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 – 2017

Archive for the category “Writing Humor”

One Thousand And Counting

FOR REASONS UNKNOWN TO ME this blog is closing in on a milestone of sorts. It won’t be long (later this year) before I will upload blog post number 1000. I have no idea how it got that far. The closest analogy I can come up with is that “Down the Hall on Your Left” is like a runaway train being run by monkeys.

There are much bigger blogs out there. I know of several that have thirty thousand followers. Numbers like that would make me dizzy. For this blog, if I count all sources, it comes  to a little under one thousand. And I’ll be honest with you – even that number surprises me. Those blogs with the huge number of followers are usually about Cooking, Make-up, or Fashion. I am certainly not in any of those categories. This blog is more about “Stuff,” and that sort of limits things. There are so many subcategories of Stuff that it’s difficult to corral those large numbers. Maybe if I started throwing in some recipes or tips on where to buy Hawaiian Shirts. Nah – that’s just not me.

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Shouts And Murmurs 

Fiction Saturday

One of the best playing around with the Language pieces I have ever read.

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How I Met My Wife

by Jack Winter

The New Yorker, July 25, 1994 P. 82

SHOUTS AND MURMURS: a column about a man who describes meeting his wife at a party. In his description, he drops many prefixes.

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito.

Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do. Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to rush it.

But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings. Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

 

Throwback Thursday from March 2016 – “One Person’s Trivia…”

One Person’s Trivia Is Another Person’s McRib

mcd firstSOMETIMES THERE IS A BENEFIT when the conversation takes a turn to something boring. This morning over coffee one of the Usual Suspects started to talk politics. My brain glazed over and my eyes began to wander. It was then that I saw a teeny-tiny mention of no import.

 

“McDonald’s opens restaurant in 120th country.”

Sonovagun. I never would have guessed it was that many.

While voices muffled by politics faded in the background I read on.

The newest nation to allow Ronald the Clown to cross their borders is – (Fanfare!)

KAZAKHSTAN.mcd kazak

I do have to admit that my knowledge of Kazakhstan is rather limited, but as a McDonald’s stockholder for the last 30+ years I feel obligated to learn what I can. So, here goes.

Mcd pres

Nursultan Bazarbayev

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked nation on earth (ergo: not much of a navy).

It has a population of about 18 million souls, and now, 1 McDonald’s.   The Capital city is Astana. The President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Bazarbayev. He is generally considered to be an authoritarian ruler (read “dictator”). It is unknown at this time whether or not he likes the McRib mcd mcribSandwich.     

That’s it. That’s all of the relevant information about Kazakhstan I could dig up.

McDonald’s, with its new restaurant in Kazakhstan, has well over 36,000 sets of Golden Arches worldwide. They employ 1.9 million people. I would wager that most of them are either teenagers, senior citizens, or people who were just not Taco Bell material. I may be wrong, but my personal observation of the McD’s here in Terre Haute (That’s Kazakh for “Where’s my Shamrock Shake?”) tell me that I’m not wrong.

In my own personal experience I have been in McDonald’s all over this country and in Ireland. I have no intention of trying to visit all of them. There are people who try to do that, traveling all over the map in a quest to visit them all. These are people who will eventually work at McDonald’s. Who else would hire them after looking at a resume with a twenty year gap during which they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner next to Ronald the Clown.

In an effort to gather information for this snippet of reality I went to the McDonald’s Corporate website to learn more about their worldwide operations. Fascinating.

mcd irelandMcDonald’s has blanketed Europe. There are more than 50 Mickey D’s in Ireland. While I’m there (leaving for Dublin in just a few days) I may visit one to satisfy my need for fries (chips), but I think we will eat at home most days.

I learned that there are 11 McD’s in Lithuania, ancestral home of my mother’s side of the family. Europe is definitely well served.mcd lith

The one glaring gap on the world map is on the continent of Africa.

There are about 23 McDonald’s in Egypt – more than I expected.

There are 200 stores in South Africa. That is way more than I would have guessed.

That’s it. Egypt on the north coast of the continent and South Africa at the other end. In between – nada.

If you live, let’s say in Burkina Faso (another landlocked country) and you have a craving for an order of Chicken McNuggets – you are SOL – Snack Out of Luck. You are going to have to hoof mcd burkinait across the Sahara to Egypt or, if you’re not in a hurry, pack a sandwich and head south, way south.

 

I admit that I have not delved deep into the subject to determine if there might be a Burger King or even a Subway (Sans Jarrod) in Burkina Faso. If there is – all I can say is “You deserve a break today. Boy, do you ever.”

mcd nuggets

Throwback Thursday from March 2015 “I Have A Question”

I Have A Question

mushroom-cloud

I HAVE NOTICED SOMETHING in the last few months that, while not disturbing or earthshaking, I do find curious.

I am about to tread on dangerous ground here.

Styles come and styles go. I understand that, but I see one current hairstyle popular among young women that I just don’t understand. It seems that a huge number of young gals I see at St. Arbucks, in the supermarket, or wherever, are walking around with their hair piled up on top of their heads in what looks like a mini-nuclear mushroom cloud.

My first thought was that it was in “homage” to Marge Simpson of cartoon fame, but that wasn’t it – and none of them had blue hair like Marge. Then it finally dawned on me – these gals all had their hair piled up ala a combination of Olive Oyl from “Popeye” and Mammy Yokum from the “Lil Abner” comic strip. But these women are much too young to know who Mammy Yokum was/is. Al Capp, the creator of Lil Abner, has been dead for decades and I really doubt that any of these hairfull young people have seen the movie musical made in 1959. And I don’t think Popeye gets much play on TV these days. More is the pity.

Could it be coincidence? Is there some new cult around that has them all wearing their hair like that? There has to be a reason. It sure isn’t because they all, independently think, that it is an attractive hairstyle. It ain’t.

As I sit here at St. Arbucks and I look at the corps of baristas behind the counter I see that four out of five have their hair that way. The fifth one is Sean and he hasn’t yet succumbed to the style. I pray that he does not. It would be very off-putting on a man his age. He looks more like Santa Claus anyway.

I don’t purport to be a fashion maven. Far from it. When I entered the time of my life known as “Geezerhood” I had to admit that my favorite music is “Oldies,” my favorite movies are “Classics,” and my sense of style died along with Disco.

I’m not saying that these young folks shouldn’t be allowed to wear their hair in whatever style they choose. I’m just curious that they all seem to be choosing this particular style – one that puts them in danger from low-slung ceiling fans. I’d hate to see anyone injured or maimed in the name of fashion. Platform shoes were risky enough, but they never had potentially fatal consequences. (Alex Trebek may wear them on Jeopardy! but he keeps his hair short.)

I know what you’re thinking – “Doesn’t this Geezer have anything better to do than sit around muttering about our hairstyles?”

Evidently not.

Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Throwback Thursday from February 2016

Hush, Hush, Dead Charlotte

530b2939-a8a8-4693-85da-0b525f516003A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO IN NEW YORK CITY the Mayor decided that he needed some positive coverage in the media. His idea was to stage his very own Groundhog Day Festival. Whatever Punxsutawney, PA can do, the Big Apple can do better – or so he thought.

At the Staten Island Zoo, not exactly the best known zoo in America – or even in New York City for that matter, Mayor Bill de Blasio (The name he is currently using), with much fanfare and with cameras rolling, was handed “Charlotte the Groundhog.”

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Charlotte —  (An artist’s rendition.)

groundhog day gifThe Mayor was obviously not an experienced Groundhog Wrangler and Charlotte may have taken his fumbling and groping as an improper advance. Charlotte squirmed, the Mayor went sissy, and dropped Charlotte. It is unknown if Charlotte ever saw her shadow on the way down, but it is for sure that she hasn’t seen much of anything after she hit the pavement.

Last year (2015 for the chronologically challenged) the Mayor agreed to try the event again, but he refused to touch the replacement Groundhog – “Chuck.” It is quoted that the Mayor greeted the suspicious Groundhog by saying, “What’s up, Chuck?” Now that Charlotte has gone to that Great Groundhog Lair in the Sky I doubt that Chuck took much consolation from, “What’s up, Chuck?”

groundhog day 3

Chuck

What’s up?

Certainly not Charlotte.

The New York Times noted the occasion of the Mayor’s return to the zoo with the headline, “Mayor Bill de Blasio Did Not Kill the Groundhog This Year.”

There was so much sarcasm dripping off of that headline the paper should have come with a roll of paper towels.

There was another Mayor vs. Groundhog encounter last year in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The Groundhog picked for their show was in no mood to fool around with some strange humans. When the Mayor picked up “Jimmy the Groundhog”
the unhappy rodent took a chunk out of the Mayor’s ear.groundhog wisc gif

This year the Mayor has already announced that he is not going to have anything to do with actually touching the Groundhog. I bet that “Jimmy” is cool with that.

He probably heard about what happened in New York.

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The Word spreads about Charlotte

I imagine that both of these Mayors are now Groundhogaphobic after their bad experiences. Imagine how the Groundhogs feel. Every February 2nd their sleep is disturbed, they are grabbed and shoved in front of crowds of humans. There are bright lights, yelling media types, and all without so much as a “Please” or “Thank you.” In the human society that kind of stuff is called either a “Home Invasion” or the arrival of the SWAT Team – and often gets people shot or arrested.

The people in Punxsutawney have been doing their thing for over a hundred years and they have it down pat. The rest of these clowns are the worst kind of amateurs – they think they are cooler, smarter and more capable than the experts. And what happens? Groundhogs die and Mayors qualify for Vincent Van Gogh Look-Alike contests.

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Charlotte  — taken by the Paparazzi

Throwback Thursday from December 2015

Throwback Thursday 2What Is That Smell?

toxic Avenger

I’M A PRETTY EASY GOING GUY – at least I try to be. I’m a firm believer in a “Live and Let Live” approach to life. That said, there are some people I want to take outside and pound the living crap out of.

The one who comes to mind is a complete stranger.

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Have A Cookie

blog1

THERE ARE DAYS WHEN I SIT DOWN TO WRITE for the blog and I haven’t got the foggiest idea where it’s going – like today. It has been a busy and tiring week and I’m currently operating on one lobe.

Nothing has leapt off the pages of the newspaper. Nothing odd, bizarre, or just plain funny has trotted across the landscape in front of me.

Some days are like that.

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Nothing Personal, Jeff

edisonWE RECENTLY SAW A PROGRAM on TV listing what the creators of the show decided were the 100 Most Important Inventions in History It was interesting, although I think that some of their inventions would more likely fall under the heading of discoveries rather than inventions – such as Nuclear Energy and Fire. But they never consulted with us about any of this so – Na, Na, Na, Na Boo, Boo. The show is over and Basic Cable remains the same.

The only reason I bring this up at all is that I think that, in their efforts to sound erudite and High-Techie Nerdo-Hipster, they have omitted one true invention that has changed our lives in a significant and earthshaking Physio-Ecomomic-Gastro-Enviro sort of way. (By “Our” lives I really mean Dawn and myself. I can’t speak for the rest of you.)

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Cruisin’ For A Fair Irish Bruisin’

3ONE PROBLEM THAT I HAVE, among the multitude I must admit, is one that can be both embarrassing, along with the potential for getting my head kicked in.

I have the habit, unconscious though it may be, of slipping into whatever accent I hear around me. It’s a sort of a Zelig thing (Old Woody Allen movie, look it up). If I am conversing with someone from Louisiana it will take me just a few minutes before I find myself starting to talk like someone straight out of the bayou.

If I was on the other end of that conversation I would think that this fool (me) was either making fun of me or just plain nuts. I am not trying to make fun of anyone and, well – let’s not go there, OK?

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I’d Like To Propose A Toast

2SOME DAYS THERE IS NOTHING BETTER than keeping things simple and uncomplicated. Today is one of those days. Yesterday was too and I don’t see any changes coming in the next few days.

I wake up – a simple, uncomplicated and most grateful beginning to my day. If I don’t wake up I know (or will know) immediately that something is seriously wrong. Complications will be abundant.

But, let’s assume that I have survived to another day. Now what?

Something to eat!

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I Thought It Was Springtime.

1April 7, 2016

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – and it’s cold inside for that matter.

We have arrived in Ireland in the midst of one seriously nasty cold snap. I’m not up on my Metric/Celsius scale of measurements, but I remember enough to know that 0 degrees Celsius equals 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which in my world equals freezing. I do not like freezing. I am not a quart of ice cream. I am not a package of pork chops. I am not an animal, I am a man!

Sorry, I got carried away there. That last bit is from an old movie, “The Elephant Man.”

What I’m trying to say is that it was cold. And rainy. Why do I act surprised? It’s Ireland and I’m a Yankee Flatlander used to central heating.

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We Are Not Amused

2I’M WARNING YOU. I don’t respond well to “April Fools” jokes. I may respond, but not “well,” if you catch my drift.

The urge to pull stupid pranks on people on this date passed when I was about six – about the same time I quit telling “moron” jokes. 1

I think my daily exposure to the Sisters of Divine Providence may have had something to do with it.

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One Person’s Trivia Is Another Person’s McRib

mcd firstSOMETIMES THERE IS A BENEFIT when the conversation takes a turn to something boring. This morning over coffee one of the Usual Suspects started to talk politics. My brain glazed over and my eyes began to wander. It was then that I saw a teeny-tiny mention of no import.

 

“McDonald’s opens restaurant in 120th country.”

Sonovagun. I never would have guessed it was that many.

While voices muffled by politics faded in the background I read on.

The newest nation to allow Ronald the Clown to cross their borders is – (Fanfare!)

KAZAKHSTAN.mcd kazak

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I Need To Expand My Menu

1I DID NOT EAT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I did not do that for several reasons – Number one – It is as authentic an Irish dish as Couscous and Lumpia. That meal is an American invention. How it came to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day I have no idea, but there will be no foisting it off on the fine folks of Ireland.

Reason number two – I think it is a terrible, foul smelling way to destroy my appetite 2as well as the corned beef that, by all rights, should belong, thinly sliced, on a slab of a nice dark rye bread with mustard and a “glass tea.”

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Who Is Having A Baby?

baby 1RONNIE WOOD OF THE ROLLING STONES IS EXPECTING A BABY? No. He and his wife are expecting twins. Ronnie is 68.

The other day I was having a conversation down at St. Arbucks with one of the Usual Suspects about Ronnie Wood – daddy to be.

My guess is that Ronnie has been itching to top Mick Jagger at something for a long time. Ronnie fathers a child at 68 while Mick’s youngest joined the world when Mick was 56.baby 2

Sorry, Ronnie, but Mick, born in 1943, is a great-grandfather. Mick wins.

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Whatever Happened To Sidekicks?

side 1THE OTHER DAY I MENTIONED THE ACTOR Jay Silverheels who played “Tonto” in the old TV Western, “The Lone Ranger.” It got me to thinking, a sometimes dangerous condition, and I began to cogitate about “Sidekicks.”

I’ve seen one definition of the word as follows: “A sidekick is a slang expression for a close companion or colleague (not necessarily in fiction) who is actually, or generally regarded as, subordinate to the one he accompanies.”

The origin of the word comes from the less than honorable profession of the Pickpocket.

I would think that Tonto might dispute that part about being “subordinate.” How many times did Tonto save The Lone Ranger’s bacon?

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Throwback Thursday from 2/28/2015

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Somehow I Don’t See This Working Out

Workout

I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR the other day. This particular doctor is a Nutritionist. He has a bunch of letters after his name, but I don’t recall the letters “M” and “D” being among them. But he’s a nice guy.

One of my other doctors sent me to see this doctor last autumn. He was all over my case about how I needed to lose weight. I couldn’t very well argue with him about that. I’ve been hearing that same complaint since I was six years old. That was during the Korean War. (For those of you with public school educations – look it up in a book called an Encyclopedia.)

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Now THAT Is A Classic Film

bad-acting-death-sceneONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I DO EACH MORNING is to turn on the TV and go to the Classic Movie Channel. I do this most days at about 7:30 AM. They tend to start a movie at 7:00 AM, so I miss the beginnings of a lot of movies. It’s kind of like being hung up at the refreshment counter behind somebody with the decision making powers of a squirrel.

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Throwback Thursday from 2/18/2015

Throwback Thursday 3

Will You Make Up Your Mind!

Firing-Squad

 

SOME PEOPLE ARE NEVER HAPPY. For example – the State of Utah. The legislature there has passed a bill that authorizes the use of a firing squad for executions. They have done this because there have been problems with the “lethal injection” method of offing the bad guys.

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Let The Games Begin!

PROOF HAS ARRIVED. Baseball Season is here. What is this proof?Super Bowl 2

The Super Bowl is over! And, strictly from a dietary point of view – I’m glad.

Let me explain.

When there is a football game on TV we find ourselves either napping away the afternoon or reaching for another slice of pizza. Not a lot of calories being burned in relation to the culinary intake.

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