Category Archives: humor

and on we go

A friend of mine at The Coming Of The Toads referred to my blog in a piece he recently wrote as Tangential Meanderings , and it made me think . Tangential Meanderings is the name I first chose for the bits of wannabe sagacity I more-or-less regularly driveled out week by week ; but I actually have forgotten that particular blogular moniker over these many years .

I identify my blog as itkindofgotawayfromyou ; but I did an experiment and googled Tangential Meanderings . Maybe I shouldn’t have . There were explanations of the meaning of tangent , and of tangential . As I quickly scrolled along free as a breeze I saw diagrams amidst the offered information . And I stopped to watch a couple of users of the title Tangential Meanderings . Renegade usurpers ! I had to make sure they weren’t me , nevertheless . Could happen , I suppose . Maybe the molecules of the blogging universe got tangled up and I’ve been up to things I’m unaware of and that I’ve already forgotten .

I wondered for a minute or two if other bloggers had simply just blatantly stolen the phrase that I had so ingeniously invented . I checked a couple of dates of the others’ posts . I started this thing a long time ago ; but maybe , after all is said and done , I was the one who unwittingly pilfered someone else’s title . Could I have unknowingly appropriated someone else’s invention and thought all of this time that it were mine ?

As that question flitted around inside my head for a moment or so there was also another thought shadowing it , or perhaps openly chaperoning the first thought . I could hear my long-time friend Joe , a writer and musician among other talents , filling me in on the ins and outs of copyright law . Well , the Joe-like apparition was speaking in rather sympathetic tones , I have to say . I felt the empathy but I wasn’t getting very upset at the likelihood that my titular creation had been shamelessly poached . I didn’t want to let Joe down with some foolishly unfeeling declaration of unseriousness about the whole contrived conundrum .

At this point , who cares ! Right ? I am the self-proclaimed honorary heir of the Jonas Salk mindset . Why not share the discovery for the good of the world ! ( I say this , you should know , with deep and overwhelming humility .)

Actually , as I said earlier , I had even forgotten the Tangential Meanderings aspect of my sporadic spurious efforts at an erudite written enterprise . Andragogy was never my thing , though , truth be told . I’m more into lighthearted unseriousity …………….Well , for example , this kind of poetry , when it comes to poetry :





I should have expunged the Tangential Meanderings from my WordPress documentation long long ago ; could have set it free to wander the world and find on its own a cozy soft nest somewhere . Maybe with some sand-haired guy with a yellow T shirt ? Maybe in some exotic outlying locale , free from the ordinary pressures of ordinary things and ordinary situations . Who knows the possibilities ! There’s endless potential there.

Oh , someone tried to commandeer itkindofgotawayfromyou , too , I noticed by accident a few years ago ; but I am secure in the secret knowledge that I and only I know what the inner meaning of that made-up run-on word is . Ha !

( Unless I told GP over at Pacific Paratrooper , once. He asked me several years ago and I may have spilled the beans . ) It’s no world-shaking bit of trivia , really , but it is , nevertheless , a secret bit of trivial information , a dab of oft-chewed gum that holds the whole blog , such as it is , together .

I’ll finish , if you don’t mind , with the words of Ogden Nash :



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isn’t beer beer

When I was first teaching , I often stopped by McGinty’s Irish Pub in Santa Monica for a beer on my way home . McGinty was still around in those days . His father used to sing patriotic Irish ballads late in the evenings in the place after he’d had , as an uncle of mine would say , ” a snootful “.

One afternoon I stopped by for a beer and sat near the end of the bar . A beer delivery man and the bartender were in a heated discussion about brands of beer . Whatever brand of beer the delivery guy delivered was , he said , far better than any other beer . The bartender had a different opinion . The two of them stood right next to me and argued but I wasn’t part of the discussion . Actually , as it seemed to get more and more heated , I began to feel slightly annoyed by the noise .

But then one or the other of them turned to me out of the blue and demanded to know : ” What’s the best beer ? ” I don’t remember which one it was who asked me . I would be the neutral arbiter , I guess .

” Beer is beer , ” I said .

That answer didn’t go over well . That’s an understatement . They both revved up their arguments and launched another round of the squabbling , trying to make me part of it . Then the bartender had an idea . He told me he’d set up all the beers they had in the place for me to taste . Then I could make a judgement . And , sure enough, he did . He set small glassfuls of the eight or ten beers they served in front of me to taste .

They were both , finally , quiet . I sipped a little from the first glass . Then , a little from the second . When I had tasted all of them I repeated the process . I had to be sure . I acted like it was a test of the great importance that they evidently felt it was . I made a third round , just to be sure . They watched , intense interest and anticipation showed on their faces . I appeared to be carefully thinking it over . Better not make a snap judgement with such a serious contest ! They waited .

Finally , enough was enough and after I had finished all the (free) beer I , with determination , voiced a conclusion : ” Beer is beer . They all taste the same . “

” Beer is not beer !” the beer delivery guy loudly protested . I can still hear the frustration in his voice . Then the bartender spoke up : ” Get out ! ” , he said . Fair enough . So I got .

I thought the whole incident was funny ; but I suppose that they didn’t . Obviously .

I’ve since matured a bit with my taste in beer . Some of the cheaper beers that I used to drink I don’t anymore . There’s an old joke about the similarity of making love in a canoe and cheap beer . Ah , you know it ! And light beer I try my best to avoid . I drank it only with my old neighbor , Don , who always bought Coors Light . He’d call out to me when I walked past his house . ” Hey , Dan , come in and have a cold one ! ” he’d shout . He was always sitting on his couch inside the house . I’d hear the voice but not see anyone . Don liked to talk , so I’d usually go in and we’d sit a have a beer or two and talk . Always Coors Light .

I haven’t paid much attention to it , but Anheuser-Busch became the focus of attention recently after they evidently made a well-known trans person their spokesperson for Budweiser Light somewhere in the country . Some vocal people didn’t like that and stirred up a hornet’s nest about it . The newspaper says Anheuser-Busch suffered economically due to the controversy . Sales plummeted . As the news anchors like to say , I haven’t independently verified that information , however.

There is a guy I know up on the mountain who reflected that controversy last week when he and Dave and I were shooting the breeze , talking about the weather and the kinds of birds in the area and the bears and in general how nice it is to be on the mountain . I don’t know how the subject of beer came up , but this guy out of the blue made an impassioned declaration that he would never buy Budweiser Light . Just a quick non-sequitur moment of anger . Neither Dave nor I responded to his emotional statement . We let it pass .

I mentioned it to Dave , though , later . ” He feels strongly about that , I guess ,” I said . ” He doesn’t drink light beer anyway , though ,” I said . ” Probably never had a Bud Light in his life ,” I said .

” Yeah , he’s hard-headed ,” Dave said . Dave’s known him all his life .

It reminded me of a time long ago when I went over to my boss’s place for dinner . He was a gay guy . I brought along some Coors beer . What I didn’t know was that the gay community was upset with Coors Beer at the time because , as far as I know , the head of Coors was virulently anti-gay . When my boss answered the door and as I was still standing outside , I got a vicious look from him , kind of the evil-eye . Odd , I thought . I stood there in my ignorance and wondered why the dirty look .

Ah , I am reminded now of that vehement proclamation from the beer delivery guy so long ago : Beer is not Beer !

Yeah , I guess he was right all along . Little did I know ! I should pay more attention , I guess , so I can be up with the trends , and know which way the wind blows , so that I can be more bent out of shape at the appropriate times due to whatever it is .

Oh , on the other hand , maybe not . I’ll stick with the uninformed notion that beer is beer . I’ve got a lot of other things to be upset about .


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on the mountain

Sammy drove by in his new truck when Dave and I were shooting the breeze in front of his house , which is across the road from my cabin , on Sunday morning . Dave’s wife was at church and would be bringing a couple of people from the church up to visit . ” It’s about time you got religion, ” I told Dave ; but , he didn’t agree.

” A lady went over the side and I’m going down there ,” Sammy said . ” You want to come along ? ” Dave said yeah .

I went over to see the action , too , with my cousin’s son who suddenly turned up . It happened close by , near the fire station down the road . A car was stuck at a 45 degree angle down over the side of the road. . Looked like she misjudged the turn . Missed a tree by about six inches . There was a small group of locals gathered .

Sammy , who lives just up the hill from Dave , had his truck ready to drag the car up back onto the road . A wide strap was attached to a hook on the front of his truck . Dave said this’ll never work . Dave had a special strap at home that he’d bring. He also has a jeep with a winch that might well have been able to haul the car up , but I think his jeep is not working just now . Anyway , Sammy told the gathered group that Dave had gone to get his jeep . I told him no , but he’d bring a strap . And he did .

There was the question of the tree . My cousin’s son and I thought they should drag the car straight up to avoid hitting the tree . Dave thought they needed to pull the car up at an angle , away from the tree . ” Everyone’s suddenly an expert in these situations ,” Dave said later . Of course they are .

Dave’s special cable/strap would have been somewhat of a problem to hook to Sammy’s truck . Too big on the end. My cousin’s son had a strap in his car that was small enough but strong enough to use as an intermediary .

The driver of the car that went over the edge was safely out of the vehicle and watching the action . She thanked everyone . Said the people here were nice , not like where she lived . ” They’d wave but drive on by ,” she said . I think she was joking .

To my amazement the car came right on up in a few seconds and sat level on the street again . The only damage seemed to be a scraped bumper . The woman said she was so lucky because she had no insurance and no money and without the help she would have been in a real fix. She handed her business card out to Dave and Sammy . She did taxes . ” Next tax season , I’ll do your taxes for free ,” she said . Good luck with that .

By the way , the fire department showed up with a large truck with a winch that could easily have dragged the car up over the side , but they apologized and said they could do nothing since no one was hurt . The sheriff showed up , too , and saw that the situation was being handled . If he noticed the stop sign that the woman had clobbered and broken with her car ( probably the cause of the scratched bumper ) , he didn’t say anything . He left . A busy weekend for the cops and the fire department .

It took only fifteen minutes or so to bring the car back up onto the road. Dave told her to drive carefully , that there might be problems we were not immediately aware of . The woman thanked everyone again and took off . Maybe she was headed for a barbeque . Memorial Day weekend . ” Our busiest weekend of the year ,” the fire woman had said .

Well , anyway , it was a little excitement to begin the day . I told Dave that he had done his good deed for the day . He said jokingly that he did good deeds every day . ” Well , this took care of today’s ,” I said .

Then , we all went about our day . The thought struck me : We’re all in this together .

Happy Memorial Day !


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the American people wanted to paint steps

My neighbor up on the mountain , Dave , quit work a couple of days ago , Dave’s a machinist . He is one of those people who like work . He works hard . In the ten or so years that I’ve known him , he almost never took a day off .

He had some minor problems at work lately , though . Someone in the HR department began to irritate him .” Arrogant and incompetent ,” he told me a couple of times over the last few weeks . He was frustrated and unhappy and a couple of days ago he had a heart-to-heart talk with the HR person . Seems to me he walked out but technically he was fired , so he will get unemployment money until his Social Security payments begin . ” In August,” he said .

Dave was happy about walking away from his job . His wife thinks that it was a good move , too . So do I . When Dave was telling me the story I began remembering some of my job experiences . You should have some experiences like Dave’s , I think , to keep as good memories .

I didn’t mention to him , as he was relating the details of his last day on the job , that his Social Security check might be in danger due to the current political wrangling over the debt crisis . He’ll need it . That’s most of his retirement source of income . Me , not so much . I rely on a teacher’s pension from the state of California . My Social Security income is not much more than what pays for my Medicare .

I pay some attention to the political shenanigans in Washington D.C. and around the country . I like to know what’s going on . Friends of mine tell me to stop it , it’s all just political theater , a form of entertainment to distract the people of the country from the fact that the billionaires own and operate the political wheels that turn the economy and run the works . That none of us really knows what goes on behind the scenes and that we can’t change it anyway.

So , yeah , of course , but nevertheless I like to be entertained . I have a BA in sociology from UCLA . It’s a little moldy by now , and it was always mostly spurious . I don’t mind saying that . It was the easiest major , so I picked it . I wouldn’t recognize sociology if it unexpectedly walked in the door and came over to shake my hand .

I do remember receiving a questionnaire from the Department of Sociology soon after I graduated . It claimed to be an anonymous survey but it wasn’t . I didn’t fill it out . Instead I wrote critical notes all over it in red pen and sent it back to them without identifying myself . Sure enough , a week or two later I got a phone call from the Department of Sociology at UCLA asking politely why I seemed so upset with the mailed survey . ” How did you find me ? ” I asked . Of course that was the point . ” It was an anonymous survey ,” I said. Don’t play people for suckers and say something is anonymous when it’s not .

Which brings me in a round-about way to my original thought for this post . I’m pretty tired of hearing from politicians : ” The American people ……… ” Then they tell you what the American people want . Or they proclaim to be making their latest decision because that’s ” what the American people want “. That kind of thing . The American people this and the American people that !

It must be nice to live in a mental milieu where ” the American people ” can be considered to exist in one easy-to-handle clump . Or to pretend that you can speak for the American people with moral certainty . Bob Dylan sang to the senators and congressmen : ” please heed the call . Don’t stand in the doorways ; don’t block up the halls .” I think that was it .

I went out today and painted the wooden steps on the side of our mountain cabin . I didn’t claim that the American people wanted me to do it . Perhaps I should pay for a poll to see just what the American people think about my painting the steps . Then I could claim with more authority one thing or another about it . As a fallen sociologist , though , I should probably first figure out just who the American people are . I could sample maybe 500 of them , or maybe a few thousand . I would design the questionnaire .Then I could tell us all how to live , what we all think , what we’re all angry about and just exactly what we all want to happen next .

They could pay for my paint job . Ah ! , but I’m not in politics , so I better just mind my own business .

Dave doesn’t pay much attention to politics . Maybe he’s better off than some of us .

I wonder if they’ve come to a deal yet with the Debt Crisis muddle . Stay tuned for the next exciting season . I can’t wait.


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new cars

I’ve been driving my old Prius around since 2011 . It’s getting a bit ragged and Ada suggested that we trade it in for a Rav4 . A friend of hers has a four year old Rav4 and we like it . We had a Rav4 years ago , before the Prius , and I drove it until it finally began to give out . We both liked that car.

I drove the friend’s four year old Rav4 over to the Toyota dealer to have a leak checked out. She couldn’t take it herself because she had broken her hip and needed a driver to take her to work and back , so I took her to work one morning and took the car to the dealer . Sure , they checked out the leak . During all of those rains around here water began to drip inside onto the dashboard from the roof , just above the rear view mirror . I have to say I’ve never seen that kind of a leak before .

The dealer told me that they could fix it . It would cost thirteen hundred dollars . I said that the car was under warranty ; it had an extended warranty . ” This isn’t covered by warranty ,” he said .

Of course not .

On my way home I stopped in at a filling station to tell a mechanic friend of mine the story . It should be covered , he said . Bumper to bumper , he said . Have her call Toyota corporate and complain , he said . They’ll get right on it , he said . They’ll call the dealer and get him on to it .

So I did . And she did . And they did .

Actually , the dealer called me because I had left my phone # there when I took the car in for them to check out the leak. ” Have her bring the car in and we’ll fix it for nothing ,” he said . This was a week or two later.

Later I told another friend of ours , a Polish guy who owns a car repair shop ,the whole sad story about the leak and he told me they would probably just put some silicone in the holes .

So , that’s the whole sad story . Our Rav4 friend told me over the phone that she would bring it on over to the dealer to have the repair done . I don’t know if she did or not .

I’ve temporarily lost my enthusiasm for the purchase of a new Rav4 . My old Prius works just fine .


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bleak selection


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