WHENEVER I AM DRIVING AROUND TOWN lately I’m seeing something that makes me wonder a bit. Not a lot, just a bit. What I’m seeing are those stick figure decals on the rear windows of cars. In the beginning these decals or stickers were showing just your basic nuclear family: Mommy, Daddy, and a couple of kids.
It didn’t take long before someone added the family dog to the lineup. After that the floodgates were opened. More kids, Granny and Grandpa. If there had been a divorce the decal would show a space with a Vacancy sign.
I spent most of a quarter hour doing extensive research into this and about all I learned was that some people have incredibly bad taste.
The other day I was about to head off from home to take care of some errands and chores around town. I’d already had my morning coffee and I was ready to face the day.
I got into the Toyota and headed down the driveway. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some motion coming my way. “Oh,” I said to myself. “A dog is coming down the street.” I stopped the car out of sheer courtesy. As the dog approached I again spoke to myself. “Oh, that is one ugly dog.” Then the dog passed right in front of me as I sat in the car. It was then that I spoke to myself yet once more – this time out loud.
Most mornings when I come out to get to the car it is still dark and as I glance around the yard I can see pairs of glowing eyes looking back at me. Yesterday morning, however, it was like Siegfried and Roy were holding auditions out there. I got into the car and when I turned on the headlights – Ta-Da!
First on the bill was a large raccoon clinging to the side of the tree right in front of me. It had that usual raccoon look on its face – “What? What? You got a problem with me?” I think raccoons are the Joe Pesci of the animal world. We made eye contact and had an interspecies moment there.
Throwback Thursday from Oct. 2015
TODAY IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE POSTS about the strange behavior of the human animal. If you have already heard or read about this please feel free to talk amongst yourselves or go get a piece of cake.
The dateline on the news item, and I use the word “News” very loosely, was Yekaterinburg, Kazakhstan. We’re talking Central Asia here, a place where I might think that isolation from – everywhere else – can play practical jokes with your brain. The gist of this story was something that the AAA magazine would never have printed I am sure.
It seems that motorists hurrying on their way to other parts of Kazakhstan saw a guy driving down the road with a live bear sitting in the backseat of his car. Up at the start of this posting is a picture of the bear in question hanging out of the car window, possibly asking for directions to the nearest asylum for the Seriously Wacky. I have to admit that if I was driving along and saw a bear in the car in front of me I would also try to get a picture – just to give to the driver’s family, in case things didn’t end peacefully, and the bear had lawyered up.
To give due credit to the local Kazakhstanian police, they did pull the guy over. One peek into the backseat and I’m sure those cops were wishing that they were going up against terrorists, drug-crazed bank robbers or even Mary Kay Sales Reps instead.
Cut to several steps closer to the chase – the Kazakhstanian CHiPs sent the guy on his way, along with his bear, but without any kind of traffic citation ticket.
It seems, that according to Kazakhstanian Law it is perfectly legal to drive around with a live bear in your car – provided that the bear is wearing a seatbelt – and the bear in the backseat was, indeed, wearing his seatbelt.
This whole thing brings several questions to mind.
How in the heck did the guy get the bear buckled up without being mauled into an early grave?
Since the bear allowed itself to be put in the backseat and properly belted in – I’m guessing that this was not the bear’s maiden voyage in a car. Just by the fact that the bear was in the backseat tells me that the guy wasn’t driving a Mini Cooper.
Was driver training next on the agenda?
Does this sort of thing go on in Kazakhstan often enough to warrant such safety conscious legislation?
Nowhere in the news item did it ever mention if anyone bothered to find out why the guy had the bear in the first place and where were they headed. I can’t imagine that there are too many spots one can go with your bear tagging along. I know that such places would be limited here, so I can imagine there would be fewer in, say, Yekaterinburg, Kazakhstan. At least I hope so.
In more local Terre Haute news (That’s French for “Bears under 100# must be in an approved car seat.”) bears have recently been spotted in northern Indiana. There is no word on whether or not these bears are émigrés from Kazakhstan or simply bears from the Detroit area looking for work.
This is just the perfect set of circumstances that spawn the rise of wild-eyed cults. The fact that September was National Mushroom Month didn’t help. Experience has shown that when things get weird, the weird get weirder.
It’s kind of like how in really hot weather there are some people who seem to come out of the woodwork and go seriously strange. And don’t even ask about the effects of a Full Moon.
A FEW DAYS AGO I WROTE ABOUT A YOUNG CAT that showed up outside of the nearby St. Arbucks (Starbucks to most people.). That little cutie pie is no more than 4 to 6 months old and a ball of yellow/orange fur.
Well…it’s still there.and has been unofficially adopted by the customers and staff. This cat has stumbled into a good thing.
Throwback Thursday From Sept. 2015
THIS PAST SUNDAY MORNING was different than most Sundays, but an absolute delight nonetheless.
Taking advantage of a sunny and comfortably warm day we held church services, followed by a cookout, in a lovely spot in the park. We do that every year, but this time something new was added to the usual service. This time my wife, the lovely and Ordained, Dawn, conducted a “Blessing of the Animals.”
ANIMALS AND I GET ALONG WELL. Dogs, Cats, Squirrels, Birds, etc. will come right up to me as if we were old friends. I’m not knowingly doing anything make them approach me. I don’t think that I look or smell like a meal. I don’t get it. I’m not complaining, mind you, but it’s just unusual I’ve been told. It’s been like this all my life.
When I was a kid I used to walk to school and it was not rare for me to show up with a dozen dogs walking along with me. The nuns didn’t like that.
Throwback Thursday from Sept. 2015 –
HOW CAN ONE TRULY DEFINE what is, “Bad Taste” and what is not. Just as “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the same can be said about humor. What one person thinks is funny another may not. In fact, I think you can be rock solid sure that for whatever one person thinks is funny there is another person who won’t laugh.
Such is the case of the picture to the right.
I think it is funny and I’ve had others say that it is “In bad taste.” Of course, if I ask them to tell me the difference, they fall silent.
One person tossed out the “bad taste” thing, saying that the balloon was what made it so bad. I then asked him if it had been a Get Well Card instead of the balloon would they have approved? That was met with stony silence. That was kind of nice compared to his whining. He was also upset when I said I would have done as much for him as was done for the deer.
Somehow I don’t think he’ll be bothering me again.
Judging from the appearance of the deer I would guess that it had been there for a day or more. The sympathetic balloon delivery person probably had seen it there by the side of the road and made a special stop at a local Dollar Store for the balloon. I doubt that the driver who hit the deer just happened to have the balloon with them. If he/she/it already had the balloon in the car then there was someone in a nearby hospital who probably got a card attached to a salt lick.
Deer are, in many ways, nothing more than big, antlered, squirrels. They don’t pay attention to the traffic and tend to stop and stare at the headlights of approaching vehicles. If that vehicle is a Vespa or a bicycle then the deer has a good chance of making it across the road. If that vehicle is an 18-wheeler Peterbilt… Well, let’s just say that chances are the deer won’t be home for supper.
Earlier this summer my wife, the lovely and with a heart of gold, Dawn, and I drove from Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Get Well Soon”) to Michigan. Along the stretch of Interstate Highway from Indy to the Michigan state line we counted about a dozen deer in need of “Get Well Soon” balloons. All of those deer may have been part of a suicide pact or they were scofflaws when it came to traffic safety.
Someone else suggested that they were all part of a club where they “played chicken” with the cars and trucks. I’d never heard of such a thing until he told me that the first rule of the club was, “Never talk about the club.”
I don’t know how much credence I can put into that idea, except that it would bring a whole new perspective to the old question –
“Why did the chicken cross the road?”
OK, I HAVE JOINED THE RANKS OF MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE. I watched the season ending episode of “Game of Thrones” the other night. Now – will someone, anyone, tell me what in the heck that was all about?
Characters came and went… and came back again. Strange creatures and zombies were getting starring roles. Weddings turned into blood baths. That one I could relate to – you should have been to my Cousin Lulu’s wedding. The bride wore a Carhartt wedding gown.
I WISH TO MAKE A CONFESSION. I am an eavesdropper. I may look like I’m totally focused on the book in front of me or this blank page as I write, but I also have an ear turned to the world around me. I listen in on what other people are saying and I hear some incredibly inane interesting things sometimes.
Listening in is how I am able to do blog posts like that one from last week about the Real Estate mavens at the next table. I should be ashamed, but I’m not. I’m a “Listening Tom.”
THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ECLIPSE in this part of the world soon. I plan to skip the event. Why? Because here in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “My eyes! My eyes!”) it is not going to be a Total Eclipse. The TV says that it will be 85% here. In my book 85% is a “C” – OK, maybe a “B” if you’re grading on the curve and you have a room full of Bozos. If I am going to go through the trouble of getting those special dark glasses I want the Full Monty – so to speak. I don’t think I’m asking too much.
THE OTHER DAY A FRIEND MENTIONED TO ME that she had a decision to make. It seems that she has a jar that she has used to hold crackers and, for reasons unknown to me, she has evicted the crackers and now fills the jar with cat treats. The decision part of this is whether or not she should tell anyone. It seems that one member of the family is a regular customer of the Cracker Jar.
I don’t make up these things. I don’t have to.
SO, THESE ARE WHAT THEY CALL THE “DOG DAYS OF SUMMER.” Never having ever been a dog I cannot personally vouch for much beyond that statement. Unlike dogs, I can and do sweat, but instead of “like a dog” I sweat like a pig. Not pretty.
At least, that is the phrase – “He sweats like a pig.” I have to take that as truth because I have not managed to ever get all that close to a pig – sweating or otherwise, and I have no plans for the future in that area. Evidently though, someone at some time did get up close and personal with a pig, a sweaty one and told people about it.
“SWEAT LIKE A PIG” – “A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS” – “CUT THE MUSTARD” – “STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH” – “AT THE DROP OF A HAT”
These strange phrases come from somewhere. They don’t just show up in the mail.
THERE MUST BE SOME BAD JUJU FLOATING IN THE AIR TODAY. Everybody seems to be complaining about something wherever I go. I’m getting my coffee and the person in front of me in line is moaning about the weather.
“It’s going to be hot all week. I don’t like hot weather. I just don’t like it.”
Well, Lady, it is summertime in the Midwest and it is supposed to be only 88° today and 93° tomorrow. I would call that warm, maybe bordering on hot, but it ain’t Death Valley.
See? Now she’s got me doing it. I’m complaining about her complaining.
I MISS THE DAYS when any road trip involved stopping along the way to enjoy all of the wonderful Roadside Attractions. When I was a kid my Dad would pull off the road so we could “ooh” and “ahh” at the Rattlesnake Farm and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or to stop for a snack at the café that boasted 72 flavors of ice cream.
These days there aren’t as many of those reasons to stop along the way. To find such interesting sights you have to tune into the vibes along the highway and keep your eyes peeled. That is what we’ve been doing while on the road.
Fiction Saturday – “Peaches” – Conclusion
Inside the door it was dark, but there was light pouring out at the end of the hallway. I tried to get closer as quickly and quietly as I could. I didn’t see the toolbox on the floor until I kicked it. Before I got my footing Regis was standing two feet in front of me with the dirty semi-automatic pointed at my forehead.
“Well, look who’s here? C’mon, Mr. Private Eye, and join the party.”
He marched me the rest of the way down the hall and into the light.
“Forty Ounce” looked at me, but spoke to Sunny Boggs.
“I thought I told you to come alone? Can’t you follow a simple command?”
“I didn’t know he was here. I swear it. I fired him.” Her voice sounded panicky. Instead of being the hero here I was the fifth wheel, and I was flat now that Regis had my .38 in his left hand. “Forty Ounce” looked at me like I had just ruined his day. Well, mine wasn’t going too great either.
Fiction Saturday – “Peaches” – Part Four
It was a little after 8 AM when the phone finally rang and woke me. It’s never good news at 8 AM. It was Regis alright and he told me that “Forty Ounce” said “No” to me bringing the money for the dog. It had to be The Lady – alone – or the dog was history.
There was no way I was going to go along with that, but I had no choice but to agree to tell “The Lady.” She would go along with any of their cockeyed plans if she thought it would get her dog back. She was the Perfect Victim.