Fish On

“If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!”

I believe in statistics.  Tell me about a great place to invest money and I’ll immediately ask to see numbers.  Same goes for medical advice.

My wife read the other day that green M&M’s are regarded as an aphrodisiac. The only thing M&M’s does for me is spike my blood sugar.

If someone informs me about a miracle health cure, I’ll insist on viewing the documented results first.  There are far too many people believing what they read on the internet.

I know how easy it is for a writer to put information on a hook in anticipation of catching a fish.  When I say fish I refer to the sucker variety. Usually those setting bait have a book they want to sell. I’ve had friends and relatives tell me about get rich quick schemes found on their computers.  They’ve also touted amazing health remedies available in a variety of expensive pills and liquids sold on the web.  When I hear such the old saying,

“If it sounds too good to be true it probably is” comes to mind.

My wife and I were in IHOP the other day for breakfast. We were seated behind 2 young gals.  One had a newborn baby.  The young mom was telling her friend she wasn’t going to immunize her child.  That grabbed my attention because I have friends and family that think along the same flawed lines.

This wiser than thou young woman mentioned the human body having an ability to heal itself of every disease and injury.  I’d wager the gal scraped that malarkey off the internet.  The body does have ability to self-heal but not everything.

The obviously clueless woman went on to discuss preservatives and toxins in foods.  We couldn’t hear the whole conservation yet I took in enough to form a logical conclusion. The gal was nuts.

This mother basically informed her friend that people were healthier before the days of immunization. That was toxic and misleading information.  I’m sure she’s one of those mislead souls proclaiming immunizations result in autism; a myth if there ever was one.

If this mom had merely checked life expectancy over the past 150 years she’d see gross error in her thinking.  In the year 1860 folks were eating grass fed beef with no added hormones.  Fruits and vegetables had no pesticides.  Babies were not immunized back then.  The average life expectancy in 1860 according to government and insurance statistics was 42.

Since food was nutritionally better in the good ole days how come folks died so young?  Jump to 2012 and the average life expectancy for men and women (combined) surges to 78.  Could it be children getting shots to protect against deadly diseases is beneficial to longer life?  The answer is undoubtedly yes.

This young lady with unproven philosophy was putting her child at risk by not immunizing. She’s not the only clueless person doing so. There are thousands.

Logical advice for any young mother is to heed the advice of their pediatrician instead of an internet expert.  In the long run the child will benefit from such. It makes me wonder if this gal even had a doctor for her baby?

I keep waiting for someone to compose a combination book on health and finance. The title would be, “Live Forever & Get Rich Quick!”

Should that manuscript ever come out, I bet the company selling itwould have an automated voice machine in their office.  Each time a gullible customer called with a credit card number, speakers would blast forth,

“Fish on!”

"If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!

An Old Man Simply Walking

“Don’t push ‘Ole Betsy’ to the limit or she’ll blow!”

The older I get the easier I take it on my body.  Common sense dictates such. A veteran mechanic gave me advice years ago regarding things mechanical.

“Don’t push ‘Ole Betsy’ to the limit or she’ll blow!”

Just like the dangers of over revving a vintage car or truck engine, parts can fly apart in an aged human body as well.

For several years I rode bikes with an Alaskan friend.  Craig was a few years older but could waste me on endurance rides or climbing hills. We both entered a bicycle race up Arctic Valley Road to a popular Anchorage ski slope.

I took things easy maintaining a pace that didn’t kill me.  My friend burned to the top passing much younger riders along the way.  He took first in his age group and probably some others as well.  I was middle of the pack.  Craig was elated in his accomplishment and rightly so.  I was happy just to finish the race.

I see advertisements all the time about older people claiming to be as competitive in sports as they were at 21.  Generally these guys or gals are hawking some type of vitamin or health supplement.  I often wonder about such products.

When these athletes finally do explode from over exertion, we’ll never read or hear about it.  That type news doesn’t sell endurance elixirs. The company will find someone else to tout their product.

These performance boosters remind me of automotive gimmickry where oil additives are concerned. Certain companies manufacture fluids that claim to lengthen the life of an older engine along with increasing power. Suckers buy the stuff every day.

My goal is to live as long as I can and hopefully stay upright in doing so.  Most everyone tries for the same. While doing so I’d like to motor along without use of wheelchair or walker. I have no problem with canes.  To me canes are stately; very useful in fending off undesirables like thugs and Amway salesmen.

Because so many unknowns can unexpectedly happen during the golden years, my desire to continue walking without aid is much more difficult than it sounds.  I see seniors on a daily basis resorting to ‘help’ devices.  When I say help devices I mean wheelchairs, walkers, and canes. Most of these folks had a simple slip or fall before having to use such.

If I continue to be blessed with good health, one thing you’ll never find me doing is entering athletic competition of any kind. I’ll let others vie for ribbons and trophies. At this point in life I have nothing to prove to anyone including myself.

I’ll be more than content in my golden years, if I’m able to stroll along a country road; an old man simply walking.

Craig Fitzgerald on left. Michael Hankins on right. Arctic Valley Hill Climb (1984).

What Better Justification?

She mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger having one exactly like it.

Mike Nelson checking time on his diver’s watch.

Years ago on television there was a show called “Sea Hunt”. My brother and I watched it every week.  The series starred Lloyd Bridges as Mike Nelson; ex-Navy diver.  Mike was called upon to dive and rescue people in all kinds of dangerous predicaments. I could relate to him via name only.

In one episode Mike came to the aid of a pilot trapped underwater in his plane.  Thankfully the airman was saved before limited oxygen ran out.  In another show Mike’s skills were used to recover a nuclear warhead.  As a kid I was intrigued by the cool watch that Mike Nelson wore.  I wanted one.

About 2 years ago opportunity waltzed my direction.  I was watching QVC and they were premiering the Invicta line of watches.  QVC for those not in the know is a home shopping network.

A gorgeous lady on the show demonstrated a diver’s watch capable of surviving 300 meter depths.  That’s a whopping 1000 feet!  She mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger having one exactly like it.

With their easy payment plan I could have my own by simply dialing a toll free number.  Because they had accidentally manufactured too many of the time pieces, QVC was discounting them for $99.00. Shipping was free.  Talk about a sweet deal. The lady said they were originally over a thousand bucks!

Visualizing that beautiful instrument on my wrist in all its manly glory, I quickly grabbed the phone and dialed.  It took a mere 7 days for the package to arrive via Fed-Ex.  The watch was fully protected in layers of Styrofoam. It was carefully embedded in its own custom-fit-plastic-box.  I couldn’t wait to strap it on.

The time piece felt a bit hefty on my left arm. It weighs close to a quarter pound.  That’s no problem for bigger guys.  I suppose small boned fellows might have a hard time supporting the beast.  When my wife saw it she laughed out loud. She wanted to how I could justify wearing such a gaudy monstrosity? If Mike Nelson was in the house he’d praise me instead of ridicule.

The first problem I found with the device, was that it wouldn’t allow my fingers to go all the way in my left jean pocket. I couldn’t retrieve coins or car keys. Not a huge problem. I shifted all such items to the right side.

My watch became a conversation piece especially in restaurants.  One server noticed it and asked if I dived.  What a silly question. Why would a fellow wear a diver’s watch if he didn’t?  Sheepishly I told her,


I should’ve remarked that I don’t dive but could.  That answer would satisfy the most inquisitive of minds.

Because my Invicta became a bit cumbersome for everyday use, I only take it out on special occasion.  Last week I wore it to a local burger joint.  The watch looked enormous in comparison to a junior cheeseburger.

Not many people will purposely dive to 100 feet let alone 1000.  It’s reassuring to know should I ever fall out of a boat and sink, my Invicta diver’s watch will survive. I doubt if a Timex or Casio would do the same.

What better justification for owning an Invicta could a person ask for? Would someone please tell that to my wife!

Invicta diver’s watch

Pet Peeves

What kind of sane person eats “Rice-a-Roni” as a treat?

Everyone has pet peeves.  I have a couple:

Have you ever noticed how some household products are misleading in name or advertised abilities?  My wife bought a spray can of “Scrubbing Bubbles”.  I decided to use it to clean a sink.  Spraying the foam on white porcelain finish, I watched as “Scrubbing Bubbles” did absolutely nothing.  It wasn’t until adding ‘elbow grease’ that the sink came clean.  I was the one doing the scrubbing.  The bubbles went along for a ride.

Another misrepresented product is “Handi Wipes”.  They’re handy all right as long as you can find them.  Last time I needed “Handi Wipes” they were nowhere in sight.  My wife had them hidden behind a box of soap.  I used “Brawny” paper towels instead and that’s only because my wife buys that brand.

“Joy” dish soap is another pet peeve.  I don’t know about you, but I find absolutely no joy in washing dishes.  Whoever named it “Joy” must’ve been on acid.

“Brawny” paper towels take the cake for erroneous labeling.  The manufacturer says to tear a sheet off and place it alongside a competing brand in an absorbency test.  I did exactly that using “Bounty”.  Both towels ended up soaked to the gills. What else would you expect?

Tell me there’s brawny in a paper towel and I’ll say you need your head examined.  The only thing brawny about “Brawny” is the picture of that rugged looking man on the wrapper.  I suppose that’s why so many women buy them. On the gossip side of things, I hear the “Brawny” model gets a pedicure each month. What does that tell you about his brawniness?

There’s absolutely nothing charming about “Charmin” toilet paper.

Did you know “Mrs. Butterworth’s” original brand syrup has zero butter inside?  There’s no real maple either.  What’s in a bottle of “Mrs. Butterworth’s” is a mystery.  Hopefully they at least put real high-fructose corn syrup in the mixture.

“Bac ‘n bits” contains zero bacon nor any kind of meat. What is that stuff? Maybe I don’t want to know!

“Jiffy” muffin mix takes at least 30 minutes from start to finish.  If that’s jiffy, then I’m ‘Johnny on the Spot’ with a walker.

I’ve never been a smoker.  I see nothing cool about “Kool” brand cigarettes.  Calling something “Kool” that smolders seems ludicrous.  That’s akin to saying ice is hot.  Git my drift?

“Quaker Instant Oatmeal” has dubious meaning.  Did Quaker actually look up the meaning of instant?  Someone has to make the stuff.

“Cheerios” is one of my least favorite cereal brands.  If my wife says we’re having “Cheerios” for breakfast, a Cheery O attitude will not be found.  Horses might love the stuff, but man does not live on oats alone!

“Sleepytime Tea”.  Tried it a couple of times and found I still couldn’t sleep.  The drink’s supposedly caffeine free.  Maybe someone at the factory is adding caffeine as a prank?  I’ve often wondered about decaffeinated coffee.  What’s to stop someone from switching grinds?

Products taking the grand prize are those labeled organic. Organic is nothing more than a grocery store buzz word. My wife and her sister are big fans on purchasing these items. How easy is it to plop an organic label on a can or box. It’s ink for crying out loud. Hand me a Magic Marker and I’ll mark it for you.

“Rice-a-Roni” advertises as being the San Francisco treat. Say what?  I could never understand why.  What kind of sane person eats “Rice-a-Roni” as a treat?  I love “Rice Krispy” treats but “Rice-a-Roni” is not in the same category.

I’ve raved to friends over the years about “Moon Pies”.  I have no complaints regarding this product.  The name alone says it all. That’s reason enough to buy a box!

The Tooth Fairy

I was chided after telling another parent my kids believed in such.

Water color of “The Tooth Fairy” by Eden.

I made an emergency trip to the dentist last week. A crown was loose and needed immediate repair.  My dentist glued the porcelain cap back on and the wisdom tooth was good to go.

That set me back a few bucks even with insurance. On the way home I thought back to those simplistic days of “The Tooth Fairy”. As kids, whenever my brother or I lost a tooth, we’d put it under our pillow before going to bed. Next morning the tooth would be gone with money replacing it.

I didn’t mind losing teeth back then. It paid dividends. These days doing so would leave holes in my gums. Thankfully I haven’t had any yanked.

I remember one occasion when I woke up to pennies and nickels under my pillow. The bloody tooth was still there wrapped in Kleenex. Evidently I’d started to wake and mom cut short her fairy gig. I tried cashing in again the next night to no avail.

Back in the day most of my fairy loot went towards candy and pop. I’m sure most dental hygienists would say that wasn’t smart use of the funds.

When my children were young they believed in “The Tooth Fairy”. It took finesse to slide change under their pillows without waking them.

I was chided after telling another parent my kids believed in such. This person thought it just horrible. She had 2 children and I suppose they were perfect.

I told her “The Tooth Fairy” shouldn’t be of much concern, nor should Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. The creatures this mother should worry about were The Drug Pusher, The Pedophile, and devilish ghouls working within the educational system instructing students there is no God.

I’m still acting as “The Tooth Fairy”. My dentist now receives all my fairy loot instead of the kids. When I departed his dental chair I left behind more than spare change. Others do the same on a daily basis.

One thing’s for sure. My dentist collects far more cash than that needed for candy and pop.

A brand new BMW in his parking spot is evidence of such!

Can You Raed This Now?

Any time I hear the word preposition I think of Preparation H.

I’ll be first to admit that I don’t recall all the rules for English composition. There was a time I could fill in the correct blank on what a preposition is, but I haven’t a clue anymore. Any time I hear the word preposition I think of Preparation H.

I recently composed a short story and utilized actual numbers instead of writing them out. I know the English rules pertaining to such. Numbers 1 – 9 should be spelled.

In my story I was talking about a grocery checkout stand so imagery was important. Have you ever seen nine spelled out above a cashier? Me neither. It’s always number 9. I flushed the English rule on numbers down the toilet on that composition. That wasn’t the only time.

Sometimes I use singular apostrophes instead of quotation marks on word identification. Generally it deals with stories where much dialogue is used. It’s just something I do. I’ve been pulled over by the grammar police many times for improper punctuation.

The way I see things, if a reeder can raed what I worte then I”m sucesful. If someone wants to correct my English go for it. They’ll probably have a field day. Here lately I’ve become an expert at leaving double periods..

Years ago I entered an old vehicle in a car show. A friend and I worked on the Plymouth nearly 24 hours straight, getting things ready for the big event. The paint wasn’t fully hardened.

I was happy just to get it on the showroom floor. Later that day a fellow walked up to me saying,

“I see a flaw.”

He pointed out a tiny piece of pinstripe coming loose by the door. I thanked him then quickly pushed it down with my finger. That’s when the thought struck me. Not one word of praise came from the guy on the rest of my car.

As time goes by and my eyes get weaker I suppose I’ll be making more grammatical errors. Hopefully I won’t let it bother me. I found where the great author Samuel Clemens made simple writing mistakes. Other well-known authors did the same.

I don’t put myself in the same shoes as Mark Twain, but it’s good to know I’m in good company where typos and literary glitches are concerned.

One of my favorite television commercials is the one where a nerdy looking guy wearing black-rim glasses keeps asking,

“Can you hear me now?”

I’d like to say back to him,

“Can you raed this now?”

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).

The Wrong Line

“What kind of person checks their own groceries?”

I’m one of those people never picking the right line.  If you’re like me you always choose the wrong one. Just this week in Wal-Mart, I had a choice of 14 cashiers to choose from. 

Walking down the aisle past each check stand, I analyzed the carts of other shoppers first.  The buggy holding the least amount of items would gain favor. Next on my decision list was visually scoping out the checkers.  I suppose that would be considered ‘checker profiling’ in some states.  Thankfully such a law doesn’t exist in Alabama, Alaska, or Arizona; yet.

My gut feeling when choosing a checker, is always go with the senior employee.  They seem to move customers through at a much faster pace than youngsters.  When I say senior I’m not talking seniority like in a labor union. I’m simply referring to workers 30 years and older.

Last but not least, the check stand number plays an important role in my decision.  If there’s a number 9 and its open, all other criteria for choosing a checkout line flies out the window.

On this particular day check stand 9 was open.  I pushed my cart in behind a twentyish woman with 2 children.  Another gal wheeled in at my heels.  The lead buggy was fairly full but that was okay.  With 9 being my lucky number, I knew it wouldn’t take long.

The checker was a fellow around my age.  His name was CIT or perhaps that was his nickname.  He wore one of those yellow smiley buttons partially blocking the tag.

CIT was moving items through at a fairly rapid pace.  His scanning was as good as it gets.  He did have trouble with produce but what checker doesn’t.  Coupons were another matter but no biggie.  It was bagging skills where the man lacked dexterity.

The fellow was all thumbs in that department.  He couldn’t get plastic bags to open, and when he did groceries wouldn’t go in.  The young mother tried to help, but with 2 struggling infants it was near impossible.

For what seemed like an eternity I stood and watched things unfold.  The poor fellow had sweat dripping down his brow onto tinted scanner glass.  A bit peeved, the woman behind me observed such and moved on.  She voiced her disgust loudly before leaving.

I wanted to follow suit. Fearing such an action might lead to hurt feelings, I stayed put remaining steadfast and calm.  All this was going on while lines on each side moved faster than a Mississippi freight train.  My feet were hurting.  The frozen fish in my buggy were slowly coming back to life.

I stood there 15 minutes before CIT finally took the gal’s money. The flustered employee then praised her for having patience.  CIT was completely frazzled and overwhelmed at this point.  With my stuff already on the conveyor another checker scurried over to help.  An assistant manager appeared as well.

CIT, having just bungled his assignment left in agony with the supervisor.  The new checker looked to be around 20. Kate apologized for my having to wait.  That’s when she told me the rest of the story,

“Poor Hal. It’s his first day of checkin’ solo!”

Kate went on to tell me CIT is an abbreviation for clerk or cashier in training.  Wal-Mart doesn’t like to spell it out, as folks will instantly avoid that employee.

I thanked Kate for her useful information. Before wheeling my buggy out the door, I glanced over at self-checkout. There was only 1 person using it. I thought to myself,

“What kind of person checks their own groceries? There’s far more entertainment standing in the wrong line!