Biff Rambles On About .. Aphorisms Gone Bad, Getting Ready for Nothing, and Self Reflections


A Lemon Fresh Pledge

So far my pledge to myself to begin writing more regularly has been a resounding non-success.  

Or, to put it another way, my high expectations have only been exceeded by my low output. 

Getting back up on a horse you have fallen off of is much harder than the aphorism would have one believe.  It makes it sound as if getting back up on a horse is easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. 

I’m here to tell you, there’s no lemon squeezy. 

But I’m back for another attempt, because if aphorisms have taught me nothing, they have taught me that if at first one doesn’t succeed, one should just keep on trying until his friends and family begin to suspect he has some sort of psycho-emotional disorder. 

But it’s nothing that a little lemon squeezy can’t cure.   

Or a dose of salts.


Batten Down The Hatches

Dallas is mostly known for its extreme heat, exceptionally mediocre cuisine, and having to drive an hour to get anywhere.

So, most of us Dallasites have accustomed ourselves to surviving 100-degree heat (38 C) for about 9 months out of every year.  Our winters consist generally of finally being able to sit outdoors at restaurants, driving without having to use oven mitts, and being able to walk our dogs without having to put little asbestos boots on their feet.

Therefore, when the temperatures dip down into the 50s (13C), we start reaching for heavy coats, scarves, and questionable headwear. 

And when the temperature drops further into the 40s (8 C), local governments are put on high alert, and the lone bag of rock salt is officially taken out of its secret storage bunker.

When the temperatures dip into the low 30’s (0 C), stores are stripped bare of anything that will burn, along with the entire chip aisle at the grocery store.  Hardware stores sell completely out of generators.  Sales of firewood burn out of control as entire swaths of east Texas are strip mined of anything that will burn or that looks vaguely tree-like.

When we find ourselves in the 20s ( -4 C) or, God forbid, the teens (-8 C), wholesale panic sets in.  Sales of urban assault vehicles enjoy a brisk upturn.  Firearm sales skyrocket.  The rest of the grocery store is emptied out (except the small section of vegan sausage).  

But now we are facing unprecedented cold here in Dallas.  They are predicting we will hit zero degrees Monday morning (-18 C).  That’s right.  I said the “Z” word.  With a capital Z.  (And small e, r, and o.)

I have lived in Dallas for well over 30 years and it has never gotten that cold before.  In fact, I believe zero degrees is an all-time record.  People don’t quite know what to make of the prediction of zero degrees.  I’m not sure it has registered yet.  As I said, this is unprecedented. 

Just as the ancient Greeks had no concept of zero, neither do Dallasites when it comes to the weather.

People here are just sort of looking at each other like, “So-o-o-o-o … what do we do for zero degrees?  Looting?  Do we build bunkers?  Do we form some sort of primative society?  Do we hoard canned goods?  Paper products?  For the love of everything decent and good, someone tell us what to do!

I suspect, outside of a few broken water pipes here and there, we will all be just fine.

And it will help me in my attempts to become an honorary Canadian someday.  My long-term goal is to one day be on the Canadian Olympic curling team.  Or at least to eat at Tim Hortons.


Shuddered Illusions

Now that I work from home, I have been doing a lot of teleconferencing. 

Consequently, I have been seeing a lot more of myself that I ever have in my life before.

I have managed to live quite a few decades without seeing myself more than about six or eight times a year.

Now I find myself staring at myself on the screen and asking the philosophical question, “Do I really look like that?”

The answer, unfortunately, is an inescapable “yes.”  Cameras do not lie, even when you tell them to by clicking on the box that says, “Enhance appearance.”

So far as I can tell, the “Enhance appearance” does nothing, especially when it comes to enhancing anything.

When I first clicked on it, I thought several decades of wear and tear would be burnished away from my face, my hair would suddenly transform into that of an 80’s hair band lead singer, and my clothes would look more stylish.

None of that happened.

My only guess as to what happened is that the computer just shrugged its shoulders and said, “Look, I’m a computer, not a magician.”

And I replied back, “If you can make Tom Cruise look six feet tall, surely you can make me look like I didn’t just emerge from a cave after hibernating all winter.”

To which the computer replied, “If you upgrade to the premium version of this software, I’ll see what I can do.”

So … business-casual Sasquatch it is.



    • Hi Janet! Yes, it was pretty dicey. All of the jokes about Texas and snow are, unfortunately, true. I chalk it up to it being such a novelty that we never really get to log any hours dealing with it. Plus we don’t have the equipment to deal with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Biff

    ” friends and family begin to suspect he has some sort of psycho-emotional disorder. ”

    You got me right out of the gate with that!😂

    Dallas is yet colder than we get in Vancouver anyway, it’s been 25 – 32F, of late, with sporadic snow, but will go to a balmy, and more civilized 40F.

    We have never had zero F, possibly 10 – 20.

    In Winnipeg, I delivered papers in -60F which I can never forget.Then we made the switch in the mid 70s from Fahrenheit to Celsius.The rough calculation will do : double it and add 30. 10C therefore, is 50F. Did I teach you something today? Not likely, but I must say, metric is an elegant and logical system.

    Take care, bro


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya, Wilt! Thanks for the great comment. And I must apologize for taking so long to answer it. We had that week of winter weather, you know. And if anything can bring Texas to its knees, it is a cold snap and some snow/ice. But that week of bitter cold was followed by balmy temps in the 70s. I’m sure you’re much more used to cold weather up in Vancouver than we are here. Here is such a novelty that I think it just gobsmacks us and leaves us unable to figure out what to do. Kind of like when you draw a circle around a chicken. They just lose their minds.

      And -60F sounds like it would be impossible to survive. I’m surprised the newspapers didn’t just shatter on impact when you threw them!

      And I love the metric system. But I’m an engineer, so in my profession we get to use it more often than the average American. I wish we’d switch over. I’m sure people would be quite used to it in no time. After all, if we can understand pints and quarts and teaspoons, the metric system would be a piece of cake!

      I hope you’re well. Stay safe out there, Bro.


  2. Weather is so dependent on what you are used to. Where I live in southern Germany there have been a number of weather warnings recently of “extreme cold.” They seem to be issued when the overnight forecast is -1C (30 F). As a Canadian that just seems ludicrous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I think people can become acclimated to just about anything. After all, there are people living in Siberia, for Pete’s sake! They probably think a Texas summer would literally be hell on earth. And a Texan in Siberia in the winter would just freeze solid and shatter like glass.


  3. It’s a world turned upside down when Dallas temps are cooler than what we are currently having in Maine. We are at a balmy 16F at the moment. You, my dear friend, are being Polar Vortexed in a big way. I’ve been thinking about you when I see your weather on the news with cars sliding all over the place. It’s one thing to be a bit chilly, and quite another to drive on ice. Dallasites were not built to drive on any H2O that isn’t pourable. I should send you some studded snow tires and thermal underwear. In the meantime, put on those oven mitts. At least your hands will be warm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Linda! And yes, you’re so right. It was a crazy week here in Dallas. And even crazier, we didn’t actually set a record for the cold, even at -1 F. Apparently there was an even colder day in 1899. I don’t know how those poor people in 1899 survived without heat or running water. Of course, I believe people were much hardier back then.

      But overall, I came through the cold fine. We never lost power (thank God!). We did lose water, but at least I had laid in a stock of bottled water not long before the cold came in, so we were doing okay. Much better than a lot of my fellow Texans. And thank you for the studded snow tires and thermal underwear. I’m glad those weren’t reversed! Ha ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Learn to paddle a canoe, invest in a touque and perhaps a good pair of mitts and we will welcome you up here. Oh, and no guns! You’ll learn to like the cold, it can be invigorating. Or a really good excuse for a hot cocoa.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have been trying to acclimate myself to cold weather. I have gotten quite good at dealing with it during this spate of cold weather we’ve had. I even went outside without a coat one evening to take out the trash when it was a mere 13 F or so. It really didn’t feel that bad.

      And I already have a touque. 🙂 (It has Green Bay Packers on it, so I hope that is okay.)

      I’m surprised at the gun thing, though. I thought Canada and Texas had similar views on gun ownership. But I have to confess my ignorance as to Canadian gun laws.

      And I am always up for a hot cocoa!


  5. We heard about a huge icy roads-related pile-up in TX. 😦 Would you say this is El Nino, La Nina, or the Powers that Be putting one over on global warming? We’re in a cold spell this week, too: It’s -29 C/ -21F in Saskatoon at 4pm, dropping to -37/-36F tonight.

    I’d mail you some Timbits (aka donut holes at Timmy’s), but “Biff, Dallas Texas,” might not even get the box on the plane. And I can’t afford the postage to send you a curling rock.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Christine! I have no idea what caused our near-record cold snap. We were probably being punished for some collective sin we committed. But it’s tragic that so many people had to die and so many lives permanent affected by something that, for the most part, was preventable.

      And I appreciate the thought on your kind gifts! I would actually really like to try Timbits. I’m sure they’re yummy! If you tell me when you send them, I’ll go stand out at the airport with a hand-lettered sign that says, “I’m Biff. Give me my Timbits!” 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess that’s life on planet Earth: hindsight is 20/20. Hubby & I counted up one day all the safety features added to cars since we were kinds circa 1950. Every one of these resulted from many deaths and injuries. Ditto with workplace safety standards. Also, “When the lights all went out in Massachusetts” Ontario Hydro workers learned that you can’t cheap out and replace a 220 volt conducting wire with a 110 volt conducting wire or bad things will happen. 😉


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