Archive for September, 2008

Entertainment in The Wilds

September 30, 2008

Okay, so here I am on the frontier of a whole lot of not much – flat plains and lots of good old, wholesome, middle America common sense.

…but we sure can have some fun…


Woman Wearing Cow Suit Charged With Disorderly Conduct

MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown woman is accused of being disorderly in public — while wearing a cow suit.


A police report filed about the incident said Michelle Allen allegedly chased children in her neighborhood while wearing the suit on Monday evening.


Allen also urinated on a neighbor’s front porch, the report said, and was warned by officers to go home and stay there.


Allen was charged with disorderly conduct after an officer found her causing traffic problems on North Verity Parkway.


The officer’s report stated that Allen was verbally abusive to him on the trip to jail and smelled of alcohol.


The report did not speculate as to why Allen was wearing the cow suit.


That last line makes me pause and, in the words of Stephanie, give a questioning “Barooo?”. 

Does this happen enough in The Wilds that the police forces just yawn at ‘yet another woman in a cow suit’?  Hmmm…

Nonetheless, I’m thinking that, once I can find me a bull costume, that woman and I can do some down home fun partying…


Must Share Economics

September 25, 2008

Those following the news know that the US is having a teensy little economic issue. So much so that President George “WTF am I doing” Bush came on TV last night hollering ‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”. Actually, he was trying to rally support for a $700 Billion bailout of our financial institutions, including an $85 Billion buyout of insurance/mortgage giant AIG. There’s been much grumbling here in The Wilds about the lunacy of this approach. Why are we working so hard to fix a private firm when there are so many in poverty that seem to be ignored.

Lo and behold, the next day in the e-mail box was an ‘alternative’ recovery plan that I thought was too good not to pass along… it is brilliant in its simplicity. It has more PROS than CONS. So, clearly, our Congress would reject it outright. Such a pity…

I have no idea who this guy is that originated the plan, so can’t give him his ‘props’. But, if you’re out there… I’d vote for you.


The Birk Economic Recovery Plan

Hi Pals,

I’m against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I’m in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

To make the math simple, let’s assume there are 200,000,000 bona fide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.

So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.

So… divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon. That equals $425,000.00.


My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let’s assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

* Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved.

* Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads.

* Put away money for college – it’ll be there.

* Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

* Buy a new car – create jobs.

* Invest in the market – capital drives growth.

* Pay for your parent’s medical insurance – health care improves.

* Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean – or else.

Remember this is for EVERY adult U S Citizen 18+ –

including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers, and every other company that is cutting back.

And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we’re going to re-distribute wealth let’s really do it…

instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 (“vote buy”) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we’re going to do an $85 billion bailout, let’s bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!


As for AIG – liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here’s my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn’t.

Sure it’s a crazy idea that can “never work.”

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?


I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .

And remember…

The Birk Plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ah-h-h… I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Kindest personal regards,


T. J. Birkenmeier,

A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic

P.S. Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it’s either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how best to use $85 BILLION!


Editor’s Addendum:  Yeah, don’t i feel like the foolish shit for not doing the math ahead of time.  I just thought it was so cool when i read it.  And, believe it or not, i’m typically the guy who calls bullshit and researches the Snopes site when people send me stupid “The Dog Ate My Grandmother” warnings.  Then to go and say I”d vote for him?  [heavy sigh]  Mea Culpa… i guess i am just the typical American voter… voting on emotions instead of intellect.  Dumb fuck.  But, nonetheless, I DO truly believe the money should come to the people and not the corporations.  So, ultimately, no apologies… but I still admit I’m a twit…  [blush

And, yep, lots of other folks had the same idea (and better math)….

Life’s Lemons

September 24, 2008

How does it go?  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”… right?

So I barely missed hitting the car ahead of me at lunchtime.  Turning left out of my parking lot, you have to wait to slide into the oncoming traffic.  The car in front of me did just that, waiting until an opening in the traffic to pull out.  Seeing him start out, I glanced left and right to see if I could follow quickly and hit the gas… only to see the guy in front of me had decided his car didn’t have enough guts to merge.  He had hit the brakes… and I had to do the same to avoid hitting him, coming mere millimeters from his rear bumper.

Whew!!  An accident averted.  It was going to be a good day…

…then I started home at the end of the work day…and the karma gods started chortling and rubbing their hands together…

There’s always a long line at the traffic light leaving my business complex.  I usually have to wait two or three cycles before I can leave.  Traffic was stop-and-go.  I just finished moving up behind the car in front of me and stopped.  Relaxing, because I can’t make the light change any faster, I glanced in my rearview mirror.


Apparently the guy behind me didn’t move up right away, saw a big opening in traffic, and darted forward.

And forgot to stop.  POW!!  Right into the back of my car.  My car lurched forward and hit the guy in front of me.

Luckily, no one was hurt badly.  Since I saw the guy coming fast in my rearview mirror, I did what you’re not supposed to do–I tensed up.  I have a nifty sore shoulder/neck which, after sleeping tonight, I bet is going to hurt like anything tomorrow.  I’ll be stiff, but not in a good way.

Minor damage to the car in front of me… actually just some scrapes from my license plate bolt.

Not too much to mine, either.  The back bumper is a little wobbly (much like I was after getting stunned by the collision).

The guy who hit me?  No clue why he took the brunt of it, but he blew out his radiator, smashed his front bumper, and broke a light… good!  Charitable feelings for others?  Right.  Glad his car got nailed.  (Okay, yeah, glad he wasn’t hurt… i’m not that much of a twit).

So, looks like I’ll be going to the insurance adjuster, the body shop, and, hopefully not, the doc.

Yep, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

But, trust me on this, when life gives you a bowl of shit, don’t try to make anything…. just leave it sitting there.

Bra, Humbug

September 23, 2008

I have but one nephew–grand nephew, actually–who is 5-1/2 years old and the son of my Brother’s daughter. I will have stories to share later about that daughter. Suffice for now to say that, on top of dealing with brain cancer, my Brother and his wife are also raising my grand-nephew.

But that’s not what this story is about…

On my recent visit this past weekend, Brother’s wife tells me a little quirk they’ve learned about The Nephew.

First, she found The Nephew trying to put on one of her brassieres. Trying not to make a federal case about it, Sis-In-Law asks if he liked to wear bras. He says, “Not really… I like what goes in them better… they’re soft and mushy.” There followed a short conversation. Sis-In-Law avoided, though wanted to mention, that not all breasts were ‘soft and mushy’, though Grandma’s happen to be. But they talked about not touching without permission (and not until you are much older, kid).

A few days later, while coloring free form pictures with crayons, The Nephew drew a picture of a Golden Bra, complete with straps. Hmmm…

Then, the topper…

The Nephew’s mom is still in the picture, though not the primary caretaker. However, with Brother fighting the cancer, she’s actually stepped up quite well to helping out. While I was there, she volunteered to clean the kitchen and The Nephew’s bedroom. Well, here we are talking in the dining room and Nephew’s mom comes walking out of The Nephew’s bedroom… with an armful of bras. There were at least 10 in that pile. All found underneath The Nephew’s bed.


The child makes his uncle proud!

Pussies In Bondage

September 21, 2008

As part of trying to maintain some semblance of being amicable with The Wife, and since I’m still living there, I continue to help around the house. This includes taking my share in the care of the cats I introduced last post. Occasional feeding, litter box cleaning, brushing,… and the annual excursion, which occured yesterday, where we get them to the veterinarian for their shots. This is otherwise known as “GnuKid’s Kitty Smack Down”.

When it is time to take them, we have to put them in separate cat carriers, otherwise they may mutilate each other… aw, hell, who am I kidding… it’s more likely that The Twit will piss all over as he usually does, and we don’t want to have to clean up two cats.

Putting them in the carriers is the ‘fun’ part of this adventure. It starts the night before where the house must be put on lock-down… doors are closed to prevent escape and limit hiding places. The cat box is moved for the same reason. Unfortunately, this also alerts the cats that something is up and it likely won’t be fun for them. When it’s time to actually lock them into their little kitty cells, the chase is on.

The Diva plays the martyr of the two. It’s usually fairly easy to get her. She surrenders quickly and sort of flattens out against the carpet… is she hoping I won’t see a flat cat? Or is it that she thinks if she gets her center of gravity low enough, I won’t be able to move her? But, she goes, grudgingly, into her carrier and sits there looking pitiful and very hurt at the indignation I’ve visited on her.

The Twit is the challenging one. The key is to try to keep him clueless as long as possible. Given his natural proclivity for cluelessness, you’d think that’d be easy. But, history has taught me that he will fight, so I have to get a towel to protect my arms from the multiple daggers of his claws. As soon as he sees the towel, all hell breaks loose. He immediately starts yowling, as if he’s calling some kind of Kitty 911 hoping that the Cat Defense League will leap into action and come save him from my heinous attempts to confine him. He also starts dodging and weaving, with moves that would befuddle the best defenseman in your sport of choice. My response is to progressively limit his escape routes until his only way out is through me… thus the many scars on my arms as he is more than happy to attempt said escape. The Twit’s yowling continues, loud and strong, even after capture, on the drive to the vets, in the vets office, and the return home.

Hmmm… I think I’ve decided who’s getting the cats in the Divorce…


*Yeah, the title is descriptive of the content of the post itself, but I’m also curious to see how many Google Search hits I get randomly from this title…

The Pets

September 19, 2008

I like animals and have had pets most of my life, mostly cats.

Fish are okay, if a bit boring. But, they do make do in a pinch if the pizza shows up without anchovies.

Birds? I’d be afraid of what words they’d end up repeating at an inopportune time… say, if I’m with Sally and the bird starts hollering, “Yes, Betty. Oh, gawd, yes!”

I like dogs a lot, but never really learned how to train them up.

I do miss not having a slobbering, devoted beast looking up at me with adoring eyes… but enough about my ex-girlfriend.

Cats? Yeah, they do whatever the hell they damn well please and don’t show a hint of devotion to you. But cats can be litter trained easily. And a weekend trip does not require boarding your cat. With a dog, you have to send him to doggie jail at Bowwow-catraz. With a cat? Slam a bag of dry cat food in a bowl, put down enough water to last the weekend, and leave. Cats likely like to have the place to themselves anyway – – – dipping into their secret stash of catnip, browsing kitty porn sites, climbing up on the places they’re not usually allowed, calling their cat buddies over to play “hide the mousie” and other disturbing things best not shared in such a public forum.

I have two cats. Well, I guess they could be two mute, cantankerous little people in furry suits, but nonetheless…

The Diva, the female calico, is the queen of the house. All others residing there are merely servants to do her bidding and attend to her needs. Her favorite way to show you who’s in charge is to come up to you and demand to be petted. But, as soon as you lean down to pet her, she’ll walk away to another part of the room and look back at you with that “Well? Are you coming?” look. And, of course, if you do follow, she’ll repeat the process until, after three or four moves, she’s moved you to the spot she wanted in the first place.* The Diva also has very expressive meows. Girl Child’s and my favorite are the ones that sound like “Now!” and “Not Now!”, both seemingly used at the most appropriate moments.

The Twit, a male orange tabby, is the court jester of the home. Besides torturing The Diva (which always draws a swat in rebuke), his favorite thing to do is just get into wherever he’s not supposed to be or wanted (most often, for me, right in front of the computer monitor as I’m trying to type or just as I get to that critical part of a computer game that demands my full attention). The Twit is also noted for laying on the back of the couch and, all of a sudden and for no apparent reason, splaying all four legs out and sinking all four sets of claws in the couch. Girl Child comments when this happens, “Oh dear, The Twit’s world has gone off kilter again. He’s holding on for dear life.”

Ahh, but with both of them, when they’re snuggled with you and purring… my heart rate slows, my blood pressure drops, and there is, for the moment, peace…

…wonder who’ll get the cats in the Divorce…

*I’ve known some women who are like this as well…

Mother Nature Reminder

September 17, 2008

The Wilds of Ohio is known for the occasional tornado, which is unsurpassed in delivering dramatic damage, but over a small area (“Auntie Em!! Auntie Em!!”) .

But this weekend, we were visited by what was left of the fury that was Hurricane Ike and I learned that hurricanes… even leftover weakling versions of hurricanes… can create quite the mess over wide areas. Here’s a neat animation showing what hurricane intensity levels can do… (and winds in The Wilds were below category 1, yet still getting damage… )

The neighborhood looks like a war zone for trees. I have 5 trees in close proximity to the house and, luckily, didn’t have a one of them smack a hole in it. That’s not to say stuff didn’t fall. The winds, topping out around 70 mph, caused much damage, leaving me with at least 3 branches over six inches thick that were on the ground… hell, I say ‘branches’, though they could’ve been tall trees in their own right if planted in the ground.

The most fun were a couple branches that didn’t break off, but sort of split and were hanging by shards of cellulose. Wanting to make sure they didn’t fall and (a) kill someone, (b) mash a hole in the house, (c) nope, still no ‘c’, or (d) take out other branches creating a wooden avalanche, I decided the branches needed to come down. Unfortunately, with so much tree destruction around, getting the professional tree trimming businesses to come out is currently impossible. So, up a ladder I go.

Didja ever see those lumberjack contests on ESPN where they time cutting through three foot thick logs? And winning times are in mere seconds? Well, that was JUST like me… except it was an eight inch branch… and my ‘winning time’ was about 15 minutes with me sweating and sucking air at the end.

The worst part was trying to cut the branch at an odd angle with a small bow saw* without falling and cracking my skull. After a few minutes of futile semi-sawing, I found a position that gave me a good angle to cut. It was about 5 minutes in when I noticed that, though I was NOT cutting the branch I was sitting on (a la Wiley Coyote), I was sitting on a branch that was dead as a doornail. Duh! Ya see? This is why I got a college degree… I’m not cut out for doing labor that could kill me for lack of common sense.

Some very kind neighbors came by and helped drag the branches out to the curb. There now sits a stack of branches out there that could easily be several small trees… or one big one. And, thankfully, the city is stepping up to disposing the tree carcasses… my tax dollars finally at work!

I feel quite lucky… some in the area are still without electricity, two days later. Some in the area have lots of damage to houses and, obviously, trees. Some were injured and, tragically, some even killed by falling debris. And this was a half strength remnants of a hurricane that hit the Wilds of Ohio… those folks on the coast caught the brunt of it.

Don’t fuck with Mother Nature… she’s a mean bitch who knows when to remind us we’re just guests on this planet…


*No, I don’t have a power chainsaw… never had much use for one and, quite frankly, I shouldn’t be trusted wielding something that can slice off a hand in less than a second… unless i’m wearing a hockey mask…