Monthly Archives: December 2021

time

It’s that time of year again when we say hello to the new year , 2022 , and wave goodbye to the old one . Seems to happen every year . I used to have trouble during the first stretch of each new year remembering to write the correct year when I dated checks . That’s not so much of an issue now that I almost never write checks any more .

Along with check writing , I never have a problem any more trying to get the typewriter ribbon in correctly . For that matter , I never have to brush Wite-out onto my mistakes any more either . Wite-out was that white liguid that came in a small black and white bottle and had a little brush applicator . It came along , I think , after the Wite-out correction tape . It blocked out typed mistakes and I guess it was supposed to blend in smoothly on the paper so that it would not be noticed . The liquid never worked that way for me, though . I went through a lot of those tiny bottles of Wite-out , and the finished products always had loads of hardened shiny blobs of the stuff covering the pages .

Ah , the good-old days !

I haven’t stayed in touch with any of the kids I went to elementary school with ( with whom —- sorry , Sister ! ) . I saw a few of them at my high school reunion a few years ago . One was a pilot living up in the northwest . One had invented some kind of a new design of a turbo engine that would revolutionize the industry and he had twenty employees developing it for him . I understood that he was trying to sell the whole enterprise , though , before the corporate competition shut his little enterprise down in underhanded dealing . Another guy was a musician who played a circuit of small gigs . We all chit-chatted over drinks in an old Mexican restaurant bar the night before the official reunion dinner at the school , brought up a few memories of the old days and exchanged bits of information about where we all lived now and what we were up to these days .

I wistfully wondered about some of them , what kind of lives they had led , what kind of partners they had if any and what families they had . What were their hobbies , dreams , disappointments , etc. ” So , what have you been up to for the last 50 years ? “

Useless enterprise . I’ll never see any of those people again , I think . For that matter , I hardly knew them during grade school days . Bits of memories remain , tid-bits here and tid-bits there . I’ll keep those , such as they are . As for the rest of it , all of those people are on their own ! As Bogart once said in an old film , ” ……it don’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world “.

Anyhow , here’s looking at you , kid !

I think that I don’t mull much over the past . Friends of mine might disagree , but either way the world just keeps coming and going and we all just have to hang on for the ride . Joan Didion wrote ,” The future always looks good in the golden land because no one remembers the past “. Not so , I think , but let’s move along .

Maybe I’m a fatalist . I’d like to be a realist but am not sure if I am or not . I’d like to be an individualist , too , but again am not so sure that I would fit the category . I know for sure that I’m not a classicist or a scientist or a lot of other ists . I might be a leftist with rightist tendencies . I’m certainly not a cubist or an insurrectionist or a parachutist or an ornithologist , at any rate. If I were a futurist populist I’d have something more wiseist to say and I might even wake up in the upcoming new year to be a rationalist , (and we can’t have that !)

Better just leave it all here for the moment . I may be slipping into sounding like a narcissist . At least I’m definitely not a pessimist .

Best wishes for the new year ! [ Be an optimist . ]

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

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Here’s one from several years ago……prison jokes , limericks , or beer

itkindofgotawayfromyou

szezecin 1 2012 149

I intended to go with another Prison Jokes post . You may have seen my other Prison Jokes posts and perhaps you have been anxious for the next one . The next one would have been Some Profane Prison Jokes .

But , don’t wait for it . Forget it . I was talking to my sister today on the phone and my brother-in-law was in the background saying negative things , I think , about my Prison Jokes . I think what he was saying in forceful assertive and critical tones might be paraphrased as , more or less , ” NO MORE !” Everybody is a critic ! At least he speaks his mind .

There’s no use now telling my b-in-l that it could be worse . Could be much worse . It could end up being the old ” be careful what you ask for ”…

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MERRY CHRISTMAS !

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December 22, 2021 · 10:14 am

more on thieves

I was reading a commentary on the “smash and grab” robberies which have occurred in California and other places around the country recently . They have happened mostly at high-end stores with sometimes about eighty smash-and-grabbers participating . The commentary suggests that data confirms that these are far and few-between events and not as much of a problem as the media wants us to believe . Statistics show that robberies have been declining in the country lately , it said.

Ah , but today I read another article that calls the smash-and-grab information ” ambiguous”. So there we are , round and round the mulberry bush .

I think the robbery incidents would definitely be a big deal and real to the stores being robbed , and to the shoppers who are suddenly in the middle of it , and to the people who were injured during the robberies . But to me , luckily , it’s just another news story .

For the stores and for the insurance companies this requires a lot of careful calculations . Most store security people , many who used to be armed and/or instructed to make arrests of shoplifters , are no longer armed and will no longer attempt to stop or arrest people when they notice suspicious activity or downright theft in progress . Other people in the stores , and the robbers themselves , have sued and won huge settlements for injuries claimed when such actions occurred . Settlements outpriced the potential business losses , it seems , in enough cases to make the businesses think twice about trying to stop the criminal activity in progress .

Evidently common everyday shoplifting out-does the few smash-and-grab events . Organized rings of criminals are often active in both activities .

I wonder about this guy Santa Claus . Does he have some connection to all of this stuff ? He’s never listed as one of the richest people in the world , you may have noticed, and yet he always seems to be able to distribute presents to all the world’s children ( except for the naughty ones, of course ; but even then he often , I’ve heard , hands out a lump of coal ). Doesn’t seem suspicious to you ?

As far as I know he and his wife live up at the North Pole . I’m not sure exactly where that spot is . Is it the magnetic north pole or do they live somewhere nearby ? Okay , now I have a technical , or is it a political ? , question . Which nation , if any , owns “the North Pole” where Santa , Mrs. Claus , the elves , and the reindeer reside ?

I don’t think it’s the US . Most likely , if it were , OSHA would have inspected his workshop and we all would have read about violations in the news . Or heard about it on cable . Or seen something on the internet . Do we really know anything about the safety history of the workshop , for example ?

So is Santa and the crowd living in US territory ? I think not . My best guess is either on Canadian territory or perhaps on a tip of Greenland . Isn’t that Danish territory ? The red and white Santa Suit brings up thoughts of the Danish flag . I wouldn’t put it past the Finns , however , to have some part in this too .

I also wonder about a possible Russian influence . The Soviets had , I think , the first ice station at the north pole in 1923 . Could they have co-opted Santa ? How about the red suit ; and Rudolf’s ( Rudolf ?) red nose ? Makes one wonder what the long-term plan could have been . Distributing gifts free of cost globally ? I’ll have to look up Communism in my reference books again . Sounds quite a bit like Communism to me , though .

I hope good old Saint Nick , the Jolly Old Elf , doesn’t get swept up in some kind of international scandal, however . Nowaday’s the internet trolls can swamp a person’s long-time otherwise sterling reputation with nasty smears , lies , intimidation and even death threats . And everything’s become political in this country . Heaven forbid Santy’s registered in one political party or the other . Ah , but the guy’s no doubt not even a US citizen. Some secret deal may have been made that gives him a one day travel visa every year . I don’t know . It’s all a big mystery to me.

I hope Santa is not mixed up in these smash-and-grab thefts , at any rate . Seems to me that would be well below his stature ; but he may be a bit behind the times when it comes to technical knowledge . He doesn’t seem to hob nob with major tech companies , or billionaires, or corporate CEOs………or anyone, really . I wonder if he carries insurance . I doubt it . Maybe he’s got a good lawyer . I think he has a good PR firm .

I have lots of questions about Santa Claus , aka “Father Christmas”.

There may be a lot about this jolly old red-suited Kriss Kringle that I don’t know about . Well , that’s a silly statement because I don’t know much about him at all . Maybe I wouldn’t want to know . What kind of a name is that , anyway : Kris Kringle ? Dutch ? We’ve got a world-wide thing going here , and no one seems to be getting to the bottom of it ; but maybe that’s for the best .

Have a Merry Christmas anyway !

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’tis the season

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clowns

A friend of ours is training to be a jet pilot now , but once upon a time we went to a party for his second birthday in a park . His parents had invited a large group of people , had arranged food , bought a large birthday cake , and had hired a clown to entertain the kids .

The immediate trouble was that the two-year old was afraid of clowns . When he caught sight of the party clown he started to scream . The clown , a young woman , began to dismantle her costume in order to calm the boy .

First she removed her outrageously green wig . That didn’t work , so she took off her red rubber bulbous nose . Since that seemed to mollify the frightened child a bit , she continued to slowly dismantle her clown costume until , really , she no longer appeared to be a clown . The birthday boy calmed down . He was afraid of clowns.

Then it was time for cake . A large pink cake box had waited patiently on a corner of the table until now . The little birthday boy was to open the box to reveal the cake. Everyone stood around for the grand opening of the box . The two -year old put his fingers on the edge of the box .

So , what do you think was the large figure in brightly -colored icing on top of the cake ? Yeah , a large image of a clown . The boy instantly screeched once again . It almost seemed to me that his parents were doing this to him on purpose . Poor kid !

I can understand the poor little boy’s apprehension about clowns . Some clowns give me the creeps too.

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oh my

Murder rate is up , home robbery rate is up . Large gangs of mostly teenage kids are raiding high-end stores in what they call ” smash and grab ” robberies . Incidents of robbers following rich people home and then robbing them are increasing lately . In a beach town south of here , robbers dressed as gardeners follow rich people into their gated communities and rob them .

It’s a mess , really .

A man robbed a wealthy philanthropist in her 80s recently in her home in Beverly Hills and murdered her. He then headed immediately for the Hollywood hills and chose a house there to rob . A teenage girl in her bedroom heard suspicious noises and called 911 . Then she heard a shot . The would-be robber had accidently shot himself in the foot . He called 911 for medical help . Cops arrived to escort the guy to jail .

You never know . I sort of read these stories , though , as an outsider looking in . You know , the rich target , the follow-him-home victim we ain’t . Part of the reason I never bought a Bently or a mansion in Beverly Hills.

One time years ago I got served with a supoena at my front door , nevertheless . A young man asked me my name and handed me the papers and rushed away . When I glanced at the papers I saw that someone with my name was being sued ; but that other guy owned a string of gas stations from here to Bakersfield , fifteen or twenty of them at least . ” Hey , ” I shouted to the process server , ” does it look like I own all of these gas stations ? ” ; but he was already hopping into his car . Just doing his job .

I called the lawyer’s office that was on the paperwork and told them that I wished I were the owner of all of those gas stations but that I wasn’t. The woman on the phone was particularly rude. I was surprised by that since I had made the good-will effort to call ; but maybe I shouldn’t have been . Why wouldn’t I lie about it , after all . Just doing her job.

I consulted my lawyer sister about it and she told me that crappy law firms sometimes won’t make the effort to find their target person but , instead , send out notices to everyone with that name in the area . Lazy . Incompetent. Unprofessional.

Oh , but there’s some rich guy in the area with my name who owns a string of businesses ! Good for him , I guess .

Wouldn’t be the first time that I ran into a stranger with my name , now that I’m thinking of it . When I graduated from UCLA the university sent my diploma to the wrong Dan. He had graduated from UCLA about ten years before I had . He was nice enough to track me down and send me the diploma. He was then a poet and a college professor . I don’t think he got into the gas station business later , but who knows . Different guy , most likely.

About this robbery stuff , though , you never know . A couple of years ago someone intended to burglarize the house next door . He snuck around behind the house in the dark and threw a backpack over the neighbor’s fence with the intention of following the packpack over the fence into the neighbor’s yard . He didn’t know that the neighbor had a couple of dogs until they started to loudly object to the surprise unwanted intrusion . They could have torn him to shreds .

The would-be robber then walked around the block , went to the neighbor’s front door and rang the doorbell . It was about four in the morning . My neighbor has one of those camera doorbells and the device got a good shot of the wanna-be robber . There is also an intercom setup and my neighbor asked the man at the door on the speaker what he wanted . The guy told him that his backpack was in the backyard but he couldn’t get it because of the dogs and he just wanted it back . At four in the morning ! Just trying to do his job.

By the time the cops arrived the person was gone . They have a good picture of him , but I don’t know if he was ever caught . The backpack was full of cell phones and keys . Maybe he’s the same guy who shot himself in the foot recently and was then captured by the Hollywood cops .

And the theft of catalytic converters is on the rise ! I have a Prius , an old one , but I read that Priuses are prime targets for catalytic converter thefts , along with pickup trucks . I bought a shield for the catalytic converter on my car . Just in case . It cost me $100 but a converter replacement would cost over $1000 for my Prius . A mechanic friend of mine installed the shield . He told me in passing that what would have taken a catalytic converter thief five minutes to steal would now take ten or fifteen minutes . Encouraging ?

Overall , one has to weigh the pros and cons of things . A little peace of mind is worth $100 to me . ( Plus $40 for the installation .) I figure a potential thief will go on to the next Prius or pickup truck and leave mine alone .

That’s as far as I’m willing to go , though , worrying about the evident rise in crime . Worst come to worst , I’ll sell some of my gas stations and use the money to buy some big house in a gated community . Then I’ll be safe , except from the gardeners .

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