Friday, February 27, 2009

Too Cold For Ice Cream?

Here's another funny one from my friend, Tracy Farr.... Check him and the band out at Stinky Creek

Someone actually said to me the other day that it was too cold to have Ice Cream. In that instant, I no longer doubted that space aliens have visited Earth; that they have conducted vicious and vile experiments on members of our population; and those experiments have turned normal, intelligent people into completely useless slugs.

Too cold for Ice Cream? Is that even proper English? Isn’t there some rule about not ending a sentence with “ice cream” unless it’s preceded by the phrase, “Would you like a bowl of...”?

Saying it is too cold for Ice Cream is like saying it’s “too hot to go swimming,” or saying you’re “too sick to go to the doctor,” or saying “I’m too cheap to buy a new digital TV that televises the same old junk but in high-definition.” (Hmmm...I’ll cogitate on that one for a moment while you go look up the word “cogitate”)

You may think I’m nuts – join the club; they have monthly meetings – but I totally believe that Ice Cream will be the No. 1 commodity that will keep our economy afloat.

Point No. 1 – American auto executives have spent quite a bit of time in front of congressional hearings asking for money to help keep their companies viable. Have you seen Ben & Jerry knocking on White House doors, begging for cash? Heavens no!

Point No. 2 – Viacom has let go 850 employees; Target 1,500; AT&T has slashed 12,000 jobs. How many Jersey Cows have you seen standing in an unemployment line because Blue Bell gave them the pink slip? Zippo!

Point No. 3 – Goodies has recently closed stores; Starbucks is scaling back; Circuit City has filed for bankruptcy; and banks all over the world are scrambling to keep their doors open and their investments sound. Has Baskin-Robbins made any announcements about reducing the number of flavors they offer? C’mon, you know the answer to that one.

Everything from electronics, to cars, the housing market, retirement plans, travel, and pizza delivery has been affected in one way or the other by the recent downturn in our economy. It’s Ice Cream that has remained strong and growing, and it is Ice Cream that is now the safest investment in these troubled times.

So, my fellow Americans, you can sit on your duffs and let your life savings burn off like morning fog if you want to, but as for me, I’m cashing in my portfolio and sinking my dividends right smack in the middle of a gallon carton of Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. It might be a bit messy, but I’ll know my money is in the safest place on the planet.

The Daily Spittoon -- We'll never ask for a government bailout!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Great Monkey Debate

Unless you've been lost on a desert island for the past week, you have heard about the furor over the NY Post cartoon that has raised the ire of many African Americans. The NAACP has called for the firing of the cartoonist and protesters said that Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Post should be put in jail.

The cartoon showed a gunned-down chimp and one police officer says, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Immediately it was decided by all the protesters that the cartoonist meant this as a jab to President Obama and likened him to a chimp. A reference to monkeys that has, in the past, been an intentional slap in the face for blacks.

My question to all the folks who made that synaptic leap, is why? Assuming what someone else meant is not often correct. When we assign motives, we keep alive all the negative stereotypes that have plagued us for centuries.

Quite frankly, I'd forgotten that referring to black people as monkeys had once been used to insult and humiliate them. When I first read the cartoon, I thought the connection the cartoonist was making was to the advisors who helped draft the stimulus package: That some of them did not have the brains of a chimp. I never made the connection to President Obama until the protests started.

Last Friday, two Dallas Morning News columnists, James Ragland and Steve Blow, debated the issue in a combined column. The writers, one black and one white, have a continuing series, Talking Race, in which they tackle current issues. James ended his section by saying that he doesn't think folks should tell black people to "just get over it" when they are upset about a broad slight.

If I can be so bold -- without getting crucified -- maybe they should.

Reacting to slights only gives them more power. This is something I learned when "getting over" things that were emotionally harmful to me. We cannot allow the past to control us. We have to make conscious decisions not to act out of the bitterness or sense of defeat that comes from getting mad because of a percieved insult.

Which doesn't mean I advocate sitting back and letting racism happen. On the contrary, when it is a clear case of racist behavior, then we all -- black and white and red and brown -- need to voice our objections and work toward eradicating bigotry. We just have to make sure it is an intentional act, and not just a knee-jerk reaction to something.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feline Friends

Our dog needs a canine friend. Seriously, what would her family think if they saw her cavorting with all these cats? Poppy is half Border Collie and half Australian Shepard. She should be herding sheep, not cats. But I guess in the absence of sheep, cats will do.

Poppy likes to play with John -- the big cream colored cat. But with Misty, pictured here, she just likes to lie down in the sun and maybe trade a few licks. Misty likes to rub all over Poppy before settling down for a nap.

The only cat Poppy doesn't have much to do with is Orca. Maybe because of his name? Which is too bad because Orca really is a sweet, loving cat.

I wish these pictures had turned out better. I was taking them through a window --- obviously -- and didn't notice how bad the reflection was until I loaded the pictures on my computer. By then, the animals had moved so there was no way to get another shot.

Oh well....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants on fire...

Here's another guest blog from my funny friend Tracy Farr. If he ever stops writing these, I will be in trouble when I don't have anything to blog about.

I hate to admit it, but I’m a liar. I would say I’m a big, fat liar, but that would also be a lie. I’m more of a short and chunky liar – not that there’s much difference.

What have a lied about recently? Well, it’s possible that a couple of weeks ago I implied that I might have taken down my Christmas tree, packed it away, never to be seen again until Christmas ’09, and I did it during halftime of the Super Bowl. Well, I didn’t actually watch the Super Bowl, and I didn’t actually take down my tree.

Actually, there’s no “actually” about it. I didn’t do either.

You see, when you’re such a cheapskate like I am – a cheapskate who refuses to shell out big bucks for cable or satellite, just to watch a whole lot of nothing on a 25-year-old analog TV that’s about to die a digital death, and you’re to cheap to buy a “new and improved” TV that will probably only last a couple of years because they don’t make ‘em like they used to – well, people think you’re nuts. And then when you add to the mix not watching the Super Bowl, they KNOW you’re nuts and seem to steer clear of you whenever you’re around.

There’s only one more thing a person needs in order to be eligible for a one-way ticket to the Funny Farm: being the only person alive on the planet who still has their Christmas tree up – in February. So, I lied about it – which makes it all downright pathetic.

And I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “I don’t know how his family puts up with that.” “Do you think his kids know they have a nut job for a father?” “It can’t be hereditary because his parents are good people who have cable and have all their Christmas stuff up in the attic.” “I’ve always wondered why Robert’s girlfriend, Rachel, never stops by to visit – and now I know.” “You don’t think it’s catching, do you?” “Most likely not, but I’d wash my hands if I were you.”

Well, you probably won’t believe me (and I don’t blame you), but I spent this past Saturday taking down the Christmas tree – ornaments and all. I’d show you a picture to prove it, but you’d probably think I doctored it somehow.

Anyways, I know this is a lousy excuse for a story, but I’ve heard confession is good for the soul. And now that I’ve confessed, I feel a lot better! Don’t you?

The Daily Spittoon -- Done completely by hand!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring is springing up all over....

Here in East Texas the daffodils are popping up in glorious splendor. Many people have planted the lovely flowers in bright yellows and pale pinks, but they also grow wild in fields and pastures and alongside the road.

Texas is known for the bluebonnets, which will be out in April, but I like the early gift of daffodils just as much. Some fields are yellow as far as the eye can see, and it does make one pause to enjoy.

These pictures were taken about a mile from my house. The flowers are under an oak tree that is about 300 years old.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Ancient Perils of Writing

Remember writing with a typewriter? Some of us do, and you you younger folks will just have to do a Google search for "typewriter" to see what one looked like.

I unearthed an old column I'd written when my trusty old typewriter gave up the ghost. That was back when I was writing a weekly humor column for a suburban newspaper. Most of the stories were about family life, but now and then I'd write something about the writing life.

This one's good for a chuckle if you have a moment to visit another blog where I was a guest today.

That is a blog site for author Ginger Simpson. She has started something new she's calling Tourist Thursdays, when she hosts a guest. Ginger is a gracious friend, and I really appreciate how willing she is to help other authors.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Little Bit of Humor

As we all know, writers are by nature very insecure people, especially in the early years when perhaps the only thing we get published is a letter to the editor and that’s cut from four paragraphs to three lines. In fact, for years basic insecurity was the only thing I had to affirm my credibility as a writer.

But even in my moment of greatest anxiety, I never reached the heights (or should I say the depths) of insecurity as did Glenda Gibberish. She wrote an entire book on squares of toilet tissue and hid each page in an empty roll. When her husband, Harry, asked about all the cardboard cylinders lining the dresser, Glenda told him she was making toys for the gerbils. That worked well until he decided to take an interest in the welfare of the pets. She lost one whole chapter in a single afternoon.

Realizing that would never do, Glenda resorted to stuffing the rolls in her underwear drawer, in the empty cookie jar, and in the springs of the old sofa bed. She figured she was safe since she put her own clothes away and nobody ever bothered with the cookie jar since she never baked. But she forgot about her mother-in-law’s visit. Oddly enough, the other woman said nothing when they unfolded the bed, but Harry gave her one of those looks that we women enjoy so much. Then he surprised the gerbils with new toys.

This ruse went on for years and she couldn’t bring herself to tell a soul that she was writing. Then one day she was hit with this overwhelming urge to “out” herself. It was the same compulsion that drives a dieter to a banana split at Dairy Queen and try as she might Glenda couldn’t shake it. So she had lunch with her best friend and broke the news.

“Oh, no. Is it serious?”

“Not right now, but it could be.”

“How long... I mean, have you been this way forever?”

“Since I was a little girl. But, you know. It isn’t the kind of thing you just drop into casual conversation.”

“Good. Maybe we can keep it from getting around.”

“Don’t worry. I have plenty of editors looking out for me on that count.”

“Have you told Harry yet?”

“No. But he did wonder about the sudden demise of Jake the gerbil. I think he choked on a particularly graphic sex scene.”


“No. The gerbil.”

“How have you managed to keep it from Harry?”

“Right now, I tell him I’m going into the closet to straighten up a few things. But that’s not going to last long. Sooner or later he’s going to remember that I don’t like to straighten anything.”

“Don’t worry. You can trust me with your secret.”

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind if you told a few people. My book comes out next month and I need the publicity.”

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Get outta My Space!

Years ago I used to fight with my kids for my sacred space to write in. I had a room that was called my study where I had a desk and a typewriter --- yeah, I started writing in the dark ages. Problem was, the study soon became the room where stuff was stored when nobody knew where else to put it. So I would have an odd assortment of boxes and bins and things stacked in and around the desk and filing cabinet that made finding my space a challenge.

Then if we had company, either the company stayed in the office and slept on the sofa bed or one of the kids did. First obstacle to overcome was finding the sofa bed under the piles of things "stored" in the office. Then came the challenge of figuring out if it was an invasion of a guest's privacy if I went into the study now and then to work.

Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, I have an office all to myself. Or at least I thought I did, until the cats decided they would like to share the space with me.

Wait. Did I say "share?"

The cat's have taken over the space.

This week, John has decided that he will help me with my writing. He has taken over half of my desk, and periodically reaches down to play with the mouse or keyboard.

Misty, our calico, took over my office chair weeks ago, and she does not know the meaning of "share" either. She glowers at me when I move her so I can sit down. Then she jumps up behind me and pushes on my back to get me to move.

The last time one of the kids came to visit, he laughed because my office chair was rolled aside and I had a kitchen chair in front of my desk. When I told him why, he asked why I didn't just move the cat.

I glowered at him.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I must say I enjoyed yesterday's Super Bowl more than I have others in recent history. Unless the Cowboy's play, I usually don't care a whole lot who wins, but yesterday I was pulling for the Cardinals. There was something endearing about the fact that halfway through the season they were the last team anyone expected to take the field on Superbowl Sunday.

From the storybook history of Kurt Warner to the come-from-behind wins in the playoffs that were reminiscent of vintage Cowboys plays and "Hail Mary" passes, it was exciting to watch this team fight their way to the big game. And it was exciting to watch them fight so hard to make up a first-half deficit and come so close to winning in the last few minutes of the game.

What was evident on the field was teamwork and heart. The Cardinals came to the game knowing they were considered a long-shot to win, but they didn't let that keep them from giving it their all.

We can all take a lesson from that, I think. There are times we all face what seems like insurmountable odds to achieve a goal and give up before we even start. Maybe we'd be better off to just put the blinders on and forge ahead. Sometimes winning doesn't mean having the highest score.