De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

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


The New Barbie Doll

[i]How Barbie finally got changed....[/i]
(Hat tip to Destry for this one.)

Barbara Millicent Roberts
c/o Mattel, Inc.
El Segundo, CA 90245

Santa Claus
North Pole, North Pole
23 December 1996

Dear Santa:
There had better be some changes around here this Christmas, or I'm gonna call for a nationwide meltdown (and trust me, you won't wanna be around to smell it). So, here's my holiday wish list for 2006:

•A nice, comfy pair of sweat pants and a frumpy, oversized sweatshirt. I'm sick of looking like a hooker. How much smaller are these bathing suits gonna get? Do you have any idea what it feels like to have nylon and Velcro crawling up your butt?

•Real underwear that can be pulled on and off. Preferably white. What bonehead at Mattel decided to cheap out and MOLD imitation underwear to my skin?!? It looks like cellulite!

•A REAL man ... maybe GI Joe. Hell, I'd take Tickle-Me Elmo over that wimped-out excuse for a toyboy, Ken. And what's with that earring, anyway? If I'm gonna have to suffer with him, at least make him (and me) anatomically correct.

•Arms that actually bend so I can push the aforementioned Ken-wimp away once he is anatomically correct.

•Breast-reduction surgery. I don't care whose arm you have to twist, get it done.

•A sports bra to wear until I get the surgery.

•A new career. Pet doctor and school teacher just don't cut it. How about a systems analyst? Or better yet, a public relations senior account executive?

•A new, more 2006 persona. Maybe "PMS Barbie", complete with a miniature container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a bag of chips; "Animal Rights Barbie", with my very own paint gun, outfitted with a fake fur coat, bottle of spray-on blood and handcuffs; or "Stop Smoking Barbie", sporting a removable Nicotrol patch and equipped with several packs of gum.

•No more McDonald's endorsements. The grease is wrecking my vinyl.

•Mattel stock options. It's been 37 years; I think I deserve it.

OK, Santa, that's it. Considering my valuable contribution to society, I don't think these requests are out of line. If you disagree, then you can find yourself a new b*tch for next Christmas. It's that simple.



Of Dead Seas And Dead Valleys

Most people have probably heard about the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In short, both are fed by pretty much the same source. Rain falls in the mountains and runs off down into the Sea of Galilee, washing along vital nutrients. From the Sea of Galilee, the River Jordan runs down into the Dead Sea, bringing those same life-giving nutrients.

So why is the Sea of Galilee teeming with life and the Dead Sea devoid of life? Both receive the same nutrients and roughly the same amount of water. The difference is that the Sea of Galilee doesn't retain what it gets. Those nutrients are cycle thru the various flora and fauna of the lake and then passed on down the River Jordan to the Dead Sea.

By contrast, the Dead Sea retains all of what it receives, except for the water that evaporates. As a result, there is no life in it. Those same life-giving nutrients, when held at such a high concentration, become toxic.

And so it is with people. This is one of the reasons I really don't care to be rich. I find that wealth tends to distort a person's perspective. Rich people live in a surreal world where everyone would have enough if only….. something. There always seems to be "something" that poor people are doing or not doing that causes them to be poor. Although it is true that a lot of people are poor because of bad life choices they've made, a lot of people would be much better off if only the playing field were more level. What distinguishes me from the liberals and socialists is that I want the government to level the playing field and not redistribute wealth.

An interesting contrast to the Sea of Galilee is Death Valley. Ages ago, Death Valley was actually a lake. However, geologic upheavals over time caused the lake to be drained of all its water. The life-giving nutrients that had sustained the indigenous flora and fauna remained, but there was no water, which is every bit as necessary to life. Today, Death Valley receives less than an inch of rain a year and is devoid of life.

Some people are like that. They send out all they have and almost never get anything back. After a while, they're drained and there's nothing left. I sometimes think of the pioneers who made the trek west and opened up the rest of the continent for "civilization", particularly the Mormons who were driven out of their homes under threat of death and tried to make the trek west to Utah. Some of them gave it all they had, but it wasn't enough. Somewhere along the way, they sat down by the side of the road, unable to go on. And that's where they were buried. Most of us would consider that tragic, and in a way I think that it is. But they had given it all they had, and that can't be a bad thing.

One of the great challenges in life is to be a Sea of Galilee and not a Dead Sea or a Death Valley.


From Pillow To Post

Mauki settles in:

When Daddy first brought me home, he wasn't really ready for me. So he had to put me in the bathroom for a little while and run out to the store to get some stuff. He brought me back a really neat food dish and some yummy crunchies and some treats and a little wire ball with a bell in it and my favorite of all: Mousey.

But after I got settled in, I could find anyplace to scratch. So I just figured I could scratch anywhere. But Daddy didn't care much for that. He caught me scratching on the carpet one day and scolded me. I wasn't happy about that.

The next day, he brought some stuff home with him. Naturally, I had to go inspect it. It was a small piece of plywood, and a small log with bark on it. Daddy went and got his tools and let me watch what he was doing. First, he set the log on the plywood and drew a circle around it. Then he drilled three holes thru the plywood inside the circle. After that, he poured some glue where the log had been and then put the log on it and let it set for a while.

After he had let the glue set for a bit, Daddy took his drill and ran three screws up thru the plywood and into the log. Then he cleaned everything up and set the whole thing over by my food dish. Then he picked me up and told me that was my Scratchy Post and that's the only place I should scratch. He stood me up in front of it and ran my little paws over it so I could get the feel of it. It felt pretty good to scratch on.

There were only a couple of times that I forgot and scratched on the carpet or something. Daddy didn't get really annoyed with me, but he'd squirt me with a water bottle, and that wasn't very nice. Then he'd pick me up and stand me in front of my Scratchy Post and rub my paws on it again to remind me. Once, he saw me scratching on my Scratchy Post and when I got done, he called me over and picked me up and cuddled me. Then he took me out to the kitchen and got me one of my treat. That was lots nicer.

When I went to Tucson to live with Michael, Daddy made sure that my Scratchy Post went along with me. I'm glad Daddy made that for me.


Of Delta Breezes And Exploding Milk

Seemingly unrelated tales, brought to mind by a fellow Linkster. Unrelated except that they happened to me.

There's a phenomenon up around the Oakland/Sacramento area known as the "Delta Breeze". It's a cold on-shore wind that blows almost steadily. The local joke is that if the wind ever stopped, everyone would fall over (from leaning into the wind). Even the trees grow at an angle.

One evening, I was trying to walk back from Solano Mall to Travis AFB (~5 miles; there was no bus service at that hour). I was walking backwards, with the wind in my face, trying to hitch a ride. I think I made it about three miles before a car actually picked me up.

When I finally got back to my room and changed into my sweats for bed, I noticed that my skin was cold all over -- even that line around the waist covered by my belt. I had already noticed the early signs of hypothermia while I was walking, but didn't really realize just how close I had come. Scary stuff.

When I was working in our headquarters office in Germany in the early '70s, we had a small kitchenette in the basement. One morning, I decided to make some cream of wheat, which calls for hot milk. I poured the milk into a pressure cooker and -- not wanting to wait forever for the milk to heat up -- I put the lid on. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a very close eye on it. Next thing I knew, there was milk steaming out of the pressure relief valve.

I ran over and -- in an effort to quickly relieve the pressure -- simply twisted the lid to the unlocked position. Hot milk went everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. Including all over me. No real damage done, except that I smelled like sour milk until lunchtime, when I got to go back to the apartment and change clothes.

Ever since then, I've referred to that as The Morning The Milk Blew Up.


Holiday Traditions

Most families have 'em. But these guys really have something good. I particularly liked the part about the Ground-up Soup. I've always thought that fasting would be a better way of spending Thanksgiving than feasting. Maybe a combination of the two. But that's just me.


Danny Bonaducce for President!

I have no idea who John Conner is, except that he's obviously a member of the moonbat foil-hat brigade. But it sure is lovely to watch Danny tear him to shreds. It's a wonder the guy wasn't crying at the end.


This Is DNN

An interesting look at what things might have been like had today's "journalism" prevailed during WW2. There's a preview button somewhere on that screen. Good stuff.


And You Thought You Were Weird

You've probably got nothing on these guys.


No Team Left Behind

As an extension of the No Child Left Behind Act, Congress is now proposing No Team Left Behind for sports. This will work as follows:

1. All teams must make the state play-offs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probabtion until they are the champions, and coaches will be held acountable. If, after two years, they have not won the championship, their equipment will be taken away until they do win.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same skills at the same time, even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in sports, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic (dis)abilities of theirs or their parents.

3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instruction time with the athletes who aren't interested in sports, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don't like sports.

4. Games will be played year-round, but statistics will only be kept for the 4th, 8th, and 11th games. This will create a New Age of Sports, where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. Parents who do not like this new law are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private teams that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their kids from having to go to school with bad players.

Merry Whatever

To the liberals among us:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wish.

For My Conservative/Libertarian Friends:

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year And GOD Be With You!


Viewer Discretion?

Andy Rooney almost got it right last week with his bit about all the TV shows that start out with "Viewer Discretion Advised". It's hard to tell where he was going with it, and he certainly didn't offer any solutions.

I think the solution is easy -- how about a little "producer discretion"? Why do these idiots always have to push the envelope of good taste (and then some)? I'm getting really tired of all sorts of nasty stuff being broadcast in the name of "entertainment". Sorry, but we're not entertained.

Thanks for playing. Please try again. And use a little discretion.


Why Cats Aren't Allowed... the kitchen.


A Mormon For President???

It looks like MSNBC wants to know what people think. Feel free to take the survey.

I say "Why not?". I don't see it as an automatic make-or-break item.


Here, Kitty...

Wherein Mauki gets educated.

Things were always fun when Daddy was home, 'cause I got to play with him a lot. Sometimes, though, we'd watch TV together. Daddy said most stuff on TV was really stupid, but some stuff was funny and Daddy would laugh lots. That was always good. But there was other stuff that Daddy like because it helped him learn about stuff.

One evening, we saw something really neat about a far-away place called Africa. It was all about the cats that lived there. They were really big cats! First they showed really big brown cats and they were really huge! Daddy said they were called "lions" and they were so big, they could gobble me up in just one gulp. That was scary, but I had Daddy there to protect me, so I wasn't worried. Still, they were scary. Some of them chased this funny-looking horse that had stripes all over it. They caught him and ate him. They ate a whole horse!

Then there was another cat that was really fast. He had spots all over him. He moved so fast, it was just a blur. He caught an animal, too. Daddy said that was called a "cheetah" and they were the first kitty cats that people ever had for pets. Boy, I bet people had to be really fast to get out of their way.

Then there was another cat with spots, but he was smaller. He was really strong. He caught an animal that was even bigger than he was and carried it up into a tree. I couldn't imagine carrying my dinner up into a tree.

Daddy said they were the biggest and fastest and strongest cats in all of Africa. But he said "You know who's the bestest kitty cat in the whole wide world?"


"My little Maukilein is the bestest kitty cat in the whole wide world."

Daddy nice.