Ice Cap Musings …


Woke up this morning with some mind-numbing concerns, I will share them with you.

  1. Found myself conflicted on doing a search on Goggle news on Tom Cruise or Bill Crosby.  Coz is a hot-button topic right now, Cruise not so much.  What can I say …. slow week. 
  2. Decided to NOT find out anything on the mess in Ferguson, Mo.  It did occur to me that they can now officially change their lic. tags.  They currently read, “Missouri The Show Me State.”  They could delete “state” an add “Hands” to that and be all kinds of PC.
  3. Why is it that I desperately miss Jay Leno and not Barbara Walters?
  4. My thought processes seem to  be derailed.  Last week for instance, on Wednesday, I stopped telling people “to have a nice day” as I was fairly sure I might kill someone by Saturday.  Kind of stumbled thru the week, like a beat-up smartphone with a missing ap and a half-drained battery. 
  5. And finally …. If this were a Home Invasion … Would you rather take a bullet straight to the head, or five rounds in the chest?  (Just accept it … Sometimes the choices life gives you are hard to swallow)

This new cartoon feature about Penguins by Disney cracks me up, all these birds falling from the sky at a a highly-accelerated-rate of speed and the one bird screaming …. “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” … I just find that incredibly funny. 

But then again I am a pretty sick puppy, we all know that.

Dead Penguins – Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica.  Where do they go? 

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintain a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life. 

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into, and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

“Freeze a jolly good fellow.”

“Freeze a jolly good fellow.” 

Then, they kick him in the ice hole.

You really didn’t believe that I knew anything about penguins, did you?

(Comments section is open, give it your best shot)



History Lesson

Do you know what happened 151 years ago this fall… Back in 1851?

California became a state.

The people had no electricity.
The state had no money.
Almost everyone spoke Spanish.
And, there were gunfights in the streets.

So, basically nothing has changed except that back then,

the women had real breasts and the men didn’t hold hands.

That, my friends, is the history lesson for today ….

This graph was snatched from my dashboard.  It is something that I find interesting.

As most of you know we went to a policy of writing shorter posts about a month ago, and by the stats, it appears that it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the readership.  If the material or subject matter is long, the readers are there, if it short, concise and to the point, the same thing.  It is not in the numbers it is in the “quality of the material or the subject matter.”

Regardless of current attitudes, I have found it stays fairly consistent day to day … As for myself, the shorter version is much easier to write and less work for me, but it doesn’t matter really, long or short, what I pound out and throw down on the page, is what I feel for that day.  It could go either way.

See you at the water-cooler



Spell Checked and Approved.

We are rapidly finishing our first week with the new “leaner and much improved” Creative Endeavors.  A dedicated effort has been made to shorten the posts, and try to make them more interesting and not so verbose (keep them under or around 500 words).

It aint been easy … But it seems to be working.

Or it was until this morning, when I got a two page Email telling me basically … “that I suck.”  And I am fairly sure, this person is not hitting the like button any time soon.  Ceste Le Vive … Or for our Spanish Readers …. LaVita Loca.

Such is life.

As we approach 1.2 million visitors on this site, I am prone to think back to a long time ago, or rather, to a point in time that seems like a long time ago, when we first started.  Not knowing a whole lot of about any of this, we just kind of rolled up our sleeves and dove into it headfirst.  It was not easy by any means (something I am sure most of you can readily relate to) and at times, it was a real head scratcher.

One of my first comments came from a “English Professor” from some prestigious body of education back east.  He read my offering for the day, then promptly entered into the comments section “Now, that was depressing.”  Not very encouraging and it did tend to irritate the fizz out of me, but we kept on chopping and watched where the chips landed.  (Ironically, we are still here, he is however, long gone.)

He did show me something tho.

He illustrated to me the power of the comment, how it can be either for good or for bad, how it can make a day or drag one down.  It showed me that you should always make your comments “positive in nature” and that you should make a concentrated effort to encourage and not tear down.

This week, for instance, I read a post that had 4,773 words in it and the author was lamenting the fact that only 4 people had “liked the piece.”  I am somewhat surprised that they even managed to get thru it, yet alone liked it.  Yesterday I read where someone was saying “that the Oklahoma courts aloud someone to do this” which we all know should be “allowed” but over and over, there it was, “aloud.”  In either case I did not respond or try to correct … It is not my job to do this, it is not YOUR job to do this.

You want more readers?  You want more comments?  Then develop a kinder gentler attitude online and help a person up.  Encourage instead of discourage, you will be better for it, and in the end, the one on the other end of the line, will be too.*


*In case you are wondering, this came in at 515 words or thereabouts.  If you are not completely satisfied, please let us know, and we will cheerfully refund your purchase price and all shipping and handling.  It is after all the very least we can do.

You Suck!

Now and then, you get an email or find something in your site that cracks you up and really makes you smile.  Here is an example, this is for real, found it in my spam folder today.  It reads:  “how do i start a blog with a fictitious writer, parody/comedy/comment on current affairs politics etc?” Which really made my day, I like stuff like that it always makes me smile.

And then there are the other types of comments or email, they are not so pleasant in nature.

One of the bad things about hosting a webpage and having an email link, is sometimes you receive rather unflattering or uncomplimentary missives from people who are not fans or appreciate what it is that you are attempting to do.  Often because of a lack of a good working vocabulary, they will send you something that is short and sweet, to the point, such as:  “You Suck. You are the worst writer I ever read!”

I suppose it is important to have opinions, be them good or bad.  The age and time we live in almost demand them.  We live in a constant, instant communication, Facebook-Twitter kind of world now.  All of them Internet hotbeds just waiting to generate a comment or an opinion.  I have seen one post on Helen & Margaret generate upwards of 1,600 comments and/or opinions.

When you run a webpage you have to weed your way thru the critics and nitpickers.  And it is beneficial to have a thick skin to a certain degree as some critics, comments and/or opinions are not so smart or original, others downright nasty in nature.  Unfortunately there are days in life, when we must stand on the curb and clap as the parade rolls by.  Contrary to popular belief … Not everything you put up is going to go down in the annals of time as a winner.

On the Internet, opinions are pretty common place.  It used to be, we would be weigh what it is that we were going to say, before we said it.  But our new information age, instant communication, call it what you may, doesn’t lend to that.  The sad thing, as I see it, often it is posted before it is considered, and as most of you know, once it is out there, it stays there.

Our so-called “opinions” have become like Big Mac’s … Just thrown together, quickly and hastily and then served by the billions, and often they are hard to swallow and not all that good for you.  Personally, I liked it better the old way, before all this unfounded instant urgency to communicate became so popular.

So here we are.  “You Suck. You are the worst writer I ever read!”  Another fan has been located; stick a bright red pin in the map.  I get a little uncomfortable with the label “writer.” A writer knows all about verbs, nouns, sentence structure, paragraphs, all that other organization/compilation of the English language stuff.  A writer knows (or is supposed to know) how to do this in the correct fashion.  Me? I am a hack, I just hammer it out, and that is about it. I am a “writers” absolute worst nightmare.  Bottom line (as if anyone really cared) I am a story teller … Never have really considered myself a writer.  So I guess that should be: “You are the worst STORY TELLER I have ever read.”

That might be closer to the truth.

Life despite it all, 
is still being good to me, 
I can still maintain a healthy outlook on things in general.
I have suddenly discovered I suck
 … Exactly why no one knows.
  And I am somewhat miserable
 … I suppose just flat outta luck.  I cannot complain,
 I am doing alright.
  My lawnmower still starts on the first crank
  Bills are paid
 … Have a little money in the bank … my favorite Internet numb-chuck sent me his link.  Rest is available to me when I need it.
  My health is improving.
  Still have my cake,
 but because of diabetes,
 I can no longer eat it.  That is how it often goes.
  First your money and then your clothes.  No more phone calls or emails, I believe we have a winner!

“You Suck. You are the worst writer I ever read!”  Now like MasterCard sez, “isn’t that priceless?” 

Another fan has been located; stick a bright red pin in the map.

This bozo probably wouldn’t recognize good writing or genuine talent, if someone handed it to him on a business card.


Lost And Adrift

The other day I was looking at some of the links to my webpage others have put up, and one of them said, “Creative Endeavors, Life Observations, Humor.”  I had never considered this a commentary on life, but it appears to have been labeled so by a few.

That is kind of nice.

Often in the morning, I sit here and try my best to come up with something new and refreshing for the day.  Every now and then I hit one over the fence, most of the time, I have to admit, I just try to get on base with a hit.  This morning, being no exception to the rule, I find myself sitting in front of an empty screen and wondering what it is that we will talk about?

This week I read an interesting book by Donovan Hohn, which was the true tale of 7,200 shipwrecked rubber ducks that rolled of the deck of a container ship in the stormy North Pacific about 15 years ago.  The ducks are not the story, only part of it.  It is about a quest in life, a passion that had to be fulfilled.  The author was so obsessed with finding out what happened to all these ducks that he quit his job as a English school teacher and set out to discover everything that he could possibly find out about these small lost rubber ducks.

Where they had been, where they are now, what was their final destiny after being shipwrecked.  That is passion my friends.  When was the last time you were curious, I mean “Really Curious” about something.  In my case, it has been awhile, I have to admit.

Following these ducks took him to the Northwest passage, Alaska, China and many places in between.  Who would have ever stopped to consider that chasing a flock of lost rubber ducks around the world, would lead to such a thought provoking work?  If you desire more information on this book, “Moby-Duck, The True Story of 28,000 bath toys lost at sea, you can find it at Viking for about $28.”

At 63 years of age, most of my passion in life, sad to say, has been used up.  I find that my get up and go, has gone and went, and my curiosity for the most part has peaked.  I am no longer thinking of moonwalking with Einstein, have lost the art of trying to remember everything that there is to remember in life, and lately, I have developed a little hitch in my giddy-up that tends to make me seek out the Aspirin bottle in the late afternoons.

Life … What happens when you are not paying attention.

When is the last time you stepped out of the box?  Ventured into something totally new and off the wall.  When was the last time you got truly excited about something that you were never excited about before.  If you are like me, it has been some time, an ocean of time.

I read where others struggle with this too.  Fun? Passion? Nope-nada.   Spending a little time on the net you can find other writers struggling with it too.  Are You Having Fun Yet?   No excitement in their lives, nothing left to shoot for, like my old man used to say, “I have done it all.”  I suppose that is the way of life sometimes, you cannot have your cake and eat it too, but a lot of us, would like it that way.

What is it about life that drains our passion, to the point, that we no longer even feel it remotely in our life.  What is it about life, that we no  longer wish to drink at the fountain of it, but rather just gargle.  Why is it that with age, we lose the drive the incentive to seek out new adventures, just sit back and do our best to be “just comfortable.”

I don’t know, I certainly do not have all the answers, most of the time, I have to admit, I don’t even remember the questions.

Perhaps I need to drive up into someone’s yard, get out of the car, grab one of their plastic lawn ornaments (Flamingo’s or such items) and take it on a trip around the world.  Photograph them in all these exotic locations (The Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower) and make a scrapbook of it and return it (and the book) to its rightful owners a year later.  It is a neat idea, certainly nothing original it has been done before, just not by me.

What is it that I need?  What is it in my life, this inescapable “bucket list item” I have forgotten?  Do I need to find a seemingly impossible rocky crag and scale it … Locate one un-dammed river in this country and run it … Simply because they are there.  Perhaps it is time to make a road trip and burn some expensive fossil fuels.  Take my grand-kids on a trip and one more time, try and explain to them why history and why geographic monuments erected by the hands of man are important in this day and age.

Why Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Tweets, Facebook and MTV are not.

Might be time to devote some serious time to study my root problem and find a solution.  Lay back in my hammock and take a well-deserved nap and consider something of an adventurous nature to do in the sunshine years of my life.  Which right now, seems to me, an impossible goal.

One constant in all this, and that is the weekend.

If it did not exist before now, I would have to invent it, because it is something that we all need.  A time to recharge, to readjust our priorities in life, or just “get away from it all” for a brief respite from what life has to offer.

Please enjoy yours, I am going to do my best to do the same on my end.


Armed and Dangerous

I have a friend, Rita she is great, but she is kind of a feminist in her nature.  If you see a woman driving a dump truck for instance (not a common everyday sort of occurrence) and you make casual mention of it, my friend, will launch into this song and dance routine she has … “Anything YOU can do, WE can do better … naner, naner, naner” and so on.

Sometimes spending quality time with an extroverted feminist is not an easy thing to do.

Which brings me to Victoria Cowie who will almost always be the smartest person in the room,  She is an 11 year old from England, who they say was extraordinarily bright from an early age, starting out by reading elementary school books as a toddler.  Recently she shocked everyone when she scored 162 on an IQ test.

This number surpasses such notables such as Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking.

Incidentally, I took a IQ test once, confident I was a lot smarter than I actually was, I quickly found out I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Freely I admit, this set me back a little bit, but I eventually got over it.  (No, I will not give you the number)

Back to Victoria I digress.

She said that it was quite daunting to be compared to great minds, but it feels good also to be thought of as that clever.  She says that she really enjoys science and doing experiments, loves acting and dancing and playing musical instruments.  She does theater workshops and loads of sports, really likes swimming.  She aspires to be a vet when she gets older because of her love of animals and she readily admits that she is not afraid of blood.

All that and she is only 11 years old.  When I was 11 it was a major undertaking by BOTH of my parents just to get me to clean up my room.

What else do I have for all of you this morning?  Oh yeah, I liked this one.  Another winner gone bad.  Bad week for former Survivor winner Richard Hatch who turned himself in to federal marshals this week to begin serving a 9 month prison sentence for failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on the reality show.

Hatch, has already spent three years behind bars for tax evasion, and is said to currently owe the IRS some $2 million in back taxes.  Now that would be kind of bad, go to prison as an avowed homosexual and have a name like Dick Hatch.

That is kind of scary.

Right where they want you.  You ever wonder why U.S. Corporations are not hiring?  Actually, many of them are.  They’re just not hiring Americans.  In the two years after the Wall Street meltdown triggered the Great Recession, large American corporations slashed payrolls by a net 500,000.  At the same time, they hired 729,000 workers overseas.  As globalization transforms the world economy, in fact, many U.S. companies are shifting the balance of their workforces overseas.

Ford for example reported in 1992 that 53% of its employees worked in the U.S. and Canada.  By 2009, it North American workforce made up only 37% after expanding to Mexico.  There is no such thing as job security in this country now.  We keep buying their cheap crap made oversea’s and they keep taking our jobs.  The old shooting yourself in the foot strategy is now being applied.  Things are no longer peachy and keen in the Heartland.

On top of all this, when you are replaced, the American company brings in the new foreign new-hires and expects YOU to train them (your replacements) and if you do not, they withhold your severance payments.  Is this a great country or what?  Now tell me again, how it is, that you believe Unions are no longer viable in this country.

Here is why it works.

Moving the jobs oversea’s not only saves on labor costs, which are noticibly down, but it also allows American companies to skirt envioromental issues, safety and health concerns.  When Pablo cracks open a old car battery he dumps it straight on the ground, he doesn’t wear a mask, and gloves are an option, if he can afford them.  Same with the poor sap in Indonesia or Jakarta.  They take it in the shorts, and Wall Street gets richer, meanwhile the rest of you are stuck at home delivering pizza to each other.

(Guess who used to write a Union paper before he did this?)

Who let the dogs out?  Charlie Sheen doesn’t have the market covered when it comes to weird or funny.  An Oregon woman called 911 to report an intruder hiding in her bathroom, just as the intruder was calling 911 to report his concerns that the homeowner might be armed.  On 911 tapes released by police the intruder admits breaking into the home and tells the dispatcher the owner behind the bathroom door might have a gun.

He is also heard to say that the owner told him she had two German shepherds.  Later, the homeowner can be heard warning the intruder that she’s about to call the police, to which the intruder yells back, “I’ve already called them.  They’re on the phone right now!”

Now that is funny … I don’t care where you live.  Often real life is better than the sitcom.  See you on Friday, hang in there, you almost have it made.


Life Is Good-Troubadour

Now and then, I sit back in my easy chair, and I reflect on my life.  Where it is that I have been, where it is that I am going, will there be enough time left for me to complete the journey?  The only certainty that readily comes to mind is this … “The only thing in this life that does not take a holiday is death.”  Like it or not, we are allotted so much time to do what it is that we are required to do and that is it.

I have a friend who always signs off with Life Is Great!

It has occurred to me that this is a good way to look at life, for it is surely great, especially when you consider the consequences.  I used to say “It is a good day to be above ground.”  But I quickly tired of the morbid message that it conveyed, so I stopped using it.  Having a positive slant on things certainly cannot hurt, I believe she is right.

When you are young, you assume that you are immortal, that you are going to live forever.  It is when you age that you realize that it is not so.  All things run their course, and all things eventually end.  The rivers are given birth in the mountains, they flow to the ocean, and they die.  Spring has it’s first buddings, then summer, and eventually fall.

Sooner or later we all find ourselves in the short rows.

You know when a baby is born it comes into the world screaming and kicking, it’s tiny little hands are clenched into a fist.  When a man dies, he leaves the world with his palms outstretched and open, because he has received everything the world has to give.

Nowadays, when someone says to me … Life Is Good, I just sort of smile and reply “Yeah, I am doing Okay.”  Like the tired old line, “Go ye quietly into that gentle goodnight.” or something like that.

Fighting what is inevitable is a waste of time, better to sit back, take a little time to mellow out, and go with the flow.