My Can Runneth Over

Today I have recycling on my mind. It seems that we do way too little of it. If you have some good suggestions for things lazy people might do to create less trash and save the environment — other than quit being so lazy — feel free pass them along.

I don’t know where it all comes from, but it seems that I am carrying out more trash lately than ever before. I don’t think I’ve suddenly started using more consumer products, at least not enough to account for my growing trash collection.

A lot of it comes in the mail. I’ve found myself throwing away more and more unopened mail even though I’m on every “do not contact” list I can find. I get an annoying number of catalogs. I think businesses could save consumers a lot of money if so much was not spent on printing colorful advertisements.

Some of the trash is thrown in the driveway disguised as the local newspaper. The paper is four pages long with a few articles and a lot of ads. Then there are the enclosed circulars for grocery stores, drug stores, fast food, or whatever. It’s hard to believe they are still actually calling it a newspaper.

The other thing ending up in the trash can is product packaging. A sealed bottle is inside a cardboard box wrapped with cellophane. By the time you finish peeling it, you wonder if there is anything inside at all. Product tampering has caused some of the extra packaging. The rest of it I don’t understand.

The things that need more packaging seem not to have it. Take cookies, for example. They come wrapped in thin cellophane, Once opened, the package cannot be closed. Lately they have started putting a flimsy sticky flap to reseal the package. Why don’t cookies come in a Ziplock bag so they do not get soft before they are eaten?

Other snacks are just as bad. Potato chips are impossible to get home without being crushed and once open they cannot be closed. But kitty litter comes in a sturdy plastic jug or a hard plastic bucket that is used once and then goes to the landfill.

Some trash can be recycled. I save aluminum cans and donate them to a charity that recycles them. Some plastic bottles can be recycled and some paper, but around here you have to haul all the stuff to a recycling center. I have heard of cities that have curbside pickup for recycled items. Where I live, you are lucky to get the trash picked up at all.

So, I keep throwing it out and throwing it out, two large trash cans per week, wondering where it all comes from. I feel guilty and wasteful for polluting the environment, but not guilty enough to spend half my weekend hauling it to a recycling center.

I read an article on uses for old newspapers, everything from lining the hamster cage, to cleaning windows, to shredding it for mulch, to rolling it up for fireplace logs. I wonder how much of the excess trash is actually from old newspapers any more since a lot of news is now delivered electronically.

I wish they could come up with a practical use for some of the other stuff. Even if you reuse something like a plastic grocery bag, it ends up in the trash can sooner or later. And some things are labeled “do not reuse” like bottles of water.

Cardboard boxes need to be taken to the convenience center. I don’t know what they do with them there, recycle them I hope. I do not have that many large boxes except when I am seduced by Amazon and order something by mail. No wonder landfills are so large and so full. Multiply my trash by the population of the U.S. alone, and it is quite a problem, indeed.

I am quite certain that someday an archaeologist of the future will dig up our remains and say, “Too bad about the people of the twenty-first century. They were a thriving civilization until they buried themselves in their own garbage and became extinct.”

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Lewis Grizzard’s Typewriter

Recently I have been reading some articles by and about the great southern humor writer, Lewis Grizzard. If you have never read any of his work, part of it can be found online and it is well worth the read.

Seeing pictures of Lewis Grizzard and his manual typewriter. I’m pretty sure that it is exactly like my old Royal that I have retired to the back of a closet under the stairs. I’m relatively certain my vintage Royal still works if I could find a ribbon for it. Grizzard wrote a column about his typewriter in 1983. Unlike Grizzard’s typewriter, my Royal has all the keys — and will type both an “e” and “u” — at least it would the last time I saw it.

Trying to type an error-free document in the times of the manual typewriter was a nightmare. Grizzard probably he didn’t care how impossible it was and just kept typing. If he made an error, he could not backspace and fix it, though. In the days of manual typewriters, you had to erase your errors with an ink eraser and then retype.

Grizzard had to do his own spelling too or look up the word in a dictionary. Spelling and grammar have vastly improved since the computer spellchecker was born. Now we can even cut and paste and move paragraphs around electronically. In typewriter days, cutting and pasting was literally that. You used scissors and rearranged paragraphs with scotch tape. If you made any serious errors when typing on a manual, an entire page might need to be retyped. I’ve heard that the floors of old newsrooms were littered with crumpled retypes.

Maybe Grizzard had enough skill to avoid excessive errors or enough persistence at ignoring them and muddle through. Or maybe he just crossed them out and went on since he called columns in to an assistant anyhow.

When White-Out came along in a little bottle with a brush like fingernail polish, it became much easier to fix typos. You just had to be careful to let the paper dry before trying to type on it. I can’t imagine a man like Grizzard using a sissy product like White-Out. He would rather retype.

When electric typewriters came along, they practically typed by themselves. We became speed-writing demons at 60 wpm. Lewis Grizzard didn’t like electric typewriters and continued to bang away on the old manual even though the ribbon stuck and the tab didn’t work. “Electric typewriters make strange grunting noises and type faster than I can think,” he said.

When the IBM Selectric came along, the carriage didn’t move, so you didn’t have to worry about setting your coffee cup where it would get knocked over when you hit return at the end of a line. Before that, I had to retype a lot of papers that were the victims of flying coffee cups.

The world of writing has not been the same since personal computers. Grizzard called them Star Wars typewriters. Grizzard shunned computers, saying, “I like to hear noise when I work.” Writers think with their fingers and a lot of creative thinking takes place between the keys and the paper or screen. I sort of miss the challenge of my old Royal and banging the keys hard enough to get them to print. Computers and iPads correct errors and misspelled words for you before you even notice anything is wrong.

Machines are too smart when they fix errors you didn’t get a chance to make. One of these days I may dig that old typewriter out of the closet. I could shine it up and find a ribbon somewhere that I could wind onto the old, obsolete spools. Lewis Grizzard wrote 25 books and 3 columns a week on a manual. I would like to try to write a column on it and see how many crumpled retypes end up on the floor.

But, right now it will have to wait. Grizzard might not have understood computers, but he did understand deadlines.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss
Edited

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The unofficial version of a columnist convention

Back in the day, I attended a convention for writers at least once per year. One of the better ones was held in Philadelphia. I thought I would let you in on my memories with an unofficial version of the conference. 

It was the annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Members were bribed into going with promises of cheesesteaks, column tips, and freebies. I was allowed bring a guest, so I took my honey. We decided to drive instead of flying.

All went well except for one place in Pennsylvania where the Interstate was closed and we had to take a detour. My honey saw a sign for Boiling Spring, a city with a nice duck pond in the center of town, he said. Unfortunately, the detour ended before we got to duck pond. It was probably just as well as I expected a boiling pond with ducks could end up as duck soup.

After we checked in at the hotel, I remember leaving my purse in the car in a parking garage. I wanted honey to go back and fetch it, but he refused, saying he wasn’t walking back down the streets of Philadelphia carrying a purse.

The next morning we decided to see the sights downtown and asked a doorman for directions to Independence Hall. We made dozens of pictures of the old historic building. Later we found out that the building was City Hall, not Independence Hall.

We met up with the group and went to the historic Pen & Pencil Club for a get-acquainted meeting. How do you get a hundred journalists into tiny bar? Tell them humorist Dave Barry is there and they will all be sucked right in.

The opening session of the conference included greetings from the Mayor, Governor and Bill O’Reilly.  We were hoping the politicians would not get long-winded so we would have more time for Dave Barry’s humor.

In the afternoon we toured the historic Battleship New Jersey. Who gives a flip about a ship? I made pictures of the magnificent Philadelphia skyline! Then we toured the real Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell. We couldn’t get any pictures of the crack in the bell due to all the other tourists who were doing the same thing and wouldn’t get out of the way.

While waiting for dinner, we had a tour of the National Constitution Center and the Constitution “Signer’s Hall” with life-size bronze statutes. They appeared to be petrified and I wondered how long they had been waiting for dinner. We had waited a very long time too. 

We rode back to the hotel in a double-decker bus. The tour guide said not to stick arms or feet out of the bus and not to throw anything off. I was riding on the bottom deck. I have no idea what was going on up top, but apparently they were having more fun than we were.

The next morning brought interesting panel discussions of ethics in journalism, research methods, and video columns before we left for lunch at a local sports bar and restaurant. Some of the Philly’s Cheerleaders were there and the male press was more interested in cheesecake than in cheesesteak.

That evening the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Clarence Page, an intellectual and Nobel Prize winner. The bigger they are, the nicer they are, it seems. He was a heck of a charming fellow with a terrific sense of humor and remains one of my favorite columnists even now.

After the convention sessions ended each evening, we gathered at the hospitality suite for networking and socializing. What happens in the hospitality suite, stays in the hospitality suite. Additional funds were raised for the NSNC Education Foundation scholarship by raffling off a terry cloth bathrobe rumored as stolen from a hotel room — a rumor we deny.

And there you have it, my unofficial take on the official take. If officially asked, you didn’t unofficially hear it from me.

Copyright 2007-2021 Sheila Moss
Updated

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The Last Time I Saw Motown

I’m going to Detroit, Motor City, Motown. I haven’t been to Detroit in many years, since before all the bad things that happened there with the automobile industry’s decline and urban decay. The city is supposed to be making a comeback. I’ll find out and let you know.
 
My memories of Detroit are pretty dim at this point. My visit was a long time ago, when my kids were toddlers. Mostly I remember the big Interstates with five lanes of traffic in one direction and getting lost after missing our exit. I don’t know how anyone found their way around with just a map in those days, but we finally turned around and found our way back to the right destination. That could happen anywhere, of course, not just in Detroit.
 
Later, we wanted to go to the Henry Ford museum on the other side of the city from where we were. After our little misadventure on the Interstate, we decided to cut through town using city streets. Big mistake. We wound around through some of the worse ghettos I have ever seen. It took forever, but we finally did actually arrive and tour the museum, which was full of remarkable antique cars and almost worth the effort to get there.
 
We were visiting relatives and Uncle Bob decided to show us around. He, of course, showed us the nicer part of the city, big old Victorian mansions with beautiful red petunias planted in front. I was so impressed by the flowers that I planted red petunias in front of my house for years afterwards. There is more than one side to Detroit and probably more than one side to its story as well.
 
Uncle Bob wanted us to go on a fishing trip with him to the northern peninsula of Michigan and stay in his camper. About all I remember of that little adventure is that it was cold, rainy and miserable. The guys waded out into the lake to fish for salmon and the women stayed in the camper with the kids. I should have stayed at home, but I didn’t realize how bad the conditions would be. So much for salmon fishing.
 
After leaving Detroit, we decided to go to Niagara Falls which is only a short drive if you cut through Canada. We actually made it okay without getting lost or arrested by immigration authorities. The falls were gorgeous and very impressive. Everyone should go there at least once in a lifetime.
 
There were also other attractions besides the falls, like shops with duty-free imported china and beautiful English-style formal gardens. We decided to take a tour on a tour bus. When it came to a petting zoo, we got off the bus to  let the children see the animals. Another big mistake. The animals were aggressive and the goats thought my purse was a feedbag. My pre-school son decided to chase after a goose and ran into mud that was over the tops of his shoes.
 
By the time I got him cleaned up in the restroom, we had missed the last tour bus back and were stranded. We didn’t know that, however, and waited and waited for the bus. Finally, we called the bus company. They sent a special bus to pick us up, but we had to wait another hour for them to come. From that I learned to never leave a tour and go off on your own, regardless of what they say about catching the next bus.
 
I don’t remember much else about that trip. As I said, it was a long time ago when I was younger and less travel savvy. The best part of Detroit was probably the museum. Hopefully, I can avoid goats, mud, salmon-fishing, and driving around in the ghetto this time. I most certainly will not leave a tour and strike out on my own.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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What to Do with a Brass Moose


In California thieves stole 18 lawn statues including a 600 pound brass moose the Associated Press reported. People in California must be pretty strange. I don’t know anybody in my neighborhood with a lawn statue, much less a 600 pound brass moose. In Tennessee my redneck neighbors would probably use it for target practice.

The paper said that the work of art would likely be melted down and sold for scrap metal. It seems that there must be more creative ways to use a 600 pound moose than that. Selling it for scrap metal hardly seems worth the trouble.

I have been trying to think of some alternatives to help save a work of art:

Put it beside the front door of your home and use it for a coat tree or hat rack. Of course, you would need plenty of room for a bass moose that big. If you are a redneck, you could put it on the front porch beside the couch and old washing machine.

Around here people are always looking for something to hold their mailboxes that can’t be knocked down by mailbox bashers or backed over by the neighbors across the street. The moose would look great beside the driveway holding your mailbox. You could plant climbing ivy on it and let it wind around the antlers. Or, if you are in a big hurry, you could use kudzu, the vine that ate the South.

In the back yard you might use it for a bird perch or let the bird use the antlers to build nests. You could even use it to hang your Rock City birdhouse. Conversely, you could put it in the garden and use it as a scare-crow moose. Be aware, though, it might make a handy pit stop for pets in the absence of fire hydrants.

Of course, it would be a great addition to a children’s playground. Children would love having a brass moose to ride while playing pretend cowboy. You could even put rockers on it and make a rocking moose.

At Christmas, you could string mini lights around it and put it on the lawn for a decoration instead of using reindeer.

Assuming you could get it through the door and have several friends with strong backs to help move it, there are many uses for a brass moose inside the house, and I don’t mean as a conversation piece either, although it would definitely be that.

It could be used to hang umbrellas in an entrance hall or as a coffee mug rack or pot rack in the kitchen. You could hang towels on it in the bathroom if, like me, you never seem to have enough empty towel racks. In the bedroom you could use it for hanging neckties, organizing belts, or to hold those extra blankets that you don’t know what to do with.

You could cut a hole in the wall and stick the head through to make a trophy wall piece that would really impress the guys from the lodge. You would not need to shoot it since it is already petrified. The guys would never know that you do not have a freezer full of moose meat.

In addition to melting statues and selling them for scrap metal, thieves sometimes resell the statues they steal. Do they put it on Craiglist? Who buys a brass moose? A lodge, a western wear store, a saddle shop? A barbecue restaurant? I suppose it would be great to advertise a sale on Moose Tracks ice cream or Moose Munch popcorn snacks.

Actually, there is only one really good thing I can think of to do with a 600 pound brass moose. That is to put it out on the front lawn and hope that someone will steal it.



Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

Posted in Home, Humor, Southern Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Explaining Extra Bucks

It seems the older I become, the fewer exciting things there are to write about and the more doctor visits I have to go to. Pitiful when the most exciting thing in your life is the doctor you last went to see.

As those of you who read my column on a regular basis know, I have seasonal allergies and the congestion and sneezing that go with it. It’s not something that people die of, only something that can make you so miserable you wish you were dead.

I received one of those periodic reminders from the doctor that said it was time for my annual check-up. Nothing had changed. I was no better or worse. But doctors have to make a living too, I suppose, so I called for my appointment.

When I arrived, the office was nearly empty. Who wants to go to the doctor when there are so many other things to do and so much traffic to fight doing them? But, at least he wouldn’t be in a hurry, I thought.

He was especially spiffy for a doctor, sporting a large bowtie along with the usual white jacket. He was rather proud of his tie, telling me his wife had invested in several new ties for him. Apparently, it doesn’t take much to make a boring doctor happy. He is somewhat of a nerd, but there are not that many allergy specialists around and he came highly recommended. I suppose you wouldn’t want a jock for a doctor anyhow.

He asked the usual questions and said that I had the usual symptoms, which I already knew about before I paid him to tell me.

Since my last visit, a popular allergy medicine had gone “over-the-counter.” I hate it when things go over-the-counter as that means insurance will no longer pay and the price of the medicine is usually more than the co-pay was.

“Are you doing okay with buying your med over the counter?” the doctor asked. Some patients have difficulty affording high-priced meds and end up not taking them.

I was forced to tell the doctor about the way I procure it for nearly nothing with extra bucks. My pharmacy has an incentive whereby they refund a small percentage of the amount you spend. They call this refund “extra bucks.” How do you explain extra bucks to a doctor? “You have to play their games,” I said, or you end up losing money.

Periodically, I get $10 or whatever in extra bucks, which I can spend in the drugstore, but not for prescriptions, a sneaky way to get you started shopping. As soon as I find out I have extra bucks, I run to the counter and spend all the extra bucks on allergy medicine.

The last time I had extra bucks, it was buy two-get-one-free, so I stocked up. I was pretty well set with a 90 day supply for the price of one bottle. How humiliating to let the doctor know you are so cheap you even squeeze extra bucks.

He laughed, but thought it was just fine and even told me the name of a few other places that patients said they could get the medicine cheap. I’m on my third bottle now, so they better give me some extra bucks soon, or I will be forced to abandon CVS and go to one of the cheaper places. I suppose I could afford to pay the higher prices, but “why” when there are generics and extra bucks?

I wonder if doctors pay more or if they spend extra bucks too?

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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Wasting Time on Facebook

I got sidetracked this morning and didn’t get anything done. I’m always getting sidetracked. It’s Facebook. What is it that makes it so addictive? It is not as if I need any more distractions. There are plenty of them already to keep me on the computer wasting time.

Everybody belongs to Facebook. Is there anyone anywhere that does not belong to Facebook? And they all want to be your friends. “They like me,” your brain says. So, of course, you click “accept” and continue to waste time.

And then it begins, check-ins from people that you hardly know. “I’m at the dentist.” Do people really think I care about their dental problems? But there are enough funny and thoughtful posts to keep me reading, enough interesting and intelligent posts to make me think and forget about how much time I’m wasting.

So, I keep coming back to waste time, even though I’ve not figured out all the features.

In the Facebook world most of the news is good, or at least expresses a point of view that the writer believes in strongly. If you agree, you can “like” their comment. Affirmation they called it in psychology. Or, you can comment on a post — instant feedback — another good way to waste time.

I don’t like one or two word comments. When I see those, I have to wonder why they didn’t just “like” it and move on. People don’t usually make negative comments, and if they do, you can “unlike” them and not see their comments ever again. That’s what they get for wasting your time.

There is one thing that I’ve never been quite sure of. If you unfriend someone, do they know? Do they get an email saying so-and-so has unfriended you? If I have to unfriend someone, I would rather just slip away quietly into cyberspace. I’ve only had to unfriend a few people, so I still have plenty of friends to waste time with.

And then there are pictures. They make your posts more interesting, and you can send them to Facebook right from your cell phone. Or you can post them on your newsfeed where your messages are. I’m not a big picture-posting person. Thinking that everyone wants to see pictures of your grandkids is sort of in the same category as thinking everyone wants to know you are at the dentist.

Probably the most popular feature on Facebook is the link-sharing feature. If you see something online that you like, you can copy the URL and post it as a link on Facebook. It not only posts the link, but it pulls in the headline, a picture, and a lead-in to the story. Many sites have a Facebook icon on them to expedite the process of wasting time.

As you are probably beginning to figure out, people on Facebook often have an agenda. They have a commercial product to push, or, as in the case of celebrities, just want to push themselves. They have marketing managers or publicists that post for them and thousands of “friends.” I’m not really sure if that is better or worse than wasting time posting pictures of your dog, or checking in from WalMart.

That explains most of what I know about Facebook. There is much more that I’m still trying to figure out. All and all, I’d say it’s probably the biggest waste of time there is on the internet, at least until someone figures out a better way to waste time that is more fun.

Gotta go now and see if anyone has posted on my feed. Send me a friend request and I’ll see you on Facebook.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

Posted in Entertainment, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Pill Popper

Today I’m going to venture into the world of medicine. Only young people take one round of medicine and are cured. When you become older, it doesn’t work that way any more.

The other day my doctor actually told me I could quit taking a pill he had prescribed. Quit? There must be something wrong with me. Any time you start taking a pill, you are supposed to continue taking it forever. If the prescription runs out, the pharmacy calls for a new one.

“We’ve found out that after 10 years, you no longer need to take this medicine,” said the doctor. “It helps your bones, but the bone created is not normal bone.”

Not normal bone? Now they tell me — after 10 years. I’ll probably be sprouting horns or getting a hump on my back any day now.

After a certain age, everyone becomes a pill popper. Sooner or later there are medications lined up in the medicine cabinet waiting to be consumed. I have pills of all colors. Pink ones for allergy, yellow ones for arthritis, green ones for depression, red ones for sinus, and boring white ones for everything else. I only need a purple pill to complete my rainbow.

I have a different pill for every symptom and every ache. Actually, it’s good that they come in different colors because I can tell which pill I am taking without bifocals. The generic pills all seem to be white, however. Maybe dye is too expensive or maybe it is only added to make the pill seem worth the money being charged for it.

I seldom leave a clinic without a new prescription in my hand. Doctors are not happy if you have something that can’t be cured, or at least helped, by a pill. The prescription pad practically jumps out of their pocket the minute you describe a symptom. Of course, patients expect to have a pill prescribed whether they need it or not.

Doctors don’t really do the doctoring any more, insurance companies do. They tell the doctor what can be prescribed for a certain illness, preferably in a generic form. You can get the higher priced, name-brand med, but you pay for it yourself or pay a higher co-pay, at best.

My doctor suggested I try a different arthritis pain that was cheaper. “The drug companies like for you to at least try something less expensive,” he said. So, I did. It was not any good. It seems that whatever is bad for you and expensive is what’s good for pain.

When you can get a pill for your pain in generic form, everybody is happy. The doctor gets to prescribe, the patient gets treated and the insurance company gets out cheap.

What really upsets the medicine wagon, however, is when a former prescription drug goes “over the counter.” Insurance companies no longer pay for it, doctors no longer prescribe it, and pills that used to cost a $5 co-pay with insurance now cost $20 over the counter.

Who wins? Not the insurance company as you might expect, but the drug companies. Although they can no longer charge a hundred dollars per prescription, the demand becomes so great that they can scarcely make pills and profits fast enough.

Doctors love sleeping problems. It’s an easy fix. Most of the stuff on the market has a side effect of drowsiness if you read the fine print. We don’t really need a pill that makes green butterflies fly through our bedroom when half the stuff in medicine cabinet causes sleep. Staying awake long enough to take the pills is the trick.

When a drug commercial is on TV, it discloses all the side effects of a drug. The challenge is deciding which is worse, the risk of taking the pill or the risk of going without it. Usually, by the time the commercial is done telling you about the risk of heart attack, depression, loss of appetite, hair loss, high blood pressure and suicide, you decide that the illness is better than the cure.

No wonder I can’t sleep.

The hardest part of all is not having too many pills or even paying for the drugs. The hardest part is remembering to take the stupid pills.

Of course, there is probably a pill for that as well.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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Too Much of a Good Thing

I have this thing for popcorn — popcorn with salt. My popcorn passion comes from childhood. We popped it on the stove in those days, and I knew how much oil and how much corn to add to get it to come out just right every time. You had to shake the pot periodically to get the kernels to the bottom of the pot where they would be hot enough to pop. If you put in too much popcorn, the lid would pop off the pot, so you didn’t want to do that. 

They have ruined popcorn now by making different flavors. Cheese popcorn turns your hands yellow. Carmel corn is covered with candy. You can’t even taste the popcorn anymore for all the extra stuff. When something is already perfect, they should just leave it alone.

Nowadays we don’t use a pot to pop corn. We don’t even use the electric poppers that were prevalent for a while, but are now found mostly at garage sales. In the modern world, we have microwave popcorn. Like everything else these days, popcorn went instant. As always, they tend to have too many varieties: butter, lite butter, plain, salty, movie theater, kettle corn, cheese corn, caramel corn, even Cajun corn. What’s next? Dill pickle corn?

My daughter bought me a giant bag of pre-popped corn. It was so big she could hardly carry it. “I couldn’t resist buying it for you.” she said. I appreciated the gesture, but this is the biggest bag of popcorn I’ve ever seen. The more I eat, the more there seems to be. I know that corn is still growing — in a cornfield or not. 

The bag was so large that I had nowhere to put it away. There wasn’t a cabinet in the house big enough to hold it. The popcorn ended up following me from room to room, like a pet or a mascot. I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t put it in the garage as it might draw mice. I couldn’t put in the bathroom because that’s gross, and besides there wasn’t room. I was getting really tired of dragging that huge bag of popcorn around from room to room.

Finally, I decided to leave it near my computer so I could munch while I worked. It was getting a little stale by now and there seemed to be more of it than when I started. It watched me, waiting for me to notice that it had not been eaten yet. I felt guilty for ignoring it — but you can only eat so much popcorn. I wondered what happened to those big decorative cans we had at Christmas? 

I hate to waste so much popcorn, loving it the way I do. But what else can I do? It seems bigger every day. Maybe I could put it in the bird feeder for the birds — or string it for the Christmas tree, or make popcorn balls for Halloween, or take it to the park and feed the ducks, or take it to the movies and forget it when I leave. 

If you have any suggestions for old popcorn, please let me know — quickly. Meanwhile, if you happen to read in the paper that the roof popped off a house like the lid on a pot of popcorn, you will know it was mine.   

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

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Solar Flares

The other day my phone stopped working. “Solar flares could have caused a computer glitch,” the phone company told me. “We’ve had hundreds of people with this problem.”

Solar flares? I Googled it and sure enough a solar flare had occurred. The sun has been in an inactive period of sleep, according to the article I found. It is becoming more active now and we can expect more interruptions to technology as it awakens.

We now have something to blame for everything that goes wrong, something that we can’t do anything about.

Years ago, a large solar flare caused all sorts of chaos, even burning up a telegraph. Now, however, we have a whole lot more gadgets to worry about than we did back in the 1800’s.

We’ve been having problems with our TV satellite at my house. As it turns out, it’s a bad cable and some incorrect connections in the wiring. But we could easily say a solar flare was to blame.

We couldn’t get the laptop and iPad to connect to the internet, Two hours on the phone with technical support fixed the problem. We still are not sure what caused it in the first place other than messing with the Wi-Fi connection while moving furniture — or perhaps a solar flare.

Come to think of it, we’ve had a lot of odd problems lately. For example, the refrigerator went on the blink and started making a noise. The repairman said the fan went bad. But we know what really caused it, don’t we?

And the hard drive on my computer crashed a few weeks ago too. Remember what happened to the telegraph? Maybe it was a hardware failure like the computer guy said, or maybe it was caused by a solar flare.

Do you suppose a solar flare zapped the timer on my coffee pot and made it run over the other morning? That was quite a mess. I thought coffee pots had an automatic shut off feature when you forget to put the pot under the drip. I would like to think that something caused it other than my inattentiveness.

Come to think of it, nearly everything is run by a computer these days and computers are very susceptible to glitches caused by solar flares.

Window won’t roll down on the car? Burned out mechanical part or solar flare?

Remote control quit working and a new battery won’t fix it? It’s not due to age and worn out parts. Blame it on a solar flare.

Can’t get into the bank account online? Routine maintenance, my eye! They were struck by a solar flare and didn’t want to admit their system was compromised.

Email not working right? I thought I simply needed to upgrade to a newer version. Now I’m beginning to wonder if the upgrade has anything to do with something else, like a you-know-what.

No telling what could happen: traffic lights failing, planes crashing, elevators getting stuck, air conditioners quitting when its a hundred degrees outside, dishwashers stopping in mid-cycle, and, worst of all, the remote control for the television set could quit working.

Unfortunately, as I said before, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot any one can do about it except worry, and why worry about something we can’t do anything about?

Besides, I just saw in the news that a comet will be passing the earth and showering us with meteorites. Meteorites will probably do us in before the solar flares have a chance.

I only hope the meteorites don’t crash through the roof. It is already leaking from the spring storms and crazy weather caused by what-I’m-tired-of-talking-about.

I’m really happy that scientists found solar flares to blame for all of my problems. It is getting where the “computer malfunction” excuse is so overused that no one believes that one anymore.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

Posted in Environment, Humor, Technology, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments