Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: News

Ways to Get Rid of Your Surplus Money

This morning I went to hang one of my photographs at Starbucks and heard a snippet of an interview on NPR. It was about a lady who started sending requests in the 1980’s to people asking for donations to help bring down America’s debt. She and a bunch of other people sent hand-addressed letters to thousands of people.

What a crazy idea! Asking people who already pay taxes to contribute more money to the gov’ment (that’s how I learned to say it in the south, just like I learned to call the police “the law.” Just thought you’d want to know).

The even crazier thing is that people responded by sending money. These people got thousands of people to send thousands of dollars to help reduce the national debt. After they’d counted it all, they took a month-long trip to Hawaii and spent most of their days being pampered with massages and foot rubs by cabana boys. Ahhhh, doesn’t that sound good?

Of course I’m kidding. That’s how the story would have ended today, because we Americans (pronounce the “mer” in this word like the “mer” in “mermaids” if you want to sound Southern – or should I say like an East Tennessee hick?).

Hand up in the back? You want to know the difference? Let me explain. A “hick” is someone who ain’t got no edgy-cation and thinks possum is the other what meat (insert “white” for “what” if you don’t understand. I think you got that edgy-cation was education. No? Well, it was). So you got your “southern” accent, and then you got your “southern hick” accent.

The difference between the two is in the way the words are pronounced. So a southerner might say the word “education” like this: “ed-u-ki-tion,” so the “southern” part of the word is changing the “ka” sound to a “ki” sound. I changed the “c” to a “k” for 2 reasons. (1), I didn’t want to confuse you by making you think the “ci” was pronounced like “sigh,” and (2) I’m going for a Guinness Book of World Records on how many of these (“) things I can put into the body of one blog.

Where was I? Oh yeah, hick. The difference between a “general” southern accent and a “hick” accent is where the emphasis is on the word and the way it’s pronounced with a wad of Skoal in your mouth.

Let’s hold the questions until the end, because I’m trying to tell you about the lady on the radio. She claimed there are still people sending in donations. Last year they sent 1.3 billion dollars! (or something like that. I’d suggest you do your own fact checking because I can’t vouch for these numbers, this lady, or whether I dreamed all this. It was 5:30 in the morning and I had not yet had my coffee, for crying out loud. Be sure to let me know if I’ve misstated because I truly give a damn).

I can see that we’re running out of time. The point of bringing this up was to inform you that there are people out there with surplus money. It is up to each and every one of you to figure out how you can get your hands on it. When you come up with a way, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Hey, I just had a great idea! If you find that you have surplus money laying around just getting in everyone’s way, don’t keep tripping over it. Send it to me, preferably in a plain brown wrapper. 20’s are nice. It’s for a good cause. You’ll be glad you did.

Why Scratching Is Bad for the Environment

I went at the crack of dawn this morning to Starbucks to hang some of my photos for a little show I’m having and I listened to NPR news on the drive back home. Actually, it wasn’t the crack of dawn, I slept right through that because I don’t use an alarm clock. The rain, jabbing persistently and vehemently on my roof, awakened me to a dark, dreary, milky-grayish light that informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was standing on the platform watching the train carrying the crack of dawn fade off into the sunrise (if there had been any, which there wasn’t).

Oh that felt good to write, like a nice long, dog-like stretch after a good night’s sleep. But I am not here to wax poetic. Nor am I here to wax the furniture. Or your car, for that matter. I’m here to try to write something amusing. NPR was telling us about the BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is not in any way, shape, or form amusing. My heart goes out to the millions of fish and fowl that will lose their lives as a result of this tragedy, as well as the millions of people who will lose their livelihoods.

I will try, however, to write something humorous about the oil companies, which some might say is no laughing matter either, but I have to write SOMETHING. The story this morning on NPR was about oil companies scrambling to avoid expensive safety regulation that is sure to be the government’s way of slapping them for being naughty and having yet another massive oil spill. I was grumbling about “those stupid oil companies” when I realized I was, in fact, at that very moment, driving a vehicle that depended on oil to operate (albeit only SOME oil because it is a hybrid which can go two to fifty times farther on a tank of gas than the average car on the road today, not that I’m trying to rub your nose in it).

Then it occurred to me that I would drive a non-oil based car if someone would make one and give me convenient places to re-charge or re-fuel it. I’m going to hear from people in California saying that, in fact, GM made a prototype electric car 20 years ago that ran great and everyone loved, but when the executives at GM met with the executives at BIG OIL (BO) – apt initials, aren’t they? – they decided, after much head and crotch scratching, that it would be in their best interests to NOT have people LOVING the EV1 (their electric vehicle) because it would put all their service departments out of business (electric cars don’t need oil changes), not to mention oil refineries, gas stations, Lava soap and similar products to get mechanics’ hands clean right down to the fingernails, and a plethora of other industries that depend on oil for the lifeblood of their bottom line.

These scratching executives decided that a certain California legislator who had the power to throw out the clean air standards probably had an itch as well, and so they all reached into each other’s pockets and scratched until they were all satisfied that in the end, their mutual bottom line was far, far more important than clean air or, for that matter, innovation, Yankee ingenuity, state of the art technology, or a really cool vision for the future.

These executives snatched back all the EV1’s (they were on loan to 400 consumers to try out), and they crushed them into a mass of metal you could fit into the palm of your hand (although it weighed 8 trillion tons) in order to remove all trace of the vehicles. Instead, they started pushing Hummers (army vehicles seen in old WWII movies), which take two parking spaces and get -4 miles per gallon, and, coincidentally, you can buy from GM.

Small world, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, other companies with Yankee ingenuity (that happened to all be in Asia) started making electric cars and hybrids. These soon became the world’s most popular vehicles. GM responded by building bigger and bigger SUVs and, in a miracle of marketing, sold them because they convinced the general public (who also has the word “general” in their name – it really IS a small world) that their toddlers would not be safe in any car except one that gets single-digit fuel economy.

This marketing strategy worked so well that now it is nearly impossible to find a parking space because, to be safe, these vehicles also need to have one wheel over the line on both sides so that only cars with the dimensions of a two by four can fit in there.

If we fast-forward to the present, we see GM crawling to the Government and grabbing millions of dollars in bailout money with that very same hand that was scratching oil companies and legislators not so long ago.

What has this got to do with the Gulf of Mexico? I would explain it, but I’ve run over my word limit. I apologize for leaving you to scratch your head and figure it out on your own.

No News Is the Best News

I read the news today, oh boy. It’s not my habit – I actually prefer to live in a vacuum. However, I still take the paper to do one little puzzle, and on occasion I like to see what’s going on in the world.

The front page was heady with this breaking news: Conan O’Brien is getting a show on TBS. I thank my lucky stars I picked this day to read the paper because this is news I need to know. I like O’Brien – not to look at but he’s pretty entertaining and seems like a nice guy. He’s not using the f-word all the time, which is forbidden on network TV but he might be able to get away with it on cable. However, Steve Koonin, whose name appears to rhyme with Conan which is probably the main reason he’s giving O’Brien a show, says that “Conan’s not a dirty comedian.” I hope this means that neither his tongue, nor his odor, will be foul.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church continues to dig itself in deeper. Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, says homosexuality is the problem with pedophiles. I’m Catholic, and I just have to wonder. When is someone going to muzzle these guys? You cannot justify abuse on any level, and to even hint at a link with homosexuality is going to get you a lot of enemies. It is never politically correct to say anything about homosexuals.

According to another headline, at least the Church has laid down some “official” laws to make sure abuse no longer happens, but that’s been in place for awhile, at least at my church. I had to sign all kinds of papers and have a criminal background check when I taught Sunday school a few years ago – I’m surprised they didn’t fingerprint me. The Vatican is heading in the right direction, but it will be one step forward and two steps back if someone doesn’t tell those Cardinals to put a sock in it.

I wrote sometime in the recent past about being scared of road rage. Turns out it’s happening all around me. A motorist has filed a suit against a police officer for road rage. The motorist claims the off-duty officer flashed him the finger in traffic and called him an expletive. I’m not sure what an expletive is, but it’s probably not something Conan would say. Anyway, the motorist decided to follow the guy, who he didn’t realize was an off-duty officer, to get his license number. When he pulled over, the off-duty officer pulled over too and got out of his car, holding his gun by his side. He yelled at the motorist that he was an expletive and couldn’t expletive drive.

Then the newspaper, being impartial, gave the officer’s version. He said the motorist ran a red light and nearly caused a wreck. When this occurred, the officer, who’s name, can you believe it, was “Nice,” pulls alongside the motorist and says, “Nice, thanks for almost hitting me back there.” The officer also claimed he drew his gun as a precaution. I would almost believe him except he’s been involved in a couple of other incidents, one involving a prisoner’s death for which he was cleared. Even though that seems to reveal a pattern of violence and hot headedness, it didn’t carry as much weight in my mind as him using his own name, “Nice,” to describe something that he found to be very irritating  – a guy running a red light. If he thinks this is “nice,” what does that tell you about how he feels about his own name? I’ll let the psychologists sort that out. I’m still trying to figure out why an off-duty officer would get into a fracas with a motorist that led to drawing his gun and perhaps getting into a gun fight – WHEN HE’S GOT A 6 WEEK OLD BABY IN THE CAR WITH HIM.

For one thing, he shouldn’t have been allegedly shouting expletives in front of the baby. I wonder if Conan should have a talk with him.

Well, that’s all the news I could take for one day. When they say “no news is good news,” they sure got that right.

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen