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Category: Funny2Me (page 2 of 3)

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

Played Your Regents

See the previous posting, below, if you don’t get this. My 13 year old daughter and I wrote this in the spirit of Charlton Laird:

Aye played your regents tudor frog offer you knighted straights offer murder cow. Aunt Susie went public fur wicked stains, whinnie shun, udder goad, indefensible, wit river tea yank juice toss fur oil.

Goad presser murder cow.

Ladel Rat Rotten Hut

Some time, back in 1970 another uncle, Andrew “Andy” Oden, one of Willis’ younger brothers, brought this story into the Darrow’s lives. It is written entirely in spell-checkable words that have absolutely no connection to the words they replace in this well-known story. If you have a hard time getting it, try reading it aloud. And fast.

Ladel Rat Rotten Hut

Wants pawn term dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disc ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty ladle rat hut, and fir disc raisin pimple caulder ladle Rat Rotten Hut. Wan moaning Rat Rotten Hut’s murder colder inset: “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter and shirker cockles. Tick disc basking tudor cordage offer groin murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake, dun stopper laundry wrote, and yonder nor sorghum-stenches dun stopper torque wet strainers.”

“Hoe-cake, Murder,” resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, end tickle ladle basking and stuttered oft. Honor wrote tudor cordage offer groin murder, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut mitten anomalous woof.

“Wail, wail, wail,” set disc wicket woof, “evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut! Wares of putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?”

“Armor goring tumor groin murder’s,” reprisal ladle gull. “Grammar’s seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter and shirker cockles.”

“0 Hoe! Heifer blessing woke,” setter wicket woof. (Butter taught tomb shelf, “Oil tickle shirt court Tudor cordage offer groin murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, and den… 0 bore!”

Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, end whinny wretched a cordage offer groin murder, picket inner window and sore debtor pore oil worming rose loin inner bet. Inner flesh disc abdominal woof lipped honor betting and adder rope. Zany pool down a groin murder’s nut cap and gnat gun, any curdle dope inner bet.

Inner ladle wile Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a-raft attar cordage and ranker dough bell.

“Comb ink, sweet-hard,” setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse.

Ladel Rat Rotten Hut entity rum and stud buyer groin murder’s bet.

“Oh Grammar”, crater ladle gull, “wart bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!”

“Buttered two lucky chew whiff, doling”, whiskered disc ratchet woof, wetter small.

“Oh Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis.”

“Buttered two small your whiff,” inserter woof. Ants mouse worse waddling.

“Oh Grammar, water bag mousy gut. A nervous sore suture bag mouse.”

Daze worry tea on-forger-nut gull’s lest warts. Oil offer sodden, throne offer carvers and sprinkling otter bet, disc curl and bloat-Thursday woof ceased pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut and garbled erupt.

Mural: Yonder nor sorgham-stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.

It turns out this same story is reprinted, apparently word-for-word, in several places on the internet, such as here and here and on this page where the author of a posting attributes the original to a 1970 article written by Charlton Laird for Language in America, World Publishing Company.

A quote by Laird:

We have seen that English words have meaning in a sentence because of their position in the sentence, that English words have one meaning in a certain order, another meaning or no meaning in another order.

When my family drove across the USA in our brand-new 1970 Volkswagon “bus” in 1970, we tried to write our own such story. As I recall, it was something like Goal Deal Ox Under Tree Bars.

Runaway Auction

The eBay “insanity” continues with the Jennifer Wilbanks Runaway Bride Bride Found On My Toast!!!!” auction, which is, as of this writing, sitting comfortably at $15,000. And it has one day, seventeen hours to go.

Only in America.

Right the First Time

I went to the drug store today to look for a good Mother’s Day card to send to Mom. When I walked up to the card wall, I saw another guy in shorts and sandles, baseball cap and tee-shirt, with a grey beard, poking through the cards ahead of me.

I’m glad to see there are other men my age who still love their mother, I thought to myself. As I approached the rack, a late-teens kid came walking up and grabbed a card and read it. He turned to the first man and said, “This one’s pretty good, Dad.”

Without even looking up, his dad said, “Oh… the first one?” as if to pour on his son the wisdom of the ages, which, somewhere along the line I also came to believe, that one can never really find a good message in the first card you pick up. (This, by the way, is why every year for Mother’s Day I always begin by looking in the Sympathy cards section. They are much easier to put back and say, Nope, that one is just not right.)

Something in me wanted to run interference on this father-son exchange of useless information. Why guilt the kid into looking through a dozen or more cards if that one says exactly what he wants it to say to his mom?

“Are you going to get one for Mom, too?” the son asked.

“Yeah…” he sighed. “I suppose I ought to…”

Dad poked around for a bit, reading cards quickly and placing them back in the rack. The son disappeared for a few minutes, then came back with some great news. “Dad, they have Molson Golden for $10.99 a 12-pack.”

“Grab some,” said the dad.

“For later?” the son asked. (I was so tempted to say “No, for right now while I look for meaningful cards for the woman I love.” But, miracle of miracles, I kept my lips stapled shut.)

Within a minute the kid was back with a heavy box of 12 bottles of fine Canadian beer.

The dad stood there with a card in his hand, as he was flipping it over, he said—and I am not making this up— “I think she’ll probably like th—Geez, did you see how much these cards are?! Five bucks! What a rip off!”

He put the card back in the rack and grabbed the 12-pack out of his son’s hands to help carry it to the check-out counter.

Well, I hope the mom gets a couple of cold ones out of it.

I stayed and looked through another 125 or so cards to find the perfect one.

Mail Ego

Can anyone else see the irony of my finding these ads today in my mailbox from Neopost—a company that wants to convince me that they will save me money if they do all my business mailing?

Check out the headline.

Mile High Blog

It’s 12:23pm San Diego time, and I am sitting in left-most, aisle-seat C of row 45 on a 747 (or some other really big plane), Hawaiian Airlines Flight 33 on my way to Honolulu, Hawaii, and then to Kona. I have the honor of participating as a guest teacher for one week at the Illustration School of the University of the Nations in Kona.

But more on that later; some other blog.

I am on a plane right now, and I can think of nothing better to do than write about than what’s going on around me. It’s a 5.5-hour flight, the in-flight-meal of vegetarian lasagna and salad with a “petite roll” has long since been consumed; trash collected;and people are snuggling up with their hand-towel-sized blankets and carnival bean-bag-sized pillows lightly filled with something reminiscent of, but with less cushioning effect than, cotton candy. The 3 boys across the aisle to my left, in row 45, seats A and B—ages 3 to 5 I am guessing—are finally settling down, and it appears they will be napping soon.

Thank God.

It has only taken four hours for this to finally occur. And I have been praying alternately for the entire four hours for them to settle down or for God to grant me a superhuman measure of grace in order to not violently and suddenly “offer them my cotton candy pillow.”

The man who sits next to child number 3 in row 44 immediately in front of the other two is presumably the father of these three boys. If I had known their names earlier, it would make no difference since there has been an ongoing game of musical chairs since the flight started. This particular family has a peculiar variation of the game: The child in the seat behind Dad gets to sit by said Dad when said Dad is finally sick and tired of having his seat kicked from behind with the force of a log-splitter, rhythmically, every half-second. He is either extremely patient, or in a functional coma. He doesn’t even blink for the first, say, 40 kicks. The things this man can ignore are astonishing. If it were me sitting in 44B, everyone would have found out who today’s secret Air Marshall is three hours and forty-six minutes ago, my status changing to: soon-to-be-jailed in Honolulu.

Nevermind that it took Dad 20 rings to discover that is was his own son pushing the flight attendant call button that everyone on the plane can hear. That’s nothing. Even the Pepto-Bismal-colored PEZ candies strewn about the floor-area of 45 A and B are a pleasantry compared to the sheer volume with which these kids communicate. I hesitate to use the word “speak” as that suggests intelligible phrases spoken by civilized human beings. Most of the noises emitted are of a whiny nature, such as the plaintive “I’m hungry. Hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry… hung…..greee…” that began emotionlessly, yet with a variety of intonations, on the tarmac in San Diego’s Lindberg Field, where I first looked out the porthole window past the little demons onto a drizzle-soaked runway under a gray sky and thought, “Five and a half hours?”

I presume they are family for two reasons, no three. First, what’s most obvious is that they are all wearing the same khaki shorts (dad in trousers) and matching blue, cross-striped, button-down shirts. It’s like the Von Trapps having just replaced all their blue curtains. But there is a noticeably missing Problem like Maria—there is no mom in the immediate vicinity. My guess is she at home lying in a steaming bathtub, her fingers delicately tracing smiley faces in the condensation on a cold Mimosa, half-eyed, with a proud, weak, grin acknowledging to herself the brilliance of sending all the boys off to Hawaii. “Let him have a week with them!”

Secondly, they ignore each other as only family can do. And thirdly, they all look alike.

Mom must have booked the flight, laid their clothes out for them and disappeared leaving the rest to Dad. No mother would have—without malice, anyway—packed the goodie bags these kids have to keep them entertained. Only a Dad could have come up with this assortment of distractions. They each have little hand-held LCD game units, which do indeed make annoying, squeaky shooting noises. And they have “nutritious” snacks with the plastic/foil wrappers even the Incredible Hulk couldn’t open.

Ahh, but the most amazing inclusion of all, carefully planned and well-thought-out for a five hour plane ride was—and I am not making this up—the rubber-band paddle-ball games for each of the boys. The rubber bands in their slack position are longer than the distance from the boys’ noses to the seats in front of them (even when a seat is being kicked to its forward-most position). This leaves only one option.

Or so I thought.

The kid in 45B managed to shoot his ball in every direction but across my bow. Good thing for that; I was already fantasizing about the moment the little blue ball came within reach, seeing myself snatch it out of the air like Mr. Miagi on a fly with chopsticks.

Now you have to realize Dad—let’s call him “Job” [biblical pronunciation] for the moment—sat there through a good, ten-minute stretch of unskilled, multi-directional paddle-balling without raising an eyebrow. Awesome concentration… or denial, or whatever.

Well, that little rally ended when the ball entered the no-fly zone next to Dad’s head, prompting him to spin round in his seat, reach behind him with clinched jaw, grab the paddle-game by the ball and yank it out of his son’s hand, punctuating his annoyance by tearing the rubber-band to bits in front of his son’s face.

Which lead to a long, wailing session from little Mr. McEnroe.

I pity this man and his “vacation.”

The term vicious Cycle comes to mind.

Prezfoot

Is it just me, or is this photo of the President somewhat reminiscent of the famous Bigfoot film sequence?

Now, from what I understand, there is substantially more footage available of the man in this photo, so I don’t think this photo is staged or faked.

But what do I know? From here, the Earth looks flat.

Darth Tater

Now this is just funny:

Darth Tater: The dark side of Mr. Potato Head

PAWTUCKET, Rhode Island (AP) — A spud on the dark side.

That’s how toy maker Hasbro Inc. is promoting its latest Mr. Potato Head figure, Darth Tater.

The toy spud will be available next month, ahead of the May release of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” the latest installment in that film series.

Darth Tater will come with a light saber, cape and helmet, in addition to the regular Mr. Potato Head accessories such as eyes, mouth and nose.

The Pawtucket-based toy maker says children will be able to “have all kinds of mix n’ match, Mr. Potato Head fun with this wacky spud dressed as the infamous `Star Wars’ villain, Darth Vader.”

The toy will retail in the United States for $7.99.

“Star Wars: Episode III,” starring Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, will open in U.S. theaters on May 19.

S.S. Darrow Goes Postal

Last night I hopped in the S.S. Darrow (my 1977 Olds Regency that really is my father’s Oldsmobile) to make a bank deposit and drop a package off with the late workers at the back entrance of the Carlsbad Post Office.

When I pulled in and slowed, the engine stopped of its own accord, making me think deep, analytical thoughts such as, “uh-oh.” After I dropped off the package in the proper bin I went back to start my car. by the way, in postal parlance, thick envelopes and small parcels go with “chunk mail”—you learn these things when you hang with an all-mail crew.

Long story short: even with a full tank of gas, it will not start.

I pushed it backwards out of the Postal back lot and onto the street, then pushed it forward to the nearest legal curbside. Even with my [over] 225lb mass working with me, pushing a ’77 Olds requires some serious traction, a good heart, at least two sturdy legs, and the ability to plod forward on asphalt tilting at an angle that, with your arms and legs fully extended, has your face about 18” from the ground.

I got the car pushed to the side, and sat on the front seat long enough to catch my breath which really, took only… okay I am still there, actually… and after getting up to lock the door and walk home, I heard from across the street, “Do you need any gas?”

I called back across the street as loudly as I could, ” . . . . . . !”

You see, I have a bad case of laryngitis—I blew out my voice the last class on the last day of Life Drawing—and so that’s about how it came out. The older gentleman, standing in the front yard of his tiny home, cupped his hand to his ear and called out, “I can’t hear you! I’m hard of hearing!”

I cupped my hands around my mouth, megaphone style, to shout out to him that it wasn’t his problem, it was mine, since I have laryngitis, but it came out ” . . . . . . !” again.

He shook his head as he looked at the ground, taking a few steps forward so he could get close enough to help me understand that he could not hear me. I decided to walk over to him.

Eventually, I was close enough to him (about 15″ as I leaned in) to tell him what my vocal issue was, and he laughed and said “Oh well, I wouldn’t be able to hear you anyway.” Then he went on, gesturing to his side yard. “I have a lawnmower over here with a little gas in it, if you need some to get to a station.”

A smile broke across my face, as I explained that I had just filled up yesterday, so there must be something else wrong with my car.

I’m telling you, the grace that appears around Christmastime warmed a poorly-lit little spot on this dark section of Madison Street in Carlsbad.

I know. I was there and I felt it.

I thanked the man, and extended my hand to shake his and tell him he was a good man. But since it came out something like ” . . . . . !” he cut me off mid-sentence with, “Well, Merry Christmas, anyway.”

I walked home somewhat cheered.

Hello Mary

Did you get a look at the ebay Auction of the Virgin Mary’s image on a Grilled Cheese Sandwich? (It will disappear forever after 90 days…) The seller insists she is serious. eBay said they were going to cancel the auction—I don’t know if they did, since the auction closed with a winning bid of $28,000.


Now, for a good laugh, first read all the “description” text describing the authenticity of the item, then go see this auction. It’s worth it if you read the Virgin Mary in the Cheese Sandwich description first.

And it gets better.

There are a LOT of people with wacky senses of humor. Look at these auctions:

People are so funny sometimes!

The Rubbah Schwan

Vaughn Meader was a part of my childhood, and I never knew his name.

All I remember was my parents laughing and laughing at the comedic JFK impersonator, so many nights in 1962—42 years ago.

I heard on MSNBC this evening that Meader died today. His recording First Family, is one my parents had a copy of, and it was a favorite to drag out and put on the reel-to-reel and play for friends, or just for us. He sold, I believe, 10 million copies of that vinyl record. Kennedy himself enjoyed the parody so much that he bought 100 copies to give away to friends.

One year later, JFK was dead, and Meader’s act was over. Or as he put it in 1999: November 22, 1963, the day I died.

A very tragic story.

I was 5 at the time, and didn’t get the jokes but have fond memories of my family enjoying the humor.

I pulled out the reel-to-reel tape this evening and digitized the whole thing for posterity. Here’s a sample: click here

The Blob

Back in 1990, I believe it was, I met Steve Amerson, a man who would become one of my best friends, my most loyal client, and someone who consistently demonstrates true Christian Grace, as I have come to understand it largely through his example.

I met him at a Christian conference center and Family Camp called Forest Home. My family and I had gone there for a week of recreation and family-oriented conferences, and Steve was the “musical entertainment” for the week.

On about the second day, after having seen Steve perform the evening before, my family and I came into the dining hall where everyone gathers for meals—lunch, this time—and I saw Steve sitting at a table all alone. Thinking that others were probably going to limit their conviviality to their immediate families and current church friends, maybe no one would sit with him, and so in what was, in retrospect, probably a pity move, I asked if we could sit with him.

14 years later, we are still good friends—which is amazing, when you considered what I did to him.

Forest Home has, or at least had at the time, a huge, inflatable pillow-shaped thing they affectionately called The Blob floating in their recreational lake.

The Blob floated in an anchored location below a scaffolding built exclusively for proper use of The Blob. And there was an order to things: mostly, younger folk wanted to be launched off the blob. Others just wanted the thrill of jumping off the scaffolding onto this monstrosity, and would then jump off into the water. But submitting to the launchee role was both a thrill and a risk, because from that position, one often could not tell who the launcher would be, nor when the weight of said launcher would impact the other end of The Blob displacing the air pressure to the launchee’s end, sending them into the air.

That week, given my size and weight, and—if I may brag a little: my newly aquired skill of landing with full impact—I became a favorite launcher for those who wanted to see more of the campground from a bird’s eye view.

In front of his family and all spectators at the lake, Steve Amerson assumed the launchee position while swimmers and shore huggers all shouted for me as the chosen launcher. In retrospect, it was a modern Christians vs Lions event, though most, if not all in attendance were probably Christians, and there wasn’t a lion to be seen. Nevertheless, the crowd wanted blood, and Steve was the sacrifice.

I landed one of my most precise impacts, sending Steve into an uncontrolled flight through an immediate segment of the lower troposphere, landing sideways on the water… …and damaging his eardrum.

It took months, if not years, to heal.

He did the rest of his performances that week, deaf in one ear, not knowing if he’d ever hear again.

Last night on America’s Funniest Videos, there was a clip of an unsuspecting launchee shooting into the air at the impact of a much-larger-than-me launcher, and, well, it reminded me of Steve’s undeserved friendship and grace, all over again.

If you want to see the AFV video clip, click the image.

The Lebaron? you ask.

Nothing has changed since I last wrote about my LeBaron.

Unless you count Relative Humidity.

Three days ago I was thinking of taking a picture of my dusty, dew-stained-and-dried, LeBaron, still leaning on one elbow, as it were, in the driveway, just to show how a car can look in a mere few weeks if you do absolutely nothing with it. It’s no wonder the police can tell when a car has been abandoned. This one looks abandoned in my driveway.

But a rain-storm hit this week, severing San Diego County’s record streak of drought days. It arrived in buckets around 4:00am, rinsing my car absolutely clean. The afternoon prior was such a beautiful, clear and sunny day that my 12-year-old daughter asked me to take a walk outside with her. As we left the front door, we walked by my LeBaron driveway sunshield and I commented to her that “I still need to jimmy that convertible top closed before the rainy season hits.” Since the day I worked on it a month or so ago, I had never really closed the roof all the way, locking it in place. A gap of about 2″ runs horizontally along the windshield top.

Well, since Saturday, the interior of my LeBaron, especially the front upholstery, has sponged up, I’m guessing, 30 or so gallons of rainwater, and is, in my estimation, worse off for it. I have attempted closing the roof, but for some unknown reason, probably the torque of the car up on a jack stand, I cannot budge it closed.

Yet it rains.

And there is news of a really serious rain storm coming down from Alaska. We don’t need rain from Alaska, we need oil.

A few more days of this incessant rain, and I can toss in a couple of Koi and have myself an upscale driveway pond.

On a floor jack.

LeBroken LeBaron

The LeBaron still sits in the driveway.

Mostly.

Some of it sits in the garage in a 5 gallon bucket awaiting another season (read: more income with which to hire a mobile mechanic).

The passenger front is on a jack-stand, which I used to get the car high enough to squeeze my fat head under the greasy car-bottom so I could finally get at that bolt that wouldn’t budge. I then jacked up the engine from below, using a hydraulic floor jack to offer support so that I could remove the passenger side motor mount.

The inability to reverse my LeBaron’s great undoing, puts me and this soulless beast in a difficult position: I cannot use the floor-jack to remove the jack-stand and lower the car, because the floor-jack is currently encumbered in its motor-supporting obligations.

I now have a car which, from behind, looks as though I parked only the passenger front side onto a boulder. And out the front, protruding four feet, is the hydraulic jack “pump handle.” I sleeved it with a red-white-and-blue, fabric folding-chair carrying case so that the mailman doesn’t trip over it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember reading that postal workers do not trip over anything draped in these three colors.

Net visual effect: We are White Trash in Carlsbad.

So, until another time, that’s where the LeBaron sits.

Today I am flying to San Jose for the week to visit my mom and dad who live in nearby Sunnyvale. Yesterday I got news that my dad’s cancer has spread to some of the bones in his lower back. He says it’s inconclusive as to whether the pain he was experiencing last week—which inspired him to use a walker to get around the house—is from the cancer, but since this week is the only week I have in the next three months that is not splintered with schedule interruptions, the likes of which involve four courses to be taught at the Art Institute of California – San Diego, I figure I’ll go visit anyway.

He’s not dying this week. He confirmed that to me. But with the ineluctability of death surrounding us all, anyway, I feel an urgency to visit nonetheless.

Besides, I love my mom and dad.

Pile-up

Yesterday I totaled my fire-engine-red 1991 Chrysler Lebaron Convertible.

I’m a little shaken up today still, but I’m fine. Thanks for your concern. Just a few bloody scratches and grease marks to show.

Like any accident, it could have been prevented if all parties involved had been at their full wits. And you know how they say most accidents happen within 25 miles of home? They couldn’t have been more correct. This happened in my own driveway, in broad daylight.

And you know how they say everything goes into slow motion when it’s happening? Oh my gosh! Right again! This accident took over eight hours.

Friday evening my car dumped out all its radiator fluid at the intersection of State Hwy 56 and Black Mountain Road as I went to pick up my daughter for the weekend. I refilled the radiator and cooling system twice on the way home just to limp there.

After consulting with a local garage in Carlsbad as to the cost of replacing the water pump, I decided to do it myself.

“The water pump isn’t that expensive,” said the guy at the counter at Carlsbad Auto Repair. “Labor will really getcha though. $440 total, plus tax.”

Yikes.

I went next door to Carlsbad Auto Supply… a store that has my devotion for life thanks to the expert help and free advice they always give me. I bought a new water pump for $40.

“I think that’s the car you have to support the engine on, though, since you have to take the motor mount off …” the guy offered as I walked out the door with my new water pump. That was the first caution sign I ignored. I should have pulled over and asked for directions at that point, but I am a man and am therefore genetically predisposed to plummeting ahead with full confidence… in the dark …with no headlights.

From this moment on, it’s best to describe my accident as a seemingly endless succession of careening, skidding, sliding, bumping and bouncing, over-correcting, banged knuckles and grease up to and into my armpits.

And a lot of deer-in-the-headlights staring.

But in slow motion, it goes something like this: remove the various pulleys that keep the serpentine belt in place; remove the tensioner assembly; loosen the alternator; remove the cooling fan assembly that attaches to the radiator so there is room to remove the air conditioner compressor, and then remove the bracket that holds the air conditioner compressor to the engine block so that you can then remove the mounting plate that holds the various pulleys and assemblies you just removed. Loosen the Power Steering pump on the back of the engine so that the power steering pulley will move enough that you can finish removing the mounting plate which has long “legs” that run through 3 plastic housings over the timing belt “chain” which sits directly in front of the water pump.

Remove the passenger-side motor mount after jacking up the engine with a floor-jack, so that you can get the rest of the parts off, and since the darned thing is very seriously in the way.

Now, notice that the water pump has a bracket on top of it—for some stupid reason—that attaches it to the top of the rear intake manifold, which now requires removal of the entire intake manifold, front and rear, and then the thermostat, since one of the bracket screws will not clear the thermostat housing.

This is a good time to walk to the auto parts store and purchase a new set of gaskets for the intake manifold which you weren’t originally expecting to replace, of course. Good thing they are used to seeing Caucasians with black arms and hands. While there, purchase 15mm, 16mm and 18mm sockets, and get an open-ended wrench in each of those sizes since your average tool kit only comes with 13mm, 14mm, 17mm and 19mm, and Lebarons don’t have any nuts or bolts in those sizes! Walk back home again, and keep struggling with the parts, frozen bolts and a thick mixture of grease and degreaser, WD-40, radiator fluid and rusty water in which to lay your bare back and the hair on the back of your head as you struggle with one stubborn bolt between the firewall and the engine block holding the power steering pump solidly in place.

Decide you must purchase a pneumatic impact wrench to power off this one bolt, so go scrub and shower for upwards of a half an hour to make yourself clean enough to drive your wife’s car to Pep Boys, which, as it happens, closes its doors early that night for floor-polishing, so you then drive to Kragen Auto Parts which has their one last customer standing at the register as you jiggle the locked doors from the outside. Watch in exhausted disappointment as the courteous cashier alerts you to the store’s closed status by using the Universal Hand Signal for “we’re closed”: He shakes his head while drawing his index finger like a knife across his throat.

If only he knew what a great idea I thought that was.

Next, go to Wal-mart. They have an automotive department.

It’s next to toys, between fitness and crafts. Buy the only impact ratchet they sell. Marvel that it only costs $28.94 (that little yellow masked Zorro-like character must have flown by recently).

Take it home and try it on the stubborn bolt.

Nothing.

Now, in total fatigue, stand with your newly regrimed hands on your already soiled hips and assess the situation: You have a car whose motor will fall out if you lower the floor jack that supports it. You have pulleys, belts, housings, a distributor (did I mention removing the distributor?), mounting plates, an intake manifold in various pieces, and, I dunno: 150 screws and bolt of various sizes all over the place like a robot yard sale, and you haven’t even been able to remove the one defective part that was your goal to replace.

Did I mention I am not a mechanic? Did I mention I don’t have a manual? Did I mention I don’t have all tools necessary to complete a job such as the one I undertook?

My choice now is to put it back together enough to tow to the auto repair garage with a 5-gallon bucket of parts and bolts and say “Here. Good luck.”

And I just don’t think I will do that. Isn’t there some charitable organization that will take my car running or not?

Cursor Games

Brock sent me a link today to this flash animation in Brazil. Wait for it to fully load (it still loads while the main photo just sits there). The move your mouse over the guy’s nose. Move it away quickly. Move it back over his nose and just let it sit there. Click the Again button when it shows up.

Fun.

A Buck’s Worth

I am amazed at the absense of the humor gene in some people. Here’s a guy who put 47 dollars back into circulation with a funny message stamped on them, asking for the dollars to be returned to him.

And he offered a reward!

Some of the people that got in touch with him were not amused.

I think it was brilliant.

My Mac Made Me Laugh

Okay, got some free time?

Check out Windows RG.

For more laughs, change the URL by one character and read the 404 error page.

Your Money’s No Good

There’s a guy in Granada Hills, CA that has $10,000 in legitimate US currency—and no one will take it. And only because it’s One Million Pennies.

According to this article:

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency doesn’t want them.

The U.S. Engraving and Printing Bureau isn’t interested.

The U.S. Mint refuses to take its lowly pennies back. “We don’t buy back currency,” said Mike White, a spokesman for the mint. “We like to have it in circulation.”

A Santa Monica artist who welds couches out of coppers declined to call him back.

The Coinstar machine at his supermarket isn’t hungry for a million pennies.

Coin collectors told him to call a bank.

And his bank, Washington Mutual, won’t deposit many of them, without a price. His Granada Hills branch will accept 50 rolls, or $25 a week, without a charge. A Chatsworth branch will take 200 rolls, or $100 per week. That’s 20 months of deposits.

Ron England started saving pennies (in rolls, even!) in 1974 to win a bet with his brother. The bet was that he couldn’t save and roll one million pennies. 30 years later, Russ, his brother, says he doesn’t remember the bet that put 3.6 tons of pennies in Ron’s garage.

Bad, Punctuation

Finally, there is a book for those of us who didn’t get A’s in grammar but are pretty sure we should have. And if you didn’t see the possessive form of “A” in that last sentence rather than the plural that was intended, you’re no stickler for proper punctuation. This new book would either help you, or, more likely, really tick you off. It was written by Lynne Truss and is titled after the punchline of a clever joke from several years back.

A panda walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. The bartender serves the panda, and goes about his business. When the panda finishes, he stands up, pulls out a handgun and fires a couple of rounds at the bartender, wounding him severely. Then the panda casually heads for the front door.

“Hey! What did you do that for?” screams the bar tender.

“Hey, buddy, I’m a Panda! Look it up!” comes the reply.

The bleeding bar tender grabs an encyclopedia and quickly looks up “Panda” where he reads a brief description:Panda – n. A large marsupial native to south eastern Asia with distinctive black and white markings. Eats shoots and leaves.”

The name of her book is Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Toolbars

Somebody wanted to know what would it would look like if you turned on all the toolbars in Microsoft Word.

It’s kind of like a kitchen with too many cooks: little room to work.

Pun-Cam

I just found out the little camera-pill was developed in Israel, and the camera name “M2A” is kind of a pun.

It’s shorthand for the pill’s journey.

Ha!

Now, the greater surpise to me was that the camera was developed in Israel. I thought miniaturizing was the sole responsibility of the Japanese—a generalization tattooed on my brain when I was 8 and saw my first transister radio.

Well, I did a little more searching and found out Israel is quite the technical hotbed. Intel has a major plant over there, in Jesus’ earthly stomping grounds, no less: Jerusalem, and has developed a chip that allows info to transfer at the speed of light.

“Today, the fast processors operate at the speed of 3 GHz,” Elstein said, “but their surroundings still work at speeds of hundreds of MHz and, therefore, don’t succeed in exploiting their speeds. When the chips, the processor, and ports of the computer all speak at the same speed, which will be about 10 GHz, the computer’s capability will be totally different.”

I think that’s kind of cool.

Roughly 2000 years ago the Speed of Light changed the world right there in that same area, and it’s happening again on a very small, and relatively insignificant level.

Of course, back then, the marketing team was only 11 men (who really ticked off the competition). Eventually they won over the head of one opposition faction, became a 12-strong Board of Directors …and the rest is history.

Pundamonium

Jim sent me these today. I hate puns. I really hated these. I hope you hate them, too.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

A pessimist’s blood type will always b-negative.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumour.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A backward poet writes inverse.

Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

When you dream in colour, it’s a pigment of your imagination.

When the actress saw her first gray hairs, she thought she’d dye.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

He often broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

Once you’ve seen one shopping centre, you’ve seen a mall.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

I think I hated “Without geometry, life is pointless” the most. 😉

Larry Star Becomes One

Turns out the guy in the wedding dress (so much for “blacking out my face” with white) is Larry Star, and he was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night. Man, stardom comes in mysterious packages.

Reminds me of the 26 Beanie Babies I recently wrote about. I found a cached version of that one on google, too.

Now, of course, Reporters feel obligated to dig through all of Star’s closets and find all his skeletons. They’re “just reporting the facts.”

As my wife said, “Now why do they have to do that to him? He’s not running for office, he’s just selling something on eBay.”

Good grief. That poor man.

Ebay Legends

In the blog below, I point to The eBay Fat Guy in a Wedding Dress auction that absolutely cracked me up. One of the comments I got referred to an older Ghost in a Jar auction that tipped the scales at $50,000! Here’s the Google Cached version of it.

The Wedding Dress Auction

This one is too good to just let disappear into the ether, so I am attempting to preserve it here. It’s an eBay Auction, currently running as of this date. As of this time (4:35pm), it has had over 6,007,000 hits. Last night, when this auction was brought to my attention, it had 1.6 million, and was getting about 1,000 hits a minute (I discovered this by refreshing a minute later). While I cannot (will not) take the time to re-create the actual e-bay page here, the text was all [allegedly] written by the seller, and appears to be a legitimate auction.

It even got mentioned on the website for The Inquirer!

The highest bid, last night, was a staggering $99,999,999.00 — apparently a lot of folks couldn’t resist the temptation to bid this thing up, tho’ intending to cancel their bids later. Now the seller has had to ask for legitimate bids only, and the price is still a taggering $25,000+. I wonder what it will actually close at, and whether the high bidder will pay.

Nevertheless, I thought the writing was hilarious, and the auction will likely disappear in due time. The seller came back and added note to the auction as e-mails were coming to him. I have seperated the posts for clarity.

For Sale: One Slightly Used Size 12 Wedding Gown. Only worn twice: Once at the wedding and once for these pictures.

Make: Victoria

Style: 611

Size: 12

Divorce forces sale

I found my ex-wife’s wedding dress in the attic when I moved. She took the $4000 engagement ring but left the dress. I was actually going to have a dress burning party when the divorce became final, but my sister talked me out of it. She said, “That’s such a gorgeous dress. Some lucky girl would be glad to have it. You should sell it on eBay. At least get something back for it.” So, this is what I’m doing. I’m selling it hoping to get enough money for maybe a couple of Mariners tickets and some beer. This dress cost me $1200 that my drunken sot of an ex-father-in-law swore up and down he would pay for, but didn’t, so I got stuck with the bill. Luckily I only got stuck with his daughter for 5 years. Thank the Lord we didn’t have kids. If they would have turned out like her or her family I would have slit my wrists. Anyway, it’s a really nice dress as you can see in the pictures.

Personally, I think it looks like a $1200 shower curtain, but what do I know about this. We tried taking pictures of this lovely white garment but it didn’t look right on the hanger as you can see [picture omitten in this re-creation], so my sister says, “You need a model.” Well, quite frankly my sister isn’t exactly small, (like a size 12 is?) so she wouldn’t pose for the picture. Seeing as I have sworn off women for the time being and I ain’t friends with any, it left me holding the bag. I took the liberty of blacking out my face – not to protect the ex-wife but to protect me from my bar buddies and co-workers finding out about it. I would never live it down. Actually I didn’t think my head would fit in the neck hole, but then I figured she got her Texas cheerleader hair through there I could get my head in it. Though, after looking at the pictures, I thought it made me look fat. How do you women wear this crap? I only had to walk 3 feet and I tripped twice. Don’t worry ladies – I am wearing clothes underneath it.

I gotta say it did make me feel very pretty. So if it can make me feel pretty, it can make you feel pretty, especially on the most important day of your life, right? Anyway, I was told to say it has a train and a veil and all kinds of shiny beady things. I think it’s funny that one picture makes it look like the chest plate off an Imperial Storm Trooper. Did I mention that all I want is a ball game and beer? Cheap at twice the price. Ladies, you won’t regret this. You may regret the dude you marry but not the dress.

Just a little side note – As I was putting this ad in eBay, it asked me for a color. Is a wedding dress any other freaking color than white or ivory??!! If it is it wouldn’t be a wedding dress, now would it?? I suppose black would work…

On Apr-26-04 at 10:38:31 PDT, seller added the following information:

Well, the auction is a little over half over and I am just amazed. This thing has taken more hits than that pothead that lives in the next building. Man, oh man, if hits were bucks I’d be getting a suite at Safeco.

I also have received TONS of email. I don’t have the time to reply to all of them but I just want to let everyone know that I appreciate the well wishes.

Of the email I received:

Five or so were invitations to ball games in other states. Two of those were for little league games. Do they have those cushy executive boxes with the free chicken wings at those?

One email was from Scotland. It’s a good thing he wrote it because I wouldn’t be able to understand a word he said. Never did get through Braveheart.

Most were thanking me for the laugh. You’re entirely welcome. Five years of misery was well worth the hearty guffaw that was my pleasure to give you.

Oh, yeah. I also got three marriage proposals. Yes, you read it right – three marriage proposals. I feel like one of those mass murderers on death row. I never understood how the hell they got more chicks than I did. Now I know. They sold crap on eBay.

On Apr-26-04 at 23:45:56 PDT, seller added the following information:

Holy Moly!

The hit counter is starting to look like the odometer in my truck! Not the new shiny black full-size 4-wheel-drive American pick-up that I had to part with, but the somewhat older, multicolored, lumpy, tiny, 2-wheel-drive foreign pick-up that belches smoke. A little something about that vehicle, though: it’s absolutely amazing! When I get inside it to go to the store, I am all depressed. But when I arrive at the store, I’m so freaking loopy from inhaling the fumes, I forget why I went there in the first place. I’m saving buckets of money. Of course, I will probably have to spend it all on the tuberculosis I will acquire, but hey, you can’t have everything.

I felt compelled to update this ad once more due to all of your emails. The first thing I have to say is thank you all for your support in my time of need. It was a truly harrowing experience. Some of you men know exactly what I mean.

Seeing as this has turned into my little public forum, I just want to address a few of the emails that kind of left me scratching my head.

I now have five marriage proposals. You would think my speaking of the ones I already got yesterday would have put a damper on it, but you women sure are persistent. One woman actually said she doesn’t want to marry me, but wouldn’t mind being my ex-wife. Hmmm. Let me think about that. Nope. No thanks, already got one. (Pssst. Didn’t I mention I had one? Who wants an ex-wife that can’t read? Now, I know what you guys are thinking – “If she can’t read, then the divorce would be smooth sailing.” Well, that would be all well and good but I didn’t say her ATTORNEY couldn’t read. You following me on this?)

Other emails are serious buyers asking about the dress. “How long is the train?” and “Does the gown come with the headdress and veil?” Yes, headdress and veil are included, but the do-rag stays with me. And if the train was long enough for my ex’s caboose, it’s long enough for yours. You will have to supply your own baggage, though. I gave mine to Goodwill.

There was this one woman who wrote, “You should have covered your tattoos. People will be able to recognize you, like on America’s Most Wanted.” HELLO!!! I’m a guy selling a dress. I’m not wanted for war crimes.

Some of your emails made me laugh. Like the bitter woman that wished she had her ex’s testicles to sell on eBay. I’m not too sure there’s a market for that, though. Then there was the guy that gave his wife’s wedding dress to the Salvation Army by mistake, thinking it was a Christmas tree. Guess he didn’t have any Christmas balls that year.

This has also been a learning experience for me. I got a lot of messages correcting me about the color of wedding dresses. For Russian Orthodox, they are blue. For Chinese they are red. Mexico has multi-colored ones. All I know is, for my next wedding I will be wearing a hairy, flesh-toned ensemble because I will be buck naked with a toe tag lying on a slab in the morgue because I would have killed myself.

A lot of folks were asking me if I wear women’s dresses a lot. I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever donned female attire. It’s also the first time I’ve been [this close to] something feminine that didn’t nag me to take out the garbage.

It seems a few people have taken offense to my inferring a size 12 is big. One male even pointed out that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14. Now, I would agree with you that size 12/14 is small if I lived elsewhere. But I live right here in the good old 48 Contiguous, where binging and purging is a way of life. American women do not want to be double digits in size. Just ask any woman what size they want to be. Invariably they will say five or seven. Wealthy will be the person that opens a store for Lane Bryant-sized women but sews size 7 tags on all the clothes.

On the flip side of that, I have taken offense to some of the people that told me I’m ugly and a loser. All I have to say is you’d be ugly too if you had a huge white blotch on your face. And as far as being a loser, I think you have it all wrong. I am such the winner. It isn’t every day an average guy can make 50,000 people laugh. Thanks to each and every one of you from the heart of my bottom.

This is where the counter reached over 3.2 million

Because of the high profile of this item, I am changing the listing to Pre-Approved Bidders Only. To be pre-approved, please contact me at horseplaypublishing@hotmail.com and include “Serious Bidder” in the subject line of the email and I will return your email to pre-approve your bidding on the auction. Thank you for your interest.

This is where the counter hit 6,000,7002

Woooooooohoooooo! What a wild ride! The emails are coming faster than the hits. And now personal appearances. First Star94 radio in Atlanta, then King5 in Seattle, now the Today Show with that I-used-to-be-a-fat-weatherman-but-now-I-am-as-skinny-as-Regis-but-twice-as-funny Al “I will turn this car around” Roker. It is amazing; all this media hype. Hey, Al! Any relation to Roxy? EBay has graciously allowed me to update this page once more. So I will keep it brief.

This one guy emailed me and said, “Hey, bud. What part of Texas do you live?”

Uh… Well, sir, I am from Seattle. Uh, Seattle, Texas.

Right next to AreYouAFreakingMoron, Texas, which is a hop, skip and jump from IWasEducatedByGeorgeBush, Texas. Thanks for asking, neighbor.

We have a website coming that everyone can check out. It will be up soon.

Please only bid if you are serious. Or really, really hot.

The final, winning bid was $3850.00, placed by absolutsth

Beanies and e-Bay

The following is from a newspaper article passed from my sister Jan to my parents, who mailed it to me, for my amusement.


One poor guy’s descent into Beanie Baby hell

All an eBay customer wanted to do was sell a box of his ex’s collection, and what does he get? Accusations! If it’s not already, it’s only a matter of time before eBay becomes the topic of a 200-level sociology class at your favorite institution of higher learning. Don’t think so? Read on.

What we have here is an unhappy (but soon to be much happier) divorced man striving for “closure” after his failed marriage, which left him with bad memories and a box of 26 Beanie Babies,; bidding started at $10, and the whiner (one of 15 bidders) shelled out $860 for the stuffed treasures.

The seller—who hails from “Sunny South Florida” and is an eBay regular with 100 percent positive feedback—will, by his own admission, spend the money on beer and “at Home Depot for tools and other cool stuff.” What follows is his eBay sales pitch, edited for brevity—but not bitterness:

Let me begin by explaining some very important details, this way I do not get 100s of silly e-mails asking me to photograph the hind end of some stuffed animals. I DO NOT KNOW a thing about these things. These belonged to my ex-wife, who had about 1,000 of these Beanie Babies, and when she moved, this one box of these got left behind, and now I am selling the goofy little things. Whatever money I make from them will be spent on beer and at the local Home Depot on tools and other cool stuff.

I do not know which of these babies is retired or new, or whatever. I will list them in no particular order. I will tell you what its name is on the tag, if it has a plastic box or something. All these critters have been stored indoors, and are from a nonsmoking home. Again, please do not send me e-mails asking me to photograph this or that. I am starting the auction at $10, and at that price I figure you all can take a chance. I understand from a friend’s wife that people are afraid to get fakes. FAKES? Fake plush toys? I was amazed. I thought people forged money, not children’s toys. Well, I can only say that 99 percent of these goofy toys were bought with my money, from either the local Hallmark Store or one of the dozen or so Southern craft/collectibles stores I had to go to on a weekly basis buying these ridiculous toys years ago, Happy Bidding! Please take these critters from me so I can buy tools.

Final Notice and Disclaimer: I know nothing about these stuffed Beanie Babies. I offer no proof of anything. It is a stuffed an animal. Get over it! I don’t think my ex-wife was in the Black Market Beanie Trade … but then again, I didn’t know she was having an affair either! Thus no guarantees! All have their little Heart-shaped tags on their ears.

And posted later, during the auction:

Okay all you people with nothing better to do! ENOUGH WITH THE E-MAILS! I thought I was clear with all that. Here is an e-mail that I just got from some lady who felt she will try to save my soul or something! Read below:

Very clever listing; however it is very likely you have some fakes (counterfeits) among the listing, and I suggest you pull them from the auctions until you have them authenticated. Humphrey the Camel is an example. It is a requirement of eBay as well as under the provisions of the U.S. Criminal Code that a seller know the authenticity of a trademarked item s/he is selling. Also, an authenticated rare Beanie will bring lots of money on the auctions. I’ll let you know the others that are likely fakes, and further it is very unlikely your ex would have left behind these rare ones. If she had 1,000 Beanies, she knew what she had and their value. To sell counterfeits of a trademarked item would make you a common criminal. Are you being honest? If so, cancel the auction, re-list the common Beanies, and send the rest for authentication. It would be well worth it financially and would make you honest. —Taisha

WELL, TAISHA! I don’t CARE I told everyone in the beginning everything I know and don’t know about these STUPID animals! I have an idea for all people that are so worried about this … DON’T BID! I don’t care! I am so upset that this clown of a woman figured out my SUPER PLAN TO SCAM MILLIONS FROM THE UNKNOWING BEANIE WORLD! I FIGURED I WOULD RETIRE FROM THIS RUSE! … Some people are UNREAL! GET A LIFE!!!!!

Gimme a Brake

I am happy to report that today I got busy with the S.S. Darrow again—the first time since before the Salt Lake City trip—and, with the help of my lovely assistant, Teresa, was able to re-bleed the brake lines and my car now stops properly once again.

I called Carlsbad Auto Supply (map to) and, as previously, received exceptionally helpful, friendly service. These guys have my auto parts business for life. Besides being walking distance from my house—which is very important for a guy with my knowledge of car repair—they have provided good old, hometown service that beats anyone else, in my opinion.

When I explained that I bled the rear lines and still couldn’t stop my car, it was politely suggested to me that I start at the wheel closest to the master cylinder (driver/front) and bleed it, then start all over again at the back right, then back left, then front right, and finally front left again. It took me and my lovely brake-pedal-pumping assistant about one hour to do the job, and it is actually done!

Whew!

Sidebar: When we got home from SLC last week, I needed to move my car back from the garage door to open it. I knew the brakes were iffy, so I pumped them a few times (to the floor) and started the engine. The parking brake was still engaged, and I put the shift in reverse, and nearly high-idled out of the driveway onto the street.

Scared the mechanic out of me!

I was stomping on everything except the gas pedal to stop that ship. If I’d had an anchor it would be stuck in the driveway still.

I finally jammed the parking brake all the way to the floor and turned off the engine, coming to rest with the tail end of the car at the street. I went inside and had a beer, trying not to even think about ever walking near that car again!

Never give up!

How I Spent My Saturday

I love learning new things.

It’s especially fun if I learn them quickly.

Such was not the case this day. I have been concerned for my own safety since I discovered that my current replacement vehicle—an 8-cylinder Olds Regency 98 that my parents gave me two weeks ago when I visited them—only stops when you pump the brakes several times. That essentially creates the condition of owning two undrivable cars on my property.

I visited a mechanic yesterday morning, pumping my brakes all the way there—to the casual observer making my car look like I was driving with some riveting Hip Hop cranking inside, though no one could hear it. I told the mechanic the symptoms… that I could push the pedal to the floor unless I pumped them, and that I had added brake fluid, and that it still wouldn’t stop right, though it was fine two days ago.

He diagnosed it as the self-adjusting screws on the rear drums being stuck. “Has the car been sitting for a while undriven?” I told him my parents had used it seldom in the last two years, ad that largely it sat unused. He figured yes, the self-adjusters were stuck. He could clean everything for me for $60, but not until Monday (but I’ll be out of town).

“What if it’s not the self-adjusters?” I asked. He replied, that then it could be one of the brake cylinders. Maybe the seal has gone bad, inside.

“Oh,” I said with a dear-in-the-headlights look in my eyes.

“I can replace the cylinders for $150, max.”

I decided to give it a try myself, since he couldn’t help me anyway. I began jacking up the car with my wife and her friend Karen sitting in the sunshine in the front yard having coffee. (The two of them, I found out over dinner, have christened the Olds “The S.S. Darrow”) I have no idea what other things they were muttering as I kept my mechanic visage tuned.

Now, you have to understand: rear brake disassembly—and more importantly “reassembly”—are procedures the knowledge of which I share with that of building a nuclear power plant, only, my belief prior to attempting either would be that the latter is somewhat easier.

Not so, as it turns out.

After having disassembled and reassembled both rear brake drums three times each—including several mis-steps requiring disassembly again, I can now do a rear brake drum assembly, including cleaning the parts, start to finish in 25 minutes, by memory.

Between one of the several procedures, I had to ask my wife to help me “bleed the brake lines”—a procedure for which I found a detailed description using Google. I then determined that the left rear cylinder was defective, so she drove me to Pep Boys to buy a new one ($12.99) which I came home and installed and reassembled both rear systems in 45 minutes. “Look at me! I’m a mechanic!

ROAD TEST RESULTS

It doesn’t work any better than when I started 5 hours earlier. Maybe I need to bleed the front lines, too.

That’ll be next weekend. I don’t need the car this week, anyway.

Then it’s on to that nuclear power plant I’ve always wanted.

55 Years Today!

I don’t know how some people can look into the future and just know how long something’s going to last.

When I bought my ’91 Chrysler LeBaron (Teresa calls it the LeBarely), I was hoping it would last forever. What was I thinking? It didn’t even make it to its 13th birthday. (It was probably that lead-foot that burned off the first four years of its life before I bought it)

My mom claims that the day Bob Darrow won the Spelling Bee at school, in a tense head-to-head spelling deathmatch between two 12-year-olds with everything on the line, slamming her into a defeated, miserable second place to his magnificent Grand Champion, he took first place in the Bee—and in her heart. She wrote in her diary that night “I’m going to marry Bob Darrow.”

Revenge? Don’t be so cynical. It was his reward.

She made a choice that day—set a goal, really—and married him when they were of age, March 19, 1949.

Fifty five years later, they are still married, and they are happier and more in love than two humans deserve to be. I visited their home two weeks ago, and spent many tearful hours talking over old times, asking my dad about his working life, old bosses, responsibilities, and his sense of life—all that stuff that was going on while I was too young to care but always old enough to consume.

We talked openly together about his Prostate Cancer and what that’s done to their lives. My mom’s handling it with the same calm approach she’s handled everything I have ever witnessed that’s come across her path. In a way, she’s in the driver’s seat, slamming the brakes to avoid disaster and instinctively putting her rigid, protective arm across the front-seat passenger to keep him from going through the windshield.

If I were my dad, I wouldn’t want anyone else driving.

Like anyone else I have talked to, asking them how the hell they made it, married to the same person for so long, they never talk of having avoided the big disasters that befall so many broken marriages—they endured them. My parents are living examples that love is not something you feel, it’s something you do, and that in the doing, the feeling lives, and it becomes the realest thing you can feel.

They have each other, and have the knowledge that they always have. Until death do they part.

I guess, by all accounts, Prostate Cancer isn’t all that bad. It’s not the death sentence other cancers are. As my dad says, everything eventually has a 100% mortality rate.

They focus on life. And realize, maybe like never before, though they have always acknowledged it—everyday is a gift from God.

And so today, I lift a virtual glass of champagne to my father and my mother

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Darrow

and simply toast: To Life!

Won’t you take a moment to e-mail them a toast?

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