"Other Stuff"

                                             Donald Trump Recites Humpty-Dumpty:

      Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, I’m telling you! Like the one I’ll build and get the Mexicans to pay for!
      Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, so great you can’t believe it!
      All the king's horses and all the king's men
      Couldn't put Humpty together again-
      But I can! It’ll be so great! You won’t believe how together Humpty will be!

                My first encounter with a black hole took place when I was only ten. I was brushing my teeth over the bathroom sink when I dropped my toothbrush. It bounced off the counter top and into the air before plunging into the toilet. Three years later I was blow drying my hair over the self same sink and counter top when, inexplicably, I lost control of the hair-dryer. It too, bounced hard off the counter top and into the air. It, too, landed in the toilet. This presented me with a bit of a problem, as it was still plugged in and blowing hot air...on the highest power setting. Indeed it was swirling  around in the toilet randomly blowing water all over. I unplugged it, removed it from the bowl, dried it off, and, God as my witness, still have and use it to this day.
               That was over 30 years ago.
               Since then, I've had my wallet (twice), keys, coins, and sundry and assorted other items disappear into the vast waiting maws of these ceramic, white, wet abysses. In fact, the comb I use sticks up about an inch above my back pants pocket, and as such every time I stand up and pull up my pants there is a good chance that the end of the handle will catch the underside edge of the seat, thereby prying it out of the pocket and rendering it airborne. Seven times out of ten it ends up in the toilet bowl.
               I have had my glasses, a bookmark, and once a can of Copenhagen (in my younger years) get sucked into these heinous hell-holes. The bookmark somehow got wedged in the neck of the plumbing, and, despite my buying and aggressively using a plumber's snake, refused to budge. I had to call Roto-Rooter. $150.
              There is another type of hole whic apparently exerts an irresistible pull on me. (Get your minds out of the gutter). These would be holes in the ice. While I haven't spent much time ice-fishing, I've managed to lose several tools and a few other things down holes in the ice. I once bought a deluxe  $45 ice chisel, only to send it to the bottom of the lake the first time I used it.
              My brother, however, may have me beat in this particular regard. He has also managed, during his rare forays, to lose several tools and other items down an ice-hole. He, however, once actually lost a "flipper tooth", a not inexpensive dental prosthesis to a hole in the ice. One would think that an 8" hole in a 10,000 acre lake would not wield such power. Perhaps it's like Charlie Brown and the kite-eating tree.

                Near Future Headline?:

"Entire Colorado Congressional delegation to 'stay in, veg out' after passing law mandating free home snack delivery"

               Recent Past Headline?:

"Lindsay Lohan Hoping For Well Hung Jury"

My Proposed Song Titles For A New “Country Blues” C.D.:
Side A                                                                                                Side B

Labatt Blues                                                                                     Killian’s Red, But I’m O.K. 

Gallo, I Love You (Won’t You Tell Me My Name)                            Jim Beam Me Up, Scotty

Bristol Cremed                                                                                 Brandy Randy

Muscatel Me Now                                                                            Moon Over (My) Manhattan

 I’m Still Cooking, Sherry                                                                  Greyhounded

One Hot Toddy                                                                                 Keystoned

My Proposed Song Titles For A New “Country Blues” C.D.- Volume II:

Side A                                                                                               Side B

Kissin’ My Glass Goodbye                                                            Whiskey Business

Michelobotamy                                                                             Of Coors, Not

Gin Me, Rummy                                                                            Rolling Rocked

Grey Goose Me Again                                                                  One Bud Wiser 

My Honey Had A Pabst Smear                                                   Garage Drinkin’ Blues

How’s Your Heinie, Ken?                                                             Baby’s Bush Is Gone
                  For years we had an outdoor bathroom at our lake property. I don’t mean an ‘outhouse’. In fact we were the first, or among the first, in our area to have running water and a flush toilet. We just plateaued at that point... for about… sixty years.
                 Late one sunny summer afternoon I responded to nature’s call. I entered our outdoor facility, locked the door and sat down, assuming a fully functional posture. Settled in for the duration as it were.  I Grabbed a local newspaper’s sports section left nearby for just such an eventuality, and sought to make the most of my time.
                After a minute or two, I warmed to the task. Unfortunately, at this point, things took an ugly turn. The medicine cabinet-attached flush to the wall-started shaking and rattling. I was keenly aware that medicine cabinets are entirely incapable of shaking and rattling of their own volition. Therein lay the problem.
                We did have a military installation about forty miles away, and at times through the years live-fire excercises would cause the ground to tremble and  our windows to rattle. I was fervently hoping that this was the case now. I soon realized, however, that the ground wasn’t trembling and the bathroom window wasn’t rattling. There simply weren’t many other logical possibilities that I could think of for what was happening.
                I asked myself if I had accidentally ingested any hallucinogenic drugs. No. Eaten a bad plate of clams? No. I was literally questioning my own sanity. ‘Freaking out’ as we kids said then. Was it some odd, mosquito-borne illness coming over me? I was desperate for answers as the shaking and rattling grew ever more pronounced.
                And then I got one.
                It was not a good one. A thin, bony black wing started protruding from the back of the cabinet where it rested against the wood-paneled wall. More and more of the wing came out, stretching and flapping.  I was transfixed by the sight. And unnerved. And not done with my original task. ‘Pants on the ground’ as the saying goes now.
                Soon, the entire cabinet started flopping around crazily. Then a largish black bat dropped out of it and took up station about thirty-six inches away from my feet. It was hopping around lightly and opening and closing its mouth while still flapping its wings occasionally. Mighta had a little spittle around the corners of its mouth.
                I was stunned. (The bat may have been somewhat non-plussed as well). I ran through what I could then see as my entire range of options. In about two seconds. I didn’t particularly care for any of them.
                I hitched up my pants as quickly as I could, all the while watching the winged rodent looking back up at me. I took the two steps to the door, turned the deadbolt and threw the door open wide. I headed out of the bathroom at a dead run, my left hand still trying to hold my pants up. That was as far as my plan went.
                I looked back and didn’t see anything flying out of the bathroom. We had a fence on our property line that extended directly out from the bathroom. It was about five feet from the only road serving our area of the lake. As was our bathroom. I trotted around the fence and came back towards the still open bathroom door. I leaned over the fence and craned my neck to peer inside the loo, still- and just barely- holding my pants up, left hand just under my navel.
                Still rattled by the whole episode, and wanting to make sure the bat was gone from the biffy, I hadn’t properly considered appearances. The juxtaposition of my person, my pants and my appendages while staring into an open bathroom... from a roadside... in broad daylight... may have given some pause.
                Well, actually it did. A car came by, slowing dramatically as it approached the scene. Then it stopped…right before me. This is when I properly considered appearances. I nodded and yelled “bat…bat in the bathroom!”
              I made my way into the cottage

                (In retrospect it was worth it for the story. It’s almost always- in retrospect- worth it for the story).

                                     The Harris Polling Group- News You Can Use  

  Minneapolis Journal
December 16, 2014
                Over ninety-nine percent of Minnesotans say they’ve never been polled (of course, 99.999965% weren’t even polled in this one) according to the most recent survey conducted by the Harris Polling Group. These results are considered accurate to within +/- 4%.
                Mr. Edward Klinkhammer (Sleepy Eye) spoke for many when he stated, “I have never been polled- well, until now, I guess. My friends have never been ‘polled’, my friend’s friends have never been polled, no one in my family has ever been polled. I don’t think anyone in this whole damn county’s ever been polled, come to think of it.”
                Mrs. Gertrude Flowers of Litchfield said, “No one I have ever met has ever been polled- and the last few years I’ve been asking everyone about it.”
                Mrs. Dolly Browning, of Bloomington, added, “I know we’re just dumbass flatlanders here in ‘flyover’ country, but I’ve never known anyone who’s been polled, and, anyway,  I really don’t think any 1,500 people, or however many are typically surveyed are truly representative of a nation of 300+ million people, due to the sheer depth and variety of the human experience and perception thereof.
                “But what do I know?” she added.

                                         'Cabin Series' #8---The Crazed Angler and the Fish

                One Labor Day weekend many years ago, I was fishing on a small lake with a friend of mine from Oklahoma. It was a beautiful day, partly cloudy with light breezes and temperatures in the mid 70’s. Better yet, we caught a lot of fish, some decent size bass and northern pike among them. I, for various reasons, do not use leaders when fishing. This does lead to me being ‘bitten off’ occasionally by toothy, aggressive northerns. Unfortunately, on this day I was losing ($5 apiece) ‘crankbaits’ at an alarming rate. Worse yet, I have a particular favorite ‘crankbait’ that is hard to come by, and, after catching numerous bass and northerns-and losing several of the latter- I eventually was down to the last of these ‘magic’ baits. I figured I had a fair chance of hanging on to this one , however, as we would only be fishing for another hour or two at most. So I tied it on. And made a cast.
                Half- way back to the boat, a fish hit it. It soon became apparent it was another northern. I fought it for a bit and it surfaced about twelve feet from the boat. I have often seen northerns do this. They will pause to rest a moment before  quickly diving down on another power run. My treasured lure- the  last of its breed- was nowhere to be seen. It was entirely in the fish’s mouth. If the line broke on this upcoming dive – or a following one- my lure would be gone. I had a mere moment to process this information and make a decision on how to proceed.
                I stepped on top of my (elevated) portside storage compartment, the one farthest from the northern that was glaring up at me intently from what was now effectively fifteen feet away. (Before going further let me note that I was fully clothed. I had on a cap, sunglasses, shoes and socks, a tee-shirt,  and shorts with pockets containing a comb, handkerchief, keys, my asthma inhaler…and my wallet).
                “Al” I said urgently, “hand me the net!” He did. I took it, and, ignoring the four foot long handle, put a hand on each side of the circular frame and held it out in front of me.
                I jumped across the boat to briefly put one foot on the starboard side storage and the other on the outside of the gunwhale. Pressing off with both I jumped up and out in an impromptu Greg Louganis imitation. I had the net in front of my head, arms outstretched so it would enter the water first and possibly entrap the befuddled pike as I entered the lake to partake of his realm.

                I hit the water head down and went under. I immediately turned the net over 180 degrees just in case it somehow contained ‘my’ fish, which would surely just swim away in any case. I now realized I had to get my arms up and head facing the surface as well. If I hit the ‘piscatorial lottery’ and the fish was miraculously still in the net, this would be my only chance of keeping it there…and of allowing myself to eventually make it to the surface as well. (In retrospect, this probably shouldn’t have been the secondary consideration).

                It soon became clear that I had another problem. My hands were occupied and couldn’t help me get to the surface. I started kicking even harder. Inch by inch, and I do mean inch by inch, I crept towards the surface. Fortunately, just as I was getting short on air, I felt the net break the surface. I kept my arms locked in an extended position and kept rising. I felt the net vibrate and twist. The northern was in it!

                I got my head above water moments later and took a well deserved breath. I saw that by using the boat for leverage I had kicked it farther away. It was now approximately thirty feet from my point of entry. I also saw Al, with his hand over his heart, leaning over the side of the boat, incredulous.

“WHADDIDDYADOO??!” he exclaimed in a loud southern drawl. “I got him, Al!” I replied. I was able, at this point, to hold the net with one hand on the yoke and ‘sort of’ swim towards the boat and the stunned Oklahoman. The northern itself was only of ‘garden variety’ size, maybe three or four pounds. After handing the net up to Al, I was able to get back into my sixteen and a half foot aluminum fishing vessel. I eventually extricated my lucky lure from the northern’s maw and released it back into the clear water. It promptly swam away, possibly seeking counseling or a trauma center.
We kept fishing for awhile, though I’m not sure why. I believe we were slowly recovering  ourselves. To this day, that remains the only time I ever truly surprised myself with my own actions. I lost my sunglasses and my hat, and my inhaler was a goner. I had to dry out some money, etc., but it was worth it to get my lure back. And for the story. (It's almost always worth it for the story).
This was also one of the very few times I wished something I did was captured on film. Nowadays, what with all the smart-phones and portable video devices, it surely would have been. (There were numerous boats on the lake and cottages and beaches teeming with people around us that holiday weekend).
I would love to have seen it on “America’s Funniest Videos”. Any accidental athleticism aside, it was just so…preposterous.
It would have been ESPN’s “Play of the Millenium”!




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