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Thursday, March 23, 2017



No, this is not about being assaulted and hurt, it is about a battery.

I may write too much about Mrs. C, but I can’t help it, she is a pip…for you young people that is a good thing...sort of, in a backhanded way.  Mrs. C does not like to throw anything away.  What I find entertaining is the excuses she has for saving things.

Today she showed me something she got for free because she signed up for something, or answered a survey, whatever.  It is a small flashlight.  It is very bright, and shines in a diffused lamp like fashion, not a direct flashlight way.  It also has a strong magnet so it can be stuck on anything metal for hands free lighting.  I liked it.  It seems very useful.


In order to demonstrate the light to me, she had to first remove a piece of paper that prevents the battery from making a proper connection.  When she was finished with the demonstration, she reinserted the paper protector.

“What is that for?”

“It keeps the battery fresh.”


“You know, like if you accidentally turn the switch, the light won’t go on and the battery won’t run down.”

“Oh…but you mean if I want to use the light I have to unscrew the cap, remove the paper thing, save it, and then when I am through with the light unscrew the cap and reinsert the paper thing?”


“That is a pain in the ass!”

“It will save the battery.”

“But we have skaty-eight other battery operated items and we don’t do that paper thing to any of them.”

“This light comes with one.”

“So, we have to use it?”


“Let me get this straight.  If I want to use the light, I have to unscrew the cap, take out then paper stop thing, screw the cap back on, make sure not to misplace the paper thing, and then when done, reverse the process, all so the battery won’t run down if I forget to turn off the light?”


“But I don’t think I have ever used a flashlight and forgot to turn it off when done, the bright light generally serves as a reminder to turn it off.”

“It could get accidentally switched on while in a drawer, you could grab something and flip the switch without knowing.”

“So, in order to save a battery from a weird accidental switch turning I have to go through the stupid paper removing and replacing thing.  You know we have about 187 AAA batteries in the pantry.  Some will go dead before we ever use all of them.”

“Just replace the paper thing after you use the light and stop arguing! JERK!”

This light is really quite nice.  I can think of lots of uses for it, for instance while cooking out at night on my Bbq.

Too bad I will never bother to use it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Cranky Recital

A Cranky Recital

A few years ago, a Mr. C. Chatterbox, upon reading a post on my attempt at learning to play guitar, requested a sample of my chops (That’s what we musicians call playing).  I responded that will happen when pigs fly. 
Most music students have to periodically play in front of a friendly audience.  The dreaded, for most, recital.  The recital gives the student something to practice, and gives him the experience of performing for others.  The Recital usually makes a student a better player or it has them quit playing altogether.
Sixty-five years ago, a young cranky piano student was preparing for The Recital.  This recital was going to be broadcast live over the radio to probably 16 listeners.  The thought of The Recital did not make me a better player, it made me quit piano lessons.  I skipped my lessons and refused to play.  There may have been a spanking involved, but I held my ground.
So now I have decided to not chicken out and I will have my own Recital on this blog.  I was probably no less nervous for this attempt than I was when I backed out 65 years ago.  Sixty-five years ago the performance was to have been the one base chord three finger melody of the classic, “From A Wigwam.”  This song has probably since been renamed, “Native American Song.”
Apparently pigs can fly.
For this recital, I have chosen a blue grass piece, “Under The Double Eagle.”  Most of the pieces I play are basically accompaniment for singing.  I decided to spare any listeners the pain of my voice.  This blue grass piece should be played with a flat pick, but Cranky don’t play with no pick.
This is dedicated to the wonderful Lo of the blog "It's Always Something." Several years ago, at the advanced age of "older than me" Lo allowed us to hear her singing voice.  
I fear Lo is no longer with us, if she is reading but just not posting anymore, this is for you Lo.
If you dare, sit back, hit play, and lose 58 seconds of your life.
Be nice.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I am a stealth bird watcher.  I’m not an expert, and I don’t go on excursions or keep track of varieties I have seen, but I do keep my eye open.  My mom always loved birds, I learned to appreciate the birds from her.  We always had a backyard feeder and we could identify the usual suspects.  For anything new we relied on a book, actually two books, one was strictly sea birds “Birds of North America.”

If a new bird flew into view, which was not often, we both always got excited and ran to the book.
“How big?  What were the colors? What kind of beak? Topnotch?”
With our collected memory and help of the book we would identify the new avian.  We also kept our eyes peeled for other varieties we knew from the book but had never seen. 
Apparently, I am not the only stealth bird watcher around.  On a fishing trip one year, Frog almost drove off a cliff as Catfish and I were sure we had spotted a scarlet tanager.  We followed that bird around for fifteen minutes.  That’s fifteen minutes of no fishing which is a big sacrifice for Catfish.
Last week during the big winter storm, I peered out the door to see if the walk and driveway had been shoveled yet.  In a tree, not far away, was an unusual brown blob.  If not for the white background I would not have even noticed it.
“What is that?” I asked myself; and then it moved a little.
It was a bird.  A large bird for this suburban area.  Not as big as the red tail hawks I often see around the golf course (all large hawks are red tail hawks to me, just sounds better than “a big hawk”) but way larger than our usual song birds and even bigger than a crow.  I opened the door for a closer look and he took off and did not return.
These days I don’t run to “Birds of North America,” I run to the internet.  I found a small hawk that does reside in New Jersey.  They are about 12  inches tall, about the size of what I saw and the colors could be right. 
I’m calling it a sharped-skin hawk, though it could also have been a Cooper's Hawk.  Apparently, they both hang around suburban areas, often picking off the song birds that are attracted to back yard feeders.
If I still put out a feeder, I would be feeling bad about chumming for sharped-skin hawks with song birds, but I have to say it was one beautiful bird.
It’s been a few days, and I’m still excited.