Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Now that the Christmas holiday season is upon us, I thought I would spread some Christmas cheer. We all think back to our Christmas experiences we had as kids. I think it would be fun to share my family's Christmas traditions and memories when I was a kid.

When I was a kid back in the 1950s (YIKES! That was a long time ago now that I think about it), Christmas was THE day that my twin brother and younger sister and I were in the state of sheer bliss! It was a Nirvana-like state. On Christmas Eve, our parents would go to Norwalk to my maternal grandparent's house. Their tradition was to open all their presents on Christmas Eve. We kids always wished that we could open all of our stuff on Christmas Eve, but alas, it never came to pass.

Meanwhile, at home my fraternal grandmother "Ollie" had an old Irish family tradition of having oyster stew and apple pie on Christmas Eve. She insisted that we kids at least take a "taste" of the wretched concoction. I held my nose and took a microscopic few molecules of it. The taste almost ruined Christmas for me. However, I persevered every year. Ironically enough, I am the only one of our generation that has kept up the tradition all these years, albeit I'm the only one that consumes any Christmas Eve oyster stew. Through the years, I have actually acquired a (small) taste for oyster stew.

Our parents would wait until we kids were in bed before they left for Norwalk to engage in a night of unbridled revelry, which consisted of imbibing quite liberally with spiked eggnog and other "spirits" late into the night.

On Christmas morning way before dawn, we kids would be up. Our tradition was that it had to be dark when we opened presents. It took forever to rouse our parents from their bed to come down and join us since they insisted we wait for them. In later years I finally figured out the reason why it was so hard to get them up before dawn, namely, they both had terrific hangovers!

Later in the afternoon, we had a gigantic meal, usually ham with all the "fixin's'".

Oh, hey, an idea just popped into my head. How about you my loyal Blog readers sending me your childhood Christmas traditions and memories for me to post here on my Blog to share with all of us! I do not need to know who you are; just use your first name or an alias. You can email them to me at
Be sure to put "Christmas Blog Entry" in the "Subject" line because I get a horde of emails about my Blog and we wouldn't want to miss your experiences here. Just think of the EXCITEMENT and PRESTIGE for you my former passive readers actually contributing to my renowned Blog!!!!

The picture below is of us kids on Christmas Eve in 1956 when I was 8. Our stockings are hanging up behind us, Tim and I still hang these same stockings every Christmas Eve. However, at our age Santa has started filling them with things like Geritol, Metamucil, etc. Note the cat I am holding. I have a life-long love of any animal, especially cats. I remember posing for this picture as if it was yesterday.

Be watching my Web Site for some new Christmas stories coming up!!!





A Change of "Pace"

YIKES! I just noticed that the last few of my Blog entries have actually been practical and useful. I sure wouldn't want word to get out that I am serious and rational. Therefore, I shall immediately get "back in my groove" of being abstract, off the wall, pedantic, esoteric, arcane, compulsive, and a bunch of other superlatives too numerous to mention here.

Since my satellite radio is always on the 60's channel, I am bombarded with ubiquitous 60's music. As a Baby Boomer, I can imagine if all of the 60's songs were re released today, they would have to change the titles. Just a small sample of the new likely new titles would be the following:

Paul Simon - "Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver"

Carly Simon - "You're So Varicose Vein"
The Bee Gees - "How Can You Mend a Broken Hip"
Roberta Flack- "The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face"
Johnny Nash- "I Can't See Clearly Now"
The Temptations - "Papa Got a Kidney Stone"
Nancy Sinatra - "These Boots Give Me Arthritis"
ABBA - "Denture Queen"
Leo Sayer - "You Make Me Feel Like Napping"
Commodores - "Once, Twice, Three Trips to the Bathroom"
Procol Harem - "A Whiter Shade of Hair"
The Beatles- "I Get By with a Little Help From Depends"
Steely Dan - "Rikki Don't Lose Your Car Keys"
Herman's Hermits - "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Walker"
The Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Pee When You Want"
Credence Clearwater Revival - "Bad Prune Rising"
Marvin Gaye- "I Heard It Through the Grape Nuts"
The Who - "Talkin' 'Bout My Medication"
The Troggs - "Bald Thing"
The Rolling Stones - "119th Nervous Breakdown"
The Beach Boys - "She's Real Fine My Formula 9"
The Beatles - "Day Dripper"
The Beatles - "Penny Lame"
The Surfaris – "Wiped Out"
Bob Dylan – "Knockin' on Bathroom's Door"
The Beatles – "I Don't Feel Fine"
Herb Alpert – "A Taste of Geritol"
Gerry and the Pacemakers – One of our fastest growing popular groups from the past.

Epilog... "Big John" by Jimmie Dean is presently emanating on the 60's channel on my satellite radio. Do any of you 60's music aficionadas
know what song was on the "B" side. (It was, "I won't Go Huntin' With You Jake"). This paradox never ceases to amaze me; I can vividly remember something like this from 47 years ago, but I can't remember anything from 47 seconds ago. RATS, I have to run to the bathroom right now...

"Keep on Rockin' in the "Pee" World"...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wishin' Ya a Happy Thanksgiving

On this Thanksgiving eve, I have the turkey breast thawing and looking forward to preparing a good old fashion Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. Not that the rest of the world cares, or that I care what they think, but I have always been aggravated by the trend in the last few years of referring to Thanksgiving as "Turkey Day". It is a day set aside to show thanks to our Creator, not just a day to have a turkey meal. Be that as it may, I will lay aside espousing my personal beliefs and aspirations (for now). In honor of Thanksgiving, I am posting a link to one of my old stories from my massive story archives, which is germane to Thanksgiving. I hope you will enjoy it.

Counting my countless blessings...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Paradoxical Conclusions

In my previous Blog entry, I pondered the thesis of foods that cats desire and why they do. In this Blog entry, I will state another paradox germane to the insect kingdom.

One of my least favorite subjects has always been biology. I did not enjoy it in high school or college. However, I did have one high point in college biology class when the professor allowed us to do some independent research on the topic of our choice.

Since there was a gaggle of grasshoppers in the biology lab, I pondered experimenting to determine the auditory ability of grasshoppers. Since all kids are referred to as being "cute as a bug's ear", I was determined to test by the scientific method the thesis to determine if bugs have ears. I donned my lab coat and retrieved a grasshopper from the grasshopper hopper. I placed the grasshopper on the lab counter, clapped my hands, and yelled, "JUMP". The grasshopper jumped right off the counter. At this stage in my experiment, I observed that grasshoppers could indeed hear. I then removed its right rear leg and repeated the experiment by clapping my hands and yelling "JUMP". It still jumped off the counter. I progressed to the point where I removed the other three legs, clapped my hands, and yelled, "JUMP". This time the grasshopper remained perfectly still. I repeated the process several times by clapping my hands and yelling "JUMP". Subsequent to this experimentation, I formulated the obvious conclusion that grasshoppers in deed have ears and can hear. However, if all of their legs are removed, it causes deafness. I sent the results of my experiment to the scholarly periodical "Bug Times". Oddly enough, that was over 38 years ago and I have yet to hear from them. I'm now convinced it was just another example of professional jealousy since I was the one who first discovered this. I have since given up on any further insect experimentation after I discovered that in the field of entomology it is a "Bug eat bug" world.

Addendum: I did have dealings with grasshoppers earlier in life. These dealings can be found in the dusty archives of my old web site stories. Check this out:

(()) MIKE (()) ;-o

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Paradox

I have just returned from the market with a whole bunch of canned cat food. I usually buy fish flavored cat food for the house cats because they like it better than the other flavors. At least they eat about 90% of each serving, which is a much better average than with any other flavor. It is my contention that they like the fish cat food the best because the Creator designed them to catch fish. In addition, they are also divinely created to catch mice. I've often wondered why no one makes mouse flavored cat food, which would be very desirable to cats along with fish cat food. One possible reason is that it would "gross out" some cat owners. Another reason may be that no one knows what a mouse taste like. It is highly unlikely that anyone can find human volunteers to eat a raw mouse to ascertain the taste. Then there's the problem of trying to isolate that taste and finding a chemically based artificial taste.

Since my cats don't seem to like beef or liver flavored cat food, I have surmised that the reason for this is that they are not designed to capture and eat cattle or to find any liver lying around.

Now, I shall state the paradox. Since cats are designed to catch and consume fish and mice, consequently, they have an affinity for the taste of fish and mice. Conversely, fish would seemingly not have an affinity for worms because worms are not indigenous to living under water. Yet, they eagerly go after a worm baited hook. The only conclusion I can conclude is that fish do not have taste buds.

In conclusion, my regular readers can readily tell what season it is without referring to a calendar because since it is winter, I have way too much time on my hands. Well - Someone has to ask questions and ponder things like this.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How to "Reproduce" Without the Birds and the Bees.

Now that I have everyone's attention, I will now reveal something I mentioned in my previous Blog entry. Namely, how to capture any screen image and post it, keep it, print it, use it as desktop wallpaper, or anything else your fertile imagination my take you.

If you desire to capture a screen shot, hit "shift" and "Prt Scr". Then open Paint and click "Edit" "Paste". Presto! The screen shot will appear in bmp. If you have image editing software, you can convert it to jpg, gif, or whatever. You can also paste it into Word. Cool, eh. You can use the "save as" .jpg, gif, etc. in Paint, but the image will be much better if you convert it with your preferred image editing software. This is especially applicable if you desire to convert it to the gif format because I've pragmatically discovered that Paint doesn't "play well" with gif conversions.

As to the derivation of the "Prt Scr" (Print Screen) key, I believe it is a recessive trait from DOS. My rationale is based on the fact that it never works with Windows because it never prints the screen. (Even with the printer on).

Well, there you have it, yet another esoteric tip from the vast wasteland of my Lithium-laden gray matter. Oh Oh! I just remembered that I have Bill Gates on hold on my cell phone. He has a question concerning how to print something... (Lithuim-laden, indeed).

"Highlighting" My Point

As I surf my way around the Internet, I'm always amazed at how many poorly designed web sites I come across. Of course, if everyone would have a web site design as well as mine there wouldn't be any problems. :-)

The biggest frustration I encounter is dark lettering on a dark background, which makes the text very difficult to read. Another aggravation is words or links that have such small letters that they are very difficult to see. I have found the solution to these problems, other than letting me design all of the web sites in the world.

When you see these problems, just highlight the text with your mouse and all of the text will show up in white with a dark background, thus making things much clearer. This is a good antidote for the epidemic lack of common sense some web designers show these days.

Note the illustration of an actual poorly designed web site before and after highlighting with the mouse. (For the purpose of not embarrassing the designer, I have blotted out some information). (IT'S NOT MY SITE)

I'll bet some of you are wondering how I reproduced a pic of an actual web page. Do not miss my next thrilling Blog entry where I will show how to capture a screen shot of any web page, or any screen shot for that matter, with out having to use some expensive software application. We Windows users already have the software in Windows that Bill Gates never told you about. However, I will.
Mike :~)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another "Baby Boomer" Alert

Hey Fellow Baby Boomers. Check out this "Blast From The Past"! I'll bet this stirs up some memories!!! Beer makes you smarter, it made "Bud wiser". (We all remember that lame pun don't we????)
MiKe {:-o

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A "Snow" Job!!!

EGAD! Just as I am about to make the long trek to the barn to feed the horses and the cats, I noticed it just started to snow! The forecast is for 1 to 2 inches for tonight! I've always dreaded the first snowfall of the year because that is the start of snow for the next few months. The first snow for me is akin to the onset of a toothache that will be abscessed for the next 5 months. To say I loath winter would be the biggest understatement since General Custer said, "Don't worry men; I'm sure these are friendly Indians".

If I didn't have so many roots around here, I would have moved to Florida years ago. (All right Jim, NO gloating)! :-)

Oh well, the best I can do is to persevere until spring as I have done for the last 59 years. I must share my misery, so I am posting a picture of the start of the snowfall that I took about 30 minutes ago.


M M M M M M M Mike ((((S S S S S Sorry about that gang, I get so so so nervous when I see snow that I start to st st st st stutter)))))

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Even More Things Bill Gates Never Told You

Most, if not all of us, use MS Word and just love the "Spell Checker" feature. I use it quite often. Now don't get the idea I'm bad at spelling. The problem is that I get to typing so fast that it shorts out the typing key signals and results in many misspelled words even though I hit the correct keys. (If you believe that, I have some prime swampland building lots in Louisiana I can sell you). Don't you wish you had a spell checker like MS Word for Blog entries, chat sessions, news group postings, and anything else you type on a web form? Well, fans, you can have one! Go check out: I've used this for quite a while and it works great! It even looks like MS Word "spell check". (I suspect Bill Gates is "moonlighting" because he needs the extra money to buy a Mac lap top with MS Office 2008). This little free applet sure beats going to night school and taking remedial spelling or typing or using a dictionary while I type.

You will never again be embarrassed by misspelled words on web page forms, which is akin to "the heartbreak of psoriasis". From now on, people will think you are very intelligent. It works for me (if they only knew...)

"Grounds" for a Conspiracy?

I read several on line news sites each day and noticed that school grounds are now referred to as the school "campus". When I was a kid, school grounds were called school grounds or school property and never a "campus". I'm not sure when they became the school "campus". When I was in college and graduate school, the grounds were and are referred to the campus. I thought only colleges were authorized to use campus.

Even hospital areas are now called the hospital "campus". Here again, when I was a kid the hospital area was collectively called "the hospital".

Oh, hey, wait! I just looked up "campus" in the New American Dictionary (on line, of course), and I now quote the definition, "The grounds of a school, college, university, or hospital". Well, there you have it. I stand corrected, or do I? Hmmm, I wonder how an older dictionary defined "campus". I will have to check and see if there has been some kind of conspiracy that changed the definition of "campus" to include school and hospital grounds. I seem to find conspiracies in most things these days. Now and then, I am indeed proved to be correct. I shall continue my investigation and post the definitive results. Meanwhile, I will continue to refer to every school and hospital area as "grounds" until I am shown to be incorrect. (OK, maybe this time of year I will admit I have too much time on my hands)(However, this gives me more time to exhaustively study and expose conspiracies).
MiKe {;-]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Memorandum Entry

I just remembered it was Veteran's Day. I realized this when I walked the 300 feet to my mailbox and discovered there was no mail. In honor of this day, I just cannot resist reaching way back into the dusty archives of my web site stories to one of my many military experiences. Check out this true story I posted several years ago:
Anchors Aweigh...

Relatively Speaking

My High School principal recently passed away. His name was Roy Garland aka "Bobo". He was 78 when he died. In doing some quick math, he was 36 in 1966 when I was a senior at age 17; he looked"old" to me then. Now, if I see someone who is 36, they look very young as a result of my present "flirting with 60" perspective. This is the result of what I call KPS i.e. "Kid's Perspective Syndrome". This syndrome shows why people who were young then looked very "old" to us when we were kids. This also explains why things that looked very large to us as kids now look small to us as adults. It is all about perspective. To illustrate, think back when you lived at home and then returned home after being away for a long time at college, the military, etc. The house now looks much smaller to you, which, of course is due to KPS.

Because of my KPS theory, I have done observations over the years and have been amazed. Every year I take a fall tour through our local cemetery where most of my family and old family friends are interred. I usually take a pocket calculator with me and note when people I knew as a kid were born. I then figure the year when I was a kid and subtract the year they were born. It always amazes me that most of them were in their 20's or early 30's then. They all looked very old and gray to me then. This, of course is in accordance with my KPS theory.

There are, however, some rare exceptions to my KPS theory. The biggest one by far is my old High School English teacher, Miss Purcell. When I was in High School in 1963 to 1966, she looked very old then. When I saw her 30 years later at one of our alumni banquets, she still looked the same. Apparently, she was locked in some sort of time warp, or maybe I am. After all, without exception everyone who knows me always says I haven't changed one bit from High School and that I have never acted my age. Not then and not now. As a result, after much testing, I have coined yet another syndrome. MBWS (Mike's Brain Warp Syndrome).
=+Mike+= {;-]

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Drive By" Entry

Hey gang, just a quick post. I finally got around to posting a new story on my web site. Those of you who have not stumbled onto my famous web site or true stories yet, this will give you a chance to check it out (if you dare). Oh, here's the new story link:
Gotta run, have to feed the horses and cats...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This morning as I was walking through the Drug Mart parking lot, I heard a few staccato horns "beeps". I always look to see if someone who knows me is trying to get my attention so they can wave at me. When I hear the "beep", I always look around but never recognize anyone. I then realize that the "beep" is just the sound that assures some one that when they close their vehicle door and leave it that this signals that the auto alarm is armed. I have never had an auto alarm so I'm not used to the horn sound. Nevertheless, I always look involuntarily. I guess I'm afraid that someday it will indeed be someone trying to get my attention so they can wave at me. If I don't look, they will think I'm "stuck up" and take offense. After leaving a large parking lot, when I get home, I usually have a stiff neck from all the looking in response to the dozens of "beeps" but never seeing anyone I recognize.

Well, I will keep looking around just in case because you just never know who it might be...

Monday, November 3, 2008

The "Daze" of My Dreams!

Well, the time changed back to EST yesterday. I never liked the time change back to EST because, in the past, I would end up feeding the horses in the dark both morning and evening before going to the office and after getting home. Now that I'm retired, I can always feed the horses in daylight both morning and evening. In fact, I just got back from the barn at 5:02 PM before it started getting dark. This is so much better since I don't have to trip over all of the barn cats in the dim lights in the stable. Which reminded me of one of my original sayings, among many. This one has to do with my retirement that I shall recite now...

Ah, Retirement!
When every day is a Saturday,
And every night is a Friday night,
And every day is a holiday,
And every holiday is just another day!

I'd venture to say that no one has ever looked more forward to or now enjoys retirement as much as I do! In fact, I created an Excel program that automatically counted down the years, weeks, days, minutes, down to the very second until my retirement. I started this countdown 4 years before I retired and proudly announced the days I had left to go every morning I came into the office for 4 years! On the day of my retirement a few years ago, I loudly counted down to zero and immediately walked out of the office for the last time. Working for the county for 28.251 years never made me rich, but the benefits were well worth waiting for, indeed! I don't know the exact time right down to the second that I have been retired, it only mattered before I retired...

::Mike:: {;-)