A Christmas tree for Scarface


A storm brewing over the tree farm, or my finger over the lens?

A storm brewing over the tree farm, or my finger over the lens?

Suppose you’re feeling down because you fell and broke your face, and nothing has seemed right since. What could cheer you up more than going out to cut a Christmas tree on a bright sunny day, unless of course you are Jewish, in which case, it wouldn’t cheer you up at all. But, since I am not Jewish, is was just the what I needed.

Best Husband and I loaded up the family van, which ironically, has no family at all to ride in it, and headed out with the required accoutrements:

  • a genuine 1960’s snowmobile suit, a wardrobe staple since our kids were old enough to be embarrassed by their parent’s outfits
  • a beat-up orange hand saw, rescued from my dad’s garage, also circa 1960
  • old shoes and boots for slogging through the tree farm mud
  • an entry coupon for the tree farm’s annual  “Win $500 dollars” drawing, which we have dutifully completed since 1974, and as far as we know, has never been won by anyone

A half hour later we had reached our destination: a family owned local Christmas tree farm, which despite being within spitting distance of my childhood home, I had never visited until I grew up, moved away  and married the man with the snowmobile suit.

Being Christmas tree pros, we headed right to the Douglas Fir section. Eschewing our usual tactic of wandering around among 50 to 75 trees and finally picking one when we were too cold to no longer care, we instead drove to the far end of the Douglas Fir section, ogling the choices along the way. In the end, when we finally got out to walk among the tree choices, we picked the second one we saw. This sure beats our usual method of letting our frozen brains make the choice, and was ironic to boot, since the day was especially balmy for Michigan, and we could have afforded to wander among the trees for some time without risk of freezing.

Best Husband, grounded.

Best Husband, grounded.

The rest of our cut your own Christmas tree tradition involved our handing over the tree to underpaid tree farm workers, who stand out in the cold all day and half the night from Thanksgiving to December 24th, putting trees through the shaker and baler and helping city folks load them into their yuppie vans and SUVs. Sometimes this includes broad gestures and lots of nodding if the workers happen to be non-English speaking migrants, which only adds to the charm of this annual event.

Once home, our tree awaits the appropriate time for decorating, as BH and I are not the kind of people who put up Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.

Trees for Christmas Future.

Trees for Christmas Future.

Related post:

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Kling (huffygirl.wordpress.com)

Christmas shopping=bah humbug (huffygirl.wordpress.com)

© Huffygirl 2013

 

 

Just in time for Thanksgiving – the Turtato


I’m sure you’ve heard about people who have opened a bag of chips or made a grilled cheese sandwich and discovered their food has been graced with the  image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Well, not quite as exciting but almost as good. I bought a basket of potatoes from a local farmer at the farmer’s market. It looked like an ordinary little basket of potatoes, until I got it home. I dumped the bag out on the counter, and discovered  – the turtao, or maybe a poturkey. It’s a potato in the shape of a turkey. Divine intervention in the potato patch, or over-active imagination? You decide.

100_3630 Turtato 2, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2013100_3633 Turtato, https://huffygirl.wordpress.com, © Huffygirl 2013© Huffygirl 2013

O Bamacare: It’s Candian eh


Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you do when you want to bring health insurance to an entire nation? Call Canada of course. Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, is the expert in bloated governmental bodies bringing health care to the masses, having had a publicly funded national health insurance system since 1984, coincidentally the same year for which George Orwell predicted a reign of post-apocalyptic social Darwinism. Our government, not wanting us to miss out on the same success the Canadians have had, hired CGI, Canada’s largest tech company, to build the Obama care website, apparently unphased that fellow Canadians in Ontario had just fired CGI last year for failing to deliver a different health-care IT project on time. Orwell, er oh well. Any minute now the website should be up and running again. In the meantime, let’s sing a tribute to Obama care.

(Sung to the tune of O Canada)

(Want the accompaniment? Click here.)

O Bamacare, health care for one and all.

Click on the link, and watch the website stall.

With anxiety, we sign in for free, to avoid the penalty.

Then we try to call, as our last hopes fall,

There’s no Obama care for me!

God keep us from, social anarchy,

O Bamacare, when will you ever be?

O Bamacare, when will you ever be?

© Huffygirl 2013

Related links:

Introducing the iFinger


Finger binaryHas this ever happened to you? You’re scrolling along on your iPhone or iPod screen, and suddenly get a bad case of index finger fatigue (IFF) from all that scrolling, tapping and clicking. Fingers weren’t made to work this hard. And your device screen is always marred by smeary finger prints, and you just friended your ex by accidentally clicking on “friend request.” But no more. Now there’s iFinger.

iFinger is a GPS-enabled electronic finger that allows you to use your i-device, but save yourself from IFF.  Simply clip the iFinger sensor to the side of your device, and slip the iFinger transmitter band over your wrist. Then, wave your hand over the iFinger to click, scroll, tap, or play Words with Friends. GPS technology senses your intended moves from the wrist transmitter and moves the iFinger sensor as naturally as your own finger moves. Using your i-device is now pain-free, and protects your screen from smeary finger prints, all the while doing the tiring work formerly done by your own finger.

Here’s what beta testers had to say about the new iFinger:

“Playing with my phone all day used to be so tiring until I tried iFinger. Now, my finger stays fresh while iFinger does all the work. No more exhausting surfing.” – Brandi, New York

“The iFinger works seamlessly with all my apps. Now my finger can say ‘There’s an app for me!'” – Tiffany, St. Louis

“I can play games on my iPhone for hours, thanks to the iFinger.” – Brad, Indianapolis

Save your own finger for the joys of life, and put iFinger to work for you. Now, your finger too can say “There’s an app for that!”

© Huffygirl 2013

Shutdown furloughs “Onion” writers


Lincoln Memorial

Will Tracy, editor in chief of the nation’s foremost made-up news source, The Onion, announced today that the government shutdown has forced the furlough of Onion’s writers. “As readers know, our specialty as a news source is making up ridiculous, implausible “news” stories, but cleverly portraying them as truth. However, the current actual news coming out of Washington is in itself so ludicrous, so improbable, that real news is difficult to distinguish from made up stories. Since basically, The Onion news is just writing itself, there seems little point in employing writers to make up additional stories.

 

Tracy cites examples from the news this week, as evidence of real news taking on a onionesque quality. “Consider these headlines:”

 

“Shutdown leaves thousands of lab mice in limbo: workers scurry to separate males to prevent vermin overrun.”

 

“Government shutdown blocks veteran’s death benefit checks: legislator’s paychecks somehow slip through.”

 

“Shutdown threatens chicken plants.”

 

“Lawnmower man at Lincoln Memorial thwarts authorities.”

 

Tracey assures The Onion’s writers that they will be recalled as soon as the shutdown ceases, once again allowing “normal” made-up news to the forefront. “And, just like government workers, the writers will receive back pay for their non-productive time off. After all, this is America.”

 

© Huffygirl 2013

 

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Create your own shutdown


English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

“Shut them ALL down. Hurry!” C-3PO, Star Wars

Why should the US congresspersons have all the fun? Now, you too can avoid responsibilities under the guise of budget constraints and create your own shutdown. Follow these easy steps.

1. Decide what you want to shut down – your home, office, after school activities, or, choose the C-3PO method and shut them all down.

2. Inform your family, coworkers, and others who might be affected, that due to budget constraints, you are obliged to shut down (insert selected area here) beginning at midnight on (insert start date – the sooner the better.)

3. Prior to your shut down date, decide what things you want to shut down and what things will remain open. For instance, if you are having a home shutdown, you might elect to shut down the kitchen, but allow take out food to continue. Or perhaps shut down the laundry room, but allow send-out laundry. Or shut down your office, except allow payroll to continue. You see where this is going.

4. Begin your shutdown. If anyone complains, remind them that you have bravely chosen shutdown to prevent unappropriated spending and to save money for (insert name of shut down entity here.)

5. Continue your shutdown for as long as you like. There really is no reason to stop, unless perhaps, if boredom occurs from doing nothing. But so far our legislators have not encountered this, so why should you?

© Huffygirl 2013

How to run your country in ten easy steps


White House Front

1. Put out of touch, wealthy people in charge. Leave them in charge for a long time so they’ll have lots of power be more effective.

2. Allocate unlimited funds for arms and war.

3. Allocate unlimited funds for saber-rattling with other countries.

4. Allocate copious funds for relief in other countries.

5. Whenever the budget runs low from steps  2-4, stop paying the hard-working ancillary people in the government and call it a “government shutdown.” Keep paying the wealthy people in charge.

6. Limit  and periodically cut funds for education. Give it a fancy name like “sequester” so it sounds serious. Make schools struggle with limited means and then cry incompetence when students do poorly in comparison with those in other countries.

7. When the poorly performing students grow up and are unable to support themselves financially,  make them dependent upon government entitlements for their food, income and health care.

8. Whenever the budget runs low, cut the entitlements that you’ve made your citizens dependent upon in step 7.

9. Legalize gambling, tobacco, lottery tickets and marijuana, so the poor citizens who lack education and income will have some way to comfort themselves over their miserable situation, thus ensuring continued poverty, unemployment, obesity, and poor health. Then cut funding for unemployment and health care and decry the rising obesity rates in your country.

10. Repeat these steps annually, while periodically decrying  the poor state of the country and the government deficit.

Bonus step: Have the people in charge periodically pass laws that irritate the masses so they will have less time to feel  miserable about the state of their country. Things like limiting light bulb wattage and shower head flow and making people take off their shoes in airports work best.

 

© Huffygirl 2013

Hideous Girl


I’ve discovered I have a new power over others, and am not quite sure how to wield it. With my bruised and swollen face and barely understandable speech,  I’ve found that strangers fear me. (*disclaimer)  Passersby are extremely polite and hurried. Any entity that has a waiting room wants to hide me, although they call it “having me wait in the back where I’ll be more comfortable.” And store clerks? Store clerks are terrified of me, and thus, ready to do my bidding.  They do not want to make me unhappy, because then I might make a scene. And it turns out that no store clerk wants the handicapped lady making a scene in their store.

Case in point. I needed a large quantity of oral syringes. Turns out they are difficult to buy, as all the local stores give them away for free. But here’s the catch – they only give you two or three at a time, and I needed several every day. And so I sent Best Husband on a mission to convince the store to let me buy a large quantity so he would not have to run to the store every day to get a few free ones. Day after day, he talked to the clerks, the manager, begged, cajoled, without results. Finally, I decided to put my powers to the test. I appeared with my husband at said store and asked for the manager. When he saw me, I watched his expression turn to that of fear as I stood there explaining my plight in front of all the customers, Then I watched the magic. “Let me make a call,” the manager said, and seconds later returned with the verdict. Ten cents apiece and 100 “free” syringes could be mine. We agreed and the manager jumped into action. He grabbed a large bag and was literally flinging syringes in, while a fumbling assistant helped. Satisfied with the transaction, we paid and turned to leave, but not before I caught the look of relief flooding his face. Victory – he had gotten the handicapped lady out of his store without a scene.

How will I wield this new power? I have decided to only use it for good, though it would be tempting to use it just to mess with people. Do you need your interest rate reduced? Want a better cable rate? Need to negotiate payments on your bills? Whatever the problem, call Hideous Girl. I’ll be there to help.

*Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me first acknowledge that any person who has lived with a disability has no doubt had the same experience hundreds of times, and I write this in no way intending to belittle their experience.

Related link: Why I will bike no more (huffygirl.wordpress.com)

© Huffygirl 2013

How to build a better mosquito trap


English: B/W-Photography of a female Culiseta ...This spring has been an especially bad year for mosquitoes here in Michigan. After multiple sessions of trying to garden and just plain enjoy being outside, only to be nearly carried off by those pesky biters, Best Husband and I decided to take action.

And so it was, to the interwebs. Searching under “mosquito traps” led us to YouTube,  where Hiten Patel, an Asian gentleman and self-described “mind therapist and holistic healer” has a hilarious how-to for making a mosquito trap. Patel elucidates each point of the process of taking an ordinary soda bottle and turning it into a mosquito killing machine, as if he were teaching us how to install guidance chips into sidewinder missiles. At one point he switches the camera to Grandma, who sits cross-legged on the floor while demonstrating the intricate process of assembling the two-piece mosquito trap, all the while solemn-faced, and making Vanna White-type illustrative gestures, while Patel narrates in the background. If you have eight minutes (!) to spare, be sure to watch this gem.

Next, I searched for a recipe for the mosquito killing solution. Patel gave his recipe in gibberish metric, which was completely unhelpful, especially since I had never heard anyone speak of measuring water in milligrams. I found an American recipe that was quite detailed for something which only included three ingredients, including measuring the water temperature before adding the yeast. How many people really do have home kitchen thermometers, I wonder?

Next, the fun began. Best husband and I, with three college degrees between us, spent a lively hour arguing debating the best way to assemble the mosquito trap, with each of us believing that our way was best. In the end, there was no agreement, which led to the only logical conclusion possible: to make several mosquito traps, each with a little different configuration, and see which one works.

How to build a better mosquito trap

1. First, buy a two-liter bottle of soda, and drink it down as fast as you can. (or, dump it down the sink, as we might have done, but I’m not admitting to it.) In fact, buy several soda bottles, because chances are, you’ll need want to make more than one, because it’s such fun.

2. Follow the recipe for making the mosquito-killing secret sauce, which, it turns out, makes more solution than will fit in the bottle. Then, start over, and make up your own recipe as you go along.

3. Next, cut the soda bottle into two pieces. Grandma eyeballed this and dove in with ordinary scissors, which was much too simple for us. Instead, you’ll need a black marker, utility knife, tape measure, and GPS. Eyeball the spot where you will dissect the bottle. Then, to be sure, measure and mark, then debate the pros and cons of why you selected this spot to slice in. Best husband posits that the top should be significantly shorter than the bottom, allowing a gap between the liquid and the opening, thereby insuring room for the little buggers to drop in. I contend that the bottle should be cut into nearly equal parts, as this will prevent the mosquitoes from having any dead space to use for escape, and seemed closer to the way that Grandma did it.  Debate this endlessly if possible, but for at least an hour.

4. Tape the two ends of bottle together, then cover the bottle with black paper. Or green paper, because we didn’t have black. And argue about discuss whether it’s better to cover the whole bottle for improved effectiveness, or leave part of it uncovered, so you can have the satisfaction of seeing the floating mosquito carcases in bottom.

5. Add the killing solution, and discover that it won’t all fit, and the leftover part contains most of the yeast, which is the crucial ingredient.

6. Place the extra killing solution in a cup and store in the refrigerator, where it promptly ferments in record time, and oozes yeasty goo all over your refrigerator. Then, in disgust, dump the rest of it in your mosquito trap, which is what at least one of you wanted to do in the first place.

7. Hang your mosquito trap in your yard, and in no time at all, enjoy a peaceful, mosquito-free environment. Or, conversely, hang the damn thing in your yard and check it every few hours to see how many dead mosquitoes have accumulated, so you can enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your environmentally friendly couples-project rid your property of insect Armageddon. We’re still waiting for that part.

© Huffygirl 2013