Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Archive for the tag “Almanac”

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Et Tu, Saturday?

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1

I’m starting to wonder why I look forward to Saturdays so much.  I literally spend the five days leading up to Saturday yearning and pining for Saturday, leaning into it, counting down the minutes.  Saturday morning is like a miniature version of Christmas morning and I am like a small boy eager to rush to the Christmas tree to see if Santa has left me that toy train that I have been pining for.

But in reality, every Saturday morning is the same.  It is filled with vacuuming and dusting and laundry and emptying out trash and recycling bins and fixing broken toilets and trying to remove mysterious stains from the carpets.  In the summer, Saturday mornings are filled with mowing the yard in 100 degree heat, edging, trimming, weeding, fertilizing, sweeping, cleaning out garages full of brown recluse spiders, hauling detritus to the solid waste disposal facility.  And then after that, I go inside and do all of the OTHER things I mentioned previously.

So, really, what does Saturday offer me that the five days leading up to it don’t?  After all, Monday through Friday I spend in a climate controlled facility staring at a computer screen.  The most strenuous thing I do is create a pivot table in Excel or struggle with copying a pie chart over from Excel to PowerPoint, or being locked in a battle of wills with a conference room overhead projector.

Given that, you’d think I would spend the weekends yearning for the weekdays.

But I don’t.

So after pondering it for awhile, I realized that the reason I look forward to weekends is because, even though I may be doing unpleasant things, I am doing them on MY time, in the order that I want to do them.  I don’t have anyone sending me emails that say, “Have you had a chance to remove that stain from the living room carpet?  The deadline for having that done was ten o’clock and that was in the critical chain for being able to make it to Target by noon.

Furthermore, if I decide to be lazy and NOT remove the stain from the carpet, I don’t get dinged for it at my annual performance review and receive the dreaded “M” rating (for “Meets Expectations“).

So, even though Saturday is filled with things I’d rather not be bothered with, at least I can chose when and in which order I will be bothered by them.  And if I decide to sit down and write a post on WP instead of unclogging the garbage disposal, who cares?  I am the boss of me!

And I give myself a very solid M.

 

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Poor Biff’s Almanac — My Weekend So Far

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1

It was a quiet Saturday here in Biffville (a suburb of Dallas).

Weekends always start Friday evening with such promise, optimism, and hope.   However, those things evaporate like morning dew as soon as the rising sun hits them on Saturday morning.  Not long after staggering out of bed and towards the coffee maker, it becomes apparent that there will not be much in the way of progress or accomplishment this day.   Gone is the big dream of finally cleaning out the attic, replaced by the more attainable dream of having both eyes open at the same time and pointing in generally the same direction.

Coffee restores a little bit of my Friday evening optimism, but not much.  My dreams of writing prolifically throughout the weekend are put on hold while, instead, I attend to such mundane tasks as laundry, vacuuming, grocery shopping, getting a haircut, talking to various people on the phone, and filling up the car with gas.

Eventually, Saturday evening rolls around and I can finally sit down at the keyboard.  I stare at it for upwards of 30 minutes, trying to remember what exactly it was that just yesterday evening  seemed like such a brilliant idea for a blog post.

Perhaps I should have written it down.

But that doesn’t work either.

I have received cryptic notes from myself before that I stared at like an Egyptologist who was the first to set eyes on hieroglyphs.  I scratch my head as I read cryptic words that are the equivalent of a bird with a cat’s head.  Alligator body with a dog’s head?  Koala on a pogo stick?  A wheel of cheese on an escalator?  What the hell was I trying to tell myself?  If only I could decipher it, I might perchance get a blog post out of it.

But it is too late.  My energy and enthusiasm of Friday night has dissipated into a sort of inert lump of lethargy.

And that’s where blog posts like this one come from.

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac: Post-Thanksgiving Edition

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1 with Turkey

I’m not sure how the past week went by so quickly.  Perhaps I slipped into some sort of turkey-induced coma and I’m just now waking up.  I have vague recollections of:

  • putting nearly 1500 miles on the odometer of my car
  • mingling with multitudes of people who, in spite of my doubts, I have come to understand are my relatives
  • consuming more calories per day than a rugby team
  • going to bed at 8 PM simply because there was nothing else to do
  • drinking coffee so strong that I swear I developed a mild case of X-Ray vision after drinking a cup of it.

Still, even with all that, it is hard to believe that time could pass so quickly in rural Alabama.  Normally time there runs about as slow as molasses in January.  And yet, here I am, back in Dallas and back in the same rut I was in before I left.

As I predicted in my previous post, I did indeed get to enjoy some cornbread dressing and giblet gravy.  In fact, I had it two days in a row.  That may have clogged my one remaining artery, so if I start babbling incoherently (more than usual, anyway), just let me know.  In fact, all the food was absolutely wonderful.

Well, okay; I lied.  When people bring covered dishes, there are invariably those dishes that fail to meet expectations.  For instance, when I was going through the line I saw a pan of green beans that had delicious-looking slices of bacon on top of them.  I was excited.  I love green beans and I love bacon, so obviously this was a dish that I would enjoy immensely.  What can go wrong with green beans cooked with bacon?  Plenty, apparently.  The beans were sweet.  SWEET!  Who puts sugar in green beans?  I was incensed.  I ate them, of course, because in my family, wasting food is the eighth deadly sin.  In fact, based on some punishments I received as a child, I think it may be number one on the list (with a bullet).  I came to believe that my relatives would rather me regularly practice the other 7 deadly sins rather than scrape my uneaten oatmeal into the trash.  To this day I cry out in horror when a french fry slips from my fingers and drops between the seat and the console in my car, never to be seen again.  “Oh!” I cry to the heavens while rending my clothing, “If only I were envious or lustful at this moment rather than the wastrel that I obviously am!

Moving on ….

However, there were things that made up for the sweet green beans.  For instance, someone brought a sweet potato casserole with a sweet glaze containing fresh-hulled pecans.  Sweet potato casserole is always a fan favorite, but this one was so heavenly that I thought a riot might break out when it was announced it had all been consumed.  Later it was discovered that someone had licked the dish so clean that the blue cornflower pattern on the CorningWare™ had disappeared.  The culprit was never caught.  (Helpful Hint:  Ginger ale can remove ink stains from the tongue.)

I had my annual slice of pecan pie.  I love the taste of pecan pie, but each slice contains enough calories to feed a small country, so I limit myself to one per year.  I do love pecans, though.  I nearly succumbed to my addiction and bought a bag of in-shell pecans at a country store, but the $38.50 price tag caused me to stagger and fall into a stack of bags of Jim Dandy grits.  I consoled myself with a two dollar bag of grits.  And an RC Cola.  And a Moon Pie.

Well, that is about all of the stream-of-consciousness recollections I can conjure up of the past week.  If I think of more stuff I’ll write some addenda.  But for now I’m going to go do a couple of sit-ups and try to start unclogging my arteries for next year.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

 

A Sunday Evening Ramble

Biff Hiking #3

Time To Pay

I can’t ramble far tonight, because its early evening and it’s already dark outside.  Thank you, Daylight Savings Time!    I love it when it is dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.  And as much as I enjoy that “extra hour’s sleep” in the fall, I know I will pay dearly for it next spring when you come back around like the Grim Reaper to get it back … with interest.  You, DST, are like the IRS of time.

You’re like, “Hey, remember that hour I loaned you last fall?”

And when I say, a little warily, “Yessss?”, you say,

“Yeah.  Um.  I’ll be needing that back.”

“Oh.  Okay.  Sure.  No problem.”

“Well, there’s a little problem,” you say with a sympathetic smile, much like the loan shark who’s about to break your knees with a cudgel.

“What little problem?” I ask naively.

“Well, there’s the interest.”

“Interest?  I didn’t know there was interest.  I’ll be glad to give you back the hour you loaned me.”

You chuckle.   “Well, yes, I’ll be taking that hour back.  Along with every hour of your life for the next three weeks.”

“Nooooooo!” I yell, lifting my hands up at camera that’s rapidly panning backwards through the rain and the despair.


The Pilgrims Landing at Galveston Rock

The weather here in Dallas is decidedly un-autumn like.  The temperatures are in the 70s and 80s (~ 23-27 C).  The sun is bright as hell, requiring the use of sunglasses.  The grackles (our local bird of choice) are sleek and healthy looking.  The leaves are slowly changing colors and falling, but only out of boredom.  The breezes are light and southerly.  Flowers are in full bloom.

It makes me think that if the Pilgrims had landed here in Texas rather than Massachusetts, those first winters of theirs may have been much more pleasant.  They might have also started saying “y’all” and “fixin’ to” and “dern tootin’“.  Although I can’t imagine William Bradford landing at Galveston and saying, “Howdy, Pilgrim.  I’m fixin’ to mosey on over there to that big ‘ol rock over there.  Y’all tie up them ships and sidle on over there directly and we’ll have us some barbecue and whomp us up some vittles.  Dern tootin’!

The history of America might have turned out a whole lot different if it had actually happened that way.  At the very least, we might all be eating wild hog for Thanksgiving, rather than turkey.  Or some kind of jerky.  Or maybe chili.


R.I.P. CDs

I went into Barnes & Noble today to buy a CD for someone as a gift.  I was disappointed.  CDs have apparently gone the way of the dodo, the woolly mammoth, and the solvent 401K.  In the large room in the back that has been chock full of CDs for as long as I can remember, the CD section consisted of some sad little shelves in the back, and offered only “Best of …” CDs and Christmas music.  The rest of the thousand or so square feet was dedicated to DVDs and, ironically, vinyl albums.

Those of you who have been reading my humble little blog for a while know that I have written before about how bemused I am that such an archaic and inferior music-delivery system has made a comeback in a big way.  But I did not think that CDs would disappear so quickly.  I looked for a CD the other day at Target.  They don’t even sell CDs any more!  What is the world coming to?  (Waves my buggy whip in the air angrily.)

So it is official.  The age of the CD is over.  Time of death:  2017.

Toe tag ’em, boys, and get ’em down to the cooler.

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — If Today Is Tuesday, Can Wednesday Be Far Behind?

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1

We’ve made it to Tuesday with no help from anybody.   High fives all around!  By golly, we deserve it!

Ahh, Tuesday!   A day that has somehow become synonymous with tacos.  Thank you, Alliteration!  (And Rosa’s Cafe!)

And while it may be Taco Tuesday, I still chose to eat a burger at Whataburger.  Yeah, that’s right:  a burger!  What can I say?  I’m a rebel.    Nobody tells ME what to do!  Not even Rosa.  (Sorry, Rosa.)  I’ll have tacos, not on Tuesday, but on Wednesday just to prove that I’m my own man.  Actually, I’ll probably eat at Whataburger again.  I may be my own man, but I am also a creature of extreme habit.  Sure I want to stop at Wendy’s or Chic-Fil-A or Rosa’s Cafe, but I can’t.  The car won’t stop until it comes to a stop in the drive-thru of Whatburger.  Curse you, habituality!

The only other thing Tuesday is known for is being the gateway to Wednesday, which, as you know, is the portico to Thursday, and Thursday is the antechamber of Friday.

And that’s what I like about Tuesday . . . it leads inexorably to Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Round-up: Special Father’s Day Edition

Cowboy roping steer

It was a wonderful weekend in Biffville.  And why wouldn’t it be?  After all, it was a weekend.  A weekend, I tell you!  Need I say more?

Well, I must say more, or this post will be entirely too short.

The best part of the weekend was, of course, that I did not have to go to work.  That left lots of time in which to enjoy not being at work.

Secondly, it was Father’s Day weekend, so I got to do lots of out-of-the-ordinary things like sleep in, not mow the yard, and eat at whatever restaurant I wanted to for multiple meals.

Regarding the sleeping-in …. I do so love not having to get up at the crack of dawn in the morning.  I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination.  But the down side to sleeping in is that by the time I wake up, shave, shower, dress, and consume enough coffee to become sentient, a sizable chunk of the day is missing and so I have to scramble to cram the rest of the day’s activities into whatever time is remaining in the day.  It is very stressful.  Relaxing does not come naturally to me.  I have to work at it and stress over it.

Regarding not mowing the yard, I think this is self-explanatory.  I have met one or two people in my life who purported to enjoy mowing the yard, but though I did not call them a bald-faced liar right to their face, I did edge away from them slowly while smiling so as not to unnecessarily agitate them.  If someone would lie about something as benign as yard mowing, who knows what else they are capable of?  One shudders to think.

(And by the way, before any of my readers in parts of the world who enjoy moderate, temperate climates get your torches and pitchforks, I am not speaking of you.  I am talking of people who live in Texas.  Doing any sort of work outside in Texas in the summer is akin to dirt farming on the surface of the sun.  I’m sure even _I_ would enjoy mowing the yard somewhere where the temperature was below 100 and the humidity was not 99.9%.)

Regarding getting to choose the restaurants this weekend, that proved to be more stressful than it was worth.  I like food.  Nearly any kind of food.  Furthermore, I am perfectly happy eating the exact same meal every day for decades on end.  On the other hand, others are not so indiscriminate.  Every time I pick a restaurant, what follows is a litany of, “We just ate there last month.”  “What, there again?”  “Their food is too spicy (or not spicy enough).”  “That’s so far away.”   “The service there is lousy.”  “I once knew someone who worked with a person who read a reviewer on Yelp who said they knew someone who had a brother who’s kid went to school with a kid who got sick there one time.”   And it goes on and on.  But then when I don’t pick a restaurant, the toe-tapping begins and the impatient sighs.  So, when it’s my turn to choose a restaurant, the stress usually ruins my appetite.

Also, I got some cool gifts today.  A Bob’s Burgers “World’s Greatest Dad” mug.  And a copy of William Faulkner’s “Collected Stories“.  Okay, that last one I picked out myself, but when I said I’m going to the bookstore, I was instructed “Get something you want and don’t talk yourself out of it this time“, and so it counts as a gift.  I think.  I need to retake the on-line training module concerning gifts and gratuities.

But all in all it was a great weekend.  I hope all you other dads out there had a great weekend, too!  In fact, I hope EVERYONE had a great weekend!

 

 

Hello Summer, My Old Friend

panicking

And by “friend”, I mean “Bane of my Existence”.

In Simon and Garfunkel’s classic song, when they sing “Hello Darkness, my old friend“, you can hear the despair and resignation in their voice.

I feel the same when I welcome summer back to Texas.  From the very first time the thermometer hits 96 (35.6 C) … as it did today … you know it will not be going down again for at least 4 more months.  It will only be going up.  There might be nights when the temperature will creep back down into the mid to low 90s (34 C), but that will be at 2 o’clock in the morning.  It’s not like I’m going to get up in the middle of the night just to go outside just to enjoy some air that is only slightly cooler than it was at noon.  Even if I did, the mosquitoes would carry me away and inject me with a cocktail of West Nile, Zika, Chikunguny, or Dengue (dealer’s choice).

Tomorrow it is supposed to be 98 degrees (36.7 C) with a heat index of 108 (42.2 C).  And it’s only mid-June, folks!  There’s lots more summer fun on the horizon.

I really need to move further north.  I wonder what property values are like at the North Pole.

The Case of the Missing Biff

Biff on Milk Carton

Alright, I’m just going to plunge in and get this over with.

Blogging is in no way like riding a bike.  The conventional wisdom regarding bike-riding is that one never forgets how to do it, no matter how long one goes without riding.  But one can most definitely forget how to blog.

I feel like, if the blogosphere were a gym, a pumped up blogger with 20,000 followers would be standing over me, sneering, and saying, “Do you even blog, Bro?

And me, the skinny, pasty, feeble blogger struggling to lift up the bar that doesn’t even have any weights on it, would say defiantly, “I used to blog every day.  Then I forgot how.

The pumped up blogger, now with 5,000 more followers than he had when this conversation started, would just shake his (or her) head in  disgust and walk away from me, leaving me to struggle with my weightless bar.

Because, let’s face it, when it comes to blogging, most of us are our own worst enemy.  Every day, when the time we set aside to write comes around, it is so easy to talk ourselves out of writing.  The excuses are endless.

  1. Nothing interesting happened to me today.
  2. I’m too tired to write.
  3. I can’t think of anything to write about.
  4. The one thing I did think to write about, I just wrote about a few weeks ago.
  5. No one actually reads my blog anyway, so no one will notice if I miss a day.
  6. I would write, but I really need to go fill up the car / pay bills / work on that thing for work / walk the dog / shampoo the carpet / change the air filters / re-grout the tile / etc etc.
  7. Any number of other excuses

My own nemesis is #1 with a side order of #3.

And then one day becomes two.  Then three.  Suddenly a week has gone by.  Then two.  Then a month.  A year.

But as writers we have to avoid the temptation to not write.  No matter what the excuse is, we must keep at it.  Because, unlike riding a bike, you WILL forget how.  Maybe not the mechanics … but the flame we have inside us that compels us to write will grow dimmer and dimmer until, one day, it just goes out.

So keep the flame alive with your own writing.

 

[Do I get a blogger award for mixing a bike-riding metaphor with a flame-going-out metaphor?]

 

 

 

Musings On Writing Plus a Little Shameless Self-Promotion

I’m afraid I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing in my humble little blog.  There are several reasons for that, all of them lame.  I guess the main one is that it is so darn easy to fall out of the habit of writing.  As I mentioned in one of my posts several weeks ago, you can write every day for months, but skip a day or two and you run the risk of never writing again.  One must push themselves to write.  Or, at least that is true for me.

In spite of that, in the very peak (valley) of my non-writing, I received notice that I’d received my 1000th like.

1000th Like Award

How’s that for irony?  I stop writing and get a gold star for writing.  Maybe WordPress has a sense of humor.  Or else it’s trying to encourage me to write less.

Or, I could stop being cynical for just a moment and maybe take this as a sign that I should keep on writing.  And that’s what I’m choosing to do.

So, I want to thank everyone that pushed me over the 1000-like mark.  I do enjoy knowing you are reading my humble little postings and thinking enough of them to like them.  So, I truly do thank you for sticking with me all these months!

 

 

Scenes From Downtown Dallas

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent several hours Friday in downtown Dallas visiting the Dallas Museum of Art.  After visiting the museum, we walked the short walk to Klyde Warren Park.  The picture below is a view from the outside of the DMA looking towards KWP.

01 KWP from DMA.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Klyde Warren Park is very unique in that it is built on 5.2 acres of “land” that was created over a freeway.  The Woodall Rodgers Freeway (aka Spur 366) has always run through a concrete valley carved out of Dallas between I-35 on the west side of Dallas and highway 75 on the east side.  They recently put a top over a portion of this sunken freeway and built a park on it.

Here is a picture taken from the edge of the park facing East.  You can make out traffic on the freeway in the center of the picture.

03 KWP and Woodall Rogers.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Below is a zoom on the above picture to show the traffic more clearly driving under the park.

03a KWP and Woodall RogersImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

This was my first visit to the park and I was really impressed.  They did a very good job of this.  Throughout the decades I’ve lived near Dallas, the downtown area did not have much in it to attract visitors at nights and on weekends.  It was a joke here that they rolled up the sidewalks at five o’clock.  Except it wasn’t much of a joke.  Downtown Dallas was built for business and commerce, and outside of business hours it was largely deserted.

However, within the past five or ten years Dallas has made a concerted effort to attract visitors and residents to downtown Dallas.  They built a lot of condominiums, both traditional, and high-rise ones such as Museum Tower, shown in the next few pictures.

04 Museum Tower (Condos).JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

In the photo below, it’s hard to believe that there are about 8 lanes of freeway traffic about 20 feet below!

05 Museum Tower from Klyde Warren Park.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

06 Museum Tower (Condos).JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

07 Museum Tower (Condos).JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

In addition to these new high-rise condominiums, there are a plethora of other beautiful office buildings.

08 IMG_0320.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Below is the Hunt Oil Building.

09 Hunt Oil Building.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Back at Klyde Warren Park, we decided to eat at food truck alley.

02 KWP Food Truck Alley.JPGImage © 2017 by Biff Sock Pow

About 12 food trucks were lined up along the park offering anything from ice cream to barbecue to lobster.  I chose a nice chicken quesadilla with a spicy avocado drizzle on it.  It was very tasty!  Unfortunately, the weather was not very spring-like but instead was 99 degrees in the shade with the humidity nearly 80%.  It was quite steamy!   It was still a nice visit to the park, though.  I’m sure I’ll be going back soon!  (Probably in the autumn.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip to the Dallas Museum of Art

To celebrate the start of a 4-day Memorial Day weekend, my daughter and I decided to take a trip down to the Dallas Museum of Art on Friday to spend a few hours.  I haven’t been there in probably ten or more years and even in all the decades I’ve lived in Dallas, I’ve only been there maybe five times.   I am definitely one of those people that give credence to the axiom that people who live near well-known sites never go to visit them.

I found that a lot has changed since my last visit.  Much of their collection was new (to me), but also some of my old friends were still there, such as Church’s “Iceburgs” (see below).  It was a wonderful visit and I highly recommend a visit to anyone who finds themselves in Dallas with a few hours or a day to spare.

Below are some of the pictures I took while I was there.  I took well over a hundred photos and there were thousands of things I didn’t take photos of, but these are my favorites.  I apologize for the poor quality.  Flash photography is not allowed and so I had to do the best I could without a flash and with a camera that I’m still not familiar with.

01

Oscar Bluemner

Space Motive – A New Jersey Valley (Wharton)

01 Oscar Bluemner's Space Motive

I really like the clean lines and lush coloring in this painting.  Bluemner used color for emotional expression rather than literal renderings, and that really comes through in this painting.

 

02

Charles Demuth

Buildings

02 Charles Demuth's Buildings

Demuth blended common renderings of everyday objects with cubist aspects.  I’m not a big fan of cubism, but, as he kept the cubist elements to a minimum, using them as accents rather than making them the star of the picture, I like what he’s done here.  The painting as a draftsman-like quality to it and, like the Bluemner above, I like the evocative colors and clean lines of the painting.

03

Edward Hopper’s

Lighthouse Hill

03 Edward Hopper's Lighthouse.jpg

What’s not to like about an Edward Hopper painting?  I love how the strong contrasts between light and shadow capture a very specific moment in time.  The sun, though we don’t know if it is rising or setting, is in a very specific place in the heavens.  It may be telling us the day is young and rife with possibilities, or calling us home for dinner and warning us that it will soon be dark.  But even if it is telling us that darkness will be coming soon, the lighthouse itself strips the darkness of any real power over us.

04

Alexandre Hogue

Drouth Stricken Area

04 Alexandre Hogue's Drouth Stricken Area.jpg

I live in Texas and drought is just a way of life here.  Hogue has captured this perfectly.  Brown is the color of summer here.  The vulture, while here perhaps symbolizing death, to me represents the trepidation that people in drought-prone areas live with constantly.  Whether it is raining or sunny, we live with the ever-present dread of each rain shower perhaps being our last for a while.

05

Thomas Hart Benton

Prodigal Son

05 Thomas Hart Benton's Prodigal Son.jpg

I just enjoyed the imagery of this painting.  While in the Biblical story the prodigal son returns home after living a life of excess and debauchery and was welcomed with open arms and lavished with all manner of gifts and honors, the artist returned from living in New York to his home in Missouri to find things bleak and dour.  Such was life in the south during the depression.   The pain and surprise of Benton’s realization is obvious in this painting.  Even the clouds have a kind of sinister, predator-like look to them.

06

Francis Guy

Winter Scene in Brooklyn

06 Francis Guy's Winter Scene in Brooklyn.jpg

I just liked this painting.  Not sure why.

07

Robert Preusser

Tonal Oval

07 Robert Preusser's Tonal Oval.jpg

I only have momentary and fleeting interest in abstract art.  This one caught my eye and it was interesting for a minute or two, but it is ultimately forgettable and looks like something that would be hanging in the reception area of a corporation.   I do like that this painting has depth (as in the cylinder-like shapes and the ribbing in the elements), and is not just random swirls of pattern and color.

08

Jackson Pollck

Cathedral

08 Jackson Pollck's Cathedral.jpg

I’m not a huge Pollock fan.  I feel his work is mostly a deliberate mocking of the pretentiousness of the art world (and maybe rightly so).  The art world, however, doesn’t seem to get the joke.

I’m not saying I could do what he does (I probably couldn’t), but I also don’t think I could gaze upon his work for any length of time with anything approaching enjoyment.  But since this was the closest I’ve ever been to one of his paintings, I decided to take a picture of it.

09

Gerald Murphy

Razor

09 Gerald Murphy's Razor

Though this is a cubist work, I also feel it has certain art deco elements.  Art deco is my absolute favorite art style, bar none.  I also find myself drawn to pop advertising art for some reason.  I guess that is just the very root of advertising art.  It is a deliberate play for our attentions.  This one succeeds on that account, though it is not an advertisement per se.

10

Gerald Murphy’s

Watch

10 Gerald Murphy’s Watch.jpg

As an engineer, I was immediately drawn to this work.  I love intricacy and detail in art, and it is here in abundance.  I also drawings that have a mechanical drawing vibe to them.  I like artwork that has a schematic diagram feel to them.  This is a beautiful combination of all that, plus contrasting symmetry and non-symmetry.

It is also a surprisingly large work (78  square inches or about 2 square meters), which I thought was a contrast in itself:  a giant depiction of a tiny watch mechanism.

11

Leon Frederic’s

Nature or Abundance

11 Leon Frederic's Nature or Abundance.jpg

 

12

François–Auguste Biardh

Seasickness on an English Corvette

12 François–Auguste Biardh's Seasickness on an English Corvette.jpg

I love well-done comic scenes that contain a great amount of detail.

13

Frederic Edwin Church

The Iceburgs

13 Frederic Edwin Church's The Iceburgs.jpg

This is my favorite painting at the DMA and has been ever since I saw it a few decades ago.  This picture of it does not do it justice.  It is a huge painting.  Its framed dimensions are 85 x 133 x 5 inches (2.16 m x 3.37 m x 12.7 cm) and weighs a whopping 426 pounds (193 kg).  The DMA used to have it in its own separate room with viewing benches in front of it.  They also used to have special lighting on it to enhance the eerie green glow of the ice.  Now, however, it is just hanging on a wall in a huge gallery with other paintings.  But I still love this painting.  It is gorgeous and haunting all at once.  I could feel the isolation of the scene and the tragedy that no doubt happened here a long, long time ago.

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John Singer Sargent

Dorothy

14 Sargent's Dorothy.jpg

Just thought I’d toss in a famous painting.

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Claude Monet

The Seine at Lavacourt

15 Claude Monet's The Seine at Lavacourt.jpg

Monet is my favorite impressionist of all time.  His paintings always fill me with serenity and peace and a desire to go back in time and view the scenes that he was painting.  Things always seem so placid in his paintings.

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Claude Monet

Water Lilies

16 Claude Monet's Water Lilies.jpg

One of Monet’s water lily paintings.  It was so odd to be able to get within inches of this (or any) famous painting.  One would think that they would cordon it off with velvet theater ropes or something.

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Claude-Joseph Vernet

Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm

17 Claude-Joseph Vernet's Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm.jpg

Another one of my old favorites from the DMA.  Vernet beautifully captures an approaching storm.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

And thus concludes my day-trip to the Dallas Museum of Art.  It was a wonderful day and the museum, while not the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum, has a lot of very interesting items in it.

Also, it is the only museum I know with a sense of humor!

18 Van Gogh Vana

Poor Biff’s Almanac: Four Day Weekends, Summer Heat Arrives Early, Artful Pursuits

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Through the clever use of comp time and a Memorial Day holiday, I was able to take a 4-day weekend this week.  It is already Day Three and I am wondering where the time went.  I am not the first person to ask why weekends go by so fast, and the workweeks so slow, but it is just one of those rhetorical questions like “Where did I put my car keys?” or “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”  The questions are asked, but no answers re expected because, really, no one knows.

But in spite of the weekend going by really, really fast, it has been an enjoyable one so far.  On Friday I went down to the Dallas Museum of Art with my daughter and we had a wonderful day of it.  The only slight pall that was cast on the day was when we walked over to the adjacent Klyde Warren Park to partake of some victuals at the row of food trucks moored alongside.  That also was a fun experience … except for the 99 degree temperature and the 75% humidity.

Some might be incredulous that it is so hot in May.  However, I would point out that it is late May (nearly June).  Obnoxious Summer has pushed sweet, pretty Spring out of the way while announcing her ascendancy with scorching, searing laughter, brimstone and  flying monkeys.  But we Dallasites just quietly capitulated and went about our business with resignation.  We go through this every year.  We know there is no escape.  This will be our life for the next 5 or 6 months.

Hopefully I will work up the energy to post some pictures I took of may day on Friday.  However, after three days off, atrophy is really taking a toll on my energy levels.  Or maybe it is the searing heat.  Or maybe it is just who I am.

Now where did I lay those car keys?

 

Squirrel!

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I was in my back yard yesterday evening and noticed this squirrel on the fence.  He was kind enough to wait on the fence until I went back inside and got my camera.  I was about 20 feet away from him and was using my 300mm lens, so was able to get a closeup of him.

Notice his aggressive stance.  He held that position for a good 3 minutes.  I believe he would have jumped on me if I’d gotten any closer.  The squirrels around here are quite bold and will stand up on their hind quarters at you as if to say, “Come at me, Bro.”

I have a love-hate relationship with the neighborhood squirrels.  I love them when they are outside doing squirrel things.  But if they ever get into my attic, it is war.  They have learned that the neighbors’ attics are much more hospitable places than mine.  The Great Squirrel War of 2014 has entered local Squirrel lore and legend and so I haven’t had any problem out of them in years.   (Lest you think I behaved poorly towards the squirrels, I merely had all of the wood soffits on my house replaced with concrete-impregnated Hardieboard.)

So, since this little fellow is outside, he is a good squirrel and the recipient of my benevolent bonhomie.

Just Scratching the Surface — Beware the Lowly Chigger

Itching Man 2

I have lived a long time and have experienced the joy of being stung and bitten by a wide variety of insects.  I have had allergic reactions to various agents.  I have had rashes and lesions.  If something can cause itching, I have no doubt been exposed to it or attacked by it.

But I’m here to tell you, there is no itch in this world like that caused by the bite of the dastardly chigger.

As revealed in my lasts few blog posts, I have taken up photography as a hobby.   In order to find something interesting to photograph this past weekend, I went slogging through a nearby wildlife preserve.  I managed to get a few chigger bites.  Fortunately, I only got a few of them.

A chigger bite will make you want to scratch down through the skin, and any underlying tissue, and right to the bone.  Often even that is not enough.

I consider myself a fairly strong-willed person.  I can and have resisted all sorts of temptations both physical, emotional, and spiritual.

But I, for the life of me, cannot stop scratching these infernal chigger bites!  I try.  It takes every bit of will-power I have.  I have to squeeze my eyes shut tightly.  I have to clench my teeth.  I have to sit on my hands.  My eyes water.  My fingers twitch, just dying to sink my nails into these maddening whelps on my skin.

As an added bonus, chiggers have a predilection to biting people in very intimate areas, so scratching in public requires much subterfuge and caginess.

Over the counter medications only offer very limited relief (usually about 2 minutes).  Hydrocortisone.  Alcohol.  Witch hazel.  Antihistamines.  Vodka.  Nothing works for very long.

One finds one’s self contemplating insanities to relieve the itch.  “I wonder,” I found myself thinking at one point, “If I held a lit candle to my skin if that would lessen the itching?”  But then realizing how crazy that sounded I sought to strike a more reasonable tone in my internal dialog, “Well, not directly against the skin.  Like half an inch away.  Maybe an eighth of an inch.  Maybe the burning would be less distressful than this damned itching!

Fortunately, chigger bites usually only last about two weeks.  Ha ha ha ha ha !  Two weeks!   Ha ha ha ha ha!

I may need to be sedated.

 

 

 

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Et tu, Monday?

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Another Monday is behind us.

A word of advice:  Don’t ever let Monday circle around and get behind you.  Always keep Monday within eyesight.

It was not a bad day as Mondays go.  I am still suffering from a cold … or allergies.  It is hard to tell which.  It all started last Thursday morning when I thought to myself, “Hey, I think I’ll take off on Friday.”  This was because I had put in a boatload of hours last week and had my 40 hours in by Thursday noon.

Well, as soon as I’d said that, even though it was an internal monologue, the cold (or allergy) goblins said, “What?  Who said that?  It’s showtime!”

Long story short, by the time I headed home Thursday after work, my throat was killing me.  I spent all day Friday in bed, laid out with whatever this is.  Saturday and Sunday is just a fog of hazy memories.  So, my long weekend turned out to be no weekend at all.

The moral of this story is:  If you’re planning on taking a day off of work, don’t tell anyone about it … not even yourself.  Those darn eavesdropping allergy goblins will ruin everything for you.

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Friday Recap, Rain Threats, B&N, Half-Priced Books

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Tonight’s Background Music is provided by Paul Hardcastle.
Album:  Hardcastle 1
Best Song:   Forever Dreamin’ is tied with Feel the Breeze

Yes, it is Friday evening.  I am finally home … finally in my pajamas … finally drinking a cup of coffee … finally writing in this blog … finally listening to some soothing music.

Outside it is mostly dark, but every few seconds the whole world lights up as if lit by a giant Klieg light with a wonky power switch.  A few seconds after each flash I hear a distant booming, like a Civil War cannonade.

They are predicting rain, but I’ve learned not to get my hopes up.  I love rain more than any of Mother Nature’s other gifts.  For Her part, she withholds it as a matter of course.  Apparently, she doesn’t like me very much.  Much of the sparkle has gone out of our relationship.

Earlier this evening, Lady Luck smiled on me and I  got to enjoy a visit to both Barnes & Noble and Half-Priced Books … all in one evening!   It was like winning the lottery ……  except without all the money, of course.  I love walking around Barnes & Noble.  It is like a miniature sabbatical to me.  It soothes my soul.  However, I can’t bring myself to pay fifty dollars for a soft-bound book.  So, much like going to Tiffany’s or to a Rolex store, I just look but don’t buy.

So I went to HPB and browsed around.  I found the book I had almost bought at B&N for $30, but it was only $7.99 at HPB.  It was about two years older so not as up-to-date, but good enough for my needs.  What book, you ask?  I am extremely embarrassed to admit that I bought “WordPress: The Missing Manual” by Matthew MacDonald.

Wordpress book

After 4 months of diddling around with WP, I still feel like a novice.  I feel I need to jazz things up a bit.  In other words, it’s time to figure out what I’m doing.

I also bought a DVD of “The Outlaw Josey Wales“, which is one of the greatest western / post Civil War movies ever made.  I paid a whopping $2 for it.

I found a fascinating book.  It is a coffee table book about Alexander Girard’s works.

Alexander-Girard-Book

I had never heard of him before and the book looked fascinating, so I hefted it down off of the upper shelf where it was displayed prominently.  And when I say “hefted”, I mean hefted.  According to Amazon.com, it weighs 15 pounds!  It was chock full of pictures and reproductions of his textiles and furniture and interior designs and architecture.  It was fascinating, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $50 price for it (though that is only $3.33 per pound).  Also, my arms were getting tired, so I had to set it down.

Also, as part of my continuing “What Year is This?” series, I overheard yet another conversation at HPB that made me want to go home and check the calendar to see what year this is.  As I’ve mentioned in another blog post (as well as this one and this one), vinyl albums are all the rage, so it wasn’t surprising to me that tonight a fairly large section of the music department was devoted to vinyl albums.  I was also not surprised that there were quite a few “young folk” (i.e. people in their 20s) flipping excitedly through all of the albums.  But I heard a snippet of conversation that nearly made me drop my teeth.  A young-ish woman exclaimed excitedly, “Oh look!  I found a Slim Whitman album!”

It was all I could do not to chuckle out loud.  When I was a young man way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, every 3rd commercial on television was by Suffolk Marketing flogging a Slim Whitman album or by Heartland Music hawking a Boxcar Willie album.  We all collectively rolled our eyes when any of these commercials came on.  They were viewed as poorly made albums by artists that were, shall we say, not at the peak of their careers.  So, it was quite amusing to hear people in their 20s fawning over these albums nearly 40 years after the point where the artists were 20 years past their prime.

I really don’t know what is going on nowadays.  Vinyl albums.  Polaroid cameras.  Slim Whitman albums.  Lava lamps.

If 8-track tapes come back, I’m moving out into the wilderness somewhere.

Poor Biff’s Almanac: The State of the Blog Report

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through April.  It seems like just a day or two ago that I was bemoaning the fact that the Christmas holidays were over and that I had to return to work after being off for two weeks.  It was January 3, 2017 and the new year yawned in front of me like that stretch of desert highway that is used ubiquitously in movies and pictures to signify a long, arduous (and probably interminable) journey ahead.

desert_road_marking_4896_1920x1080.jpg

 

And yet, somehow it is already midway through April.  We are already more than a quarter through the “new” year.

Except that it isn’t that new any more.  It is a slightly used year.  One owner.  Low miles.  Non smoker.  Maintenance records upon request.  Shimmies slightly when accelerating.

If I was a business (and thankfully, I’m not), I would have had to write a quarterly report, explaining our losses to date and presenting plans for recovery in the second quarter.  It might go something like this:

Blog post inventory was high, but low foot traffic led to a year-over-year loss in same-blog readership over the same quarter last year.  A slow January start (seasonally adjusted) was followed by a strong February.  Month-to-date (MTD) data for March looked impressive, but when scaled to account for the 5-week month, performance was slightly below February’s numbers.  April is shaping up to be disappointing, especially among new readers.
An unusually warm 1st quarter led to declining rates of torpidity among readers as they sought more fulfilling activities out of doors.  Long term forecasts indicate seasonably warm temperatures for the 2nd quarter and so torpidity rates are not likely to increase, and thus readership is expected to continue declining.

So there you have it.  That’s how empty the well of ideas is.  I’ll try to come up with something soon.  If I can’t find something interesting in my real life, I may have to resort to writing more fiction.

(No, that was not a threat.)

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac: Monday Evening Edition

writer

It is Monday evening and my blog has gone to hell.

Not literally, of course.  Who does it think it is:  Dante?  It certainly isn’t Virgil!

No, I just haven’t written much in it lately.  This was because I decided I needed to correct a shortcoming I saw in my blog, namely my repetitiveness.  I tend to write about the same things over and over and over.

My attempt to correct that problem resulted in me having nothing to write about.

That’s when I realized that my life is very repetitive.  However, I prefer to think of it as my life having a particular rhythm all its own.  Unfortunately, the rhythm of my life is a series of never-ending quarter notes played in 4/4 time with no varying of the tempo or pitch.   But hey, that counts as a rhythm!

So there you have it.

Now I’m having this nagging feeling that I’ve written this exact same blog before, not so very long ago.  So stop me if you’ve heard this one before . . .

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac: Tuesday Evening Edition (and Some Talk of Disco Music)

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It was another good day in Biff-land.  And by good, I mean I survived it without experiencing too much corporate absurdity.

Or maybe the reality is that I’ve been subjected to corporate surrealism so long that it is now my normal and I just don’t notice it any more.  I sure hope that isn’t true!  It was never my intent to become one of the inmates at the asylum.  I thought I was merely passing through.  But I’m sure all of the inmates say that when they first arrive.

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I am embarrassed to admit that I am listening to the soundtrack from “Saturday Night Fever” at the moment, in particularly the Bee Gees (“Stayin’ Alive”, “How Deep is Your Love?”, “Night Fever”, etc.).  I didn’t even know it was on my iPod, but here it is.  Boy, this sure takes me back!  Saturday Night Fever came out when I was at the height (or depth) of my teen years.

You never would have believed it, if you’d known me back then, that I would ever have been caught dead (or severely maimed) listening to disco music.  I was staunchly in the “Disco Sucks!” crowd back then.  Around my friends or in my car, I listened to real rock (as we referred to it back then) at top volume.  I listened to Nazareth and Rush and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Rush, Boston, Kansas, Yes, and Judas Priest, Pink Floyd, and the Who (to name some of them).  I sneered most superciliously and derisively at disco or anything disco-like.

I’m sure I was just overcompensating.  My aversion to disco was mostly to hide the fact that I couldn’t dance a lick.  And I that was painfully shy around girls.  So, given those two handicaps, disco was anathema to me.  But secretly I liked it.  I was (secretly) a big fan of the Bee Gees.  I think their music was amazingly complex to be dismissed as being so simplistic.  Their harmonies were stunning.  And they invented voice vibrato.  Their melodies were engaging and complex.  Even their lyrics, in spite of having to fit into a disco format that demanded overly-simplistic phrasing, were surprisingly sophisticated (again, given the format).

But like anything that becomes popular, disco music began to become a parody of itself and it was easy to wean myself off of it.  But even now I cannot listen to “Stayin’ Alive” without walking like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever as he walked down the street carrying the paint cans.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go listen to a little Who to cleanse my palate.

 

Less is . . . Less

Man and Machine

I had an epiphany today.

My epiphany is that all of human history has been driving towards writing humans out of the human equation.

This came to me today at a meeting at work while we were discussing ways to do things better and more efficiently.  What does that mean if not “How can we change what we do in order to do less of what we do?

From there I realized that I have spent the past 6 or 7 years in my current job trying to make my department run more efficiently, to do be able to do more work with less effort and fewer resources.  Things need to be done as quickly as possible with as little human intervention as possible.  I suppose, in an ideal process, the process would run quite on its own and humans would merely observe to make sure nothing went wrong.  Even more ideally, the process would be infallible and no humans at all would be required.

As I reflected back further back in my career as an engineer, I suddenly realized that the vast majority of the decisions I’ve had to make at my various jobs have not been technical decisions.  They have been efficiency decisions.  How can we make this circuit cheaper?  By making it simpler.  Why do we want it to be simpler?  So it will be easier to build, easier to test, easier to set up, easier for the customer to use.  What does that boil down to?  Fewer people.  Fewer people required to build it, test it, set it up, and operate it.

Then I reflected back even before I was old enough to have a career.  Back through history and time.  Every new innovation required lots and lots of people to bring about, to operate, and to maintain.  But then the pressure appears almost instantly to make it simpler.   Cars used to take hundreds of people to build.  Now they can probably be built with a few dozen people and some robots.  It used to take millions of farmers and millions of acres to feed the human population.  Now it takes a few hundred thousand farmers.  Soon it will require even less.

As the humans who create these products and processes, we must ask, why are we trying to write ourselves out of the equations it takes to build them?  Or even use them?  What is our ultimate goal?  What are we going to do with all of our free time if we become so efficient at everything that we are no longer required to do any of the things we strove to make so efficient?

Will we have a sense of accomplishment if we accomplish our goal of arriving at the point where there is nothing left to accomplish?

How will we feel if we create a world that can continue on its own without us?

Will that be heaven?  Or hell?

 

Spring Has Sprang

Sun and gardner

I have successfully made it to mid-week and a little beyond.  More precisely, I am 60% done with my workweek.  It is time to start making the list of all of the things that I’ll say I’m going to do this weekend, but end up not doing.

For instance, I need to put down some weed-n-feed in the front yard to send a strong message to the dandelions that they’re not welcome here, while at the same time sending an engraved invitation to the St. Augustine grass to please stop by at its earliest convenience and to stay as long as it likes.  So far, the grass is being fashionably late.  In fact, if it were a goldfish, it would be floating upside down at the top of the fishbowl and I would be rubbing my eyes with my fists and saying things like, “But it’s just sleeping, isn’t it?”

The trees are all doing well so far.  In fact, I noticed a redbud in the back yard that I did not know I had.  Welcome to the neighborhood, little buddy.  You’re welcome here as long you keep making those pretty red blooms.  Once the blooms are gone … well … we’ll just have to see.

The crepe myrtles are creating snowdrifts of their pollen or blooms or whatever that stuff is.  And, like real snow, it’s pretty at first, but quickly becomes annoying when it gets wet or turns brown or gets into places where you prefer drifts of crepe myrtle pollen not be.

So, yes, everything is blooming.  And those are just the plants that I can identify!  There is a veritable Garden of Eden in my back and front yards, assuming the Garden of Eden was filled with flora (a latin word meaning weeds) that is native to Texas.  And why wouldn’t it have been?  Did not God say to Adam and Eve after the unfortunate Apple incident:

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    blah blah blah …
It will produce thorns and thistles for you”

Hey, if that doesn’t describe land in Texas, nothing does!

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac: I’m Back

writer

Although I’m sure no one noticed that I’ve been away, I wanted to announce that I’m back.

This isn’t your usual I-gave-up-blogging-a-year-ago-but-now-I’m-back-for-a-single-post-before-I-leave again post.  I’m sure we’re all familiar with those.  I have been guilty of that myself.  But this isn’t that.

No, I was merely out of town for a week and wasn’t able to post my usual drivel on here.  I’m sure you were all devastated.  I’m sure the Internet was lit up with people posting on all the social media sites, wondering just what in the heck happened to good ol’ what’s-his-face.  Boff.  Or Piff.  Or something like that.

I was offline for a week because I went to Alabama (but not with a banjo on my knee) to visit the land of my forebears (and two cats).  A fine time was had by all and excessive amounts of calories were consumed in the form of eggs & bacon & grits, biscuits and molasses, red beans and rice, cornbread, baked sweet potatoes (with butter), pecan pie, Moon Pies, sweet tea, and potfuls of Luzianne coffee (with chicory).  It was all I could do to stagger back to Texas under the weight off all them vittles that were, by all accounts, sticking to my ribs (just as my mother warned me they would).  I may have to replace the suspension on my truck.

And now I’m back in Dallas.  I have put myself on a strict lard-free diet to counter the effects of a week of down-home Southern cooking.  But I’m here to tell you … I would kill right now for a slice of genuine Alabama pecan pie and a steaming mug of Luzianne coffee.

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Friday Edition

Poor Biif Featured

I made it to another Friday!

Every Monday morning when the alarm goes off at the unnatural hour of 6 a.m. and one of my eyes opens (I can’t ever get both eyes to work as a team until about 10 a.m. Monday morning), Friday seems like some mythical event foretold in some ancient prophecy no one really believes in any more.  As I shave and brush my teeth (with the difficulty level set at 10, because of the aforementioned non-cooperation of my eyes) I am giving myself my usual Monday morning pep talk.

Friday is a real thing,” I tell myself.  “It will be here in a mere five days.  Just five days.  I can do this!  I got this!

This is followed almost immediately by, “Aw, who am I kidding?  We all know that by the time Wednesday gets here, time will have slowed down so much that it will actually begin to go backwards and we will have to reset our calendars to be the day before.

And yet, somehow Friday always arrives and I am always surprised and amazed, as if it were a surprise birthday party that my friends planned so cunningly that it was actually a surprise.  On Friday mornings, when the alarm goes off at the unnatural hour of 6 a.m., I always jump, surprised, and then smile and I feel like I should say, “Oh!  You guys!  You really got me good!

I then jump out of bed and reenact the “Good Morning!” song from the 1952 hit musical film “Singin’ in the Rain”.  I play the part of Donald O’Connor since I look better in light gray than dark gray.  Besides, everyone wants to be Gene Kelly.  I don’t have to fight to be Donald O’Connor.  Plus this is St. Patrick’s Day, so I thought it was more appropriate to pick the more Irish-sounding name.

I then wake up and realize that Debbie Reynolds is really the rack I hang my robe on.  And that I’m not Donald O’Connor.  And that I can’t sing.  Or dance.

But I don’t care, because it’s Friday!

 

 

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Friday Roundup

writer

It was a good week in Biff-land.  Most of it was spent within the bosom of the taupe-colored walls of my office at work.  However, elsewhere June was busting out all over, even though it is only early March.  Apparently June was misinformed and, eager to get an early jump on things, decided to bust a move. Unfortunately, she is just going to have to gather up her skirts, reload, and prepare to bust out again at a later date, because it is far too early in the year for that sort of behavior.

As I drove home from work today, I passed a hill (just an embankment, really) and it was already lush green and dotted with crimson clover, bluebonnets, firewheels, and other assorted Texas wildflowers.  It was a very beautiful sight!  I was nearly tempted to pull over to the side of the road, get out of my truck, and recreate the opening scene from “Little House on the Prairie” in which they are all running down the hillside of wildflowers while dodging the scrolling credits.  However, I may have mentioned that this is Texas and the sight of something gamboling down a hillside in spring may have resulted in gunfire because something huntable is always in season here.  And anyway, gamboling is illegal in Texas.  One must go up to the casinos in Oklahoma for such debauchery.  (And so now you know about my gamboling addiction.)

The weather chappies (and chappettes) a few days ago promised us a weekend full of rain.  I awoke this morning to a dense fog (one that was not all in my head this time) and so things were looking promising.  However, that burned off quickly and we were left with a warm, sunny day.  It is beginning to look like our weekend of rain is going to get … well … sunned out.  (Can rain be rained out?)  This is disappointing to us all, for the sprint is on to get as much rain as possible between now and mid-May to fill up the lakes before the giant taps in the sky are turned off and we are forced to endure the next five or six months of extreme dryness.

Be all that as it may, I am going to try to force myself to enjoy this beautiful, gorgeous, extremely clement weather.  It will be difficult, but I will do what I can.  No promises, though.

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Cause for Alarm

writer

I have noticed a definite correlation between my not posting anything and a drop in visits to my blog.  And don’t even get me started about “likes”.

Anyway, because of that correlation, I am here to write something to help feed my addiction to visits and likes.

Some people are fond of saying, “correlation is not causation.”  They usually say this when they are about to deny that they did something that they obviously did, like when they are accused of gluttonous behavior because they are surrounded by four empty boxes of Girl Scout cookies and are covered with a light dusting of Trefoil crumbs.

But to the people who gratuitously say “correlation is not causation”to me, I say, “No, but they feel a lot alike.”  For instance, there is a strong correlation between my having a cup of coffee in the morning and waking up enough to remember driving to work.  Did the coffee cause me to wake up?  It sure feels like it did.  Or did the coffee actually teleport me directly to work?  There is no way to tell unless I get some huge government grants to look into it at my leisure from a private island somewhere.  Hey, it could happen.  The government has spent money on much stupider things than that.  Like Congress, for example.

Similarly, me not posting anything may or may not be the cause of a precipitous drop in my readership, but it sure feels like it does.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Where are you going with this, Biff?”

I am going straight down to the end of this blog post to check for likes.

Who’s with me on this?

 

 

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