I’m Not Making This Stuff Up!

by Bob Sparrow

turkey-hat

Who wouldn’t look good in this?

Some of you may remember that last year around this time, I posted a blog entitled ‘Gift dog-go-proIdeas for Those Who Have Everything’.  It was one of our least read blogs, but I did hear from readers who found it helpful, not for finding things they would really give to someone, but for putting into perspective the things they actually bought. “Hey, that laundry soap on a rope wasn’t as stupid as that yodeling pickle!” So, here I am again this year, with another selfless act of providing you with great ideas for gifts for that person who may not have everything, but you can be sure they don’t have any of these!

Doggie Go Pro – Tired of a bird’s eye view? Get a dog’s-eye view with this ‘fetch mount’ camera.  Shouldn’t your dog be able to capture his adventures on film?  Only $399.99 – film not included.

coffe-mug-hoopYour Cup of Joe – You coffee lovers who didn’t jump on the coffee mug in the shape of a vodka-mugtoilet bowl last year, probably won’t jump on this coffee mug in the shape of a basketball, complete with hoop and ready for dunking marshmallows.  Or you may want to just be honest and get the ‘There’s A Chance That This Could Be Vodka’ mug

What could be more romantic than snuggling up with that special someone withsabutt_2_thumbnail your own Santa Farting Butt pillow.  Aside from the Santa beer fart smell, it comes in various holiday fragrances, my favorite is reindeer breath.

ashtrayTrying to get that special someone to stop smoking? Here’s the perfect gift, the ‘Black Lungs Ashtray – the more you smoke, the blacker it gets.

The Faux Tummy Stuffer – we all over-indulge during the holidays, what with all the cookies, candy and booze laying around.   It’s hard not to become an alcoholic or chocoholic at this time of year; so when people comment, “Say, that extra weight really looks good on you.”, you can surprise them by revealing the Tummy Stuffer that makes you look fat, which takes their attention away from how really fat you are.

hillarynutcracker1_thumbnail

Hillary Nutcracker – no comment

spray-timeTime in a Can – Is that special someone tired of the convenience of a wristwatch, but wants to know the time?  Here’s your solution; just carry around this ‘Time Spray Can’ and you can spray the time on anything. Now that’s convenience!

You’re welcome!  You’ve still got a few more shopping days left!

S.P.  Suzanne and I wish you and your family the very Merriest of Christmases

 

Are You Ready For Summer?

by Bob Sparrow

stonehengeWhile some people like to call Memorial Day the ‘unofficial start of Summer’, I like to call Memorial Day the official recognition of those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for preserving our freedoms.  The ‘unofficial start of Summer’ when I was a kid started at about three o’clock on the last day of school – which was typically around the middle of June.  However, the ‘actual start of Summer’ in the Northern Hemisphere occurs this year next Monday, June 20th at exactly 9:34 a.m. PDT when the sun reaches its northernmost point of the equator, but you probably already knew that.  So during this last week of Spring I’m going to help you prepare for Summer.

As sister Suzanne explained last week, preparing for summer for those in Scottsdale means getting out of town.  But some of us, who actually have to live in the same house all year long, have to ready ourselves in other ways. To wit:

Summer Songs – Nothing says summer like a great summer song, so I’ve put this compilation of ‘A Baker’s Dozen Summer Oldies’ together, burned them onto a CD and will be listening to it all summer.  If you’d like a copy, send a self-addressed CD envelope to me and if your among the first 25 to do so, I’ll throw in some old Ginsu knifes that I’ve had lying around here for several years.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

A Summer Song – Chad & Jeremy

In the Summer Time – Mungo Jerry

Summertime – Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

Summer Nights – John Travolta and Olivia Newton John

Summer (from Four Seasons) – Vivaldisongs-of-summer-660x265

Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams   

Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful

Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra

Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

The Boys of Summer – Don Henley.         And for my friends in Michigan . . .

All Summer Long – Kid Rock

 Or you can just put on some Beach Boys.

Exercise – Remember the New Years’ resolution about losing that weight and really getting into shape?  Yes, round is a shape, but just a reminder that you have about 4½ months before you start nibbling on that Halloween candy and attending those holiday parties.  Now is the time, even if it’s just walking, to get out of the house.  What are you doing still sitting at your computer?  Go outside!!  You can finish this later.  It only goes downhill from here anyway.

Summer attire – No, you haven’t lost that weight and so you’re not buying that new wardrobe, but hey, it’s summer, buy some loose fitting Tommy Bahama or  Margaritaville stuff along with a pair of Sanuk ‘beer cozy’ flip flops – the most comfortable flip flops you’ll ever own! Find them at REI – you may even find other cool stuff there that will get you outside.

BBQ – Yes, you can still do your favorite chicken or ribs recipe, but make this summer the one that your bbqguests rave about your ‘new’ barbecuing skills.  Try some rack of lamb as well as grilling some fruit and vegetables – watermelon, pears, how about grilling some lettuce for a Caesar salad?  Corn and artichokes are awesome on the grill.  Be different this summer.  You can find a recipe for grilling almost anything on line.  Go crazy – you’ll thank me later.

Summer Blockbusters – I understand that it’s early, but so far it doesn’t look like Tinsel Town will bust too many blocks this summer. So far we have The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, X-Men Apocalypse; Alice Through the Looking Glass (featuring Johnny Depp wearing his wife-beaters).  Clearly Baby Boomers are no longer the ‘target market’.  Reruns of M.A.S.H. and The Twilight Zone may be of more interest.  You should be outside anyway!   
crowds

Travel – What about travel? you’re asking.  Summer used to be the time for those trips to the mountains, the beach, the national parks as that’s when our kids were out of school, but most of our reader’s kids have kids of their own, so I suggest that you stay away from those places and spend the summer planning to go there in late September or early October when the kids are back in school and the weather is still nice.  Beside, ‘summer gas’ is more expensive that ‘winter gas’.  What?!  Yes, the oil companies would have us believe that they are two different products, but we understand supply and demand economics.

Sunblock – If you take nothing else away from this blog (which is very likely), take this: being tan is no longer cool, it’s asunblock sign that you don’t understand actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma.  I don’t either, but just put on sunblock!

Summer Quotes – I’ll leave you with some summer quotes.

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability” – Sam Keen

“Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most  beautiful words in the English language” – Henry James

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco – Mark Twain”

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops” ― Kellie Elmore

“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it . . . in summer school” ― Josh Stern

Enjoy your last days of Spring and next week, don’t forget the sunblock!

 

How Are Those New Year’s Resolutions Going?

by Bob Sparrow

Resolutions (1)It’s only half-past January and statistically 46% of you have made New Year resolutions that are now 100% in jeopardy. The rest of you didn’t bother to make any resolutions, so once again our blog will be useless to you. For those still reading, as a public service, ‘From A Bird’s Eye View’ is offering simple, yet ineffective ways to approach your resolutions this year.

First, let’s look at the word resolution – it come from the root word ‘resolve’.

(ri-zolv) a transitive verb (duh, who didn’t know that?) of Middle English/Latin origin, originally meaning to dissolve, melt or loosen.

Inexplicably, over time, this word has come to mean ‘to come to a definite or earnest decision about’.   So essentially the meaning has changed from ‘loose’ to ‘definite’ – with this kind of beginning, it’s no wonder resolutions are so hard to keep. But let’s not let semantics get in the way of our resolve to help you attain or forget those resolutions you so optimistically made just a few weeks ago.

I’ve done a little research and, in order of popularity, here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions nationwide, Top 10followed by what some have said are insightful, others have dubbed useless, suggestions that could help make this year different . . . or not.

  1. Weight loss – by far the most resolved lie of every New Year. This harkens back to the original meanings of ‘definite’ and ‘loosen’, as in you’ll ‘definitely’ be ‘loosening’ your belt. Statistically, middle-aged to older adults gain between 6-8 pounds per year (women a little more than men – sorry ladies), so in order to lose weight, you not only have to lose the extra weight you already carry around, but lose the weight you don’t even have yet! Not fair. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to lose weight again this year, so just buy bigger clothes so you ‘feel’ thinner.
  1. Improve finances – Unless you have a plan to win the lotto, get a different job, are in line for a big promotion, have a rich relative with a bloody cough, or are delusional about how the government is going to help you, this is not a resolution, it’s a wish. Want to improve your finances? Stop buying those $5 lattes every morning! And just so you know, statistically, right after you win the lotto you’ll be struck by lightning.
  1. Exercise more – This is a trap resolution, if you don’t exercise at all, lifting another glass of wine would be exercising more, so here’s a real tip: Don’t underestimate the power of the walk. Every day, start at your house and walk 10 minutes down the road, then walk back. That’s it! If a bar or a Baskin-Robbins is 10 minutes down the road, walk the other way.
  1. Get a new job – Many who read our blog are either retired or too far down the road in their careers to genuinely consider this resolution, so reword this one to say, ‘Get spouse a job’.
  1. Healthier eating – The list of foods that are healthy and unhealthy for you continues to change on a regular basis; so let me make this simple; assume the foods you’re currently eating are or will be on the ‘healthy’ list and continue to eat  them, and drink . . . more water and less alcohol. Wait a minute, did I just suggest you drink less alcohol? Forget that, but do drink more water.
  1. Manage stress better – this resolution assumes a) you have stress and b) you’ve been managing it poorly. It’s been reported that a certain amount of stress is actually good for you, so this year assume that whatever stress you have, is good for you. There now, doesn’t that feel better already?

7. Stop or reduce smoking –If you are still smoking, you already know that cigarettes contain more than 70 cancer-causing chemical compounds, which along with second-hand smoke, significantly affects yours and other’s respiratory organs and immune systems and that half of all long-term smokers will die of tobacco-related death. So there’s nothing that I’m going to write here that’s going to convince you to stop. However, if your doctor has told you, like mine has, that your body is actually low on the tar and nicotine found in Cuban cigars, then smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

  1. Improve a relationship – If you’re bad at relationships, which statistically all of us men are and we just don’t know it, start with something simple, like improving the relationship with your dog. Let him know that you’ve peed on the carpet a few time yourself, of course you spent the night in the doghouse, but it was like camping with your dog. Just remember that your dog will forgive you long before your spouse will.

9. Stop procrastinating – I’ve got a lot of stuff on this, but I’ll get it to you later.

  1. Stop/reduce drinking alcohol – I think this one was worded incorrectly, it should read, Stop reducing alcohol drinking. This raises several questions:
    1. What alcohol has the best affect on your health?
    2. If some amount of alcohol is actually good for you, isn’t more better?
    3. Can I actually drink someone handsome or pretty?
    4. How does alcohol actually improve my personality?
    5. Does alcohol really make me invisible sometimes?
    6. Why does alcohol make me sing better?

wine arobicsI think the key here is to remember that whatever the question, wine is probably the answer!

 

However you’re managing your resolutions this year and even if you didn’t make any, the good news is that January is almost over and then no one will be talking about resolutions anymore.

 

The Night Before Posting

by Bob Sparrow, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas

'twas

‘Twas the night before posting and I had not a clue,

Should I write more of Christmas or the year that is new?

My head’s filled with carols that are driving me crazy

My shopping’s not done and my blog thoughts are hazy.

No travel this month or adventures been on

And I’m wondering if the creative juices are gone.

Could it be all the food and the drink I’ve consumed

That’s dulled all my senses?  This week’s blog is doomed!

Then a Grinchy idea popped into my head,

Instead of some prose, I’ll do rhyming instead.

This will be cinchy was my first lazy thought

I started to write; and discovered it was not!

I remembered back when our subscriptions were low

When we tried to rhyme news that most readers don’t know.

So I still didn’t have any subject to write,

No people or places to shine a bright light.

Suzanne wrote last week of our holiday caper

And I stooped to hawking some Trump toilet paper.

What I now look to ponder is the day Christ was born

And the glee of a child on a bright Christmas morn.

And looking to others to help where we can,

To enjoy peace on earth and good will towards all men.

Of families that gather by a warm Christmas fire

And pray that our leaders will lead and inspire.

To thank all who serve, those brave women and men

Whose Christmas with family they’ll miss once again.

To share Christmas joy in the time that you spend,

For nothing replaces our family and friends

So to briefly conclude what I wanted to write,

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

*****

From our families to yours, Merry Christmas

and a Healthy & Happy New Year!

 

Gift Ideas for Those Who Have Everything

by Bob Sparrow

It has been said that the ‘holiday season’ is a month of incredibly intense craziness and stress interrupted by a few brief moments of joy.  I’m not sure who said that, maybe it was me, but part of that craziness and stress comes from trying to figure out what to get that person who ‘has everything’, and once you’ve figured it out, where to find it.  As always, we’re here to help relieve some stress by providing you with some ideas of unique gifts that not only will make that ‘special someone’ sit up and take notice, but mark you as a unique gift-giver . . . or a crazed, eccentric nutcase.

usb2This first item is for that person who thinks ‘everything’ is a flip phone, a Brownie camera and an eight-track cassette player, who you’ve been trying to bring into the new millennium for years, albeit kicking and screaming.  Yes, it’s a typewriter, but with an attached monitor and a USB port, – it’s like training wheels for cyber-phobics.

 

This next item is for that person who thinks they have the perfect coffee mug, with a picture of (fill in the blanks) and the words mug‘World’s Greatest (fill in the blank).  Not so fast!  Fellow workers will be wiping tears of laughter from their cheeks and those in the coffee klatch will be flushed with envy when they see that brown liquid swirling in this porcelain  mug.  One lump or two?

face-butt-towel

And while we’re on the subject of bathroom humor, here’s a towel that is sure to please those who have been confused about which end to use to wipe their face . . .  and other parts.  Color coordinated.

50 Shades

Fifty Shades of Chicken is for that chef on your list that has every cookbook ever printed, except this one!  This completes the study of the Big Three Bs of cooking: Baking, Broiling and Bondage.

pickel

If your ‘person who has ‘everything’ is fairly mindless, OK, completely mindless, then they’re going to really enjoy the yodeling pickle.  Don’t you wish you would have invented it?

soapSoap for Christmas?  Yes, but not just any soap, this is soap with a beer scent; and who doesn’t want to smell like beer?!

 

putterThe ‘Potty Putter’ is for that golfing nut in your group that just can’t get enough of the game.  Ideal for the crapy golfer!

 

vest2ugly There’s no guarantee that your man will look like these two hunks in his new Christmas sweater or vest, but isn’t it worth a shot?  Only comes in XL and XXL.

 

To ensure that we are politically incorrect to both parties, we’re offering that political junkie on your list the option of using either of these toilet tissues.  Get both for the independent or fence-sitter!  Let the good times roll.

H tp        DT tpSince most of these items are on-line (like who would actually carry this stuff in a store!?!!) you still have time to order now and make someone’s Christmas special.

Hope this helps

 

The Holiday ‘Season’ Schedule

by Bob Sparrow

onions2

Creamed Onions – YUCK!

When I was growing up, back when the earth was still cooling, there was no such thing as a ‘Holiday Season’ – there was Christmas. Thanksgiving was when Jack, Suz and I, had to get ‘slicked up’ and go to our aunt and uncle’s house and eat creamed onions and turkey that was cut so thin that it only had one side. New Year’s was a non-event that meant Christmas vacation was nearly over and we’d soon be headed back to school.

Things have changed a bit since then; with the coming of television, the ‘Christmas Season’ was created and subsequently commercialized.  More recently, with the advent of political correctness, the ‘Holiday Season’ was born, to make sure we weren’t excluding anyone from the season’s buying bonanza.

holiday2

Unoffensive holiday symbols

  The way I see it, it’s a five-game ‘season’ where first, everyone gets on their game uniform for the ‘kick off’ at Halloween, followed by Veteran’s Day (which apparently is a non-league game), then into the meat of the schedule with Thanksgiving and Christmas and concluding with the ‘finals’ on New Year’s Eve.

So let’s look at the ‘season’, game-by-game.

mask2

Cheery Halloween mask

Halloween

How it started: It was originally an ancient Celtic religious celebration where they would bless and convert Pagans.

What happened? We took the religion out of it and now we just try to scare the bejesus out of kids with ugly masks and scary movies, while we bless and convert non-diabetics to diabetics with a sugar over-load. The American Dental Association also thanks you!

Veteran’s Day

vets

AMEN!

How it started: In 1919 Armistice Day was created marking the end of World War I on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. In 1938 Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday and in 1945 it was changed to Veteran’s Day to recognize and celebrate all veterans.

What happened? Years ago Veteran’s Day was just a scrimmage, but fortunately, it’s become a little more celebrated in recent years, possibly due to the numerous conflicts we’ve put our brave men and women in armed forces through, but it’s still no Halloween! Personally, I’d eliminate Halloween and put greater emphasis on this holiday by having kids dress up like veterans and seek out service families and veterans to ask if they can help them in any way. Schools could ask their students to write a letter to someone in the armed forces to thank them for their service, but don’t count on it replacing the sanctity of Halloween anytime soon.

Thanksgiving

Tday

“Sorry about taking your land”

How it started: The Pilgrims wanted to celebrate a bumper crop year as well as show their benevolence toward the Native Americans, specifically the Wampanoag tribe, by inviting them to a feast and tossing them a drumstick after they vanquished them and took their land. OK, maybe they didn’t just take it; they did give them $24 worth of beads and trinkets for Manhattan. Subsequently the Wampanoag tribe suffered an epidemic, thought to be smallpox brought over by the English, which helped them establish their settlements. Years later, the King Philip’s War resulted in the deaths of 40 percent of the tribe. Most of the male survivors were sold into slavery in the West Indies, while many women and children were enslaved in New England.

What happened? Well, wouldn’t you continue to celebrate such a joyous occasion? We do, with a feast of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pies of various fruits and nuts on Thursday and when the ladies realized that the men were spending the rest of the weekend watching football, they said, “Ladies let’s go shopping!” and thus ‘Black Friday’ was created. But even with its calorie-busting meals, football overload and guerilla combat shopping, Thanksgiving still has the redeeming quality of bringing families together – and that’s a good thing!

Christmas

Xmas

Remember Christmas?

How it started: The first recorded date of Christmas was in 336 AD (No, I wasn’t there!); a few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the December 25th.  Although with shepherds in their fields at the time of the birth, it probably wasn’t in the winter at all.

What happened? Because this is the big cash cow of the season, the decorations and carols start in late October and continues through New Year’s Eve and beyond; it’s the ‘Big Game’. Yes, it’s been commercialized almost beyond recognition, but if you work at it, you can still find or better yet, create the ‘spirit of Christmas’, by helping those less fortunate or just experiencing a young child’s unbridled enthusiasm when they see that Santa hasn’t forgotten them. So work at finding the ‘spirit’ this year, as Vince Lombardi once said, “Giving isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”  OK, maybe I made that up.

vernal

When do you want the new year to start?


New Year’s Eve

How it started: The year had to end sometime!

What happened? When the year really ends is a long story involving various calendars, but suffice it to say that historically a bunch of politicians and church folks have moved the start of the year around since the beginning of time, mostly just to suit their purposes. So don’t get too fixated on December 31st as the end of the year, it was originally the vernal equinox (around the end of March) and it could go back there if it will make someone some money or get someone elected.  No matter what the date, it’s always the time of year when we lie to ourselves about improving our lives ‘next year’ with some unrealistic resolutions.

This Thursday will mark the halfway point in the season, so relax and enjoy the ‘halftime show’ – it’s usually at the ‘kid’s table’.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2015 Reviews, Previews & Predictions

by Bob Sparrow

Eagles

The Eagles backstage – me, NOT!

–  For me 2014 started here with the discovery, or rather the re-discovery, of The Tape’ – a mysterious offering from dearly departed, best friend, Don of Saudi Arabia, which has turned into an allegorical journey in search of . . . ? More discoveries are coming in 2015.

  •     –  Last year’s backstage cocktail party with the Eagles turned out to be more of a nose-bleed seat and a hot dog in the balcony, but their music was still magical.

–  I watched a car salesman, beaten and bloody, slink into his manager’s office with his tail between his legs as Linda drove away in her new 2015 Chevy Yukon

–  In 2014 I learned that Samoans, by any other name (even one as misleading as Caramel deLites) are still my favorite Girl Scout cookie, although I understand I’ll be paying more for them in 2015 – what a surprise!

carly scott

Missing woman turns into a homicide

–  The case of missing Carley Scott, to which I was introduced by a hitch-hiker I picked up on the ‘Road to Hana’, turned into a homicide when Carley’s jawbone and burned clothes were found by police. Ex-boyfriend, Steven Capobianco has gone from a ‘person of interest’ to being charged with murder.  Trial is set for sometime in 2015.

–  An economic forecast: I predict that 2015 will find Reverse Mortgages moving Forward.

–  Independence Day (not the 4th of July!) revealed our founding fathers to be just as quirky as some of today’s politicians, which is no easy task!

DSC01224

Trekking the Himalayas

–  If my adventure to South Africa in 2013 was the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’, then my adventure in Nepal and the Himalayas last year was the ‘Trek of a Lifetime’ – it was a spectacular journey! I’m glad many of you could join me vicariously through my daily posts. I am now frequently asked, “Hey, where are ‘we’ going next?” Stay tuned.

–  It wasn’t as foreign, but just as beautiful – that’s the trekking through Glacier Nat’l Park, Yellowstone, and Alberta, Canada and our visit to neighbors the Nelsons at their second home on Flathead Lake, Montana this past summer. You’re all probably wondering if after our encounter in Jackson Hole, WY, if Sandra Bullock will ever leave me alone . . . more on that later.

2014-07-24 20.08.47

Is she still stalking me?

–  Earlier this year, while making a fool of myself at some of our ‘local’ tourist spots like Venice Beach, the Western White House and the Queen Mary, I missed my induction into the University of Utah Athletic Hall of Fame – it’s just as well, it turned out that they had plenty of ‘red shirts’ to clear the dishes and sweep up after.

–  Twenty fourteen concluded with a tribute to, and a debate with, my favorite sister, my favorite writing companion and simply one of my favorite people on this planet.  If you’re a regular you know she writes so well from the heart, while I tend to write from somewhere around the elbow, but whatever your preference, I predict much more of the same coming from us in 2015.

–  A big thank you to our regular readers in 2014 for enjoying our writing enough to encourage us to keep on doing it. Truth is, we’d probably do it anyway, but you need to know that your comments, your ‘sharing’ and your subscriptions make it a labor of love for us. Thank you so much!

2015

Bob & Suzanne wishing you an adventurous 2015!

If you’re not already a subscriber, we encourage you to become a ‘bird watcher’ in 2015 and follow and ‘share’ our adventures and observations.  That’s at least a resolution you can keep!

Hope you make 2015 matter.

IN THE STATE OF “POMA”

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

The Poma remnants

The Poma remnants

Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Which means that I’m spending today cleaning out the refrigerator and wondering why I bought so much food.  There is something about Thanksgiving that must make my “starvation gene” kick in.  I buy groceries like we have had nothing to eat for months and end up with enough food to feed an army.  Unfortunately, with only six of us in the house, we end up being a very well-fed army.  Or, as our daughter said this weekend, we are in a “poma”.  That is a hybrid word she coined on Thanksgiving night as we sat watching football in a  stupor – a combination of pie and coma.  It aptly described our mental and physical states.  And that was before the 49ers played so badly that the owner apologized to the fans. Maybe the players were in a poma too.  But no matter how bad we felt, we were still better off than the people who ventured out to shop in the newly formed “Thanksgiving Day Sales”.  I want to go on record that I am totally against the stores opening on Thanksgiving Day.  Can’t we still have a holiday that celebrates food, family and football without Target and Walmart getting involved?  The stores all claimed that the early opening times would avoid some of the mayhem from past Black Friday sales when so much pushing and shoving took place.   Hmmmmm…let’s just re-cap how that little experiment worked.  For your reading pleasure, here are some of the highlights from the “new” Black Thursday:

 

  • In Romeoville, Illinois a policeman was dragged from his car in the parking lot at Kohl’s by a shoplifter he was trying to apprehend,

    At least there are no knives in sight

    At least there are no knives in sight

  • In Las Vegas, a man was shot in a Target parking lot when two men accosted him and tried to steal the HDTV he had just purchased,
  • In Virginia a man was stabbed in the knee with a knife after two men got into an altercation over a parking spot,
  • In Carlsbad, California a man was stabbed in the stomach at the entrance to a mall, ostensibly jockeying for position to be the first to get his hands on a brand new TV.
  • At a Houston Walmart people were trampled and fights broke out when shoppers laid down on Samsung TV boxes to “reserve” them.  (I actually had to laugh thinking about the genesis of that shopping strategy:  “Okay, I’ll go get the Game Boy and Barbie Doll, you go heave your body over the Samsung box until I come around to pick you up.”)

The most telling of the “Black Friday” incidents occurred in Nanuet, New York, where two Costco employees began fighting in the men’s room before the store opened and one of them stabbed the other with a box cutter.  You can only imagine the conversation that preceded their tiff.  They were most likely fighting over which one of them had to go out and face all of the fruitcakes that were lined up at the store entrance, waiting to get their hands on a bargain-priced electric potato peeler or a jumbo container of gouda cheese.

Clearly, the goal of the new opening hours on Thursday did nothing to stem the violence – or stupidity – of the shopping public.   But I suspect that the big stores will open again on Thanksgiving next year because I just read that the extra hours translated to record profits for them.  It seems hard to believe that we might become nostalgic for the “good old days” when people were just pushing and shoving.

As for me, I’ll stick with Cyber Monday, where traditionally people shop from their employer’s computers so they can take advantage of the fast T-1 lines.  Not to mention the added benefit of looking like they’re working furiously on their computer when in reality they’re perusing the latest Best Buy ad.  Even though I am now retired, I still like looking at the deals available today.  And I have the extra added benefit of safety – I am fairly confident that neither my husband or Dash the Wonder Dog will stab me while I’m shopping.

Turkeys, Indians and the ‘4 Fs’

by Bob Sparrow

2 turkeys

Tom & Giblets

As followers of the blog know, Suzanne and I alternate writing each week, and for the previous two years, Thanksgiving has fallen on her week, which is a good thing, because she’s so good at writing appropriate holiday blogs.  I, on the other hand, tend to see things through lenses that are just a little warped. So rather than focusing on the ‘Three Fs’ – Family, Food and Football, like I should be, I’m wondering about things like if the turkeys really know how much their lives are in jeopardy this time of year.  I know turkeys aren’t real deep thinkers, after all they’re the birds that go outside during a rainstorm, look up, open their mouths and drown, and though they won’t be invited to a Mensa meetings anytime soon, even they must wonder why they’re being fattened up this time of year and why their friends keep disappearing. “Say, whatever happened to that nice couple, Tom & Giblets?”

I’ve also been thinking about the first Thanksgiving. It was in 1621 (No, I wasn’t in attendance). Due to a record harvest, the pilgrims invited the local Indians for a feast. The pilgrims were waiting for a reciprocal invitation the following year, but none was forthcoming. Why? We’re not exactly sure, but if we examine the recorded description of that first repast we can find some clues as to why the Indians were not that excited about inviting the pilgrims back to their place for dinner.

1st T

“No, you can’t sit at the table, but you can have seconds on the pie.”

First, the Pilgrims and the Indians didn’t speak the same language, so there wasn’t much ‘small talk’ going on between them at the dinner table, like, “Don’t you think the goat tastes a little gamey?” or “Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?” Secondly, the Indians were in the habit of bathing regularly; conversely the English pilgrims took a bath once a month whether they needed one or not. So no matter how good the roasted wart hog might have smelled, the odor from the pilgrims hung over the festivities.  A third factor may have been that the first invitation probably didn’t indicate a dress code; the English pilgrims, who were accustomed to dressing formally for dinner,most likely wore hats, waist coats, ruffle ties and buckle shoes and were probably aghast when their native American guests arrived barefoot and in loin cloths.

$24

“I think I’m getting screwed here, but we’ll give you all these beads for Manhattan.”

Whatever the reason for the hiatus between feasts, it is assumed that during that first dinner there was some conversation amongst each group separately regarding the disposition of Manhattan, as the famous sale of that island took place just five years after that first Thanksgiving. I can see the pilgrims huddling together over by the pie tray, trying to see if they could gather enough beads and trinkets to equal $24, which is what they wanted to offer to purchase Manhattan. On the other side of the table, the Indians were having a very different conversation that may have ended with something like, “White man is trying to ply us with ‘fire water’ so they can take advantage of us, but I don’t think we even own Manhattan, so if they’re willing to give us $24 for it, I say we take it and run.”

I have some other random Thanksgiving thoughts, but with six in-law houseguests coming in this week, perhaps I better focus on the ‘Three Fs’, make that the ‘Four Fs’, I’m adding Firewater.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with all the ‘Fs’ you can stand.

 

GRATITUDE

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

GratitudeIt’s getting to be that time of year … when we blow right past Thanksgiving and start hanging the Christmas or Hanukkah lights. Traditionally, of course, before Target and Walmart took over the holidays, Fall was a time for people to take stock of their lives and give thanks for their blessings.  A friend recently told me about a holiday tradition that I thought it was quite ingenious:  at every holiday dinner each person must say what they are grateful for, using the first letter to spell out the holiday.  So in other words, their dinner gets a lot colder at Thanksgiving than Easter.  I never was a faithful viewer of the “Oprah” show but watched it enough to know that she encourages people to keep a daily journal listing everything that they are grateful for that day. Heck, I can’t do anything every day except brush my teeth and eat, so keeping a Grateful Diary is out of the question.  The concept, however, is intriguing. So this week I decided to combine the two ideas and in that spirit create a GRATITUDE list for the season.

 

G – Girlfriends.  Where would I be without them?  Together we laugh, we cry, we hack our way around a golf course, and we create.  They are, in short, my sanity.

R – Relatives.  I have a wonderful family and I know I’m very lucky that we like and love each other.  NOT ONCE  have  we had to have police intervention at a family gathering.

One of my more subdued friends

One of my more subdued girlfriends

A – Alan, my husband.  He gets me through good times and bad … and loves me even when I don’t have any make-up on.

T – Tea.  Sometimes there is just nothing like a good “cuppa” to get me through the day.  And since I discovered FOAM at Whole Foods, it’s even better with that piled on top.

I – Inspiration.  I am surrounded by very imaginative women who are artistic and talented in ways I never will be.  But they inspire me to improve whatever I am doing.

T – Time.  Somehow it seems I never have enough of it.  How did I ever work? Now I love it when an appointment gets cancelled.  There is nothing like the gift of TIME !

U – Unburdened.  As I’ve gotten older I no longer feel like I “have” to do stuff.  I now say “no” when I feel like it.  This is probably why older people are deemed “cranky”.

D – Dash the Wonder Dog.  Duh.

Dash, The Wonder Dog

Dash, The Wonder Dog

E – Elusiveness.  I am a literal thinker (I’ve taken the test on Facebook to confirm this) but I love that big parts of my life are elusive.  When you think you no longer need to try new things – and fail – life becomes too predictable.  It’s always good to have something beyond your grasp – like losing 10 pounds.

That’s my list for this year.  Next year it could be something entirely different although I suspect that, with good behavior,  Alan and Dash will be on it. Although Dash really is the only “shoe-in”.    As word games go, I thought this was a good exercise to go through.  I may even try the holiday version for Thanksgiving (family members, be warned!).  I still don’t think I’ll ever be disciplined enough to do a daily Gratitude Diary, but it sure feels good to stop once in a while to take stock in all of the things, and especially the friends, that make life good.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.  As for me?  I’m off to think of a word that starts with “T”.