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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

*&#^$# COMPUTER!


*&#^$# COMPUTER!


I have bad luck with computers.  I am on my fourth laptop in six years.  One was just old and the battery would not hold a charge…yes even a new one.  The plug to the computer from the charger got worn and that connection failed periodically.

The second got a virus and the recovery was almost as expensive as a new computer.

The third, I don’t even remember, it just froze or something and once again repair was too expensive.

So now I am on my fourth.  As much as I dislike having to pay when a computer dies, at least they are no longer as expensive as they used to be.  The cost hurts a lot, but does not cripple me.  What I really hate is breaking in a new computer.

I have to get a new Microsoft Word.  I don’t have to pay, but it is a multi-hour process speaking to India to get it set up.  I used to just load a disc, but new computers don’t have that disc drive, on account of the “Cloud” or something that I don’t understand. 

I need security protection, and that is also paid for but it is another several hours on the phone with India to have it uploaded. 

Finally I have to reestablish all my “favorites” and passwords, plus there are always a few files that I was too lazy to backup and they are lost forever.

My newest computer is a Lenovo.  It is light, it seems to work fine.  I’ve had it for a bit over a year and I am comfortable with it.  Until last night.

Last night, Lenny went to sleep while I was watching TV.  During a commercial, I tried to wake Lenny up.  Lenny would not wake up.  The light on the “wake up” button was lit, but Lenny still was on snooze.

I tried all the usual things to wakeup Lenny.  I slammed it shut.  I flicked the on button about a hundred times.  I unplugged the charger and re-plugged it.

Nothing.

I tried swearing and yelling.  “FRIGGIN FRAGGLE FLUFFIN!!!”

That only woke up Mrs. C.

“What’s wrong?”

“The friggin, fraggle, fluffin computer won’t turn on!”

“Close the cover.”

“I did.”

“Wait ten seconds and then push the button again.”

“I did.”

“Un-plut the…”

“I friggin fraggin fluffing DID!!”

“Un-plug the charger and remove the battery, then plug in the charger again.”

“Where is the battery?”

Lenny’s battery is not easily removed.  The whole computer cover needs to be removed first to even find the dang thing.  Removing the cover requires a Philips head screwdriver the size of a gnat, and the 12 tiny screws look to be especially strippable.  I really did not want to go there if I did not have to.

“FRIGGIN FRAZZEN FLUFFLE!!”

“Relax, let me look up Lenovo on Google…OK, it says here this is a common problem with the Lenovo.”

“How do you fix it?”

“It says to unplug it and remove the battery, then plug it in and try to start.”

“Friggin FRAZZEN FLUFFLE!!”

“Why don’t you just push the off button and hold it down for twenty seconds.”

“What good will that do?  That’s just dumb.”

“Just try it.”

“Ok…(grumble, mumble, blurbendfloggin) Hey the light went off the power button.”

“OK wait a minute and try to turn it on.”

Tic tock, Tic Tock, Tic Tock… “It’s on!”

“Good night! JERK!!”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

LATIN

LATIN

Do they even teach Latin in school anymore?  When I was in high school, lots of people took Latin. 
WHY?

Latin is the base for many languages.  SO? NO ONE SPEAKS IT!!
Latin is required for anyone who wants to be a doctor, engineer or a lawyer. WHY?  Because these professions use many Latin terms.  SO WHAT?  TEACH THOSE TERMS, NOT A WHOLE LANGUAGE that NO ONE SPEAKS!!
Well those bull crap arguments made me take Latin, and I never became a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.  My brother is a lawyer and he never took Latin. 
So anyway, I took Latin, and I hated it; useless fecking language. 
Veni, vidi, vici.  Tempus fugit.  Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est.
Two years and that’s all I got, and I’ve never had a reason to use any of it.  Once it got me the right answer while watching Jeopardy, but then I forgot to say What is tempus fugit?”
I was horrible at Latin.  I’m not good at languages anyway, but it was extra hard to get excited about learning a language that NO ONE SPEAKS.  I got straight “D’s” and one year was in danger of failing all together.  In those days if you failed a course, you had to take it over again in summer school, and if you failed that, you did not graduate…you stayed back!!!  Oh the horrors.  The threat of being left back was frightening.  Your life would be ruined.  It would be on your PERMINANT RECORD.
So, I had a tutor for Latin.  Getting tutored in those days was a little like getting left back, except no one had to know.  It was not on your PERMINANT RECORD.
My tutor was around 90 years old.  He lived in a dingy room in an old house that smelled like a musty basement, and he smelled old.  There is no other way to explain it, he smelled old.  He also had bad breath.  It was not “I forgot to brush my teeth” breath, or “I just ate garlic” breath, it was clinical halitosis, and he was also a close talker.
I don’t think he helped me in Latin, other than giving me the incentive to study extra hard so I could get away from the smell of old and the close talking halitosis breath.
I did not fail Latin that year.  I got another “D” but I did not fail. 
I did win an award. 
Of all the subjects I ever studied, of all the sports I ever played the one award I won was for proficiency in Latin.  

We had to take some special national test, and I got a 92 which was good for a special certificate.
I was very proud.  I’m not completely sure what the certificate represents, it looks impressive, but most of it is in Latin.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Music

Music
Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.
Actually, the quote is breast, but that just gets my thirteen-year-old self to giggling.
Does anyone not like music?  It does so much more than soothe a savage breast.  Music can address any attitude.  It can create many moods.
My friend Frog introduced me to Bluegrass.  Frog played a mean banjo until his fingertips had a fight with a table saw and the table saw won.  I remember Frog laying down a lick on “Soldiers Joy” and saying,
“Doesn’t that just make you happy.”
I replied, “Yes, but I can feel my IQ dropping!”
It’s true, Bluegrass makes you happy and stupid, though it is generally a short-term condition.  Which comes first, happy or stupid?  It seems to me that really smart people are never very happy, like they are so smart they are more aware of all the things that can go wrong in life and are miserable for it.
Music has something for that condition also. 
Classical music. 
Classical music lets your mind wander to more pleasant things.  It relaxes and calms.  I have never seen a savage breast when classical music is played.
Frog now plays the bag pipes.  Bag pipes make you want to go to war.  They were invented to scare the crap out of opposing armies.  Three pipers on the other side of the river sounds like a whole shit load of angry soldiers. It would make me retreat.  I tell Frog that he has no insects or rodents in his house because he practices the pipes.
Rock and Roll of many varieties all does the same thing, it incites rebellion or at least releases feelings of rebellion.
My youngest son loves RAP music.  I don’t get most RAP.  There is some that I do enjoy, though if I listen long enough I feel like punching a random stranger in the face.
Remember calypso?  Calypso just makes you happy.  Why Mr. Tallymon tallying me bananas makes you happy I have no idea; that is the magic of music.
Why is it that jazz mellows and does not jazz you up?
Folk music makes me want to protest something…anything…when I hear Joan Baez sing, I want to grab a sign and complain about something and or demand somebody stop doing something.
Does an Irish tenor make you want to call your mom?  Does an Italian crooner make you horny?  Does the sitar make you pull your hair out and contemplate jumping of a cliff?
Emotions are enhanced by music. There is not an emotion that music will not have you experience. Many emotions are best experienced only through music.  
Music is the universal medium that brings people together.  Any random group of people will never all share the same attitude or opinion, but put 1000 people from all over the world in a theater, play a little “Soldiers Joy,” and there will be 1000 feet tapping in unison and for several minutes the room will be filled with happy stupid people.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgdW2t1Z_r0

Regarding today's comments, "OMG people do you not get satire?  I friggin love Bluegrass music...DAMN!! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I WOULD BE ONE LOUSY COP

I WOULD BE ONE LOUSY COP
This cranky re-run is from March 2013
I was watching the TV show “Cops” the other day and it became crystal clear to me that I would be a lousy cop.

I do not like or know how to shoot a gun, so that would be bad.  I am a confirmed chicken and do not like confrontation, so that would be bad.  I am not that fast a runner, so if there was a chase that would be bad.  I cannot wear a suit without getting it wrinkled or stained, my shoes never looked polished never mind spit shined, so that would be bad.  All these factors would make me a lousy cop, but the number one reason that was driven home to me while watching the show was I believe every perpetrator’s excuse.

In this particular episode, cops arrived at the scene of a shooting.  The alleged perpetrator was found with a pistol in his hand.  The pistol was smoking.  A man who was hit by a grazing shot to the leg was screaming and pointing at the perp, “That’s the guy!  He shot me.  Arrest him!”

The cops grab the man and disarm him.  They put him in cuffs, pat him down and find a bag of cocaine.  

“What’s this?”

“Man I ain’t never seen that before.  I don’t know nuthin.  I was walking down the street, I hear a gun shot and then this dude bumps into me and runs away.  Next thing I know he put this gun in my hand, and he must have dropped that bag of coke in my pocket.”

The victim steps in.

“Officer this guy was trying to take my watch, I resisted and he pulled a gun.  It went off and grazed my leg here.”

“Naw man, you crazy it was the guy…the guy what bumped into me.  He went that way, ran like a mother-whater!”

As the cops were throwing him into their patrol car and doing that Miranda thing I’m thinking, “Hey it could be.  Maybe someone else shot the guy and planted the coke and the smoking gun on this poor sap.  Why not?  The guy that was shot could be in shock and misinterpreted the events.  How can the police be sure he isn’t telling the truth?  Shouldn’t they run after and look for the guy who planted the gun on the perp?"

It’s probably a good thing I’m not a cop.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

STUPID HEADLINES 032617

STUPID HEADLINES 032617
It’s time again for
Go Figure!
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
______________________
Tom Brady's Stolen Super Bowl Jerseys, Worth $800K, recovered in Mexico – My old High School jersey ought to be worth at least $50!
Huma Enjoys Disneyland With TV President From ‘Scandal’ – Let’s play switch the words around…practically any order works.  I’ve got “Scandal, Huma enjoys TV, Disneyland with President!”

Texas teacher accused of sex with student grins in mugshot – Look, I’m not saying this isn’t absolutely inappropriate, but hire an attractive blonde 26-year-old to teach anatomy to hormonal 17-year-olds, and what possibly could go wrong?

The internet is not happy with the new Wonder Woman’s armpits – Fictitious character picks up a car and flings it across a road, and internet geeks complain that realistically she should not have shaved armpits.   Really?

Walmart horseback ride caught on video – No one paid any attention.  It’s Wal-Mart what is one more horses ass?

Miracle Teenager Survives On His Own For Almost 6 Hours With No Wi-Fi – OK, this is a satirical piece from a fake newspaper, but still funny.

15-year-old sues his mom for taking his phone off him – Suit claimed “abuse.”  Judge ruled against the child…the world is not doomed yet.
British Libraries Under Fire for ‘Sexist’ Bookmarks – Apparently, the pink bookmarks are only 73% the size of the blue ones.
Two NYPD cops assigned to the same precinct discover they are sisters – Even more shocking, neither man is even Catholic!
Chuck Schumer Calls for Chaos – He was stopped by Agent 99 who saw him suspiciously speaking into his shoe.
Elderly couple on wrong flight; end up in NY, not Michigan – “WTF, I said I wanted to see the New Ford or Skylark, not New York Skyline!”
And the FEEL-GOOD Story of the week:
He places a baby otter on the beach alone. Now keep your eyes on the left side of the screen!  (All interesting; the really good stuff occurs at 3 minutes in.)
The plastic bottles on the beach are disturbing to this otherwise heartwarming story.
________________________________________________
Come Back Next Week For More
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY

Friday, March 24, 2017

Is The Answer in The Stars?

Is The Answer in The Stars?
A not so cranky opinion on
Cranky Opinion Saturday
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with the attention span of a gnat.  With that in mind, feel free to think and then express your own opinion.  Please, just be respectful of all opinionators (it’s a word now!) who respond to this post.
It seems to me, that people the world around are becoming less religious.  I know that is true in this country.  Well I don’t “know” but it seems that Catholic schools are closing, I believe church attendance of all denominations is down and I just know less and less regular church goers than I remember in years past.
I am not a regular church attender.  I tried for the most part to give my children the church experience, but a religious preference was never strongly pressed on them. 
I do appreciate the church.  It is a wonderful place to go, especially in times of celebration or distress.  I love a church wedding, and a funeral needs the touch of some religious base and a man of God.  I thank all the people who support and keep the church alive, and yes, I do feel guilty for relying on the church some times, while not helping maintain it throughout the year.
So, I am a Christian, and admit to not being a good Christian. 
There was a TV show a few years back that I only remember the promo.  In it a Priest confesses to another Priest. 
“There are just some things about our faith where I have my doubts.”
“Well what is important is the core of our belief. Christ died for our sins, he was resurrected and then went to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the father.  What is the part of our faith that troubles you?”
“That part.”
I think that is me.  I am not positive in my faith, but I do believe in a supreme creator, and I believe that creator is inherently good.  What his plans are, why we even exist is beyond my ability to comprehend. 
So, I am a doubter, but not an Atheist. 
There is a rise in Atheism these days. 
Why?
Yes, science can explain so many things, but can it ever explain everything without eventually looking for a miraculous source?
“Only Slightly Confused” whose  blog is “Mumblings” recently had a post on the night sky.
I haven’t really seen a proper night sky in years.  A sky where you looked at billions of stars from a million light years away.  Where you pointed out constellations, and watched shooting stars.  Smog and light pollution has blocked our view of this spectacular display in many areas of the world.
I think this is why we have a rise in Atheism.  Without the night sky to put our world, our life, in perspective, it is easy to think that as a species we are bigger than we are.  We can ultimately have all the answers to life, science can explain everything and all life is just a matter of chance.
Maybe.
But, if we could just look out at the sky every night without the man-made filter of smog and bright lights, as used to be common, we would be humbled.  I believe there would be more belief in a supreme creator, and a humbler world would be a much better place.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Battery


Battery

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.

However.

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.”

“What?”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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.


http://loisstearns.blogspot.com/  
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.




video

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WHAT WAS THAT?

WHAT WAS THAT?
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.