Biff Sock Pow

Finding the humor in everyday life.

Archive for the tag “Writer”

Biff’s Weekly Top Five, Jan 20 2018

pool-snooker-ball #5

I am starting a weekly feature of providing my top 5 favorite things I’ve read on WordPress for the past week.  These will usually take the form of single-sentence quotes, though some may be multi-sentence. 
Most of them will be humorous, because that’s what I’m all about. 
They are presented in no particular order.
I invite you to visit the blogs I’ve linked to and give the bloggers some love (and likes).  I’d rather you give THEM the likes than me.  Enjoy!

#1

“Aintright isn’t a massive fan of golf, partly because he nearly fractured his skull many years ago when trying to retrieve his ball from under the windmill, but also because when he hears the words ‘walk’ and ‘fair way’ in the same sentence he automatically starts looking for his car keys.”

Post Title & Link:     Golfers won’t be putt off

Blog Title & Link:     The Summerseat Skylark

Posted on:                 January 13, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

I’m not much of a golf aficionado and so I nearly skipped over this post in the Humor stream because it mentioned golf.  However, I was lured in by the pun and was not disappointed.  I also love “bureaucracy runs amok” stories, and this one delivered on that count as well.  This post suits me to a tee!

 


#2

“Procrastinators unite! But, maybe tomorrow, or next week.”

Post Title & Link:      Friday:) From Chaos To Organized

Blog Title:                  TONI ANDRUKAITIS

Posted on:              January 19, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

This is Toni’s hilarious take on that special drawer we all have in our house … the one that contains the thousand little bits of this-and-that that make us question our sanity for keeping it.

 


#3

“It’s not an easy life, of course,
the life of the aesthete,
but it helps to nibble fruitcake,
and wear satin on one’s feet.”

Post Title & Link:     The calculated life

Blog Title:                  LONE WORDS (Poems etc. by Catweazle)

Posted on:                January 7, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

I’m not much of a poetry aficionado, but Catweazle’s poems are right up my alley.  They are short, pithy, and very witty (as opposed to merely funny).  It is relatively easy to be funny, but it takes skill to be witty.  I invite you to peruse Catweazle’s offerings.  They are all quite charming and amusing!

 


#4

“I once got completely freaked out because I found a lump on my shoulder. Naturally, after years of watching medical shows, I assumed the worst. “Oh my God,” I thought. “It’s shoulder cancer! It’s an absorbed Siamese twin! It’s…wait, there’s one on the other side. What the…?”

It was my collarbone.”

Post Title & Link:      I Sing The Body Eclectic

Blog Title:                JENNIFER INGLIS (Writer-ish)

Posted on:                January 20, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

This was truly funny!  It was an essay on how our bodies and our brains constantly plot, like Pinky and the Brain, to thwart our quests for normalcy.  I’m sure we can all relate to Jennifer’s description of how her feet attempt to trip her up with every step, how her brain convinces itself that a collarbone is an absorbed Siamese twin, and how her nostrils refuse to work as a team.   And her description of her experiences with a Neti pot had me laughing out loud.  Her essay is a wonderful read … because it describes most of us.

 


#5

“According to Inspector Fuzz, the police are deploying standard crowd-control measures, such as tear gas, water cannons, and a series of public-address systems broadcasting lengthy lectures on modern macroeconomic theory.”

Post Title & Link:     News Flash: Mobs Riot to Celebrate Richard III Debate Contest Result

Blog Title:                 The Punnery’s Commentary

Posted on:                January 21, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

 I clicked on this link simply because of the title.  I do love me a good title!  And this one had everything:  The “News Flash” splash to grab your attention, the shock of the word “riot”, followed by the comedic sucker punch of “Debate Contest”.  Brilliant!  The faux-news report itself was awesome and I found myself wishing that someone would turn this into a YouTube video.   An awesome read!  

The Punnery’s Commentary contains a host of humorous “news” stories that are just the sorts of dry and subtle humor I like to read.  Go check it out.


 

So there you have it:  my second installment of Biff’s Weekly Top Five.  I hope you enjoyed it!  And remember … go to the blogger’s sites and show them some love and appreciation!

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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.

 

Biff Rambles On … Friday, Josie & the Pussycats, Rush, & Literate Felines

Biff Hiking #3

I am speaking to you this morning through the miracle of “scheduled posts”.   If I were to actually write a post this early in the morning, it would sound like complete gibberish.  You would no doubt think that my cat had walked across my unattended keyboard, back and forth, for an hour or so until an accidental blog post appeared.  And I would be more than a little perturbed that it would be better than anything I could have written.

And it would have been written by a cat!  Think of all the “likes” that would garner!

But as much as I hate to disappoint you, this blog post was not written by my cat.  I am pretty sure she is illiterate.  I only say that because the only thing I have ever seen her read is old “Josie and the Pussycats” comic books.  I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure she is only looking at the pictures.

Now is as good a time as any to admit that I had a crush on Josie for a brief period of time when I was a wee lad and their cartoon came on every Saturday morning.  Up until then I had been completely faithful to Daphne on the Scooby Doo show, but when I first saw Josie with her lovely red hair and her little cat ears … well … what can I say?  I was swept up in her music and her stage presence.  But the dalliance was brief (only a single season).  After all, how could I resist Daphne with her long red hair?

I was always a little confused by the fact that J&tPC’s music had a bass and a keyboard line, but nobody in J&tPC played bass or keyboard.  They managed to get all of that sound out of just an electric guitar, a drum set, and a tambourine.  It is still one of the mysteries of modern music.  People sometimes wonder the same thing about Rush.

(Note to Alex, Geddy, and Neil … I love you guys!  Big fan!  I saw your Moving Pictures tour.  Please don’t hate me!  It was just a joke.)

If you’re still reading at this point, you’re probably beginning to suspect that perhaps my cat really did write this after all.  This post is all over the place!  Sorry, even though it’s not REALLY early in the morning, my brain seems to think it is and so it is just sort of stumbling around in a fog.

Okay, I’ll wrap this up and let you get on with your Friday.   I wish you good things today.  Like bagels or donuts in the break room.  Or an extra french fry at the bottom of the bag.  Or finding a five dollar bill in the pocket of a coat you wore last winter.  Dream big!

How Not To Fly Under the Radar

Biff in Flying_Car #1

Even though I was trying to keep a low profile this week, Thursday managed to find me anyway.  I attempted to fly under the radar, but that leads to getting tangled up in clotheslines, barbed wire fences, and those strings of triangular banners that adorn the fronts of used car lots.

Do you want to know how not to make a good impression?  Show up draped in strings of used car lot banners.

And I am so tired of starting conversations with, “Oh, this?  Funny story ….”

Anyway, everything I wrote above is just an example of a little something I call “humorous writing” and what makes it humorous is that I could not possibly lead a more boring life if I set out to do so with a vengeance.  The only way I could be more boring would be to speak only in Latin while describing obscure chess moves in a Holiday Inn conference room to an audience consisting of nothing but crash test dummies dressed in beige jump suits.

Even then, I’m not sure that that wouldn’t be more exciting than a typical day in the life of Biff.

How bad would it be if the crash test dummies got up and walked out of my lecture?

And how difficult would it be for someone to crash such a gathering?

And what if a car DID come crashing through the wall of the Holiday Inn and into the crowd of crash test dummies?  Would someone yell out, “Oh, the faux humanity!”

Could any useful crash data be gathered?

Do crash test dummies make good witnesses?  Or would they choose to remain silent?

Would the police draw chalk outlines around all the dummies?

And when the police interviewed the driver, would he say he was listening to a podcast of some guy speaking in Latin about obscure chess moves, and that caused him to nod off behind the wheel and crash through the Holiday Inn?

Well, I’m putting an end to this before it gets even MORE silly.

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — The Alarm Clock Giveth and the Alarm Clock Taketh Away

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

It was another quiet day in Biffville (population:  me).

That is not to say it wasn’t busy.  It was.  It was VERY busy.  But it was the kind of busy that just makes time pass by and doesn’t really leave anything behind (like, say, a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment).  It was the kind of busy that suddenly, right after you wake up, makes it late evening.  This can leave one feeling a little disoriented.  One minute you’re slapping the snooze alarm and struggling to sit upright in bed, and the next you’re making sure the alarm is set as you turn out the light and crawl back into bed.

I think we can all see the problem here.  It is alarm clocks.

If our lives weren’t regulated by these obnoxious little so-and-so’s, life would be much sweeter.  A little more chaotic, perhaps, but a lot more pleasant.

For instance, I could get up at ten AM every morning the way my mind and my body would prefer.  That would be bliss for me!

However, I might find that there’s no coffee in the house, because the thousands of people it takes to get coffee from the coffee plantations of Peru and into a little red bag on my kitchen counter ALSO slept in and just couldn’t be bothered to carry out the mundane, tedious, monotonous tasks required to successfully carry out this miracle of the modern world.

But that wouldn’t matter, because there would be no electricity to power my coffee pot because the thousands upon thousands of people that it takes to get oil out from underneath the Gulf of Mexico, refined, and to the power plant that generates my electricity to power my coffee pot would have ALSO slept in and so that entire, beautiful, perfect chain of events that turns Gulf-of-Mexico sludge into coffee would have come unraveled and fallen apart.

Long story short:  No coffee for Biff.

So, buzz on, Ye Noble Alarm Clock!  Wake us from our peaceful slumbers and send us out into the world to do things we don’t want to do so that we can enjoy the fruits of the labors of others who also got up and did things they did not want to do.

All of humanity is being driven by our mutual dissatisfaction of what we do, and our mutual desire to have others continue to do what they don’t want to do.

It is a house of cards.  But for Gosh Sakes!  Please, nobody stop doing what you’re doing!

 

Captain’s Log: Monday

sailing-ship-cartoon-silhouette-hi #1

The reefs and shoals of the Strait of Monday have been successfully navigated by the S.S. BiffSockPow.  Repairs to the ship are underway.

All unessential crew (which is apparently all of them) have been given liberty and told to please not get involved in drunken brawls or with people of dubious character.  Unfortunately, that means that the crew cannot associate with themselves, and that is making for some feelings of isolation among the crew.

The ship’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Buck Uplads, has published a bulletin in which he advised them to, “just grow up, ya big babies!”  Results have been mixed.

While in dry dock, the ship is being subjected to a long overdue hull-scraping to rid it of a year’s accumulation of barnacles.  It was assumed this was covered under the ship’s extended warranty (which cost a pretty doubloon), but apparently it is considered routine maintenance and I was presented with a bill that took the wind out of my sails.

I told the port maintenance authority that I could not afford such an extravagance, and to please put the old barnacles back on the hull and that I would try to get another 20,000 leagues out of them.  They did not seem happy and informed me that my old barnacles were showing signs of wear and that if I did not have them replaced it constituted a safety hazard and might void the ship’s warranty.  But I silenced them by telling them that I had lost my booty while suffering from a bad case of the doldrums when in the horse latitudes.  They nodded and said that would explain my long face.

The ship was eventually returned to me, the crew staggered back aboard, and preparations were made to set sail towards the Sea of Tuesday at first light tomorrow.

A Short Sunday Morning Ramble

Biff Hiking #3

It is Sunday morning and the world is stretching and yawning and rubbing the sleep out of its eyes.  I have not even gotten that far yet.

It’s only 9 AM and already the world is passing me by.

Just before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming that it was still the Christmas holiday and that I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be or anything I needed to get done.

Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I awoke and realized that there were places I need to be and things I need to get done.  Sometimes I’m not sure dreams are all they’re cracked up to be.  Sure, they’re nice places to escape from reality for awhile, but like a good book, they always end and then deposit you right back in the real world from whence we came.  Which in turn (prepare yourselves … this is a multi-layer metaphor) is like an amusement park ride.  It’s fun, thrilling, exciting, exhilarating … for about 2 minutes, and then you’re right back on the ground trying to decide if you want to stand in that long line to do it again.

Perhaps it would be better if we didn’t dream at all and so when our eyes popped open in the morning, there were no expectation or prejudices about what the day will be bringing us.

On the other hand, what fun is life without the occasional good book, cozy dream, or roller coaster ride?

 

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.

 

Biff’s Weekly Top Five, Jan 12 2018

pool-snooker-ball #5

I am starting a weekly feature of providing my top 5 favorite things I’ve read on WordPress for the past week.  These will usually take the form of single-sentence quotes, though some may be multi-sentence. 
Most of them will be humorous, because that’s what I’m all about. 
They are presented in no particular order.
I invite you to visit the blogs I’ve linked to and give the bloggers some love (and likes).  I’d rather you give THEM the likes than me.  Enjoy!

#1

“Two Dead as Restoration Hardware Catalog Falls Off Coffee Table”

Post Title & Link:     Two Dead as Restoration Hardware Catalog Falls Off Coffee Table

Blog Title & Link:    Gerbil News Network

Posted on:                 January 12, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

This was actually the title of the blog post and not a line from the post, but I thought it was awesome.  It’s the sort of line I wish I’d written myself.  The post itself is very funny, too.

 


#2

“I believe that when you go to bed for the night, you should stop shouting at your husband.”

Post Title & Link:  Ask Me Anything. I’m a Billionaire.

Blog Title:              DOES WRITING EXCUSE WATCHING?

Posted on:              January 12, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

This was one of the best and most accurate (and funniest) descriptions of what cryptocurrencies are and how they work.  It should be the Wikipedia entry for cryptocurrency.

Bonus points for the blog post title itself.  Very funny!

 


#3

“Switzerland may be famously neutral and their knives more functional than deadly, but their aloof contemplation can be withering.”

Post Title & Link:     it is Rapperswil, not rapper swill

Blog Title:                 TRASK AVENUE

Posted on:                January 12, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

This is easily one of the best travelogue posts I have ever read.  Maybe even THE best.  And by “best, I mean hilarious.  It makes me actually want to go to Rapperswil and drink some huckleberry gin and go up to look for my contacts at the summit where Rapperswil Castle sits majestically. 

The quote above wasn’t the funniest line from the post, but most of the humor was multi-sentence and I needed something single-sentence.

 


#4

“I live in a small house, but I just discovered how roomy it really is. I took down the Christmas tree.”

Post Title & Link:     Still alive and thinking

Blog Title:                 Monica’s Pen

Posted on:                January 12, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

A warm, cozy, humorous post about something we all struggle with:  coming up with ideas to write about and the inspiration to get it written.   (Happy birthday, Monica!)

 


#5

“On my deathbed I’m not going to think, ‘boy, I wish I ate less junk food.’ I feel like I’m more likely to think, ‘maybe I shouldn’t have tried cocaine.’ I’m certainly still going to be ruing my decision to go to grad school.”

Post Title & Link:     Life is Sweet

Blog Title:                 Welcome to the Cubicle

Posted on:                January 12, 2018

Biff’s Comments:

 This is one of those introspective post-new-years posts that we can all relate to.  It is written in a very humorous way that makes us nod our head and smile because we see ourselves so clearly in in the writer’s words.

Bonus points for the blog title.  I am always drawn to anything referencing cubicles.  I think cubicles are a singular sign of humanity’s collective insanity.

 


 

So there you have it:  my first installment of Biff’s Weekly Top Five.  I hope you enjoyed it!  And remember … go to the blogger’s sites and show them some love and appreciation!

A Ramble About Rambling (Now With Cheez-Its

Biff Hiking #3

Or

“A Rambling Rambler Rambles About Rambles”

Look, I know we all dislike “ramble” posts.  But sometimes the only way to cure writer’s block is to just get up and go for a ramble  I’m sure there are several of you who wish I would just up and ramble away, but that’s not quite what I meant.

One of the problems of having a blog while leading a spectacularly uninteresting life is that it is hard to find things to write about.  Often I will just sit here staring at this darned blank “Write” screen and go back over my day minute by minute, hoping to find something, anything, to write about.  The conversation in my head goes something like this.


There was that time I was on the phone and wrote down something on a sticky note, but when I went to stick the note on my wall it just fell off, because I had used an ordinary notepad instead of a sticky one.

Um … no … I don’t think so.

Oh, how about when I was driving at lunch and I saw that sock laying in the middle of the road and I was like, “What?  Why is there a sock in the middle of the road?

No … keep looking.

Remember when I stopped working on that report and I leaned back in my chair to stretch and almost toppled over backwards, but I caught myself just in time, and I was like, “Whoa!  I almost fell over backwards.”  But I didn’t.  That was sure something, eh?

Umm … I think we should just save that one for when we’re REALLY desperate for something to write about.  Keep thinking.

Oh, I know!  Remember when I went down to the vending machine to get a package of Cheez-Its™ and I was putting my money in, but it kept returning that one quarter and wouldn’t take it, so I just kept putting it in over and over until I was like, “Hey, what the heck?” and I was getting really torqued off, but then I noticed I had already put in enough money so that’s why it kept returning it and then I was like “dur-hay!” and just got my Cheez-Its™ and went back to my desk?

Wow!  Dude.  We really need to work on getting you out of the building more often.  Come on.  Surely there’s something you can write about.

Well, there were those two Cheez-It™ squares that were still joined together.  I guess they didn’t break them apart at the factory or something, so I got a double-square Cheez-It™.   How cool is that?

You know what?  I give up.  You’re on your own.


 

A conversation like that can go on in my head for an hour or more with not a word making its way down onto the computer to be posted in this here blog.

Now do you know why I like to ramble away sometimes?


Author’s Note:  I didn’t receive diddly squat from the Kellogg company for endorsing their fine Cheez-It™ product in my blog.  However, I’m sure I could be persuaded to write Cheez-It™ themed blogs regularly (if you know what I mean … wink wink nudge nudge).

 

Tastes Kinda Like Victory

 

0 - Man Asleep on Desk

I am ready to declare victory on my New Year’s resolution to write sporadic, disjointed posts on my blog with no sense of regularity, and interspersed with days upon days of inactivity.

Nailed it!

You can’t see me, but I’m giving myself a high five right now.

I can now cross that resolution off the list.  Normally it would take an entire year to amass enough blog posts to determine if I had been successful or not, but I think 4 blog posts in ten days is a statistically significant sample and it certainly allows me to extrapolate where I might be 355 days from now.  Oh yeah!  Looking good!  There’s really no need to write any more posts.  I think we can all see where this is heading.  Pardon me while I take a victory lap around my living room.

Ow!  Dang-it!  Stubbed my toe on the coffee table.   Give me just a second …

Please Stand By

 

Okay.  I’m back.  That table leg must have hit a nerve just right because it caused my eyes to sweat profusely. Ha ha!  Who would’ve thought that the toe bone is connected to the eye bone?  I may not know much about anatomy but … well … I know that song.  Parts of it anyway.

Okay … enough silliness.  I know my blog readers well enough to know that you don’t come here looking for levity, jocularity, or interesting topics.  I’m pretty sure you think of my blog like an 8 AM Monday morning meeting.  That is, you only go if there are doughnuts.

Sorry, no doughnuts today.  There are, however, some little packets of faux Parmesan cheese left over from the pizza party we had last month.  Feel free to tuck in.  I’m pretty sure they don’t have an expiration date.

This, then, is what this blog has come to.  Don’t we deserve better than this?  Don’t we deserve something better than packets of faux Parmesan cheese?  Sure, there may also be a packet or two of red pepper flakes, but does that really make anything better?  Is it too much to ask to get an occasional doughnut?  Even those weird ones that no one ever eats?

Rest assured that I shall send a strongly worded email to the management to let our demands be known.

In the meantime, let us enjoy these packets of Dijon mustard and lite mayonnaise that were left over from the company picnic back in August.  What is the worst that could happen?

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — On Sundays, Linux, and Cagney

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1

 

What is it about Sunday nights that just makes them suddenly appear out of nowhere?

One minute you’re driving away from work on Friday afternoon thinking you have a never-ending weekend ahead of you in which to finally knock out that never-ending to-do list that’s been hanging over your head since 1985 … and the next thing you know it is Sunday night and time for bed and the only accomplishment you can claim without laughing is that you finally managed to polish off that box of Christmas cookies you got as a gift and were worried you wouldn’t be able to finish before they went stale.

But enough about my accomplishments.  I don’t want to come across as bragging.  Sure I’m humble, but I don’t want to flaunt it.

Actually, now that I think about it, I did manage to complete something.  It wasn’t on my to-do list, but I accomplished it anyway.  It was on a to-do list I had back in, I think, 2014 or 15, but that I accidentally threw away in 2015 while executing a New Year’s resolution I’d made myself to clean up my home office.  That “clean the office” activity also lost steam after I’d thrown out the to-do list.  At that point there was no evidence that I’d ever made it so I felt confident in abandoning it.  The coppers had nothing on me, see?  Yeah.  Nuttin’ at all, see?  Yeah.

OMG, where was I?

Oh yeah, the thing I managed to accomplish tonight.  Yesterday, I excavated a relative’s old Dell laptop out of the depths of my office closet.  Since I am an electrical engineer, all of my relatives think that I collect old, defunct, or obsolete laptops.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

Relative:  “Hey, you’re an engineer.  You should take this old laptop of mine.  I got a new one.”

Me:  “Oh … um … thanks.  I guess.”

I haven’t the heart (or the courage … or the brain … or some other Oz character) to tell them that I know next to nothing about laptops outside of how to turn them on and swear at them while they do interminable Windows updates.  My inability to speak up has netted me a cache of useless laptops.

Anyway, I took this aged Dell laptop that weighs an impressive 20 pounds (whose lap was THAT designed for?) and is abysmally slow and fired it up.  It booted after about 30 minutes and then set about doing about three years of Windows updates.  I just left it and came back to it the next day (today).  Then, while laughing maniacally while lightening lit up the room intermittently, I installed Ubuntu 17.10 (with Gnome) on it.

Take that, Microsoft!  Your precious laptop is now a Linux machine, see?  Yeah.  A Linux machine, see?  You coppers will never take me alive, see?  Yeah!

[Why the heck to I keep slipping into a Jimmy Cagney mode?]

So yeah … I now have a 20-pound Dell laptop running Linux.  Sure, it boots about 30 minutes faster than Windows did.  Sure, the cooling fan doesn’t run as fast as a 747 jet engine’s any more.  Sure, the new Gnome desktop is pretty.  Sure, it’s got LibreOffice on it (which is almost as good as MS Office … just like a Kia is almost as good as a Lamborghini).  But it still weighs 20 pounds.   And looks like something from the 1980s.

But now I can write “Extensive Linux experience” on my resume.

And, really, isn’t that what life is all about?

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — Post Christmas Edition

 

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

Today was the first normal Saturday I’ve had in about 5 or 6 weeks.  Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and all of the hullabaloo surrounding those things, I have been out of my routine far longer than is good for me.

Yes, I am a creature of habit.  I can’t seem to stop myself.

But even today doesn’t quite count as “normal”.  I spent a portion of the day de-Christmassing the premises.  This involved getting a lot of empty boxes and bins down out of the attic.  These are the same empty bins I put up there only about 2 weeks ago after decorating the house.  And the same ones that I took down from the attic a week before that (albiet full).

I am getting quite adept and moving boxes and bins up and down out of the attic.  I wonder if that is a marketable skill?

Today, I took down the yard decorations.  When I put them up about two weeks ago, it was about 25 degrees (-4 C) outside.  Today, as I took them down, it was about 63 degrees (17 C).  It is bad enough deconstructing Christmas decorations in and of itself.  It is sort of a depressing ordeal.  That is because, while dismantling life-sized, light-up plastic snowmen and large faux light-up Christmas presents (designed to withstand the outdoors), and brilliant fuchsia metallic Christmas trees (also designed to withstand the outdoors), one cannot help but be a little melancholy thinking back over the joyous activities of the past few weeks.   And now it all seems a bit gaudy.

But then couple that with unseasonably warm temperatures and … well … it seems a trifle disrespectful.  It seems as if even Mother Nature has turned her back on Christmas.  I can almost see her, dusting her hands and going, “Well, that’s the end of that!  Time to move on.”  I don’t know why, but she is wearing an apron and looking suspiciously like Mary Poppins in this image in my head.  (Hey … I can’t control the way my mind works!)

So, even though I very much want life to return to normal here around chez Biff, it is proving difficult.  I want to put Christmas behind me, but it keeps calling me and leaving me awkward voice-mails.  It is proving to be a very messy break-up.

Okay … Let’s Do This

Man-Typing-Silhouette-2400px

I can’t believe that it is already the 4th day of the new year and I have only written two blog posts.  For those of you who like to do complex math problems as a hobby, that is only a half a post per day.  Or, for those of you who like pointless acronyms, 0.5 PPD (Posts Per Day) .

At this rate, I will only have 182.125 blog posts completed at the end of 2018.   That would be tragic!  Of course, that is a significant improvement over 2017, but I’m not one to let math get in the way of my emotional tirades.

Now, my more astute readers are now saying, “But Biff … this is the 3rd blog post of 2018, so that means your PPD is now 0.75, which means that by the end of 2018 you will have written 273.1875 blog posts.

Really … who says things like that?

But you make a good point.  I would be quite happy with 273.1875 blog posts within a year.  However, I am a little curious as to what that 0.1875 post would look like.  That is three sixteenths of a blog post and I’m guessing it is one of those posts wherein in hit the “Publish” button accidentally before I’ve finished writing it, but I’m too lazy to go back into it and finish it.

If ever there was a time that I should not click the “Publish” button, it is right now for this very post … but I’ve got my PPD to think about.

2018 Day Two: I Remember Where I Work

Today was my first day back at work since December 14, which is a whopping 18 days off.  I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that I have not thought of work a single time since December 14 (except for being glad that I wasn’t there).

So, when I hopped in the car this morning and started driving, it is a miracle that I headed off in the correct direction.  I could just as easily struck out in the wrong direction and ended up at a Starbucks or a Barnes & Noble or in Fort Worth while staring out the windshield in bewilderment while saying, “Hmmm … this doesn’t seem right.  This is an open field.”

I won’t take any credit for having the mental faculties to get to work this morning.  It was purely muscle memory.  That happens when you drive to the same place every work day for 8 years.  Therefore, my brain had nothing to do with it.  My brain was, in fact, trying to thwart the enterprise by telling me stridently that this endeavor was hopeless and that we should just go back home and go to bed.  But I reminded my brain that this was the price for spending too much on Christmas.  I then set about to ignore my brain.

I managed to make it through the revolving door in only one revolution and without losing my briefcase or a glove or my sanity.  I wandered through the hallways in a daze.

giphy-downsized.gif

It was like deja vu.  It sort of seemed familiar … and yet totally alien, too.

I stepped into my office and was about to set my briefcase down but then, just to make sure, I took a few steps backwards out into the hallway.  Yep, that was my name on the door.  Just making sure.  It never hurts to be careful.

I fired up the ol’ computer.  I stared blankly at the login screen.  It seemed to be wanting some sort of password.  Hmmm.  What could it be?  This serves The Company right for making us change our passwords every 45 days (while making sure it contains at least 12 characters, a mix of alphanumeric and special characters, a mix of upper and lowercase letters, nothing even vaguely similar to something we’ve used in the past, and no words found in the dictionary).  Hell, it’s a miracle I remember it from day to day, let alone after an 18 day sabbatical!

I finally managed to get logged in.  My email inbox was packed with emails sent by people before the holiday break who wanted everyone in the company to think they were busy the week before Christmas.  Who ARE these people?  Should I recognize these names?   There’s only one way to resolve this.

<Select All>

<Delete>

There.  Problem solved.

Now, what was I doing before the holidays?  I seem to recall some sort of spreadsheet.  Or maybe it was a PowerPoint.  I’m pretty sure there were numbers in it.  And a graph of some sort.

Maybe I’ll just hide in my office and hope everyone else is in the same boat as me.

[Note to self:  Next Christmas, leave notes for myself before Christmas to remind me after Christmas what I was working on.]

 

 

Rambles With Biff — The First Writer’s Block of the New Year

Biff Hiking #3

It is only 19 hours into the new year and already I am struggling to think of something to write about.  I hope this is not a harbinger of how things are going to be in 2018.  So I’ll just start off with a ramble because it’s a cheap trick effective method for coming up with a topic to write about.

Weather … ‘Tis Colder in the Mind to Suffer

First I’ll talk about the weather.  Regular readers of this blog will be quite familiar with how much I complain about the oppressive heat here and how we really only have two forms of weather here:  (a) hot and (b) scary.

But once in awhile Mother Nature will toss us a curve ball … that has spikes on it … and explodes.  This time she has tossed us some extreme cold.  Now, I realize that compared to everyone north of us, this is just typical winter weather.  It might even be laughably mild to someone in, say, International Falls, Minnesota.  But to us Dallasites, when the temperature gets down into the teens (~ -8 C), it is like the apocalypse.   It is even worse if it gets down that low and stays there for more than a few hours.  This time she has sent us temps in the teens and 20s and she has left it there for several days.  For your typical Dallasite, it feels like the end times.

It is so bad that I had to dig out a winter coat that I almost donated to the Salvation Army a few months ago because I have not needed it for about 4 or 5 years and thought I never would again.  But I’m wearing it now!   It is getting a good workout, along with gloves, scarves, and a toque.  And if you think the weather is frosty, try wearing a Green Bay Packers toque down here in the heart of Dallas Cowboys territory.  I have been teased mercilessly.  But I don’t care.  I would wear a Pretty Pretty Pony toque in this weather if it was all I had.

To Diet, To Sleep — Perchance to Dream

Now that the holidays are over, I can return to my normal sleeping and eating patterns.

It is a pretty common topic here in Blogville to discuss post-holiday dieting.  Don’t worry.  I’m not about to resolve to go on a diet.  I’m not going to give you my recipe for tofu fritters or grilled breast of hummingbird.

No, I don’t think it counts as a diet if I just go back to eating normal amounts of food.  Over the holidays it was not uncommon to eat three meals a day of about 2,500 calories apiece … and to spend the time between meals gorging on chocolates, cakes, pies, etc.  Is it sad that I am actually looking forward to scaling back to a mere 2,000 calories a day?  My body will thank me.  My clothes will thank me.  I will thank me.

The grocery store, on the other hand, may go into mourning and send me a polite inquiry, asking me if all is well in the Biff household.

Ay, There’s the Nub

So there you have it.  The perfect cure for writer’s block is just to start typing and hope something comes to you.  What dreams may come?  You never know until you start writing and see what your brain is capable of thinking up.

Biff’s Top Five Posts of 2017

pool-snooker-ball #5

Self-promotion does not come easy for me.  In fact, it is antithetical to my personality.  However, every “How To Blog” article I have ever read says that one must be relentless in one’s self promotion.  So, I am going to hold my nose and do this.  I apologize up front to everyone.

Here are my top 5 blog posts from 2017 according to my stats page.  I excluded my “About” page and other miscellaneous things that never change.


Numero Cinco (#5)

There was a tie for fifth place between the following two blog posts:

I Was Wrong … and I’m Glad I Was

Posted:  December 29, 2017                                   Views:  46

In this post I waxed philosophic and with thankfulness and gratitude about the past year of my blogging activity on WordPress.

How To Have An Existential Crisis For Fun and Profit (and Maybe a Few Yucks)

Posted:  December 15, 2017                                          Views:  46

In this post I attempted to give some insight into a humor-writer’s brain and thought processes.  It was really me expounding upon the old saw “write what you know”.  But what is a writer to do when he or she has strip-mined everything they know for every single word possible and have run out of ideas?  This post doesn’t offer any answers, but it was very cathartic to me.


Nummer Vier (#4)

T’is the Season — To Crank Up the A/C

Posted:  December 4, 2017                                   Views:  51

The weather here in Dallas is a writing well I keep going back to over and over again.  I know everywhere in the world thinks they have the most unique weather there is, but the Dallas weather changes so often it makes my head spin.  Anyway, I don’t think the weather theme was the cause for so many hits on this post.  I think it was my attempt to be humorous and to come up with Texas-themed Christmas carol titles.


Uimhir a Trí (#3)

In a Vacuum, No One Can Hear You Blog

Posted:  July 8, 2017                                   Views:  54

I have no idea why this post broke the top 20, let alone the top 5.  It was just me moaning about how hard it is to blog frequently and consistently.  The ideas dry up.  One becomes repetitive.  One tries new things only to find the reception tepid or non-existent.  I know these things are not unique to me.  I am not special, nor do I deserve special consideration.  Everyone who blogs struggles with these things.


Номер два (#2)

Haircut Roulette

Posted:  March 12, 2017                                   Views:  57

Again, I have no idea why this post struck a chord with my readers.  I would have placed it down around 127th place.  I was merely bemoaning the fact that the guy has cut my hair for the past 25 years up and moved away, and how hard it was for me to find another barber who could cut my hair to my liking.  I guess it is just one of those universal things we all go through in our lives.


[Insert drum roll here …]

Tau Tuatahi (#1)

An Open Letter To My Fellow Bloggers

Posted:  November 15, 2017                                   Views:  232

As you can see, this was by far my most-read blog post.  It was also my most commented on and my most reposted blog post.

In it I wrote about how hard it is to keep up with everyone else’s blog.  There are just so many wonderful writers, photographers, and artists out there who post so many awesome things!  It is nearly impossible to keep up.  I guess this really struck a chord with everyone, because it generated a lot of hits.  And thank you to everyone who reposted it for me!  That certainly helped.


Well, there you have it … my Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017.  I started to make it a top ten, but I am feeling lazy.  Besides, taking my own advice from my number one blog post, I didn’t want to make it even harder for you to keep up with everyone’s blog.  🙂

Happy New Year, Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful 2017, and I hope you all have a fantastic 2018.  Thank you all for everything!

 

 

 

 

2017 – A Reminiscence

fathertimeteaches 2017a

Well, 2017 is on life support and only has a few hours left to live.  It is customary for people (especially people with blogs) to reminisce about the year that just ended and to make wild-ass promises about the upcoming year.  Since I am a people, and especially since I am a people with a blog, I am required by law to post such a blog.

Reminiscences 

2017 was a very good year for me.  I was in good health.  My job, though uninspiring, affords me such luxuries as food, clothing, shelter, central air, hot-and-cold running water, electricity, and internet service.  I feel guilty when I complain about anything, because quite honestly, I have nothing to complain about.  When I let life’s nuisances and annoyances get to me, when I wail and gnash my teeth and rend my clothing, I feel quite silly and ungrateful because I have it better than the vast majority of people in the world, either now or in the past.

The theme of 2017 for me was minimization and simplification.  As we go through life, we tend to accumulate stuff.  These things slowly take over our lives and consume us.  We find ourselves spending the majority of our waking hours maintaining, managing, upgrading, and declaring our fealty to the useless things we accumulate.  Well, in 2017, I said “no more!”  I have begun shedding the things in my life that no longer serve me or bring me joy.

But enough philosophizing.  I meant to reminisce instead.  Below are some of my reminiscences about 2017.

Blogging

Though I was not new to blogging before 2017 rolled around, this was the first blog I put any real effort into and kept up with anything approaching consistency.  As a result, I met some really wonderful people, got to read some fantastic blogs, and received lots and lots of encouragement.  That has absolutely been the best part of blogging for me.  I love the community of bloggers who support each other, encourage each other, read each other’s stuff, and have a great time together.  I wish we were not spread out all over the world, for it would be a real hoot to get together with you all at a picnic or a pizza party or somewhere just to eat and laugh and talk and have a wonderful time together.

Projects

I half-completed a few things this year.

  • Almost completed restoring a vintage 1950s vacuum tube radio.  It fell victim to my Short Attention Span (SAS).
  • Nearly completed a model of a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500.  (Another SAS victim.)
  • Attempted to teach myself how to cartoon (Realized very quickly that I am not a cartoonist, nor will I ever be.)

I had more success with a few other projects.

  • Built a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using a Raspberry Pi computer board
  • Painted two oil paintings under the tutelage of a Bob Ross certified instructor
  • Managed to write 200+ posts for this here blog
  • Bought a Canon T-6 camera and took up photography (still not good enough to post anything, though)
  • Cut the cord.  I now no longer have cable or a land-line phone, though I still have Internet.  This has saved me over $150 a month!  I have not missed cable TV one little bit.

Other things were a complete disaster or ended in abject failure.

  • Meant to clean out the garage — didn’t even get started
  • Ditto on the attic
  • Decided to stop collecting old books and so tried to get rid of my collection of 800+ books.  Found out old books are worthless.  I may end up tossing them in the recycling bin.
  • Failed miserably in my resolution to read a book a month.  I only managed to read about 3 or 4 books this year.  I realize this is pathetic, but I shall do better this year.
  • Failed miserably in my resolution to finish writing a book this year.  I only wrote half of two novels.  Perhaps if I put these two failed attempts into a single binder, that would count as an entire novel.  Hmmmm.   We’ll call that one a near miss.

 

Life Events

I’ll put all of these in the Win Column.

  • Remained employed
  • Remained healthy
  • Did not lose anyone close to me
  • Got a new roof on my house to replace the hail-damaged one.  Insurance picked up huge portion of it (though I still had to fork out significant $$$)
  • Daughter got a job and moved all the way across the country and is now self-sufficient

 

Wild-Ass Promises

Here are my wild-ass promises for 2018.  (Some might call them delusions.)

  1.  Finish writing one of the two novels I started in 2017.  (Bonus points for finishing both of them.)
  2. Continue writing consistently in this blog.  The adjuncts to this will be to grow my readership and to continue growing my circle of blogging friends.  Most of the fun of blogging is meeting new people!
  3. Clean out the attic and garage.
  4. Continue my path towards minimization and simplification.
  5. Try to lead a more interesting life so that I will have something to blog about.  (This one goes into the Fantasy column.)

 

I hope you all have a safe and fun New Year’s, and I hope 2018 is wonderful and successful for you all!

 

 

I Was Wrong … and I’m Glad I Was

Man-Typing-Silhouette-2400px

It is almost one year to the day that I kicked off this blog with a promise to myself that I would actually do it.  And maybe even stick to it for a little while.  You can read my promise to myself (and my lack of faith in same) at the following link:

Higher Resolution … or Highly Resolute … or Just High

Overall, I would rate my progress over the past year as a solid “E” (i.e. exceeded expectations).  I honestly thought I would only get six or eight posts into this thing before I gave it up.  That had been my track record up until then and I saw no reason why the pattern wouldn’t repeat.  After all, I have lived a life made up of started-but-never-finished projects.  It just seems to be part of my DNA.

But I am happy to report that I have not only stuck with this blog for an entire year, but that I have written over 200 posts, have had over 2,000 visitors, and have received over 4,700 views.  Those numbers far, far exceed what my expectations were when I started this little venture.  After all, I only started this blog to try and become more regular in my writing.  Therefore, I figured that my record at the end of the year would be more along the lines of 8 posts, 21 visitors, and 63 views.  I also assumed that most of those visitors would be me checking my blog from different IP addresses.

Anyway, I want to thank you all for allowing me to have such a stellar year.  The best part of it all is not my stats, but the friends I have made, the amazing blogs I have gotten to read, and the knowledge I have gained.

You all make blogging fun!

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac — What Day Is This?

Poor Biff's Almanac Graphic (Colored) #1

Hello, Everyone!

I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage.  I have been off from work for about two weeks and as I explained in a post back in July, I have lost all sense of time and timeliness.  I don’t know what day of the week it is, what the date is, how many days are left before I’m supposed to go back to work.  Heck, I hardly even remember what year it is!  Christmas has compounded that issue somewhat.

Though I am enjoying the heck out of being off from work, there is a slight price to be paid.  The first price to be paid is the nagging question, “Why can’t my entire life be like this?”  I know there are very obvious answers to that, not the least of which is, “Because.

Still, it is frustrating.

The second price to be paid is a constant feeling of disorientation and discombobulation.  The past few weeks have been filled with questions such as the following.

  1. Why is this TV show coming on on Tuesday night?  Oh .. wait … it’s Friday.
    .
  2. Wow!  Chic-Fil-A is open on Sunday!  Oh … wait … it’s Tuesday.
    .
  3. This milk is still good.  It doesn’t expire until the 22nd.   *spewing*  Ugh!   This is the 29th!
    .
  4. I don’t have to set the trash out by the curb for another 4 days.  OMG!  They’re here!
    .
  5. This 75% off coupon doesn’t expire until the 27th.  Oh … wait … that was 2 days ago.

And a dozen other things like that.

In addition to those things, I am starting to feel a growing sense of uneasiness about going back to work.  The following worries are starting to haunt my every waking moment.

  1.  Will I remember all of my passwords on my first day back?  I can’t seem to remember them at the moment.
    .
  2. What was I working on before I left for the holidays?
    .
  3. What if I accidentally miscalculated the number of vacation days I had left in 2017 and I actually owe the company money now?
    .
  4. What were the names of the people I work with again?
    .
  5. Did I have any meetings scheduled for my first day back?  If so, what were they about?

My only hope is that all of my coworkers will be going through the exact same thing I will be.

How To Have An Existential Crisis For Fun and Profit (and Maybe a Few Yucks)

panicking

I decided to take a break from my make-it-up-as-I-go-along Christmas-themed blog novel (blogvel?) and write an actual blog post.

I have to be honest with you.  I have not posted in a while because there just hasn’t been much to write about.  How many blog posts can I wring out of my boring job?  How many blog posts can I get out of a very mundane, pedestrian life?  When I first fancied myself as a writer at around the age of 15, I just assumed that every moment of my life would be fascinating to readers if I could just somehow get my writing in front of them.

That was way before the Internet.  The only way you could get your writing in front of readers was to write a very grumpy, complain-y letter to the editor of the local newspaper, and even then there was only about a 0.01% chance it would get published.   I knew writers who would take out those free ads in the “Weekly Shopper” or “Green Sheets” just so they could experience the thrill of something they wrote appearing in print.  (No names … I promised them I would never admit that to anyone.)

Anyway, that was a long, roundabout way of saying that my belief as a 15 year old that my every written word would be fascinating to the reading public has undergone something of a change as I’ve gotten older and especially since I starting writing this here blog o’ mine.  I realized not everything I write is fascinating or amusing.  That came as something of a blow to my writer’s ego.    Worse still, I realized one day that the stuff I write doesn’t even hold MY interest!  That was an even worse blow, not only to my writer’s ego, but to my ego as a human being.  I now live in fear of having a near fatal accident, because I don’t think I’ll be able sit through my own life flashing before my eyes.  I might very well yawn and nod off in the middle of it.

So, I’ve slowed down on the ol’ blog and have been trying to regroup and rethink what I’m doing here.

I love writing humorous things and making people smile or laugh or even just feel good.  But humor writing is a strange thing.  If I were a stand-up comedian, the laughter of the crowd is instantaneous feedback.  It makes you want to write even more funny stuff so you can hear that laughter and applause.  It becomes a drug and you write and perform more and more material trying to get more and more laughter.

But writing humor is completely different.   You write it … you toss it out there into the ether … and there is no (or very little) feedback.  So you question … was it funny?  Did anybody smile?  Did anyone laugh?  Did anyone even read it?

You don’t know the answer to those questions … so the doubt sets in.  The doubt turns to self doubt.  The self-doubt turns to a kind of depression.  And that leads to a lack of energy and thus a lack of output.  The lack of output becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy of “I guess I just wasn’t that funny after all.”

I think that is why my posting goes in waves.  When I am prolific it is because my confidence is high and thus my energy levels are high.  When the confidence wanes (because of the aforementioned lack of feedback), so too do the energy levels wane.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not asking for sympathy comments or likes.  I’m just trying to give you a glimpse into a humor-writer’s brain.  The humorist is almost always a self-doubting person who is insecure about their writing abilities … or their abilities to connect with others in a humorous way.  It is no secret that comedy is almost always a defense mechanism.  There is almost always a sort of nervous awkwardness behind every piece of comedy or humor.

Anyway … enough about that.  My next post will be humorous.  I promise!  Or your money back.

 

What’d I Tell Ya?

snowman-edited-3

As if to prove my blog post yesterday, the meteorologists here in Dallas are predicting that we may get a light dusting of snow tonight.  So we’ve gone from 80-something degrees and muggy on Monday, to 54 degrees, overcast, and windy today, to a chance of light snow tonight.  True, it may only be one angstrom deep, but it still counts.

At least there’s no chance we’re get bored with our weather!

 

T’is the Season — To Crank Up the A/C

christmas-card-armadillo-WEB 01

It is Christmastime here in Texas, and do you know what that means?

No?  Neither do us Texans.  December is always a grab-bag of random weather events this time of year.

It might rain so much we feel like we should build an ark and start gathering up our pets … or it might be so dry that people are decorating tumbleweeds instead of Christmas trees.

It might be so cold that it begins to seem plausible that the woolly mammoth may make a comeback and sweep across the plains … or it might be so warm the Christmas carolers wear shorts and tank-tops and flip flops.

We might have a white Christmas as snow drifts down from the heavens … or we might have a brown Christmas as dust drifts in from west Texas and recreates the dust bowl.

In short, we never know just what the hell kind of weather we’re going to have around here in December.  At the moment it is sunny and 80F (27C) and very humid.  But tomorrow the high is only suppose to be 55F (13C) with a slight chance of rain.  And by Christmas?  Who knows?  Rain?  Snow?  Fog?  Gloom of night?  Frogs?  Locusts?

Anyway, it got me to thinking what Christmas carols might have been written if they had originated here in Texas.  Below are some I thought of.  They’re very lame, I admit!

Can you think of any more?  Leave them in the comments if you do!

What Christmas?  (White Christmas)

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Cryostasis  (It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas)

I’ll Have a Blue (Belle) Christmas    (I’ll Have a Blue Christmas — Blue Bell is a local and popular brand of ice cream)

Rudy, the White Toothed Meteorologist  (Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer)

Here Come Sandy Clouds  (Here Comes Santa Claus)

The Little Drover Boy  (The Little Drummer Boy)

Francis, the Lawman  (Frosty the Snowman — Francis Hamer was the Texas Ranger involved in killing Bonnie and Clyde)

Barrel of the Ales  (Carol of the Bells)

O Hail-y Night  (O Holy Night)

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Poor Biff’s Almanac – Pre-Thanksgiving Edition

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

The week of Thanksgiving is a good time to pause and reflect.  Such introspection helps us realize certain things.

For example, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, it is easy to realize who has used their vacation days judiciously throughout the year and who hasn’t.  The office today was populated solely by schmoes like me who had used up most of their vacation days before today.  On the plus side, it was very quiet, making it much easier to take a nap without being disturbed.  On the minus side, there wasn’t enough ambient noise in the office to wake me up in time to go to lunch.

The quietude today enabled me to reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  The true meaning of Thanksgiving, for those of you who didn’t know, is to be the official start of the Christmas  shopping season.  If you go to any store on this, the Monday before Thanksgiving, looking for Thanksgiving decorations, prepare to be disappointed.  Outside of a freezer full of turkeys and precarious stacks of canned cranberry sauce and Stovetop™ Stuffing, the only evidence of Thanksgiving you are likely to see are big “countdown to black Friday” signs.  They might as well put up signs saying, “Thanksgiving Schmanksgiving!  Prepare to give us your Christmas money!”

And just for the record, Biff loves Stovetop™ Stuffing!   If I find out it’s on the menu, my eyes light up just like the kid in the commercial when he finds out his mom is making Stovetop™ Stuffing for dinner.   But where me and the Kraft corporation part ways is the whole “Stovetop™ Stuffing instead of potatoes” campaign.  I’m sorry, but if anyone tries to come between me and my potatoes, things are going to get unpleasant very quickly.  And if you want to see Biff in a quandary, make me choose between Stovetop™ Stuffing and potatoes.  You’ll see me as indecisive as the midwestern rube on the Let’s Make a Deal show dressed as a scarecrow, trying to choose between the hundred dollar bill that Monty Hall is holding and whatever’s behind the curtain that the lovely Carol Merril is standing in front of.  Vegas has potatoes as the odds-on favorite, but never discount the lure of the curtain (or  Stovetop™ Stuffing).

Where was I?

Oh yes … Thanksgiving.

Well, it’s nearly upon us.  I will be enjoying my annual Thanksgiving – slash – family reunion in Alabama again this year.  The table will be loaded to the point of collapse with fine, traditional Southern Thanksgiving foods.  One of my favorites (in spite of waxing poetic about Stovetop™ Stuffing just now) is homemade cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had honest-to-goodness Southern giblet gravy, but it is so good as to make grown men cry.  I can attest to that, being a grown man.  And also having people at Thanksgiving asking me why I’m crying.   To which I retort, “You shut up!  I’m not crying.  You’re crying!”

Giblet gravy makes Biff a little emotional.

I don’t know what exactly is in giblet gravy, but I am pretty sure I don’t want to know.  Just as it makes grown men cry with sheer joy, it also makes them clutch at their chests and gurgle like a slow-draining sink while their faces turn the same shade as the canned cranberry sauce.  I am pretty sure it is about 90% liquefied turkey fat, and 10% “other” (consisting of a medium onion, diced boiled egg, a few spices, and perhaps a little more turkey fat just for good measure).   I have survived about 40 servings of cornbread dressing and giblet gravy in my life and people back home are starting to look at me in awe.   I have already beaten the over-under and I’m not sure who has 41 servings in the betting pool, but I’m definitely going in for another serving this Thanksgiving!  Wish me luck!  I’m going in!

Speaking of canned cranberry sauce (which we just were … you can scan back over the article if you don’t believe me) … just what the heck is THAT?  I was a little put off of the whole cranberry thing when, as a child of about 6, I was witness to a horrific event.  I was in the kitchen when my aunt removed the end of the cranberry can with the can opener and then shook the can over a little white serving dish.  I watched in fascination and horror as the cranberry colored cylinder slowly emerged from the can with a cringe-inducing scchhhhlllooooorrrrpp!! and plopped onto the serving dish.   It jiggled for a moment and then was still.  I may have turned a little green at the sight and so vowed then and there that I would not eat whatever that was, but would instead double up on the cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy.  Mercifully, I did not have to witness where giblets came from or I would not be the omnivore I am today.

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving and that you truly have much to be thankful for this year!

 

 

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