Friday, June 19, 2020

Trump Rally Travel Kit

I know, I'm not an artist, but stock photos make me think I am. And I've found while it's difficult to write humorous columns, it's really easy to think of humorous political cartoons.



Sunday, April 19, 2020

Who Notices Gorillas, Basketball, and Choco-Plum Hair?

(Somewhere between the 2019 holidays, rescuing two dogs (one a puppy who is sort of house trained after 2 months and little sleep–for me), and COVID-19, I got off track with Miss Mabel. Still, humor is a needed at a time like this so I delved into my essay book and thought I’d share one of my more popular columns with you.) 

Enjoy.



“I have purple hair.”

“It makes you look younger,” Elizabeth said.

I stared in the mirror. Purple hair doesn’t make anyone look younger unless you have an arm tattoo and nose ring. And the purple would need to be a bright, neon purple, not dark purple.

I ignored Elizabeth and looked at Angeline, the person who turned my hair purple. “I have purple hair. Do something.”

“I should never have picked up that last bottle,” she murmured. “Not to worry, it’s semi-permanent color. We’ll wash it out.”

She washed. 

And washed. 

And washed. 

Then said, “Hmmmmmm.”  

I followed her back to the styling chair and looked in the mirror. “My hair’s still purple.” I could hear panic creeping into my voice. 

“Washing should have cut the intensity.” Angeline studied my head, weighed her options, then disappeared into her laboratory of bottled dreams. A few minutes later she emerged with another foaming concoction. 
“This should tone it down a bit,” she promised.

Like a lamb led to the sacrificial altar, I followed her back to the shampoo bowl. Within ten minutes, I had choco-plum hair and a raw scalp. 

Angeline dried my hair, fluffing, curling, promising. “Once it’s dry, it’ll be a little lighter.”

Fact: choco-plum is choco-plum wet or dry. Wet, it is dark choco-plum. Dry, it is light choco-plum. Best guess,  a nanosecond of color intensity separates the two. 

“Remember, it’s semi-permanent color.” Angeline spritzed hair spray on my choco-plum head. “It washes out. What I want you to do is wash it tomorrow with Tide detergent.”

“Tide?”

Angeline nodded. “Detergent strips color. And then call me and tell me if it helps. I can fix this, I just need time to think of what to do. If I can’t work you in tomorrow, I know I can fix it on Thursday.”

Two days. Forty-eight hours as a choco-plum. I had no real plans for the next couple of days because I was working on a newsletter I write for a local company. I could hide out in my  home office for two days. After I ran some errands today.
 
Four quick stops stood between me and safety. First, I dropped off a news clipping at a friend’s business. He wasn’t there. I opted for a quick breezy visit, hoping his secretary wouldn’t notice the head of salt and pepper hair she had seen the previous week was now choco-plum. She didn’t say anything.

Next came the copy center. A strange look, but no comment by an employee who sees me often. Then the credit union. No odd looks, no comments. Finally, the post office. 

Now these people know me well. I spend so much at the post office, I should buy stock in it. But the postal clerk smiled a greeting and completed the transaction without even looking at my hair. Hmmmmmm. Maybe something I heard discussed on National Public Radio is accurate: People aren’t very observant.

It seems this university researcher decided to test how observant humans are. He set up a situation where two teams of three people each pass a basketball around. The subject watching the game is told to count how many times the team wearing the white shirt have the ball. 

The timer goes off and the players start tossing the ball around. About a minute into the test, a man dressed in a gorilla costume weaves his way through the players who continue to pass the ball around him. He disappears. The players continue tossing the ball, the subject is still counting how many times the team wearing white gets the ball. After the timer signals an end to the experiment, the subject is asked if he/she saw a gorilla during the game. About 60% of the people tested don’t see the gorilla!

As I drove home, I thought how well my experience reflected this research. People don’t notice the obvious, like a person with purple hair. 

When I got home, Bob took one look at my choco-plum hair and said, “What happened to your hair?”  

No gorilla could join his basketball game and go unnoticed.
No choco-plum haired wife can show up in his house without comment. 

“Don’t worry,” I hurried to placate him. “Angeline is working on it. Two days tops as a choco-plum.”

Early the next morning, I washed my hair with Tide. As soon as Angeline got to work, I called her. “My hair is still purple.”

“I had a cancellation. Can you be here at 11?”

Three hours later I was back in the familiar chair looking in the familiar mirror while Angeline shared her brain storm with me.

“I’m going to lift the color out.”

Hmmmmmm. That sounded good. I’d be salt and pepper haired within an hour. 

After she smeared goop all over my raw scalp, I found out that “lifting color” does not mean the choco-plum will disappear and leave my natural hair color in its place. It means the dark stuff will be lifted, but a reddish blonde color will remain. 

When she whipped the towel off my head, I stared into the mirror. Even without my glasses I could tell what color my hair was. “Angeline, my hair is red.”

“Strawberry blonde. And don’t worry, Elizabeth gave me a great idea.”

One hour later my red hair had been streaked with brown-blonde highlighting. In all truth, the results were lovely. Had I been a person remotely able to have blonde hair, it would have been great. But that’s the problem, changing your hair color doesn’t change your skin tone, or eyebrows, or eyelashes.

Blessed with black eyebrows, going blonde had never occurred to me. And I soon found out why. Blonde gives my complexion an odd hue that can only be toned down by wearing navy or black. I can’t wear any of my favorite colors such as hot pink, fuchsia, or red. But the hair color itself looks great. 

After Angeline turned me into a blonde bombshell, I went home. Bob was waiting to see the results. He took one look, shook his head, and said, “I don’t know why women go through all that. I like you the way you were.”  

Surprisingly, I agree. I never thought I’d want to be gray, but after looking at this weird blonde with black eyebrows several weeks, gray doesn’t seem too bad. 

Gray with a little dash of highlights to brighten my fading locks. Make them shinier, less drab. Whoops, that’s where we were headed when Angeline picked up one bottle too many. Hmmmmmm. I wonder what my hair would look like if she hadn’t picked up that last bottle?  

But now I know only Bob and 40% of my friends and acquaintances will notice, no matter what we do to my hair.

Monday, November 18, 2019

How Do You Lose 77 Million Dollars? And Not Notice…

So I’m reading an article about this athlete who is suing his accountant who was in cahoots with his wealth manager and together they stole 77 million dollars from this dude.

I’m sure there is some Nigerian prince just grinding his teeth because he didn’t think to call this guy and bilk some money out of him. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been that hard.

Okay, back to my thoughts on losing this much money.

Does this guy expect us normal folks to feel sorry for him? And no, I'm not going to feel one measly drop of sympathy. It's sort of hard for someone who never earned huge amounts of money to feel sorry for someone who has so much money they lost $77 million and didn’t notice. Mainly because I’d miss $77.00 out of my bank account if it went missing.

Obviously, he has too much money or else he would pay better attention to it.

Yes, I think you can have too much money. I believe if you’re getting paid so much money you can't keep up with it, you’re being overpaid.

I've always believed if you have more money that you can spend in this lifetime, why bother? Leaving it to ungrateful kids is not a good reason, especially if you went from working class to high class in your life time. That means your kids did not. Thus, they don't have any appreciation for the money you keep giving them.

What’s worse, to me at any rate, is that the people in our society who get paid astronomical amounts of money don’t really do much to help our society. I’m sure they would point out how much money they spend for yachts, diamonds, cars, etc. and swear this helps to keep our economy afloat which benefits everyone.

Hah!

Face it, the people who really count in this society. like teachers, police officers, and nurses get low pay, long hours, and less respect. Yet, they are the ones shaping the lives of our future generations, keeping us safe, and caring for us when we aren’t well.

Truth is, having so much money you don’t even know when folks steal millions from you makes me think of the spiritual lesson that encourages moderation in life. Enough food not to go hungry is good, because too much food leads to gluttony, obesity, and all kinds of health problems. Enough clothes to stay warm, but not so many there aren’t enough days in the year to wear them. Enough house to keep you warm and safe, but is it necessary for it to be so large you need a map to find your way around? Just wondering.


Now some folks are going to read this and think I’m advocating socialism. What I’m advocating is a reality check on our value system. If there’s that much money floating around, why doesn’t it end up in more pockets? Why aren’t worker bees who keep the economy and our lives running get paid better? There are lots of people who would hold on tighter to their money than the guy who lost $77 million. Plus, they would immediately notice if any of it went missing.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Imitation Kennel Clubs: Where A Terrier Can Be A Pug

My cousin works with an animal rescue group in Mississippi that offer free rabies vaccination clinics for pet owners. One day my cousin was filling out the paperwork on a dog who’d just got her shot. Being as she’s a polite Southerner, she asked the woman what breed her dog was.

Anyway, proud as punch this woman announces, “She’s a pug.”  

Now my cousin has been a volunteer with animal rescue for many years. She’s seen a lot of dogs. This dog was not a pug. So she tells the owner, “No, she’s not a pug, she’s some kind of terrier.”       
“I have her papers and she’s pug! So you just write that down there on her certificate.”

My cousin got a little starchy at that. “Ma’am, your dog is a not a pug and this is an official government document, I can’t write down that’s she’s a pug when she 's not.”

The very upset woman took what she considered to be an incorrect certificate and stomped out the door. A local vet called my cousin several hours later. Seems the “pug” owner had tried to get the vet to redo the rabies certificate. The vet declined since the dog was not a pug.

One has to wonder about a pet owner who doesn’t know what breed of dog she has.

But she has “papers,” you say.

Well, that’s the problem. Seems there are unscrupulous folks out there who run imitation “kennel clubs.” Backyard breeders send these folks a few dollars and they “register” the dog. The backyard breeder gets some fancy paperwork that says this litter is “registered with such and such kennel club” and the puppies are whatever the breeder claims. The imitation kennel club doesn’t require any proof of the parents’ lineage. The pups can be any breed under the sun. Basically, they are what we politically correct dog people call “mixed breed.”

It’s a scam. Pure and simple. It’s aimed at folks buying dogs from backyard breeders. I’m not sure if the seller is dumb as rocks, but it pretty clear the buyer is. The seller sounds like someone who’s just trying to make money by pretending to have a purebred dog. And they got the paperwork to prove it.

Frankly, I wonder about that woman the terrier-pug woman. It’s not like pugs are easy to confuse with other dogs. Their little faces are flat and they look like they ran into a wall. Most dogs have a pointy muzzle that sticks out from their face. Confusing a pug with any breed that doesn’t have a flattened muzzle is just plain ignorant.

I don't about you, but I gotta wonder if someone can’t tell a pug from a terrier, do they really need a dog?

Pug photo: Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash

Terrier photo: Photo by Thomas Borowski on Unsplash

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Cell Phone Users Give Whole New Meaning to the Word “Bonehead”

If you spend too many hours a day using a cell phone, you’re in for a delightful surprise: you’re going to grow an external occipital protuberance.
Say what?

In easy words, it’s a bone growth found at the lower back of the skull, just above the neck. No way, you say, as you reach up to check the base of your skull, could I have something like that just growing out of my head.

Yes way, it’s pure biomechanics. 

Say what?

Biomechanics is a fancy word for the study of how muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to create movement.

External occipital protuberance, biomechanics, are you still with me? If so, picture a person using a cell phone. Or look over yonder at the photo I added.    

Notice the tilted head.

That’s the problem. People aren’t designed to spend hours with their heads like that. 

Remember when you were born and you couldn’t even lift your head because it was So. Darn. Heavy?

Well, it didn’t get lighter, your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments worked together to become strong enough to lift that heavy ole head off the crib mattress. This doesn’t happen over night, you were about six months old before you had the strength and control to keep your head from lolling around unexpectedly.

Human skulls are not lightweight, on average they weigh about as much as our favorite summer treat: a large watermelon. Zombie beheadings aside, skulls aren’t meant to reside anywhere except balanced neatly on top of the spine with said spine straight as a poker, not hunched over a phone. Which is why parents are always yelling at their kids to straighten up and stop slouching!

Now, take another gander at that photo. Take one heavy head, thrust it forward for hours on end and guess what. The body deals with the heavy drag by adding extra bone at the skull. Or as the doctors like to call it: an external occipital protuberance.

I’m just letting folks know about this. I’m way far away from the 18-30 year old age bracket that has one in four people sporting an external occipital protuberance. Or a big ole bony knot at the base of their skulls. A knot more noticeable on bald headed males than long haired females.

But I admit I’m curious. Will the babies of those persons who sport this new appendage arrive with one? Will these babies be able to stare at cell phones hours on end with no problem? Then again, how will that knot affect this new born’s ability to ever lift his or her heavy head? Now it’s going to be even heavier. Will they be a year old before they can lift their heads?

I have to admit I love my cell phone and the convenience it has brought to my life, but since I’m not glued to it 24-7, I’m not too worried about growing a knot. At my age, it’s much better to watch where you’re going when one wrong step could break a vital bone.

And watching where you’re going, which many cell phone users forget to do while walking in crosswalks, grocery parking lots, etc. may well spell doom for the rabid user. They may never make it to parenthood and be able to pass on the gene for external occipital protuberance.


If you think I’m making this up. Check out this website.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Traffic Drones: It’s About Time

Drones will be the perfect way to catch people who run red lights. Snapping photos of the driver and the license plate in the act. Wham! Gotcha!

To help pay for the drones, cities should raise the fine and couple the fine with suspension of a driver’s license for at least 30 days. And if the driver repeats the sin, then off with his or her head, whoops, this isn’t North Korea! We’ll have to settle for loss of a driver’s license (for a year?), and a mandatory driver’s education course.

Did I Miss the Memo on Traffic Lights?

I keep thinking someone sent out a memo, probably on Facebook, that says traffic lights have no power. Green means go, yellow means speed up, and red means keep on going as fast as you can. 

At least, based on watching drivers scream through red lights, that’s what the lights seem to mean nowadays. I got treated to a driver running a red light the other day and watched him crash into a car entering the intersection.

I couldn’t see the red light runner because the big SUV next to me blocked my sight. Since I couldn’t check for speedsters, I decided to let her go before I did. She must’ve forgot to make sure everyone was stopped, but then, she had a green light. She pulled out to make a left hand turn.

Coupe Versus SUV

It was a good thing I hadn’t moved because a little coupe whacked right into her SUV. From the way he went spinning around two or three times as his car whipped through the intersection, I can guarantee you he had sped up rather than slowed down when the light turned yellow.

Mr. Coupe’s spinning car ended up in a ditch. To my surprise, he jumped out of the car and ran to see if he’d hurt anyone. There didn’t appear to be any injuries. The much-bigger-than-the coupe SUV had been knocked slightly askew and maybe had a dent in the side. 

I’m glad no one was hurt, but that’s not always the case. Lots of people are killed or maimed in this type of accident each year.

It seems drivers in the good ole USA think it’s better to run a red light than to stop. It’s not just red lights, drivers are running stop signs, too. 

If the driver at fault isn’t killed, he or she faces criminal charges and/or wrongful death lawsuits. Countless lives are ruined. And for what? Because you left home later than you should have?

Once NASA, the FAA, and lots of interested companies finish testing traffic drones, they’ll hit the air ways.


I can’t wait.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Watch Out for Crazy Drivers

It’s taken several decades, but Tassanoxie has a by-pass. It’s grown from two lanes going around part of the city into mostly four lanes going around the entire city. Things being the way there are, a lot of businesses are located along the by-pass. Mostly on the oldest portion, but even the newest sections are hatching new businesses right and left.
Since the speed limit on the by-pass is 45 mph, most drivers buzz along at 55+ mph. These are the ones who believe the myth that you only get a ticket if you’re more than 10 miles over the speed limit. Not sure how that works, but some bozos think it holds true even in school zones.

Knowing that folks speed, even in school zones, it seems anyone jogging or walking along the by-pass (or any road for that matter) would think, gee, I should face traffic. That way, I could see who’s coming. Notice if they’re texting while they drive and swerving back and forth across the road.

Or drunk and running off the sides of the road, where, oops! I’m walking.

But noooooo, that doesn’t seem to be the thought process for some joggers or walkers. Perhaps they have no thought process.

I know I do.

My thought process includes, what’s with jogging or walking along a highway? The draft from the first large truck to pass could blow you right off the highway into a cotton field. Or into a ditch full of yucky, muddy water.

I especially started thinking about always facing oncoming traffic a few months ago. Here I was sitting at a red light on a downtown side street waiting for the light to turn green. It’s one of those old ones that is set to let Main Street traffic go for quite a while and then blink to green long enough for three cars (if everyone’s paying attention) on the cross street to make it through before it turns red again.

While I waited, I glanced in my rear view mirror and here comes this car around the corner at the end of the block behind me. I am not lying when I say the car shot around the corner, across the street–luckily no other vehicle or person was in the street–bounced off the curb, over corrected, and ricocheted back across the street to now run up on that curb before straightening into the lane behind me.

It was like watching a crazy car chase from an action movie. Only there wasn’t any villain, there wasn’t any cop, and there wasn’t anything between me and that phone-wielding nut.

And yes, I saw the phone as she slammed to a halt behind me.

The light finally turned green, I eased into a left hand turn, and drove slowly to the light a block away. Crazy lady (yes, it was a female) followed me. My whole body tensed as I waited for her to smack into me.

I sighed in relief when she didn’t ram my car. The light turned green, I went straight and she peeled off to the right. I relaxed. She was someone else’s problem now.

I already walk facing traffic, but now I watch anything coming at me from any direction. Once you see a driver bouncing around the street like I did, ain’t no way I’m not watching any vehicle around.

You might want to do the same.