Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just another day in History... 27AUG11

The goal here is to have all 366 days done before I die.

410: The Sacking of Rome by the Visigoths ends. Wal-Mart on Palatine Hill is raided and denuded of all bread and milk.

1172: Henry the Young King and Margaret of France are crowned as junior king and queen of England. Along with their crowns, they received a pair of Junior King and Queen decoder rings and a key to the Royal tree house out back.

1776: The Battle of Long Island, in modern day Brooklyn, NY: The British forces defeat the American army under the command of George Washington. This is seen as Washington's biggest set back in his presidential campaign.

1813: Napoleon Bonaparte defeats a larger force of Austrian, Russians and Prussians. It takes these nations YEARS to get over losing to the French.

1859: Oil is discovered in Titusville, PA, leading to the world's first commercial oil well. Within a week, gas prices shoot up to 5¢/gallon. Congress begins investigations into price gouging.

1861: Union forces attack Cape Hatteras, NC. No real reason, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

1896: Anglo-Zanzibar War: A war between the United Kingdom and the island nation of Zanzibar. It lasted only 38 minutes, shortest war in history. The Prime Minister in the UK admitted years later that the economy didn't really get that anticipated boost from the war effort.

1916: Romania declares war against Austria-Hungary 14 months before World War I ends. Just in the nick of time, too.

1922: The Turkish army takes the Aegean city of Afyonkarahisar from the Greeks. The Greeks, in a bold retaliatory move, drink ouzo until their noses bleed.

1927: Five Canadian women file a petition to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking, "Does the word 'Persons' in the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?" To which the Supreme Court of Canada replied, "Yes". Later, each of the Supreme Court justices said that if they answered in the negative, they would've been spending the rest of their lives sleeping on the couch.

1928: The Kellogg-Briand Pact is signed by 61 nations. The Pact, in short, made war illegal. Eleven years later, WWII started. Nice.

1985: The Nigerian government is peacefully overthrown by Army Chief of Staff major General Ibrahim Babangida. Gen. Ibrahim calmly walked into the presidential offices and sat down behind the desk while the acting president took a potty break down the hall. Gen. Ibrahim's first act as ruler was to order the bathroom to be relocated closer to his office.

1991: The European Community recognizes the independence of the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It took Europe a while to recognize the independence because the independence paperwork was wearing a wig and big sunglasses.

1993: Tokyo completes the Rainbow Bridge connecting Shibaura and the island of Odaiba. Immediately afterwards, reports of thousands of ghost dogs loitering about the North end of the bridge, all seemingly waiting for something or someone.

2003: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. Not quite spitting distance, but the members of the Alpha Tau Omikron fraternity decide to "moon" the passing planet just for good measure.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Day in History 26AUG11

This day in history!!! (It's been a while since I've done this, so, hopefully, your tolerance is up):

55 BC: Julius Caesar invades England. The Romans move steadily into the interior of the island, but mayhem ensues as the forces near London. It appears that no one informed the Romans about driving on the left or how to negotiate the roundabouts.

1346: During the Hundred Year's War, the English longbow proves to be superior to the French crossbow. Apparently, the English longbow would've been a really good idea 1400 years previously when Julius came around town.

1429: Joan of Arc makes her triumphant entry into Paris. She was only 17 at the time and she only had about two years to go before she was burned at the stake. Had she known that beforehand, she might've spent some time down in Marseilles during Spring Break.

1498: Michaelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pieta which became one of the most exquisite works of art known to man. Unfortunately, the first attempt by the Master was a total mistake as Michaelangelo misunderstood the contract. Even so, when Michaelangelo was done, it was the most beautiful marble carving of a pepperoni and sausage pizza ever.

1789: In France, the newly formed National Constituent Assembly of France approved the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Up to then, only the Man had rights and the Citizen was completely left out of the process. This was a big step in equal rights for all Citizens everywhere!

1814: The Chilean War of Independence: The Battle of Las Tres Acequias. It originally started out as the Battle of Las Dos Acequias, but another Acequias showed up at the last moment without an invitation and the whole thing had to be renamed.

1883: Krakatoa blows up. No, really, it seriously blows up. Vaporizes. The island in the South China Sea just up and explodes. It's important to point out at this time that Zane had nothing to do with it.

1944: World War II: Charles DeGaulle enters Paris. He, however, doesn't look nearly as cute as Joan of Arc so the turnout isn't as good.

1966: The Nambian War of Independence starts with the battle at Omugulugwombashe. Although this is the official start of the war, people usually site the battle of Crimsha as the first battle because no one can spell Omugal.. Omuguluggawa... that other name.

1970: The feminist movement, led by Betty Friedan, leads a nationwide Women's Strike for Equality. You know, after they made the dinner and put the kids to bed first.

1977: The Charter of the French Language is adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec. No one's been able to understand a thing they've said since.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Things I'm Not Able To Do

I've recently made a discovery. Parents can, supposedly, order their kids with option packages. Ever see those super genius kids? Able to do calculus when they're 6? That kid's parents planned ahead and ordered the √úberMath option package. Those kids that can play any instrument? The Musician package.

Apparently, Mom and Dad, when it came to ask for the additional bonus packages for their son, opted out for the base model.

Here are some of the things that they DIDN'T get:

Polaris Orientation Package: This is the package that allows a person to be able to identify True North at any time, anywhere. A person with the POP can be standing in some unknown area, be spun around a thousand times, buried head first into soft peat and have their brains replaced with Lime Jell-O and they can still point to North. I can find North. I can. It just takes me a while. And a compass.

Wrench Identification Module: If the parents pick this option, the kid will be able to look at ANY nut or bolt and say, "Oh, that's an 11/32." Another person could hold up any wrench at random, hold it up about 15 feet from the individual with WIM and the gifted one will be able to tell if it's a 11mm or a 1/2 inch wrench. Me? If I'm working on something, I have to bring every wrench I own to the project cuz I couldn't pick out the correct wrench if it was standing in a police line-up with the Three Musketeers.

Sighting Wildlife Option: This is a biggie. A person with SWO will be walking along some trail, look up and say, "Hey, look! An elk is on that hillside." "Where?" you ask. "Up there. On that hill." The hill to which they refer is over 50 miles away, covered in thick Old Growth and smothered in fog. Slightly frustrated, you say, "What? Where? THAT hill? In the other time zone?!" "Yeah," SWO says, "you can't see it? It's a four point." As a point of reference, my wife, Lisa, has SWO.

Building Giftedness: The one blessed with BG is the one that can build just about anything. I could walk up to a BG, like Jim, and say, "Whatcha working on?" To which Jim would reply, "Oh, nothing much, eh? I've just built this V8 engine for my truck with toothpicks, some old croutons, a shot of whisky and a pair of old boxers. Took almost two hours to do, but it's worth it." I'm not a builder. I have a hard time building a sandwich. I'm one of those guys that can't hammer to save my life. People that have BG can smash a nail into a 4x4 piece of solid teak lumber with one hit. I try to hammer and the area surrounding the nail will look pulverized while the nail is unscathed.

Car Identification Talent: Ever been around that person that can see a small piece of metal and then say, with total confidence, "That's from the bell housing of a 1958 Nash Rambler." Or they can see a Corvette and tell you what year it was built, where it was built and the name of the guy that built it. They can see a part of a car, like just the tail end, four blocks away and tell you what year, make and model of car it was just by the shape of the tail light. I can tell you it's a... car. It has wheels, mostly. Or, if I'm feeling really spunky, it's a truck. To prove that I'm not beyond hope, I've recently learned the term, "Dually".

Knife Sharpening Ability: This may not seem like much, I agree, but my dad had KSA. He could take a potato chip, any kind of potato chip, you choose, and pull out the sharpening brick thingy. Within two minutes, he would've put an edge on that chip that could slice Uranium. He could fillet fish just by showing the dead thing the knife. I firmly believe that any one of Dad's knives would've cut Obi Wan Kenobi's light saber in twain. I used to watch Dad sharpen a knife and it was like watching an artist. I cannot sharpen knives. Oh, I'm passable, given the right equipment, but not nearly at the Black Belt level of Dad. There was a point in my life where, if a kitchen knife got too dull to use, it was just time to get another.

Threatening Capability: OK, sure, this doesn't seem like a great thing, but it would be nice, just once, to be able to turn on a threatening glare and scare the Holy Cheddar out of someone. I don't have size 15 shoes to wear. I'm not blessed with bulging muscles. Heck, I don't even have a jutting chin to use for intimidation. I'm not talking about walking through this life looking like a barroom brawl about to happen; that's different. I'm just saying that I'd like to have the TC to switch on if the occasion call for it. Enough to make the offending party soil themselves, if need be. Nothing much. Nowadays, if I happen to feel the need to look threatening, people think I'm having a stroke or I've got gas.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things I'd Like To Do While On A Long Flight

Things I'd like to do on a long plane flight but I know I never will:

Halfway through the flight, pull down a big duffle like bag. Tell the person next to you that it's your parachute then ask them where their 'chute is.

Create a rumor that the old lady that's sleeping in 4F is the Air Marshal.

Knock on the cockpit door and yell, "Hey, what's keeping you so long? I gotta GO!".

Build a nine hole mini golf course throughout the cabin.

Keep staring out the window and tell people, in a William Shatner voice, "There's.... somethingonthewing!"

Try to climb into the overhead compartment and ask the stewardess for a pillow and a blanket.

Tell everyone you see that Bob Seeger is up in first class and he's going to film his next music video while in flight.

Start a Karaoke party, but only play instrumental music.

During the inflight movie, keep asking the stewardess for popcorn, Milk Duds and a large Coke.

When it's the most quiet in the cabin, quickly stand up and shout, "Oh, Geez! Who cut one?!"

While looking out the window, tell your rowmate that you would swear the plane passed that wave twenty minutes ago.... You're flying in circles! You're lost!

Calmly stand up, get to the middle of the aisle in the center of the plane and yell, "It's DANCIN' TIME!" and start groovin'.
Tell the lead stewardess that she shouldn't be scared, but Elvis is loitering in the bathroom. Again.

If you're in first class, take a peek back into the coach section then tell your other firsties that the peasant class and the rabble are rioting with pitchforks and torches! Hide the silver!

If you're in coach, take a peek up into the first class section and then tell the rest of the peasant class and rabble of the elitist scum and bourgeois pigs that are trampling the rights of us, the citizens of the world! Viva la Revolucion!

Half way through the flight, put on a WWI pilot's costume, complete with scarf and pilot's hat and start heading to the back, explaining to other passengers that you need to man the tail gun as you're now flying over enemy territory.

Tell the guy two rows back that it's his turn to go to the cockpit and fly for a spell.

Start walking to the back of the plane. Start to laugh and say, "I CANNOT believe how easy it was to take those handcuffs off!"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things For Volunteers To Do At The Railroad Museum

I have a friend who volunteers at a Railroad Museum in Southern California. She told me that the day was going slow, so I tried to thing of things for her to do to wile away the hours.

Things to do when things are quiet at the Railroad Museum:

Go to the Butcher shop and pick up a cow's femur. Stick the femur into the firebed of the steam locomotive. Watch for their reactions.

Take a dollar's worth of pennies and line them up on the track. After the train rolls them flat, tell someone that the flattened coins are their paycheck.

Tell people that "this locomotive" was more powerful than Superman, but no one wanted to embarrass the guy so no one said anything.

As for the "other locomotive", tell visitors that it was the one that "thought it could" go up that hillside, but was, in fact, a wuss locomotive and couldn't do it. It spent its remaining years being Thomas' sidekick in commercials.

Tell another volunteer that they need to check the air pressure in the wheels of the 4-4-2.

Argue with a visitor that "this" engine only takes unleaded coal. High octane, at that.

Tell some young punk that it's not a cow catcher, but part of the after market aerodynamic package for that model.

Caution a visitor that No. 1408 is powered by a nuclear reactor and that, even though the reactor's shielding is in need of serious overhaul, there should be no problems with overexposure. As long as they only stay around it for less than 15-20 seconds. And wear the suits. And go through vigorous decontamination scrub downs afterwards. Enjoy!

Put up a sign that says, "Please Do Not Feed The Locomotives".

Make up stories about the various hobos that lived in the boxcars.

Tell everyone that things are haunted. Everything is haunted. Doesn't matter. That locomotive is haunted. So is that coal car. And the men's bathroom. As well as that brochure. It's all haunted.

Choose one locomotive and make it "The One" that did it all. It's the one that took Lincoln to his burial in Illinois. It took Lenin into Russia. It carried the parts for the first atomic bombs. It holds the secret to the Coke Formula. Lee Harvey Oswald used it for target practice. It plowed the Ho Chi Minh trail. It accompanied Christopher Columbus to the New World.

Tell people not to touch a certain caboose as it's "in season" and can be temperamental. Put a bunch of caution cones around it for safety.

Tell people that you'll be glad to help them if they first go and lift that locomotive over their heads.

Answer the phone and act like it's some high grand mucky muck on the other end. When you hang up, tell the director of the museum that Leland Stanford wants his engine back for a coastal trip with Randolf Hearst. Right away.

Make up stories for each of the locomotives. How each of them are an endangered species and you're trying to breed them and release them back into the wild.

Get a dog leash. Attach it to one of the locomotives and then secure it to a peg in the ground. Tell people that this locomotive tries to run away often.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crusades You Never Knew About


On paper, there are nine Crusades that took place between the 11th and 13th centuries. There were a number of official crusades that took place in between the numbered ones, like the Albigensian Crusade, the Children's Crusade and the Norwegian Crusade. The actual and technical number of crusades, depending on who you talk to, resides around 20.

There are a bunch of Crusades that happened even between the ones that are listed in history books.

Like, between the Third and Fourth Crusade, there was the Pi Crusade but it never came to anything as everyone just sort of wandered around in circles.

In 1215 there was the a crusade that followed hard on the heels of the Children's Crusade: The Young Bachelor's Crusade. Unfortunately, it only went as far as the beaches in Barcelona during Spring Break.

In 1057, before the very first Crusade, there was the Practice Crusade. A bunch of knights piled into an old Volkswagon horse buggy and went on a sight seeing trip to Constantinople and maybe as far Antioch. It's rumored that these knights were witnessed throwing some rocks at the fortress walls and yelling some unkind epithets.

During the Fall of 1286, when Crusades were falling out of vogue, another group of knights got together for one last jaunt called the "Hoorah Crusade". One early September morning, the knights left town and made it as far as MacTartan's Pub on the South Road. After 72 hours on a bender, the wives of the knights came and picked them up and took them home.

Late in the 12th century, a crusade picked up momentum in the North of France. This time the knights had a plan. This time they were focused. This time it would work. They would retake Jerusalem and set up that chain of Pastry Shops and Hair Salons like they always wanted. Sadly, by the time the group reached Tel Aviv, they were bickering and all sorts of pouty. In fact, it is noted in Gaston's diary that at one point Pierre "slapped Anton silly." Nothing ever came of their crusade.

Then there was the crusade that was headed up by legendary Sir Rock Chamberlain, the hero of the Battle of Wispy Breakfast Cereal. This was in 1108, the same year the Birmingham Rabid Ravens beat the Oslo Thin Toupees. Anyway, Sir Rock lead the ragged band of crusaders for the Holy Land. It was a little too late for the crusaders to realize that Sir Rock was directionally challenged. After three weeks of being stranded in Thule, Greenland, the unhappy band of crusaders took the first boat back home, leaving Sir Rock to figure out that "silly little compass thingy".

In 1243, Guiseppe Leuvo and his gang of thugs headed out on what was to be the biggest crusade of all. They got as far as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and told the Sultan that he was not to "cross-a da family. Da family don't do too well wid da likes of YOU comin' onto OUR turf. Youse stay offa da island Sicily." Having said their piece and had passed on the message from their Don, Guiseppe took his entourage on home. Thus ending the Sicilian Crusade.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

BUMPER STICKERS I'd like to see....


Be yourself. No one else wants the job.

If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger. And probably scarred up and looking like twelve miles of bad road.

Best things in life are free. Then again, many of the worst things in life are free, like Ebola.

We all live downstream. Just know, however, I live more up streamier than you.

Unfortunately, minds are NOT like parachutes. Minds are made of organic matter whereas parachutes are mostly nylon. Sheesh.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons. You can mess with Leprechauns all you want, tho', cuz they're small and don't breathe fire.

I'm apathetic and I vote!

I'm proof that the government will give a driver's license to just about any gun wielding conspiracy theorist psychotic as long as they pass the proper tests. Imagine THAT.

Have you hugged a Box Jellyfish today? Don't.

Yardsticks RULE.

Why are you reading this bumper sticker? Wouldn't watching the road be a better use of your time?

I think it's time that you come to the conclusion that your lack of friends and your constant listening of AM talk radio is connected.

Vote for Kona/Hale in 2012! Just in time for the end of the world!

Ignorance isn't an excuse. It's an intellectual orientation.

If wishes were horses, then... then... wow. That would be really weird.

I think it's high time we, as a society, turned our attention to the ADHD crisis that has invaded our childrens.... Hey, nice car. Is that new?