All of my 'toons can be found here. Go visit them -- give them a pat on the head.
THE GROUND IS ALWAYS WEAKER OVER THE SEPTIC TANK
HERE'S ONE COW YOU WON'T WANT TO EAT,
POOL, POND . . . POND'D BE GOOD FOR YOU
by Mantel Man
Laurie's observation that “Nothing good has ever come from a phone call from Dad in the morning” reminded me that nothing good can come from being awakened by Mom in the middle of the night.
When I was a teenager on the ranch, Dad had grown tired of occasional mass bovine escapes and was gradually replacing our miles of old barbed-wire with heavy steel fences. It took a while to complete the job, and the pastures that bordered out our back yard were at the tail end of the schedule.
(Original photo used by permission of ShakataGaNai on Wikimedia Commons)
We had always taken break-outs in stride. One night a few years earlier I woke to the sound of barbed wire being stretched to its breaking point and finally snapping, accompanied by the sound of many hooves -- and then a splash. We had just installed our in-ground swimming pool but had not yet put in the fence around it. Fortunately the entire pool was only four feet deep. We shooed a very surprised heifer toward one end so she could walk up the steps and make her exit.* I'm sure Mom shock-treated the pool afterward, but it wasn't as fouled as the irrigation-runoff ponds I was accustomed to swimming in anyway.
The next wading adventure was more stressful -- for the cow and for me. All Mom had to do was wake me with the words, “Sorry, Mantel Man -- cows are out again,” and I would have rolled out of bed, grumbled something about the wisdom of any animal that needs fences in the first place, and prepared to do what needed to be done. Instead, Mom shock-treated me by standing, dimly silhouetted in my bedroom doorway, holding a flashlight, and saying, “Wake up -- we've got trouble!”** Climbing down from the ceiling, I'm sure I grumbled something about the wisdom of any woman who wakes someone in such a manner.
An old-fashioned country septic tank is an open concrete box covered at the top with heavy wooden boards and buried underground. The boards don't last forever, and the owner is typically notified that it's time for new timbers when something heavy passes over the septic tank -- like, say, a cow.
We heard her mooing in the darkness but couldn't find her in the beams of our flashlights. We were looking too high. The animal had broken through the top of the septic tank behind the mobile home next to our house and was craning her neck just to see above the ground. She couldn't climb out by herself, so we tried lowering a hay bale to use as a step. However, even a dense alfalfa bale is too buoyant to be pushed under the, uh, water that filled the tank. Next we brought the old wooden stepstair from the mobile home's back door and lowered it into the tank. The cow tried climbing up but quickly turned the steps into splinters. Okay, so those boards needed replacing, too. Then my older cousin Mike arrived with Dad's big Ford loader and began excavating the earth beside the tank, using great care not to excavate parts of the frightened cow standing just inches from the huge steel scoop bucket.
By the time Mike had dug out the earth beside the tank and broken down its concrete wall, the cow had grown too weak from the cold water to climb out by herself, so he got a chain around her neck and dragged her out with the tractor. I half-expected to hear the sound of the cow's neck being stretched to its breaking point and finally snapping, but once on solid ground she was able to walk away with only her dignity injured.
Mike, with his wonderful twangy voice and blunt wit, summed up the event: “Growing up on your farm I've always seen people covered with cow shit, but I've never seen a cow covered with people shit!” This is country life -- where septic tanks become swimming pools, and vice-versa.***
*Laurie simply MUST add that The Swimming Pool Incident happened at about 5:00 a.m. on a school day at the tail-end of winter and it was raining. Of course.
**"We've got trouble"? Who says that, except maybe in "Old Yeller"?!
***I must object here. I have NEVER used a septic tank for swimming. Also, I was not there on this fateful day as I was off at college killing brain cells improving my inbred little pea brain.
Yeah, President Paul Zingg is a good egg. He was completely in on the joke the whole time. Chico State is still fun, but a much more wholesome place than when I went there, back during the Wilson administration. Cheeeeeeeeeeee-koooooooooooo!
UPDATED: amended to add this . . . oh crap, I just noticed this was my 1000th post. So much for Quality Control here at Fooleryland. Carry on.
It's . . . another No Punctuation Wednesday (mostly) ON AN ACTUAL WEDNESDAY so BONUS!
but maybe not so much a bonus as just unmitigated unvarnished COMPLAINING on my part
about what you may ask
I heard you
or you were gonna
well I'll tell you
I stayed late at work last night
a night I had forgotten contained a two hour PTO meeting
and Mom and Dad were kind enough to take the kids and feed them because Chas had to work so I like a bat outta Hell drove directly to the pizza parlor where the meetings take place and
was it ever busy
so busy I could barely make it through the door
never mind thinking about ordering food or even a drink
so I went into the conference room only to learn that the air conditioner wasn't working and it was STILL 106F at 6:00 and the secretary couldn't make it so would you please take the minutes
so much for my plan of ducking out a little early
in fact it was a hugely busy and important meeting so I took at least five pages of notes
all while very very very parched
and when I got home I had kids to corral and cats to feed and goodnight kisses to distribute and
I guess I was more dehydrated than I knew because I woke up at 1:35 a.m. with a gnarly foot cramp and also having to piddle
but piddling won and then I hobbled through the house to the kitchen for a drink of water to fix the dehydration and thus the foot cramp
I was in a tank top and undies and not feeling happy about turning on the kitchen lights while all the shades were open so I just felt my way in the dark to the sink where my glass always sits and I got myself a long drink of water and felt a whole lot better
I heard the crash and heard shards of glass tinkling clear across the kitchen into the dining room and the hall and thought Did I just do that or was that some other idiot in the dark
Well I was that idiot of course and it was my favorite balloon wine glass that was sitting there innocently
minding its own business
the very same idiot
who was shy about turning on the lights in her skivvies
while the civilized world slept
that same idiot found herself sweeping up glass
in the lighted kitchen
in her skivvies
at 1:40 a.m.
with a crampy bare foot
in a sea of very thin crystal amongst the detritus of family life
and the moral of this disastrous tale
I will let you figure out for yourself
because the foot camp has become a brain cramp
and I am running on fumes
One of my favorite posts ever, from way back before anyone but Mom read Fooleryland, is featured today at TheSmartly.com, "Green Eggs and Ham Deconstructed." I'll bet you didn't know I could read, did you?
And be sure to check in Friday morning, when you will be treated to a completely vile and disgusting (and very much true) LaGrone family story, well-told by my brother Mantel Man. It's got all the classic elements of a good story: cows, stress, mothers waking you up in the middle of the night, and poo.
It's been a long time since I last posted one of my grandmother's stories from her early life. If you haven't read one of Mormor's stories before, they are all true, and they began their lives as bedtime tales told to her grandchildren. A few years before her death she wrote them all down by hand, and one of my aunts typed them up and photocopied them. Each family member got a folder of stories for Christmas that year, and it is one of my most cherished possessions. You can read the first story here.
When my brother, Art, was a senior at Southern Humboldt High School he earned a bit of money by driving the school bus night and morning from Camp Grant to the school at Miranda. Part of the job was to keep the bus clean and in good running order.
One of his passengers was a teacher, Mr. Pimental, who usually checked over his class papers on the ride home. One night, as Art was cleaning the bus, he found a paper that had slid down beneath the seat. It was a math test that proceeded from 2 + 2 = what? to very difficult problems. Since this subject fascinated Art he took the paper home where, after dinner, he and my father separately worked out the problems from beginning to end. My father maintained all could be solved using plain arithmetic, though Dad had studied both algebra and geometry. Art used every means at his command. There was but one answer on which they disagreed, and later I found out Art's answer was the correct one.
The next morning all the seniors were called into the library at school to take the College Aptitude Math Test. When Art was given his paper he saw it was a duplicate of the test that he and Dad had enjoyed working the night before, so he had quite a struggle with his conscience. He finally decided not to say anything since he had had no help in solving the problems the evening before. However, he was careful not to whiz through the test.
After the results were reached, word sifted out that Art was a mathematical genius, so some teachers who deplored his grades in English looked on Art with new respect.
* * * * *
I'm still trying to get my head around doing a math test FOR FUN.
This has always been one of my favorite family photos. Of course, in the original version you can see the smirks of two teenagers in Ray Bans, daring you to knock the batteries from their shoulders. They are both responsible husbands, businessmen and parents now, so they would pummel me if I published their faces. I don't like being pummeled so I am following directions . . . for now.
Please watch this short film. It's part of our American cultural heritage, after all. You really should try to better yourself.
(Many thanks to my brother Mantel Man for sending me this)
(Photo used with permission from Wikimedia Commons)
"Anything I should know about at home?" I asked him, like I always do, when the parenting shift change takes place and I assume control.
"No, not really," is what he always replies. This day, though, was a little different. "Oh, except . . ."
Run, my brain screamed at me. You can make it to the car before they do. You can be in Vegas by dawn . . .
". . . except that Fidencio's bull calf got out and was wandering around the yard. Your dad and I caught him in the dehorning chute."
"Does Fidencio know yet?" I asked stupidly.
"No, if Fidencio knew, the calf wouldn't be in the chute."
"Does he have access to water?" The bull calf, I meant, not Fidencio.
"The girls brought him a bucket of water, but he kicked it over." Again, not Fidencio. This is too complicated.
"Right. Okay, anything else?"
"Well, we're out of cat food, so I bought a big bag and it's in the trunk of the car. And --"
And always gets me.
"-- and there's a wild kitten in the pool room. I don't know how she got in there or how long she's been there. but she put up one heck of a fight when the girls and I tried to catch her. It's the little calico. She's hiding under the hutch."
What ever happened to "Honey, I'm home! Let's give the kids mac and cheese and sedatives for dinner and just have cocktails in our underwear, okay?"
Those were the days.
(Photo stolen from these guys)
Date: 2010-08-08, 6:24PM PDT
We have two photo enlargement machines, the one on the left is color and I am asking 55 for it the one on the right is blank and whit and i'm only asking 40. If you want them both I will do it for 100. Give me a call and make an offer. Ask for [NAME WITHHELD] my number is [NUMBER WITHHELD]
*Emphasis mine in bold and color. Otherwise, this is how the Craigslist ad ran.
(Logo designed by Marcy Massura of The Glamorous Life Association)
Didn't go to BlogHer10 in New York City this past weekend. Would I have gone if it were held in Sacramento? No. Chico? Doubtful. My own back yard? Maybe . . .
The truth is, I'm shy. No, really, I'm quite shy inside, in person, though I cover it fairly well. It's a strain for me to go new places, meet new people, do new things. So I stayed home this weekend.
And you know what? A lot of us did. A lot of bloggers stayed home. And one particularly creative blogger, Backpacking Dad (@BackpackingDad on Twitter) started HomeHer10, a parody of that big big blogger party in New York City, and it mushroomed. I checked in for the first time Friday night and about laughed my keister off, which is especially impressive if you know my keister.
Saturday morning I heard from two of my favorite mover-shaker-type bloggers, Marcy and Suz, who had something brewing, and would I like to be part of the whole HomeHer10 parody?
Why, yes. Yes I would.
And so here it is, our HomeHer10 video, brilliantly edited by Suzanne, glamorously acted by Marcy, and shamefully realistically phoned in by Yours Truly.
This is a photo my uncle sent me this summer. I am not at liberty to tell you who these people are. I will tell you that I am in the photo, though I'm gonna make you guess which one I am.
It was taken in Hong Kong, circa 1993.
It's clear to me that someone had just said something terribly snarky; it was probably me. It's also clear to me who it was said ABOUT.
Some of us have better hair now than then. Some of us, it's pretty much a wash.
And this is just for me: "Look! It's Peewee Herman!"
Happy Friday, everybody.
Another television commercial done for our client, Mt. Shasta Spring Water. We do one animated spot for them every spring -- my co-worker Robb and I write the spot, then Robb (the genius) creates it. All of his animations for this client can be found on our YouTube channel. Hope you enjoy it!
Well, if we were to ask Re she might say, "Bret Michaels," but I have a different idea. As long as this actress can make killer margaritas and bloody marys, I think Rebecca Romijn might be spunky enough. She'll have to slouch a little 'cause she's too darned tall, and there is NO way she's funny enough, but I think we can find a good script writer to carry her through. Yes. Robecca Romijn will play you in the movie, Re.
(Photo of Re stolen from our mutual friend Kate Young, Photographer Extraordinaire)
I never remember why I don't pick more blackberries. Then blackberry season rolls around and I miss it, except for maybe one bucketful. It's a shame.
There's the heat of July.
There's the bull in the pasture and no quick escape route should I need one.
There's the fact that we always take our vacation mid-blackberry season, and the weeks before and after are all about scrambling.
No really -- why, again, don't I pick more blackberries?
(Photo used by permission from Michael Gäbler at Wikimedia Commons)
They're arrayed like Christmas ornaments all over the berry bushes. They hide under leaves. It's totally unnerving.
Oh look, she's caught something.
Start with vegetables, pretty much.
My cousins are visiting and, while they're not exactly vegans, they tend toward veganism. Being a dyed-in-the-wool, Card-Carrying Omnivore, this is a difficult concept for me. What do you mean, NO EGGS?
You're looking at the genesis of dinner. It wasn't inspired, but it went fairly well, and no one has died of food poisoning . . . yet. Talk to me Monday.