De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


TV Thru The Ages

1950s "Father Knows Best"

1970s "Father Doesn't Know Jack"

1990s "Who's Your Father?"

2010s "What's A Father?"


One Flew Under The Cuckoo's Nest

The Good:
I'm home, doing well, and the prognosis is excellent.

The Bad:
Last Thursday, I finally got around to joining the family club by having my very own heart attack. Yay me! (Oops. Wait a minute.....)

The Background:
Last Wednesday evening, I was sitting around watching TV and felt an odd pain in my chest. It wasn't terrible, but not being one to take chances, I took an aspirin instead. Then I stretched out on the futon to watch some more TV. The pain went away in about 10 minutes, and I made a mental note to contact the VA to get checked out.

Thursday morning, I got up as usual, strapped on my leg weights (5 lbs each) and walked two miles over to the Rec Center to use their computers and check my e-mail, etc., etc., etc.. When I got done, I walked back home, arriving there a little short of breath around 1:30. I took my leg weights, shoes and shirt off and toweled off, as it was ~75 outside and I had worked up a bit of a sweat. Then I stretched out on the futon to rest a bit before taking a shower. Along about 3:30, I felt a really bad pain in my chest, so I took another aspirin and waited for the pain to go away. After 10 minutes, it didn't go away, so I called 911. Shortly after that the ambulance arrived and took me to the hospital, where they discovered a 95% blockage in one coronary artery. They also found that my hannenframis was pernning on the derialtor of my phranistan. (OK, I made that last part up.) Then the real fun started.

There was a guy there from RotoRooter and he ran something up my femoral artery to ream out the blockage, then they cut a piece off a soda straw and left that in there to keep the artery from collapsing. (That part was kind of fuzzy; I had a lot of morphine in me at the time). This was accompanied by the usual panoply of drugs with unpronounceable names. They kept me in the CCU overnight, then transferred me down to a regular room on Friday. It's Sunday evening as I write this and I've been home since about 2 this afternoon. I'm still a bit tired (due to lack of sleep, basically), but I spent a good part of Saturday and Sunday walking the halls and harassing the nurses. Maybe that's why they got me out.

I'm still catching up on my sleep. It wouldn't've been so bad if they hadn't been waking me up every 4 hours to check my vitals. Nurse Vampira didn't help, either, what with all that blood she took out of me. I'm seriously thinking of contacting the Red Cross for a refill. At least Night Nurse Susan let me sleep straight thru Saturday night without the usual vitals check, but she wouldn't sing me the Soft Kitty Song, so I still didn't sleep all that great.

Around the end of March, I'll be seeing the heart doctor again for another check-up. About that time, I should be allowed to start working out again, but it won't be 150 push-ups and 150 sit-ups and isometrics every day. Leastwise, not for a while.

My phone minutes are extremely limited, but I can check my e-mail a couple of times a week, so I'll be keeping in touch that way. And sending out updates as needed.

Meanwhile.... hey, it takes more than a lousy heart attack to slow me down.


Leave It To Bieber

Here's a quick quiz:

In 10 seconds, name 3 famous baritone singers.

Couldn't do it, could you? I'm not surprised.

Lately, it seems that all the famous male "singers" sound like they're still in junior high school.

What's this world coming to?


Overheard In The Temple

Overheard in the Atlanta Temple:

Temple Worker (to a man seated by himself on the end of a row):

"Are you waiting for your wife?"

Temple Patron:

"N... Uh, yeah actually. For some years now."

(I disavow any knowledge as to who that brother was.)


Bah! Humbug!

I love Christ, but I hate Chri$tma$.

"If I could work my will, every fool who goes about with ('Happy Holidays') on his lips would be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."

/Ebenezer Scrooge

"Happy Holidays", indeed! Merry Christmas.


Cowboy Wisdom

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.

Keep skunks, bankers, and lawyers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.

Meanness don' just happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

Never corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about never happens anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you can enjoy it a second time.

Never mess with something that ain't bothering you.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing do to is stop digging.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

There are no winners in a jalapeño-eating contest.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every morning.

Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from poor judgement.

Lettin' the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you think you're a person with influence, try bossin' someone else's dog around.


Something I Did Not Know

That little tree in the picture is called a "stink palm" locally. I have no idea what its proper name is, but the nickname certainly fits. I remember them from when I was a kid, more years ago than I care to admit to. And I don't like them any more now than I did back then. When cut -- or when branches are snapped off -- they emit a really foul smell. If I owned a piece of propery and found any of them growing there, I'd cut 'em down in a heartbeat.

It is said that every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining to this one is that when the stink palms are grown much larger, the wood of the trunk makes a mighty fine bow. Maybe I'll let one grow and try that out.


Kid Fun

(Hat tip to my friend Laura for this one.)

Whilst waiting for uploads, downloads, updates, downdates, inputs, outputs, throughputs, shot puts and all the rest, I got to roaming around cyberspace and somehow landed on my friend Laura's blog. (In keeping with standard Netiquette, I won't link to it w/o her permission.)

This one line caught my attention, big-time:

"I think there's something wrong with a society that says you can only do fun things if you're a little kid."

Oh, ain't that the truth. Notwithstanding my recent foray into climbing over 6' chain link fences (another reason my family now has to dislike the stupid things), I've always gotten a charge out of doing things that "adults" are "not supposed" to do.

I've even blogged about something in this vein before.

Like the time I was working as an aide in the computer lab and answered the phone: "Frank's Bar & Grill. Your dime; my time. Start talkin'."

Or the time I got scolded for leaving a "memo" in all the distro boxes at Maxwell. (Got my hand slapped for that one.)

I even got chastised for linking to the log-out page on LinkUp so people would have to log back in after they click on it.

There are other things I could dredge up out of my memory, but I digress.

Someone once said "We don't stop laughing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop laughing." This is so true. Much of the problem with our "modern" society is that we've turned into a bunch of stuffed shirts, unable to laugh at much of anything. Where's Red Skelton when we need him?

One of these days, I've got to get out to Utahrdia and look Laura up. Somehow, I just know that there's a huge fountain in Salt Lake that's in dire need of a couple of bottles of laundry detergent. :-]

More Movie Fun

This grew out of a contest in the Washington Pest back in '02. I've added to the list over the years, but I'm too lazy to go back and see if I'd already posted this.

The contest was to change on word in a movie title and come up with a whole new synopsis. (In one case, I didn't even need to change the title.)

"Fahrenheit 450"
Futuristic book-burners just can't seem to get the bonfires going.

"How Green Was My Valley?"
Aging Welsh miner develops amnesia.

"Fear and Loafing in Las Vegas"
Indolent casino workers worry about keeping their jobs.

"Diet Hard"
Bruce Willis spends his entire Christmas vacation trying to get his weight down.

"The Bitches of Madison County"
Photographer Eastwood just can't seem to get women to pose for him.

"Never on Saturday"
Intellectual boob travels from Greece to Israel, links up with earthy prostitute.

"Where the Boys Aren't"
Connie Francis, Yvette Mimieux and the gang mistakenly spend spring break at the wrong beach.

"Lost Remake of Beau Geste"
Overlooked re-do of the classic is found in the archives.

"Fletch Live!"
Bumbling reporter with multiple-personality disorder tries his hand at stand-up comedy.

"Once Upon a Time in the East"
Hired killer seeks to eliminate landowner blocking extension of highway.

"That's Entertainment?"
Hollywood stars host a trashfest of movies they can't stand.

"Lady Chatterly's Liver"
Years of debauched living finally catch up with m'lady.

"Realty Bites"
Wynona Ryder agonizes over her life as a real estate agent.

Rogue attorney terrorizes beach-goers.

"Lust of the Mohicans"
Madeleine Stowe starts a few rivalries in the Maine woods.

"Jack the Rapper"
No-talent "singer" terrorizes London.

"Magnum Farce"
Eastwood lightens up with this spoof of cop movies.

"Thirteen Angry Men"
The judge gets mighty upset when the jury's deliberations drag on.

"Pleasure of the Sierra Madre"
Bogey and crew give up prospecting for gold, open tourist brothel instead.

"Rebel Without a Clue"
Teenager tries to escape life of delinquency when his family moves to a new town, but he can't quite figure out how to fit in.

"Shaft's Big Scare!"
Even the toughest private eye has his limits when he gets tangled up with the underworld.

"To Grill A Mockingbird"
A Southern lawyer throws a celebratory BBQ after winning a landmark case.

... and my personal favorite:
"I Married a Mobster From Outer Space"
Gorgeous Gloria Talbott begins to have doubts about her pin-stripe-suited husband from the planet Debronks when he'd rather spend more time with his cauliflower-eared buddies than with her.

What I've Learned From The Movies

Everything I ever needed to know, I learned at the movies:

1. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people -- whether they are employed or not.

2. At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

3. Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

4. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communications system of any invading alien society.

5. Things always end tragically for a troubled young loner named Johnny.

6. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

7. If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

8. Honest and hard-working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.

9. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch-enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gasses, lasers, and man-eating sharks, which will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.

10. During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

11. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman, but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

12. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

13. It's easy for anyone to land a plane, provided there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

14. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off -- even while scuba diving.

15. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.

16. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German or Russian officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German or Russian accent will do. (It used to be an English accent for the Germans.)

17. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

18. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

19. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.

20. If staying in a haunted house, women will investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

21. Word processors never display a cursor on screen but will always say: >Enter Password Now.

22. Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

23. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red read-outs so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

24. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

25. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you meet will know all the steps.

26. Police departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are deliberately assigned a partner who is their total opposite.

27. Non-fatal bullet wounds heal completely within 48 hours.

28. Women in high heels can outrun men in Nikes.

29. Even in New York and L.A., there's always a handy parking space.

30. The average person is completely incapable of distinguishing gun shots from a car backfiring.

31. It's impossible for the viewers to know that there's a baby in the scene, unless it's squawling at the top of its lungs.

32. Surveillance cameras in banks and stores are capable of filming the action from every conceivable angle simultaneously.

33. Unlike your VCR, all other VCRs in the world play the sound back at high speed during fast-forward.

34. All Hispanic women are named "Maria"; all German men are named "Hans".

35. The presence of a baby can turn otherwise normal human beings into blithering idiots.

36. The only song that piano players in the Old West knew was "Camptown Races".

37. Fresh towels will be delivered to your hotel room within 15 minutes of check-in, and four times a day after that.


Why I'm Not Married

It's always interesting, how a couple of random ideas can rattle around in one's head and combine themselves into a whole new idea.

A few weeks ago, in a Priesthood lesson on Charity, I made the comment that although we're commanded to love our neighbor, we're not commanded to like our neighbor. That alone would be grist enough for this mill, but.... combine that with:

- my previous post on marriage ;

-an observation I've repeated over the years to people to the effect that if you were to put all the women I've ever been seriously interested in in the same room, you'd go crazy trying to figure out their commonality*;

(*The one thing all those women I've been seriously interested in have in common is that they are all eminently likeable people. Despite all their physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual differences, I like them all.)

- the oft-repeated remark that most marriages fail because the two people stop loving each other (I think a lot of them fail because the two people stop liking each other); and

- the recently given advice from one of the Brethren that we should seek to marry someone we could serve for eternity...

and I guess I'm left looking for a likeable person I wouldn't mind serving for eternity. And she doesn't even have to be an orphan with no siblings.

The Storm Of The Century

For those who might not have heard, we got one helluva storm come thru the Scenic City Wednesday. Hail the size of tennis balls in the eastern suburbs, straight-line winds in excess of 100 mph, lots of rain, and *LOTS* of damage. Oddly enough, the neighborhood where I live -- sheltered somewhat by a ridge -- got almost no damage. To the south, west, and around to the northeast of me, somewhere around 85,000 homes are without power; 146 power lines down. My power winked out briefly a couple of times, but recovered. Latest casualty count was 67.

The Red Cross has a Web site up to help people keep track of each other: (I'm not registered there, though.)

You can follow the whole story at

More updates later as necessary. Meanwhile, I'm OK.


My Bus Ride

OK, so while I was still living in my previous Ward, I was traveling home from downtown one evening when these two quite attractive young women get on. (I'm older, but I'm not dead yet. I noticed.) I think to myself: "Niiiiiice...."

They sat facing away from me, so I couldn't get much of a look. But I liked what I saw. Sometime later, the bus pulls up at a stop and they get off the bus. Niiice.

As the bus pulls away from the stop, I turn to look. Niiice.

Then I saw 'em.

The black name tags.

I'm so goin' to Hell.

Why I'll Never Marry

Recently, I had the opportunity to tour the newly renovated Atlanta Temple. It was a chilly but sunny day, and we had a picnic afterward. Notwithstanding my bum knee (I was afforded the use of a wheelchair), the tour was very enjoyable. A more beautiful building than a Temple would be impossible to find.

One of the last rooms we went thru was the Sealing Room, where marriages are performed for eternity rather than "'til death us do part". I remarked afterward that it was nice to see a Sealing Room on the tour, since that's the only time I'd ever get to see one.

Don't get me wrong. I could marry any woman I please. Problem is, I don't please any of 'em. Then, too, is the problem of all the d'rum und d'ran that surrounds marriages here in the USA. Despite the fact that only five people are needed to effect a legally recognized marriage, as the late Jimmy Durante used to say: "Everybody's gotta get in the act.". The end result is something more akin to a Ringling Bros. circus than a religious ceremony.

All the groom knows is that he's got to smile for the 10,000 cameras. So he stumbles around with a nervous tic, looking like a punch-drunk boxer and his "smile" looking like he just bit into an apple and found half a worm. The bride, meanwhile, has the heart rate of a hummingbird, her blood pressure is 540/320, and she hasn't blinked in three days.

I'll pass. Unless I can find an orphan with no siblings who doesn't mind the idea of eloping.


Note To Suzanne Somers

Please drop those supercilious TV ads. The bloom is off the rose. You were never that much to begin with.

Thank you.


Something I Didn't Know This Morning

No doubt you've seen those colored lines spray-painted on the streets and sidewalks and recognized right away that some sort of work was going to be done. This afternoon, I finally got a chance to satisfy my curiosity about them.

While waiting for the bus, I struck up a conversation with a contract utility worker who was working on those famous fibre-optic lines that are being installed here in the Scenic City, giving us the potential for 1GB through-put speeds. Turns out (as you might have guessed) there is a method to their madness. The colors are as follows:

Red -- electrical
Yellow -- gas
Blue -- water
White -- Sewage
Orange -- cable TV

And now you know.


Driving In Germany

Having had more than enough occasion to observe American driving habits in Germany, it occurs to me that the average American simply does not understand the German concept of driving. An explanation is in order.

German driving is based on a very simple law of physics: no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. However, as soon as any object ceases to occupy a given space, any other object is free to occupy it. This is why there are disk brakes on even the smallest of cars, thus allowing us to drive as far as possible as fast as possible into any open space.

Unfortunately, at intersections this can cause what is referred to as the Teutonic Four-Way Deadlock, which happens when all cars have moved as far as possible into the intersection, followed by more cars, none of which would even imagine backing up (it is against our nature, you see).

The most severe of these occurred during August of 1973 in Augsburg and lasted three days, seven hours and 42 minutes. There were three marriages, one divorce, and two children were born.

It ended only when the Bundeswehr brought in helicopters and lifted out the cars in the middle, thus freeing up the intersection.

Driving in Germany is still not for those with weak hearts, but I hope that this explains the why of it all and helps to reduce some of the criticism from "Amis" (Americans).

(Originally published as a Letter to the Editor from me in the Stars And Stripes on 24 September 1989.)


The Fork

The earliest proto-fork was used by the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped it as a deity. Of course, the Egyptians worshipped darn near everything, so it was no big deal. It was really nothing more than a spoon with a spike on one end and was used for removing snails from their shells. This was far more efficient than those itty-bitty little eviction notices used by the Greeks. It was also used for removing ear wax until that practice was outlawed by the Egyptian Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The fork makes its next appearance in ancient Rome, where it was not worshipped as a deity, having lost out to the knife. By this time, it had two tines, and was used mostly for removing that last olive from the jar. It was also put to good use in roads, making travel far easier, as up to this time all roads went to only one destination. This prompted the famous orator Yogius Berrius to declare "When you get to a fork in the road, take it."

By the Middle Ages, the fork had spread to Central Europe. Except Spain, where it was denounced as a heretic and burned at the stake. Early European forks are hard to find, as they were all stolen by the Goths and Vandals when they came to dinner and stayed for a few decades. When they discovered Europe was out of forks, they burned the place and left. The only forks left behind were the extra-large ones, which were used for digging tar at the tar pits and were known as "pitch forks".

Returning eastward, the Goths and Vandals took their summer vacation in what is now Russia, where the government declared that the fork had been known to the Russian peoples for millenia, as they had originally invented it, only to have it stolen by Western imperialists.

One of the forks was also left in Poland as a gift to King Wraklav the Stupid, who declared it to be utterly useless. Of course, he was using the wrong end, so it took a while for the fork to catch on there.

The earliest settlers to the Western Hemisphere brought the fork with them to the New World, where the Pilgrims amazed the Indians with their prowess at reaching across the table and spearing that last potato on the plate. This was pronounced to be a huge "no no" by Miss Manners, punishable by three days in the stocks. Unfortunately, as adept as they were at spearing food with it, the settlers were equally inept at actually using it to eat with, nervous as they were at the prospect of being raided at any moment by bands of jealous Indians. This led to numerous embarassing dining accidents, giving rise to the Indians' observation that "White Man speak with fork in tongue". It also led to the Indians laughing their butts off after dining with White settlers. Some scholars believe that the entire Thanksgiving thing was nothing more than a ploy by the Indians to have a good laugh at the expense of the settlers.

In modern times, the fork is still put to good use, having even been taken aboard the Space Shuttle, where it was used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope by pinning the hannenframmis to the franistan. As humans venture farther out into space, the fork will no doubt be along for the ride. Perhaps it will even be left with primitive civilizations along with a cheery "May the fork be with you!".

[This was written in March '97, subsequent to having lunch with some people I worked with at Travis AFB. Someone wondered aloud where the fork originated, with got my creative juices going. With predictable results.]

All I Need To Know About Life

....I learned from cats.

Life is hard, then you nap.

Curiosity never killed anything except maybe a few hours.

When in doubt, cop an attitude.

Variety is the spice of life. One day ignore people, the next day annoy them.

Climb your way to the top. That's why the drapes are there.

Find your place in the sun. Especially if it happens to be on that pile of warm, clean laundry.

Make your mark in the world. Or at least spray in each corner.

When dining out, think nothing of sending your meal back 20 or 30 times.

If you're not getting enough attention, try knocking over several expensive antique lamps.

Always give generously -- a small bird or rodent left on the bed tells them "I care".

When you go out into the world, remember: being placed on a pedestal is a right, not a privilege.