Category Archives: Curmudgeonry

Walking Sticks and Death by Selfie

 

“Get up off your butt and stop sleeping! I’m tired of doing nothing.”  In such dulcet tones did I receive the proclamation of She Who Must Be Obeyed*.   (*from Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer.)

I, in turn, responded in my most Rumpolean manner by stating: “Huh? What? But, my dear, I am not ‘doing nothing.’  I am, in fact, emulating the habits of my good friend the Koala Bear.”  Koala Bears sleep, on average, 22 hours a day and spend the remaining time eating Eucalyptus leaves.  I create something similar by putting Eucalyptus leaves in my drinks.

“Emulating Koala Bears. Nonsense.  We are going to do something by visiting the National Parks.”

“Oh wonderful. Uh, wait… by National Parks, you mean outdoors and hikes and uh, more hikes.”

“Yes, exactly. Now get up because we are on our way.”

Thus began our trip to some of the more storied National Parks of the western United States – Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, and the Petrified Forest. Despite the exacting toll on my feet and the interruption of my Koala Bear studies, it was a very pleasant trip and allowed me to observe some unnatural wonders among the wonders of our National Parks.

The first is the use of the walking stick.  It seems that nowadays no visit to a National Park is complete without the use of one.  My own unscientific observations have concluded that there are only three categories of people who use walking sticks:

1. Dudes who look cool with walking sticks.

Walking stick1   Walking stick2   Walking stick3

2.  People with disabilities or injuries who need the aid of a walking stick.

3.  Everyone else.

Only categories 1 and 2 should use walking sticks. Unfortunately, category 3 predominates in National Parks.  Actually, the device should be called a carrying stick because most users are carrying rather using their walking sticks.  I think that the organizers of National Park tours highly recommend a walking stick as de rigueur for the upcoming visit and then just happen to have them available at highly inflated prices.

Those who actually use walking sticks use modern ones in tandem like ski poles and have determined that their use entitles them to the right of way on any park path. Failure to yield will result in being pushed aside or poked with the sharp ends of the stick.  I have reserved a new ring in hell for category 3 users of walking sticks.

My other observation is the occurrence of the ubiquitous selfie and selfie stick. Most of the people who take selfies are instant candidates for a Darwin Award.  For the uninitiated, Darwin Awards are given to those individuals who improve the human gene pool by eliminating themselves from it.  A double Darwin Award was given in 2014 to two men in Kenya who were capturing selfies with a wild elephant when they were trampled to death by the irate pachyderm who proceeded to bury the corpses with brush. The two men were actually touching the elephant’s face while taking the photos.

Similar Darwin Award candidates inhabit our National Parks. The idea is to get a picture of yourself overlooking as close as possible a treacherous chasm, cliff, overhang or precipitous drop.  While endangering themselves, and often unsuspecting visitors nearby, the selfie taker fails to understand some basic rules of photography.  First, you are taking up most of the picture so no one really sees the natural wonder to which you are adding yourself.  Second, most selfie pictures can be composed at a safe distance from the dangerous perch or drop off with the same result and no requirement to jeopardize yourself.  But where is the fun in being practical?  Most selfie takers get an “A” for enthusiasm and an “F” for practicality.

Thankfully, the Darwin gene pool remained unaltered, my sore feet recovered, and I was able to return to my study of Koala Bear sleeping habits.

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Regrets

Thirty five things2

An article from PopSugar dated June 7, 2017 suggested thirty five things you’ll regret in life. I personally feel that the number is low by several orders of magnitude but I thought I would give a curmudgeon’s perspective on these things.

1.Holding grudges

Naw, this is part of my fabric. How can you be a true curmudgeon without holding grudges as long as possible?

2. Not going to the dentist regularly

I would go more often if the fluoride rinse came in better flavors, like scotch or bourbon.

3. Losing touch with friends

I get reacquainted the moment they win a lottery.

4. Stressing yourself out too much

It’s nothing that can’t be remedied by heavy drinking or recreational drugs.

5. Letting fear stop you from trying something

Review Jackass: the Movie first.

6. Not traveling enough

Apply regret number 5 to your visits to North Korea, Iran, Syria and Yemen.

7. Burning bridges

I burn bridges only when I get to them.

8. Keeping toxic people in your life

See regret number 1.

9. Being overly strict with your diet

No problem.

10. Hating yourself

Hating others comes first.

11. Not being there when someone needed you most

If someone needs a curmudgeon most, they are in trouble.

12. Treating your parents poorly

Even a curmudgeon loves his parents. What did they ever do to deserve me?

13. Worrying about money so much

It’s nothing that can’t be resolved by winning the lottery or straight sevens at the one-armed bandit.

14. Letting the little things get to you

See regret number 1.

15. Living life based upon what someone else wants

Unless that someone else is your spouse, family or pet.

16. Staying angry at someone

See regret number 1.

17. Not saying “I love you

Can you imagine a curmudgeon saying “I love you?”

18. Ignoring your body

Personally, I try to ignore my body as much as possible.

19. Overworking yourself

No problem.

20. Not spending enough time with family

Even a curmudgeon agrees. I do tell my family that “I smile because I am related to them; I laugh because there is nothing they can do about it.”

21. Listening to haters

See regret number 1.

22. Not taking that much needed vacation

If only someone else would pay for it.

23. Having enemies

See regret number 1.

24. Treating someone badly

Unless they hurt your family, friends or pets.

25. Worrying so much about what others think

The more I think of others, the less I think of others.

26. Not going for that dream job

If only Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had called me. Maybe they did not have my number.

27. Not taking care of your physical and mental health

I avoid both physical and mental activity as much as possible so as to preserve both.

28. Being close-minded

See regret number 1.

29. Doing the bare minimum

At my age I am not doing the bare minimum, I am conserving energy.

30. Being afraid to take more risks

Are you one of those people who will avoid risk to make it safely to death?

31. Not enjoying life more

See regret number 1.

32. Being selfish

Ditto.

33. Closing people off

Also ditto.

34. Not giving back

I always give back, usually with the back of my hand.

35. Letting someone other than yourself be in charge of your happiness

Unless that someone else is your spouse, family or pets.

That’s it for now; thousands more to follow.

Pet Peeves

I was asked the other day what my pet peeves were. After a few minutes, the person who asked realized the painful mistake of asking a curmudgeon for a list of pet peeves.   Now, we can name Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bill O’Reilly and CNN but these pet peeves are individual and personal. Death and taxes are inevitable. I believe that pet peeves should be generic and universal.

Pet Peeves

Here are a few of mine. Thousands more to follow.

  1. Robo-calls and telemarketers
  2. Butt cracks
  3. People who invade your personal space when talking to you
  4. Stealth farters, especially in elevators
  5. All reality TV shows
  6. The guy who leaves the restroom smelling so bad it would knock a buzzard off a garbage truck
  7. The lady ahead of you in the checkout line who waits until all her items have been totaled before looking for her wallet (Did she think that the items would be free?)
  8. All waiters who wait until your mouth is full to ask you how your meal is
  9. Bad grammar
  10. People who found Jesus (Was Jesus ever lost?)
  11. People who come up to you and say “Smile!” (I’m a curmudgeon; smiling isn’t permitted unless the person saying “Smile!” falls into an open manhole.)
  12.  Public nose pickers and crotch scratchers (Yes, I’m guilty but at least I try to do these ugly things in private.)
  13.  Parents who abandon their uncontrolled children in stores, malls, movie theaters until you discipline the kids and the parents suddenly appear and act indignant.
  14. Drivers who take up two parking spaces
  15. The guy next to you who coughs continually on a non-stop flight from NYC to Buenos Aries
  16. The lady at the dining table next to you whose piercing shriek of a laugh would break glass (and eardrums)
  17. All commercials or ads involving the digestive system
  18. Born again anything (Please stay dead.)
  19. The phrase “Can I give you some advice?”
  20. People who make lists of pet peeves.

I know that you are itching to tell me your pet peeves so go ahead, I dare you; I double dare you; I triple dare you. (Yes, that’s another pet peeve.)

 

Are you an Atholl?

 

Before you say no, consider “What’s in a name?”

“A rose,” said Juliet to Romeo, “by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Oh, yeah?  What if your local nursery had a beautiful looking rose named “Garbage Dump on a Hot, Humid Day (or G’Day)?”  The nursery notes that: “The G’Day rose was found at our local land fill among over-ripe vegetables, used condoms, rotten meat and what appears to parts of a victim of The Sopranos.  It is a healthy, compact, low growing plant that has buds that open to dainty, altogether charming flowers.  It is vigorous, heat tolerant and disease resistant with long-lasting flowers of deep blood-red and velvety petals.  Its fragrance – well – denotes its origins and would make a wonderful addition to your garden, especially if you hate your neighbors.”  I think that most of us would pass and settle for roses named Double Delight or New Dawn.

Those of us with long or unpronounceable or phonetically-challenged names suffer consequences from birth not unlike the G’Day rose.  These are consequences not experienced by people named Smith or Jones.

Consider the plight of the Bater’s. It is an English (Devon) occupational name from Old French bateor “one who beats,” possibly denoting a textile or metal worker.  How appropriate when you receive mail addressed to Master Bater.

There is the fine old German family name of Fuchs; In English, it is better that is rhymes with books and not with ducks.

Names do not have to be long to be difficult to pronounce.  Consider Przbrz.  No, it is not priz-biz.  It is Polish and pronounce (phonetically) sheb-bish.

Which brings us to the unfortunately named Peerage of Atholl.

Areyou1

The Duke of Atholl, named after Atholl in Scotland, is a title of peerage in Scotland held by the Clan Murray.  It was created by Queen Anne in 1703 for John Murray, 2nd Marquess.  Now there are a number of perfectly respectable peerages in Scotland – Hamilton, Argyll, Montrose, Huntly and Queensberry to name a few – so what did the head of Clan Murray do to have Queen Anne elevate him to such ignoble status?

According to Wikipedia, the town of Blair Atholl is built about the confluence of the rivers Tilt and Garry in one of the few areas of flat land in the Grampian Mountains.  The Gaelic place-name Blair or field refers to this location while Atholl, which means “new Ireland” refers to the surrounding district.

Aha!  Is it possible that this is how Queen Anne regarded anyone from Ireland?

Keep that in mind when you decide to submit to Ancestry DNA to find your true roots and discover that you are, in fact,

… an Atholl.

 

 

Miss Cellaneous

 

miscellaneous

 

Father O’Grady

Father O’Grady, as he always does after his Sunday morning service, was saying his goodbyes to the parishioners when Mary Clancy came up to him in tears.

“What’s bothering you so, dear?” inquired Father O’Grady.

“Oh, Father, I’ve got terrible news,” replied Mary.

“What is it, Mary?”

“Well, my husband passed away last night, Father.”

“Oh, Mary” said the father, “that’s terrible. Tell me Mary, did he have any last requests?”

“Well, yes he did Father,” replied Mary.

“What did he ask, Mary?”

Mary replied, “He said, ‘Please, Mary, put down the gun.’ ”

 

Available at WalMart

miscellaneous2

Available in three sizes – XXL, XXXL and Blimp.

 

Older Senior Citizen but Still Sharp as a Tack

A senior citizen in Florida buys a brand new Mercedes convertible. He takes off down the road, floors it to 80 MPH and enjoys the wind blowing through what little hair he had left on his head.

“This is great,” he thought as he roared down I-75. He pushed the pedal to the metal even harder. Then he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a highway patrol trooper behind him, blue lights flashing, siren blaring.

“I can get away …from him with no problem,” thought the man, as he bear down on it some more, and flew down the road at over 100 MPH… 110… 120 MPH.  Then he thought, “What am I doing… I’m too old for this kind of thing!”

He pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the trooper to catch up.  The trooper pulled in behind the Mercedes, and walked up to the man.  “Sir,” he said, looking at his watch, “my shift ends in 30 minutes and today is Friday. If you can give me any reason why you were speeding, that I’ve never heard before, I’ll let you go.”

The man looked at the trooper and said, “Years ago my wife ran off with a Florida state trooper, and I thought you were bringing her back.”
The trooper replied, “Sir, have a nice day.”

 

Quotes about Scotch:      :thumbsup:

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis. –Humphrey Bogart

Scotch needs water like a fish needs a bicycle.  –W.C. Fields

I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.  –George Burns

So what are you planning to do with the rest of your life? Develop a drinking problem. More Scotch, please.  –Daniel Silva

One good thing about rain in Scotland. Most of it ends up as scotch.  –Peter Alliss

My family was a bunch of drunks. When I was six I came up missing, they put my picture on a bottle of scotch.  –Rodney Dangerfield

Whoever said laughter is the best medicine had clearly never tasted scotch. –Anne Taintor