Check This Out (#31)

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Is it just me, or are supermarket checkout lines insane? Do you know that grocery stores spend millions of dollars a year hiring marketing geniuses to devise insidious ways to suck more money out of your pockets at checkout lines? It’s true. You may have noticed, there’s always at least twelve checkout lines, but only two or three are open at any one time.

This is done on purpose. Let me explain. Have you ever waited in line for what seems like hours under hot and glaring lights, until you’re ready to pass out from dehydration? When you finally approach the conveyor line, what’s the first thing you see? Yes, a cooler stocked with high-priced, cold, frosty, and delicious sodas, juices and bottled water. Diabolical, isn’t it.

After finishing off a twenty-four ounce bottle of tap water, and dumping six more in your cart, what do you see next? Right, shelves full of gum and candy. If you have kids with you, I hope you put blindfolds on them before you got to the checkouts, because the candy is opposite the conveyor, and only six inches off the ground. Oh, don’t forget the papers with aliens on them, diet books, people magazine, and the packs of batteries next to the gum. We always need more batteries, right? Wait a minute; is that super glue and toe-nail clippers?

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That’s Why We Call Them Pets (#30)

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I was sitting in my recliner the other day watching TV, when my Cat, Harper, jumped up on the arm of the chair, and started purring. This was his normal signal that he wanted to be petted. I don’t know about your cat, but Harper has, not only a specific time-frame of approximately thirty seconds for petting and gentle scratching, but clearly noted areas of his body, which can and cannot be touched.

 

Rubbing of the top of his head, behind each ear, along the full length of his back, and continuing to the tip of his tail is okay. Any petting, rubbing or scratching anywhere else, and especially the belly is met with an ear-piercing meow, and the possible nipping of any fingers foolish enough to be close to his razor-sharp teeth.

 

After Harper’s usual thirty seconds, he got bored, turned to me with a dismissive glance, jumped off the chair, and went in search of food or a warm place to take a sixteen hour nap. His behavior got me thinking, and I called over my dog, Chase. It should be noted that Chase loves to be petted. Normally, all I have to do is raise my arm to about two feet off the ground with my palm facing down, and he will run over, and place the top of his head firmly against my palm. I decided to do a little research on dogs, and how much they enjoy human contact.

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For Whom the Bell Tolls (#29)

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I was standing on my deck this morning, as a few small birds ate from a bird feeder I keep filled during the winter months. As I watched my feathered friends, I began to hear a faint, intermittent jingling. It sounded like either wind chimes or a very small bell. The strange thing is, the sound wasn’t continuous. It would ring for a few seconds, stop, and then a few moments later, start again. Eventually, the birds stopped feeding, and began to swivel their heads back and forth, as if confused by the sound.

Suddenly, a large black cat sprang from behind an azalea bush, and raced towards the bird feeder. Within seconds, and amid the sound of a constantly ringing bell; the birds took flight, and disappeared. I love cats, but I couldn’t help but mount a hearty cheer for the birds, who due to a small bell, had once again escaped the cruel hand of fate. The cat was left to gaze up at the empty feeder, and plan for a future ambush. If I could read his mind, I’d probably hear,

“Darn it-not again! That’s the fourth time this week. I used to be so good at this. What am I doing wrong? I move slowly, stalk my unsuspecting prey, and attack at the right moment. Heck, I even hear a dinner bell ringing.”

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The Stuff Dreams are Made Of (#28)

 

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This may sound a little crazy, but I think my wife is trying to drive me insane. The other night, right around bedtime, she was watching a nature show. I asked her what it was about. She said it was a documentary on polar bears, and their struggle to survive in a rapidly changing environment due to global warming.  The strange thing is, after I yawned and said, “goodnight;” she looked me in the eye, and in a quiet, yet eerie voice said,

“Do you know that polar bears like too……… eat people?”

I didn’t think too much about it at first, but when she got into bed a little later, she said in the same quiet, mesmerizing voice,

“It’s true. An adult polar bear is the only bear which will purposely stalk, attack, kill, and devour a human being.”

As I was slowly drifting off to sleep, I sensed her move closer to me. I’m not quite sure, but I swear she whispered something in my ear. It was jumbled, and didn’t make a lot of sense, but it sounded like,

“White Bear, huge, teeth, eat, man, can’t escape, yummy.”

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Counting Down the Days (#27)

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I come from a family with many relatives, who have lived healthy and productive lives far into their nineties. I don’t smoke, drink in moderation, try to eat healthy, and exercise regularly. I figured, I had many good years ahead of me. Now, I’m not so sure.

I recently read an article by a Physician in Brazil, who claims he’s devised a simple yet extremely accurate test to determine if you will either live many more years, or if the Grim Reaper is just down the street, and asking directions to your house.

I tried the test yesterday, and have some good news, and some bad news. The good news is, my wills been updated, my family’s been taken care of, and my funerals been prepaid. The bad news is, some kid showed up at my front door this morning with a black hoodie pulled up over his head, and a snow shovel in one hand. I swear, I was mere seconds from having a massive coronary. I think he wanted to clear my driveway and walk, but he ran away when I got down on my knees, clasped my hands together, and said,

“For the love of God, please don’t take me. I’m too young to die. Why don’t you go across the street to old widow Murphy’s house? She’s at least a hundred, and been coughing and sniffling all week!”

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Valentine’s Day-and Love is in Bloom (#26)

 

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Oh, Oh. I just looked at my calendar, and saw Valentines Day is almost here. I wonder if I have time to take out a bank loan, or remortgage my house, so I can prove my undying love to my wife with some incredibly expensive gift. I saw Cadillac is having a sale this week on their Escalades. My wife would look great in one with the black raven exterior, and the jet black interior. Maybe, I can even have them mount a five-carat diamond ring to the steering wheel.

Sorry for that little bit of sarcasm. I work hard all year trying to be a good husband. I’m tired of all the Valentine’s Day commercials trying to make me feel guilty, if I don’t spend a fortune on some lavish and expensive gift. Whatever happened to the simple hand-made card with “I Love You,” written in big red letters, the quiet, romantic dinner at a corner booth at Applebees, snuggling on the couch, and watching “Pretty Woman” or “Titanic” for the fortieth time?

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What Do You Mean I’m Not Cool? (#25)

 

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I’ve racked my brain the past few days, in a futile attempt to determine the exact moment when I stopped being cool. Until recently, I had always thought I was pretty cool, hip, groovy, and up-to-date on the latest trends in fashion, music, and popular culture. Do you know how I found out I wasn’t cool anymore? My teenage son told me.

It seems that being cool has changed since John Travolta became famous while dancing his way to stardom in “Saturday Night Fever,” the Rolling Stones led by Mick Jagger were cavorting all over the stage, singing “I can’t get no satisfaction, and custom vans were the hottest things on the street.

I still can’t believe I’ve lost my cool. I try to be cool; I really do. I don’t wear suspenders, bib overalls, bow ties, thick glasses, pocket protectors, knee-high black socks with dress shoes and Bermuda shorts, or wear pants, either four inches too short, or pulled up to my chest.

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Slowly Becoming…..Bleached Bones (#24)

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The other day, I complained to a friend about the extreme cold, which had turned the northeastern United States into a bleak and desolate landscape of snow, ice, blustery winds, and frigid temperatures. His response was,

“What’s this with cold? Just six months ago, you were whining to me about how hot it was. You said you were miserable, and couldn’t wait for winter.”

“He’s right,” I thought to myself. I do hate hot weather. I guess the question is, which one do I hate more? That’s a tough one. Do I dislike dressing in five layers of clothing, shivering uncontrollably, and fighting off polar bears with an ice scraper, or sweating profusely, removing drifting sand from my driveway, and getting trampled by nasty camels? I asked my wife for help deciding, since she knows how much I hate both cold and hot weather. She said,

“What would be worse; dying from exposure to freezing temperatures, or expiring from excessive heat?”

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Frozen….. Coming to a Household Near You (#23)

Is it just me, or does cold really suck? I live in the northeastern U.S., and the temperature this morning was hovering around fifteen degrees, with a wind chill close to zero. I took my dog, Chase for a long walk, and I swear, when I got home, my head was frozen solid. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little…… But it was close. After I gave the penguins who had followed me to my front door, warm blankets, and some steaming mugs of hot chocolate, I wrapped my head in a heating pad.

Right now, my house feels like I’m in that Disney movie, Frozen. It’s been worse since I installed one of those programmable thermostats to save money. It has six basic settings. They include: 72 degrees, 68 degrees, a little chilly in here, brrrrrrrr, I think I have frostbite, and my favorite; off.  The good news is, if I ever have a heart attack, I might just survive. When the paramedics arrive, I’ll be frozen solid, they won’t need a stretcher to haul me to the ambulance, and I can be thawed out at the hospital, and hopefully revived.

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Storm of the Century! (#22)

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I guess the weather people did it to us again. I live in the northeastern United States, and prepared for what the experts at the Weather Channel were calling, “The Storm of the Century.” They had predicted a massive blizzard with the possibility of up to 3 feet of snow, hurricane force winds of 80 miles per hour, drifting snow, frigid temperatures, white-out conditions, and the possible extinction of all life in a 250 mile swath of heavily populated areas from Philly to Boston.

Major cities like Philadelphia and New York became ghost towns as airports canceled flights, businesses closed down, transit systems stopped running, and authorities ordered all non-essential vehicles off the streets. Thousands of snow plows loaded with salt, parked and waited, as eager operators prepared for what could only be described as Armageddon. I heard it was so crazy, homeless people were attaching plows to the front of their shopping carts!

I spent a day preparing for the impending blizzard. I fought my way through supermarkets devoid of bread, milk and eggs, gassed up my generator, unloaded 200 pounds of ice melt from my truck, placed a cord of wood by my fireplace, and made sure I loaded my hunting rifle, in case packs of hungry wolves attacked in a desperate search for food.

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