Weekend Recap — With Your Host, Biff Biffington

Anchorman #2

Thank you for tuning in this evening.  We know you have a lot of choices in blogs to read, so we here at the Biff Blogging Network (BBN) are always quite grateful for any of you who actually tune in.

Not that I’m trying to pressure anyone, but the ratings come out next week and, frankly, if our readership numbers don’t pick up, we are going to be replaced with reruns of “Petticoat Junction”.

But don’t get excited.  It will be the expurgated versions, and therefore Billie Jo’s, Bobbie Jo’s, and Betty Jo’s petticoats will be pixelated in the opening credits.

So now that that little bit of harmless coercion is out of the way, let’s get on with the Recap, shall we?

First, the Weather

We continue to have an unusually cool summer here in Dallas.   Why, it barely reached 100 degrees (37 C) today!  Usually this time of year we have hit 108 or 110 (42-43 C) easily and on a daily basis.  This year, however, temperatures have remained in the low to mid 90s (~35 C).

The vegetation in and around Dallas have remained preternaturally green and lush.

All us Texans are snickering and nudging each other because all of the Californians who were recently forced to move here by their companies are looking around with their hands on their hips and their sweaters tied around their necks and saying, “Well, this isn’t so bad.  I thought it would be a lot hotter.”

Us native and semi-native Texans will just sit back and let the comedy unfold naturally.   We can’t wait to see the look on their faces when we have a true Texas summer day.  They will no doubt think they took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up in one of the less desirable zip codes in Hades.


Have a Jolly Holly Quick Mess

For years I have been trimming the various shrubs and bushes on my property with a trusty pair of garden shears.  It worked good enough, it was cheap, and it toned up my upper body like no amount of cross fit exercises can do,  However, the results were often short lived (both for the bushes and my abs).

But now I am of a certain age and the outside air of a certain temperature such that I no longer have the patience or stamina to spend 2 hours trimming bushes with a pair of hand shears.  So I recently purchased an electric trimmer.

Today was my first attempt at using them.

I started with the holly bushes.  Holly, for most people, is that wonderful Christmas-y bush that becomes decorated with red berries just before Christmas.

For those of us that actually have holly bushes on our property, however, they are a menace.

For one thing, down here in Texas they are basically a weed.  I have seen them growing in pavement cracks and from a chink in the mortar between bricks.  I have even seen one growing from an indentation in the trunk of another living tree!  And holly can grow to tree-like proportions if not trimmed properly.

For another (and much more important) thing, their leaves are hard, like plastic, and have thorns around the periphery of them.  They are Nature’s Ninja stars.  They can easily pierce through a pair of leather work gloves (and I know whereof I speak).

So, trying to shape and contain a holly bush is like trying to groom a rabid puma.  All I can say is, if you’re going to try and shape a holly bush, you’d better have some good health insurance, brother!

So, after spending about 45 minutes with my new electric trimmers trying to shape these prickly, tough, recalcitrant bushes, I could not get them to look the way I liked.

So you know what other tool I have in my garage?

A chain saw.

Long story short, my property is now a holly-free zone.

And my arms look like I was trying to rub a puma’s fur backwards.


Sports Roundup

It is too freaking hot to even think about sports.

Sports will resume in fall when we can watch them without suffering heat stroke.


The Wrap Up

Well, that’s about all the news for tonight, folks.  As you can see, it was a quiet, unexciting weekend.

But then again, most of them are.

Have a great week!




    • Hiya, Carol!

      Some people call this “an extraordinary heat incident”. We here in Texas call is “summer”. (It has far fewer syllables, which is important because it is too hot to use a lot of superfluous syllables.

      And, yes, I do want to swap! 17 C sounds like heaven. That is an early winter temperature for us.

      Actually, I have always wanted to visit Ireland. I think a small bit of my DNA may be from there. Plus, everything I’ve seen of it on the various travel shows makes it look beautiful beyond words. Maybe I’ll get to go there someday.

      Enjoy your cool summer!


  1. What you need is a good week of -40 C in December, like we usually get. No holly muscling in around here.

    Sea buckthorn’s our invasive species; planted at the recommendation of Agriculture Canada because “it’s a survivor here on the prairies and in time makes a nice dense hedge.” A friend is now complaining about his 40 acres of dense hedge and we’re rapidly losing the west edge of our property.

    One thing about your holly: the deer won’t eat it. The thorns on our sea buckthorn were supposed to deter deer, but I’ve seen them in the moonlight “pruning” all the tender tips. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buckthorn sounds like a euphemism for something else. But I don’t know what.

      And I can tell you right now I would not survive a -40 C anything. (Fun fact: -40 is the same in both F and C.) I would shatter like glass and then the atoms in the shattered pieces would lose cohesion and drift away as a fog of subatomic particles. It would take barrels full of steaming hot beverages to reconstitute me again.

      And I think a 40-acre dense hedge should be enough for anyone. Did he do this after his accountant recommended hedge funds?

      I suggest your friend make a “hedge maze” and charge people to get lost in it. If life hands you buckthorns, make buckthorn bucks out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a giant holly bush at our old house, and it quickly lost its charm after one summer of trying to mow around it without getting torn to shreds. I’m proud of your judicious use of the chainsaw.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ouch! I hope the scars have healed.

      And it doesn’t surprise me you had to move to get rid of a holly bush. Hollies are the feral cats of the plant world. They are generally where you don’t want them to be, and they will hurt you plenty if you try to do something about it.

      And I am always proud of myself when I use the chainsaw and still have 4 limbs intact afterwards. Fingers and toes are a bonus!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Holly is so amazing! It is one of the trees that grows pretty well on my salt-wind swept acres. All it needs is a fairly well drained spot, since it doesn’t like to grow in standing water, although running water (which we have most of the time) seems to be fine. Then it grows like a weed in your climate which is quite different (we think it is hot when it is above 20 celsius!) What a survivor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you talking about me, or the holly? Ha ha!

      It is hard for me to survive in anything over 20 C, too. And today was 40 C (higher, if you figure in the humidity). So it’s a miracle that either me OR the hollies are still around.

      Your wind-swept acres sound quite beautiful. I’m very jealous. I am surrounded by a 50-mile radius of bland and uniform suburbs. I’d practically have to drive to a different state to see something picturesque.

      Thanks for dropping by!


  4. For the third time in as many months, Ken managed to cut through the cord on our electric hedgetrimmer. He likes to make grand swathing gestures and inevitably gets all caught up in the petticoats:-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha! I can relate. I spent most of my efforts this weekend trying to keep the cord out of the blades. For some reason, it is drawn there like a moth to flame.

      And mind the petticoats. They can ensnare you before you know what happened!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re right about that holly – it will reach out and cut you if you get too close!
    This TX summer hasn’t been bad at all, has it! Let those newbies beware because next summer might be a doozie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it will! It reminds me of some horror movie I saw when I was a kid, about these carnivorous plants that would actually reach out and grab people or animals. They must have had holly in mind when they made that.

      And, yes, it’s been a pretty nice summer here in Texas so far. Up until today, that is. My car thermometer read 104 at one point today. I’m ready for autumn!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alas, at the moment, it is only playing on a continuous loop in my head. However, I’m sure Google can point you in the right direction.

      I, for one, welcome our search engine overlords (Google) who know everything about us, even things inside our heads. In fact, there is probably already a complete box set of “Petticoat Junction” DVDs on their way to your house as I write this.


        • Google not only knows where I live, it knows my pulse, blood pressure, and glucose levels. Just last week it told me that I should have a suspicious mole looked at, but that it had already looked at it and to not bother.

          And the DVDs will go over fine, though I’ve heard they prefer 8-track tapes.


  6. Biff

    Here’s a comment that is a little all over the place and probably could have been a post in its own right. This is what the inside of my head is like, Biff. Deal with it, I beg you.

    I really love reading your posts, and I apologize for not checking in as often as I can. Two kids and high summer here.

    Your wit is so granular and well-thought out that it is a literal thicket of briiliance. It is delicious!

    I get it. It’s (writing) a gift and a curse. Your post a few weeks back gave me pause – that perhaps the time that you could have had a chance to publish may be lost. At times it must feel that you are howling into the void. A blog does offer the immediacy of validation and a wonderful IMO neighbourhood in which to post and comment on writing. It’s not perfect, and it can be frustrating.

    I guess that what I am getting at is that it saddens me that a lot of excellent writing is falling to the wayside in a way. A piece in a book is a tactile thing that endures whereas the expiry date of cyber-written pieces, well, it’s all about producing content . . . CONTENT . . .and more CONTENT. As you well pointed out, a lot of that content is not great.

    For myself, I continue to grapple with the impermanence of it all, the (damn, what is the blasted word, brain!) illusory nature of writing online. I have many unfinished peices that I dare not post, not just because it would melt the faces of any who would deign to read it, but would negate my ability to publish in the traditional sense.

    Yet I still write, as I imagine you must do – because writers write. Although in my case, I draw, not very well, but I derive a great deal of pleasure from it. Is that what it is all about? Maybe. We must still strive and hope for better cuz we’re wired to do that, most of us. Anyway, that’s my two Canadian cents (which makes it about 1 American cent).

    Love ya, my man!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy, Bro!

      Your comments are always awesome, Dude. They’re like a blog, post, but they’re directed to me specifically. It’s kind of like when you read something and think, “Man, I wish I’d written that.”

      Anyway, nothing to apologize for. Who doesn’t like comments? And I understand we don’t always have the time we’d like to write comments to people (or even to write posts for our own blogs). Life has a way of getting in the way of things we’re rather be doing.

      Anyway, your comment really spoke to me, for you put your finger on the very thing that’s been bothering me about this whole blogging thing. The impermanence! When we (any of us) post something, it’s like tossing a gum-wrapper out the window of a car speeding through the wilderness. Where will it land? Will anyone ever see it again? And then I think, “It doesn’t really matter … it was just a gum wrapper.”

      I have wondered if future generations will be so starved for content that they will go back and mine the various servers and archives and backups of the internet, scouring old blog sites looking for content that they have not read before or seen before. And then we will become posthumously famous. Or not.

      But it was a lifelong (literally, all my life) dream to one day walk into a bookstore and see one of my books upon a display there. But I waited too long. Not only have the public’s tastes changed, but bookstores themselves are becoming an anachronism and are nearly extinct. So, the lesson learned here is … don’t procrastinate. I used to think I had all the time in the world to write a book and get it published. Turns out, I didn’t.

      But I have not given up. I’m going to give it a shot and try to get published. But as you pointed out, that means I need to stop putting stuff on my blog! That seems a rather harsh punishment for the crime of wanting people to read my stuff.

      I know it is the same for your cartoons. Your cartoons are awesome and I love them. I can very easily see a book of your cartoons on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. I would totally buy it. So, please don’t give up! I want to buy your book someday.

      Thank you for all the encouragement! It is much appreciated. More than you know.



  7. The holly thing had me guffawing. Does anyone really guffaw? If they do, then that was what I was doing. This reminded me of my oversized forsythia that had to be removed via backhoe. What is it with these shrubs who don’t know their place in a civilized society? Keep the chainsaw handy, you never know when a bit of bamboo will appear…or reappear. Sigh…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guffaw quite often … usually at inappropriate time. Not that anything is going on around me that is worth guffawing at … it is usually some random thought that popped into my head and amused me no end. Not cool when it happens at solemn events.

      I’m glad you were finally able to vanquish the forsythia. The back hoe was an excellent choice of weapon. It is the forsythia’s natural enemy.

      Liked by 2 people

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