Poor Biff’s Almanac — A Semi-Exciting Saturday


It was a semi-exciting day in Biff-land.  Things are rarely full-up exciting in Biff-land, so semi-exciting is usually cause for celebration.  (Do I seem like I’m over-hyphenating tonight?  If so, I apologize.)

I got out and worked in the yard today.  (This isn’t the exciting part.  Sorry.)  It was the first time in 2017.  I don’t usually like to get out and work in the yard until late March, but since spring started this year in mid-January and things were growing and budding out and generally making things look scruffy, I figured I needed to get out there.  I set the mower extra low and put on the bagging attachment and thought I could mow the grass and vacuum up the leaves from last autumn all in one swell foop.  It worked pretty well, I have to say.  The only bad part is that everything is so dry that I was surrounded in a constant cloud that consisted of dust, pollen, fragments of leaves that were as dry and crunchy as potato chips, and grass clippings.  The leaf and grass fragments were about the size of confetti.  The dust and pollen was the consistency of flour.  So by the time I’d finished, I’d breathed in a good pound or two of particulate matter that I’m sure I will pay dearly for tomorrow when I can only breathe at about 5% of normal capacity.

I installed a dimmer switch today.  (Still not the exciting part.  Sorry!)  I’ve installed dimmer switches before.  It’s easy.  At least, it was easy back when all lights were incandescent and a dimmer switch was a dimmer switch was a dimmer switch.  However, it is much more complex now with the proliferation of CFL and LED bulbs.  Now one has to actually check on the compatibility between certain bulbs and certain dimmers.  I had to look up a cross-reference guide on the Internet while I was in the store buying the parts.  After perusing the chart for awhile, I came to the conclusion that nothing is compatible with anything.  And those few things that were, were not in stock at the particular store I was in.  But I finally managed to find a dimmer switch and a set of LED bulbs that were sort of compatible with each other.

Back at home, while I was installing the dimmer, I ran into the same problem I run into every time I try to do a DIY project, and that is that nothing in my house looks like anything in any DIY instructions … period.  The dimmer instructions said to hook the white wire of my house to the red terminal, and the black wire from my house to the black terminal.  The problem is, there were 8 wires in the light box … and they were all black.  Two of them were obviously for the dimmer switch (I knew that because I disconnected them from the old toggle switch). Still, they were both black.  I just shrugged and hooked them up.  Yes, they worked, but the lights “buzz” a little.  That means I probably reversed the load and the hot connections.  I’ll fix it tomorrow.  My short attention span had already moved on by then.

I had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with friends and family.  (The exciting part is coming up soon … I promise.)  It is always very noisy there and always very crowded, but the food and the service were excellent.   It was so noisy that it set me to thinking; I see a lot of restaurants in movies and on TV where it is quiet enough for the characters to talk in conversational tones to each other.  I wonder where those restaurants are.  Most of the restaurants I’ve been to require that one yell quite loudly to make one’s self heard over the din.  Apparently I am alone in my enjoyment of quiet restaurants.

I was watching Johnny Carson earlier this evening.  (Almost to the exciting part … just be patient.)  The show was circa 1976 and his first guest was Paul Lynde.  He was truly a very funny comedian.  He made me laugh out loud several times, which I don’t generally do while watching TV.  I mean, he was always funny on his scripted shows (I Dream of Jeanie, Hollywood Squares, etc.), but that was mostly due to his delivery.  But on Carson tonight he was just being himself and he was genuinely funny.  I also never realized how shy he was in real life.  Too bad we don’t have any comedians like that any more.

McLean Stevenson was on after Paul Lynde.  I always liked McLean on MASH, but he is a lot funnier in person than he was on MASH.  However, he seemed a little “off”on tonight’s show.  He and Johnny talked about Texas, though, and that was fun to listen to since that is where I am.  They mostly talked about Houston, though.  Most Dallasites care little to nothing about Houston.

As a bonus on tonight’s show, The Mighty Carson Art Players had an episode of the “Tea Time Movie” with Art Fern.  I always loved the Tea Time Movie sketches.  Art was, I think, one of my favorite characters of Johnny’s.  However, it wasn’t that funny tonight.  It was so bad, he ended the sketch early and literally hid behind his counter and snuck off stage with the assistance of his eye-popping assistant, Carol Wayne.  I always wondered if that was her real personality or if it was just shtick.  She played the stereotypical dumb blond that kind of a combination of Marilyn Monroe and Suzanne Somers on “Three’s Company” (though Carol was doing her thing long before Three’s Company was on the air).  Anyway, I’d like to think it was just an act, but I’ve seen “interviews” with her on Carson and if was an act, she kept it up even through the interview portion.

Okay, that’s all for tonight folks.  I’m sorry I didn’t get to the exciting part.  I guess I will have to save that for another night.  Thanks for sticking with me to the end of the post, though!



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