Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the category “Humor”

You Don’t Have To Be A Druid To Have Rituals

 

WE’RE INTO A TIME OF SEASONAL CHANGE so I have begun to undertake the sacred seasonal rituals. Not wishing to offend the minor gods of calendar page turning I started getting into these rituals today.

I got a haircut.

As I have begun aging from being a responsible adult down the slippery slope into Geezerhood I have noticed that my hair does not grow as quickly as it used to. I also noticed that there are fewer hairs to cut than there were back when. At least the thinning of my cranial forest is evenly distributed. I’m not waking up, looking in the bathroom mirror and seeing a clear cut landing site on my skull. Thank heaven for small favors.

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Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – “Do I Have A Roman Nose?”

Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – “Do I Have A Roman Nose?”

Do I Have A Roman Nose?

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THEY SAY THAT CAESAR’S IMPERIAL ROME had the best system of water delivery in the Ancient World. There was a series of aqueducts, canals, pipes, and fountains that covered hundreds of miles and kept the city of Rome clean and quenched.

I think they could have learned a thing or two if they’d been able to study my sinuses in the morning.

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When I wake up every morning the entire function of my body seems devoted to the movement of fluids. It’s a good thing that I can blow my nose with my left hand clutching a Kleenex while my right hand is assisting me in doing an impression of the Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Is Paris Burning?”) Fire Department.

By the time my initial purge is done I feel five pounds lighter and the Wabash River is three inches closer to Flood Stage. I don’t know where it all comes from. During the night am I transformed into a sponge? Is my body taking moisture from the air like a fern? Am I the “Quicker Picker-Upper?”

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If my first geyser activity was it I could just dismiss it all as, perhaps, Tidal Action – like the Bay of Fundy approaching low tide. The trouble is that this can go on for two or three hours where the only thing missing is a fish ladder. I go through a box of tissues like…like…like a box of tissues.

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When my nose sends the signal to my brain that, “The dam has broken!” I grab the nearest tissue, handkerchief, or (embarrassingly) pancake and brace myself for the flood.

It ain’t Mrs. Butterworth, I’ll tell you that.

Having to deal with this for a couple of hours can be exhausting. I just got up two hours ago and I already feel the need for a nap. My nose is turning red from all of that tissue business, my skull is feeling like a used piñata, and I’m going to have to go buy some more tissues.

First, it’s one nostril. Then, when that one raises the flag of surrender, the valves open on the other. I didn’t know that noses could do that.

I’m impressed as well as depressed. My sinuses can operate as smooth as the locks on the Panama Canal. I guess that makes my upper lip the north coast of Colombia.

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Once I get through this morning ritual the rest of my day can proceed as it will, but until then I can understand how the Egyptian Pharaoh and his Chariots must have felt when he decided to chase Moses and the Israelites into the Red Sea – five minutes too late.

Things could be worse. Despite all of this every morning nonsense when things eventually dry out I still have a nose. I still have sinuses, and my stock in the tissue company continues to go up.

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Merge, Merge, Merge

 

“LANE ENDS ONE MILE. GOOD LUCK.”

I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately on our illustrious Interstate Highway System. It’ll really be nice once they are finished with it. It seems that no matter where I go or in which direction I am faced with long slow moving lines of cars all wedged into one lane.

The System was started back in the 1950s. President Eisenhower, a career military man, saw the maze of roads as a way to quickly transport troops across the country in case of an emergency. It’s a good thing that there was no call to do that because, if today’s roadways are any indication, we would be in deep doo-doo (Technical term meaning ‘Uh Oh’).

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Let’s Take Another Look At That

OH, I GET IT! You’re doing your Stevie Wonder impression. No? What happened? Tell me…if it doesn’t involve the Police.

Thus began my morning last Monday as I walked into the Chapel of St. Arbucks.

“Oh, you broke your glasses? That’s why you are wearing sunglasses at 6 AM.”

At least it wasn’t me who had the broken glasses.

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Drinking And Driving Can Go Together

 

I HAVE SEEN IT ALL NOW! Just when I think I have it all figured out and understand what is what and who is who, and what I can expect in my daily experience – Life throws me a curve.

My wife, the lovely and equally amazed, Dawn, were in Cincinnati last week. That, in and of itself, is nothing worthy of amazement. Cincinnati is, after all,…Cincinnati. If you’ve seen one fast food chili shop, you’ve seen ‘em all. But then we saw something that stopped us in our comfortably shod tracks.

We had stopped into a Kroger Supermarket to replenish our “Goodies” supply. Our shopping cart wobbled up and down each aisle ending up over near the Deli department and the in-store mini-St. Arbucks.

That is where we saw it.

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Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – Whatever Happened To…

Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – Whatever Happened To…

 

Whatever Happened To…

Van1I GOT UP THIS MORNING AND TURNED ON THE TV, just like I do on most mornings. I fiddle with the remote until I find TCM – Turner Classic Movies. It is my first mental challenge of the day. Remember the channel number and get my fingers to cooperate enough to hit the right buttons.

Just about every day is some Star’s “day,” either the day they came into the world or the day they left it. Once it has been established who the Star of the Day is the next question in my mind is: Still Alive or Dead?

About a week ago I figured out that the featured Star was Van Johnson. Being sure it was Van van7was not as simple as it sounds. They were showing a movie with both Van Johnson and June Allyson. Those two made about 600 movies together (or so it seems). It took another movie coming on to nail it down as Van’s day in the spotlight. Alive or Dead was not so easy.

At about 8:30 I went to see if my wife, the lovely and cinematically knowledgeable, Dawn, could, hopefully, give me an answer.

“I think that he is still alive,” she said over the edge of her teacup. “I think so too, the last of his era,” I agreed.

Van Johnson died in 2008. I guess I missed that one.

He just disappeared from my consciousness that morning. He disappeared from everything else in 2008.

People come and then they go. Things do that too. One minute they seem to be everywhere and then, Poof! You find out that they disappeared years before.

This morning I mentioned one such thing to Dawn. She looked at me like I was leading up to another Van Johnson question.

“Whatever happened to all those old Fotomat booths that used to be everywhere?” I asked her out of nowhere. She’s used to me doing that.

Van2“I think they went out of business years ago – Digital cameras and all that.” She never lifted her eyes from her Kindle.

“No, I know that, but what in the world did they do with all of those little booths where you dropped off your film? There must have been millions of them.” She did lift her eyes on that one.

“I dunno,” and back to the Kindle.

This sent me off on a fact-finding mission. For an apparently pointless reason I needed to learn more about Fotomat and their ubiquitous booths. I should have spent my time researching Van Johnson.

I did uncover that those booths started popping up in the 1960s in strip malls all over the country and lasted unto 2009 – one year after Van Johnson checked out.van4

I found a lot of information about the company and its ups and downs and eventually it’s over and out as a corporate entity. But not one word about the fate of the (In reality – 4000 of them) booths.

When I finished my research I rushed into the other room to tell Dawn all about what I had lvan5earned. To say she was not impressed would be an understatement – like saying World War Two was just a little dust-up between friends. I can’t blame her, but still…

There is another show on the TV about a trend/fad in housing where people are building incredibly small houses, little more than – Oh, I don’t know – Fotomat booths. Maybe that’s to where they all disappeared: Cable TV – just a few channels down from Van Johnson.

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Such A Question

 

SUCH A QUESTION TO ASK SOMEONE.

“How do you think you will die?”

Unless you make your living as the ever so attractive target in a Las Vegas knife throwing act the answer to that question is strictly speculative.

Who knows?

I don’t know.

There are seven billion people on Earth and there are likely to be seven billion different answers.

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What The Flock Is Going On?

 

Look at them. Chances are they’ll be looking back at you. If, while you are looking for them, you notice that everybody is looking at you…well, there you go. You are the Black Sheep in that family. Congratulations.

How does one become The Black Sheep? It starts early. In those formative years when the other kids in the family are setting up little lemonade stands there is one tyke, boy or girl, who starts their own business selling newspapers. What’s so wrong with that? Nothing except that, our lone wolf entrepreneur is selling yesterday’s newspapers to unsuspecting adults.

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I Am Not Spartacus!

 

I SAW A LOVELY FAMILY PORTRAIT the other day. It was quite a crowd spanning several generations. At the crux of the gathering was the Patriarch of the Family – Kirk Douglas. THE Kirk Douglas, the world famous actor, who starred in countless movies spanning decades.

He is 102 years old now and still ticking. His wife is 100 years old and still tocking. Together they are defying time.

When I first saw that Kirk Douglas had cracked the century mark it made me feel positively young, but then I saw that his oldest son, Michael Douglas is a year older than me. So much for that illusion of youth that I was clinging to.

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Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – “I Spy Something”

Throwback Thursday From September 2016 – “I Spy Something”

 

I Spy Something…

watching-bush-babyDESPITE THE UPSETS AND WOES OF EVERYDAY LIFE there is one thing that can still be enjoyed no matter where or when you find yourself: People Watching.

Unless you are in the middle of nowhere or alone on a deserted island it is likely that there are people about – and they are free for the watching. Of course, if you don’t do it properly and be discreet, it can get costly in black eyes and those pesky restraining orders.

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People Watching can be done almost anywhere. I say “almost,” because there are those places where folks expect to be, and want to be, unobserved. Violating that expectation is often called “Invasion of Privacy,” or “Stalking.” You don’t want that tag following you around.

The beauty of People Watching is that there is an unlimited variety of subjects walking past. On most days it is like watching the better dressed escapees from some Monkey Island. I say that making no pretense of being the best dressed guy in town – on most days I’m dressed like the insides of a Honolulu Goodwill Box.

Just this morning, sitting in my pew at St. Arbucks, I have seen a bunch of High School students stopping off to get a serious sugar high before heading off to class. The boys all tried to look somewhat tough and mildly rebellious. The girls? Well – I saw 17 versions of Marcia Brady (I guess that ironing one’s long hair is back in fashion.) and a few Joan Jett wannabees. Maybe they’ll be able to draft a few of the boys into being their “Blackhearts.”

Don’cha just love Rock ‘n Roll?

Being the first day of school I can understand all of the extra effort to look their best – or at least their best according to their chosen image and budget. Within a week or so the 1470489173223importance of “The Look” will dissipate and the reality of having to get up early to catch the school bus will set in. After a few days standing on the corner waiting for the bus and they will all start looking like their laundry hamper.

People Watching is a two-way street and I know that. I look at them. They look at me. It’s only fair, I suppose – but I have a “Look” that lasts past Opening Day. In Summer I wear Hawaiian shirts (even to church) and the rest of the year I am in sweatshirts.

Either choice is always accented by a San Francisco Giants baseball cap. On occasion I change hats, just to keep things fresh. My alternate might be a cap from a Minor League team, or from the Trinity College of Dublin – a reminder of our Ireland trips.

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NOT People Watching!

My alternate cap that gets the most commentary is my “Thinking Cap” cap. On days I wear that I can count on having at least 2 or 3 people coming up to me wanting to know where I bought it. Truthfully, I don’t know where it came from. It was a gift from Dawn, so it could be from anywhere this side of Neptune. She has her sources.

So, I heartily recommend People Watching as a pastime. It is fun, inexpensive (barring the need for legal defense), no equipment is needed, and a great way to troll for characters if you are a writer. You don’t thing Stephen King comes up with the people in his novels by sitting alone in a room staring at the wall, do you?

Go out, find a seat somewhere, and park your carcass down. Look around and enjoy what will, inevitably, pass by. There will be a parade of humanity to enjoy as it saunters by.

Refreshments are optional.

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Reblog From The Bluebird of Bitterness – “I Can’t Brain Today”

Another Fabulous Reblog From The Bluebird of Bitterness!

 

I’ll Pretend I Didn’t Hear That.

THE REWARD OF RANDOM ACTION. Let’s just see what happens.
This can result in either something new and lovely… or ramming the ship into an iceberg. I’ve done both.

It’s nice when you have a good idea of what you are trying to do, but not always. There is that old saying about “The best laid plans of mice and men…,” etc. Christopher Columbus had a good plan worked out to take him and his ships to China, but he ended up in the Bahamas. Personally, while he may have been disappointed with the outcome, I think he landed in a much better place to spend a vacation. Have you ever tried to get a decent Piña Colada in Hong Kong?

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Don’t Drop The Soap

 

ONE THING IN THIS WORLD that never ceases to amaze me is the seemingly endless creativity that spills out of the human mind. There is always something new coming from just around the corner. It has never stopped from the Dawn of Time when the first human picked up a stick, hit it against a tree and said, “That sounds good. I’m gonna start a band.”

Back in the late 19th century the Head of the U.S. Patent Office sent his resignation to President McKinley and urged that the Office be closed because, “Everything that could be invented has been invented.”

Could he have been more wrong?

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I Try To Be Fair

NOW…I’M NOT A FUSSY PERSON who lets every little thing get under my skin and bother me… (Pregnant Pause)…OK, that’s not true. I am a fussy person and I do get all worked up by the little things that most people wouldn’t even think twice about. Truthfully, I’m still growling about not getting to see the “Tall Ships” that toured the Great Lakes during the Bicentennial Celebrations. That was in 1976 and I’m still miffed.

I try to keep that under cover and under control because no one wants to see me grumbling and muttering about something the world regards as trivial, but that I hold to be the key to the survival of Western Civilization.

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “The Good, The Bad, And The Crispy”

Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “The Good, The Bad, And The Crispy”

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I LOVE PIZZA. CORRECTION: I LOVE MOST PIZZAS.

Pizza is a very simple dish (or pan). It is not difficult to make. I suspect that you could make a passable pizza in one of those old “Suzy Homemaker” or “Easy-Bake” ovens.

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NO! NO! NO!

The only way to screw up a pizza, IMHO, is to use ingredients that just don’t belong. Strawberries? On a pizza? Some chef has posted a recipe for a “Strawberry, Balsamic Pizza with Chicken, Sweet Onion, and Applewood Bacon.” Really? I suppose I could pick off the strawberries if I had to.

“Deep Dish Apple Pizza?” That’s not a pizza – that’s an Apple Pie. Blasphemy! I don’t think that fruit belongs on a pizza. I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but – I’m right. Get over it. And there is no such thing as a Breakfast Pizza or a Dessert Pizza. No!

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Where Anchovies Belong

I also think that one should omit Olives and Anchovies. Olives? That’s like chewing on erasers. Anchovies? I’d bet that Anchovies were first put on a pizza as a prank. The eating of Anchovies should be left to other, larger, fish in their food chain.

The reason I bring this up at all stems from a chance encounter last week involving pizza.

It was a Sunday Evening and both my wife, the lovely and pizza knowledgeable, Dawn, and I were both pooped. It was about 7 PM and neither of us had the energy or desire to go into the kitchen for any reason beyond using it as a shortcut to the Toyota.

“Why don’t we order a pizza?”

More excellent words could not have been spoken. I took my phone and actually used it to place a real phone call for the first time in weeks.

“Yes, a medium, thin crust, Pepperoni with extra cheese.”

Now, THAT is how you order a pizza!

Twenty minutes later I cut a path through the kitchen and drove off to pick up our pizza. I don’t

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mind taking the effort to pick up a pizza. It makes me feel like I have worked to put the food on the plate. It’s a guy thing – part of that Hunter-Gatherer mystique. Hit the dinosaur on the head and drag it home to feed everyone in the cave.

When I got to the Pizza Joint (All places that sell pizza are, by definition, “Joints.”) I had to wait a few minutes for our pizza to finish baking. It was then that I heard someone calling my name.

“Krafty. Hey, Krafty.”

Sitting at a table were two members of the Usual Suspects away from their pew at St. Arbucks. Being the sociable sort that I am, I toddled over to their table. It was then that I had one of those “Run that past me again” moments. One of the Suspects asked me…

“Are you here to get some Pizza?”

There I was standing in the middle of a Pizza Joint surrounded by about 20 other people munching away on pizza. The air was redolent with the heavenly aromas of the pizza ingredients and I was standing next to two people who had a Pepperoni Pizza on the table just

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inches away from their mouths – and he asks me, “Are you here to get some Pizza?”

I gathered all of my Grown-Up civility and politeness skills before answering – then I realized who I was talking to.

“No, I came in here hoping to find some new shoes.”

Our Pizza was delicious and there was just enough left over to make a truly classic breakfast. No strawberries. No Olives. No Anchovies. Just some real Pizza.

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Reblog from the Bluebird of Bitterness !!! – Caturday funnies

Another Fabulous Reblog From The Bluebird of Bitterness!

 

Caturday funnies

by bluebird of bitterness

bluebird of bitterness | August 17, 2019

You Can’t Get There From Here

THIS MORNING I FOUND MYSELF TRAPPED in the middle of a conversation that went from confusing all the way to positively incoherent.

The morning started out quietly which is all I ask for until I have evidence of a stable heartbeat and access to coffee.

I got to my usual spot in the corner at the Chapel of St. Arbucks (Patron Saint of Jittery People) and began my climb to bipedal humanoid status. There was only one lone member of The Usual Suspects present. He was there when I arrived, so I assumed that he had slept there overnight. He was a half step ahead of me toward the ability to speak in a recognizable language.

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This Should Not Be Difficult

WE DID SOMETHING LAST NIGHT that we haven’t done in quite a while and we did it in front of the Smart TV and the Alexa gizmo. We didn’t care if the TV was watching us or if Alexa was listening. We are adults and we are married to each other.

We ate dinner from McDonald’s.

It was the end of a long day. All of our chores, errands, and other tasks had been satisfactorily completed. We were tired. Cooking was not an option. Eating was. Food of some sort was really all we wanted.

Details on that unidentified food were not all that important. They rarely are if you think about it. We really don’t want to know how that piece of fried chicken got to that plate in front of us. What was the chicken thinking when it realized that it wasn’t going to get its feathers back and he was being sprinkled with eleven herbs and spices?

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It Puts The Remote In Remote Control

I’VE BEEN LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE LATELY: ENGLISH. Considering that English is already my first and primary language you wouldn’t think that I would need lessons – but I do.

My wife, the lovely and Queen of the Remote Control, Dawn, has us watching a number of TV shows from “Across the Pond,” most of which are Police and Cops N’ Robbers shows from England and Scotland. I didn’t know that the Scots were so into crime shows. I didn’t know that the Scots were into much of anything other than not being English.

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “O, Canada! Say My Name!”

Throwback Thursday – from August 2016 – “O, Canada! Say My Name!”


WHEN TODAY STARTED I thought it was going to be a quiet, gentle day in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “They’re at the door, Jade.”).

Down at St. Arbucks the “Usual Suspects” seemed subdued and even quasi-rational. I should have recognized that as an omen of Strange Things to come.

After lunch I accompanied my wife, the lovely and telephonically lethal, Dawn, as she went to buy a new phone. I enjoy being Arm Candy for her. Her first words to the Blue-Shirted guy at Best Buy were, “I murdered my phone.”

The afternoon went from there on a pathway I can only describe as, “This looks familiar, but then again…”

After the phone business we headed to Staples to gorge on 17 cent notebooks and Bic pens. That happens only once a year. It is like a Burmese Python dining on a full grown white-tailed deer. It lasts quite a while before you need to do it again.

I thought that might be the climax of the day, but I was wrong.

We weren’t home more than five minutes when the landline phone began to ring. Nobody ever calls us on that line except wrong numbers and telephone solicitors.

“Hello, John, this is Jade calling from your Canadian pharmacy about refilling your prescription today.”

I was beginning to feel like a hungry Burmese Python and “Jade” sounded like a Doe about to accidentally step on me. I humbly refer you to my blog posting from May 11, 2015 – “Remember, You Called Me.”https://johnkraft.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/remember-you-called-me/

Dawn just shook her head when she heard me say, “Canadian pharmacy – you’re in Canada?” She could read my mind.

I started with, “Jade, Jade, listen to me. I’ve been binge-watching “Breaking Bad” for the last few days and I’m thinking maybe you, being in Canada, might be able to get me some of that Dude’s stuff – some really good Blue Meth.”

“What are you talking about, Mr. Kraft?” All of a sudden it’s no longer the friendly, “John.”

“I’m talking about you being in Canada you don’t have to mess with the Feds. Say my name, Jade! Right? Say my name! I need some really good stuff and you can do it for me.

“Jade, you gotta help me. What’s that, Jade? You hear that? They’re at my door, Jade.”

The confused voice from north of the border tried to interrupt. “What are you talking about? I don’t understand you.”

I’m not stopping for anything even though Dawn is leaving the room.

“Jade, the Feds, they’re at my door. You gotta help me. Jade, hold on a minute. Wait! Here, you talk to them. Jade? Jade? Jade?”

I wonder where she went.

Perhaps my friend, Jade will go to her supervisor in the boiler room and relate her chat with me. Maybe then they will take my name off of their sucker list. If they really are in Canada they don’t give a hoot about any American “no-call lists.” I figure that if, each time they call they get me, and are plugged into the world of some idiot Meth-head who wants to buy illicit drugs from them while the Feds are busting down the door. If this happens often enough they might decide on their own to quietly put an asterisk next to my name with a notation saying. “If you ever call this guy we will set you adrift on an ice floe chained to Howie Mandel.”

And I thought that today was going to be a quiet, rather boring, day.

Thank you, Jade from my friendly Canadian pharmacy. I hope you will recover soon.

O, Canada!

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