Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Bits of unrelated information.

Dawn leaves for work with a "sampler pack" of potatoes in a cardboard box. My auto mechanic-it's nice to be able to have a personal mechanic you can trust-fixed a tire for me last week. Johann comes over and points to the right rear tire on the Prism. "You gotta flat," he says. Luckily, Johann has an air tank in the back of his Nissan truck. He fills it with enough air to get me to the filling station. At the Kwik Stop, I connect the air hose and gauge. It registers less than 10 lbs of pressure. When my mechanic checks the tire, he can't find anything wrong with the tire. Curious?

Then, yesterday I walk out to the mailbox. Opening the lid, I find a bank statement ripped open. Calls to Dawn and the postmaster follow. Dawn alerts the bank. I ask a neighbor if they got a piece of our mail by mistake. Another dead end. The statement is dated last Wednesday. Mailed Thursday, we should have received it Friday or Saturday. If another neighbor got it by mistake, they held onto it. Anyone coming down our road would be spotted immediately by our viscous ( not a typo) dog. Curious. And why was it ripped open?

At the end of each episode of Big Bang Theory, Chuck Lorre, the creator of the series writes a short blurb. To read the fine print, I zoom the DVD player and push "pause". I'm surprised by the frequency of posts he writes about the censorship of certain episodes. After this post I'm going to Chuck Lorre dot com.

Lee Valley is a company that sells quality tools. At Christmas they issue a gift catalog with interesting, new inventions for specific uses and old timey things like clothespins. The invention that catches my attention is a clip that screws onto a two liter plastic pop bottle. When the bottle is filled with sand or water, the bottles act as weights for tarps. I scoff at clothespins offered for sale. Some of their items are a bit pricey, for example, the apple peelers we bought when we first moved here sell in the Lee Valley catalog for $29.95. That's much more than we paid even accounting for increases over the years. I read the excerpt for wooden clothespins. I'm hooked. The ones we have come apart and the springs fall out. I'll hand the clothespin basket to Dawn and ask her to assemble all the ones lying in the bottom. Lee Valley's clothespins have a stronger spring. They claim they don't spring apart and have grooves at the ends of the pins fora better grip. leevalley.com. (I get no commission for this).

Today's featured pumpkin weighed in at 46 pounds. I am systematically, carving and saving seeds from this years crop. I selected the largest and nicest jack o' lanterns. Initially, I intended to put up signs at the entrance of our road. I repainted the chalkboard and made several new smaller boards. With the rush to put in the windows on the house, the signs never made it to the highway. I have 40 smaller pumpkins that'll go to the compost heap in the low spot at the far end of the front field. If we get another flood like the one in 2008, there'll be pumpkins growing in all the cornfields around our place. The crop of long necked squash dumped in 2007 produced a nice crop the following year a half mile from our place. Several of this years pumpkins exhibited strains of bumpiness which indicates cross breeding with rough necks or crook necks. We grew no crook necked squash this year. ???

The Pooch comes inside for the fifth time since breakfast. Wild winds after a night of rain discourage him from sitting in one place for any length of time watching mice movements. Mandy's enjoying an after breakfast fondle of her blankie. Breakfast is chicken shreds and dry dog food. Today will be a day to putter or install a french door between Dawn's studio and the living room.

In late summer I sent a response to an e-mail from a friend. Before I go into the details of the e-mail, I should explain that one of the blogs I follow dissects, enlightens and explains the vagaries of the English language. I have an interest in the workings of language and the blog writer is a professional. Today's post in Throw Grammar From The Train discusses the debate over I could care less AND I couldn't care less. Curiously, the writer also goes into detail about the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I wonder if there is a connection between the insanity definition and the debate over I could and I couldn't.

In my e-mail response, I mention a dilemma in replying to her e-mail. Should I write, "Thanks for the information," and just let it pass into cyberspace? Or, should I comment and risk censure. I chose comment. In this case I responded to the friend's description of her daughter's new roommate. By way of analogy I related that my neighbor's daughter is attending college for the first time. She finds her roommate to be a "holy roller" ( not my description but the neighbor's). I suggest that they cut to the chase and find a new roommate instead of a year of Life In Hell ( one former friend once told myself and several friends that we'd be cast into a pit if we didn't cow-tow to his bible thumping ways).

I didn't mention in the e-mail repeated offensive comments over the course of the summer in previous e-mails. I did point out the inadequacy of e-mail as a means of good communication.

In response to my post about research to find a ground cover to cut down on the hours I spend on a riding mower, she threatens me with her daughter's ire over contemplating planting an invasive species not banned by the state. She followed that up with forwarding my post to the daughter who is studying prairie ecology in her first year at college and goes on to explain how the ground cover "burns" her earth connection. Wow.

An e-mail from me after hernia surgery complains about the medical profession and the tendency to omit unpleasant and undesirable side effects of treatment. Her response, "You sound like you were high." I tell her there's no high to Tylenol-3. She once sent me one of those popular and useless memes and later a funny forward, yet the daughter makes fun of low brow computer users who find fun in noxious forwards as their daily musings like the one I received from a former colleague of Dawn who warns of the dangers of overheating water in a Pyrex cup.
At the busiest part of the summer, Dawn and I hustle to send a personalized graduation gift to the daughter. I later write and ask if the box was delivered. The daughter never writes a thank you.


In the absence of face to face communication a phone call is better than an e-mail. With the advent of unlimited minutes or at least huge banks of minutes, a phone call is a better substitute, albeit somewhat impersonal, than six lines of brief comment. The-I'm so busy e-mails, Facebook one liners, tweets about a new sushi bar, are in my estimation another sign in the demise of the written word.

I'm Roger Gavrillo and I approve this post. Neener, neener.

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