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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Cabbie and the Nun...a Halloween Tale

A cab driver picks up a nun. It's his last fare on a very dark, rainy night. Although she's cloaked in a black nun's habit, the cabbie can see she has an attractive face. 

Sitting in the back of the cab, the nun notices that the driver is intensely staring at her. 

Why are you staring at me?  the nun asks nervously. 

Oh, sister, he replies. I don't want to offend you.

Don't worry, my son, the nun assures him. Since I've been a nun, I've seen and heard just about everything. I'm sure there's nothing you could say that would offend me.

Well...says the driver. My greatest fantasy is to have a nun kiss me.

Hmmm, says the nun. Perhaps there's something I can do about that. But on two conditions: You must be Catholic and you must not be married. 

All excited, the cabbie says: Yes! I'm single and I'm Catholic. 

So the nun says: Alright then. Pull over and stop the cab. 

The cabbie slams on the brakes and quickly hops in the back seat. They embrace and the nun plants a great, big, honking, slobbering, tongue-tingling smoocheroo kiss on the cabbie's lips that sends quivers up and down his spine.

Then the driver gets back behind the wheel and they take off again. Suddenly the cabbie starts crying. 

My heavens, why are you crying?  the nun asks. 

Forgive me, sister, he confesses. I lied. I'm a married man and I'm not a Catholic.

No problem, the nun laughs. My name is Kevin and I'm on my way to a Halloween party. 


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Walmart Greeter Strikes Again

So after landing a job as a greeter at Walmart,
not a bad gig for retirees...
I only lasted for one day.

About two hours into the job, I encountered a very nasty, loud, unkempt, unfriendly and downright ugly woman. She was hauling two kids with her and was shouting obscenities as she entered the store. 

As pleasantly as I could, I said: 
"Good morning. Welcome to Walmart. 
Cute kids you have there. Are they twins?" 

She abruptly stopped yelling, turned to me in disgust and shot me an evil laser eye.
"Hell no. They ain't twins. One's seven and this here one's ten. What the devil makes you think they're twins? They don't look like twins. 
Are you blind or just plain stupid?"

So I replied as sweetly as possible: 
"Mam, I'm neither stupid nor blind. 
I just couldn't believe somebody slept with you twice. 
Have a nice day and thank you for 
shopping at Walmart."

               Another silly but could easily be true, tale from old Maxine.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Weird Things to do with Pumpkins

Mt. Pumpkinmore in the great state of North Dakota.
Autumn is the season for pumpkins. What would Halloween be without scary Mr. Pumpkinhead on the front porch? We all know the usual stuff you can do with pumpkins. Jack-O-Lanterns, pumpkin pie, table decorations and so forth. But here are a few lesser known yet fascinating uses for our perennial, plump, pumpkin pals.
  • Even as far back as colonial times, settlers came up with novel ideas for pumpkins. They used pumpkin halves as guides for hair cuts. Hmmm...they must've had really big heads back then.
  • Rugs. Native American Indians cut pumpkin shells into strips, dried the pieces and used them to weave mats and rugs. Today that same process is used for making hair pieces for members of Congress.
  • In Boulder, Colorado, townsfolk place carved pumpkins on their heads and run naked though the streets for the annual Naked Pumpkin Run.
  • Pumpkins can actually float which is why Windsor, Nova Scotia holds a Pumpkin Paddling Regatta each fall. Participants gouge out giant pumpkins into "boats" and paddle them across a lake. Unfortunately, pumpkins cannot swim.
  • In some cultures, pumpkins are used for removing freckles and curing snakebites. Snakes are afraid of pumpkins.
  • Pumpkins can be mashed and brewed into beer...which tastes especially good with pumpkin chili.
  • Pumpkins are sometimes used as a substitute for golf balls. They're easier to hit and provide welcome stress-relief on the course. The down side is they don't go very far.
  • Another exciting pumpkin sport is a variation on lawn bowling. You need a big, steep hill for this game. Have one team of people stand at bottom of the hill. Line up a hundred pumpkins at the top of the hill. The starter team furiously rolls the pumpkins downhill aiming for as many opponents as possible.
  • Pumpkins make colorful yard decorations and offer an amusing way to offend your neighbors.
  • Pumpkin Chunkin' is a competition that involves hurling pumpkins into the air with medieval-looking catapults called trebuchets to see how far they "fly". The general rule is that the pumpkin must remain whole after leaving the device for it to count. Pumpkins that explode immediately upon firing are known as "pumpkin pie in the sky".
  • Need a house in a hurry? Super-size pumpkins can be converted into cozy little bungalows. Peter Peter Pumpkin-Eater was awarded the first patent.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Relentless Courage

As I write this, the entire world is witnessing the dramatic rescue of those 33 miners in Chile as each one is slowly pulled from their dungeon nearly half mile under a mountain. They've been entombed in the bowels of the earth for 69 days. That's over two very long, terrifying months trapped together in a black, sweaty cavern. It's been reported that temperatures in the mine average about 90 degrees.

To me these men are an absolutely amazing example of courage under extreme adversity. They are by all accounts, unassuming, uneducated, blue collar laborers...who toil at a physically demanding, dirty and dangerous job...most likely for not much pay. For the first 17 days after the mine collapsed...they were huddled together...with no communication from the outside world whatsoever. That's nearly THREE weeks of wondering if anybody up there would ever rescue them. I can't even imagine what it must have been like in that dark, slimey pit with very little food or water. Wondering day after day after day for 17 days how long they could survive. I'm not sure I could have lasted even one week without going stark raving mad.

For the first 17 days...when no hope of salvation was imminent...the miners defied the odds. They did not panic. They did not lose hope. They did not turn on each other. They did not form survivor alliances and try to outsmart one another. Instead they formed a brotherhood of solidarity. They organized. They prayed. They remained calm and courageous. They rationed two teaspoons of tuna per man per day for 17 days...among 33 men. Incredible!

After 17 days in darkness, rescuers were finally able to bore a narrow hole down to the mine and communicate with the trapped men. Eventually workers began funneling down food, water and other necessities. Yet even then, the miners were informed that a rescue tunnel might not be completed until possibly Christmas. It was to be another 52 days before a hole wide enough for a narrow steel rescue capsule was drilled all the way to the miners' chamber. Yet through it all, the miners were upbeat, cheerful, optimistic, watchful over one another and brave.

THIS JUST IN: All 33 of the miners and their rescuers have been pulled up to joyously blinding daylight! And how about those 6 brave men who volunteered to go DOWN the hole in the untested capsule to assist with the operation? Now that's heroic! The Chilean rescue team with help, support and equipment from around the world, put aside personal differences and egos and worked with due diligence to save these humble yet noble miners. The entire operation was executed with precision, swiftness and flawless ingenuity. The jubilant and successful outcome is truly a testament to the power of faith, fortitude, love of your fellow man, humility, compassion, persistence, tenacity and above all...relentless courage. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 8, 2010

Long-lost Friends Don't Die...They Resurface on Facebook

It's been a long, long time since my elementary and high school days. The crazy thing is that I still remember most of the names of the kids I attended school with way back in the BC Age (before computer). Names...and...faces of those classmates from so long ago readily surface to my memory if ever a mention of them pops up. I think most of us have this same weird selective kind of memory. If somebody ever asked me: "Hey, remember Petie O'Brien from 7th grade?" Instantly, an image of a cute Irish boy with red curly hair and an impish grin would surface on my brain. Petie was friendly and sweet and popular with the girls and used to hang out at the A&W Rootbeer stand. And occasionally, he'd smile at me.

I'm thinking about all this now because over the past year, I've happily reconnected with numerous old classmates on Facebook. Even met up in person with a group of long-lost girlfriends at a mini-reunion this past summer. Up til then, I really had no inclination to recollect about high school days, much less...grade school. That period of my life has been off my radar screen for 40 years. But these days, social networking sites have an eerie way of jettisoning our long-dismissed past smack up to the full frontal present.

So it is, that old school mates seldom die. Instead they resurface on Facebook. I haven't thought about Petie O'Brien for decades and suddenly this week, a photo of Petie flashes across my Facebook wall. It's like being catapulted into another world. My long-lost world of YOUTH.  Is this a good thing or a malevolent techno nightmare? Personally, I think it's more a matter of curiosity than anything else. After all, isn't it kind of sweet to learn that the ugly duckling, shy, young girl back in ninth grade has now become an award-winning, successful business woman and glam fem fatal? Or ain't it a hoot to find out that some of those snooty, stuck-up high school brats who shoved us aside in the halls have finally got their comeuppance? Take the once svelte, hot lips, back-stabbing cheerleader who could snag any guy she wanted. Frankly, I'm doing the happy dance knowing that over the years she's morphed into an obese, thrice divorced, wrinkled old hag living in a trailer in south Florida, hawking plastic alligators and socks at the weekend flea market.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a catchy email from Will, a tall, devilishly handsome, former classmate who demonstrated remarkable brilliance and humor in high school Spanish class. Turns out he reads my blog and was responding to one of my posts. Out of the blue his name appeared on my screen. And without hesitation, I remembered him. Like no time had passed at all. If only I could just as easily recall where I put my reading glasses.

Of course today, we all look different. We're older. Wrinkled. Rusty, dusty, even musty. Different hair color. Some have no hair. Many of us have been physically reshaped for better or for worse. We're accomplished. We're experienced. We're parents and grandparents and a few great-grands. We've been to war, some to jail. We've had exciting careers and intriguing lives and fascinating adventures. We've traveled, captained our own sailboats and flown our own planes. While I and many others have lived all over the country, a good number chose to remain close to home. We've weaved our lives into different patterns. Some more intricate than others. Yet our joys and sorrows have probably been similar. Collectively, we're wiser and I bet a whole lot kinder and nicer than we were back in high school. 

Which brings me to the subject of bullying, especially college kids, high schoolers and even grade school kids. I find it horrifying. I worry about my own grandchildren and I wonder what frightening tribulations and outlandish ordeals they will have to endure when they become school age. I'd be lost without my computer now. But I'm actually glad computers weren't around when I was in school. True, we lacked the immediate information gratification that the computer age engenders. But our generation did not have to deal with the complications, humiliations and ramifications of online threats, personal attacks, confrontations, hate and intolerance horrors faced by computer savvy young people today. Without a doubt, we  had our teenage angst and dramas back then. Yet overall, I think our class for the most part, was an extremely decent, good, honorable, smart, responsible and compassionate group who grew into productive adults. That's not to say we didn't have problems. I was even bullied by some mean girls. But I never thought of it as "bullying". No one gave it a label. Luckily I survived. I never told anyone. But I never forgot it. Nor have I forgotten the name of the person who instigated it. And thanks to Facebook, I know where she lives........

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall on the Farm

There's just something extraordinary about a Fall day in the country...especially when it comes on the heels of a warm, humid summer. Crisp, refreshingly chilled air, heavenly blue skies, vivid colors of reds and oranges and yellows. Pumpkins, apples, fresh cider, glorious autumn leaves and giant flower pots overflowing with crysanthemums. The old farmsteads come alive with corn mazes, hay rides and harvest stands. Without a doubt, Fall is my favorite time of year. Here are a few glimpses of a recent visit to the countryside.

Century old barn stands in glory under cobalt blue skies.
Ancient weathered barn...if those walls could talk.
Nerdy scarecrow oversees the apple harvest.
Hey you lazy pumpkins...look lively now...customers are coming!
Why do they paint barns red?
Old school weather vane meets high tech cell tower as a cluster of gourds look on. pie, apple cider, apple strudel......
The pumpkins huddle together to plot their escape.
Ya, I'm a llama and I'm the boss of this place. You gotta problem with that?
You lookin at me?  Scram.

                                                 THE END
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