Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Archive for the tag “comedy”

Crazy From the Heat

[Background Music:  “107 In the Shade” by Alex Bugnon]

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On the way home from work today, the readout in my car for the outside temperature read 102 degrees (38.9 C).  Earlier I’d looked up the temperature online and it said the heat index was 117 degrees (47.2 C).

If there had been any doubt in anyone’s mind that summer was here, it was removed today.  The doubt was literally baked out of them.

This is the time of the year when Dallasites (and Texans in general) become hermits.  I mean, honestly, what can you do outside when it feels like 117 degrees?  What can you do that won’t kill you or make you wish you were dead?  I can’t think of anything.  There are no sports, no hobbies, no chores … nothing that I would care to do when it is 117 degrees.  Absolutely nothing.

Speaking of bizarre activities, it is not unusual to see people out jogging when it is well over 100 degrees.  Jogging!  I can only conclude that they are insane.  The heat probably made them snap and they just tore off their clothes (luckily they were wearing jogging outfits underneath) and just took off  running down the road like madmen.  I feel sorry for them.  I think the city should drive around in buses and when they see onw of these poor, unfortunate souls, they should get out the tranquilizer gun, tranq them, and put their unconscious bodies in the back of the air conditioned bus to cool off and regain their sanity.  Once they’ve regained their senses, they can be set free in a mall or big-box store somewhere where it’s air conditioned.

And, just for science, perhaps they could tag their ears and track their migratory patterns.  Since there is science involved, there may be grant money to be had.

 

 

 

 

Vintage Technology: The Bone Fone

Move over MP3 players!  The Bone Fone is here!

(Please try to contain yourself.)

Bone Fone #1

This past weekend I was flipping through a vintage magazine (a March 1980 edition of Panarama, which was a magazine all about the TV industry).  When lo!  My eyes fell upon a Bone Fone ad!  (See full advertisement at the bottom of this post.)  I was instantly teleported back to the late 70s when I was a teenager.

Back then, there was no Internet, so we  were forced to read magazines for entertainment and also so we could be told by the cognoscenti what we were supposed to be buying in order to be considered cool.  I could barely afford the magazines themselves, let alone any of the products that the advertisements promised me would make me the coolest kid in the world, so these magazines kept me in a perpetual state of hopeful despair.

Sometime during that era, I saw an ad for the Bone Fone and was instantly fascinated.

This proved once and for all that advertising works.  My teen-aged male eyes were drawn instantly to the picture of the pretty woman in the ad (just as the advertisers knew they would be).  This woman was wearing what appeared to be the world’s most awkward and poorly designed ascot.  Obviously I did not notice the ascot at first.  It took a few minutes for my adolescent brain to realize there was something other than a pretty girl in the ad. But eventually I noticed the Bone Fone.

Intrigued, I read every word of the ad.  The Bone Fone utilized the principal of bone conduction, which is actually a real thing.  I thought, “This may be the greatest invention in the history of mankind!”  This was several decades before the invention of ear buds, so the very notion that you could wear a device that would allow you to hear music when no one around you could was simply astounding!  It was mind boggling.

I wanted a Bone Fone so badly I could taste it.  I bought the story of its invention, as told in the ad, hook line and sinker.  Of course, I also believed those little ads in comic books that said I could buy a pair of X-Ray glasses that really worked.  I was a highly desirable demographic for advertisers peddling cheap, crappy, and borderline fraudulent products to gullible and highly susceptible teen-aged boys (of which I was one).

But … Alas!  The $69.95 price tag (plus $2.50 shipping and handling) put the Bone Fone well out of reach for me.

Time went by.  I eventually forgot about the Bone Fone, though I would occasionally think of it and wonder if it truly worked as advertised.  I read a few message boards about the Bone Fone this weekend and saw mixed reviews.  Some people said they worked just fine.  Some said it was completely worthless.  Now I’m more curious than ever.

A quick look on eBay this weekend showed me that these things have held their value amazingly well.  Prices ranged from $69.95 all the way up to $99.95.  Perhaps I should have invested in them way back when I could have gotten in on the ground floor.

Unfortunately, I still can’t afford one.  Some things never change.

 

Bone Fone #20

 

 

 

 

Less Cool Advertising: Thanks, Windows!

Something else I saw at the Dallas Galleria yesterday.  There was a large rotating video display hanging over the ice rink.  Apparently one of the panels was suffering through a Windows update.  I’m glad Windows doesn’t single out my devices for punishment!

Broken Display #1Image ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

Broken Display #2Image ©2017 by Biff Sock Pow

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Chief Inspector Biff in “The Drawing Room Murder”

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A 60-Second Mystery

(Solving Times May Vary)

Chief Inspector Biff walked into the drawing room and stood looking about the crime scene, taking it all in. It was your typical overstuffed drawing room in your typical Victorian motif. He was mildly gratified when the two uniformed coppers, one posted at each door of the room, snapped suddenly to attention at his appearance.

“At ease, boys,” he said gruffly. They stood less at attention, but still eyed him warily.

In addition to the uniformed coppers, two plain-clothed inspectors were poking about with little plastic things that looked like pencils, but which were actually solid plastic Official Police Investigation Sticks™. Everyone just called them Opies. They prevented getting fingerprints or body oil all over everything. After all, one never knows what might actually turn out to be evidence. For instance, in The Case of the Compromised Crime Scene it turned out that one of the Opies themselves was a piece of evidence. It had been quite an ordeal to not get them all mixed up. The whole affair had been like a crazy game of Pick-Up Sticks.

“What have you got?” said Chief Inspector Biff to the two investigators who had not even looked up from their fine-toothed comb business.

They stopped crawling about on the floor and stood up to face him. “Not much, I’m afraid, Chief Inspector Biff,” said one of them, gesturing to a small collection of little plastic baggies sitting on one of the occasional tables in the room. “Just the usual assortment of hairs, lint, lipstick-stained cigarette butts, swizzle sticks, cocktail napkins, buttons, pearl earrings, cuff links, tie studs, gold teeth, monocles, cat toys, aglets, paper clips, hair bands, a cheese ball, and a single bullet casing.

The Chief Inspector raised his eyebrow slightly. “What was that you said?”

“Bullet casing?”

“No, before that.”

“Cheese ball?”

“Yes. That one.”

“I said ‘cheese ball‘, Sir,” confirmed the investigator.

“Very interesting,” said the Chief Inspector, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “And where was the murder committed?”

“Right there,” said the inspector, pointing at a body lying between the card table and the clavichord.

Chief Inspector Biff took a step towards the body and bent over slightly at the waist to get a better look at the deceased. After a moment, he straightened back up and turned back towards the inspectors. “Yes. Quite. Very interesting. And who is the deceased?”

“Sir Reginald Duke Lord Baron Earl of Wightsmith Downs-HamptonShire.”

The Chief Inspector raised his eyebrow just a bit higher than it was before. “That’s quite a mouthful. Cause of death?”

“According to the medical examiner, it appears Sir Reginald was done in by that candlestick lying next to him. Blunt trauma, most likely.”

Chief Inspector Biff stroked his chin again. “Sir Reginald . . . in the drawing room . . . with the candlestick.”

“Yes sir, Chief Inspector.”

“And I am sure you noticed the orange-ish smudge on the candlestick?”

“No, Sir.” The inspector looked sheepish.

“Yes. There. On the column, just below the knop.”

The inspector leaned down and looked closer. “Gosh, sir! You’re right. I hadn’t noticed that. I thought it was just a bit of wax.”

“And what is the butler’s name,” asked the Chief Inspector.

“Brimble, Sir.    Nigel Brimble.”

“Sir Nigel Brimble?”

“No, sir.  Just Nigel Brimble.”

“Go fetch him at once. And take a close look at his left index finger. I expect you will find it coated with an orange substance that is nearly impossible to wash off.”

“The cheese ball!” exclaimed the second investigator who, up to this moment, had not had any speaking parts.

“Precisely,” said Chief Inspector Biff, snapping his fingers to drive home his point. “There is no stain more indelible than synthetic cheese powder with a base of one or more of the following: corn oil, canola oil, coconut oil, or palm oil.”

“You’ve done it again, Sir,” said the first inspector, his voice full of awe.

“Posh,” said the Chief Inspector. “It was elementary.”

“That one’s taken, sir,” said the first inspector.

“Oh. Then it was … er … um … facile.”

Everyone was about to laugh, but the scene froze and the credits began scrolling by at a dizzying speed.

 

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!

 

 

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.

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