Sunday, March 21, 2010

Killed in a bar when he was only three

Davy Crockett died this past week. He was the first childhood hero I remember. I just read a riddle about him. Why could Davy Crockett hear so well? He had a left ear, a right ear and a wild frontier. Actually it was Tonto who could hear the best, but he never knew Davy Crockett.

I used to sing the Davy Crockett theme song. but I was this young suburban Jewish kid who grew up near Philadelphia. Kill't him a b'ar when he was only three. If someone would have explained to me that he murdered a bear at 36 months I don't know if I would have liked him more or less. In the mid 50's murdering wild animals was just what you did, no questions asked.

I wondered today if I was the only one who got that line of the song wrong. I googled it and found this it is a misheard lyric, duh. but that is where the riddle came from so it was worth the search.

I still have a Davy Crockett Wallet, I even have the box it came in. This is important in collecting circles, means you are totally OCD. Here is an image of the wallet from an antique site.

It sold for $70. I had a coonskin cap as well but hat disappeared while Eisenhower was still president. My friend David was obsessed with Davy Crockett, he changed his name to Davy (well that wasn't too hard was it?) and he had everything, the entire outfit, the tent, the rifle, the powder horn. My friend David killed him a tarantula when he was only 5. So he says.

I liked the Lone Ranger, don't get me wrong, but he looked like a pudgy raccoon. Tonto on the other hand was very cool and I bet secretly wished the Stone Stranger would fall off a cliff. There are all those jokes about what Keemo Sabe means. There is actually scholarly writing on the subject:

And Trigger, the horse. Is it true that the Lone Ranger had him stuffed and placed in his living room?

Wait, this is about Davy Crockett. His side kick was Jed Clampett. Before Jed became a millionaire while shootin' at some food.

My father, see previous posts, would laugh with great guffaws recalling my song lyric gaffe. It is the last thing I remember him talking about before he died. He was a few years older than Davy Crockett.

Good bye Davy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Back with Old News - Birth, Life & Death

To my readers, if there are any, I wrote this in August 2008 and never posted it. I sort of misfiled it. Here goes…

I was switched at birth. My mother is not quite on board with this. But neither of my parents was present during my birth. Mom was knocked out for 24 hours and my father lost his driver’s license and couldn’t get there legally. My real name is Zigmund or Ziggy to my friends. But I don’t know any of them.

My real parents are Jewish Gypsies who had a trained dog act. They would do regional circuses popular back in the late 40’s and early 50’s. I should do a DNA test to settle this thing once and for all, but that would kill my current mother. Or she would just think it is funny, or maybe both. I wonder if she would want to meet the real me, is he still alive?

So far everyone in my family thinks this is just part of my sense of humor. Ha, ha, enough already. So why am I the only brother with all of my hair? Okay, that could happen with Mendel’s Law. My mother’s (allegedly) mother and her family went to their graves with all of their original hair and teeth. When my grandmother (also allegedly) was 99 she thought I was her brother Joe. She also thought she played third base for the Orioles. She died at 99.9. I figured out the math and this is really the case, 36.5 days before her 100th birthday. It was the same day my best friend died, they were 50 years apart. But that’s another story for another time.

Maybe at 59 I should drop this whole switched at birth routine. It is like being a Borscht Belt comedian still playing at third rate Las Vegas Casinos. The comedian everyone thought was dead until you see the billboards near the Las Vegas Airport.

Differentiated and proprietary. That’s the mantra. How do I find this new shtick? It requires innovative thinking. I tried the story about how I grew up to the sounds of roaring lions in my suburban hometown. We lived two blocks from the town zoo. They had this sad African Animal Prison. That’s my name for it. It was basically a jail for lions and monkeys and a few snakes-in-a-bowl. They finally closed down this Gitmo-for-Animals in the early 60’s after the town drunk got his finger bit off by one of the bored lions. You could get into the Animal Jail any time you wanted. The Age of Trust Before they were able to stop the infection he lost his entire arm. The story in the paper said that a special cure juice had to be flown over from India by an actual Swami-type person in a Nehru Jacket. His picture was in the local paper.

Soon after that the old bison escaped and ran through the streets of my town. They reinforced his pen. The age of trust was over for him. They added prairie dogs and he would trip in the holes because he was going blind.

I suppose I would have missed all of this had I been where I should have been. It is too hard to think about at 59.

I promised to write after the radon problem was corrected. Well that was a couple of years ago; I have been sort of lazy about writing. Lots of things have happened but I will start with the radon. Found this amazing contractor who has spent years in the radon mitigation game. And he lived right around the corner. Within spittin’ distance as the saying goes. Wonder how that saying started. Why not pissin’ distance or tossing an egg distance. Well he was competent, thorough and neat; he took the radon down to well with in allowable range. Why I didn’t do this sooner is a mystery. Maybe it was the radon. The aliments if the 8ch Family turned out to be allergies, poor 8ch daughter is allergic to her favorite substance in the universe, cheese. This is a major bummer as fake cheese is a tasteless gelatinous petri dish like substance that has as its main claim to fame the ability to melt.

I suppose what threw me off the keeping up with my writing was the death of my father. At this point I am forgetting about the switched at birth thing since I knew him for 57 years. He died in February 2006. He was going downhill for a few years, decided to stop fighting death about 3 months prior to the end. I don’t know if he was ever really up for the fight. In retirement he hiked through the Himalayas,

joined the Peace Corps and did a stint in Serbia and Fiji, and then had is knees replaced. It did not go well and it was downhill from there. Losing your mobility when you are a restless person is a major life changer, for the worse.

At the end, and it was after a series of in and out of the hospital every month or so, he was in a teaching hospital, the fate of the time, place and speed at which they needed to get him help I was told. I knew it was time to bring the living will he made, as I was sure that even with all of his careful planning no one at the hospital would have this record or access to it. It seems like you are always starting from scratch with every change in medical venue, I think doctors hate to share. I hear that is changing as some are succumbing to the lure (monetary incentives) of electronic record keeping. I think somehow they will still find a way to keep patient info some big mystery, especially from the patient.

As this was a teaching hospital I had to not only insist that they put a copy of his DNR in his main record jacket, but I had ten copies made and had to distribute them to all of the student doctors who saw this dying old man as a learning experience. No, we are not going to put him on dialysis, see?, it says so right here. But it would help clear the toxins they would say. Luckily he had an attending physician who was a gerontologist, a doctor from Russia, who had more humane sensibilities.

Almost two year later now I am really missing him. I know this because I am humming really bad songs that he used to hum, and really badly. Begin the Beguine, Paper Moon, There's an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brazil, just to name a few. Here is a youtube video of Begin the Beguine. it is in German but the song is still the same:

So many times I want to talk to him, tell him what's going on. My eyes sting when that happens.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Crest-Whatamess Pro-Health

Well it has been awhile since I have written anything. I promised to update all of my readers (2?-3?) with news of the radon fix and things in general. But first a rant.

Crest Pro-Health Clean Mint Toothpaste. Be sure to include the lot number: LOT733253EXP0C09. I went to their website a few months ago:
and filled in my complaint about the worse design for a toothpaste cap on the planet. I hit submit and got an error. So I am trying again today. Don't get me wrong. love the toothpaste. Gritty and spicy and like the dentist uses. But 8chwife won't let me buy it again (yes, I do the shopping). It makes a mess. I keep it in a tray so that it doesn't leak all over the vanity drawer. See picture:
Notice that I even bought into the notion that I need both the day time and night time version of the stuff. I am a sucker for incremental marketing. I am sure you can see the green and the white leaks. The caps are worthless. You cannot make a snap cap that big and expect it to hold tolerances. I challenge you, my loyal readers, to purchase a tube and try and reclose it by simply snapping the cap shut. Impossible. Well not impossible the first time or two, but once the tube starts to empty clicking the cap causes "Paste Extrusion" (that's toothpaste science talk) and yuck, what a mess.

Here is what the cap looks like about halfway through its life:
And don't get me started about what gets caught in that mess. For someone with mild OCD it is totally sick. Now the stuff has been on the market for about a year. Surely they know by now it is a mess. The internet sees to that. Are they scrambling to correct it? Work through old inventory? Writing engineering change orders? Redesigning the cap installation machine? Getting headquarters buy in at a quarterly product review meeting? Okay, I suppose they need to do all of this stuff.

How much do you wanna bet I get a polite "thank you for your feedback, P&G welcomes all consumer inquiries and we assure you that your comments are important."

Stay tuned. I will follow up once I get an answer from customer service.

By the way, radon fix was remarkable. I will get to this story another day...


I received a response via email from the "team" at P & G. Not as bad as what I imagined a few lines above here. Here's the cut and paste:

Thank you for sharing your disappointment with our product. Our goal is to produce high quality products that consistently delight our consumers and I'm sorry this wasn't your experience. Please be assured I'm sharing your comments with the rest of our team. Since your satisfaction means a great deal to us, I'm following up with you by postal mail. You should receive my letter within the next 2-3 weeks.

Thanks again for writing.P&G Team

Not bad boiler plate, an improvement from the old days.

Wait, do you realize I am spending time here ranting about a toothpaste cap? With impending planetary doom from Global Warming and Dubya's horrid humanity you would think I had more important things to write about.

Okay, enough of this.

8chwife just threw away all the Pro-Health and replaced it with something that is supposed to whiten your teeth. Rigth. At least it has an old fashioned little screw on cap.

The End

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Starry (Stare) Decisis

I was driving my car during a brief report. Okay, maybe not brief. About Alito the Supreme Court Nominee. The reporter started talking about "Starry Decisis". I thought this might have been a porn star that Alito had an affair with. Now I have been alive since Truman was president and I have never heard this expression before.

I think it would be good to give the justices fake stage names when they enter the court. Maybe Starry Decisis would be a good name. They say we are our names. It would be like a 9 member singing group. They are the Supremes after all.

So that was a year ago, I had saved this as a draft and now Elliot Spitzer. Uh oh Elliot, you have been a bad boy. His alias was "Client 9". Boring. He spent $80 grand on high priced nooky while keeping us safe from fiscal immorality. I feel good about that.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Del Monte $20 & Wisconsin 8 year old Hunters

Last week a $20 bill that was printed with a Del Monte Fruit sticker imbedded in the paper during the printing process was sold at auction for about $25.000.

I now am sticking those little peel-off fruit stickers on all the bills in my wallet. Yes, I know it is not the same, but some cashier or someone in the whole money exchange chain of events will get a momentary boost of adrenalin and a chuckle at this. At least I think so. Finding things, hunting for things, has me thinking. If we get that excited about a sticker falling into the money printing press that we would pay as much for it as a Toyota Prius we have some serious issues with our priorities. I would rather support the currency artist J.S.G. Boggs whose intentionally different-than-real currency art lands him in trouble with the feds. But his is performance art:

Back to hunting. What about getting kids to start looking for oddities around the house that could be valuable? A 3 armed Barbie Doll, an X-Box that maybe Bill Gates scribbled an "A-OK" on, a letter from the IRS with the logo upside down. No, we seem to think hunting means killing things in the woods. Or should I say "harvesting"? I heard this expression, harvesting, used to describe killing game on a talk radio program while driving in Wisconsin. I think the hunting lobby should not be allowed to use vegetarian terms. It was Joy Cardin who had this interview with a man pushing for a change to Wisconsin state law to allow 8 year olds to hunt game. Why not? In Wisconsin kids can drink in bars as long as they are with a parent. Why not be able to share all of the experiences of male-dom with your dad at an early age.

Now callers who supported this idea all commented that it would get kids away from their video games and into the fresh outdoors. The Pew Memorial Trust did a survey that shows kids spend 44 hours a week connected to electronic media. 44 hours a week! So how many hours a week can you harvest deer, bears and poor defenseless bunnies? But then again the video games that teach "harvesting" could give you good practice for the day that dad takes you out to start harvesting on your own. Oh, there are some rules I forgot to mention. You have to share the same harvesting implement and the child must be no more than arms length from the parent. I can see a whole slew of Cabelas products. Rifles with collapsable stocks, a modified dog leash to put around your kid that hooks to your camouflage jacket, all sorts of product ideas.

Maybe there is a new video game in this. EIGHT YEAR OLD HARVEST - "You and your Dad, side by side, waiting in the tree stand, it is only a matter of time when the big one is in your sights"

No, not your Dad!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wiretapping Christmas

Well they let the cat out of the bag. Are you one of the many to be wiretapped? Daughter #3 did a report a few months ago for school. The subject was Afghanistan. She made a great flour and salt dough relief map on a piece of plywood. She got an A, especially for the little flags that identified unique geographical features. Through the same ISP connection the ever wonderful Ms. 8CH was in communication with the Friends Select Committee about helping find peace in the world. Uh oh, that seems like a bad combination to me. On top of this we live squarely on the Reading Prong (see No Darn Radon post). We are being infiltrated from both ends. Maybe it would be easier if I confessed right here. NSA , do you read blogs? Let me tell you, D3 (code name for daughter number 3) has no idea where Osama is hiding, but after about a week there were so many cracks in the dried dough map; it could be anywhere. In fact the map suffered in real time with the earthquakes. He could have built an underground bunker in one of the fissures. A Crack House. Osama's Crack House. It could have one of those rope bucket things spanning across the top with a squeaky pulley thing. all of his number twos (no not that, his second in commands) would communicate with him that way and send him falafel and stuff. NSA, pass this on, find the quake fissure with a squeaky pulley over it.

So Bush is angry that someone spilled the beans. Especially so close to the holidays. Why can't we all just get along? If they tap our phones we should get something in return, like coupons for fast food. It would seem like a great trade until we started using them and then the fat and bad stuff in that food would kill us and that would wrap the whole thing up for King George ( Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., called him this in an interview with The Associated Press).

Golly Good King Dubya

Good King Dubya looked out,
On the spies all scheming,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night,
Tho' the frost was cruel,
When a tall man came in sight,
Gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, Dick, and stand by me,
If thou know'st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence,
Underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence,
In the land of Afghan."

Get me phones and get me wires
Get me earphones plenty
Someone here must know this guy
All liberals are so friendly
Tap their phones and listen in
For a word like "end it"
Follow them around the town
While I preach and defend it

Friday, December 16, 2005

Radon, Dioxin, Christo and ebay

In February I visited the Christo Gates in Central Park, about an hour from my home on the Reading Prong (see my first post). Amazing sight, amazing site, people having fun and friendly. Okay, it is Home Depot Orange but I think it is a standard colorant for PVC. Wait! PVC? Greenpeace wants this stuff banned, dioxin contamination, harmful to the environment. The PVC Industry is spending $100's of dollars to counter the claim of environmental disaster. The Gates produced seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds of orange colored PVC waste. That's three quarters of a million pounds. A company called Nicos ground the orange tubes into dust. Here is a video of it:

It must have been fun to send those tubes down the chute. Great job for someone with ADD or hearing loss. Turns out that the plant that pulverized this stuff is right up the street from 8CHland, home of yours truly. What is worse, dioxin or radon? I read somewhere that the orange PVC ended up in outdoor fencing sold through Menards, Lowes and Home Depot Canada. It is white on the outside and Christo (Home Depot) orange on the inside. It is sold in 6 foot sections for $100. No one is suppose to know that this stuff is there, it would violate the art principals of Christo and Jeanne Claude. Oops, I spilled the beans. Buy the fence, cut the tubes open and expose the orange cores and sell pieces on ebay. They gave out little 2" squares of the fabric the first few days of the event. people ended up selling them on ebay within hours going for $30 each or so. Why not sell sections of the fencing with the ground up orange tubes inside? Isn't that like some kind or archeology or performance art? 6" sections would be easy to mail and I would have a "buy it now" set at $9.99.

Is it true that if you use enough popular words in a blog people will find it? Paris Hilton would buy a pocketbook made for a section of the pipe if some trend setter started selling them on Rodeo Drive. And what about Howard Stern?

P.S. Wear a face mask when you cut the tubes, you never can be too careful.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jefferson Nickel and Willem Dafoe

We are getting arty money in America. Sort of. Not quite like Europe or some third world countries that have cool animals or popular humans in weird clothing posing in watermarks. Oh wait, we are getting some of that. Coins are always changing now. Quarters for every state. Have you noticed as the quarters are issued from first to last state they are getting more and more boring? And hard to tell what they are depicting? I hear that states fight each other for things like birds and animals and crops and bridges.

They are redoing the Jefferson Nickel. Tom will be large and sort of smirking. Where did I see that face before? Some sadistic villain in a movie. with funny sadistic teeth. yes, Willem Dafoe. William the Foe! What were they thinking? I wonder if this is some sort of in your face advertising gimmick for a movie about Jefferson with Willem as the lead. You know, the movie that tells the truth about Tommy and his slaves. TV ads don't work anymore, everyone tivos right past them.

Half a Stick of Butter

I had lunch with Bill today. Bill and I used to work together. I designed stuff and he made the tools and machines to build the stuff. We both are semi wondering (and wandering) around 5 years later. Bill won't eat anything un-American. Not even Tex-Mex, how American is that? Even Dubya probably eats Tex-Mex. So we settle for one of those bars-in-front, dining-in-the-back kind of places that have lunch specials like Cajun Chicken over Pasta. We order the Cajun Chicken over Pasta. I drowned mine in red pepper flakes and sprinkle cheese. It was the conversation that mattered. We have a company in common we are consulting for. We discuss cool ways to make an adjustable thing and lament the dearth of even semi-motiviated workers in our little corner of Manufacturing America who couldn't even put it together with a brain transplant from Peter Drucker. We discuss what medications we are on. We used to talk about women, especially those that would walk right by us at the moment. We had a rating system, we were bad. Now talking about medication is better? I'm not sure.

We part company on the corner. I go to my car and right on the edge of the brick walkway, right next to the Japanese restaurant that Bill won't eat in, right next to the open air park-for-50-cents parking area is half a stick of butter, laying on the ground, with the wrapper and all. It is one of those sticks of butter that comes 4 to a box. It is half of a quarter. Laying on the ground. It couldn't have been there long. Of course it was 15 degrees out, how do I know for sure. How did it get there? No one lives near there, the Japanese restaurant doesn't use store bought butter if they even use butter. Half a stick of butter. I stop and stare. A lady stops and sees me staring at the ground and stares too. So does a big giant policeman wearing a uniform that is way too tight. He has a big holster belt thing and a flip book for writing parking tickets. "How did that get there?" I ask out loud. I am thinking if this cop was from Law and Order we would be a half an hour closer to solving a murder.

No Darn Radon

First blog, have no idea how to work this. Have no idea what my intentions are, random, or in my case, radon musings. Just like a jillion other blogs I suppose.

Today I stuck this little black ant trap looking thing on my mantle. It will measure radon gas in my house for 3 months. I suspect everyone who lives here is being poisoned by it. Built the house 22 years ago. No basement, slab on grade. Grade is on the Reading Prong. See how serious this is:

Did a test about 21 years ago, Radon 10x safe levels. I found some holes and patched them up. Installed a vent (sort of). Decided to forget the whole matter, figuring I would die from something stupid like falling in front of a speeding truck while riding my bike. Then I see a news bulletin about radon. Seems as though they changed their minds about safe levels. Like calcium, fat and salt, everything has to get reworked. I sent away for the test kit, the little ant trap looking thing. I will keep you posted. I am wondering if what everyone ails from, sniffles, ennui, short tempers, sore necks, is this radon poisoning? I will keep you posted.