My Thoughts... Exactly!

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Category: Funny2Me (page 1 of 3)

Stuff that I Find Amusing. (Remember, there is no accounting for taste).

Under New-ish Management

In November of 2002, I saw this vinyl sign hanging outside a restaurant in Laguna, CA. I thought it was funny. Not the untold, implied story — that part is likely sad — rather, the boldness of Eva as depicted on the sign.

The restaurant is still in business in 2015, and managed, apparently, by Eva, sans-Drew.

Eva’s Carribean Kitchen website and Facebook Page.

Fun With Bandwidth Stealers

Every now and again I go into my web domain’s “cPanel” (control panel) and poke around the Latest Visitors tool. This tool lists access incidents of files, images, videos, etc., most recent hits at the top.

I found this peculiar reference (see photo above) to a snapshot of a TV tray I had posted on my site in 2007 when I was setting up an artists workshop.

The “referrer” is the website somewhere in the world that is accessing and displaying my image. This common occurrence is called “bandwidth stealing” because it takes advantage of bandwidth (web access) that another entity (in this case: me) pays for to serve the resource to them. In this case, it’s no big deal. I pay for unlimited bandwidth with my host. The other issue of copyright is a little more personal. Again, in this case, no big deal. But really, this is my photo on my site, and some guy somewhere, describing how he build something out of a TV tray, was too lazy to go shoot a photo of what he made, and instead just linked to my image.

His forum post looked like this (that’s my image – click for larger view).

A screenshot of the post as I found it. That's my photo.

A screenshot of the post as I found it. That’s my photo.

So I googled “TV tray” with other words until I found an image I thought would be a humorous replacement.

I uploaded a copy of that image to my site in the same location the TV tray image was filed, renamed the older photo of mine, edited my webpage that referenced that photo so it would have the proper, new file name, the renamed this new photo to the original filename and re-uploaded the referring page to make my webpage look as it did before.

Now the “bandwidth stealer’s” post elsewhere in the world looks like this (click for larger):

How the post looks now, after I replaced the photo with a different one with the exact filename of the original.

How the post looks now, after I replaced the photo with a different one with the exact filename of the original.

I wonder how long it will take him to notice.

See the original post here — maybe no one’s caught it yet.

The Prince and His Panties

In high school, early 1970s, my new friend Don Blackburn had a remarkable record collection, including the vinyl album of Mason Williams’ that contained the hit Classical Gas. Mason Williams [wiki], brother of unrelated to the crooner Andy Williams [wiki], was a nut/genius, and composed, besides Classical Gas, little known, fully orchestrated gems such as Life, which, if I am not mistaken took up 30 seconds of play time with its verse, transcribed here in its entirety…

Isn’t life beautiful?
Isn’t life gay?
Isn’t life the perfect thing to pass the time away?

Today, on my Facebook I got a Wall-To-Wall message from Sue Humphreys Thompson who commented that my rendition of Mason Williams’ other classic from the same album had suddenly come to mind. I don’t recall exactly which performance of mine it was to which she is referring, but she mentioned that it was odd that it would so randomly come to mind from the distant past.

I recall performing it on many occasions, guitar in hand, to the bewilderment, and, no doubt, admiration of my available audience.

No, I am not referring to the too-difficult Classical Gas, rather

The Prince and His Panties

There was once a price who
Acted strangely, in that
He thought life was stupid
And it was for him so
He made up a world
In which he liked
The things we like
But he had diff’rent
Reasons why he liked them.

He liked butter
For its color
He would order
Toast and Color

Waitresses, confused would utter
Sir, I’ve never heard of
Toast and Color.

He’d get angry and
Begin to choke them;
The Law would come and they’d
Arrest and book him
So his life was a
Mess of trouble.
Still, he kept it up.

He had dogs
One Hundred Cocker Spaniels
And he called them ‘Panties’
‘Cause they
Did that mostly

And he did not care at all if
They would bark and fetch sticks,
Run and jump, roll over,
And play dead tricks. No, he
Liked them only For their panting
So he would
Run them ragged. Then one day
They got mad and
Chased the prince
Right up against a fence

And the prince was eaten by his panties.

‘Crossroads: New Directions’ – New Art, Darrow Show

New work by David R. DarrowAnnouncing a show of new works by David R. Darrow. This one man show entitled Crossroads: New Directions will showcase 86 new works by artist David R. Darrow.

Thinking ahead, Darrow reveals:

"Recent revelations and theories about some of the Masters’ "softening approach" to portraiture as natural aging affected their eyesight have freed me up to pursue a direction of artistic expression in which I can continue well into my eighties."

Formerly well-known for his realistic impressionism, Darrow has assembled an impressive body of abstract and impressionistic work over the last four ‘silent’ months, heralding an entirely new artistic direction.

The piece shown above, Coffee Focus, (48" x 48" oil, acrylic and wax stylus on canvas) will be featured prominently on the cover of the 102-page color catalog, available to our guests at the show’s opening. Other works, not shown, include: Flavored Weather, (48" x 56"), Analog Jam (36" x 48"), Angry Mornings (60" x 60"), White on White on White (72" x 105"), Wall Flour, (72" x 24"), Pigeon Toad (Sculpture) and many additional thoughtful works.

Please join us!

Time/Date: Thursday April 31, 2008, 7:00 – 10pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres served.

Place: the Grand Opening of the Clientso Prix Tenshous Gallery, NW corner of 5th and K, Downtown San Diego.

All works offered under $15,000!

Mark your calendar. It’s only 30 days from today: April 1, 2008!

Critical Mouse test: Click next to the “>” on the next line; hold and drag to the right.
> •• APRIL FOOLS! ••

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

(I cannot take credit for this, but I was amused –dd)

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

Schizophrenia — Do You Hear What I Hear?

Multiple Personality Disorder — We Three Kings Disoriented Are

Dementia — I Think I’ll be Home for Christmas

Narcissistic — Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

Manic — Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and…

Paranoid — Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

Borderline Personality Disorder — Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

Personality Disorder — You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, Maybe I’ll Tell You Why

Attention Deficit Disorder — Silent night, Holy… oooh look at the froggy – Can I have a chocolate? Why is France so far away?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells …

Klobber Your Kids

A couple of years or more ago, I was alerted to an e-mailing list started by a Canadian fellow enamored of artwork from the heyday of Illustration. Lamenting the passing of an era, Leif Peng, author of Today’s Inspiration blog, scans old-but-fantastic magazine illustrations and sends them out to his subscribers (free), usually including a story about the artist. He is quite the historian.

Today, he sent out this whimsical illustration with only the first page of the 2-page article scanned. I read as far as I could, then asked him if, by chance, he had the rest of the article.

He obliged with a new scan, and mailed it to me with a note of amusement that I was not the only one who had requested to read the rest.

Here is the article in its entirety:

From Coronet Magazine, December 1953

Klobber Your Kids

NOT LONG AGO, Bennett Cerf, noted humorist and literary columnist of the Saturday Review, got a letter from the equally renowned theatrical playwright, Moss Hart. Mr. Cerf thought so highly of the letter that he printed it in his column, thus starting a controversy in many American homes. CORONET, with thanks to Messrs. Cerf and Hart, and the Saturday Review, is happy to reprint the letter here. — THE EDITORS.

Dear Bennett:

Do you remember, one lovely starlit evening on the desert a few weeks ago, our discussing with a good deal of parental acrimony the proper method of bringing up children? That usually discerning and extremely wise lady, your wife, disagreed somewhat haughtily with the method we use in our house, but I thought you showed unusual interest in our experiment and silently longed to apply it yourself, so I pass it on to you and to any other frantic and harassed parents who, like ourselves, were about ready for the booby-hatch until The Klobber Method came into our household.

The Klobber Method was invented by Ernest J. Klobber, a Viennese psychiatrist who, at the time of the discovery of the method which was to bear his name, was a staunch believer in the modern and accepted formula for rearing children. Give them a reason for everything — watch out for traumas — plenty of love and security — and never a harsh word.

So great an exponent of this formula was Professor Klobber that, at the time of his discovery, ‘the Professor, who had six children of his own, was about to be carted off to a sanitarium in a state of nervous collapse a condition any modern parent will understand at once. As the hapless Professor was being carried out of the house on a stretcher, one of the children aimed a kick at it which, with unerring childlike aim, landed exactly where it was meant to land.

The Professor, though thoroughly used to being kicked by his children, was under mild sedation at the time, and it may have been this that caused a curious reflex action on his part. Bringing his arm up from the stretcher, he brought his hand down with a good sharp crack on the child’s head.

The effect
on the Professor
was startling
There was an anguished howl from the child — first time in its life no reason had been given for an action — but the effect on the Professor was startling. He leaped up from the stretcher and gave each of the other five kiddies in turn a good smart crack over the head — a Klobber, as he afterward termed it — and never went near the sanitarium. Instead, in suddenly excellent spirits and health, he began to develop The Klobber Method.

No reason was given for anything. “No” meant “no” and “yes” meant “yes,” and, trauma or no trauma, at the first hint of an argument the children got a Klobber, and life, for the Professor and his good wife, was livable for the first time since the patter of little feet had thundered through the house.

Like all great discoveries, however, The Klobber Method met with furious opposition on the part of leading educators and progressive parent organizations, and it was not until a refinement of The Method was suggested by an imaginative assistant of the Professor’s that it began to meet with popular, if necessarily secretive, approval.

The Professor’s assistant, one Heinrich Klonk, suggested that since a good Klobber usually left a telltale lump — a short sideswipe, or a Klonk, would do the trick just as well, and to hell with PTA’s and the like.

Heinrich Klonk is one of the unsung heroes of our time for, though he gets small credit for The Klobber Method, his little refinement worked like a charm, and the word “Klonk” echoes through thousands of peaceful homes like a balm.

The charm of the method is its utter simplicity. In place of long hours of dreary explanation that Daddy cannot work if junior bangs on the radiator, and if Daddy cannot work and make money, how will we go to the circus; in place of that tortured quiet between husband and wife in the long night hours as to which one warped the childish id by refusing to allow the hotfoot to be applied to Uncle Robert; in place of all that just “Klonk!” — and serenity reigns.

It is the greatest invention since the wheel, my dear fellow, and as your wife seems to object to it, try it on her first, instead of the children, and let me know the results. I’ll still be out here, three thousand miles away — but I’d like to know what happens.

Ever yours,

Moss Hart

Man, We Were a Hit

David Darrow & John Toth 1972In Junior High School (now called ‘middle school’) my best friend was John Toth. We just enjoyed getting into mild mischief, breaking a few meaningless rules, and laughing at almost anything. We just had fun everywhere we went.

I think we were both attracted to Carol Matthews whom I haven’t seen since I was 13 and she was 12… but she wasn’t interested.

I digress.

Today, kind of out-of-the-blue, John e-mailed this picture from our distant past (January 1972 — 35 years ago). That’s me apparently playing the bass. The legs and feet are actually me, while John stars as my ‘hands’ and ‘arms’, from behind — and of course I have no control over what ‘my hands decide to do.’ We were legends in our own minds with this act. We should have taken it on the road.

Correcting Spelling… and More!

Okay, this is funny to me.

Go to the Google home page and type in the words “French military victories” and then hit the I’m Feeling Lucky button (this button takes you to the most likely result).

A Little Mean Fun

Recently, I drove down to the local Wal-mart to pick up some cold medicine. Parked my car in the crowded lot, and wandered in.

Approaching the front entrance, I saw a 25-ish blonde in a black velvet running suit (no one actually runs in those, do they?) get out of a new, black sporty-looking Volvo with very dark tinted windows and scoot in ahead of me. What grabbed my attention was that she parked in the red no-parking zone right in front of the entrance, turned on her blinking amber hazard lights, shut the door and tooted the car alarm on.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, telling myself that maybe she was an employee dropping by for a paycheck or something, I noted where she went in the store, but noticed that, like me, she was headed to a section of the store away from employee only areas, instead clacking her high heels straight back to Ladies Shoes, where she immediately began rummaging through the bargains.

Not being the confrontational type, but wanting to right this obvious indiscretion on her part — I mean, who does she think she is? Too big of a deal to park in the lined parking spaces like the rest of us? — I walked to the shoe aisle next to hers and as I aligned myself in roughly the same position as her in the adjacent aisle, I flipped open my cell phone (in case anyone was watching) and began what was supposed to sound like the middle of an ongoing phone conversation. I stopped directly across from her, hidden by racks of shoes between her and me, and continued my end of the “conversation” in a louder voice:

“Yeah, you can say what you want about Wal-mart, but I tell you they are on top of things around here,” I projected. “I swear, some chick in a black Volvo just parked her car in front of the store, you know, in the no parking zone for old people? Yeah… right. And I swear it wasn’t 15 seconds and they already have a tow truck rackin’ her up!”

That was as far as I got, when on the other side of the aisle I heard a muttered common expletive layered over the sound of a box hitting the floor, and then fast and furious clacking heading toward the front of the store. I stepped around the endcap to catch a view as this no-more-pretense little princess-of-a-thing ran the 100 meters to the front doors in record time. She flung herself into her car, and pulled away heading for Peasant Parking.

Sometimes I kill me!

Freak Your Seatmate

How to Murder a Complete Stranger and Get Away With ItYou can tell a lot about someone by the books on their shelves, or the books they choose to read on a plane or subway.

Or so it used to be, thanks to the delightful sense of humor of Michelle Walters of

From Michelle’s site:
Awhile ago, my husband Brian said “Wouldn’t it be funny if you were sitting on the subway reading a book and on the front cover it said, How to Murder a Complete Stranger and Get Away with It? Imagine what people around you would think, especially when you finally finished the book.”

Since then she’s sold thousand of these add-on paper book covers, and has somewhere near 25 covers to choose from. Imagine the conversations you could start (or seats that would suddenly vacate around you) when you pull out your copy of Blue Like Jazz wrapped in a book cover titled Do It Yourself Dentistry.

Capitalism Rocks.

Unique Ventriloquist

I haven’t been able to watch any of this TV show, but found this act on YouTube. A ventriloquist that can speak out of sync with his own lips.

I wanted to be a ventiloquist when I was a kid. I even bought a dummy from the magic shop at Knott’s Berry Farm.

I never got very good. I never really practiced.

Matt Harding on GMA

First, if you haven’t already, watch the video in my earlier post Where the Hell is Matt, and then come back and watch this one.

Link to Matt Harding’s Website

Reception Ribbing

About a month ago I got a call one afternoon from David Lindsay from whom I have not gotten a phone call in years.

“Hi, Dave. This is David Lindsay, and I am just calling all the people we sent invitations to for our wedding and reception but who have not RSVP’d…”

“Oh, geez—I’m sorry, Dave. I totally spaced. Yes, Teresa and I will be there. Of course. I am so sorry I didn’t mail back the RSVP card in the envelope you sent… how rude of me [etc., etc., back-pedaling furiously].”

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” he offered graciouly. “A lot of people didn’t RSVP.”

At the wedding dinner and reception, held at the Gazzella [Picture], in downtown Long Beach, we were treated to an elegant dinner, drinks and dancing. When we sat down at the table before dinner, at every place-setting for each of the 175 people they entertained, there was a little, red 2″ gift box, wrapped in a gold ribbon with a “Thank You” sticker. The boxes each contained a few chocolates.

Under the ribbon on each box was a loose, ready-to-use 39¢ postage stamp.

Mario, Level 1

A hand-held video of a live performance of “Super Mario Brothers, Level One.”

I have to give this team much credit for creativity. It made me laugh and brought back memories from 20 years ago. Very well done. A true crowd-pleaser.

Take a look.

Leaving The Ground

A friend of ours, whom for the sake of this story I will just call Karen since that’s her real name, lives in an upstairs condominium two blocks from us. Her back patio/balcony overlooks a sloping bank strewn with majestic, 100-year-old eucalyptus trees, and other trees added by the developers of the complex.

She was telling us that early in the morning—and she is a very early riser—she likes to be up before the sun rises, make coffee, sit out on the balcony and sip her coffee, and then just sort of “putter around tidying up before sunrise.”

When she sweeps, she drags all the eucalyptus leaves, bark, bird feathers, seeds and whatever else has accumulated over the last 24 hours, into a little pile near the edge of the balcony, which has a safety railing surroundng it made of wrought iron. She told me that to make sure she doesn’t dump all her leaves and other stuff on the neighbors below, the last two or three sweeping motions have to be with great gusto to pitch the junk several yards out by the time it reaches the ground.

The other day, when talking to her nextdoor neighbor, also an upstairs unit owner, he casually mentioned that “the last few mornings, very early in the morning, my girlfriend and I have been startled awake by what sounds like a broom hitting the wrought-iron fence—you know, that fence that’s attached to the wall we share in common? Do you have any idea what that might be?”

Karen offered, “It’s probably me hitting the wrought-iron fence with my broom.”

“Well,” says the neighbor, timidly, “do you think you could maybe stop doing that? At least so early in the morning?”

Karen told us “I never in a million years would have thought that I was waking the neighbors doing that.”

Kickin’ Back

I have never been a fishing kinda guy, but if I ever do go fishing, I want to go with these guys. [Hat tip to my brother John]

Oh, and if I ever take up juggling, I want to learn from this guy, Chris Bliss [totally worth watching]


IronyEver drive by a scene and just burst out with a simple “Ha!” because of the irony of it all?

That’s what happened to me a few days ago. I drove by this scene on College Blvd., just south of the 78 Freeway in Carlsbad/Oceanside, CA. I saw the same scene the next day, riding with my daughter, and she commented: Now there’s good advertising!” Then yesterday, I saw the same scene, and remembered I had my camera in the trunk, so I pulled around and parked, walked up to this gentleman and said, “I want to ask your permission to take your picture, because I think this is very funny.”

A big smile broke across his face as he said “Sure! I was wondering if anyone was ever going to say anything.”

I took his picture and then told him to look for it on my blog tomorrow. I promised not to make fun of him… that I was only going to label it Irony and let people make up their own minds.

Click Here for the Rest of the Story [Image]

He stuck out his hand to shake mine, and introduced himself as “Dave. Dave Smith.” He also said he didn’t want his picture on any kind of inappropriate site. I assured him that it would not, and appreciated his concern.

He told me he was doing this as a favor for his buddy who owns or works at the business—I don’t remember which. He was there to get people to look into this little shopping center that they drive by everyday and to notice the little hidden shop.

Another irony: It’s right next to a donut shop. You’d think I would have known about it already.

Reader Knowledge Test #2

Trolley Full of Bits

I am not making this up.

That is the phrase that was part of a sentence spoken to me by actual English-speaking people.

What is amazing to me is that people from England and people from America use the same words—largely from the same vocabulary list, albeit with different accents—yet the English say things using those words that do not communicate anything useful. (I submit that we speak properly, and they are all arrogant-sounding, like they are the king and queen or something… unless you are Dick van Dyke doing a fantastic chimney sweep accent, ‘oo used words what was proppah.).

In talking to our friends Bill and Julie, from England originally, but then France more recently, and finally near Valencia, CA presently, they were trying to communicate an otherwise fascinating story to us and used the phrase trolley full of bits in such a fashion that it actually sounded like they have used such a ridiculous phrase before. Seriously.

My eyes glazed over.

Teresa just had stunned eyebrows, and was shaking her head “no.”

Now, these people did eventually explain what the phrase was referring to, but not after a lengthy display of amazement that we seldom if ever use the word “bits” in a grown-up sentence.

But I am wondering if any readers can guess what that phrase was used to communicate to us.

Answer posted Friday as an Update in this post.

No fair using any look-up services, like dictionaries, wikipedia, or anything like that. You must use only your wits, as we were required to do.

Keep in mind that these people also said that Dick van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins was absolutely horrid.

Bill and Julie are not allowed to participate in this round of RKT

Update: So, Julie is telling me that she and Bill had just moved into their new home and so were at a large box store, whose name rhymes with Stall-Mart, and they were commenting on how Julie had asked Bill to come to where she was and help her get something off a high shelf, and when they went back their trolley full of bits was gone.

It turns out it meant: Shopping Cart full of all the things they were buying to accessorize their new home: tableware, utensils, napkins, glasses, soap dishes, placemats and the like.

I was naturally supposed to understand this from the word “bits.”

As it turns out, a helpful Stall-Mart employee had taken their cart—after it had been left alone for upwards of 10 seconds—and pushed it to customer service where another helpful employee took it back into the store and was almost finished putting everything back on the shelves when Julie recognized the last remaining items. Bill and Julie had spent nearly an hour and a half shopping, and another 45 minutes looking for their missing trolley full of bits which was now virtually all put back.

Santa Claus

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.
—Shirley Temple

More of my favorite quotes here.

Holiday Cheer

There’s a Salvation Army volunteer who stands outside our local grocery store in front of a red pot, soliciting donations with a simple, incessant ding, ding, ding, ding, ding… He’s a black man, about 38 years old, never smiles, rarely wears anything remotely Christmassie, and who always replies to my smiling greetings with a quick jerk upward with his head and a stone-faced ‘sup brothuh.

Having been in and out those same sliding automatic doors several times in the
last few weeks, I finally managed to get a smile out of him with the following:

I still don’t know your name, but your hand sure rings a bell.

Darn the Luck

I have alwys wondered how many people out there are assigned random license plate IDs that they would rather not have because of some obscure (or direct) reference or meaning.

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles randomly assigned the plates which read 666-KEN, but the Christian father of three plans to exchange them because he doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about him. He said his first name is paired with the number recognized as a symbol for the Antichrist.

A Newer Blonde Joke

My friends Ron and Janeen forwarded this to me:

I was sitting in a cafeteria next to a blonde woman who was engrossed in her newspaper.

The bold headline read:
12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed

She shook her head at the sad news, almost started to cry. Then turning to me, she asked, “How many is a Brazilian?”

A Boy and His Father

If you’ve ever seen Jack Nicholson in the creepy horror film The Shining, you will get a kick out of this alternate trailer for it.

It’s amazing the mood that can be created with just the right music and a new voice-over—and some clever editing of original material.

Update My brother John tipped me off to 2 more: Hit That Ship, an alternate trailer for that recent blockbuster horror picture Titanic, and an alternate trailer for West Side Story.

Very creative stuff!

Reunion Revisited

I was just thinking again about my high school reunion. (My 30th was last month. See: Can It Have Been 30 Years?)

There were, I’m guessing, 200 people there, which is not too bad from a graduating class of, I believe, 827 people. Now, some of them were “merely spouses”—then again, some of them were both spouse and alumnus: they married another from the class. But there were many who showed up without spouses or significant others. So that means there were 200 people in attendance who didn’t mind seeing people they really only knew 30 years ago, if at all. It was a kick.

The longest married couple of us all, Mike and Maria, were not there. They got married right out of high school. I mean, within two weeks! And amazingly: they were a scandal at the time. He was a 25 year old Health teacher and she a 17 or 18 year old student. But they proved us all wrong. They are still happily married 30 years later. And truly a sweet couple. (She’s now 48 and he’s 55, and I don’t know anyone who thinks that’s out of whack—it’s very in whack, if you ask me).

One of the things I was thinking about was how this reunion was different from the thers, and it did in one respect: you come up to greet someone, and if they don’t recognize your face, they look at your nametag—only they squint, wrinkle their nose, and back up another foot, or they reach into their pocket or purse and grab those bifocals.

One friend, Chris, wrote to me afterward telling me what a great time he had and how funny it was to him that “all the girls I went to high school with now all look like, well… middle-aged women.”

Note to Chris: we’re all past middle age, unless somehow we make it to 98. You, too, dude.

Season of Lint

We have a Hoover Legacy vacuum cleaner.

Legacy. Now, is that the best name for a vacuum cleaner? Do you want a vac that leaves something for future generations?

PDF: Pretty Difficult Format?

While poking around Adobe, I found a service they provide where you e-mail them a PDF document, and they process it (free) and e-mail you BACK a text document that contains all the text from the PDF, in an editable format. Nice idea!

Adobe PDF Conversion by Email Attachment
If the Adobe PDF file is on local media, such as a hard drive, CD-ROM, or internal server, it can be submitted as a MIME attachment to an e-mail message. All converted Adobe PDF documents will be sent back to the sender as MIME attachments. For plain text, mail the attached PDF to For HTML, mail the attached PDF to

I had a CD cover that I had designed from which I wanted to extract the track titles and timings. Easy enough to drag this document to an e-mail and send it off. I figured that if it came back quickly enough, it would beat the retyping time.

Well, the list of tracks and their timings came back via e-mail. Just like promised.

Well, the F in PDF doesn’t stand for Fast: I e-mailed it on September 9, 2005. It arrived today, October 6, 2005.

Shoulda Got Penguins

When Greyson, my 18-year-old, was here last weekend, we were talking about the sweltering heat in our house, and how it’s at the wrong angle for a cross-breeze, and even though we live by the beach—which you’d think would be cooler—it was still uncomfortably hot, and so we try to leave the front and back doors open all day, and run fans in a couple of different windows day and night, plus the ceiling fan, and it still isn’t cool enough because of the uncharacteristically still air for a coastal community, and our clothes stick to us, and—

“Shoulda got penguins,” he cut in, deadpan face looking at me.

“Uh…why penguins?” I enquire.

“Oh, they wouldn’t make the house any cooler, but they’re really interesting and would take your mind off the heat.”

LeBarely’s LeLast Day

Driving he LeBarely for the Last TimeYesterday marks the end of nearly ten years of a friendship with my car, my fire-engine-red, convertible Chrysler LeBarely.

If you have followed my history with cars in general, but especially the LeBaron—subsequently dubbed the LeBarely by my then wife — you know it’s been fun to own this car, but of late it has turned into a loathe/hate relationship.

Two years ago, at about this time of year, I received my DMV Registration renewal notice bearing the dreaded Smog Test Required notice. I had my doubts as to whether it would pass, since two years earlier the gentleman at the Smog Check facility gave me a raised eyebrow Passed certificate, muttering a prophetic “…barely.”

From there it was a downhill story leading to the eventual parking of my ’91 LeBaron out on the street awaiting the necessary cash to fix it up and sell it out of state, or… I dunno… somethin’…

Part of what led to my eventual parking of the LeBarely was the CAP program California has, which — after throwing a minimum of $450 at mechanics to attempt to desuade your vehicle from being a gross polluter — eventually waives your responsibility to be smog compliant for the remainder of the registration period during which time you must either fix it at any cost to make it compliant or terminate driving it at the end of the registration period. [CAP Application Form – PDF]

I opted to park it, and drive instead a cheaper-to-insure ’83 Mercedes Benz we had lying around. And then we began mulling over what to do with the LeBarely. I was advised by the friendly gal over at the Referee Scheduling Center that I may not sell the car within California without it passing smog. I asked “What if I want to sell it to someone who knows it cannot pass smog, but who wants to fix it.” I was advised that that was unwise because they may come back and sue me for selling them an unregisterable car.

“But what if they agree to buy it unregisterable in writing?”

“I cannot advise you on what to do with your car, sir.”

“Well, what if I sell it to someone who lives in another state who doesn’t have environmental laws protecting the Ethiopian Mildew Moth, or whatever, from slightly polluted air?”

“I do not know the environmental laws from other states, sir.”

“Is there any law prohibiting me from selling it on eBay to someone out of state telling them they must take it out of the state?”

“How much do you expect to get for it on eBay, sir?” she enquired, sounding both fascinated and condescending at the same moment.

“I dunno. $300? $600… whatever the market will determine. I don’t care. I can’t drive it, and I can’t afford to fix it. It’s of no use to me.”

“Why don’t you wait a month or two until you get your next Registration Renewal Notice, and then apply for the Vehicle Retirement Program? If you’re accepted—and it sounds like you will be — they’ll pay you $1000 for your car.”

“A thous….?!” I choked. I could maybe get $1500 for it with a new ragtop and a smog-passable engine. No way could I get $1000 for it in its current condition any other way.

Long story short. I applied, was accepted, and…

I Sold My Car to Arnold Schwarzenegger

In preparation for yesterday’s drive to the Approved Vehicle Retirement Facility in Chula Vista—the only one in San Diego County— I charged the battery overnight on Monday, because

  1. the battery was so dead the LED on my stereo’s fake security system wouldn’t even light (and I think those things glow if you merely rub a balloon on your head).

I then disconnected the charger once it indicated the battery was fully charged, and turned the key.


Nothing, except that everything else except the engine–lights, radio, horn, interior thingies—everything worked.

Battery must not have enough cranking popwer. Even with jumper cables I coudn’t even get a click out of it.

I called Marland, the mobile mechanic here in Carlsbad that got my LeBarely back together after I “totaled it” who confirmed that it probably didn’t have enough juice.

So I took the battery to Wal-mart from whence it came in September 2001 and they gave me a $15 pro-rated credit toward a new one. $28.80 was my final price for new juice.

Drove home, plopped it in the LeBarely, turned the key.


Called Marland. He came over. “Oh, that’s gotta be the starter. I’ll see if I can rebuild it.” he removed the started, popped it open and told me “The brushes are toast.” They were. I saw them. They were worn down to the nubs and were no longer making any contact with the starter motor.

Bought a new starter: $104.99. Paid Marland $60. Un-needed new battery: $28.80. That’ll just have to be the cost of doing business with Arnold, I thought.

This next section contains links to individual pictures from Lebarely’s last day.

I got up early yesterday morning and realized I would not be able to see out the windshield through the dirt it accumulated from dust and rain in the last few months [Picture]. so I decided to give it one last, loving bath. [Picture]. Now, I am not a car lover, by any stretch, but there was something in me that wouldn’t let me drive it to the car morgue dirty.

At around noon, my friend George came over to follow me to the facility so I could have a ride back—nice to have friends like that.

I decided that since it was such a nice day, I may as well put the top down for one last time [Picture] and enjoy the one thing I bought a convertible for—riding with the wind in my hair. [Picture]

The tank was on “E” so I stopped at the local gas station and put $5-even into the tank. I figured at 20 miles to the gallon, I could make it 46.6 miles to the Pick-Your-Part [Map] on less than two gallons—after all, I would be making a one-way trip to an obscure spot 5 miles from the USA/Mexico Border.

With 161,850 miles on it [Picture], and me about to pull the plug on it—it felt weird. But I buckled up, pulled out of the gas station and started on my last ride with the LeBarely. [Picture].

When I got there, I realized I was in a typical neighborhood of auto-wreckers. I was directed to the back lot. George was not allowed on the premisis.

I was directed to park “next to that blue car” and hand over my letter from the Bureau of Automotive Repair—the one that states clearly that I have been selected to participate in the Revivable Junk Automobile Retirement Program.. I thought the term revivable junk was a little odd, yet hopeful. It gave me visions of some inner-city highschoolers being delivered a smooth-running, nice looking red convertible. They could learn a trade and become a valuable asset to the community as they learned—from the taxpayer-funded learning center—how to re-bore the cylinders, add new rings to the pistons and make this car a non-polluting babe magnet once again.

My previous ex-wife was told by her girlfriend Carla, when the two of them saw my red convertible for the first time, that I had bought either a babe magnet or a mid-life crisis car — like I’m going to be interested in a gal who says “Oooooooo! Nice red car!”

We were divorced six months later. She may have been right on the mid-life crisis part.

A gal from the iron-barred office came out and grabbed the letter and walked over to my car and started writing on the windows with a big white wax crayon. It was theirs now. [Picture]

I asked her “Where does the car go from here?”

“We crush them.”

“But this one has a brand new starter. A brand new battery. I bought them yesterday! And two months ago I put on a brand new power steering pump and a new water pump, all new belts and radiator hoses. It runs great. Why not give it to a school or something where they can—”

“These cars belong to California now. Since we started doing their program over a year ago, they have instructed us to crush every car they buy. We cannot take any parts off, nor sell it to anyone. This will be crushed tomorrow.”

After filling out a survey, they gave me a check for $1000 [Picture] and I turned and walked away.

One last glance at the LeBarely [Picture] and I got into George’s car and we rode home.

Your tax dollars at work.

No One is Debating the Judges

Ugliest Dog ContestUgliest Dog Contest Winner

Whew! And it even has a blog! And a seperate website!

Now, I’m no dog lover. Not a big fan of cattitude, either. But you have to be endowed with some kind of special gift to take this guy on a walk. I can just hear it:

“What happened?”

“What is it?”

“Is it still alive?”

“Was it in a fire?”

Look at the pictures. Especially the second one.

Do you suppose the dog knows it’s different?

My Dear Papa

My brother John, inventer of the soon-to-make-it into the lexicon “Phoon”—the word for a specific pose—has a wonderful “goodbye” on his website,, to our father.

His tribute begins on the Recent Additions page—which will likely change over time—but currently says:

My dear Papa —Thanks for your great love for God,
your family and others
~~ Apr 12, 1928 – June 27, 2005 ~~

It is a collection of all of the Phoons my father posed for.

That we know of. 😉

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