just get the bread out and the noise of the plastic wrapper alerts the cats, and they are on you like… Well, cats on people with food.
So, you managed to get the bread out of the bag, whole
wheat, if you are going to eat P&J at 1:30 A.M. you need to be health
conscious: So, you leave the bread on a napkin on the counter, if you have ever
been married you know this is not like the bad old days, the single days, you
can’t leave crumbs on the counter and hope the dog gets up there and cleans
them up before breakfast; because if the wife sees them you are in for it. She
buys napkins for a reason, after all. Ask her, she’ll tell you. Screw up and
leave crumbs she’ll also tell you.
So, bread on the napkin and off to take care of the cats,
because cats are not like dogs. Dogs wait to be fed, cats demand to be fed at
any time they choose. If a dog wants breakfast they will wait patiently until
you get up and then accept the breakfast, and maybe a few bites of whatever you
are eating, that they knew would be coming. A cat, on the other hand will jump
up onto your face at 2:00 A.M. and smack the crap out of you until you get up
and feed them.
So, bread on the napkin and off to the cat food bag, a
handful on each plate because cats cannot stand to eat together, they must have
their own plates so that they can then shove the nearest cat out of the way,
eat all their food, and then go back to their own plate. Then you have to get
the wet food, because a cat will surely kill you dead if you think they are
going to simply eat dry food. With a dog you can run a little warm water over
the dry food and tell them it is gravy. Don’t try that with a cat.
So, wet food interspersed with the dry food, set down both
plates and then go back to the sink to wash the cat food smell off your hands,
and on the way you notice that the cat food doesn’t smell as bad as it usually
smells. Not fishy, more… Well, tasty smelling. Like it could be something
gourmet, like that coffee Jules’s friend Mister Tarantino serves in Pulp
Fiction. So, because you are a man you stop and sniff your hands. No, women
don’t do this, just men, it is a cave man thing, evolutionary in origin,
probably came about because some cave wife yelled at her cave husband for
having stinky hands. Most cave men probably did. After all, there was no
antibacterial soap back then, in fact Dial had not even been invented, so your
hands were going to smell bad on occasion: It only makes sense that a cave wife
wouldn’t stand for that too long.
So, you sniff your hand, and Whoa!!! It is some gourmet
stuff! It smells really good, like it might make a much better sandwich than
that P&J you were about to build; way better. It smells as good as that
sandwich you got out a vending machine that time you were drunk and hungry and
happened to be at the hospital. That good; of course you can’t really remember
how good it was exactly because you were drunk and in the hospital after all,
and really the whole night was a blur, but the sandwich, the sandwich stood
out, and you’re pretty sure it had nothing to do with your vomiting later on,
that was just too much drink, that’s all.
You look from your hands to the bread, then you think… There
are a few more cans left… Maybe… But, you are civilized and so you continue on
to the sink and wash your hands, even though you don’t even have a wife
anymore, and so if you wanted to have stinky hands you could, but no,
civilized, and so you wash your hands, make that P&J and spend the next few
minutes eating it and hating the cat for having better food that you do…
This week: It seems like last to this, the week flew by and I had so much to do that I really couldn’t stop to think about it.
Microwave ovens and presets on microwave ovens:
I like microwave ovens. They have made our lives better, I truly believe that. How else can you get a hot cup of coffee from yesterdays leftover coffee in just about 120 seconds? Not that I do that. I mean drink yesterdays left over coffee… Okay… I do.
Here’s the thing though, it’s coffee! That’s my only argument. It should be enough though. I mean it’s like sacred, isn’t it? If I were living in a cave and discovered the coffee bean and bought it to my fellow cave dwellers they would probably build a shrine for me and worship me… Paint pictures of Coffee beans on the cave walls instead of hands, horses and signs for water. History would have been changed! Well, would have been changed had that happened.
So, no. I won’t throw out coffee. I guess that is a shocking admission but it’s true.
Once, I can’t remember the movie, some western, the character threw the dregs of then coffee in his cup on the fire. The other guys around the fire looked at him like he was crazy… Crazy! And, he must have been. I was just a kid at the time and I thought he was crazy! After that the other cowboys ostracized him. And he wasn’t asked along for the next roundup. That’s how serious a thing coffee was for cowboys back in the day. So, I don’t throw away coffee. Which brings me back to microwaves: Don’t you wish your mind worked the way mine does? See how I came right back to where I wanted to be? Okay. I don’t even know how my mind works, I just thank God that it does. So, Microwaves…
I like the idea of a Microwave, but I do have some issues with them. First, you can not make popcorn consistently. In fact, I went to make popcorn the other day and the bag said “Do not use the Popcorn Setting on your Microwave.” Huh. Then why have the setting there? Isn’t that the whole idea? Ease of use? Push one button? Well, we’ll get to that in a minute. The bag went on to give precise microwave instructions: If you have this many “Watts” use this amount of time. This many, that amount of time. I had a headache when I finished reading it. Finally, I put the popcorn back into the cupboard and got some chips instead, and sank into a deep depression over the whole technology thing. How can you eat microwavable popcorn if the button settings are wrong and you have to spend three hours figuring out wattage? You can’t just get out a pan and some butter, tear open the bag and do it that way, can you?
Well, as I sat eating my chips that I didn’t want I thought about that. There are a lot of buttons on a microwave. For instance, there is a beverage button on mine. It doesn’t work for beverages though. It leaves them too cold or too hot. But, what if you accidentally pushed the popcorn button? And, you then found out the popcorn button worked for beverages? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, it does. I tried. But the beverage button will not work for Popcorn. What a mess that was. But, in the end, I did go back out there, rip a popcorn bag open, and put it in a pan with some butter. Guess what? That did work.
As for the coffee on the popcorn setting it did come out pretty good, but I have an aversion to using a button marked Popcorn for Coffee. But, I wonder. If the popcorn companies don’t want you to use it, why do the microwave companies still make a popcorn button? Hmm. And if the beverage button doesn’t work for beverages, what the hell good is it anyway? And, if coffee is the most nuked beverage, why not a Coffee button? And, stay with me here, if the Popcorn button isn’t used anyway, why not re-label it Coffee? Then I wouldn’t have to feel so bad about using the popcorn button for my coffee. Hey, I’m going to get one of those little label makers and make a coffee sticker and put it right over the Popcorn label. That will solve my problems for now. Feel free to just copy the picture above, print it out, and paste it on your own Microwave! No need to say thanks.
That only leaves the power button on mine. But, that is kind of cool. You can press it, set the time amount, and watch the little turntable go around and around….
Have a good week…
Check out The Earth’s Survivors Newest: SE collection books:
By Geo Dell The SE books are two book collections from the Earth’s Survivors series. The Earth’s Survivors books follow survivors of a worldwide catastrophe. A meteorite that was supposed to miss the earth completely, hits and becomes the cap to a series of events that destroy the world as we know it. Police, fire, politicians, military, governments: All gone. Hopes, dreams, tomorrows: All buried in desperate struggle to survive. From L.A. To Manhattan the cities, governments have toppled and lawlessness is the rule. Los Angeles: Billy and Beth start out with a small group and wind up on their own as they make their way across America trying to find others and safety. Manhattan: Adam leaves the safety of his apartment to find his way out the dying Manhattan, gathering others as he makes his way. Old Towne New York: Conner is alone for the first few weeks, but then he finds Katie and a reason to live again. They set out to survive and find much more than survival. Watertown New York: Mike Collins goes to sleep thinking about his first vacation in many years that he will start in the morning. He awakens to destruction.
Writers… We often sit around and think things like this…
“It was a warm winter that year…”
No, no, no… Hmm…
“It was the winter of our…” No, already used… Damn…
“Winter came quickly to the north country as it was wont to do. My brother and I had just come around to our turn to wear the fall coats, there were only the two coats for the fifteen of us children. With them, we were able to play outside while our siblings were stuck inside. It would have been better if we had also had the shoes, but it wasn’t our turn yet…”
No, no, no. Too melodramatic…
“It was a long, cold winter. The cat had a litter sometime in there. A few kittens, maybe four. I often wonder what happened to those kittens. I only know we had meat for Christmas that didn’t in the slightest resemble Turkey…”
No, no, no… It was the dog…
“The dog had a litter that winter… They were fast growing puppies and by December they were half grown, as fat and sassy as could be. I remember petting the one I had named Dingo on the head just before bed a few nights before Christmas. I remember that clearly, yes I do, and it was the last time I ever saw Dingo…. I think so anyway. It’s tough to tell. All I know is that we had meat for Christmas dinner. A small ham, Mom said., but it didn’t resemble any ham I’d ever seen…”
“PETA called, knock it off.”
“It was a long cold winter that year. The rats in the basement had eaten the corn crop and left us starving… Daddy said we wouldn’t have to resort to eating rats, but as he headed toward the basement with a claw hammer I wondered…”
I was watching a commercial for a chicken farm, a popular brand of chicken we have all probably eaten (Unless you do not partake of meat then please excuse me). They called it a safe and clean place for the chickens. Yes, the announcer said, ‘We maintain a safe and clean environment for our birds.’ I thought What! I was amazed because, after all, the chickens end up being slaughtered. So I wonder if anyone besides me has thought, how is that safe? Safe up until the time we kill them? Do they give a warning first?
‘WONK! WONK! WONK! WARNING! WARNING ALL CHICKENS! IT IS TIME TO GO INSIDE THE PROVIDED HUTCHES FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY! WE CAN NOT GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY ANY LONGER IF YOU STAY ON THE MAIN FLOOR AREA! … WONK! WONK! WONK! WARNING ALL CHICKENS…’
Of course when they go inside the provided hutches as any good chicken would do they are snatched up and killed. Poor chickens. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that the chickens are not safe, maybe clean, maybe they have public showers for the chickens, but safe? I guarantee the chickens don’t think so.
Reduced prices in the grocery store. I realized the other day that I have a severe thinking disorder. I was at the store and I saw a box of doughnuts marked REDUCED. Probably day old or something, or even week old for all I know. But I realized as I looked at the box that somehow in my brain I translated REDUCED as REDUCED FAT. So I grabbed it and threw it in the cart, all the while my brain is saying Yippee! (Or something like that, maybe a little more appropriately manly) Fat free! or Fat Reduced! Arrg. It goes past that too. Later when the box was sitting on the counter, I stopped and snagged a doughnut… Then another, because, after all, they are/were reduced.
Random things from today: I put in a new mailbox today. The old one got taken out by the plow the year before last. So Mom went out there, took some clothesline and tied it all back together. So for the last two years it has worked that way, the box itself suspended from the post by a cradle of clothesline. I was not here of course or I would have fixed it with drywall screws. I fix everything with drywall screws. Well, nearly. If you haven’t discovered drywall screws and screw-guns (The two go together) you should get in your truck (Or sedan or minivan or whatever) and motor on down to the local building material store.
Drywall screws come in many lengths. My personal favorite is 1 5/8″. Yes. That is because you can fix so many things that are broken. Just long enough to get in there and hold, but not so long that they poke out the other side. Now, granted, you may find that you have your own favorite. Some folks like
1 1/4″ or even 2″ which are right on the edge of long.
So what’s so great about them? They hold well. They are Phillips head and they grip well. They come in packs of 250 to 500 (Contractors can purchase boxes of 2500!) for God’s sake! What’s not to like? They have only one drawback that I know of, when you hold them as you are screwing them in they sometimes have small thin pieces of black (The screws are black) metal that ends up embedded in your finger/thumb. But, it’s not really a big deal, and, besides, you can probably get some sympathy for it later. Show it to your wife-girlfriend/significant other and she/he might say, Awww poor baby. Anyway, that’s my plug for drywall screws. With duct tape and drywall screws we could probably fix the entire world. I mean look at those NASCAR guys and what they do with duct tape. Now ask a carpenter about drywall screws (I used to be a carpenter, union even) and they will tell you they are gold.
Anyway, I have said enough about drywall screws and I only said it to let you know that I installed a brand new mailbox and only used four drywall screws to do it. Yes, that is because it was new and all I really had to do was secure it to the post. But what I really wanted to talk about was the waste. That old box? It so could have been saved. I mean it only needed maybe a half dozen drywall screws and we could have kissed the clothesline goodbye. Good as new. Well, sort of, after all it was hit by a plow. But, the amazing thing about plastic is that it bounces right back.
To prove I was right I actually screwed the whole thing back together, removed the clothesline and it only sagged a little and leaned to the right a few degrees. But I could have fixed that with some 2″ drywall screws and some black duct tape (The box is black) and a little black spray paint and maybe some ¾ inch pine. But no. I dragged it out. Cut a new post. Sharpened the bottom. Pounded that into the ground with a 5 lb sledge hammer. Put the new one together, slipped it over the new post and then used my magic drywall screws to screw it on, well, and the two lag bolts that came with the kit and were totally unnecessary if you have drywall screws, not to mention the lag bolts are silver and stick out like a sore thumb and the drywall screws are black and blend right in… Sort of.
Let me say also, while I’m not on the subject, that maintenance men that come and do work for little old ladies (My mother in this case) and tell her they are putting in a four by four pressure treated post should actually put in a four by four pressure treated post and not a scrap piece of two by four they called a post. Just saying. I pulled the old post free and found that it was a two by four and then had to get back in the truck and go buy a four by four. So ten years ago when this guy originally put the post in he lied and charged for the more expensive piece of lumber.
Okay, I did yard work the rest of the day. It finally warmed up here. Past the middle of May, about time. I swore I saw a woolly Mammoth stroll past the house the other day, but it could have been my bearded friend from down-street. He does have a big head and he sort of looks a little Woolly Mamothish on occasion. I got the yard work done and then watched the cats run around in the yard. They are brave right now, but, the Turkeys are up and about and they are particularly fond of cat. If you look back to my blog from last year you will see we have turkeys that fly up into our pines and wait for the cats to come out, then dive bomb them and try to get them. I don’t know if this is because they were sparrows in another life and harassed or possibly killed by cats and now it is payback time, or if these are just a mean species of Turkey. All I know is it is very disconcerting to watch 25 or 30 pounds of turkey drop from the sky and go after the cats.
I shouldn’t laugh, but cats are always so haughty that it’s good to see them rattled for a change. That got me thinking about Jamestown and the early settlers that disappeared one fall/winter. I’m telling you, Turkeys dropping from the trees could have been the deal there. Turkey plummets, hits the settler, knocks them cold, the other Turkeys come up and drag him or her off into the woods where bad things happen and the next thing you know they have all disappeared. Yes, I know, hard to prove, but every time I walk out by the pines I wonder. And sometimes it looks like those Turkeys are grinning… Maybe…
Okay. What’s up this week. I worked on the SE books. This has been a long term project. First released in paperback only, but with a different editor than the main books. Finally, re-edited by the same editor that revised and re-edited all the books and now released in eBook format, as well as updated in paperback too.
Earth’s Survivors Plague is the latest and probably last Earth’s Survivors book. Hurricane is on the burner along with Fig Street, and then I believe we will all be looking towards our Fall releases and maybe even enjoying a little summer weather… I hope you do too. Have a good week… Dell.
I have been concerned about the fact that Jimmy Hoffa must be buried somewhere. And they have had such reliable snitches to tell them where the body is that I started thinking about the odds of actually finding it. I mean, eventually, after sixty million wrong guesses, the odds will narrow, right? Then I thought, hey, when I was kid and anything came up missing, the cat, or the dog, you could usually get a pretty fast answer from Mom or Dad…
“Well, Spot went to the farm. You see, son, Spot was getting to be a handful and with your mother and I both working, well, we thought it would be better for Spot at the farm.”
“Well, geez, I didn’t want Spot to go to the farm. Can we at least visit him?”
“Sure, son. Sure we can.”
And of course we never did, but I built up a story in my head about the farm and what it was like. There would be Spot, running through the fields, chasing butterflies. Toilet bowls and fire hydrants everywhere. A cat to chase under every tree. Good old spot.
So, when I heard that maybe Jimmy Hoffa went to the farm, I thought, well, hell, that’s not so bad. I never heard any complaints from Spot about it, but as we all know, for the fourth or fifth time, Jimmy Hoffa is not at the farm chasing butterflies with Spot, or Tigger, or Frisky. Not there. But it got me thinking. He hasn’t been at the farms. Nor in the bridge. Nor the dump. Nor the vacant lot. Here is a short list of places he wasn’t:
Sources: Combined Google searches: API, NPR and CBS. (Paraphrased)
Authorities have pursued multiple leads as to Hoffa’s whereabouts since his disappearance in 1975. He was last seen outside an Oakland County restaurant where he was to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.
Waterford Township, Mich.: Roughly two months after he vanished, in September 1975, investigators spent three days digging in a 29-acre area on a farm in Waterford Township. State police and members of the organized crime division of the state attorney general’s office broke out their spades after a Mafia informant’s tip…
Detroit area: In October 1975, FBI agents probed the trash compactor at the Raleigh House restaurant, roughly five miles from the Machus Red Fox, the restaurant where Hoffa was last seen alive. The theory was that Hoffa’s body was stuffed in the compactor and hauled off by a Mafia-connected sanitation company; investigators turned up nothing in their search of the 40-cubic-yard compactor…
Jersey City, N.J.: The search for Hoffa took investigators to Jersey City, where in December 1975, FBI agents searched a 47-acre landfill with mob connections. Officially, investigators weren’t searching for the rumored 55-gallon drum with Hoffa’s remains, but rather the body of Armand Faugno, a missing loan shark…
Hampton Township, Mich.: An incarcerated informant, who had already led police to another body, claimed Hoffa’s body could be found under an above-ground pool in the backyard of his former home in Hampton Township. The tipster, brought to the scene in handcuffs, watched as a backhoe demolished the pool in July 2003 and dug beneath it. Later, the people living in the home would get a new pool paid for by the county…
Milford, Mich.: The FBI called it quits after a 12-day search of Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford in May 2006. A 100-foot barn was demolished as part of the search by 35 agents, geologists, archaeologists and other experts. While the dig didn’t yield any remains, it proved to be big business for the Milford Baking Co., which sold 3,500 “Hoffa cupcakes” featuring a green plastic hand reaching up through the icing and sprinkles…
East Rutherford, N.J.: In 1999 a convicted mobster alleged Hoffa’s body was buried at Giants Stadium, though the feds never dug it up to find out. In a Playboy interview, Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos said Hoffa’s body was cut up in Michigan, then driven to New Jersey and buried in the concrete foundation of the stadium — Section 107…
Roseville, Mich.: After a tip in the fall of 2012, authorities began sampling soil on the property of a Roseville home. Investigators had used radar and found an unusual mass, which prompted the sampling, but the results showed no sign of human decomposition in the dirt…
There are more of course, but remember, these are places Jimmy Hoffa is not. They have been checked, cleared, in Cop speak. Not there. But this past weekend I decided to put in some outdoor security lighting at home. What does that have to do with Jimmy Hoffa? Well, hang on. We’ll get there. I decided on two of those big sodium vapor lights, except one wasn’t sodium vapor.
I got to the store and I saw all the ‘Go Green’ stickers, you know – “Don’t use so much energy!” “It’s your world too!” “Save up to $298.00 a year!” Okay, I speak that language, ‘You had me at money’ so I bought two of the Fluorescent yard lights. Unfortunately I had to take one back as it was missing parts. So, I ended up having to put a sodium High Pressure system in and a fluorescent system for the other light. Hmm. The whole idea had been that they match, same replacement bulbs. But hey, It’s my world too and I do care… And I saved $300.00 bucks (Nearly).
So I get the lights. I get the post for the one that goes in the side yard (A 16 foot 4 inch by 4 inch pressure treated post. I buy a shovel. Thought about post hole diggers, said, Nah, I’m a Man, I don’t need post-hole diggers (Note: Get the post hole diggers. They’re called Post Hole Diggers for a reason! God, I can be so stupid), outdoor wire, Wire connectors, and on and on. Then I came home and picked the spot for my pole, but then I thought, ‘Whoa… Wait a minute… They have not found Jimmy Hoffa yet. He could be right under that spot I want to dig up to sink my post in the ground.’
I’m pretty sure Jimmy Hoffa is not in my garden, or my side yard, or the driveway. Those are all areas I have worked on lately, had to dig down into, and I didn’t see anything at all that looked Jimmy Hoffaish. Yes, I know that is an incorrect usage of ish, but, really, are there any correct uses of ish?
Here’s the thing though, I have not dug into the front yard and I am very concerned that he could be there, but not concerned enough to do anything about it. And if you are, and you would like to dig up my front yard to look for him, no. No! Now, after I’m dead, sure. Have a blast. Tell the new owners, in fact, that I said you could.
Reasons why Jimmy Hoffa might be in my front yard.
1. He wasn’t at the last place, so he has to be somewhere.
2. He had a friend who had a friend who had a cousin who visited New York one time.
3. Jimmy Hoffa worked for the Labor Union, and a lady just down the street went into labor a few days ago.
4. It’s not a farm. They’ve dug up enough farms.
5. The cats always seem to avoid a certain section of the lawn. Walking right long and then hop straight up into the air. Yes. I realize cats are nuts and I do have crazy cats, but still.
Okay, that’s enough reasons. I believe that is more than the FBI had, information wise, the last time, isn’t it?
But hey, considering all the places they have dug to find him the odds are pretty good, or even just as good, that he could be out there in the front yard. So, I mounted the light on top of the garage instead. Yes, I know, I bowed to my own fears. And the side yard light pole I installed next to the house and incorporated into the deck. I figured, ‘Okay. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is out there in the yard, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have buried him right next to the house.’
I am happy to report that I dug the hole and did not find anything at all… Well, one bone, I’m pretty sure it was a ham bone the dog buried there. I say that because the neighbors dog, I don’t have a dog of my own, seemed pretty bent out of shape about me digging up the bone. But, come to think of it, that is better than the FBI did. At least I found something. Anyway, I didn’t call the FBI, the dog took the bone and left, he’ll probably rebury it somewhere else, you know how dogs are. Meanwhile, Jimmy Hoffa’s still missing I’m sorry to report.
In other news. Fred, my cat was nearly taken by the turkeys again. You may not believe this but there are turkeys that live in the woods behind me. Today I was in my office taking care of some email when I heard a rush of wings, a squawk, and some gobbling: If you have never heard a 35 to 40 pound bird drop out of a pine tree to the ground you should. Nothing that big should be a bird, and if it is it should not be falling from a damn tree.
Anyway, I rushed from the house. No, really, I did rush from the house, and what do I see, Fred standing her ground against a turkey that looked to be about three feet high. No, I don’t really think it was three feet high, but it was all of two and some change. The turkey saw me and took off. Good, I was not in the mood to fight a turkey, I was still concerned about Jimmy Hoffa as I had to put mulch in the garden, and that meant turning over the soil.
Well, it is obvious that the turkeys have it in for Fred. Fred has killed just about everything that lives in the woods at one time or another: When she was a kitten she used to bring them to me. Yes, Fred is female cat. It’s a long story. Damn cat. I think, sort of like that Clint Eastwood movie, Unforgiven, that the birds, mice, chipmunks, (This year has been a tough one for the chipmunks, that’s all I’ll say) and yes, probably the neighborhood dogs too, got together and sent word to the turkeys. I think, like the cowboys in Unforgiven, that Fred’s days are numbered. But if you had told me a year or so ago that a turkey would try to attack a cat? I would have laughed. Not no more. Not no more. This is serious business. These turkeys have taken a contract out on Fred I believe.
Okay, last news. The writing is done for the fifth Earth’s Survivors book. Itwent through editing and is now available. This book, Plague deals with the plague that is sweeping what is left of civilization. Some call them un-dead, some zombies, some plague victims: Although no one can agree on a name, they all agree that there has to be some way to stop them. This book sees the beginnings of Alabama Island, The Fold, and the first babies born in the Nation. It also sees the loss of a major character from the founders of the Nation.