Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweeping Up Cut Hair

I spent an hour today in a haircutting place. My dad used to say that something was "as fun as watching haircuts," so I got to experience that firsthand.

As for me myself, I don't get my hair cut in these places. My wife's been cutting it for nearly 40 years, so it really is a rarity for me to be there.

So I sat and observed others in the hot seat. I was there waiting with friends who were getting trimmed.

After each person they collected money. My wife never does that.

Then to prepare for the next person they swept up the old hair with a broom, and swept it back toward the back somewhere where I couldn't see. I thought that must be a nice sight back there, the day's sweepings. They definitely didn't do two or three, then sweep it up, but after each person.

It made me start thinking of other potentially more labor-saving and time-saving systems of doing it, like having a hole in the floor that you could open up. Maybe flames come shooting up and consume the hair, then die back down as the hole is closed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Move - 1

To move is a major disruption in your life. But I finally got it accomplished. The packing, the truck, the hundreds of arrangements about where you're going and what you're going to do.

I was in my prior town with plans to leave at a particular time. Then one of the final things was to get some money from a guy who owed me. It was remarkable, but he did actually pay me. It required a trip to one of those instant checking places (where he has some history). We had to wait around 10 minutes for the time delay safe to open, him inside the business, me in the car. Then, by cracky, the money that I figured I'd never see again was in my actual hand.

So that was one of the last things. Then to get some breakfast, eat it on the last two folding chairs in a room with nothing else except a garbage can, and get going.

There was one major complication that happened while I was off doing the business with the guy and the money, between that and the time I got breakfast and made it back home. Which was a period of about 35 minutes, leaving my wife at the essentially empty house. All the years we were there she never had this accident, but in this half hour time, out of the blue, she managed to drop a glass of water and it ruined her cell phone.

This stuff was all "one in a million" stuff, the idea that I'm off with a guy getting money, a guy a couple months late and we'd basically given up on, and the idea that she would ruin her phone in an empty house. There was a rare confluence of something above, one would assume.

Then we were off, all the farewells done. And now it was raining.

We were in separate vehicles, and it was precisely at this time that we needed the cell phones the most. But with hers out of commission totally, we had to improvise, make plans for down the road, etc. Which didn't help much when we were separated within the first two blocks. Serious.

I waved her on, it might seem, although I was really waving her out of the way so I could turn the truck. She thought I meant "Go on to the first stop," which I didn't mean. So she went on, I turned the corner, didn't see her, wondered what happened, and waited there five minutes. She didn't reappear, leaving me to think she was looking for me, and that without a cell phone we were lost even though we were still within blocks of each other.

The short story is that she indeed went on to the first stop. I got there and we made better arrangements to stay closer together.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where I Am With Moving

My truck is nearly loaded completely.

I just have a mattress and a few last minute things to load around it, in the morning.

It's been a ton of work, but thankfully I hired a couple people to do part of the nasty stuff.

They did a great job.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm A Volcano Denier

Some people deny the Holocaust, some deny global warming, some deny Barack Obama was born anywhere. Not me on any of that.

I deny the existence of volcanoes. Think about it: It doesn't make a bit of sense. There's no fire in the hole that comes up. There's no air down there, because the air's all in the sky. And you need air for fire.

So I think it's all a big hoax, something they do on a Hollywood stage, if Hollywood even exists. Count me among the true Bobby Jindal disbelievers. We don't believe in volcanoes.

Now we have this so-called volcano in Iceland, called by some big obviously fake word, Eyjafjallajokul. Say what?! It's likely the whole thing is faked. I saw some of the "smoke plumes." It looked to me like a hack Photoshop job. Some of the smoke billows were clearly reused over and over to make the composite picture.

And if this stunt "volcano" wasn't enough, now these "scientists," who ought to try doing something honest for a living, are saying there could be a volcano 10 times worse coming along ... same country, Iceland. How convenient, to claim there's a volcano, then to situate it in a country that no one can go to to verify it.

Who knows what these "scientists" are up to? I know they're smoking something, and I don't think it came from a hole in the ground!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Dog's Risky Sleeping Spot

Our dog likes to crawl under the bed and sleep at the corner by the head of the bed.

Of course she has no concept of a bed falling on you, as we've all seen happen.

This particular bed has never fallen. Its construction is such, I guess, that it can't fall. Although I don't know precisely how it's made just by memory.

Still, even with that great record, I know I wouldn't be under there unless there were some other safeguards in place, like a few well-placed concrete blocks or beams and trusses. (It's hard to find a good truss these days. It's not like when they used to advertise them right in the newspaper.)

I see the dog, and she's cognizant of all sorts of dangers. Part of the reason she goes under there, other than sleeping, is to escape from perceived dangers, like loud noises or me carrying a big piece of furniture. But she has a danger hanging right over her head, and she doesn't even realize it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Text Message From The Dead

Did you happen to see the story about the text message from the dead?

A woman was killed and her body stuffed in a barrel, oh, and she was decapitated. The police suspected a guy but didn't have the goods on him, apparently, and they didn't know where the woman's body was.

So they came up with the idea of getting her cell number on a different phone, then texting the guy they suspected, as though the message was from her. "Just wait til I got better," the message went.

The guy went out to where the body was, I guess to double check that she was really dead. And the police got him.

Why if you cut someone's head off would you need to double check that she was dead? Perhaps the murderer wasn't in his right mind when he did it and wouldn't be in his right mind later either. That's the best explanation I can come up with.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Move Coming Along

A week from now ... I will be going to bed in a different house.

This is a major life switch for me and it's going down in less than a week.

I went to the bank today and closed out some accounts and consolidated all my money in one spot. It's the same amount I had but for some reason it made it seem more finite in one lump sum. Like I need to squire this money along ... is that the right word? ... to make sure I don't go prematurely broke, or broke at all.

I'm too proud to ask others for money and too lazy to dig ditches, so I need to make sure the transition is such that I have money left over.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Women And A Ton Of Sh*t

I didn't realize there had been a big layoff at Hallmark cards and that so many sentimental verse writers were now freelancing it on Facebook.

But it's all for the best, if they can keep coming up with lovely sentiments like this, which I saw in someone's status recently:

Whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater. Give her a house, she will give you a home. Give her groceries, she will give you a meal. Give her a smile & she will give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what she is given. So if you give her crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit!! Ladies... re-post it on your wall if you agree!
Yes! Yes! Yes! That is so true, and it's put in such a lovely way. You'll get no argument from me. That's my mother, up to a certain extent. Let me read through it again ... Yes, that's her!

But wait, what's this ... "crap?" "shit?" Hmm, that must be the thorn in this rose. I believe we might need a few edits on this thing!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Party Rally Costs Taxpayers $14,000

I love this. These people who are so against paying taxes and the taxpayers having to pay for things had a rally, that ended up costing the taxpayers $14,000.

Of course that doesn't include the roads they traveled on, the public transit that some of them likely used, any police that happened to be on duty in the area, and doubtless many other expenses.

If you don't want to cost the taxpayers money, just stay home and do nothing. But then of course we'd eventually have to pay to go in and carry out their stiff bodies. So you can't win.

Things cost money. Taking advantage of the government is not a good activity for anti-government activists.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

OK, I Was An Idiot For Tearing Apart My Couch

There were very few people calling about the couch the other day. But little did I know the ad would later run in the wider-distributed free shopper.

So the shopper came out today and I've had close to 50 calls for the things I was giving away. A few mentioned the couch specifically.

How terrible that I tore it apart and threw it away! I could've saved myself all that work and it would've been gone by now anyway.

Live and learn. I really wanted to give it away, but no one was calling on the ad's first run.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Couch At The Recycling Place

The couch I tore apart yesterday, I hauled out to the recycling place today.

What a mess it was, in a million pieces, give or take a few. But it fit in the car, with room to spare. Of course there'd've been no way it would've fit intact. But in a million pieces, it wasn't as big a problem.

I was fairly careful about taking the pieces out, since there was a lot of nails and staples and splinters. One thing poked me mildly, but that was it.

It's kind of fun taking stuff out there, and just flinging it on the pile of junk they have. It's a great way to get rid of all the crap of life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tearing A Couch Apart

Oh boy, this is a huge task, to tear a couch apart.

I had a big couch, fairly old, and it might've had some years on it when I got it over 20 years ago. In fact it did.

I advertised it in the paper for free. A few people were over to look at it. Two guys wanted everything I had, then they needed to borrow one of the guy's uncle's truck, and I never saw them again. Another couple came over and looked at it but it was too big for their space. Someone else came but they were looking something more like a love seat for their daughter's college room. And finally a lady who took some of my other things. She was going to get her brother to come and pick it up. It was complicated by the fact that he'd gone through a messy divorce back in November, had custody of their child, etc. The bottom line is he didn't show up, nor did his ex-wife, nor the kid.

So today, this was my last resort. Because I'm getting ready to move and couldn't have this gigantic old couch along for the ride, I needed to get rid of it somehow. So I dismantled it with an ax and a butcher knife.

While doing this I was thinking how terrible it must be for a serial murderer to have to completely dismantle a body, with the blood, tissue, intestines, etc. It's bad enough doing a couch!

A couch has more to it than you might think, with hundreds of staples and nails and things in there. You notice this sometimes when you're reaching down the cushions for change.

Speaking of change, I found 21 cents, but the other day when these people were I'd already gotten out 50 cents. I found other stuff from years ago, from the '90s, including a football schedule from the high school in 1992-93, some college information one of my kids must've gotten, a steak knife from ages ago, and a couple of sunflower seeds from when I was eating them, also years ago. Plus miscellaneous junk, little papers, dirt, crumbs, and a copy of the "Four Spiritual Laws." It was like archaeology.

Now the dismantled pieces are in my car and I get to take them to the recycling center tomorrow. So it's not completely out of my life yet.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Died Of Smoke Inhalation

Maybe not the best picture to go with for this article.

From the Des Moines Register, 5-18-1999.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Elvis For Everyone - 8 Track Tape

In packing for my big move I came across a couple of 8 track tape players. Three of them maybe. If there were three, I threw away two of them. And I kept the smallest one, a Radio Shack TR-8, I believe it's called.

I plugged it in tonight to see if it still worked and it did. It makes a lot of hissing, shushing noise, and a couple of the program LEDs don't light up. But the rest seems to work. (I didn't test out the recording features.)

I also threw away most of my 8 track tapes, a box full of them. But I kept the Elvis tapes that weren't literally moldy, as some of them were, and a few other tapes that are already packed.

This is the tape I tested the machine with tonight. "Elvis For Everyone!" by Elvis Presley, of course.

The first thing I notice is how simple the cover art is. This album had a pretty nice cover, with Elvis looking like he's standing at a stand that sells records, his own older albums. There's a cash register behind him and the Victor dog, Nipper. The definitely reduced matters for the tape!

The tape has "Stereo Effect Reprocessed from Monophonic."

The album goes fast, three songs per program. Some of the songs I don't hear much, including several: Your Cheatin' Heart, Summer Kisses, Winter Tears, Santa Lucia, Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers, etc. But listening to them, I liked them a lot, except for Santa Lucia, which is a drag.

Everything on the tape seemed OK till I got into program 4, then I was hearing some heavy bleeding from one of the other programs. That was distracting. I'm not sure what would suddenly cause that.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

No, George, We Don't Miss You

There's a Facebook group (for idiots) called something like "Miss Me Yet? -- George W. Bush."

The idea seems to be that the Bush years were some kind of golden age and now we've entered the dark ages. Ha ha!

No, George, we don't miss you. Please don't call and don't write.

How can we miss you when we're still saddled with your recession everyday? How can we miss you when we're burdened with your two unfinished wars?

Plus, and most importantly, how can we miss you as long as we remember you? We'd never go back to you! You were the worst president ever.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Funniest Line Heard At Church Today

A friend was talking about her 11-year-old niece, who was in church one Easter hearing about Jesus' death and resurrection. She asked, "Isn't he the same guy who died last year?"

Friday, April 02, 2010

My Day At The Recycling Facility

Because I'm moving that's meant a total cleaning job on the house, getting rid of all the things that we don't need (some of them) and certainly getting rid of things that are broken, not working, or are simply at this point garbage.

I didn't really know that just anyone could go out to the recycling facility and throw away tons of stuff with impunity. I guess I thought there were more restrictions on throwing away things, meaning that I had accumulated quite a few unusable or junky things.

I got a laptop computer now, which meant my office computer and my home computer were set aside. Then this week I took the hard drives out of those, making them totally worthless to me. Because I didn't want to move them and their big huge monitors and the whole works.

I had a couple of printers to get rid of, an old Macintosh computer from the '80s, record players, 8 track tape players, scanners, etc. Notice everything I listed (and some things I didn't list) are in the plural. That's true. I had a bunch of stuff. Then there was the tangle of various cords, plug-ins, power adapters, the whole bit. Keyboards, mice, amplifiers, and even my XM radio, including the home station and the car adapter stuff.

Another guy was helping me and we showed up with five or six loads, pickup truck loads, of all this junk. Once weighed in we went in the garage and just flung it on the floor of the place. It was kind of fun just flinging, throwing, shoving, kicking off the truck, and so forth.

My favorite trip was when we had all the electronics, which were sorted out. With that trip we took the metal objects too, an old patio table, a 70 pound typewriter, and I can't remember what all. We flung that into the metal receptacle, then went into the garage to fling the electronics. I threw down the computers, then I'm landing amplifiers on them, the scanners are smashed to bits when they hit the floor, it was a total travesty of brokenness and waste.

I thought back to when I got some of the stuff. One of the amplifiers I got in 1975! The Macintosh computer originally belonged to my late father. There it went, unceremoniously flung to the cement floor. My computers were there, on their side, with the amplifier crunching in the side as it landed on it. It was the wildest scene I've ever seen when it comes to garbage. I didn't know you could do that. It was amazing to see one of the scanners shatter into several pieces. Wow, those things aren't build to withstand a tumble!

I said it was fun, but only the unloading, and even then I would've rather been at home taking it easy. By the end of the day I was beat ... and could barely kick off the stuff. The very last item was a withered copy of a paperback book by S.J. Perelman, "Acres and Pains." Which I almost kept when it came right down to it, but it was old and falling apart. I like the writings by him that I've read. One of them one time I laughed over till I cried, so I know he can be very good.

What a day! A smashing good time!

Plus it was fun watching the garbage trucks rolling in, emptying garbage, pure and simple garbage. It'd be fun to spend some time out there with a video camera, just getting some great footage on this stuff.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Father Lawrence Murphy Describes Problems Of The Deaf

The following is an article on Father Lawrence Murphy of Wisconsin, the priest at the heart of a sexual abuse scandal. It is from 1965.

Problems of Deaf Are Described

The great "invisible handicap," deafness, was described by the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, director of St. John's School for the Deaf, Milwaukee, to Janesville Serrans at a luncheon meeting Friday noon.

"Handicaps such as blindness, crippling injuries and mental retardation are obvious for all to see. Outwardly we cannot tell if a person is deaf, and this is the great tragedy of the handicap," he said.

The students at the school in Milwaukee are those who are not hard of hearing or deafened by a gradual loss of hearing. They are those who, regardless of amplification, cannot hear. The students are those whose parents have usually traveled the country looking for help, and when all hope is lost arrive here.

"This type of nerve deafness cannot be helped by an operation — the only medicine education," he stated. "There are only 10 Catholic elementary schools and two high schools for the deaf in the United States." Father Murphy mentioned that St. John's is becoming the third high school as it will add the ninth grade in September, 1965, and will have a full high school program by 1969.

There are 140 children in the school, but the job of teaching them is equivalent to teaching some 1,000 normal children because of the tremendous individual attention needed. We ordinarily have 8 to 10 children in a classroom. It takes 12 years for a child to complete his 8th grade education.

"The problem is becoming more acute because more children are being spared by modern medicines and are growing up with two or three handicaps such as brain injuries, mental retardation and cerebral palsy. The greatest handicap, however, is deafness as it is not only a physical handicap, but an educational, spiritual, emotional and social one. A completely deaf child at three years of age is like an animal — nothing has a meaning, he has no vocabulary and no means of communication."

"It is the task of our school to break through this world of silence. The ability to read lips is a talent which the child is either born with or not. This ability cannot be taught.

"To find out what it really means to be deaf, watch a TV program with no volume and you will be befuddled after one half hour — or try to watch a news commentator and see if you can understand. A deaf person's life is a constant television program with no knowledge as to what's behind the action.

"It is extremely hard to teach these children religion as they are unable to attend church services and understand what's going on due to the difference in lighting or ability of the priest to communicate."

Father Murphy concluded that the deaf children do not feel sorry for themselves since they have no problems with outside influences disturbing their sleep or their peace of mind.

--Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin, Jan. 9, 1965, p. 5.