Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Thought for the day: Hey, I'm not old, baby ... I'm classic.

Hot Rod? Yeah ... sleek, classy ... I like it!
Since way back before we were married, my husband called me Hot Rod. Not sure why. Was it my classy chassis? My shiny good looks? Surely, it wasn't my rumbling exhaust system, because I never did that around him until after we were married. And he only wished I was racy ... or fast. 

Maybe it was just because ... he liked me? He sure as heck liked cars. Especially hot rods. Still does, because he's a real deal gearhead. Which means, since we were teenagers, he's been a skilled shade tree mechanic who can pretty much rebuild an engine with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back. Slight exaggeration, but not by much.

Now, as I've explained a few times before,  I come from a long line of wanderers ... y'knowpeople who possess an inordinate ability to get lost. When we were dating, hubby would entertain himself for hours by driving somewhere, and then letting me direct him home from the middle of that God-only-knows-where nowhere. So, I suppose it's somewhat understandable that my father was, shall we say, dubious when, in the fall of 1968,  I told him my favorite gearhead and I were going to enter a road rally. With him behind the wheel, and ME (har-de-har-har) as the navigator.

This is the car he drove back then. Big Red, we called her. A 1961 Chevy Impala. Not exactly the kind of car one associates with a road rally, is it?

At registration, each team received multiple pages of instructions. In code. Kinda. It might say something like "2 L after circle S." That meant to take the second left turn, and the "circle S" turned out to be a monogrammed screen door on one of the houses at the side of the road. Tricky, huh?

We ran into a teensy bit of trouble with one of the directions. It said RT. Right turn, right? That's what I thought, too. But it wasn't. It was "Right AT THE T." So we lost some time getting back on course. Not to worry. We (ahem) made the time up quite handily. However, when we flew over a covered bridge, we literally FLEW. Pulled a regular yee-HA General Lee kinda maneuver. When Big Red came back to earth, I was sitting under the steering wheel. On his lap. Nice, but not terribly conducive to good driving. (He installed seat belts shortly after that.)

                                                                          Bottom line?

First Place Driver!!!

And if you can believe it, this direction-impaired, can't fold, let alone read a map person?

Holy moly! I won first place, too!!!!

After we moved to Georgia and were raising a family, he was too busy being an engineer at the foreskin of technology, (his words, not mine) to spend much time playing with cars. However, in the seventies, he and a buddy did build an econorail. You know ... a dragster?

That's ME sitting in there. Wow! It felt awesome.

Here's a better look at the champion window-rattler. The only sad thing is, after all the work it took to build her, they never got to race her. Not even once. Turned out the track didn't have proper insurance to cover that class vehicle back then, so they ended up selling her. Bummer!

Now, lo and behold, my better half is once again enjoying life as a gearhead. His three project cars are a gorgeous banana cream El Camino with a black racing stripe, a Corvette,  and my personal favorite, the Rat Rod:

1930 Model A

He put the original Model A body on an S-10 chassis, which facilitated a lot of modern safety features. How do you like that1958 Mercedes grill? We found it at a car show/swap meet when we went to Florida.

Another shot of his baby.
He took her out for a quick test run last week, and couldn't believe how FAST that girl can go. There's a long way to go before she's finished, but she is gonna be one awesome rat rod.

Hmmm, know what? He hasn't called me Hot Rod for quite a while. Shoot, I dunno,  maybe he oughta start calling me Rat Rod, instead.  After all, I may not have much rust, but I could use some extensive body work. And a good paint job. (But I still have plenty of VROOM under my hood!)

Oh, yeah. There IS a moral to my road rally story, if you think about it:

 With the  proper drive(r), you CAN overcome your weaknesses ... and you CAN win.

Still together, after all these years.

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Can't We?

Thought for the day: And one day the lion and lamb shall lie down together.

No, not THIS Noah's Ark!

My brother was in town for a couple days the week before Thanksgiving, and he, my hubby, and I took a trip to a really neat place. Noah's Ark. That's what the place is called ... it's not like we made a quick run to Mt. Ararat or anything.

It's actually a privately-owned animal sanctuary here in Georgia. A sprawling place which a variety of furry, scaly, and feathered animals now call home. (And some of the ... "Hello! Pretty bird!" ... feathered ones are VERY talkative!)

This emu was almost as interested in watching us as we were in watching him. There was an extremely large group (flock? herd?) of emus at the sanctuary. Not sure why there were so many of them. Maybe some breeders unloaded them on the facility.

In spite of the thought for the day, we didn't see any actual lambs and lions cuddling up together, but we did see something almost as startling.

Above is a shelter within the enclosure for three very special critters. If you look closely, you can see a tiger lying on the porch. See him? (Sorry ... couldn't make the zoom on my camera work.)

And HERE, resting beside the fence, is a lion.

And here's the lion and tiger ... TOGETHER! Oh my!

And, surprise! Above, you'll see the third member of this unusual trio. When the chow wagon drew near, the bear lumbered out to join the cats. Guess he was hungry.

Here's the three of them together.

And another shot of the three amigos.

The bear and tiger kept nuzzling each other affectionately.
The lion is slurping on what the caretakers called a beef popsicle.

So, what's their story? How is it that these three animals, who would ordinarily be considered mortal foes, can live and play together in peace? They've been raised together since they were cubs, when they were confiscated from drug dealers.Bottom line, who cares how their species behave in the wild? These three are friends. And perhaps, therein lies an important lesson for all of us.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Silly Thanksgiving Ditty

Thought for the day:  An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving day.  Irv Kupcine

I'm optimistic, but I'm not stupid, so I won't even pretend to count calories on Thanksgiving. At best, maybe I'll exercise a little discretion and only eat one piece of pie. And skip the whipped cream. (I know. Such phenomenal control.)

Some years ago, when one of our kids was in middle school, I wrote a silly poem for one of the bulletin boards I'd been asked to design for the school's hallway. The senior Bush was president at that time, but with a quick presto change-o to that part of the poem, I'm gonna go with it here for an easy lazy extremely thoughtful post for your enjoyment.

And so, without further ado, I give you ...

                                                                Turkey Blues

                                                There once was a turkey named Jake,
                                                Said, "How much must we poor turkeys take?
                                                When Thanksgiving rolls round,
                                                We must go underground;
                                                Why can't all those people eat STEAK?"

                                                   Now, turkeys may not be so pretty,
                                                   Can't fly, and aren't very witty,
                                                   But with a leader like Jake, 
                                                   A chance they might take,
                                                   So a bunch of them left for the city.

                                                   Jake led a big march on D.C.
                                                  (The IN place for protests, you see)
                                                  "We don't want any fights.
                                                  But we, too, should have rights,
                                                  For this is the land of the free!"

                                                  Obama came out on the green
                                                  With the most turkeys I've ever seen,
                                                   Said, "The issue is not at all murky ...
                                                   Rights are for MAN and not TURKEY;
                                                   That's the way that it always has been."

                                                  Thanksgiving is special in the U.S. of A.
                                                  And turkeys are heroes, I'd like to say.
                                                  So thank the next turkey you meet on the street
                                                  For being so terribly tasty to eat
                                                  And have a great Thanksgiving Day!


Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.      Erma Bombeck

Dunno if I'll be back to post on Friday or not. (Might still be deep in the throes of digestion.) At any rate, until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. 

I YAM wishing you all  a blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gratitude, Grins, and Groaners

Thought for the day:  Gratitude is an attitude.

But it just isn't fair. When you get to be as old as I am, this simply shouldn't happen. The wrinkles, sags, and extra beef on the booty? Yeah, comes with the territory, and I expected it. No biggie.

But THIS????

Really? You've gotta be kidding me.

A ZIT? Right on the tip of my nose? Not just a polite little white pimple, either. This proud puppy looks like it's ticked off at the world, and to tell ya the truth, if it gets much bigger, it may qualify for its own zip code.  It's ... it's ... well, it's just plain UNDIGNIFIED is what it is. Not at ALL grandmotherly looking.

Oh well, if nothing else, this thing should help keep me humble, right? I mean, it's hard to get too full of myself when there's a flipping  horn growing out of my nose. Ah, what the heck? I've always liked unicorns.


Psychotherapist and radio talk show host Dr. Laura used to say, Gratitude is an attitude. Whether you like her or not, I think she was right about that. ( I don't have to rejoice over the zit, but I can certainly be grateful for the nose it's growing on, right?)

The most memorable lesson I ever received about gratitude came from the book The Hiding Place. 

Written by Corrie ten Boom, who died in 1983, this book tells the tale of how she and her Christian family hid Jews in their home, and then ended up in a concentration camp for their efforts. While she was interred, in spite of the deplorable living conditions and atrocities on every side, her faith remained strong. In fact, she embraced a Bible verse about "giving thanks for all things." So one of the things she prayed for? One of the all things for which she gave heartfelt thanks every day?

She gave thanks for the fleas.

Yes, the fleas. Can you imagine? The infestation in her tent was so bad, the guards refused to enter it. And because they stayed away, she was able to hold Bible studies in there, and to pray in peace.

There's something terribly humbling about the image of someone expressing sincere gratitude for something as vile and loathsome as fleas, isn't there?  Kinda puts things in perspective. Every time I start to feel a little ungrateful for something petty like this stupid pimple, I think of those fleas. And I make a conscious effort to ratchet up the gratitude. Come to think of it, maybe this gigantic pimple is intended to remind me of my gigantic blessings. And just in time for Thanksgiving, too.

Okay, how about some silly Thanksgiving riddles? Ready? Here goes.

  • What sort of glass should you use to serve cream of turkey soup? A goblet.
  • What's Alan Alda's favorite Thanksgiving dish?  M*A*S*Hed potatoes.
  • What do you call sweet potatoes that are very outspoken? Candid yams.
  • If I have relatives with Mohawk haircuts, multiple facial piercings, and a bunch of tattoos, what should I serve them for dessert? Punk kin pie.
  • Not only was my neighbor's turkey infected with salmonella, but she undercooked it.  Guess what all her guests suffered the next day? Yup, 'fraid so. The turkey trots.
  • The local restaurant served overcooked turkey, lumpy gravy, and cold mashed potatoes. Know how they advertised it? As the blooperplate special.
  • NYC is placing tall bleachers up and down Broadway so spectators can get a better view of what slightly renamed event? The May See Parade.
  • What famous play about a Thanksgiving turkey was written by Henrik Ibsen? Hedda Gobbler. 
Okay, enough groaners for now. Time to go spackle my nose with Noxzema, and try to get rid of this thing before I have to name it. (Hmmm, think we could claim it as a dependent?) And count my blessings. Care to join me? Check out this video  It'll put ya in the right mood.

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Boozing Boxers and Tooting Stars

Thought for the day:  There really is more than corn in Indiana. There's soybeans, too.

In case you didn't know it, Baltimore had the Colts FIRST. Baltimore had Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry, Alan Ameche, Art Donovan, and a host of other amazing football players. The Baltimore Colts won the 1958 world championship in sudden death overtime, in what's been hailed as the best football game of all time. B'more had Colts bowling alleys, Johnny U's restaurant, and it was always fun to "Meetcha at Ameche's" restaurant for a cherry coke and the best burger in town. Baltimore loved the Colts. Until they left.

Now they belong to Indianapolis. Not that I'm bitter. After all, my husband and I left Baltimore, too. (But at least WE didn't sneak away in the middle of the night.)


Okay, in case you couldn't tell, we're looking at Indiana today.

What can I say? Ya gotta love a state that sports a smiley-faced water tower.

So, what can we say about Indiana? Like the other states in the corn belt, their idea of a traffic jam means ten cars waiting to pass a tractor, and these folks definitely know what's knee-high by the fourth of July. They say you can drive three hours in Indiana without seeing a change in the scenery, and every festival in the state is named after a fruit, grain, or vegetable. Also, bib overalls are considered appropriate attire for attending funerals. Most residents are proud to be called a Hoosier, although no one's sure how they got that name or what it means. The state has a lot of farmland, and most residents take their basketball seriously.

What else?

Most people are familiar with the Indianapolis Speedway. That's where the Indianapolis 500 race is  held every year. When the first race was held there on May 30, 1911, it was the first long-distance race in the country, the winner averaged 75 MPH, and he won a prize of $14,000. Now, qualifying speeds are more than 220 MPH, and the prize, more than $1.5 million.

There are a LOT of covered bridges in Indiana. In fact, Parke County, with thirty-two of them, is considered the Covered Bridge capital of the world.

The East Race Waterway, in South Bend, is the only man-made white-water raceway in North American.

Indianapolis boasts the largest, and according to Child magazine, the BEST children's museum in the world. Among other things, it includes a huge 5-level playground.

Here's another museum that sounds like a winner. Ruthmere Museum, housed in a Beaux Arts mansion, is a destination of choice for art lovers, history buffs, and antique enthusiasts. Sounds like my kinda place.

Would you believe there's a city in Indiana named Santa Claus? Didn't start out that way. Originally, it was called Santa Fe, but because another city in the state already had the same name, they had to change it in order to get a post office. So, in 1856, it became Santa Claus, and its post office now receives an average of 10,000 letters every Christmas. Santa Claus Museum, appropriately enough, is located at the intersection of Christmas Boulevard and Kris Kringle Place. 

Muncie's Ball State University was built mostly from funds contributed by the founder of the Ball Company, maker of glass canning jars. Ergo, the school's name.

If you're still smirking over the name of that school, you're gonna love the name of this town:

Yeah, it's an unusual name, all right, and I'm not sure of its origins, but the town does have a pretty nifty railroad museum.

Okay, time to move on now, and take a look at some of Indiana's laws.

  • If any person receives money for a puppet show, wire dancing, or tumbling act, they will be fined three dollars under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices. (Immoral? Jeez, I dunno ... maybe somebody was dancing on that wire in the nude?)
  • Anyone fourteen or older who profanely curses, damns, or swears by the name of God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Ghost, shall be fined one to three dollars for each offense, with a maximum fine of ten dollars a day. (I wonder if frequent offenders pay their ten bucks in advance?)
  • A three-dollar fine will be imposed on anyone playing cards in the state, under the Act for the Prevention of Gaming. (Cards? Oh no ,no, no. Oughta fine Monopoly players.)
  • The value of pi is three. (Now, I don't care who you are ... that's FUNNY!)
  • It's illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public. (Salt peter in the public water fountains maybe?)
  • No baths are permitted between October and March. (That oughta stink bomb arousals, too.)
  • A man over the age of eighteen may be arrested for statutory rape if the under-seventeen passenger in his car isn't wearing socks and shoes. (Nothing at all funny about this one.)
  • It's against the law to pass a horse on the street. (It's really hard to get the proper spiral and distance, anyway.) (Pssst, think football ...)
  • It's illegal for a liquor store to sell soft drinks or milk.
  • You can get out of paying a dependent's medical care by praying for him/her. (Finally, an insurance plan for the Masses.)
  • It's illegal to back into a parking space.
  • Smoking in the state legislature is banned ... except for when the legislature is in session.
  • Pedestrians crossing the highway at night are prohibited from wearing tail lights. (How about headlights?)
  • Spiteful gossip and talking behind another person's back is illegal.
  • State government officials who engage in private duels can be dismissed from their posts. (One way or the other.)
  • Mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to kiss other humans. (Okay for kissing other species, I suppose.)
  • In Beech Grove, it's illegal to eat watermelon in the park.
  • In Elkhart, it's against the law for barbers to threaten to cut off a child's ears. (I wonder how many kids that barber terrorized before this law was enacted?)
  • In Gary, a person may not enter a movie house, theater, or ride a public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic. 
  • In Indianapolis, it's against the law to ride horses more than 10 MPH.
  • And it's only legal to throw a stone at a bird if it's done in self-defense. 
  • And no one is allowed to collect rags on Sundays.
  • In South Bend, it's illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette. (Give him a cigar.)
  • And finally, in Warsaw, you can't throw an old computer across the street at your neighbor. (Better stick to the guy next door, I guess.)

Okay, here we go, the moment you've all been waiting for .. it's time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  That pug looks a little glum, doesn't he? Maybe he has a tummy ache from his "heavy" diet. That's Harley, this year's Hambone Award winner, which goes to the pet whose owner filed the year's most unusual pet insurance claim. Sponsored by the Veterinary Insurance Company, the award was inspired a few years ago by a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham. (burp) Harley's diet was a little out of the ordinary. He happened to eat ... and poop ... a hundred rocks. Past winners of this unwanted award include Ellie, a Labrador retriever who ate an entire beehive, bees and all, and Lulu, a bulldog who ate fifteen baby pacifiers, a bottle cap, and part of a basketball. (For Heaven's sake, buy those dogs some decent dog food!) I'm pleased to report, in spite of their strange gastronomical adventures, all of these critters are doing well.

***  Finally, an off-Broadway play for lovers of potty humor and the "pull my finger" crowd. Entitled The Fartiste, this play, based on fart artist (I kid you not!) Joseph Pujol, a 19th century Moulin Rouge tooting star, has blasted its way to some great reviews and thunderous applause. Pujol had the unusual ability to suck air in through his anus, and then blow it out again, which enabled him to use his posterior portal to tootle tunes on a trumpet, emulate the sounds of thunder and ripping fabric, and even to blow out the theater's gas jet lights. What can I say? From what I've read, this play doesn't stink. Neither does this song from the play, which you can hear in this video clip.

whew, feeling pretty ruff
*** If you're sick and tired of your favorite pooch drinking more than his fair share of your beer, here ya go: a brand new beer just for dogs. (So he can jolly well go out and buy his own, right?)  Bowser Beer, produced by family-owned business 3 Busy Dogs and available for purchase in most states, replaces the not-so-good-for-dogs hops with chicken or beef. The owners came up with the new brew idea after successfully marketing their doggie pretzels. Guess they figured the pooches might appreciate a cold brewski to wash down the pretzels, huh? And get this: you can even feature your dog's face on the labels, and create personalized brew names. (Like ...  Don't Give a Shitzu Beer?) So maybe you can special order a six-pack for your dog's next party, so he can impress all his friends.

*** Didja ever have a vehicle that prompted you to say, "This thing runs like crap?" Well, this bike runs ON crap. Japanese toilet manufacturer TOTO has produced a motorcycle that's fueled entirely by ...  poop. Or  to be more precise, human excrement-based biofuel. Called the Neo, this unusual three-wheeler, which boasts a toilet for a seat and large roll of toilet paper flapping in the wind from the rear, has already successfully completed an 870-mile tour of Japan. Not for sale, and not intended for mass production, the purpose of this bike is to promote brown  green renewable energy. Oh, and that toilet isn't operational, so no, you can't go while you're going ... Still, I think they ougtha call this bike the poopmobile.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Falling Leaves and Soaring Billboards

Thought for the day:  Humpty Dumpty had a lousy summer, but I betcha he has a great fall. 

I'm not sure exactly when it happened. While we were in Florida, it was quite warm. It felt a little like summer, because humongous tiger mosquitoes feasted on us day and night. (Some of them were so big, they could've hauled us away to enjoy a bit of carry-out dining if they'd preferred.) In Alabama, it was warm, too. And windy. Now that we're home, I can't help but notice that fall ... has fallen.

Sure, a lot of trees are still wearing green, but there are new splashes of color everywhere. Colors that weren't there before we left town. Gasp-worthy colors. And there's a definite chill in the air, too, and a certain musky scent. Tendrils of smoke curl from a few chimneys in the neighborhood, and crunchy leaves languish ankle-deep in our front yard. Yup, no doubt about it. While we were gone, Nature started donning her finest duds, and now she's doing a slow strip tease. Just for us. Amazing, isn't it?

Year after year, it's a display that never fails to thrill. Except for that whole ankle-deep dead leaves in the front yard crap. Oh well. As soon as I finish this post, I reckon it's time to haul out the ol' rake before they reach the ol' patellas. 

In the meantime ... when you're on a road trip, do you pay much attention to the billboards at the side of the highways? Some of them are pretty cut-and-dry boring, but others are kinda eye-catching. I especially liked the white lettering on black background ones that were supposed to be messages from God. Said stuff like, DON'T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE. Very clever.

But, ladies and gentlemen, I'm gonna share some billboards with you now that are like none you have ever seen before. They come to us courtesy of the clever folks at, who graciously granted me permission to use them. Let's just say that if these billboards were at the side of the road ... we'd definitely notice.

Okay, that's about it for now, blogsters. Let's save some of those billboards for another time. (Always leave 'em wanting more!) Leave. Crap. Better go find that rake ...

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