Monthly Archives: March 2013

Let’s Play, What is That Stuff?

The Idiotic Mom (IM) reports from Sarasota, Florida this week of a monumental struggle with ear wax.  Amid screams that could be heard in open cars driving on Tamiami trail, her doctor extracted an enormous ear wax ball from one of her ears.  Although the size of a small rodent the thing looked more like a piece of the meteor that broke up over Russia last month.  The doctor checked with the Guinness book of world records, but sadly the thing fell just under the world record.  As a result of the doctor’s inquiry, however, word did get out, and the IM has now had a call from Madam Tussaud’s wax museum.  They’re coming out  next week to see if it might fit into their London museum as a wax replica of  Russia’s space junk.  More on this story as it unfolds.

I had one of those wax balls many years ago too and was curious as to what it really is, how it forms and what it’s for, if anything.  Naturally, I went immediately to the internet to obtain all the facts.  Apparently the stuff is there for a purpose other than for you to “dig at it” with a finger during idle moments when you think others aren’t looking.  The stuff, called cerumen, moistens the ear canal, fights off infection and keeps other crap from getting in there.  Now that I think of it, that last part is important.  As a kid I recall an incident where one of us Boehmke kids got a pea wedged up in there and had to have a doctor extract it.  Pretty sure it wasn’t me (good guess would be the IB), as I’m sure that THAT incident would otherwise still be more firmly implanted on my lint roller. 

I was so impressed with what I so easily found out about earwax that I thought I’d take up an even bigger challenge.  I’ve been bothered recently by recurring pimples.  I typed “white stuff in pimples” into Google to see what I could find out.  Sure enough, all kinds of useful information including the fact that the stuff is “pus.”  Well duh!  More specifically though, the pus is made up of an oil called sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria.  Nice sounding mixture, eh?  We had a guy in college we called “Pus Head” who, well, nevermind…

This talk of bodily fluids leads me back to the blog’s Guinea Pig-O-Meter.  A few weeks back I got a call from my good friends at the UNC EPA lab.  They were so impressed with my work when participating in the Ozone breathing exercise that they asked if I might come in and demonstrate one particular aspect of it for some folks at another institution who they were training.  Yes, it turns out that I am apparently a stand-out at the “sputum induction test.”  During the hour that I was there I very professionally “hawked-up” “lugies” (not sure if I’m spelling that right), and at the end I bid my friends adieu and headed out the door with a $50 check.  So, that’s the reason for the little bump up in the GP-O-M.  Isn’t it interesting how some of us are late bloomers.  Who’d a ever thought that at the age of 65 I could turn pro at something I’d never even heard of a year earlier.

The cash infusion was fortunate, in that it offset a $40 increase in the C-O-M resulting from my recent purchase of a used tool box, and rear wheel hubcap for the Pony.   No other Pony progress to report, as the weather has been just too cool.  Looks like a warm-up for the weekend though, so there is hope.  Speaking of weather, I was amused to hear that the folks up in Punxatawny actually apologized (and rightfully so) for misinterpreting the ground hog’s forcast of an early spring this year.  Pretty sure I’m not going to pay attention to that little varmint anymore.

Oh, and speaking of varmints, big news out of the NC legislature.  Remember that news I reported earlier about how the state courts ruled that we can’t drop a possum in a glass box on New Year’s Eve anymore.  You know, the case where the judge said that as respects the possum, you can’t tease ’em, no, for possums it’s either “Give me liberty or give me death?”  Well, in between passing all kinds of legislation that takes things away from the sick, the poor and the unemployed, they still had time to pass a bill making it legal to trap possums and once again legally drop them on New Year’s Eve.  Praise the Lord!

I leave you with this little ditty.

There’s good to said for cerumen,
And even the oil called sebum,
But what I like best
And meets the GP-O-M test,
Is that wonderful stuff called sputum.

Happy Easter  and Passover everyone, and thanks for reading.

Move Over Doctor Phil

Have you ever noticed that when you look in the mirror you look much older than you feel? If you answered “no,” you’re either a liar, or you’ve had tons of plastic surgery. If you answered “yes” you’re like most of the rest of us. I’ve thought about this phenomenon a lot and I have an explanation. You know how Forest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates?” Well, it’s not, and Forest Gump was an idiot, and the movie, Forest Gump was a boring piece of junk.  No, what life is like is a lint roller.  How you think, what you look like, your likes and dislikes, your habits, in general, who you are, that’s all a result of the things (lint) you’ve experienced (rolled over) up until any given point in your life. 

Very little of the lint comes loose from the roller.  Although, one of the corollaries to the “life is like a lint roller rule” is “Things that stick best are generally the dumbest, stupidest, least important, and worst for you.”  This is why 55 years after hearing it, I still remember the jingle for Clark Gasoline:
“Clark, Super 100 Gasoline,
Thousands say its best.
Largest selling independent gasoline
In the middle west.
Fill-up today,
You’ll know just what we mean.
Buy Clark, Super 100 gasoline.”

There are a lot of things stuck to the roller that show up in other ways.  What about that time you broke some little law and didn’t get caught.  Or that time you ate the last donut, even though you’d had your share.  The time you lied, yeah sure, just a little white one.  Well, there are a few guilt-induced worry lines on your forehead for those misdemeanors, partner.  And behind your forehead, deep in there, don’t you believe for a minute that you got away with anything; that stuff is in there to stay, and is a part of who you are.  Of course, not to dwell on the negative, that face in the mirror may show some smile lines too.  The more fun you had the worse they are.  I broke a lot of rules, but I’ve had a lot of fun too, so my face is a mess.

The examples set by parents and grandparents, the efforts of good teachers and bad, the paper route, the job you got just right, the one you screwed-up, your dog dies, your best friend dies too soon, September 11, your wedding, the birth of a child, are all pieces of lint on the roller, some lumpier than others.  But you ask, why am I still shocked when I look in the mirror?  Why do I look older than I feel?  Well, your only frame of reference is your past.  When you’re just walking around the house, driving down the street, whatever, you feel like those things you have experienced, you’re in the past.  You’re not dragged up to the present until the mirror gives you a good slap!  

I brought this all up, because of a phone conversation I had with my Mom last we week wherein we were discussing how we really don’t feel as old as we are.  And I said, “Well, we are who we have been.”  She wanted to know who I was quoting, and I said, “Hey, you’re talking to him.”  But to finish up, my advice is, and I’m sure Dr. Phil would back me up here, Stay away from mirrors!

Tractor News
You know, now that the tractor actually runs, it’s hard not to just go out to Gene’s and run it up and down the street.  I did one day drive it about two miles, out to the entrance to his development and back.  But I have been working.  My last three times out I’ve put in over 10 hours scrubbing the Pony’s rear end.  Here are a few shots of my work.

You can click on the images to enlarge and scroll through them.  I think I’ve got one more afternoon of this work with the degreaser, before I can then turn to wire brushing and sanding.  As you can see from the photos, I’ve had some beautiful days to work, so there will be no excuse not to keep moving forward.

I was just wondering what the Pony would think, if he could think, when HE looks in the mirror.  Oh, that’s right, he’s one of the lucky ones who’s had loads of plastic surgery.  No wonder there’s a mirror hanging on Gene’s garage wall.  Have a nice week everyone, and thanks for reading.

Pony Irate over Horse Meat Scandal

A couple of weeks ago my neighbor, Art, and I went out on the bikes with no particular destination in mind.  Since Art hadn’t been out to see the Pony before, I suggested that we stop in at Gene’s and give the Pony a visit.  The Pony couldn’t believe I was the same guy that always shows up in jeans and a sweatshirt.  Here’s a shot Lynne took.

bruce 003a

Before we left, Lynne looked at us in our colorful cycling gear and said, “You guys look like serious riders.”  Art shot right back, “Any ride with this guy is serious.”  What does that mean?  I’m probably the least serious guy you’ll find.

Speaking of the Pony, now that he has “eyes” he’s started reading the paper on a regular basis.  The following article title was something that he never dreamed he’d see, “Meatball sales Suspended in Asia and Caribbean.”  It made him chuckle, and he wondered, “What will Italians put on their spaghetti if they’ve got no meatballs?”  Then he read that the meatballs were actually Swedish meatballs, and he wondered, “Why do Swedes need special meatballs?  Do they even eat spaghetti?”  That’s just the way the Pony’s mind works.  But as he read on, he was shocked. 

If you believe recent media reports, it appears some horse (read pony) meat has found its way into products that are supposed to be all beef.  The Pony is beside himself with a mixture of outrage and fear.  Butchering up dumb cows, well that’s understandable.  Any critter dumb enough to stand in a field blithely eating grass waiting for the lights to go out, hell, it gets what it deserves.  But horses, they’re strong, noble, intelligent and a great friend to man.  The Pony pointed out to me that before the farm tractor came along, the horse was responsible for keeping the American farm going.  He further pointed out that he is both a Pony and a tractor, essentially bridging the past with the future.  Brother, now that’s getting a little carried away.  Anyway, he’s asked that Gene and me make sure the garage is locked up tight at night just to make sure no one gets any ideas about turning him into meatballs, Swedish or otherwise.  Take it easy boy, we’ll protect you.

Just to keep you informed of “all things donut,” I saw something pretty clever recently in the N&O.  Realizing that most folks have trouble reading maps, but everyone knows where the donut shops are, they’ve devised a new donut-centric map-making program.  The map below was provided along with an article about some new low-income town homes going up over in Raleigh.

Krispie Kreme Map

Note how the writer has shown the location of the new development in relation to the nearest donut shop.  Perfect, I know exactly where that is!

Just a brief comment, I guess, question.  Every time you hear the “word du jour,” sequestration, do you immediately think like I do, castration?”  I sure hope the former hurts less than the latter?

How do you carve up a year?  With the passage of February, the IB sent a note saying that one sixth of the year was shot.  At age 65 time really flies.  Before I got too busy, I used to measure in terms of garbage days, 52 per year.  Daffodils coming up at the old cabin, once-a-year.  Visits to the dentist for the annual check-up, 2, but, man those seem to come up all the time.  Morning 40’s are dots on the calendar, generally 12 per month (right now there are 22).  Those seem to add up agonizingly slowly during the winter, but zoom by in the summer.  Two batches of new copperheads hatch; I see them squashed in the road, spring and fall.  Two broods of blue birds fledge, but in the odd year, three, which throws me all off.  Then in the category “so many you can’t count ’em,” there are:  compliments on my hair (nose, almost as often), bold predictions that come true, “killer” posts to this blog, and number of times The Princess says, “You know, you’re right.”  These all just fly by in a blur.

 However you carve them up, remember, we each get only so many.   My advice:  keep adding new categories.

Have a great weekend (they’re 28.5% of the year), and thanks for reading.