Chipmunks are very cute. They are cuter than rats. Nobody considers rats cute, so nobody minds if we put out rat traps. Some people consider squirrels cute, but quite a few people spot them as rats with furry tails, so they are at some risk of being shot. Also, squirrels have a lot of attitude, and scold a lot.

My former hairdresser’s father-in-law was so irritated by a scolding squirrel that he grabbed a rifle and shot at a scolding squirrel in a tree just outside his house. unfortunately, he shot through a window he thought was open but he had forgotten the window was closed. Naturally, that was entirely the squirrel’s fault that his window was shattered, The squirrel even lived to scold another day. Perhaps it was a female squirrel, now that I think about it.

Not every land has chipmunks. As far as I know England and Australia have no chipmunks, though at least one pet store in Australia sells them as pets. Beware!

There are lots of chipmunks in America, and a few in Siberia, who wander south to lands like Japan and Korea, perhaps to escape the Siberian tigers and the snow leopards who probably think they make nice snacks, rather like the lynx David once observed.

Chipmunks are very cute, thus in great demand as cartoon characters. Chipmunks eat raspberries and blueberries and boysenberries, thus the Friendly Neighbors and the Randoms trap the chipmunks with rat traps. Once the trap is sprung, they are no longer cute. They are dead rodents.

A few days ago, Mrs. Random and I went into town on a few errands. In particular we needed to get a new land line telephone. Out ancient telephone was putting out a lot of static. The last time Random Daughter called she expressed a lot of concern about the static. I hope she realized that the static is coming from the phone and not from her dad.

Although we are now old fogies, Mrs. Random and I both own cell phones (mobile phones). However, mobile phones don’t work on our five acres. They don’t work because there are not enough cell phone towers on our part of the island. There are not enough cell phone towers because people who want to preserve nature would rather look at hills covered with fir trees than at cell phone towers. The cell phone companies build towers to look like hills, but the preservationistd are not happy with imitation hills.

Anyway, we needed a new land line telephone, so we found ourselves in a store owned by Radio Shack, a company I once worked for for a bit, part time. (You don’t want to know. However, we parted ways peacefully, not always the case in many of my jobs.)

While we were examining cheap wired land line phones, a woman in her fifties came into the store in some distress. It took a while to make sense of her ravings, but eventually we realized that she had seen a chipmunk in our truck. Puzzled, my wife and I followed her outside, where she pointed at a chipmunk’s head . Actually, it was under the truck with its head pointing out through the grill under the hood. Indeed it looked very cute. It was obvious to us that one of the many chipmunks on our property on our five acres in the woods had crawled up into the engine and hitched a ride into town.

One of the employees, an agreeable and helpful young man in his twenties, offered to catch the chipmunk and free it from the truck.

“No!” cried the woman in distress and indignation. “Don’t touch it or handle it any way!. It doesn’t live here!” Obviously, she was worried that the chipmunk could not survive in town.

It was clear that the woman was very sentimental about chipmunks. What she wanted us to do was drive back the five miles to our property so the chipmunk could safely dismount and return to its nest.

I politely thanked her for her concern and we went inside and bought a new phone (which seems to work fine).

I did not tell her that when we returned home we would set out a rat trap for the cute chipmunk. Actually, when we got home we examined the engine of our truck carefully using a flashlight. There was no sign of the chipmunk. I presume it had dismounted in town. I hope it followed the woman home. Obviously, they deserve each other.

The Friendly Neighbors are not home right now. They are traveling in Germany on a church tour visiting religious sites with fellow church members. They are very religious and kindly people and they do many good deeds on a daily basis. However, the Friendly Neighbor is 1/4 Sioux Indian. One of his ancestors was Crazy Horse, a famous Sious Warrior. This may account for his skill and fierceness in hunting creatures who consume his berries, such as bunnies, chipmunks and robins.

When the Friendly Neighbors return from their trip I will tell them story of the chipmunk and its ride to town under our truck and the concerned woman. I am fairly sure they will be as wickedly amused as I am by the entire incident.


July 3, 2010

Just as the Garden Tour was finishing, the Barely Extended Family arrived. They had stopped at some of the other gardens on the way in, and at a playground for Random Granddaughter to have a break from adult pastimes.

After visiting the Friendly Neighbors Garden after it had closed they came over to our house. I feed the chickens sow bugs as a treat, but I had been warned that RG collects sow bugs in little houses, so I wasn’t sure if having her help me feed some to the chickens would be politically correct.

Gingerly, I mentioned, “I feed sow bugs to the chickens as a treat. Do you want to help me collect some for them?”

She looked at me with a blank look. Eventually I discovered she did not know the term, “Sow bug.” She calls them, “rolly pollies.” Once the linguistic difficulties were overcome, she enthusiastically helped me turn over rocks and put the rolly polly bugs into a plastic dish and feed them to the chickens.

I think RG’s position at the top of the food chain is safe, unless we discover grizzly bears living in our woods, or a great white shark living in the Friendly Neighbors’ duck pond.

In New Zealand, sow bugs are known as “slaters.” If Australia and New Zealand are at peace, they may use that term as well.

Medical Lunacy

April 21, 2010

Dental Worries.

It makes me nervous when things go well. My wife was very worried about a sore tooth. (Actually, she is very worried we will go broke now that we don’t have dental insurance, but this is how she expresses her financial fears. On the other hand, she spends lots of money on compost for the garden, sunflower seeds for the bird feeder, and she just brought home a big bag of chicken feed for the baby chicks that have not hatched yet.)

Anyway, the dentist told her she doesn’t have a terrible dental disaster and there is a cheap fix. However, she is not to drink anything hot or chew anything crunchy for a day or so. She is much relieved because she was expecting to have to write a check which would cause her gums to bleed all the way home.

Blood Pressure Worries.

My blood pressure, after being much better for several years, has started creeping up. However, my doctor told me he had taken me off a medication because he was worried that my blood pressure might go to low.

However, my HMO’s computer has gone bonkers. It has been sending me late bills now for six months (with polite notes that say, in more discreet language) Our computer is bonkers and we don’t know how to fix it.

It just sent me a notice that I need another colonoscopy. I had one two years ago. At the time, they told me, “You don’t need another one for five years.”

I just emailed my doctor and told him where he can put his colonoscopy. Actually, I was very polite, but I did say I had just gotten used to pricking myself once a week to draw blood to test my insulin level, and wasn’t quite ready to move to the next level of senior self abuse. I also asked him if there was a light at the end of the tunnel in regard to the HMO’s computer problems?

I now have joked with the eye surgeon who did my cataract surgery. In fact, years ago, I joked with the surgeon who did my vasectomy. I frequently joke with my dentist. Just to get ready, does anybody know any good colonoscopy jokes? Clean ones, please.

Losing My Mind Worries

I have graduated from sending $5 & $10 CAREing postal mail packages to people such as David, Waxing Strange, and an evangelical Christian (who is losing her husband and her house) to working on a present for a certain lady in Australia (or somewhere in that part of the world). However, today I stopped at the United States Post Office to look into shipping and customs and other inconvenient details. I am now in a state of shock. My present may have to travel by iceberg or penguin or Great White Shark. It may also take years to get there. Don’t hold your breath, dear lady. I am 66 years old and I don’t remember what I am doing from one day to the next.

I hate the Olympics. I once watched it with fascination and enjoyment, but when I see Olympia walk into the bar, I feel like getting up and walking out. Except, I was at the gym, and the event went a little differently than I expected.

George: “Greetings! This is George Snow Snorkle broadcasting from British Columbia for the all-commercials Winter Olympics/Global Warming/Canada has egg all over its face/British Columbia declares bankruptcy/Olympic coverage. We have a remote broadcast from our remote location correspondent, Eman Modnar. Eman, please come in and describe your environment.”

Eman: “It’s a pleasant spring day at my gym, George. I am watching the Spring Olympics on two monitors while I work out on the cross-trainer.”

George: “What event are you watching right now, Eman?”

Eman: “I am watching a commercial. Isn’t this the all-commercial Olympics? Drink beer and stay in shape? No, wait…I think they are showing a few seconds of an event. A bunch of cross-country skiers are throwing themselves down in the snow and shooting! This is exciting!

“It looks like the leading competitor is a Swede. Well,Sweden is famous for being neutral and peace-loving, so it makes sense that a shooting Swede on skis is winning.”

George: “What are they shooting at?”

Eman: “It looks as if they are shooting at a hockey game. Why not? Who cares about a bunch of brutes skating around and crashing into each other and pummeling each other with sticks? Some of the hockey players are dressed in red—they seem to be Russians. And some of them are in red, white, and blue—I bet those are Yankees. Look at that! Look at how they are crashing into each other—looks like the cold war isn’t really over. [Camera cuts away and mike is cut off until remote correspondent gets control of himself and his excessive mirthiness.]

“Wait! Wait! These are women! Who knew? Who knew there were female hockey players? Are they all butch or something! Hey, the biatholonners might as well shoot them. I don’t want to see a female athlete unless she is in a bikini and dancing on ice.

“OK, they’ve switched from the biathlon to the down-hill racers, Here they come! Well, at least here come some body parts. OK, they’re back to commercials. And counting countries and medals. I must say, the modern winter Olympics aren’t anything like the ancient Viking winter Olympics. Give me a Norseman with an ice ax in his hand any time. As I always say, give me a lunge rather than a luge.

George: “Thank you, Eman. Don’t call us; we’ll call you…for the global warming Olympics.”

“What is that?” I asked as I pointed at some white flowers in the beautiful garden my wife has created in front of our house “It looks like the lavender.”

My wife said, “It’s called white lavender.”

“”That’s just plain wrong for a flower to be named ‘white lavender,'” I said.

“I think it’s going to have to go,” my wife said. “It’s growing to big and it’s overrunning the sage.”

I looked up ‘white lavender’ on the Internet. The complications of this flower’s name are much more complicated than I first thought. This is a flower with issues.

It’s not just plain wrong; it’s very fancifully wrong.

Surrealist Open Houses

October 22, 2008

David and Truce are such a cool couple, even though they are not a couple yet and are divided by a great deal of ocean. However, they are engaged in repartee about starting a surrealist estate business, an idea that seized my mind with ferocious fervor and made me all the more determined to make my Keep David Alive Fund Drive a stunning success.

I immediately became entranced with David holding surrealist open houses, and found some pictures of them. Just imagining David showing these dwelling–there has to be a better word–dwallings…dwillings…dwollings…dwullings? Anyway, just imagining David showing them fills me with such delight I can hardly contain myself.

Putting a lot of links into a comment sends the WordPress spam checker into fits like a rabid German Shepherd snarling and barking and growling and howling hysterically, so I figured I should put it into my own blog. So here it goes.

If you look at all these pictures of surrealistic houses and are half as delighted as I am, you will send David a $5 pledge before this week ends. This is serious stuff.

Surrealist Dwelling #1

Surrealist dwilling #2

Surrealist dwilling #3

Surrealist dwilling #4

Surrealist dwilling #5

Surrealist dwilling #6

Surrealist dwilling #7

Surrealist dwilling #8


Surrealist dwilling #9


For reasons I don’t understand, this turned into a really nasty post to get to work. If you look at all the pictures, I think you should pledge $10.

Well, you get a nice house out of it, anyway.

Sometimes life overwhelms art. For example, I just experienced an episode of political incorrectness. Actually, I am lying: I just perpetrated an episode of political incorrectness.

A woman at my work (R, who works in another department) reminds me just a bit of Precious Ramotswe. Probably you are already familiar with Precious, a fictional character in a wonderful series of books about the #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Even though they are very popular, they are quite good. If you are sometimes amused (an even on occasion moved a wee bit) by my writing, Smith’s is about eleventy-seven times better. By several exponents.


Although the word cheerful does not pop into my mind in my stereotypes of Africa, these books (although they contain sadness and tragedy) present a cheerful view of the country of Botswana. As far as I have been able to discover (without following the more useful alternative of traveling to Botswana and living there for a few years), Botswana does have many characteristics to be cheerful about as countries go.

As I’ve mentioned, my ethnic background is Eastern-European Jewish.

Although I have no idea what land R’s ancestors came from (and I suspect they may not have come to America willingly), Botswana is a possibility.

I find R quite charming. One reason is that she is quite cheerful. Now my employer, a few years ago, began promoting the idea that we are a “retail” organization, indicating that we should present a cheerful disposition toward customers. In principle I agree (even though my natural disposition toward other people is surly), but many people in my organization present a cheerful disposition that seems as if it was sprayed on from a spray can they found for sale at Wal-Mart.

R, on the other hand, exudes a natural cheerfulness.

Also, she laughs at a lot of my jokes. It’s hard to be more charming than that.

Most of the time, R dresses in standard American attire, though she dresses better than I do. Although my wife (who has impeccable taste) tries to make me look respectable, I defeat her efforts.

The other day, as we met in a hallway, R was wearing a colorful dashiki dress. This is not the actual dress, and the picture is a blouse rather than a dress, and R’s dress was more red than orange, but aside from being quite different, this picture gives you a rough idea of the appearance of the dress R was wearing.


Though it’s probably not corporately appropriate to comment on a fellow employee’s attire, I told her I liked the dress.

She began laughing. She told me that she had bought it at a thrift store. In fact, she said, she had purchased two different items because they matched each other and then had sewn them together to make the dress she was wearing. I expressed my admiration and appreciation for the final result.

She said she liked this particular thrift store because it specializes in apparel for women of “traditional build.” That’s how Smith describes Precious in his novels about her. R is not really “heavy,” but she’s not a skinny woman.

R said, “This store is called ‘Two Big Blonds.’

This time I laughed. I said, “It’s not appropriate for us [meaning whites such as myself] to make jokes about black people. But we can get away with jokes about blonds. It’s one of the last groups considered ‘fair game.’”

I apologize to any blond person reading this blog posting.




Some people are just funny, even though they are not members of a funny group.

I am such a person. I am funny because I am a person who tries to be funny but I am not really very funny. My failing efforts to be funny make me an object of ridicule, thus unintentionally funny.

However, some groups are considered funny.

Such groups include:

  • Blondes
  • Polish people
  • Jewish people
  • Aggies (students or graduates of Texas A&M College)
  • black people
  • white people
  • nerds

To understand why groups of people lose their humor potential, you must review some chemistry. You may not consider chemistry very humorous, but that’s only because you only studied inorganic chemistry or organic chemistry. For some reason, your chemistry teacher forgot to teach you about humor chemistry.

Three of the basic elements of humor chemistry are RI (ridiculum), ST (stereotypium) and STU (stupidium). Combining these elements produce compounds such as Polish jokes.

However, just as in quantum physics the presence of an observer affects the outcome of the experiment (1), the presence of a large number of observers affects the outcome of a humor chemistry reaction. A certain percentage of the observers introduce the weak element REAL (realisticum) and the stronger element EM (empathium) into the reaction, producing the compound PC (politicalcorrectness). The presence of PC rapidly dampens humor chemistry reactions. Desperate humor chemists tried throwing in the element CTJ (cantyoutakeajokeium), but this often only produced explosive reactions. In fact the use of CTJ is considered so dangerous that its use is now banned by law.

As you can see from the introduction page to the Polish joke collection, PC has been introduced and soon the entire joke collection will weaken into an idiot joke collection.

It is clear that objects of ridicule and derision are a rapidly diminishing unnatural resource.


(1) Wikipedia says: A common lay misuse of the term refers to quantum mechanics, where, if the outcome of an event has not been observed, it exists in a state of ‘superposition‘, which is akin to being in all possible states at once. In the famous thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s cat the cat is supposedly neither alive nor dead until observed — until that time, the cat is both alive and dead (technically half-alive and half-dead in probability terms). However, modern quantum physicists, in resolving Schrödinger’s seeming paradox, now understand that the acts of ‘observation’ and ‘measurement’ must also be defined in quantum terms before the question makes sense. From this point of view, there is no ‘observer effect’, only one vastly entangled quantum system. To which I respond by throwing in some illegal CTJ from my secret stash.


Not all claims of coming shortages are accepted by everyone.

For example, many people argue that the earth is undergoing Global Warming.

This claim implies we are going to face a shortage of cool people.

Some argue that there has never been an abundant supply of cool people.

Others consider themselves very cool indeed.

This debate leads me to wonder: Is there a corresponding controversy involving an alleged shortage of unnatural resources? I will point out a possibility in my next post.

Besides running out of melodies and rhymes, writers are running out of plots. One observer boils plots down to supplication, deliverance, revenge, vengeance by family upon family, pursuit, victim of cruelty or misfortune, disaster, revolt, daring enterprise, abduction, enigma, obtaining, familial hatred, murderous adultery, madness, fatal imprudence, involuntary crimes of love, killer kills unrecognized kinsman, self sacrifice for an ideal, self sacrifice for kindred, all sacrificed for passion, sacrifice of loved ones, rivalry between superior and inferior, adultery, crimes of love, discovery of dishonor of a loved one, obstacles to love, an enemy loved, ambition, conflict with a god, mistaken jealousy, faulty judgment, remorse, recovery of a lost one, loss of loved ones.

And that just covers one bad weekend.

Another simplifies by arguing that there are only seven plots to all of literature.

After tossing around various possibilities, another observer really gets down to basics by boiling all plots down to two:

  • Everyone gets killed.
  • Only the bad guys get killed.

When you get right down to it, you face nothing less in the rest of your life but re-runs.