I’ve Been Staring at Four Walls for Too Long

Posts like this are what happens when someone is bored and cooped up in a house for two weeks in the winter.  If you don’t leave now, I am not responsible for any damage done by further reading.  You’ve been warned!

Don’t Mess With Cats

From the day we were married, my wife and I have always had pets.  Our current stable includes two cocker spaniels, two mongrel cats and a four foot blacksnake named Herbie who has taken up residence under our house.  Over the years I’ve come to understand that cats and dogs both have a well-defined sense of right and wrong.  The difference comes in how they arrive at their definition of “right”.

Dogs have a very simple method.  They wait until their human does the same thing twice.  From that point forward, whatever the human did is the way it must be.  For example, I fell into the habit of giving each of our dogs a biscuit as I left for work in the morning.  As long as I follow that habit, when I come home from work everything is fine.  Woe to me on the day that I’m late for work and forget to give them their biscuit.  I can forget reading the newspaper when I get home unless I have a roll of scotch tape and a couple of free hours to piece the paper back together.  Dogs balance transgression and retribution.

Cats have a different and more direct method of deciding what is right.  They simply tell the human.  If a cat, using whatever method it wants, deems “right” to be a cool bowl of milk in the evening, then that’s what “right” is.  They don’t wait for the human to give them the milk; they grab him by the scruff of the neck, drag him to the fridge and meow until he complies.  If they meet resistance, cats don’t express their displeasure in a benign method like shredding a newspaper.  An angry cat will do something like jump up on your bed and piss on your pillow.  Cats think that retributions require exclamation points.  I guess it’s the feline equivalent to leaving a severed horse head on your front porch.

I have two theories about cats.  First, they all have a cousin named Vinny who lives in Chicago.  Second, the CEO’s of all financial institutions are cat people.

Ice Cream and the Roman Empire

There are three perfect foods.  Those would be pizza, Twinkies and ice cream.  I enjoy all three, but I’m addicted to ice cream and I make no apologies for that.   Creating a good dish of ice cream is a talent and it involves not only the ingredients (ice cream, fudge topping, whipped topping, nuts and cherries) but also the perfect placement of those items.  A good dish of ice cream is a work of art.

When I was young, ice cream came in half-gallon containers.  According to common measure, a half-gallon equates to two quarts.  Unfortunately, the ice cream industry has been playing games with us for several years on this.  A while back and without any notice, they dropped the size of an ice cream container from 2 quarts to 1.75 quarts.  They accomplished this by making the containers the same height and width but just a little bit shallower.  The price didn’t change, so no one really noticed.

Last week I had an urge, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get some ice cream.  Most of the containers were marked $3.25 each, but the Breyer’s ice cream was marked two for $6.00. This was a deal!  Not only were the containers less money, but Breyer’s has the really good stuff like Cherry Cheesecake flavor and Triple Chocolate Chip Moose Tracks.  I bought four.

That night, while I was creating my masterpiece, something felt wrong.  I KNOW how many dishes of ice cream that I should get out of a container.  There should be precisely four.  When I finished with the first dish, I could see that dish four would be seriously light.  Imagine my surprise when I read the label and found that it was only 1.5 quarts.  Again, the container height and width were the same but the depth was less.  If you didn’t read the container it would be unlikely that you’d notice the difference at the store. Insidious!

I’ve done some checking, and there’s a growing body of evidence that suggests the true reason for the fall of Rome was that the government started to fool around with the size of wine flasks and containers of pomegranates.  Both of these treats were staples for a relaxing Roman evening.  When climate change reduced the grape and pomegranate harvests, the government tried to cover up the problem by selling smaller quantities at the same price.  The populace caught on, rioted and the rest is history.

Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.  Heed our warning Breyer’s.  These may be trying economic times, but there are limits to what we will take.  Give us back our 1.75 quarts. We’re watching!

Whatever It Takes

I’m always impressed by the ability of small companies in America to roll with economic punches.  Just a short while ago I saw yet another example of this amazing resiliency.

I live in an area of the country that is closely tied to the racing industry.  Because of that, the countryside is dotted with small businesses that cater to one component or another of servicing NASCAR.  Last Monday I was running an errand in small nearby town and I was traveling on roads that I seldom use.  As I rounded a bend, I passed a small building that had a weathered sign in front that read “High Performance Engine Parts” surrounded by logos from a variety of companies that make such things.  That’s a common sign for a common business and if that’s all there was I would have continued on my way.  But, there was more.  Just below the large sign was a newer, smaller one that made me stop the car to read it twice.  That sign said “Fantasy Lingerie” and was surrounded by……other graphics.

Now, this is an example of American ingenuity at it’s best.  Obviously this guy had a long time existing business that had fallen on hard times.  As often happens with American dreams, it was probably a hobby that slowly grew into a moneymaking enterprise.   Now, with racing running on a rocky track, the moneymaking aspect was becoming difficult.

So did this seasoned entrepreneur give up?  Not in America!  He picked a different hobby, converted it to a business and combined the two.  Only here in the land of opportunity could a guy combine short block Chevy engines and lace panties to make a profit.  How do I know it was working you ask?  Well, there were six vehicles in his parking lot.  Two of them were large pickup trucks loaded with engine parts.  The other four consisted of two BMW Z3s, a Mazda Miata and a powder blue Ranger 4×4 pickup that had a bumper sticker that read “GIRLS like to play in the mud too!”

He may get more money for the engine parts, but I’m bettin’ that the lingerie side makes up for it in volume.

See Ya

TD

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2 Comments on “I’ve Been Staring at Four Walls for Too Long”


  1. Just think – if they sold ice cream with pepperoni and twinkie chunks inside, you’d hit the favorite foods trifecta!

  2. Tom Says:

    You have been in the house to long!!!!


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