June 20, 2018

What Was The Question…by Brendon Marks

As a friend was helping move a dresser the other day, I asked him, “Can you handle that end OK?” He replied, “Is the Pope catholic?” I wasn’t sure what that had to do with anything, but it reminded me of several other questions of the same type, such as: Is the Pope Polish? Does a duck have lips? Does a bear sleep in the woods? These are serious questions that deserve answers; I decided to get those answers. Initially I had trouble researching the two questions concerning the Pope. Obtaining information about the current pope was easy, but none…

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Buying A New Car . . . by Brendon marks

New car dealers spend a lot of money on advertising. I used to think many of the ideas were pretty silly, but I always knew that no matter how silly the idea was, next week there would be one to top it. I didn’t believe these silly ideas would have any impact upon who would buy which car or when, until a friend told me that he was going to buy a new car. “What kind?” I asked. “It really doesn’t matter,” he said, “There’s a dealership down the street that has a giant inflated football helmet out front. That’s…

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Small Town Culture . . . by Brendon Marks

I grew up in small towns and I like them. They stay forever small because of their names. A name like ‘Cook’s Falls’, ‘Fish’s Eddy’ or ‘Peaksville’ would never survive if the town became large. The politicians or the inhabitants who came later to swell the village beyond its beginnings would undoubtedly not be descended from the Cook, Fish or Peak families, and would change the name to something more suitable for a thriving metropolis. If you hear names like that, you just know it’s a small town somewhere. Typically these towns are situated beside a railroad line or where…

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Unlicensed and Untrained…by Brendon Marks

The government recently released the “alarming results” of a study that determined the majority of young children are not receiving day care from trained workers; instead, they are being cared for by “unlicensed and untrained” providers. Who are these heinous perpetrators? They are relatives–mostly grandparents. Government workers are particularly alarmed that grandparents are “unprepared” for the nurturing of young minds at a particularly vulnerable age. Well, if these loving, but “unlicensed and untrained” grandparents are so dangerous, where was the government when my generation needed them so badly to protect us during our formative years? If they’re not qualified to…

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Watch and Write . . . by Brendon Marks

A guy once said, “Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” It has been attributed to Kin Hubbard, but when you stop to think about it, who said it is not important. What’s really important is that somebody wrote down that somebody said it. Does the guy who wrote it down ever get any credit? Mark Twain was another guy who was always saying pithy things like that and not once was it ever recorded that he said, “Hey, that was pithy. I guess I should write…

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It’s Only Water . . . by Brendon Marks

Water is amazing. Take two chunks of hydrogen, one chunk of oxygen, slam them together, and the result is a substance unlimited in its usefulness and versatility. Occasionally it has a down side, usually when a lot of the combined chunks get together and move from one place to another, but generally it’s pretty handy. Its popularity is widespread, and humans flock to it, more so on warm weekends. Any realtor will attest to the fact that humans are attracted to water. Oceanfront, lakefront, and riverfront properties always have the highest price tags. One whole state seems obsessed with the…

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Veggiepets . . . by Brendon Marks

As I pointed out in my last column, some of my closest friends are vegetarians; however I’d like to delve into the subject from a different angle. Personally, I never felt that red meat was bad for you. Gray or green might be a little suspect, but red is okay. I don’t try to convert my vegetarian friends, and they don’t try to convert me. I may make fun of them now and then, but that’s pretty much the norm for my dwindling circle of friends, vegetarian or not. Furthermore, with a couple of my veggie pals, I get as…

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Is That Soy Or Sow? by Brendon Marks

The other day I had an opportunity to try a sausage and mushroom vegetarian pizza. I’ve had true vegetarian pizza before, but none of them has ever had sausage on it. For non-vegetarians, I may need to tell you that sausage does not qualify as a vegetable, so the sausage has to be something else, spiced up to taste like sausage. I don’t know what, and chose not to investigate and spoil the enjoyment of the moment. It’s probably some soybean product. Vegetarians tend to use a lot of soybean stuff. Apparently it has no flavor of its own, and…

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Unjust Accusations…by Brendon Marks

I have received some feedback on a previous column, unjustly accusing me of advocating the use of tools while under the influence of judgment-altering substances, specifically beer. Regular readers know this is not true. That would be criminal lack of judgment. If I were going to advocate something, it would be vendors on every street corner dispensing free hot dogs, the total abolition of car insurance, or changing all street names to the Dewey decimal system. Anything else, I just report what I see and I don’t have to make things up. However, I’m not the first to observe the…

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TV or not TV, That is the Question…by Brendon Marks

Recently as I marveled at the miracle of satellite TV I recalled the days gone by of when many rural households had no choice except over the air broadcast TV with the required antenna bristling from the peak of the roof, and an event which cemented these bygone days in my memory. When I first noticed that all channels above thirteen on my TV were showing the same silent movie about a severe snowstorm in the Arctic I said, “Aw gee whiz. What now? First I can’t read the TV listings in my newspaper, now this.” The first thing I…

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Which Life To Fix . . . by Brendon marks

While talking with an acquaintance few years ago, I mentioned that all of my lives were in turmoil, and he asked, “How many wives do you have?” Assuming that he had misunderstood, and ignoring all thoughts of how delighted Freud would have been to interview this person; I pressed on. (Before I continue, I would like to state unequivocally that my one and only wife is not directly responsible for the turmoil in any of my lives.) I watched for a flicker of interest as I enumerated each of my lives: Work life, home life, and so forth. At “Car…

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The Three F’s . . . by Brendon Marks

So you’re suffering from the three F’s: fat, forty, and frustrated–well, help is available. I can’t do much about “forty”, except suggest you slap on a coat of Oil of Old Lady, to cover your basketball complexion so you don’t look forty. And you’ll have to get “frustrated” advice from another source, but “fat” is right down my alley. Before everybody starts writing letters, let me say that I am not saying that you’re fat. I’m also not saying there is anything wrong with being fat. I’m just saying you may think you’re fat and you may have decided to…

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The Three Fs by Brendon Marks

So you’re suffering from the three F’s: fat, forty, and frustrated–well, help is available. I can’t do much about “forty”, except suggest you slap on a coat of Oil of Old Lady, to cover your basketball complexion so you don’t look forty. And you’ll have to get “frustrated” advice from another source, but “fat” is right down my alley. Before everybody starts writing letters, let me say that I am not saying that you’re fat. I’m also not saying there is anything wrong with being fat. I’m just saying you may think you’re fat and you may have decided to…

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I May Get Around To It . . . by Brendon Marks

I’m a world class procrastinator. I should join Procrastinator’s Anonymous, and I will, someday. How do they get any members anyway? If someone were really a procrastinator, they’d never join, and if they join, they’re not really a procrastinator. Maybe they should call it Very Nearly Procrastinator’s Anonymous. I suppose some are not really procrastinators; they just suffer from BFS (But First Syndrome). But First Syndrome is not the habit of always entering a room backwards or letting your husband take the lead; it’s the problem of allowing a new task to interfere with finishing an earlier one. For example,…

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Plasti-Pack, by Brendon Marks

I predict that you will never see a utility knife for sale in one of those clear plastic, form fitting, clamshell packages, because if you don’t own a utility knife you can’t get the package open. And if you own a utility knife, you don’t need another one. Other tools can be used to open these packages, but if you don’t own a utility knife, the chances are you won’t own a chain saw or axe either. This ingenious package design encloses a purchase item between two pieces of plastic like a sandwich. This clear, hard plastic shell is either…

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Man The Lifeboats, by Brendon marks

A few years ago my wife and I went on a cruise to Alaska, and I highly recommend it. If you think you can’t afford one, don’t worry. It’s no more expensive than riding a Greyhound bus three times around the world, while staying in fine hotels and eating in fancy restaurants. But the cruise is worth every penny. Although the room you share is the same size as a bus seat, it does have a TV, and if you’re lucky, a window, except on a ship they’re called portholes. At least that’s true on the left side of the…

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LIFE’S TROPHIES, by Brendon Marks

A trophy is an everlasting symbol of one’s conquest over an opponent. The practice started centuries ago when some inedible part of the vanquished foe was lopped off and nailed to the wall over the fireplace. During times when you had no house guests these trophies prove very utilitarian for such activities as drying your socks on damp winter evenings. Trophy collecting has endured in spite of the efforts of several camera manufacturers to replace the activity with “moments frozen in time”. The concept has been modified slightly to allow for those instances where the loser may be reluctant to…

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Just Pop Out That Cup Holder by Brendon Marks

How did we ever manage BCH (Before Cup Holders)? I’m sure that the inspiration for the first automotive cup holder was a direct result of a prolonged bout with ADD (Another Drink Dumped). The truck I drove for years was PCH (Pre-Cup Holder), so I know of what I speak. I had one of those neat little console things that sat on the transmission hump and collected screws, nuts, bolts, gum wrappers, and used tissues, mocking me with those indentations that were supposed to pass for drink holders. They could handle a soft drink can all right, but forget about…

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Coffee Cups, Etc. by Brendon Marks

Since the birth of Mr. Coffee every office with one or more people in it has a coffeepot. Where there are pots, there are cups. Many people use a foam cup so they don’t have to bother with details like washing or keeping track of where they left it. These cups are handy when you must attend a boring meeting. You can do many things with them to stay awake. 1.) Break little pieces off and drop them inside to see how far down you can go before what is left is full. 2.) Use a ballpoint pen to doodle…

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Check With Your Doctor, by Brendon Marks

The TV was on, but I wasn’t paying much attention. I was vaguely aware that an advertisement for some prescription medicine was encouraging me to ask my doctor if it was right for me. My first question was: “Shouldn’t he already know?” Then the side effects were mentioned, and that got my attention right away. They were headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, blurred vision, and diarrhea. I?m not a real big fan of any of those maladies, separately or in any combination, and I have a short list of diseases that I would trade for them, so I don?t see…

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