Friday, December 26, 2008

The Christmas wrench!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas (I did) and I'd like to share the story I'll remember from this year.

Well, there are two of them actually -- one involves a wrench and the other involves boysenberry syrup. I'll start with a little story I like to call The Christmas Wrench.

On Christmas Eve, my wife prepared sweet potatoes and ground up the peelings in our garbage disposal. The lines between the garbage disposal and the wall clogged because, as I learned from doing some research on the Internet, sweet potato peelings are hard on disposals.

So, I needed to get a plumber's wrench so I could pull the pipes apart and get rid of the clog. The problem, of course, was that it was Christmas Eve and all the stores were closed.

Fortunately, Wal-Mart was open when I headed out at about 5:55 p.m. I got to the store and was turned away by this fellow -- the store closed at 6 p.m. and I showed up right about that time.

I said, "But, the cash registers are still going!"

He said the registers would be open until 6:15 p.m. to check out everyone who was in the store. That's all I needed to know.

A lady showed up and distracted the fellow by going through some hysterical tale about how she just had to get in Wal-Mart to buy a last minute present. While he was dealing with her, I slipped into the store.

Heh, heh!

While I was running to the hardware section, I started to wonder if I was doing the right thing. I mean, I essentially sneaked into a Wal-Mart to go buy a wrench. No matter, however. I grabbed my wrench and checked out by 6:10 p.m.

I didn't make eye contact with the guy who tried to block me from coming in the store. I was able to use the wrench on the kitchen sink and get rid of the clog so my wife could keep making Christmas dinner. That was a very good thing as we had a lot of family members over for Christmas dinner.

Yes, that wrench saved Christmas. Sometimes, then, being sneaky is a good thing.

Finally, boysenberry syrup!

Last month, I posted a rant about the fact that boysenberry syrup wasn't available at the IHOP here in scenic Benton, Ark. You can't get any at the IHOPs in Little Rock, either, and I've been furious about it.

I dashed off an e-mail and got a reply from IHOP informing me that individual IHOPs could choose to carry the syrup, even though many of them don't. My little brother and his wife live in Greensboro, N.C., and the IHOP they go to does carry the wonderful syrup.

So, what did they do? They bought a gallon of the stuff and sent it to me with one of those plastic bears that usually contain honey. I got an IHOP gift card, too.

My brother and sister-in-law tell me that I'm all set up to go to IHOP and take my own syrup with me. That's a heck of a good gift, folks. I need to try harder when picking out presents for them next year. They know me well and got something that is so cool that my mind reels just thinking about it.

Thanks to my brother and his wife (Alev, you are now my favorite sister-in-law), my wife bought some pancake mix so I can enjoy my boysenberry syrup in the morning.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I came out pretty well but, more importantly, my wife was thrilled that I bought her a bunch of gifts that she absolutely wanted and adored (the sapphire and diamond ring was the top of the heap, seemingly) and the kids are ecstatic over their new Nintendo DS systems and the games that go with them. The best thing yet, however, is that we had the family over to our house for Christmas and didn't have to go anywhere this year. That, folks, was absolute bliss.

A keyless lock? Yeah, I'll be getting one of these!

My boy, God bless him, loses his house key on a regular basis.

Honestly, we buy about four of the things at a time when he's out of keys because we know he'll go through them rather fast. The problem, of course, is that he comes home from school in the afternoon and has to unlock our door to get in the house.

I've found a nifty gadget that I may well buy before long -- a keyless lock system from Axxis Biometrics. Those systems are set up so that keys are obsolete and the lock opens when it identifies a fingerprint that the system has been programed to recognize.

That's right -- just set up the keyless lock to open when select people run their fingers across the lock and the door opens. The keyless lock system can even be programmed to allow temporary access to people -- ideal for when our cleaning service drops by to visit.

The prices are low and the selection over at Axxis Biometrics is large. I may well be a customer before long. I can't make that son of mine keep up with his key, but I'm almost positive he won't lose his finger, right?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- Merry Christmas!

Well, Christmas is upon us and it's pretty clear that my little The Hawglets -- Michael Wesley and Brenda SueCarol -- are excited about the holiday.

Here's a photo of them pretending to like each other -- proof that Christmas brings out the best in us, seemingly. We'll all be heading up to the scenic Benton, Ark., square tonight to visit the Nativity scene at the First United Methodist Church and the wonderful light display on the Saline County Courthouse lawn.

I hope y'all have a great Christmas and expect a little something from the Hawg. Yes, I'll make extra sure to click a few ads on blogs I visit today as I've noticed some people have been hitting those Google ads of mine pretty hard lately. I appreciate that and plan on returning the favor.

I know you good folks want to visit the other Wordless Wednesday participants by clicking right here. Merry Christmas and God bless!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blogging during the Christmas season is hard

I've just about decided I should have simply kept away from my blog during December and picked things up in January.

Why? I've been fulfilling familial obligations all month long and have neglected my blog to such an extent that I'm doing things like, well, posting a picture of a dog sleeping under a blanket and resting his head on a pillow. Who the hell, other than me, really cares about that kind of nonsense?

Sadly, that's about all I've had time for lately. Frankly, I like the photo because we've got a 140-pound Saint Boxer (Saint Bernard/Boxer) under a blanket because my 12-year-old son thought he might appreciate it (it turns out that Winston the Dog does appreciate the blanket -- probably because it's about 20 degrees outside and that's unusual here in Arkansas).

Apparently, I don't even have time to set the date stamp on my digital camera. Pitiful.

If there's a point here at all, I suppose it's that December is a horrible month for blogging. However, I'll be back up to speed as soon as the holidays have ended.

And merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Auto manufacturers get bailout, Bush convinces more people to hate his guts

Go ahead and read all about it right here -- George W. Bush and his band of idiots went against the will of the American people and the Senate by coming up with a plan under which $13.4 billion will be sent to those undeserving fools at Chrysler and General Motors.

I'm very proud, of course, to live in a country that rewards incompetence and failure. If I had my way, Chrysler and G.M. would both go bankrupt as that is what terrible companies that make garbage deserve.

I'll not dwell on the details of the plan as this is old news. It's disappointing, to say the least, and I'll leave it at that.

I'd like to focus, however, on what the government should have done to help out the American auto industry. It seems clear that the government is just itching to spend money, so why not benefit the American people with it?

I'm still of the opinion that the government has lost its collective mind and I'm amazed that an alleged Republican loves spending money like a Democrat. Still, if the government is spending money like frat boys on spring vacation, I want my cut and I'm sure you do, too.

What the feds should have done is adopted my plan -- the Everybody Gets A New Car plan. Under that plan, any household with an income under, say, $250,000 would get a voucher to be spent on a new car. The voucher would be a generous $25,000, plenty for either a new car or a hefty down payment on one.

Under my plan, see, Americans could choose for themselves whether to purchase American cars and bail out the industry. I figure, however, that companies such as Honda, Toyota and Kia would get the bulk of that money because those companies make vehicles that people actually want to buy -- that's the flaw in my plan.

No, the government was out to save some union jobs and pour money into companies that were stupid enough to keep making gas-guzzling SUVs instead of focusing on fuel economy when gas was over $3.50 a gallon. Our government, in other words, is now against competition and is for robbing consumers of one of the few powers we have -- determining what products and services we want to buy and which companies deserve to thrive.

I fully expect the feds to bring back tariffs next so as to almost force us to buy junk cars made by American companies. To avoid that unpleasantness, I figure on buying at least one Toyota -- maybe two -- next year and driving them until he insanity is over. American car companies make trash and they've been given absolutely no incentive to change.