The Monkey Cage The Monkey Cage

Like Sand Through The Hour Glass 

Today at work I said to a friend "I sure wish it was 2 o'clock!" (That's when I get off work)

But then I started thinking - (which usually leads to trouble but I do it anyway)....

Life - it seems like we're in school, we graduate, go on to jobs, get married, have kids, work more years, start getting older, retire, enjoy some more things - then DIE. If you're old enough can you remember "DAYS OF OUR LIVES" - I never watched it as a kid - but my Mama sure did and I will always remember the opening segment with the huge hour glass and the guy says:

"Like sand through the hour glass, these are the days of our lives"

I'd laugh back then - time doesn't go that fast! But as I get older I find it DOES go that fast! I once read that time is like a roll of toilet paper - as you get to the end, it goes faster and faster.

Time is PRECIOUS - who am I to try and wish away even a few hours of work? I've got my health, I've got a great family, I have income, why in the world would I wish away even a few hours? There's some poor joker in a world of sorrow and pain laying in a hospital bed right now wishing to God that he was ABLE to be out of pain, out of the hospital - and he'd be happy even to be at WORK! There's some poor lady who has been diagnosed with Cancer and the doctor is telling her she's got a few months to LIVE left - and I'm WISHING AWAY HOURS of MY life!? Hours are PRECIOUS - time is PRECIOUS - I am ashamed of myself and will never wish the time would go faster again.


Dogs Farts, Rabbits, etc. 

My dog farts and stinks up the room I'm in to the point of I actually have to vacate the room, (walk do NOT run to the nearest exit) But why then does she raise up her lazy head and stare at her ass? What is she waiting on to happen or SEE? What is she looking at? I know their sense of smell is super, but can they also SEE farts? Can she actually see a green cloud back by her ass?

And speaking of dogs and their sense of smell - why DO they have to put their nose practically in the dog poop out in the yard? Their sense of smell is supposed to be uncanny - 1.73 billion times better than humans. So can't they just smell the dog poop and get their data from 10 feet away from it? Maybe up close they can get data even better?

This morning on the way to work here in Montana - like most all mornings, rabbits come running out trying to commit suicide by running in front of my truck. What the hell? I think if you're a rabbit - sitting around doing rabbit things, and you suddenly hear a truck coming and see cotton-pickin' HEADLIGHTS, why would you then RUN TOWARDS IT? Do rabbits have some kind of death wish? Would they rather die under a Chevy truck than by coyote teeth sinking into their neck? Perhaps they know they're gonna die - so are trying to get it over with and pick the most painless way to go?

And rabbits - when they DO manage to dodge my truck, I watch them run into the woods - they zig-zap this way and that - I know they do that to help avoid getting caught by whatever is chasing them. But how do they KNOW to do that? Isn't that cool? A rabbit may never have even been chased before - but they seem to instinctively just KNOW to zig-zag when they run. HOW? Someone 'splain that one to me Lucy okay? Did they watch another rabbit NOT zig-zag and get eaten by a coyote and learn that way? And if so what were they doing just sitting there watching? Maybe their mothers teach them to zig-zag? It's not like they can run in a straight line, get caught by a predator, and LIVE to say - "gosh next time I think I'll try to throw him off by zig-zagging!"

Animals - go figure - they're amazing aren't they?


Attacked by a Stupid Monkey 

Let me get this off my chest:

I have the distinction of being one of probably a small amount of people in this world that have been attacked by a MONKEY - or at least in the U.S. of A - maybe in other countries monkey attacks aren't so rare and maybe even common.

"How in the world did you get attacked by a MONKEY for crying out loud in a bucket?" I hear you ask?

I was a youngster at the state fair in South Carolina - are you familiar with the little organ grinder monkeys at the fair? It was one of those little bastards - with the little cutsie stupid red outfit and stupid looking hat on their heads - they look like bell hops don't they?

The stupid man turns the crank and plays the organ, the monkey runs around collecting money from people - the little bastard - what kind of way is that to make a living? Punk!

So I was probably about 7 or 8 years old - not much taller than this SOB monkey.

Everyone else in the crowd held out money and the monkey grabbed it and everything is roses.

Until my turn.

I held out a penny (Yep I remember it was a penny)

The monkey came up to me, I outstretched my hand to his little evil looking hand to give him the penny.

I don't know HOW - or who is to blame - but the penny FELL to the pavement.

Here's where it got ugly - I bent down to pick UP the penny to give it to the monkey again, and the friggin' little bastard lost his mind and JUMPED ON MY HEAD and started clawing and scratching away at my head!! Can you believe that!?

The stupid con-artist organ-grinder guy pulled the monkey off of me - I cried and cried - I was scared and scratched - and then the organ grinder guy starts yelling - AT ME - at ME he yells - "You shouldn't DO THAT SON!!! He thought you were going to take his penny from him!!!"

The way I see it - it was MY penny until I put it in his little evil grimy sharp-clawed hand!!! And what if I was going to take it from him!? What of it? He's a MONKEY!

And get this - the crowd that was gathered around started LAUGHING at this situation! Hello? Little kid - monkey jumps on his head and scratches him - that's FUNNY!? (well - maybe it IS slightly funny to them)

And so I was scared of little monkeys - and can you blame me!?

YEARS later - a friend of my wife's has TWO pet monkeys - "Let's go see them!" she says - "It will be like therapy for you!" She DID talk me into it - and I DID sit in a chair scared while these two little monkeys ran around the room like fools and one even took a shine to me (he liked me) - he sat on my shoulder and rubbed my head - I swear it was if he KNEW of my past experience with bastard organ-grinder monkeys and was trying to make me feel better about his kind! Did it work? Well - YEAH - I DO feel better about monkeys in general - but I DO NOT LIKE the stupid organ grinder monkeys - and probably never will!

Now I hear you wondering - "Why does he call his blog 'The Monkey Cage' and call himself 'monkey' after that incident? Good question.


Things stuck in your teeth 

I hate to sound a bit like Rosanna Rosanna Danna here (who can remember her? Huh? How old are you reader?! Remember her?) BUT...

Is it weird to get enjoyment in having food stuck between your teeth and removing it?

I do - and I may be alone - but just when we think we're alone in this ever-shrinking world we're liable to find we're not.

My wife runs to get a toothbrush or floss when something is stuck between her teeth.

Not me - I devote as much time as possible to seeing if I can get it out - using only my tongue - pushing whatever is in there with my tongue against another tooth, applying a little suction - I try to pry it out - it feels SO good when it comes out finally - doesn't it? Especially if you can actually FEEL it coming out from between those teeth! Yeahhhh!

Now don't get me wrong here - I don't purposely get food stuck between my teeth just for this little thrill! (can a person DO that on purpose in the first place?!)

Anyone can go grab the dental floss - but it takes determination, skill, and talent to get that pesky piece of corn or other food out from between those teeth with good ol' fashioned tongue skill!


My first fight 

My first and only fight, my kids think this story is hilarious - and I guess it IS kind of funny - but pathetic at the same time.

I have no idea how old I was - I just remember I was pretty young, a kid. It was real simple and real quick.

Out on the playground at recess one day I told some friends I'd never been in a fight. Now I grew up poor and in rough schools even at a very early age - there were always fights going on - and so my friends were amazed I'd never been in a fight.

"Man everybody's been in a FIGHT!" they said - they were dumbstruck.

"Nope - never have been in one" I told them

"Why NOT!?" they asked - as if there were something wrong with me.

"I don't know" I replied - starting to think maybe there WAS something wrong with me.

They then told me I should go fight "Sheldon" across the playground. I don't know why they picked him other than maybe he was black - it seemed that all fights were whites and blacks. I think Sheldon had been in a lot of fights was a mean character though and so they thought it was my turn to flap up some dust with him.

I don't know WHAT my thinking was - but I decided I'd better go get in a fight - and I had to seek out Sheldon and see what happens. (why I remember his name a billion years later is beyond me - maybe a man never forgets his first fighting partner and his first girl?)

I found Sheldon across the playground - he was a big black guy with a big black 'fro and was a mean dude, I do remember that.

And I can't remember having ANY fear for some reason - I'm starting to wonder if I was just retarded when I was a kid. I approached Sheldon and got his attention and said:

"I want to fight you!"

That was it - he came at me - grabbed me somehow and bent me over, then drove his knee into my stomach. I fell to the dirt in a lot of pain crying and Sheldon walked away.

This all took about 3-4 seconds.

End of story - my first fight. I've not been in a fight since that first "fight" - but if I ever DO get into another fight - it can ONLY get better right?


Garden Hoses - I hate 'em all 

I never intended to turn my blog into a giant bitch session, hell, most of us HAVE wives and kids and don't need more bitching and whining in our lives - but I have to this time - just once, and I'll never bitch about anything again!

I'm one of those fortunate people that it actually takes a hulluva lot to get me angry - not much pisses me off - and I've had my share of things that COULD get me angry, but most things roll right off me like water off of the proverbial duck's back.

But one thing that almost always gets my goat, gets me seeing red every time I come near one - is garden/water hoses! I think they're just fine rolled up nice and neatly and tightly in the stores or even in my own yard - the trouble I have is when I have to actually USE one.

I think my disdain for water hoses started when I was a kid - we weren't allowed to just come inside the house and get water when I was a kid - it had to be a life 'n' death situation before my Mama would let us come inside - when we were out to play - it was for the DAY. So if we wanted water - we'd go to the garden hose and drink. Once when thirsty I went to the business end of the water hose out in the yard and asked my brother to run down the spigot and turn it on so I could get a drink. I put my mouth on the end, and he turned it on and soon I was drinking water. For some reason he then thought it'd be hilarious to turn it on full blast, and when the huge gush of water hit my mouth it almost choked me and it stretched out my mouth and scared me at the same time! I have no idea why I had my whole mouth covering the end of the hose in the first place - how stupid - but I did. I guess kids do that - seems I used to see kids putting their actual mouths on water fountains when I was in school too!

Here's my problem with hoses now:

If there are fire ants in the yard, they somehow stick to the hose and when you go to roll it back up they bite the fool out of your hands. There's not been any Fire Ants that I have seen yet here in Montana - but where I used to live they were everywhere - they'll be here soon I'm sure. Especially if they get word I'm up here in Montana. (I actually had a Fire Ant crawl INTO my mouth while I was SLEEPING and bite the living dog poop out of the inside of my mouth and tongue - but that's another story for another time)

If there is mud in the yard the hose will always seem to lie in it and the hose will be covered in mud when you go to wind it back up.

These are not my worst complaints about garden hoses, I can live with a Fire Ant bite or two, or mud on my hands.

One of my biggest beefs with water hoses is that every time I use one, it kinks up somewhere in the line, and once I remove one kink there's almost sure to be another! It drives me batty! So I have to walk up the line to remove the kink, which means I usually have to set my wash rag down somewhere.

Next to the kinkiness factor is the tire and water bucket factor - any time I've ever washed a car and try and move from one side of the car to another the hose will wedge itself under a tire and be stuck there, and if you pull it it gets further stuck, which get me even angrier. However the cure for this is to have a bucket of hot soapy wash water handy - because hoses seem to want to get wrapped around those and knock them down and spill them before they get stuck under car tires.

The funny part is - the hose isn't ALIVE - it's not a PERSON, it's a THING - and things shouldn't get a person this upset! I know the stupid hose doesn't kink up on purpose - but it always does - is it only me!? Are there hoses that are kink-proof? Are there hoses that roll themselves back up? Are there magical hoses at Home Depot that roll themselves back up at the press of a button, are Fire-Ant resistant, AND kink-proof? If so I WANT ONE!!!

Show me a garden hose and I'll show you a pain the ass.


Rings and toilets 

Never, EVER underestimate the value of something based on it's size, shape or monetary value. That there is something called sentimental value that can be more precious than all of Bill Gate's money.

This is a sad sad story, and not for the squeamish. It does things to my stomach all these years later, just writing about it. It was one of the saddest events in my life and I share it with you because I love you. (just kidding - I don't even know you)

When I was a wee lil' critter, probably about 10 or 11, I had me a special girlfriend - the first love of my life. Her name was Linda - but then again her name may have been changed to protect her privacy - but what the hell, you don't know me anyway - so this is getting silly. I'll continue....

I felt that I loved Linda back then - we'd pass notes back and forth about how we loved each other, and I called her every waking moment when I wasn't in school and she'd call me every waking moment. (Logistically that wouldn't work would it?)

I was pretty darned poor back then, and I sure didn't have any money to buy her a gift, and her birthday was coming up. In retrospect I should have made a card for her - something I could do for free. But oh no, I felt she needed something nicer.

So my little love's birthday approached and I had nothing for her. One day I was walking by my Mother's bedroom and for some reason her big huge red tacky jewelry box caught my eye.

You see what's coming right?

Can I get a drum roll?

No one was around, and peering inside at all my Mom's jewelry in my bonehead I decided to pick out something for Linda - something SMALL, something INEXPENSIVE looking, and something surely not to be missed. Bingo - I found a tiny little gold ring way in the back of her jewelry box.

I don't remember giving it to Linda or her reaction but I do remember she liked it. I can't even recall if it FIT her little finger but it was a tiny ring so it may have.

About a week or two later, after Linda had "broken up" with me at school -all hell broke loose at home. My Mother was CRYING her eyes out, and searching frantically around the house for something. I had no idea at the time. For some reason she didn't tell me or my brothers what she was looking for or why the tears, but she searched and searched the house.

Finally she gathered us boys together and told us that the most special and precious thing in her life was missing and she needed our help. She told us how her Grandmother, who was the love of her life, had given HER mother her wedding ring, and her mother in turn had given it to her. My mother loved her Grandmother so much, and this little wedding ring was ALL she had left of her Grandmother to remember her by. It was worth millions in her heart. My Mother cried and cried.

I don't remember what I was thinking back then, I do remember I spoke up and told my Mother I'd stolen that ring from her and gave it to Linda.

My Mother was on the phone within seconds to both Linda and her parents.

It got worse. It turns out Linda had thrown the ring away. She told everyone she flushed it down a toilet even, at school.

My mother literally cried for days, and I did too. You can imagine how I felt, there was nothing like it - I'd never felt that low and that bad in my life since then. I would lay in bed in tears over what I'd done - and I could hear my mother sobbing in her bedroom.

Years and years later I still think about that stupid act of mine and that ring. Sometimes I wonder if the little girl really DID flush it down a toilet after all. Those school toilets are like airline toilets - the seem to suck down anything of any size - and if she DID flush it I'm sure it did go to the sewer. But maybe the girl lied to us all - maybe she kept the ring, or gave it to a friend.

I honestly do think though, that if some magical time-travel fairy came to me and said that I could change ONE event in my life, even if I had to re-live my life from that day onwards again, I'd go back and NOT steal that little ring. I remember vowing to myself back then that I'd NEVER get THAT attached to any physical thing, never become that sentimental about any one object. And I guess I've not really - I don't know if that's because I'm a guy and perhaps guys don't get that attached to objects (except their tally-whackers), or what.

Is there some sort of message we can take home from this story? I don't know - I guess the only one I can think of is this - if you have children, and you really really value something you may have, if there's a CHANCE one of them may take it, lock it up. Little boys and girls in love aren't always thinking clearly.


Drunken Branch Davidians with guns 

A funny thing happened at Waco.

Throughout my life I have always seemed to end up visiting very morbid places in this big monkey cage - I didn't do it on purpose - at first - it just happened that I ended up at these places. But later I accepted this, and actually would GO to morbid places because it had become tradition! For example, Columbine High School in Denver was such a place where I visited just because I thought I should. Remember the Bell Tower in Texas in 1966 where the bonehead took shots at the general public? Been there, done that. I've been to Nazi Concentration camps in Germany, you name it.

One such morbid place I visited with my family was the Branch Dividian compound in Waco, Texas.

Now Waco was a morbid place I intentionally visited - it was no accident. As a matter of fact it'd be tough to accidently end up at the Waco compound. My family was on a trip when I lived in Texas, and we were passing through Waco - so decided we may as well pay a visit.

People in Waco don't like to tell people outside of Waco where the compound is - we found that out as we asked in store after store for directions to the compound. The attendants and locals would become a little on the rude side and simply say "don't know", or "Dont' care" - etc - I can't blame them.

Asking for directions to the compound became so routine that it created a little humor. You see I smoked back then, had me a nice Zippo lighter, which just happened to have run out of lighter fluid on this Waco trip. So without even considering the implications of what I was asking, at one point at a 7-11 in Waco I found myself saying "Can I please have a can of lighter fluid and directions to the Branch Dividian compound?" Yikes! Only later did it hit me how that must have sounded.

So we drove around Waco, asking, and asking, until FINALLY we found a person who was willing to give us cryptic directions to the compound, and we were on our way.

Down this road, turn left here, follow this road, blah blah blah - the directions weren't entirely that clear and this place was out in the sticks.

Finally we found the compound site - and yet another adventure began.

We parked and walked - and saw no one. There was an old ratty dirty trailer parked by the parking lot, and in front of it were tables which had been converted into a makeshift museum of sorts, with newspaper clippings of the Waco siege taped to particle boards, as well as pictures of the siege and the fire. But right away some of the articles taped up there pointed to a conspiracy theory type slant. Most of the clippings were of the anti-government slant - and many were downright scary.

We stood out front looking at the articles and trying not to laugh aloud at the outrageousness of some of them. Suddenly from the trailer a man came out - and the first thing I noticed about him was that he was carrying a sidearm - a pistol in a holster at his side. And on the back of his tee-shirt were big letters - "SECURITY" The second thing we noticed about his man was that he REEKED of alcohol and was DRUNK.

He spoke (slurred) to us a bit and told us he was a Branch Dividian, paid by the Branch Dividian church to remain on the property and protect it - and he and his dog lived in the trailer. He went on to tell us a lot of paranoia stories about how the Government not only burned down their church, but that to this day people will drive by and shoot at him, his trailer, and the property. He even told us that government men come over with poison on their hands and try and touch him and any Branch Dividian kids on the property, to kill them of course.

We finally broke in and asked him if we could look around and he said we could. Now I'm not sure what the place looks like NOW - but back then it was pretty much as it was after the fire. The compound was basically still laying there in ashes and dust. I even picked up a burned and black nail from the building and stuck it in my pocket for a grim souvenir and still have that nail in a box in a closet somewhere.

It was an eerie feeling to walk around this place - I could still see the images of CNN in my mind from back when this mess happened.

Someone had put up concrete crosses to represent each person that died that day in the fire - there were lots of crosses - and we noticed a lot of them were either broken or knocked down.

As we left the compound area and were back towards the trailer the drunken Branch Dividian Security fellow and his dog came walking up - and he stood between my wife and I and the crosses - luckily - because as he spoke to us about how the Government comes and breaks down the crosses and disrespects the property, I could see to my shock that one of my young kids was directly behind this guy, and was jumping up and down on one of the fallen crosses! Yikes! I couldn't yell for him to stop, because if I did the security guy would surely turn around and find my kid jumping up and down on cross! It was tense as I listened to his paranoia stories and watched my son behind him. Luckily he didn't see this - my son got down off the cross! At the time this incident was scary and not funny - but my wife and I can laugh about it now!

I don't like talking to drunks, unless I'm drunk also - and I surely don't get a warm-fuzzy feeling speaking to drunk paranoid Branch Davidians carrying a gun - so at that point we only wanted to leave. He walked with us back towards the parking lot and explained how the government came often to photograph cars in the parking lot and write down license plate numbers of visitors. GOOD - should this guy suddenly think we were government agents and kill us all I wanted pictures of my car in his parking lot to lead someone to our bodies!!!

There's no telling what became of the Waco compound site now - perhaps it's a museum - I should browse about and find out.


The Cold War & Orange Whores 

History changes and it does so so slowly that we don't even realize it's changing - we can go through several chapters of US history in our own lifetime and not realize it until we actually stop to reflect back on some of the things we've done.

I was in the U.S. Navy - I proudly served for 6 years, mostly overseas, and loved every minute of it. I couldn't have made a career out of it. I went into the Navy after high school in the mid 80's and got out in 1990. I was young and away from home and learning and still growing and on top of it all I had a tremendous sense of pride and patriotism. My father had served in the US Navy, where he rode sub-tenders, and my oldest brother whom I admired had turned from a juvenile delinquent to a gung-ho, clean-cut Navy aircrew guy thanks to the US Navy.

When it came my time I proudly raised my right hand and enlisted.

I was in the Navy when the "Cold War" was coming to a close.

In the Navy, the Cold War days were the good ol' days, the exciting days, the money days and the busy days. Some good times were had in the military because of the Cold War.

What kind of good times? Games at sea for one. My oldest brother had served as an Anti-Submarine aircrewman, and he'd tell me tales of the high seas and the Russians and what fun they had out there chasing each other's subs. There were always games; They'd fly low over the Russians and drop garbage onto their ships, the Russians in turn would fire flare guns up at our aircraft. It was a game - a game to see who could push the other the furthest, without actually coming to a war. He'd tell me of our sailors at sea mooning the Russian ships. It was tense but fun times. And the money flowed into our defense back then. Money like you wouldn't believe. Money to the point of m brother actually saw millions of dollars worth of aircraft pushed off the side of aircraft carriers and into the ocean when aircraft were coming into land and planes were in the way on the carrier deck. He tell tales of Russian "trawlers" following behind the carrier waiting to scoop up any garbage we dumped to rummage through for intelligence. Crazy times.

During the late 80's as the Cold War was closing up I met 20+ year sailors ("Old Salts" they're called) who could spin tales to us young new sailors of the good ol' days in the Navy. Tales of exotic places and ports and tales of how far a sailor's money could go back then.

One old salt in particular who was my supervisor had spent almost his whole career at sea and had some great stories to tell. How this man never caught any diseases is amazing because he screwed women literally all over the world - (or maybe they screw him depending on how one looks at it) and in almost every port the Navy landed on the women would line up to greet the ships to ensure our sailors were well taken care of for very reasonable prices.

It was this sailor who said the strangest women he ever had in his Navy sea-faring days was in Africa. He told us wide-eyed younger sailors of a port in Africa where there were "orange whores" - they were black women, but their skin tone was an orange shade as was their hair. "Did you screw one of these orange women?" we'd ask. "Of course!" he'd say, and gladly give details of the orange women in Africa. There'd be a huge line outside the dotors office when the ships pulled away from these exotic locations - with sailors with their sleeves rolled up for shots to cure anything (hopefully) the may have acquired. He said back then the Navy wasn't that strict on drugs either, and many sailors sampled the best drugs from all over the world. Those were also the days when there were flat-out FAT guys in the Navy - one of the few services that tolerated a little obesity among the troops - a Navy Chief (E-7) was almost expected to be overweight and nobody ever saw an in-shape Chief.

But the Navy cleaned up it's act - they learned a few lessons about drugs and cleaned up - they also became more stringent on being in shape - and rightly so on both accounts. So many of the old Navy guys I met in the late 80's were going along with the "New Navy" and biding their time until they retired, but they were never without stories to tell us newcomers about the good ol' days of the US Navy, the women, the parties, the booze, and of course the evil Russians.

In retrospect I feel honored to have served my country during the Cold War. I'd have been honored to have served my country at ANY time in our history - but still I am fortunate to have served during the Cold War. And time sneaks up on us and things changed - and now my kids ask "What was the 'Cold War' Dad?"

I have seen others reference the Cold War as "the good ol' days" - which may make some cringe - but from a military and defence perspective I can see why some refer to those years in that manner. It was a good time to serve in the military - there was always a huge important mission for us all.


Why People Dump Antifreeze in the wrong places 

Every wonder what makes a bonehead pour used antifreeze or
other hazardous material out in his backyard or in a storm drain,
therefore damaging the environment?

I had about 8 gallons of used antifreeze in my garage from changing
my antifreeze a couple of times - it was stored safely away from dogs
and children in closed containers up high and away from other
liquids and chemicals.

Being a good citizen - when I got tired of looking at the stuff I
decided I'd dispose of it properly.

AT THE OIL CHANGING PLACE - "Oh sorry we can take used
oil but not antifreeze son - sorry"

AT ANOTHER OIL CHANGING PLACE - "Nope - we don't accept
antifreeze!" (but they accept Visa I'll bet!)

AT A LOCAL GARAGE - "Oh boy, no we can't take it - you might
want to try one of the, oil change-'em-up places" (I told him that
I'd tried the two oil change-'em-up-places in my town and they won't
take it) - he says "Hmmm...well I'll be."

I CALLED MY TOWN'S CITY HALL "Oh gosh - hmmm...let me
think...I'd recommend one of the oil changing places, they sometimes
will take used oil but I'm not sure about used antifreeze...hold one second and I'll get you the number to our city ordinances and regulations department....."(After 90 seconds of being on hold) - "let me connect you sir and they may be able to help you..."

CITY ORDINANCES AND REGULATIONS DEPARTMENT - "You wanna get rid of some ANTIFREEZE? Gosh....let's see.......I know it's not legal to just dump it.....dogs and cats love the taste and it will kill them so I hope you have it out of their way? (NO - I mix their DOG FOOD in it and they have antifreeze STEW each night!!!) Hmm... well, I am not too sure on this one...I would think that a garage might take it.....oh wait - why don't you call the garbage disposal people - BFI - here's their number"

BFI: "Hmmm, no we don't take it, I don't know why they recommended us....where do you live?....hmmm.....let's see that IS considered hazardous material....let me just check my list.....hmmm......antifreeze......oh here it is....now this list is pretty old, but there used to be a place that took it in ****....I can give you their number....some places who handle hazardous material do an analysis to ensure it's something they do and can take just to be safe......they may want to take a sample of it."

Okay that was the final straw - don't ask me what I did with my used antifreeze okay because I won't talk - but it's gone.

Now isn't it a mighty nice thing to know that hazardous waste can be safely and easily disposed of by concerned citizens in the United States? I'll just be sleeping even better at night now.


Robins & Rice 

There's poor and then there's Robin's 'n' Rice poor!

What's Robin's & Rice? It's a MEAL man - a MEAL!

I worked with a guy who was dirt-poor growing up - which is interesting because he ended up marrying a girl from Oregon that was even poorer! She was so poor they didn't even have a house - they lived in a TENT growing up, can you imagine?

But back to Robins & Rice...

My Robins 'n' Rice friend, Mike, grew up in a really poor part of South Carolina - his family were sharecroppers and since they needed every spare foot of land they could get to raise crops, they grew corn right up to the front door of their house. Robins 'n' Rice is the actual red-breasted common bird, cooked up and served with rice! You heard me! They'd scatter bird seed around the house and wait for the robins, then Mike or one of his siblings would WHACK it with a tennis racket! They'd cook it up and serve it with rice and he says it was a great meal for their poor family.

Mike, like myself, left his poorness and went into the U.S. Navy, where he learned sometimes the hard way how "normal folk" do things. So Mike had some funny stories to tell. For example the time he and his wife went out to a fancy restaurant and had lobster. Mike was dipping his lobster in the sauce and eating it - he said it was a "minty tasting sauce". He then happen to look around the restaurant and found that other folks were dipping their fingers in the lobster sauce and washing their fingers! Yep - you guessed it - that was the finger bowl it turns out - but to Mike it was a sauce for dippin'! Some people you just can't take anywhere.

I think next to the Robins & Rice poor story, my second favorite poor story came from a person I never met. A radio station had a segment on being poor, and invited listeners to call in with their own stories. There were indeed some pretty pathetic tails of poorness, but the topper was a lady who said when she was a poor child her mother would cook the kids hot dogs in a big pot, and after the water was boiled and the dogs were cooked she'd proceed to wash the kids clothes in this same water, to save on laundry and water and heating up more water! And indeed she reported her clothes DID smell like hot dogs!

To this day I can't see a Robin and not think of Mike and envision it cooked and served over rice. However there doesn't seem to be any Robins here in Montana - there sure were back in South Carolina - but I have yet to see one here so far. Mike and his family would've starved!



The first time I met any Jellyfish was when I was a youngster out fishing off Myrtle Beach, SC., and I've remained intrigued by them since. My aunt's latest husband had taken myself and a handful of my brothers out in a small rented boat to do some deep sea fishing.

As we sped along headed to a suitable spot he suddenly stopped the boat at one point and called for us kids to look around. I looked around theboat and found we were literally surrounded by jellyfish! There were hundreds of them!

They weren't big ones, their tops, or hoods, were about as round as small pancakes and clearish whitish.

I just stared at them and marvelled. Jellyfish look so ALIEN - so strange - they're just BLOBS of something with armlike things floating out from under them - and yet they're ALIVE. You can't see eyes, there's no mouth that you can see, you can't tell where their brains are, who's male or female, they're just so odd looking, and they're MOVING!

So we bobbed along in that boat in the big Atlantic ocean for a few minutes and enjoyed the jellyfish before we moved on again to fish. But I could've stayed there an hour, watching these guys bob peacefully up and down all around us. I had so many questions - did they know we were there? Do they communicate with each other in some way? Do they actually think? What about sleeping? Do jellyfish sleep? If you were a jellyfish hanging out with your other jellyfish buddies and fell asleep, could you wake miles and miles away? If jellyfish sleep, (which I hope they do cause that'd be so cool) do they DREAM and what would they dream about? Jellyfish dreams.

All I knew about jellyfish back then was that they stung with their tentacles and not to get too close.

Jellyfish I have since learned are 98% water! They eat fish, and some sea critters like some turtles even eat jellyfish. (I guess that'd be about like you and I eating watermelon, you'd have to pee soon after eating a jellyfish wouldn't you?) There's also jellyfish that glow in the dark! Can you imagine?

Sometimes if I want to calm myself I'll think about jellyfish - they're therapeutic to me - so very peaceful - not a mean bone in their bodies either. When everyone around me is talking incessantly and the world is crazy and my kids are driving me bananas and bills I can't pay are piling up on the kitchen counter, and life seems so hectic and stressful, I go to jellyfish land. I think of jellyfish out in the big blue calm ocean, bobbing up and down peacefully, not a care in the world and not a bill to pay.

What makes them so special that they can live their time on earth floating around the big blue ocean aimlessly?

Lucky jellyfish.


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