What’s this I hear about Last in Space?

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I was trying to read the lineup of shows on TV from the menu of our cable service without my glasses.  I felt like I was taking one of those vision tests.  I proudly boasted that I could read a blurry row near the bottom of the chart and when called upon to do so, mumbled out random letters and numbers with the word possibly thrown in only to have the doctor request that I try to read again but this time three rows up.

As I squinted at the TV program menu, I thought the networks and stations had just gone live with their new lineup of shows, some that sounded intriguing.  I don’t watch much TV generally, but these new shows had me dreaming of early retirement:

Crimea Minds

This must be a Russian version of CSI.

Family Fraud

They are all unrelated, as it turns out.

The Big Bong

With the legalization of marijuana, this new series comes as no surprise.

Mushroomers

I guess Moonshiners has run its course.

Fiends

This sarcastic comedy is about a group of hateful friends.

Monsters in my Barn

Garage Squid

This might be a spinoff of Monsters in my Barn or one of those shows like Gator Boys.

New Grill

I toggled down quickly as I figured this was an addictive infomercial about a revolutionary grill.

American Mustard

America can do mustard too just as good as the French.

Imperial Lockers

I thought this might be something like an SNL spoof on Impractical Jokers but then again it could be about what the rich and famous store in lockers in train stations throughout Europe.

Morning Joke

I imagine this one to be morning political comedy, not unlike Morning Joe.

Miami, Nice!

…until it gets too hot.

The Last Squid

Based on The Twilight Zone pilot, “Where is Everybody?”

Last In Space

Trump might do better to start a space race, rather than a nuclear arms race.

Radiator

Make sure the kids are in bed as this steamy series is sure to carry an MA rating.

Anderson Copper 300

If I had to guess, I would say this is a 5-hour infomercial for a new compression product.

Chicago Tire

This reality shoe about a tire shop in the windy city is sure to be a big hit.

Last Squid Standing

If I had to hazard a guess, I would go with a deep sea, outwit, outlast, survival show with host Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants.

Little Horse on the Prairie

A homesteader with a pony tries to live the American dream but finds life on the range depressingly difficult.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna might have said, “What’s this I hear about Deep Fried Monsters? Oh, Deep Fried Masters? Nevermind.”

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Olympic Medals Made Of Chocolate

What if those medals all the Olympians win were made of chocolate?  The gold medal would be made of the highest quality chocolate from Switzerland.  The silver medal, perhaps, would be of Belgian extract, although the Italian’s might take issue.  The bronze, well, nobody wants a bronze and so it wold have to be made of a common American chocolate, something like a Hershey’s Kiss, you know, a kiss for a good try, or the unheralded and quite delicious Zero bar, which apparently it still being manufactured, though it’s hard to find where I live.

Were this to come to fruition in the 2020 Toyko games, athletes would no longer have to pretend to take a bite out of their medals; in fact, they could peel off the foil and eat their medals right on the podium stand.

Some “sports” are not Olympic

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The summer Olympics have begun in Rio where it is technically winter.  And as I watch the games, I am struck for the first time by all the sporting events that shouldn’t be in the Olympics in my judgement.  If you take issue with my commentary, know that it is somewhat tongue in check…somewhat.

  • Archery – pretty cool to watch.  It might have been one of the original Greek events, so it’s in.
  • Badminton – seriously?  It’s a picnic game!  If badminton is in, croquet should be too.
  • Basketball – of course. Too bad there’s no longer a U.S. U.S.S.R rivalry. I’d like to see Brazil do well.  Whatever happened to Oscar, or is it Oskar? He was like the Oscar Robertson of team Brasil back in the day.  And while I love watching basketball in the games, it somehow doesn’t seem fair for NBA and WNBA players to play.  I thought the Olympics were supposed to be for amateur athletes.
  • Beach Volleyball – definitely, especially in a place like Rio.
  • Boxing – hell yes. Those leather helmets are classic and keep the fighters’ head on straight…literally.
  • Canoe slalom and sprint- wtf?  Sailing, fine.  Rowing, ok.  Canoeing (is that how you spell it?) That’s something you do on a vacation.  Not a sport.
  • BMX and Mountain cycling – nope.  That’s for the Red Bull drinking X Games crowd.
  • Road and Track Cycling – ok.
  • Diving –  absolutely and as long as Cynthia Potter is the analyst.
  • Equestrian –  I love horses.  Actually, I’d like to see rodeo competition in the games. Bull riding and bull running would also be fun events, but I’m not a fan of bull fighting. I’m not.
  • Fencing – intense.  I’d also like to see deep water diving with those cast iron helmets.
  • Field Hockey – nope.  Too elite prep school for my taste.
  • Golf – nope.  They already have too many tournaments – and the thing takes all day.
  • Gymnastics – yep.  Lots of flips and stuff.  It’s always hit or miss.  High drama. Made for TV. But not the rhythmic thing.
  • Handball – never heard of it.  Isn’t that a penalty in soccer?
  • Judo and Taekwondo – yep.
  • Rugby Sevens – sounds like a card game, but it’s the next best thing to American football, so I say yes to the rough and tumble sport, mate.
  • Sailing – a Christopher Cross song, not a sport.  Nope.
  • Shooting – shooting what, the breeze? Not a sport.
  • Swimming – yes.  synchronized, no.  Might be good for a Disney show but not for the Olympics.
  • Table Tennis –  you mean Ping-Pong?  Sure, why not.
  • Tennis.  No. Same reason as Golf.
  • Track and Field – yes all day long.
  • Trampoline – no, beause with diving and gymnastics it’s redundant.
  • Triatholon – ok.
  • Volleyball – only beach volleyball.
  • Water Polo – NO. It’s just silly, like handball or dodgeball in the water.  They should use a nerf ball in my opinion.
  • Weightlifting – definitely. I especially like when they drop the dumbells in disgust.
  • Wrestling – ok, but I’d like to see some tag team championship wrestling.  And why isn’t grappling an event?

Numbered Lakes an E-book

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I finally finished and published Numbered Lakes as an e-book.  Check it out, won’t you?  For details, see the Numbered Lakes tab on this website or follow the link below to  preview on Amazon.

Numbered Lakes Preview

 

Meat Labelling Humor at the WTO

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Well, I was reading a story about some kind of meat labeling treaty or something discussed at the World Trade Organization (WTO).  From what I could gather from the article, the U.S. insists that meat be labeled as to country of origin.  This apparently had Mexico and Canada up in arms with chants of fowl play.

U.S. consumers might prefer the raised and slaughtered in the U.S. label rather than say Uruguay or some other meat producing places, like Canada and Mexico.  Now as a carnivorous American, I want to know where my meat comes from.  I would rather eat locally grass fed beef and cage free “home on the range” chicken and eggs.  And I would like to be reasonably confident that the beef, pork and fish I consume do not also come with a broad spectrum of antibiotics, fattened by GMO grains.  Of course, we can’t be sure.  The irony here is that the U.S. favors labelling meat but does not favor GMO labeling.

As I read more of the article, I did find one point the Canadians made to be amusing and it went like this – because of the integrated nature of the industry, “animals might cross the border multiple times”.   Now just how these animals manage to cross back and forth across the border is an intriguing question.  They must do it in the stealth of night.  I suppose the chickens just fly right over the border undetected.  The pigs I guess dig their way across or access heavily traffic tunnels.  The cattle, well I don’t know how they do it, but they might disguise themselves as tourists with fake id cards.

I do remember crossing over to Canada once and was asked if I had any pork, beef or poultry of any kind on my person and I confessed that I had just eaten a chicken club sandwich and was allowed to cross but only after guards inspected my car and documents, apparently on the look out for stray animals looking for safe roaming across the border. I was so afraid that I promised to become a vegetarian during my stay in Canada.  They actually may have suspected me of being a cow, I do have a deep voice, and though I am sometimes as messy as a pig, I am not a cow, nor have I ever been.

A gallon of anything probably not too healthy

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A man from Arkansas ruined his kidneys by drinking a gallon of iced-tea a day.  That’s a lot of iced-tea.  I think I’d drown if I drank a gallon of anything, even water.  I probably don’t go through a gallon of gas in a day. Now, the critics say the guy, who was also said to be diabetic, was nuts for consuming so much tea, no doubt sweetened.  But I say don’t be so quick to judge.  In the Arkansas heat, and it’s hot there let me tell you, one could easily throw back a gallon of just about anything – beer, bourbon, iced tea, white lightening or anything in between.  That the man drank a gallon of tea is not surprising, especially if he spent a lot of time outdoors, as many Arkansans do.  And iced-tea, as strange as it may sound, is a staple for many southerners, and it’s not necessarily sweetened.  Growing up in Arkansas, we always had a pitcher of unsweetened Lipton iced-tea with lemon wedges at the dinner table, especially during the sweltering summers.  We never had sugar at the table, ever.  But no one I knew drank a gallon of the stuff in a day, and good thing because black tea contains a chemical that is apparently toxic in high concentrations.  And though rare, the chemical can clog up kidneys and cause them to shut down.  The poor man will have to be on dialysis for the rest of his life.  But again, I’m not calling him crazy for drinking so much.  The article called his consumption a habit, although it may have been more of an addiction.  But who doesn’t have a bad habit, or addiction?

Now I don’t drink a gallon of anything but I do watch a gallon’s worth of M*A*S*H reruns and frequently binge watch stuff on Netflix.  I watched three gallons worth of House of Cards in 3 days.  I downed all the available episodes of VEEP and The 100 in little under a week, feeling quite hung over afterwards.  As a result, my eyesight has suffered and I believe I have a real case of text neck from bending so much, as much as 60 degrees, to view my devices.  Some would say I’ve broken bad flattening the natural curve in my neck by binge watching Breaking Bad on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. However, unless all those rare earth metals in my devices have done a number on me, I believe my kidneys are still intact.

The Animal Survey Says:

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This afternoon, I was listening to NPR, or maybe it was PRI, with John Hockenberry, I think it was, who introduced a segment featuring an article some guy wrote for Outside magazine about zoos. It’s no surprise that the author believes zoos no longer serve a useful purpose and may be harmful to the animals. In the piece, they talked about the fact that many of the animals don’t fare too well in cages and some are even treated with anti-depressants.  The animals would probably rather be in the wild, though one wonders how well they’d fare there after years of captivity.  The host said we’d never know what the animals think about their lodgings because they can’t really be polled.  But if they could be polled, or if we could speak to the animals so to speak and do a focus group or something, here’s what they might say:

Zookeeper:  How do you find your room?

Polar Bear:  A little on the cold side.  Keep having to sleep with my thermals on.  And the coffee, come on, enough with the K-cups already.  Doesn’t anyone care about the enviroment anymore? I miss the sound of the percolator from back in the day.

Zookeeper:  Apart from the coffee and the cold, anything else?

Polar Bear:  I have a beef with the Polar soda they sell around here. I mean, when is that outfit from MA sending me some royalties?  Now that they’ve acquired Deep South beverages, from my neck of the woods, I am entitled.  Send me a lawyer – you know I never authorized my mug for the Polar logo.  I’ll buy this place and turn it into a ski lodge.  Water skiing lodge, more like it since the dang polar ice cap melted away, which is why I’m in this joint in the first place.

Zookeeper:  You sound a little disgruntled.

Polar Bear:  I’m being exploited.  I’ll have you know I’m an union organizer and you can’t stop us, unless you throw me some Alaskan salmon every now and then, say on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Zookeeper:  Mr. Snake.  How could we make your stay more pleasing?

Snake:  For starters, you can remove the plexiglass.  I’m tired of people taking selfies with me as I try to catch some zzzzz’s.  I’m not a violent sort, but some days I’d like nothing better than to envenomate a zoo patron or two.

Zookeeper:  How is your food?

Snake:  Never mind the food, just put me out on a sun warmed rock.  This flourescent lighting you got in here gives me migraines.  And I’d like to work on my tan.  One more thing – can you get me a new roommate?  The spitting viper has got no class, no class at all.  At the very least, get the guy a spittoon.

Zookeeper:  Sir Tiger, do you have any suggestions for improving the zoo?

Tiger:  Look, can you get me some wilderbeasts?  This pink slime you keep throwing me is not even fit for a taco.  And these cougars you got in here, they burn incense all day.  I mean, can you get me an air purifier or some Claritin.  My allergies are acting up.

Zookeeper:  Anything else?

Tiger:  Just one more thing.  A few of us would like to be zoo guides, just to liven things up.  It’d just be me, Zippy the hippo, Dusty the black bear, Leo the laughing hyena and Clowny the rattlesnake.  We’d like to lead the zoo patrons to a hands on tour of the inside of the lion enclosure.  The lions have been feeling rather lonely lately.

GMO Apple To Debut in the U.S. By 2017

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The U.S. Agriculture department just approved the first genetically altered apple for the U.S. market.  A Canadian outfit has designed, yes, DESIGNED, an apple that neither bruises nor browns when sliced open or bitten into.  I suppose it stays red and fresh for hundreds of years and has a half life of several billion, longer even than a discarded k-cup.  They reengineered the thing minus an aging protein or something of the like so that it appears fresher than it really is.  While it may not brown or bruise, it might taste just as soggy and mushy as a bruised apple would, unless they’ve managed to artificially preserve the crispness, which I admit would have a certain appeal, that is if they’ve not used something like formaldehyde.  I really don’t like soggy apples but I like the smell of formaldehyde even less.  And in my view, there is a place for soggy and brown apples and that would be in a jug of cider.

The Okanagan Specialty Fruit company that designed the GMO apple is planning to add a logo to the apple sticker in the form of a snowflake which would distinguish it from a real apple.  It’s interesting that the natural and pristine snowflake is their choice of logo for the born in the lab apple.  Maybe they are also planning to produce these apples to make Ice-Wine, which I rather like.  But is an apple even an apple, if it’s DNA has been altered? Isn’t it kind of like Froot Loops cereal?  The loops are not fruit, which is why the cereal is spelled Froot.  And like Cheez Whiz, which is the not the reel deel, the Canadian apple should be spelled to reflect its synthetic properties – say Apel or Aple or maybe Apul.  Since they designed out a protein, I think it only fitting the thing lose an l.

Are You at Risk for Text Neck?

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Funny phrase this text neck, a malady Millennials and Gen X’ers are more likely to suffer than Baby Boomers.  If you don’t already know what it is, what the thing is may be a mystery.  I can say this, it’s not the craning of the neck to catch a glimpse of what others are texting, which came to my mind first when I saw the article headline – Text Neck is becoming an epidemic…I was also thinking about necking, the thing that went out of vogue in the early 80’s and that  only Baby Boomers, and the GI Generation would remember.  And of course I was wrong.  Text Neck is what you get when you bend your neck to text or read on your smartphone, tablet or smart watch.

Did you know that the brain weighs about 12 pounds but when you bend your neck just 30 degrees, the pressure on your spine is as much as if your brain weighed 40 pounds.  That would be a pretty big brain.  Imagine how much smarter we’d be if we had bigger brains.  But the trade off apparently is that all this bending destroys the spine and the natural curvature of the neck, causing all manner of aches, pains, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, and tissue tears, that, as one doctor claims, could lead one to have corrective spinal surgery.  The only corrective thing I ever had was shoes.  As a Baby Boomer, I have some natural protection against text neck.  I never learned how to text quickly having grown up using a typewriter.  I am just now getting comfortable with a computer keyboard.  No, I’m not 94 and not still using a flip phone with a phone card.  But this Qwerty keyboard is still foreign to me.  I can type fast, but can only peck a smartphone with the index finger of my left hand.  And by the way, there’s no such thing as peck neck.  The only thing I can do with my thumbs is give the thumbs up and hitchhike.  Yes, it’s a generational thing I think.  I’ll never get a smart watch which may ultimately cause teens extreme spinal degeneration.  I’d hate to see the younger generation walking around with bent backs and huge bowling ball heads that weigh 60 pounds.

I do feel bad for the next generation who are growing up in the era of global warming, climate change, famine, drought, GMO’s, new rounds of nuclear madness, text neck, and the new threat of being buried alive by unrecyclable k-cups.  What a way to die! The Baby boomers and those still alive who came before, will most certainly fall to cancer or heart disease, but won’t live a painful life of text neck.  And for the rest of you, Gen X and young Millennials, it’s not too late.  You still have time to save yourselves.  Put away your devices and live just a little.  In the badly paraphrased words of Mark Watt’s paraphrase of his father Alan Watts, with a modern twist:  stop thinking (and texting) and start experiencing life.  And I would add, look up, look around, not down!

Love in the Time of Consumerism

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The thing with Valentine’s Day is that it’s just a day, like any other, or at least it should be.  Must we be told or reminded to love our loved one/s? Ideally, one should try to love special people each and every day.  Are chocolates, flowers, and dinners out, the ultimate expression of love, or consumerism? If you want to support your local businesses or something, do it all the time, not just on holidays. Hey, wine and chocolate are complimentary goods and healthy in moderate doses.  I say if you want to prop up the chocolate industry, Hallmark or some winery, buy their stock directly or invest in mutual funds that hold the companies you hold dear. Buy the way, Evan Williams 1783 small batch bourbon pairs nicely with lemon merengue pie for whatever it’s worth, which incidentally would be about 50 bucks, the two.

Below are some of my favorite love quotes, that resonate today and any day.

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” – Paulo Coelho

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” – Agatha Christie

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” – Vincent van Gogh

“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” – David Byrne

“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.”   – Rita Mae Brown

“To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.”  – Bell Hooks

Love,

Ribbie