Archive for category Humor

Fair Air Fare?

Excuse my logic but who hasn’t heard a friend or colleague exclaim “Next we’ll have to pay for the air we breathe!”  Is this as far fetched as it seems?

A friend of mine claims that he heard of some politician actually floating the idea of charging people for the oxygen they consume at individualized rates based on each person’s body weight.  As we have often heard, the United States in particular has a problem with obesity amongst the general population so we would quite literally be paying through the nose.

I looked up this concept on Google and Yahoo Search.  There is a smattering of posts by the general public addressing this idea.  There is no mention of the politician my friend referred to.  I would suggest then that we are in no imminent danger of having to pay for our oxygen.

However, there has been discussion on a major radio show about the inverse of this pay for oxygen gibberish.  I recall listening to a talk show host (it was either Michael Savage or Michael Smerconish) last year conjecture how in its mad dash to slow  CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, various world governments could one day outlaw the simple human act of exhaling.

So in the worst case scenario we would pay for the oxygen we breathe and then it would be illegal to exhale.  Talk about a conundrum?  I think back to when Bill Clinton uttered his now famous expression “I didn’t inhale.”  Pretty soon we could find all of ourselves saying the same thing.

With all of the above in mind, I herewith list other things that we take for granted which the fatalists probably believe we could one day absurdly be charged for.

Sunlight.  I don’t know the mechanics of how our exposure rates could be measured, but if there’s a way to make money off the Sun some enterprising government or corporation will do it.

Rain.  Aren’t most people already charged for the water they use?  So is this idea far off?

Noise.  Yes, we could be charged for the noise we make.  For years extremist environmentalists have complained about noise pollution.  Charging us for any sounds we make either purposefully or accidentally would be the defining moment for these zealots.

Happiness.  Misery loves company so the saying goes.  If our world were to be taken over by a really miserable dictatorial individual, happiness could come with a price.

Now all of this may sound like Orwellian thought for the 21st Century but consider this. We now have people charging other people for the right to own a star in outer space.  We are told like it or not we have to wear seat belts.  The government will sometimes step in and mandate chemotherapy for a child against the parents’ wishes.  In China, a large percentage of families are allowed to have one child only. 

Getting back to the original point of this blog, namely the possibility that one day we could be charged for the oxygen we breathe.  Yes it could happen, but if you’ll pardon the pun, “Don’t hold your breath.”

 

Copyright 2011; Greg S.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rude Awakenings

Excuse my logic but aren’t some forms of behavior rude and downright crass?  I have personally been on the receiving end of all the following types of gaffes in etiquette but have survived to tell the tale.

Listed for your entertainment are human foibles and rude behaviors that can best be described as (excuse the play on words) – “Rude-imentary”.

 

  • The person who is on the self checkout lane at the supermarket.  The sign says “15 items or less”.  They have a dozen bottles of Vitamin Water but count this as one item.  They have six containers of yogurt, all the same flavor so they count this as one item.  You get the picture.  In reality they are checking out 40 or 50 items but they’re in no rush and figure you shouldn’t be in a rush either.
  • People who during big snowstorms put garbage cans to mark their parking spot on the street.  This isn’t like when someone reserves a seat at the theater and the person it’s being reserved for will return in 10 or 15 minutes. The snowstorm people think they are entitled to have that parking space unoccupied the entire day while they are at work.  Newsflash to these people – you may own your house, but you don’t own the street!
  • How about dog owners who let their canine pee or poop on your property and don’t bother to clean up afterwards.  I once saw this guy allow his dog to poop on my parents’ front yard.  When I caught him in the act, he treated me as if I owed him an apology!

  • This one is my personal least favorite.  Someone you know has the cold or flu, invites you over and then doesn’t tell you about their illness until after you’ve come in close contact with them.
  • People who borrow things and think they don’t have to return them.  I have had a DVD of my favorite movie (“Swordfish”), other DVDs, a fishing net, and cash borrowed and never returned.  On top of this, I was dating a young lady years ago and she borrowed my car just to go to the corner store and buy some gum – so she claimed. She didn’t return the car for 3 days!
  • People who can best be described as “one uppers.”  Whenever you tell a story they have a story on a similar subject that tops yours.
  • People who say “I told you so.”  Need I expound on this one?
  • People who leave their cell phones on when attending religious services and then it rings and destroys everyone’s concentration.
  • Road Ragers.  You simply forget to put on your blinker.  We’re all human and make small mistakes. That fat head behind you blasts his horn, flashes you the finger and practically runs you off the road.  Then to top it all off when he passes you, you spot a United We Stand bumper sticker on his car. 
  • Airheaded people who pull up to the exact change lane at the toll, and then take five minutes trying to find money they should have had counted before arriving at the toll.
  • This last act of rudeness you may have never seen, however, I have.  I was sitting in a gynecology clinic waiting room while overseas. There were many pregnant women waiting to be seen.  In the middle of all of them is this man and he’s smoking a cigarette.  Maybe he mistook the pregnant women for obese women and thought he was at the fat farm!

 

Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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A Bird Brain May Be Smarter Than Your Honor Student

Excuse my logic but to all you people of my dad’s generation and mine (I am 53 years old) when you call someone a “bird brain” in reality you are not insulting them at all.  True, the brain of a bird is small compared to that of a human and thus we erroneously think we’re one up on someone when we compare their brain to that of a bird.  In small hummingbirds the brain may be no larger than the size of a pea.   However, relative to its size, the bird’s brain occupies a much larger percentage of the bird’s total body mass than a human brain does to a human.

The brain to body mass ratio of a human is 1/40.  In other words, the human brain is 1/40 of our total body content.  Amazingly, the brain to body mass ratio of a bird is an impressive 1/12. Far down the scale, the irony of which we will touch on later is the brain to body mass ratio of a shark which comes in at 1/2496.

What this all boils down to is that we humans aren’t the only smart species of animal life on this planet.  Animals are quite intelligent.

Who hasn’t heard stories of animals running to higher ground an hour before a tsunami hits?  Dogs are used to locate narcotics and dead bodies. They also navigate the darkness for the blind. The below photo even shows that animals not only have smarts but also compassion as this monkey saves a dog from a burning building.

As early as 3,000 years ago, homing pigeons, also referred to as carrier pigeons were used by the Egyptians and Persians to carry and deliver urgent messages to peoples far away.

In modern times, we have seen Lassie, Flipper and more recently “Beethoven” the loveable Saint Bernard, deliver performances worthy of Academy Awards.

Then there is the survival quotient.  Tortoises have roamed this Earth for more than 200 million years.  And that Shark that we mentioned above, the one with a 1/2496 brain to body mass, has existed in its current anatomy for 100 million years and in various other anatomies for a whopping 450 million years. By comparison, depending upon whose figures you want to believe, humans have existed on this planet anywhere from 500,000, to 2.5 million to 5 million years. We are so to speak, “the new kids on the block.”

Suffice it so say, that the extreme longevity of some animal species speaks volumes about their intelligence.

Several years ago, we housed a pregnant cat and it gave birth to three kittens in our living room.  One of those kittens, a black Burmese cat which we named Michael has become a permanent and revered member of our family.

Michael is nothing short of remarkable.  As a hunter he is prolific.  I have seen him kill three mice in one night.  However, what is more eyebrow-raising is what he does with his prey after he kills it. Between the side of our house and the backyard is a four-sided raised cement platform that covers what used to be an underground well.  When Michael kills mice, birds or the occasional chipmunk (which makes me mad because I love chipmunks), he arranges them neatly on this cement slab as if it were some sort of sacrificial altar. About three years ago, he continued with this practice for a full Spring, Summer and Fall until we brought an end to it by confining him to our house.

Michael adopted other hobbies once his hunting days came to a close. We have seen him sit upright on our piano bench and tickle the ivories with his two front paws.  At night, when I am asleep on my back, he will step up on my chest and pump his front legs up and down in a rhythmic motion. I jokingly refer to this as Michael giving me CPR but I think in actuality he is just trying to please me for all the care I give him.  He knows who’s his daddy!

Furthermore, if you laugh at Michael, he will shift his gaze downward and his sulking expression is a dead giveaway that he is unhappy.  He is also quite the model.  One day he will strike his George Clooney pose in which he sits in a debonair fashion, front paws outstretched.  Other times he will lie on his side with all his front paws and rear paws fully extended in what I call his Marilyn Monroe pose.  Or, he will sit atop all of his four legs looking like one of those hand-warming muffs women used to carry around.

What up Michael? Can't you take a joke?

Getting back to animals in general, despite their inability to recognize their own reflection in a mirror, through senses of smell, visual cues such as body movement and in many cases the phenomenon known as behavioral imprinting, animals have an uncanny knack of knowing whom to mate with.  Somehow ostriches don’t go around mating with giraffes yet both have long necks.

Many animals also have an innate ability to judge peoples’ character.  To this day, I still LOL (as the texters say) when I recall an incident that happened around our backyard pool some 35 years ago.  My mother’s friend, who was sort of a know-it-all remarked that dogs can tell good people from bad.  I didn’t give much thought to her comment at the time it was made.  Incredibly, about an hour later, this woman went inside to use the rest room.  Suddenly she emerged from our house screaming.  When she had leaned down to pet our Scotch terrier named Scotty, the dog had bitten her enough to cause bleeding.  Scotty was the most well-fed dog I’ve ever seen so it was not as if he was perhaps just biting her out of hunger.  I guess Scotty had her number.

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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Debunking Cliches

Excuse my logic, but aren’t some clichés and other forms of “conventional wisdom” sometimes off the mark?

 Submitted for your approval is a dissection of some clichés which we think as the sarcastic suggestion regarding clichés goes ‘should be avoided like the plague.” Following those is a short list of clichés which in this writer’s opinion still get high marks.

“At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold.”  You ever notice that the person telling you this forgets to tell you which end of the rainbow?

“Behind every cloud is a silver lining.”  Does this apply to a mushroom cloud as well?

“He who hesitates is forever lost.”  What about someone who was planning to commit suicide?

“It’s a certified, pre-owned vehicle.” Excuse me, but isn’t that just double-speak for what is nothing more than a used car?

“Think outside the box.”  Isn’t it funny how people who use this phrase often don’t do it themselves?

“I’ve been working like a dog.”  Interesting to me since every dog I ever had never did an ounce of work.

“Quitters never win.”  Recovered alcoholics and people who have quit smoking, gambling or adulterous behavior might challenge that one.

Other clichés which I find quite irritating are as follows: “The early bird catches the worm.” Yuk.  “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” So what?  “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”  You think?  “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Big deal. What does a penny buy anymore?  “No good deed will go unpunished.” Too cynical for me.  “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” Maybe it’s just grandpa indulging in his favorite cigar.  “A leopard never changes its spots.” Neither does a Dalmatian and there’s nothing wrong with it.  “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Tell that to the ever increasing number of octogenarians getting their first college degree.  “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  Very few make house calls anymore anyway.   “Time heals all wounds.”  There are combat veterans and amputees who would debate that point.

Cliches which in my opinion still have some merit, are as follows:

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  Whether or not God would agree is beyond my knowledge, but striving for his approval and being tidy seem like good traits to me.

“Practice makes perfect.”  Yes, it is used way too often, however it is true in so many of life’s endeavors that repetition is the foundation for eventual success.

“You are what you eat.”  It has also been proven almost beyond debate that one’s diet is a major contributor to their health.

For those readers who are interested in this topic, most local libraries have many books on the subject.  Also, the internet has a wealth of information on clichés.  Just Google the word clichés and you’ll find more articles than you can shake a stick at.  Did I just write that last line?  OMG.  Now I’m using worn out and dated phrases too!

Copyright 2009; Greg S.

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