Helpful Hint(s) for the Home

This is my first post in months. It’s not that I haven’t been busy being creative; it’s just that the journey from computer screen to blog has been circuitous and interrupted. But, today, I’m getting started again. To begin…

I had one of those “duh” moments yesterday (they used to be called “ah ha” moments; I’m not sure when that changed; something to look into). Over the last few months, we’ve collected a box of old documents that need to be shredded to avoid the dreaded “identity theft” that seems to be so ubiquitous these days (actually, I think the threat is actually more ubiquitous than the actual theft, but I could be wrong; I’ve always been of the opinion that if some fool really wants my identity, he needs to be prepared to pay my bills, too). Usually I take the stuff to one of those free shredding events that happens around town now and then, but I haven’t been able to find one and I’ve been carting the box around in my car for a couple of months. Finally, I called a commercial shredding company to see what it would cost to shred my copy paper-sized box of documents. After I recovered from the shock, I realized that I could buy an adequate shredder for only a little more than what I would have to pay to have them take care of the box. And so I did.

I went to Best Buy and bought. When I got home, I set it up the shredder as directed and proceeded to pulverize old tax documents and bank statements and credit card stuff. The shredder came with a smallish wastepaper basket to catch the tiny little pieces of paper it produced. When the basket was filled (which the machine helpfully signaled by a flashing red light; at first, I had an image of Robbie the Robot waving his arms and saying “Danger, Will Robinson” but it was just part of the vocabulary of the instrument panel on this thing), I removed the shredding apparatus and dumped the pieces in a plastic trash bag. Pieces went everywhere. Tiny little pieces, no bigger than neutrons or quarks or one of those viruses that grow into fifty-foot long worms in your stomach, and come out your eyeballs while you are sleeping (according to a program on Animal Planet I saw last week) (well, maybe the pieces of shredded paper were the size of Chiclets — do they still make Chiclets? — something to look into). Then the “duh” moment arrived: why not put the plastic trash bag in the wastepaper basket first? Why not indeed. And so I did.

When I took the shredding thingy off the basket this time, most of the pieces stayed in the trash bag (there were still a few that escaped, but not nearly as many; a couple of them looked like one of those Animal Planet viruses, but I’m going to pretend I didn’t see them scurry away). Problem solved. I’m going to write a letter to the shredder-maker and suggest that they include this option (trash bag in basket first) in their set-up directions. It might save others a bit of a mess.

You can thank me later.

Iconic irony

A couple of days ago, I posted this photo showing several icons of Kansas City:

Five Kansas City Icons

Five Kansas City Icons

Ironically, yesterday Halls announced that it would close this store on the Country Club Plaza and consolidate it with its store in Crown Center. Halls had been an anchor on the Plaza for nearly fifty years. Rumor has it that the space will become a food court with all the Yum! Brand products you know and love: Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut.

Yum!

Updates, updates, updates…

It may seem like I’m picking on LinkedIn, but I’m really not.  It’s just that some things about it strike me as funny/odd/incongruous now and then.  For example, just a few minutes ago, I went to my LinkedIn page and there was a message saying there were three new updates.  OK, so what have my connections been up to?  Well, I suddenly had one of those “deja vu all over” moments when I heard the voice of Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live (for those of you under forty, he was the original news person on the show; I know it seems impossible that such an old guy could have actually been on SNL, but…) saying, “I’m Chevy Chase… and you’re not.”

What I actually heard was a voice saying “… has a new connection”; “… has a new connection”; “…has a new connection… and you don’t.”  Sometimes, seeing all my connections connecting makes me feel like I must be stuck on a desert island somewhere without an Internet… connection.  Why don’t people want to connect with me?  I’m a pretty interesting person, for the most part.  I don’t post unpleasant things on my profile, for the most part.  I think I have a nice photo, for the most part.

Well, I suppose it’s really up to me. LinkedIn says that my 147 connections link me to 2,514,713+ professionals and there are 3,728 new people in my network, just since May 10, yesterday!  Let’s see, if I sent an invitation to connect to those 3,728 people and they all accepted, there would be 63,774,490+ professionals I could then link with.  I’ll get started right after dinner.

Three Wishes

Chapter 1

If I had intended to break the amphora, I certainly wouldn’t have done it right in front of the museum guard; I’m not that stupid.  He, it appeared, wasn’t convinced of that.  At least at first.  Perhaps it had something to do with the cloud of dust that arose from the shards of pottery on the floor.

Chapter 2

“You’ll have to come with me,” the guard said, but looking around, he seemed confused about where he would be taking me.  “I think I need to lie down,” which is exactly what he did, crumpling into a heap on the floor.
When I looked back at the broken vessel, I was astonished to see that the dust cloud had coalesced into something resembling a human form, dressed as the stereotypical Aladdin from Disney movie fame.

Chapter 3

“I know it’s a cliche, but just wait till you see what people in the future imagine ‘60s fashions were like.”  The genie dusted himself off and got right down to business.
“You have three wishes.  The first wish can be anything you want, but the second wish has to relate to the first and the third wish has to be connected to the second.  You can’t wish for additional wishes and I know all the tricks, so don’t try to be clever.  Well, get on with it.”

Chapter 4

“This has to be a dream,” I thought.
“It’s not.  It’s real.” the genie said.
“Great, he reads minds, too.  I wish I could do that.”  I thought again.
“You have two wishes left,” the genie said.

Chapter 5

“OK, genie, you got me there.  I’m sure that will come in handy some day.  But now my second wish has to fit with the first one somehow, is that correct?”
“That’s right and if it doesn’t, you lose the first wish,” he explained.
“You forgot to mention that in your earlier explanation,” I said, annoyed.
“What do you expect?  I’m four thousand years old.  I forget details occasionally.”

Chapter 6

What could I possibly wish for that would be related to mind-reading?  Perhaps a good lawyer to get me out of jail when I have a look on my face that says “I know what you are thinking”?
At that instant, a man in an impeccable dark suit, white shirt, blue tie and carrying a briefcase appeared.
“Wait, I didn’t ask for him.”  It was clear that the genie had read my mind again and had given me a high-priced attorney for my very own.

Chapter 7

“I can tell that you are the type that will need this fellow.  Say ‘hello’ to R. Bradley Ashton, III, of the firm of  Higgins, Ashton, Harrow and Walls.”
“Terrific, my very own legal team.  I suppose I should wish for enough money to pay their retainer in perpetuity,” I said hoping that genie wouldn’t considered that to be my third wish.

Chapter 8

“As a matter of fact, Mr. Ashton is working pro bono, so you don’t have to worry about his fee.  Now, what’s your third wish?”  The genie seemed a bit impatient, like he had a date to play squash or have drinks at the Blue Room.
“This is getting way too complicated.  I wish I’d never broken that amphora.”

Chapter 9

And with that, the genie disappeared back in his cloud of dust, the amphora, magically repaired, flew back to its pedestal and the museum guard picked himself up off the ground, looking around again in bewilderment.
“I just had the strangest dream,” he said.  “Must have been that falafel I had for lunch.”
“They do the same thing to me,” I said as I headed for the museum exit, making sure I kept a good distance between myself and the breakables.

A little behind in my work

I don’t remember jokes.  For some reason, neither the set-ups nor the punchlines stick in my mind for any length of time.  A friend of mine, who has since moved on to that big comedy club in the sky (I’m assuming that’s where he went, though that’s not a given), used to be able to rattle off joke after joke.  I was always in awe of his ability to find just the right combination of funny stories for any occasion.

One of the few jokes I do remember, for some reason, involves the butcher who backed into his meat-grinder and got a little behind in his work.  That’s the way I’ve been feeling for the last few days; my contribution to my “photo-a-day” project has lagged.  Oh, I’ve been shooting; I just haven’t been posting.  Well, today, there are three new photos taken over the last couple of days.

  • I got a shot of Abby, our Old English Sheepdog, in an unusually calm pose.
  • The sun was streaming through the window and caught our Christmas poinsettia in a colorful pose.
  • Last night, about midnight, we had nine deer in our front yard foraging for acorns.  I processed and processed one of the photos to give the scene (of one of the deer feeding alone) a mysterious feel.

All the photos are under the tab 365 at the top.