Screw The Moon

One of the characteristics The Mrs. and I shared was that if we liked something a lot, we kept using it: whether it was revisiting a restaurant every other month (or more frequently), or patronizing the same four grocery stores for our supplies, or (in her case) only buying Sony electronics, whatever. If we liked a service, or place, or thing, that kept our loyalty.

That habit extended itself particularly to cars. When we lived in New Jersey, I’d brought to the relationship a VW Jetta, and as The Mrs. worked out of home, we just used the one (she and I were both huge fans of VW cars, from Beetles to Rabbits to Jettas to Passats to Kombi vans). Later on, her job required that she get her own car, so there was really no decision to be made: we went off to the VW dealer and walked around the lot. When we saw one we liked, she pointed at the blue Jetta and said to the bewildered salesman:
“We want that car. How long will it take before we can drive it away?”
“D-don’t you want to test drive it first?”
“Does it drive any differently to the green one we parked out front? No? Then there’s no need to test it, is there?”

Many years passed by, and we’d strayed a little from the VW fold because we had different needs — ergo, a Ford F-150 truck for me, a Chev Suburban for her, etc. — but when the kids grew up and got their own cars, we downsized: back to VW, this time, the weirdly-named Tiguan, which is essentially a slightly-larger Golf with a taller ride height. Then, after a few years of that, of course we got a “new” Tiguan (Carmax-new; we’d never bought new cars except Jetta #2), because the Tiggy fit our needs perfectly, so why change?

Just one little problem: the new Tiguan had a “moonroof”. Now that was fine with The Mrs.: a California girl always, she loved the openness that a moonroof brings to driving — except that, of course, she’d forgotten about Texas summers, where lizards are fried to death on the sidewalks and even a Sahara camel would go, “Enough, already.” And Texas winters, while brief, can be really cold, and rainy — which leaves about three non-consecutive weeks in the year when you can use the damn thing as intended.

Moonroofs also lower the internal dimensions of the car because of the mechanism they require, they’re just one more Thing That Can Go Wrong, and of course they add to the cost. So basically, we ended up with a feature that we used, if memory serves me, about four times in the eighteen months since its purchase.

I’m stuck with the stupid thing now: I owe more than the car’s worth, but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get another car because I still like the Tiggy a great deal. And considering that a “career” as an Uber/Lyft driver is probably in my future anyway, the Tiguan is not the worst car to own.

Except for the useless moonroof.

Never Mind The Dead Bishop On The Landing

How about the dead shark in a Walmart parking lot?

A St. Johns County sheriff’s deputy responded to a strange call Friday afternoon when an assistant manager at Walmart on U.S. 1 called authorities saying she had found a 4-5 foot dead shark in the store’s parking lot.

Now this did happen in Floriduh, so we should not be surprised. (Universal explanation for strange shit happening in the Sunshine State: “It’s Florida, dude.”) But here’s what intrigues me:

The deputy called officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who arrived at the lot and removed the shark for disposal.

How does one dispose of a dead shark on land?  I call for suggestions in Comments, the funnier, the better.

 

Drugs, Disposal Of

One of the interesting things about cancer sufferers is the quantity and scope of the drugs needed to live their lives painlessly — what’s known in the medical business as “palliative” care (you’re going to die soon, but we’re going to make your life as bearable as possible, with all the drugs you need).

We were already on this train, of course, with Connie’s incurable back troubles. That was morphine, quite a bit, taken three times a day just so she could walk the few steps to the kitchen and back, and ditto to the bathroom and back. Then, with cancer, came a whole battalion of new stuff: hydrocodone for the pain, Ativan / Xanax for the emotional stress, something to make her sleep, something (actually, quite a few things) to make her bowels work (pain meds stop you up like concrete), something to help her bladder, something to alleviate the nausea caused by taking so many drugs in concert, and so on, and so on, and so on.

The end result was that after she died, I was left with a metric tonne of prescription narcotics. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the “street” value of the drugs I had left, and it appeared that I might not be able to pay off the house, but I could certainly pay off the car. (Source: the DEA website: government as a source of useful if questionable data, who knew?)

Anyway, I wasn’t about to sell the narcotics on the street, a.) because it’s the wrong thing to do, b.) because it’s illegal (and if you can’t tell the difference between the two, there’s a job waiting for you at the Clinton Foundation), and c.) because I have absolutely no idea how or even where to start this kind of felony. (My luck, the very first person I approached with: “Hi, wanna buy some morphine or Xanax?” would turn out to be an undercover cop.) And, good grief: none of my friends and relatives were interested, because, well, because they’re all law-abiding, non-drug-abusing people and could get drugs from their doctors if they needed them.

And just being in possession of all these drugs in these quantities was probably some kind of felony. I had to get rid of them; but how and where?

Nobody wanted me to flush them down the toilet or in the sink, because that meant the drugs would eventually get into the water supply. So I tried to do the right thing.

First, I went to the drugstore which had provided so many of the drugs to us: no dice. Obviously, the drugs can’t be re-issued, and they didn’t do disposal of unused / unwanted drugs, either. The pharmacist told me to try the Fire Department; apparently, they could take and destroy the stuff.

Except that wasn’t the case. The Plano FD, apparently, had stopped that program years ago. How about the Plano PD, they suggested. So off I went to our local police, with whom I have had a pleasant and amiable relationship for over a dozen years (except for the Girl Scout Incident which was all a big mistake anyway).

Here’s where it gets funny. “We don’t accept drugs, except in April and October, where we have a partnership with the DEA.” As Connie had had the temerity to die in February, and not in sync with Law Enforcement’s schedule, I would have to wait until April. Which I wasn’t about to do.

The DEA informed me that it wasn’t their jurisdiction; it was a local matter. (One wonders how disinterested they’d have been if I’d tried to sell the narcotics to one of their undercover agents in the street, but let me not denigrate the efforts of our federal law enforcement agencies.)

In desperation, I called the hospice nurse who had taken such good care of Connie over the last few months of her life, and finally(!) got a halfway-decent response. Here’s what she told me to do.

Crush everything up into powder. Soak a large number of paper towels with a solution of dish soap and water. Spread the powder evenly over the paper towels, and wait for them to dry. Throw the dried paper towels away in the trash, or burn them outside and throw the ashes in the trash. All this sounded eminently reasonable and responsible.

So I flushed them all down the toilet.

An Old Chestnut, Revisited

Many years ago, this little piece made the rounds on the Internet, and as often happens, I got it again in my Inbox a couple weeks or so ago.

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Theresa May, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup or ketchup, but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Well, the hell with that, I thought, and penned a “reply” (below the fold):

Read more