Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot & Classy

Thought for the day:  The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.  [Dudley Moore]

This past weekend, the Atlanta Police Department sponsored a terrific indoor car show with the rather nifty title of Cops and Rodders. 

WOW! Clever title AND a great show!

How about a quick look-see?

The car has become a secular sanctuary for the individual, his shrine to self, his mobile Walden Pond. [Edward McDonagh]

Recognize this vehicle? It's the Bluesmobile. (You know, as in the movie The Blues Brothers?)

Oh, and see anybody you recognize towards the back of the picture? Yup. Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazzard.

Here's the interior of the Bluesmobile. Check out the old computer and fedora on the seat. (There was also enough trash and scattered cheetos lying around to make you expect John Belushi to pop up any sec, too.)

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty woman is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.  [Albert Einstein]

Now, ya know if Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane were around, the General Lee had to be there, too.

This is the official one that travels all over the country for shows. There's a group called Hazzard Life that sells all kinds of memorabilia from the show and dresses up as the characters. One of the guys works for Ben Jones, and I'm thinking this General Lee actually belongs to Jones.

Autographs of the show's original cast members decorate the trunk lid.


In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks. [Scott Adams]

Spiffy looking car, isn't it? A Willys, I think, but I could be wrong.

And HEY! Looks who's in the driver's seat! Walter!
(One of Jeff Dunham's puppet characters.)

I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.  [Mitch Hedley]

Doesn't this car just oooooooze luxury? It's unbelievably quiet, too. It drove up right behind me, and I didn't a thing.

Eighty percent of the people in Britain want more money spent on public transport -- in order that other people will travel on the buses so that there is more room for them to drive their cars.  [John Selwyn Gummer]

Can you tell I'm kinda partial to hot rods? (THIS car I could hear!)

A man goes into a parts store and asks the guy behind the counter if he can have a windshield wiper for his VW. The parts man considers for a minute, and then says, "Yeah. That seems like a fair swap."

Now, how cool is this? Not just a hot rod, but a hot rod with a hot rod trailer!

When buying a used car, punch all the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance the transmission is shot.  [Larry Lujack]

A Corvette ... with a little tyke's Corvette in tow.

When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can be sure of one thing: either the car is new, or the wife is.  

Whatcha think of this trailer? The folks who drive the vintage Ford pick-up towing it don't have to worry a bit about finding a place to eat alongside the road.

And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system. [Robert Brault]

Definition of GPS? It's a device that allows you to get lost with greater precision. [Me]

This was pretty neat, too. A diarama of an old-fashioned Texaco station. (And my not so old-fashioned hubby.)

A traffic tie-up consists of you -- and people who for some reason won't use public transport. [Robert Brault]

This is an award-winning bike. Reminded me a bit of some of the themed bikes the guys on American Chopper used to build.

With all the chrome, rivets, and neon, it was much too flashy for my taste, but the sentiment behind the specialty build was admirable, and the paint job was amazing.

Here's a closer shot of the gas tank. On top of the tank is a painting of a purple heart.

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, and scorn in the one ahead.  [Mac McCleary]

Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da BATMAN!

Okay, enough. Suffice it to say it was a super show, and it also raised a ton of money for the Special Olympics. Win-win. Oh, and a National Guard band called Camouflage played rock and roll music all day. What can I say? It doesn't get much better than that.

                    One last comment: Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.

                                Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, February 27, 2012

All Aboard!!!

Thought for the day:  I didn't get a toy train like the other kids. I got a toy subway instead. You couldn't see anything, but every now and then you'd hear this rumbling noise go by.  [Stephen Wright]

Do you like trains? I've always had kind of a thing for them, whether it be the real thing, the authentic to-scale workable steam engines a friend of ours builds, or the fantasy world of model trains.

Not far from my grandmother's house was an old-fashioned train crossing, the kind with a little bitty building sheltering an honest-to-goodness man, who'd emerge with his little red flag to stop traffic (all one of us) whenever a train was coming. He always waved and smiled at us, and sometimes there'd be another smiling, waving man standing out back of the  little red caboose, too, with a lantern in his hand.

Romanticized memories of lying in bed listening to the haunting sound of train whistles through my grandmother's open windows at night caused me to later suffer a severe case of temporary insanity, during which I thought it would be a swell idea to rent an apartment right next to some train tracks. Suffice it to say the BANG! CRASH! BOOM! steel-laden freight trains from Bethlehem Steel passing by around the clock, causing  mini-earthquakes in our apartment wasn't particularly romantic.

Anyway, not long ago, my husband asked me if I'd like to go to a train show. Not the box cars like we both used to climb on and jump (shhhh!) when we were kids, but model trains. All kinds of model trains.

          Well, heck yeah.

In addition to various gauge models, there were also a bunch of lanterns, the kind I remember those men holding on the cabooses so long ago. And there were sets of dishes from some of the old passenger trains. Lots of neat stuff to look at, especially all the model trains winding through their miniature pretend worlds.

Here's an overview of one of the set-ups.

A horse race! Isn't this the cutest thing?

OOOH! A farm!

A shooting gallery, part of a carnival 

Bumper cars, anyone?
The guy loading the coal car was having entirely too much fun.

The show included all kinds of neat displays (like a BUNCH of carnival rides) with movable parts, flashing lights, sounds, and some buildings so detailed, they looked like someone had zapped the real thing with a sci-fi shrink ray. Check out the details in this general store:

There were tiny gas stations with cars up on a lift, car shows, factories, water towers, a produce stand, diners and even a McDonald's. Lots of intricate details and bits of whimsy. If you've never been to a model train show and have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it. Take the kids and/or grandkids, too. (Children get in for FREE!)

Did you have (or do you still have) model trains? When I was a kid, a number of the fire departments in and around Baltimore set up an enormous Christmas Garden in one of their bays every year. Did the firehouses in your area do that, too? The Dundalk Fire Department, where I used to be mesmerized, stopped doing their Garden in 1978, but another fire department in the area took it over. This is a shot of the new garden. Looks just as magical.

I even found some cool videos taken at the new garden. Here's one of them. Hope you enjoy it:

Time for a quick railroad story about customer service:

 In 1895, after suffering a bunch of bedbug bites while trying to sleep in a Pullman Palace Car, an irate customer wrote a letter of complaint. Soon after, he received a very nice letter of apology from George Pullman's corresponding secretary, in which she thanked him profusely for alerting them to the problem, and explained how extremely rare bedbug bites were. She assured him the car had been properly fumigated and returned to service. The customer might have been mollified, had it not been for one mistake. The secretary inadvertently included Pullman's handwritten note, which read, Sarah, send this S.O.B. the bedbug letter. 

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Always make sure the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Precious Moments of Poetic Justice

Thought for the day:  Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. [Mark Twain]

Most people know that Missouri is known as the Show Me State. That's right; no gullible fools there. So why has a Missouri town celebrated an annual sucker day every year since 1957?

Simple. Because it's not about P.T. Barnum's kind of sucker; this celebration's in honor of a bottom-feeding fish called a sucker. These fish aren't exactly universally appreciated, but they're certainly appreciated in Nixa, Missouri. Once a year, schools and businesses shut down for the day, and the town holds a big ol' sucker fish fry. Sounds good to me, no matter what kind of fish it is. Because, what can I say? When it comes to seafood, I'm (ahem) a real sucker.

Okay, just a couple tidbits before we look at some pictures. At the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups, he got a waffle vendor to help out by rolling up some waffles to hold the ice cream. Thus, (ta-DA!) the birth of the ice cream cone. And the city of St. Joseph has a couple unique claims to fame: that's the town where the Pony Express started ... and Jesse James ended.

The Mark Twain Museum, located in Hannibal, is comprised of multiple buildings, including Twain's boyhood home, the Becky Thatcher House, Huck Finn House, J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, Grant's Drug Store, and a museum gallery. The white picket fence you see in the picture is (you guessed it) the Tom Sawyer fence.

The most recognizable landmark in the state is probably the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. At a height of 630 feet, it's the tallest man-made monument in the country, and was built to honor the pioneers who passed through Missouri on their way out west. In east St. Louis is a more recent landmark: the Gateway Geyser fountain, which mirrors the arch by blasting water 630 feet in the air. (four times a day)

But Kansas City is the city for fountains. Second only to Rome in number, this city boasts two hundred of them. Pictured is the picturesque J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in Mill Creek Park.

How about this? Would you believe a Precious Moments Park? Here, you'll see a studio, chapel, and lots of figurines. Betcha you can even find some for sale.

The Butterfly House is located in Chesterfield, where the conservatory houses nearly 2000 butterflies. The  sculpture in the picture is entitled Mysterious Monarch. [Artist Bob Cassill]

And then there's Branson, with all its tourist attractions and celebrity-owned theaters. Sounds like a cross between Grand Ol' Opry type music and Vegas style shows. The performers shown in the picture are the Duttons. I must say, I'm not familiar with them, but they definitely aren't the Rolling Stones.

Sedalia is considered the cradle of classical ragtime music, and that's because Scott Joplin, the father of ragtime,  lived and taught here. At left is the Scott Joplin House.

Okay, time for a musical interlude. The Joplin tune you are probably most familiar with is The Entertainer, but here's a clip of another of his compositions, and that's actually him you hear playing the piano:

Winston Churchill monument and library

On May 5, 1945, Winston Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. On May 6, 1992, Mikhail Gorbachev came to the same campus to give a speech, which he delivered beside the school's Winston Churchill monument. It was there that Gorbachev announced the end of the cold war.

When the Berlin Wall fell, Churchill's granddaughter acquired a piece of it for the school, and had a sculpture made to honor the Iron Curtain speech.

The sculpture is entitled Break Through.

One last thing, before we go on to check out the silly laws still on the books. Would you like to hear a tidbit of that famous Iron Curtain speech?

                                     Okeydoke, then. Let's have some fun with those laws, shall we?

  • Single men between the age of 21 and 50 must pay an annual tax of one dollar. 
  • It is NOT illegal to speed. (I wouldn't recommend pushing the limit on this one.)
  • Anyone under 21 who carries out household trash with even a single empty alcohol beverage container can be charged with illegal possession of alcohol. (Betcha chore-averse kids like this one.)
  • In Columbia, it's illegal to have an exposed outdoor antenna, but you can have a twenty-five foot satellite dish. (As amateur radio operators can tell you, unfortunately, this law isn't all that uncommon.)
  • Following the same sort of logic, it is also illegal to have clotheslines, but it's perfectly fine to dry clothes by draping them over your fence. (Oh yes, that looks so much better ...)
  • In Kansas City, it's against the law for minors to purchase a cap gun, but they're clear to buy shotguns. (Can't go hunting with a cap gun ...)
  • Also in K.C., it's illegal to install bathtubs with legs that resemble animal paws. (Ewwww! Can you imagine a tub with big ol' human feet with gnarly toes?)
  • In Marceline, minors may purchase rolling papers and tobacco, but they may NOT buy lighters. (Matches it is, then.)
  • It's illegal to frighten a baby in Mole. (So stop making those funny faces!)
  • According to Natchez law, it's illegal to provide beer or other intoxicants to elephants. (It's very difficult to pick poop-faced pachyderms off the parquet.)
  • Dancing is strictly prohibited in Purdy. 
  • In St. Louis, it's against the law to sit on the curb of any city street and drink beer from a bucket. (Better stick with bottles.)
  • And finally, in University City, you aren't allowed to honk someone else's horn. (But you can probably toot his trumpet.)

And now, my little chickadees, it's times, once again,  for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  Heck, I dunno. Maybe the guy has a keen imagination and thought he was wielding a light saber. And maybe he thought his jeans and tee shirt were actually Darth Vader garb. Whatever he was thinking, authorities have been unable to shed any light on the identity of the would-be robber who stormed into a San Diego gas station this week with a florescent light bulb in hand. He smashed it on the counter (maybe he couldn't get the darned thing to work) and demanded loot, but the clerk didn't buy into the fantasy. Not only did he not give the guy any money, but he hooted him out of the place and back into the dark, light bulb-less night.

***  This may look like one of the fake billboards I post from time to time, but nope. Not this time. This is an actual billboard currently strutting its stuff over the Bruckner Expressway in New York. And local residents aren't at all happy about it. You see, the Bronx area of Hunts Point, where the billboard is located,  has been trying to clean up its image as a hotbed of prostitution, and this billboard ain't exactly helping. This isn't the first time the vodka company stirred up controversy with their billboard, either; last November, that sign read, Christmas Quality; Hanukkah Pricing. Can't help but wonder what the non-PC company is gonna come up with next. May I suggest 1% Quality; 99% Pricing?

***  An impatient Porsche driver in San Francisco wasn't happy about being stuck in traffic, so he set out to do something about it. You've seen this sort of driver before; we all have. They're usually behind the wheel of a high-dollar car, and I suppose they figure they're above the mundane laws of the road governing the rest of us peons. Anyway, they generally have no problem making their own lanes. Like the privileged characters they are, they'll whip down the shoulder or emergency lane to get past the traffic jam, and then count on the kindness of strangers to let them back on the road. That's exactly what the Porsche driver tried to do, only the empty lane he claimed was empty for a very good reason. A nice, wet, freshly-poured concrete reason. The guy went from being merely stuck in traffic to really stuck. Workers had to dig the car out, and though the incident may have ruined that Porsche dude's day, I have a feeling the other snickering drivers and pointing passersby considered it a delightful case of poetic justice.

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dancing With ... Pigs?

Thought for the day:  Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain. 

Wow, another really sweet award. This one came to me from Madeleine, at Scribble and Edit And guess what? No requirements this time. I don't have to tell you what my favorite color is, or who put the bop in the bop she bop she bop, or anything. All I have to do is pass the award on to another blogger I deem creative. AFTER I say a huge Thank you to Madeleine, of course. So, thank you, Madeleine. I'm honored.

I'm gonna pass this award on to a really super lady, who reeeally knows her way around making her blog look terrific. (Even if she DID remove all the gorgeous cardinals from her header picture ...) Anyway, I'm happy to crown the delightful Arleen of Accepting Changes- Maybe as an incredibly creative (um, make that Kreativ) Blogger. Hip-hip-hoo-RAY!

Um, I've been thinking. If I ... uh ...  offended any tender sensibilities out there with my last post, mea culpa. (But really, I thought it was as funny as a fart in a closed elevator...)  Sorry.  I'll behave myself today. Starting now. Promise.

In fact,  I'm gonna try to wriggle into your good graces like a smelly little pig in a basket full of puppies.

Got room for me?

 I fit right in. (And hardly any schtink.)

My table manners are impeccable. I never spill a drop.

When's my hair gonna turn brown?

My new mommy wuvs me.

And I wuv her.

We're just one big happy family.

Oh, listen! Is that rain? Oh, goody.  I think there's a broken umbrella in the hall closet ... now, where ARE those dance shoes ...?

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blowing in the Wind

Thought for the day:  Beans, beans, the musical fruit; the more you eat, the more you toot. The more you toot, the better you'll feel, so beans, beans for every meal!

Nope; it wasn't ME!
Have you ever wondered what makes something funny? What makes one person laugh uproariously at a comic, while the next holds his nose and says the routine stinks?  I mean, we all laugh at something. Even little babies laugh.

Music and laughter ... universal languages. Is there anything better than the sound of a baby's unbridled belly laugh? That in itself sounds like music. We cross our eyes and stick out our tongues and make all kinds of faces at them, tickle their chubby little bellies, and make weird noises, just to entertain them, hoping to see and hear their precious laughter.

And what does almost every baby in the world think is funny?

                                         Apparently, they're partial to farts ... those musical toots.

Please don't think lesser of me, but (gasp!) so am I. There must be something wrong with me. Maybe a twisted kink in my DNA helix has stunted my maturation process. That would explain it. Why else would a woman my age still think flatulence is so darned funny?

I know. Embarrassing, isn't it?

What three qualities matter most to you in the people you hang around with? For me, it'd have to be kindness, intelligence, and a good sense of humor. But lately, I've begun to question the quality of my sense of humor, because I must admit; few things are off-limits to me when it comes to cracking a joke or twisting words into a groan-worthy pun, and it doesn't take a lot to make me laugh.

Like last week. While talking to a  gastroenterologist's appointment nurse on the phone, I asked her where I should report. Upstairs, where my regular doc saw patients? No, I was to go downstairs. "Figures," I said. "In the bowels of the building." Nothing. (Tough audience.) So I apologized, and said she must hear that all the time. Nope. I was the first. See? Sick sense of humor.

Then there was the time my husband came home from a hunting trip and told me about a rather harrowing experience he'd had driving one of the other fellas to the hospital. (The poor guy fell out of a tree stand.) On the way to the hospital, my husband looked out his truck window and saw a wheel roll past. Turned out it was HIS wheel. Needless to say, he got everything fixed, and got the guy to the hospital okay, but what would YOU have said to him under the circumstances? Me? I sang. Uh-huh. I sang, You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel ...  See? Sick, sick, sick.  But not as sick as my penchant for potty humor.

Years ago, when our daughter was about eleven, she ... how shall I say this ... cut the cheese in church. Not noisily, mind you, but with an exuberant and lingering bouquet. Most normal mothers would have scolded her for not saving her stink for the bathroom, or at least given her a suitably disapproving look. Not me. I leaned over and whispered, "Gives a whole new meaning to church pew, huh?"

Fortunately, we weren't asked to vacate the premises.

This is an ACTUAL musical!
But I can't help it. I think the sounds of  flatulence are absolutely hysterical.

Call me gauche, but the very idea of a musical about a man's fartistic abilities strikes me as fall-down-on-the-floor funny. (I mean, really! Can you imagine a man on stage tooting his arse  like a trumpet?)

                                             Can you watch this video without laughing? I can't.

The end of last year, my husband and I encountered two little boys playing with toys they'd pulled off the shelf in the Dollar Store. Whoopie cushions. The more rude noises they squeezed out of them, the more they laughed. Um, me too. Matter of fact, I just HAD to get me one of those things. For one of our grandsons, of course. Didn't mean I couldn't entertain myself by squeezing it as we went through the store. (WHAT? I had to make sure it worked, didn't I?) Anyhow, the intended recipient of the grand gift didn't enjoy it nearly as much as his younger siblings. Especially the twenty-month-old, who would squeeze out a good one, wrinkle his nose, and say, "EWWWWW! Schtinky!" Then he'd laugh hysterically. Um, me too.

It was about then I began to wonder if some aspects of my humor weren't a tad juvenile. I mean, laughing at the same thing a twenty-month-old found amusing? The same thing that makes babies all over the world laugh?

But, as it turns out, I'm not alone. That book on the left? Belongs to my husband. Our daughter gave it to him. (Yeah, I probably ruined her with that pew crack.) The shameful truth is ... our whole family cracks up at bathroom humor.

And we aren't the only ones. The reason for this, I don't know, but many people find flatulence hilarious. Not burps, or hiccoughs, or sneezes ... just poots.

My husband emailed me a newspaper article recently about a little girl who won a speech contest with her speech about ... you guessed it ... farts. I even read an article in a scientific journal about a medical researcher whose major focus is studying ... you guessed it ...  farts. (Guess his lab is in the bowels of the building too, eh?) Sorry. And another about an Australian study to determine whether pooting in the O.R. could contaminate the field of operation. The conclusion? There's a minute possibility, but only if the perpetrator is naked and taking direct aim at the surgical site. But, don't worry about your surgeon eating beans. According to the study, flatus germs are as benign as the bacteria in your yogurt. Both of these article, I must say, although reporting on the results of serious studies, (or as serious as studies in this particular field can be) were full of puns, innuendos, and fart jokes. Y'know, like something I would've written.

                                                               Kinda made me proud.

So, um bottom line, maybe I'm okay after all. Right. I'm a mature sophisticated woman. (Shut up. This is MY fantasy.) And maybe I'm not the only one with an inner child squealing I don't wanta pull your finger.

So, how's the wind blow with you? Fart jokes crack you up, too, or do they just plain stink?  And what's the most inappropriate thing you've ever said or done in the name of humor? Come on. You can tell me ...

                                There was an old fellow named Clyde
                                Who fell into an outhouse and died.
                                One day, his brother
                                Fell into another,
                                And now they're in-turd side by side.

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.