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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fired Up

I've had some dealings with the back-fence neighbor. About eight years ago, he called me one afternoon from his patio. BBs zinging through the cracks in the wood fence that separates our yard from his had him pinned down on his belly. My boys were taking target practice and had the man trapped in their cross hairs.

A few days later, he brought some dry ice by my house for my children to play with. 

Last Friday, I spotted my 14 year-old son toting three bottles of motor oil to our backyard fire pit. Whenever that child gets near the fire pit, I worry. Staring into the hypnotic flames of a blaze causes him to lose foresight and self-control. As if I raised him on the Gaza Strip, he stokes the fire with anything that will burn: old tires, furniture, aerosol cans.
"What are you doing with those bottles?" I asked him.

"Mr. Johnny gave them to me for fire starter," he explained. "And he gave me some wood, too."

Horrified, I said, "We're not going to use motor oil to start a fire. And we're not going to burn pressure treated wood. We'd be breathing black smoke and chemicals."

"But Mama," the boy protested. "This isn't motor oil."

I asked what was in the bottles if not motor oil. "Paint thinner and some other stuff Mr. Johnny put in them," answered the child, perplexed at my resistance to accepting a ticking bomb.

I've had some dealings with the back-fence neighbor, and I've come to the conclusion that he has never forgiven us for the BB gun sniping incident.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Who Is Reginald Bakeley?

I recently had the good fortune to interview Clint Marsh regarding Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop in preparation for writing a book review for Lake Oconee Living magazine (serving Georgia's Lake Country). As Reginald Bakeley was indisposed at the time of the interview, I asked Mr. Marsh to tell me a bit about the author and protagonist (loosely) of Goblinproofing.

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop is a humorous, fresh twist on Old World folklore. It features Reginald Bakeley in the role of adviser as to how to detect and rid oneself of all manner of fey, including dwarfs, pixies, fairies, trolls and goblins. I suggest picking up a copy before your home and property are relegated to mayhem by your garden gnomes (yes, we all know you have gnomes).

Reginald Bakeley according to Clint Marsh:

And one more thing, if I may. Mr. Marsh claims that Bakeley is Welsh and that he's near about unlikeable. I say he's the kind of character we southerners know and love and call our kin. As a matter of fact, based on the following evidence, I suspect Mr. Bakeley is a southerner who has yet to cross the pond. I have faith that he'll find his way.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Yoda Takes His Wisdom to the Streets

Yoda, poor guy, is one of those actors typecast into a particular kind of role. It happens to a lot of good actors who play a single character so well that no one - fans nor movie directors - can ever see them as any other character in any other movie. Their talent goes to waste on the sidelines of Hollywood productions. Would the public accept Yoda in any movie outside of the Star Wars series? It's doubtful.

What I love about Yoda, though, is that he's resilient. Just like Tonya Harding found an after-the-Olympics niche in women's mixed martial arts ultimate fighting arenas, Yoda has slipped into his own place in the world off the stage. In his own words, "There is do or not do. There is no try." Yoda's public expects nothing less of him.

After several years in obscurity, Yoda has re-emerged. Luckily his sage advice is not lost to the motion picture archives. It's alive and thriving in Metro Atlanta. Driving down Riverside Drive in January, I discovered that Yoda is taking his wisdom to the streets, literally.

"Block not do." It's a powerful message. Thank you Yoda.

Friday, February 14, 2014

We Have Entered a New Era

These words penned at the bottom of a piece of mail my husband received prove that the world has changed shape and has re-shaped our expectations. If you're having trouble reading it, it says:

       P.S. Sorry about the handwritten bill.
              I am having computer issues.

When my husband opened the enveloped and removed the paper, he awed at receiving a hand-written bill. Though, yes, it was an onerous request for payment, he reveled in the compliment that someone had taken time to write it out longhand. So seldom does the mailman deliver anything that was not generated by a computer (heck, he hardly even delivers bills anymore, as most of those are sent digitally) that my husband's heart leapt.

But the P.S. at the bottom, the apology for having "insulted" my husband's sense of right and wrong with the base presentation of something scribbled by the human hand, spoiled the moment. My beloved blew the air from his puffed up ego, tossed the paper aside and said, "Well, I guess I've got to pay it."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not Another Stupid Cat Video

Behold an analysis of the cat's ability to use a pawn to solve a problem. This short clip in the spirit of the cat video craze features the debut of a very talented fish playing the middle man.

All the characters, however, undertake their roles with breathtaking inspiration. I am proud to call them my pets.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Be My Guest - Dr. Larry Day

This month's guest blogger is Dr. Larry Day, author of Day Dreaming Tales, conveniently available as a Kindle book.
Please join me in giving him a big welcome.

Larry claims that a horse his mother was riding on the way to the hospital to deliver him bucked her off into a patch of four leaf clovers. He says he's felt lucky ever since.

A few facts about Dr. Larry Day:
  • His real name is John Laurence Day.
  • He was born in Idaho of godly Mormon parents.
  • He's been married to the same woman nearly 50 years. They have two children and two
  • Because his parents and his wife indulged him, he earned BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees.
  • Because the United States of America indulged him, he has earned money, among other
    things, as a potato picker, newspaper carrier, stage hand, model in a student art class,
    graduate assistant, newspaper reporter, copy editor, foreign correspondent, full time
    university professor, Fulbright lecturer, trainer of journalists on three continents,
    documentary television crew member, nonfiction book author, short fiction writer and
    humor columnist.
Larry is here to entertain us with his wonderful humor. Take it away, Larry.

Hold the Phone by Larry Day

My Dad and Mom were born in the 19th century. My dad worked for the Mountain Bell Telephone Company in Idaho back in the 1920s, ‘30s ‘40s. I have a telephone from the late 1920s. It is 13-inches high and weighs about five pounds. When I was young, phones were
much more compact, and you could get any color phone you wanted as long as it was black. There was only one telephone company in the United States.

To make a call you the lifted receiver. An operator said, “Number please,” and you said, “570, please.” From a central telephone exchange, the operator would connect your phone to
that phone, and it would ring. Calling long distance was often costly and time consuming.

Nowadays a person takes out a piece of plastic and types a message and it appears instantaneously on the receiver’s screen 8,000 miles away.

Nowadays, also, there are lots of telephone companies. And they all want you to know their names, so they put a tagline at the bottom of your text messages: “Sent from my XYZ phone.”

I’ve decided to send my own text message taglines:

  • Sent from my dog’s flea collar.
  • Sent from my snow shovel.
  • Sent from a can of soup in my pantry.
  • Sent from page 137 of the paperback novel I’m reading.
  • Sent from the cuff on the right leg of my jeans.
  • Sent from a glass of buttermilk in my fridge.
Read more of Larry' quirky humor in his collection of short essays titled, Day Dreaming Tales. For quick quips, follow him on Twitter, too: 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fried Pork Rind Hors d'Oeuvres

Sure, go back and read the title again. Accuse me of posting shocking and distasteful material. I accept your scrutiny and disapproval. I should NOT be sharing my parents' secret recipe with the anonymous public.

But I must. Last Friday they hosted a cocktail party at which they served heavy hors d'oeuvres and these porcine morsels were plated up pretty and placed alongside the smoked salmon. Though I'd never seen such at a cocktail party, they received rave reviews.

Martha Stewart has nothing on my mama.

Fried Pork Rind Hors d'Oeuvres
(I know they should have a more flattering name, but what?)

          Homemade pimiento cheese (shredded sharp cheddar, pimientos, Miracle Whip - If you don't know how to make homemade pimiento cheese, then shame on your mama.)
          Pepper jelly (Someone should have given you a jar of this for Christmas. Now you know what to do with it.)
          Fried pork rinds (Buy several bags. Sort through and select the rinds that curled into tube shapes during the frying process. They are aesthetically pleasing, and they hold the stuffing the best.)

          Using a baby spoon or other small utensil, fill half the rind with a dab of pepper jelly. Slightly chilled pepper jelly works best. Fill the other half of the rind with a heap of pimiento cheese. It should decoratively rise up out of the rind to create visual interest. It also adds a wonderful dash of color that I believe makes the bite sized delights more appealing. In fact, some people won't even know they're eating a fried pork rind until it's too late and they've tried something new. Arrange the stuffed pork rinds on a tray and serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When a Neighbor Gives You Lemons

I'm going to have to make a whole lot of sweet tea to handle this lemon!

This giant grew in the backyard of a neighbor. When she brought it over and I saw its size, all I could think was that her lemon tree must be kin to the tree from Poltergeist. But, I minded my manners, kept my musings to myself and thanked her for the thoughtful gift.

Shall I save a seed and plant its spawn?

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Book Better Off Not Written?

I can think of a better title for this book, such as, You and Your BFF: How to Make It Awkward. Or how about this: From Best Friends to Fridays Alone. Or even, Look Out! This Baby's Backfiring.

Maybe you dig the romantic comedy films featuring a friendship turned flame. Maybe you think it's about time a tome like this hit the market.

Maybe you're like me and you believe friends should be "just friends." Whichever camp you fall in, what would you title this book?