Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Monday, December 09, 2002

From my Email

A few thoughts to make your Monday go a little better:
  • A day without sunshine is, like, night.
  • I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
  • A clear conscience is usually an early warning sign of Alzheimer's.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
  • Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.

Posted by Rich
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The New Christmas Carols

Christmas with the Washington Regulators


Here is the ad copy for our latest release. What do you think?

Ladies and gentleman, the US government Recording Studios is proud to present Christmas with the Washington Regulators! No longer do you have to worry about offending your friends and guests by playing those old, offensive, religiously exclusive holiday classics! We have recorded all new and revised versions of all of your favorite songs, guaranteed to bring back fond memories year after year. Just listen to the new version of “The Christmas Song:

Chestnuts roasting on an environmentally safe non wood or fossil fuel burning oxidation apparatus,
Mythological personification of winter looking fondly at your nose……

Yes, you get 25 of the greatest seasonal songs of all time, including “Rudolph the chromatically challenged Reindeer” who now drives the sleigh, delivering copies of “It Takes a Village” and “Earth in the Balance” to all good little boys and girls, replacing that fashion criminal and exploiter of animals and vertically challenged craftsmen, Santa Claus.

You get the improved version of the beloved "Frosty the Snow Person!":

Frosty the Snow Person
Was a jolly happy golem
With a water bubble pipe
And a button nose,
And two eyes made out of black rocks!

And who can forget this classic of the season?:

We wish you a merry solstice
We wish you a merry solstice
We wish you a merry solstice
And a happy sabbat!

How can you go wrong with these lovely non-discriminating seasonal favorites? Especially since we confiscated all the old versions, and enacted decency laws to prevent their public performance. We put the ‘silent’ in “Silent Night.”

You get all of these updated classics plus 21 other songs for the low low price of $19.95 plus tax*.

Order now! Or we’ll order it for you.

  • 3.95 if your income is < $25,000 per year with 0 dependents or $30,000 with 4 dependents.
  • $14.95 if your income is >$30,000 with no dependents or $35,000 with 5 dependents
  • For everyone else, compute the following: Gross annual income/tax rate found on pg 3,675 of the new simplified tax code, + the greater of line 37a section 12 or line 256 subsection D part xvii of your last year’s income tax return. Adjust this total for the number of dependents per Table 37 on page 243 of Appendix 12 of the 1040EZ form.
    Failure to pay proper sales tax will incur severe penalties.


It looks pretty good, Jim, but I have a few corrections:
  • Delete the value judgment about “good” boys and girls. It could damage their self esteem. Let ‘em all get the books. We’ll just force the bad ones to actually read them.
  • Delete reference to SC. Derives from Christian mythology. Substitute with Kris Kringle.
  • Delete reference to the new laws. There’s still some idiots out there who object to them, and we don’t want to stir them up again.
  • How many times do I have to tell you? Put the tax calculations in the smallest print you can! We need the revenue.

Other than that, run with it.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 15, 2002

Proof positive of time travel

Check out this pic from the Age website:

Obviously, people from the future went back in time and left us this message, unmistakable evidence that time travel is possible.

Or it could be a coincidence....

You be the judge.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 08, 2002

That’s America!

What do you do with a muddy T-shirt?

This part of Tennessee is known for it's red clay. We have a few inches of topsoil, but beneath that is several feet of the hardest, stickiest, clay known to man. When I was digging my garden, I prayed to hit on solid rock, just to get away from the clay.

One year for Easter, I had the bright idea that instead of Easter baskets loaded with candy, I would get each child a tree, to plant for their very own. It would be a much nicer celebration of Easter than gorging on candy. I thought it would be nice to have a lasting reminder of the holiday each time we looked at the trees they had planted. While it didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned, I know I'll always remember it, that's for sure!

The kids loved the idea, and so early that Sunday morning, we went out to plant their new trees. The air was crisp and cool, with a slight breeze. The sun had just come out, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky; simply a beautiful day.
Then we began digging.

Well, I began digging. The kids quickly discovered that after the first three or four inches, it became really hard work, and they quickly found other things to do. I dug the first hole in about an hour, working through the clay, removing rocks, roots, the occasional grub, and some things better left unidentified. Once the hole was deep enough and wide enough, I called the first child back over, and we began to plant the tree. We mixed the clay and topsoil with more topsoil from the garden center, (Have you ever bought dirt? You'll never use the phrase "dirt cheap" again if you have), painstakingly breaking up all the clumps and mixing the two soils with a garden rake to achieve the proper consistency, and began back filling the hole. Then we opened the root ball, and placed the tree in the hole. Now, before you put the tree in the hole, you have to form a slight cone in the bottom of the hole, and spread the roots around it. This helps the tree overcome the shock of being transplanted. The only problem is that the tree has been wrapped in a burlap bag for 6 weeks, and the roots have grown into a tangle worse than my son's shoelaces, before we discovered Velcro. I patiently untangled the ball of roots, losing no more than three or four to breakage, and we put the tree in the hole and covered the root ball. We mounded the soil up and then soaked it with water to fill all the gaps, then added more soil, just like it said in the gardening book. We mulched around the base, and then staked the tree to keep it straight.

One down, five to go. (For the math impaired, yes, I have six children.)

The dew had evaporated off the grass, and the sun had climbed a little higher in the sky. The crisp air gave way to a warm breeze that did little to cool me off as I began the next hole. The pleasant morning passed into an unpleasant afternoon, hot and muggy, more typical of July than April. The next three trees became a back-breaking, mind-numbing routine: Cut the sod away, dig through 3 inches of loam, then swing the pick at the red clay, and scoop the pitiful handful of dirt out of the hole. Put the tree in the hole to see if the root ball is covered yet. Pull the tree out of the hole and begin to dig again. Repeat. Chase dog away from freshly planted tree, re-mulch. Continue on new hole. Check depth of hole. Curse the day you ever thought of planting a tree. Stop dog from digging up newly planted tree. Replant newly planted tree. Go back to new hole and dig. No, the dog won't dig here, only where you've already dug. Trust me on this one. Chase dog away from newly replanted tree again. Trip over guy wire, cutting shin and uprooting newly replanted tree. Lie on the ground and curse Johnny Appleseed, and everybody remotely connected with Arbor Day. Get up, replant newly uprooted, freshly replanted tree. Continue work on new hole. Decide that the root ball doesn't absolutely have to be covered completely and plant new tree. Cover with topsoil and chunks of clay, then mulch. Dig up tree to stop child from crying because he didn't get to plant it. Re-plant freshly dug up tree, with said child's assistance. Proceed to next hole. Repeat three more times. Rig lighting to continue digging in the dark.

The day was gone; the yard was covered in darkness nearly as black as my heart. I was tired. The blisters on my hands had broken, re-blistered, re-broken and scabbed over. My back was permanently deformed; only several hours on the rack would get me to stand straight again. I was numb below the waist, except for the cut on my shin. Somewhere during the day, I had begun to loathe nature. As I swung the pick, I dreamed of napalm drenched rainforests, and barrels of Agent Orange, ridding the earth of every tree. I fantasized about strip mines as far as the eye could see, and endless acres of asphalt. But I couldn't disappoint my kids. They were counting on Dad to help them create new life in our yard, and I couldn't let them down. This was a family project and we had to finish it. What could I do?

So, I called them back outside (they had been inside watching TV for the last 4 hours, sticking their heads out and asking me if their holes were ready yet) and prepared to dig the last hole. Then I noticed something. Right near the front of the house was a little depression where the grass grew greener than anywhere else. This little depression was almost the perfect size for the last tree's root ball.

I know what you're thinking; I was thinking the same thing. But I was exhausted, and I didn't care anymore.

I cut the sod, slashed the root ball, dumped the tree into the hole, and put the last of the topsoil and the last of the mulch around the tree, creating a volcano shaped mound that completely disregarded all the advice in my gardening book.

I'm sure that some day in the future, my plumber will curse the idiot who planted a tree on top of the septic tank. I will join him in that cursing, and blame it on the idiot who lived there before me.

So, like I said, the red clay here is bad. It also stains everything from clothing to shoes to small animals. I've spent a lot of time cleaning that clay off of shoes, trying to avoid tracking it inside. My children aren't quite so diligent, so despite my best efforts, my carpet, which was once gray, has assumed a ruddy hue reminiscent of a Burnt Umber Crayola crayon, which isn't too bad because it helps the paw prints from the dogs blend in.

While most people, myself included, look at something like that and see it as a nuisance, others see it as a gold mine.

I have a buddy at work who is of the second sort. He collects dirt and clay from sporting venues and uses it to die T-shirts and Polo Shirts, then sells them as memorabilia. Tractor pulls, short tracks, baseball fields, wherever there's mud and people playing in it, he's there. Think about that for a minute; he's making good money selling dirty shirts.

Is this a great country or what?

Posted by Rich
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Friday, November 01, 2002

This man must be stopped!

Forget Saddam, Osama, Kim Jong, and the rest of those guys. The man I'm about to expose has caused more damage to the world than all those folks put together. I'm talking about Mike Darnell, head of Fox's reality TV programming, and the man responsible for bringing us "Who wants to Marry a Millionaire," "Celebrity Boxing" 1 and 2, and "Boot Camp," among others. These offenses alone are worthy of pre-emptive military action, but this diabolical genius has conceived a plot so foul, so utterly horrifying that the devil himself is quaoted as saying "Mike is BAD!"
What is this heartless monster planning?
Memo to Deborah Gibson, Gerardo and any former New Kid on the Block not named Donnie: Call your agents -- now.

Fox is developing a summer reality series that would give washed-up pop idols a chance to kick-start their careers. The show, tentatively titled "Second Chance," would mix the retro appeal of VH1's "Behind the Music" with the talent show and audience interaction elements of Fox's supersmash "American Idol."

The return of Tiffani, Debbie Gibson, Taco, Terry Jacks (arggghhhh!), Menudo, Donnie Osmond, the Bay City Rollers, Scott Baio, everybody who ever sang disco, it's just too horrible to think about.
I urge all of you reading this now, all 10-15 of you, to write to your Congressman, to the President, to the UN, anybody you can think of. Mike Darnell must be stopped immediately, using all available methods. Write today; the sanity you save may be your own.....

Posted by Rich
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Anthrax Scare in Knoxville

Tennessee Volunteers' football practice was delayed on Thursday for nearly
two hours in Knoxville. One of the players, while on his way to the locker
room happened to look down and notice a suspicious-looking, unknown white
powdery substance on the practice field.

Head coach Fulmer immediately suspended practice while the FBI was called in
to investigate.

After a complete field analysis, the FBI determined that the white substance
unknown to the players was the goal line. Practice was resumed when FBI
Special Agents decided that the team would not be likely to encounter the
substance again.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, October 31, 2002

Best Halloween Cartoon


Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Meditations on Matrimony

Two old bachelors were discussing their lives, and how they'd stayed single so long.
One sighed and said to the other, "once, long ago, I met a woman and fell in love at first sight."
The other asked, "Why didn't you marry her?"
"I took a second look!"

The honeymoon was over, and she had discovered that two cannot live as cheaply as one. Disappointed, she became a terrible nag. Nothing was ever good enough. Finally, one night in the midst of a major argument, she cried, "Before we were married, you told me you were well off!"
"I was," he replied bitterly. "I just didn't know it!"

I haven't spoken to my wife in years.

I don't want to interrupt her!

Two for the ladies

Women's faults are many
Men have only two
Everything they say
And everything they do!

A husband is proof that a woman can take a joke!

From the Devil's Dictionary:
LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
MARRIAGE, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

Love is blind, but marriage is an eye opener

Love is a sweet dream. Marriage is the alarm clock!

He promised to go through hell itself for her. She married him and now he's doing just that.

A bachelor thinks he's happy, until he gets married.
Then he knows he was.

Marriage means commitment. Then again, so does insanity.

And finally:

When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her. -- Guitry

No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

Posted by Rich
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Monday, October 21, 2002

A sign that blogging is over…

We're featured in Doonesbury, a strip that was topical and timely in the 70's but has become tepid and tiresome.

Trudeau should have done like Berkely Breathed and gone out on top.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, October 17, 2002

First Bigfoot, now Big Bird?

First Bigfoot, now Big Bird? Anchorage, Alaska is being visited by a bird the size of a small airplane.
A giant winged creature, like something out of Jurassic Park, has reportedly been sighted several times in Southwest Alaska in recent weeks.

Villagers in Togiak and Manokotak say they have seen a huge bird that's much bigger than anything they have seen before.

A pilot says he spotted the creature while flying passengers to Manokotak last week. He calculated that its wingspan matched the length of a wing on his Cessna 207. That's about 14 feet.

Other people have put the wingspan in a similar range.

reminds me of the Mothman...

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

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Posted by Rich
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