Friday, May 15, 2015

TTOT... 100th Edition Post ... Damn, Has It Been That Long?

Follow all the TTOT Posts here!!!

So, this is the 100th edition of 

Ten Things of Thankful.

I congratulate Lizzi and the rest of her coven for being able to keep this going for as long as it has.  What a tremendous milestone!

Not all of us have 
that type of tenacity.

I've been absent for about a month or so.  Not so much "writer's block" as "writer's dissatisfaction."   Frustration that everything I was writing started sounding alike to me.  

Kind of like today's Pop Music.  There may be a decent song here or there, but overall it sucks.  That was exactly the way I was feeling about my writing.

Many of you probably felt the same.  

Even my wife did ... and she's not that smart!  Remember, she's been blonde for 58 years.  The bleach has to have gotten to what little brain she was originally born with by now!

Then, out of the blue, I had a week from Hell.  I sustained a minor heart problem, 80-year-old father going partially blind, lawyers and mental incompetency dealings with a stepmother suffering from Alzheimer's ... and multiple four hundred mile round trips ... all in the week my doctor's told me to "take it easy."

Any easier and I'd have croaked.

By the way, did I mention I'd purchased a new car?
(How's that for a subject changer?)

I can now drive in excess of 80-100 mph with the top down ... increasing my chances of death should an accident occur.  I've found that at 60 mph an interstate circle ramp can be taken, but the slightest bump wants to launch the car from the pavement.  I do love leaving these huge 4WD pickup truck drivers in the dust, especially after they think they're intimidating me by pulling up close to my bumper at stoplights.  

(I'm just waiting to see my wife sitting next to one of those guys given they've much in common to talk about ... I'm sure.  They're probably riding down some dirt road discussing how much everything I've been writing sounds the same.)

Anyway, for this 100th edition of TTOT, the question lies within ... what do I do to devote just honor to the crew?  How can I show my thankfulness without bringing in the doom and despair that my "newscast thankfuls" usually display?  How can I make Lizzi smile without pinching her where she enjoys being ... no, wait a minute ... "How can I make Lizzi smile?"

Let's see if these thankfuls will do the trick:


1)  Death Benefit Relatives.  It never fails.  When the health of the elderly starts to fade, you suddenly get to meet all types of relatives that never made the effort to come by and make themselves known prior.  Of course, the two primary items on their mind is "On a scale of 1-10, how long do you think they've got until they bite the big one", and "Do you think he's got a will made out, and am I in it?"  Funny how people never care until there's the possibility of reaping in some cash.  (By the way, if you have any relatives about ready to kick the bucket let me know.  I'm sure we're related somehow.)

2)  Farmers On Tractors On Highways.  Tis the season for Spring planting of crops.  This means more and more farmers are hitting the road.  Now, tractors are not the fastest means of transportation.  In fact, if you're in a hurry to get somewhere and you happen to find yourself following one, you may experience rising blood pressure, mood swings, and urges to take the pistol from your glove compartment and do a little target shooting.  STOP!!!  Step back, relax, and enjoy watching the fields slowly pass by.  Get in touch with nature.  Enjoy the Earth that God gave us.  (And, when the tractor finally pulls off the road, you'll find you have a much better shot at the bastard than you did before!)

3)  Nature's Fury.  Spring brings us many a shower.  Some may even qualify to be called storms.  Add a tornado or two and you've got yourself an afternoon of excitement that money can't buy!  Ride your John Deere lawn mower into the sky and catch the view only a few have lived to talk about!  Besides, you wanted to get rid of all of your mother-in-law's gifts.  What a better way to do so than with the tornado taking them away and dropping them where they'll all be appreciated ... say a trailer park ... or even Baltimore!    

4)  Road Construction.  So you're driving along the interstate.  It's finally quiet with the exception of the music you're streaming.  The
kids, long bored with their I-Pads, are gently snoring in their booster seats.  Then you see it ... that triangular yellow sign that announces "Road Construction!"  Fear grips you as you recognize what's ahead ... lane shifts, bumpy pavements, reduced speed limits, and the worst torture of them all ... the dreaded "Left Lane Closed Ahead!"

Why people can't gradually merge is beyond me.  The few that try are discouraged from doing so by the assholes that rush ahead in the left lane trying to get in front of everyone else.  They don't care that this action slows the stream of traffic down to a crawl as they find a way to slip into the flow and frustrate those patiently awaiting their turn.  If you're brave (and drive a big enough vehicle) you might try straddling the center line to keep them behind you.  Although you might be a hero to some, remember the farmer and the tractor target shooting.  Courageous Sienna drivers may become the new farmers, if you know what I mean.

5)  Ego Filled Drivers.  Since I began driving a sports car, it's amazing how many people feel as though they have to challenge me passing them on the interstates.  I generally keep it on cruise control at a steady 75 mph.  Coming up on traffic from behind, I hit the turn signal to change lanes and start going around the slower traffic.  That's where the ego game occurs.  

Immediately, these drivers see a smaller car passing them and  the old ego kicks in as they think, "Damn, this is just a small car coming around me!  I can't let that happen!"

So, immediately they decide to start the game.  They speed up substantially, I go back into the slow lane behind them, and then they slow down below where my cruise is set.  Then it all starts all over again and again.  

Finally, I tire of their ego filled reactions and shoot my car around them, leaving them wondering what happened.  Some will give chase for a few minutes, but sooner or later, most will slow down and tire of the game.  There are a few that can't stand it and try for a repeat performance.  

The world is filled with dumbasses!

6)  Turn Signals.  Auto manufacturers install turn signals in their vehicles as a safety item.  They are to be used whenever one changes lanes (as discussed above) or in preparing to turn off the main roadway.

Many Americans are completely unfamiliar with this feature.  In fact, I wonder if they even have a clue as to what the lever on the left side of the steering column is for.  It's like they believe you're supposed to have extra sensory perception and know what the hell they're going to do simply by brain waves.

I even knew a man that I once tried to educate in turn signal usage when he rode with me.  One day, after a discussion on why I used them, he spouted, "It's like I'm asking permission to change lanes.  I don't have to ask anyone's permission to do that!"

Deja vu!  The world is filled with dumbasses!

7)  Road Construction, Part 2.  We all know that subcontractors make up the majority of the idiots assigned with fixing the highways of America.  Yet, one often wonders if they have to go to a school that turns them into idiots prior to taking on the job.  However, there is a reason for everything if you search hard enough.

Have you ever wondered why pylons start being displayed ten miles prior to where the actual construction is actually taking place?  I believe it is to get you frustrated with the reduced speed limit.  Traveling at a much slower rate of speed for no reason becomes frustrating, which then gets you moving at a faster rate, which gets you a ticket at an escalated "Construction Zone" prices, which makes more money for the county that is trying to recoup its costs in the road construction project!  If you think about it, the act makes complete sense!

Ever wonder why so many construction areas are empty when you drive by?  Many areas have started working construction during the cooler night hours instead of the hot, heavy traffic day hours.  That, at least, is what they'd like you to believe.

In fact, empty construction sites give the police assigned to issuing tickets many great places to hide during the day, and makes them difficult to see at night!  Plus, it's extra hard to get your phone camera focused during the night hours to pick up the police beating up those they've pulled over so they can make additional court cost income with charges against the speeders for resisting arrest!    Anything for a dollar!

8)  Impatient Idiots.  You've done well driving along in a lane of traffic and you're in the far right lane getting ready to take the next exit ahead.  There's no one behind you
and everything is going well.  Then the idiot appears!

They pull up beside you at breakneck speed, slam on their brakes, and cut in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes.  They easily could have slid in behind you without any problem, but the idea of being last in line just creates a panic within them.  If you're lucky you'll be turning the opposite direction at the exit so you can pull up beside them and give them the great American high sign, commonly called the bird.  It's the least you can do.  Of course, they'll be wondering why you did it as they're in a state of denial.

Hell, just shoot them and get the hell out of there.  
The world will be a better place for it!

9)  Fast Food Restaurant Drive-Up Menus.  Have you noticed the recent trend in the drive-up window menus these days?  Instead of having a list of items with the prices next to them, we are greeted with a display of pictures, combo offerings, and an array of opportunties to spend outrageous sums of money without knowing it.  Coffee items are located under fish sandwich and chicken nugget photos, soft drinks at the top (three feet away) on the right side, and value menus seem to move daily!  A sandwich has 4 size offerings, french fries three, and soft drinks four!  And, the drive up window people seem to get offended if you don't take the largest sized combo.  I also wonder why I'm the only one saying "Thank You" most of the time.  Don't these people have any basic manners?  Oh yeah, I forgot, they've chosen a career in fast food service.  What was I thinking?

Sorry, but if you can't even give me the ketchup I ask for, 
you don't deserve $15 an hour!  
Take your $6, ammonia washed piece 
of assembled beef parts and stick them 
where the fries don't roam!

10)  B.B. King.  A great musician died today.  B.B. King, the "King of the Blues" passed away leaving a legacy in Blues Music that will never be duplicated.  I am happy that I grew to love his music years ago, and have been enjoying it ever since.  Thankfully, his music will go forward as his past recordings are played over and over, and discoveries of new music are made (as they are always with artists that leave us).  B.B.'s signature song was "The Thrill Is Gone."  Indeed it is, as is the man that supplied it.  We'll miss you for a while, my friend, until we meet again at that Blues Club in the sky.



  1. Yes to remembering BB King and playing his music. A great talent!

    1. Hey Sarah, good to see you! I first became acquainted with B.B. at a college radio station back in the 70's. His music held more intensity and feeling than anything else being produced at the time. I've followed him and Etta James' careers for over 30 years, and will miss them both. Many Thanks!

  2. What a week for you! It can't be easy to deal with problems with parents when you are experiencing health problems of your own. Cute little car, though.

    1. Kristi, it's great to see you again! Like anything else, life's problems just have to be handled one day at a time. I've found if I concentrate on getting things done for others, I don't think too much about my own maladies. Thanks for the compliment on the car. I'm in love with it. Many Thanks!

  3. Really? That's what you're driving? Lovely and it sounds like you deserved it after the past month. HOLY COW! Hope all the dust has settled... including that in your hollow chest (just kidding... as much as you would like to think yourself heartless... I know better... I think of you daily when the music plays in my 13 year old chevy.) My car is so old that this week my friends six year old was perplexed and kept asking "what's that on the door?" I was driving so I couldn't see right away that she was talking about the window crank... yup still got those! Nice to see you back here! I missed ya! As much as I miss people's lack of directionals, but as much as BB? hmmmm.... I do love that song.

    1. Ivy, my dear friend, how are YOU doing? Hope you're feeling better than you were a few weeks ago.

      Yep, that's my new baby. I've been in love with them for years and finally decided to bite the bullet, extend my retirement date to pay for it, and enjoy life a little.

      Me? Heartless? Of course I am! lol I just have a lot of people fooled at times. I'm glad you're enjoying your music. And, it's hilarious to hear about the "crank" windows. The last car I had with those was a 1991 Subaru Legacy. I swore that would be the last, and has been to this point. I just have a hard time believing a Chevy would last you 13 years! They must have really screwed up at the factory on that one. lol

      You take care of yourself and keep in touch. Many Thanks!

    2. I kind of have a mission to see it turn 200,000 miles... its at 97 ish now.... say a little prayer...


      Hey Rich,
      any interest in being tagged in a hop? Its to tell seven things about yourself as a writer. I figure you write a pretty ecclectic grouping of stuff and your process would be interesting... all sucking up aside... I wanted to run it past you before hand ... no pressure...

    4. Ivy, I wish you well, but I seriously wouldn't plan on a Chevy lasting 2K miles. GM stopped making those kind years ago in fear that sales would go down, never imagining that the Japanese brands would outsell them because of that exact reason.

      I've done a lot of hops, so I'm not sure what could be said that hasn't already been written. You can tag me if you wish, and I'll do my best, but I'm not sure it's really what anyone would be interested in. lol

    5. I'm interested. consider yourself tagged. that link at the top of my comment is mine if you have any interest. so you really don't think my chevy can make 200? it went over 97 yesterday I'm almost there. want to make a friendly wager? gentleman's bet of course.

    6. I'm confused. If you've 97,000 miles on a car, you've got to have 103,000 more to get to 200k. I'll make a gentleman's wager that it doesn't do that if the mileage is as stated. Shall we say a few more cd's vs. another one of your fruitcakes? :)

    7. oops! Im a dope.... 197K... sorry ... dyslexic fool that I am misstated... You should be confused!

    8. Perhaps thats why its gotten this far? shear denial...


      Okay, there's the address for the tagging thing. I have no hop info or anything, so I imagine it will probably just sit there. lol

      Perhaps you shouldn't talk about how old it is and how many miles it has. It might hear you and apply for early retirement. lol Many Thanks!

  4. I live in a rural area. The hour drive to my parent's town takes me through huge farms that grow soybeans and wheat, mostly. Some corn. Occasional milo. I love those big combines and never mind slowing for them (besides, who wants to run into a half a million dollar vehicle, especially one that would cause your car to crumple?).

    Fast food drive-thrus stress me out. There's so much stuff on the menu board, and it's written with such small print, how am I supposed to know what to order? And the second you pull onto the pad, the loudspeaker is screaming for your order. I DON'T KNOW! I DON'T KNOW! I stick with Sonic.

    1. Dyanne, I happy you dropped in! I grew up in "Corn" country ... rural Indiana. I can't tell you the number of times I've been late somewhere because a tractor / combine / etc. refused to move over and let the line of traffic behind it pass by. The state finally passed a law stating they had to if a certain number of cars were behind it. I don't think some farmers care much, or simply may not know how to count! lol

      I'm so with you on the instantaneous drive up demands. There are times you want to say, "I can't hear you, could you speak louder" just to get a few more seconds to peruse the menu. lol I'd gotten to the point of just going inside and ordering it to go, but now, with a convertible, that means pulling up the top, locking it in place, and then reversing it when I come out. Such a hassle. So, what I do now it take a gander at the fast food restaurant menus on the web from time to time so I know what I want before ever stopping in! lol

      Many Thanks!

    2. Ohmygosh, I go inside to avoid the pain in the ass drive thru experience, too. Except when you're inside, you realize 99% of all effort is directed towards getting the cars through the drive thru and you wait and wait and wait....

    3. You're so right! It's amazing that they have two people gathering orders up for the drive thru, another one assigned to taking the orders at the back window, and another one collecting the cash and handing out the orders at the front window. Lo and Behold, you find yourself waiting in line for the one counter help to finally get to you. It does, however, give one time to read the menu, though! lol Many Thanks!

  5. I drive a lot for my job and I have encountered all of the drivers you describe. Every single one of them.

    1. Vanessa, thanks for stopping in and commenting today!

      They are all out there, for sure. I stayed away from the "texters", "phone talkers", "dinner eaters", and a few others simply because I've mentioned them before. It can drive one crazy at times. Many Thanks!

  6. Heh - we're a coven, eh? That's pretty cool.
    Ah, drivers. The number one reason I hate driving.
    BB that is a sad loss.

    1. Lisa, thanks for flying in! :) Yeah, I figured you all would like "coven" as a descriptive term. It's filled with enlightening images and magical powers. Besides, it sounded better than a bunch of ... well, anyway, coven works better. lol

      I love driving. I just hate the idiots that are out there that distinguish their lack of intelligence by exhibiting some of the traits I described. There's times one wishes they had a rocket launcher installed in the front of their car so they could blow them up and out of their, and mine, misery. :)

      B.B. ... yeah, I'm gonna miss him. Yet, it happens to all of us sooner or later. I always thought I'd be dead before I was forty (actually, I died the first time at age 23 , but that's another story). lol Many Thanks!

  7. Kind of hard on your wife, Rich. Or is she your ex-wife? I live in NJ, so that says a lot about road rage, the finger and other necessary driving manipulations. I'm glad you are back in the TTOT. That little car is adorbs.

    1. Val, really glad you could come by! My wife and I will be celebrating our 35th anniversary this year. She's a wonderful lady, even if she is lacking in certain areas. (We all have our faults. She just exhibits them more than most.) She knows that if I'm not picking on her or being sarcastic that I'm very ill, so she's used to it by now.

      I drove quite a bit in Jersey, the Freehold and Kendall Park areas, years ago. I'm with you on the finger exercises there, for sure. :)

      Thanks for the compliment on the car. It's my baby, but the wife has driven it once or twice and loves it too! Many thanks!

  8. Sorry to hear the past month has been full of difficulties. Hope most things have been worked out and the next month is easier for all of you.
    I am about to unleash a new driver into the world. I hope he doesn't do all of these annoying things.

    1. Christine, so nice of you to drop by and say "Hi!" It's really just been the last week that's been a nightmare. Still, it's all just part of life. We either handle it or we give up, and I've never been one to quit. I appreciate your understanding and well wishes, though.

      I've got a feeling your new driver will do just fine. He comes from parents that exhibit common sense, so I'm sure it's rubbed off on him. Good Luck! :)

      Many Thanks!

  9. Pinch me in my *eyes goggle* hehehehe!

    How does one 'sustain' a minor heart problem? Is it fixable? Are you okay? Bro...? *sigh* Be careful with that ticker of yours, and try to keep it going. I'm hoping you'll be here for the 200th and 300th and (will keep running with this but you get my drift).

    Asshole drivers are a pain. I had several to deal with yesterday and it STRESSED ME OUT! I sometimes think they build fancy new cars WITHOUT indicator sticks...

    1. Hey, Sis! "Eyes Goggle?" That leaves so many things to the imagination that I'm not even going to begin. lol

      Turns out I had a minor heart attack while sleeping last Friday night. I awoke Saturday feeling really weak and as though I'd been beaten from my chest to between my shoulder blades. After a few hours at work I left feeling worse. Later, when the pain didn't lighten up, I went and had an EKG run. That was when it was discovered. I really don't know how much longer I've got, nor do I really care. I'm satisfied with what I've achieved and experienced in life to this point and any extra time is just more opportunity to get an adrenalin rush doing something that might kill me anyway. lol I've lived for almost eight years with only 65% of a heart, so I've pretty much acknowledged I won't be around for many more. I just take it one day at a time. I told my wife the other day it was my goal to live for decades, simply to keep her from being able to enjoy the insurance money she'd receive. I could tell I disappointed her. lol

      I'm beginning to wonder why they install any safety devices in cars at all. They need to be installed on cell phones instead. If they were, you'd see a drastic increase in usage!

      Thanks for dropping by, Sis, and again, congrats on "100", or should I say the next "100"?

  10. Apart from the fact that I drive a minivan instead of that fabulous sports car, it is like I could have written this post myself. Especially people who cannot merge in an orderly, take-your-turn fashion. Burns me every time.

    1. May, thank you so much for coming by my humble abode and commenting. It means a lot!

      I used to drive a Honda Ridgeline truck. When I did, I would straddle the center line to keep idiots from trying to get ahead of all those that were patiently waiting. It worked for the most part. I really didn't care if I ticked them off as I knew they cared nothing about jumping ahead of me. Tit for tat as one might say. lol

      Many Thanks!

  11. how giant a figure in the blues music genre was he?… I'll tell you!

    (Well, actually all I'll do is cite some impeccable sources), Riley invented the vibrato!!

    No, not the concept of vibrato, the application (of vibrato) to guitar, specifically electric guitar. (Previously the blues guitar guys were all Django…jazz chords and lead runs that sounded like a neat and orderly progression (I'm thinking, like TBone Walker).

    Anyway… the vibrato, so essential to this music, was (one of) his contributions. Damn! it's like saying, 'yeah, there's the guy who invented faucets'.

    On the negative side, (yes, I'll continue to name drop shamelessly), the Beale Street Blues Boy is guilty of encouraging a generation of marginally talented high school misfits to believe they could learn to play electric guitar. ("hey! this guy doesn't play any chords! I can hear nearly every note…how hard can it be?")

    there's an old saying, 'the true measure of genius is, once it expresses itself, everyone thinks it was there all along'.

    Good Ts, Rich and good to see you.

    (hey, if you want to learn the ultimate road rage tactic, let me know….be glad to share it, provided you sign the waiver, absolving me of any responsibility from the outcome!)

    1. Clark, thanks so much for coming by!

      To me, B.B. was second generation blues. You had the John Handy's, the T-Bone Walkers, and all the others that started the genre. Then, Muddy Waters, B.B., John Lee Hooker, James Cotton and many more took it to new heights. Today, we have Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa, and a host of others taking it new directions (sometimes losing the blues entirely). B.B., Etta James, and others who have left us are already being missed. Thank God their recordings will still be around to inspire.

      I used to really get road rage bad. In fact, I once reached for a pistol in anger. I looked at it in my hand, realized how damn dumb I was acting, and stopped carrying it with me, as well as calming down. I think I get more pissed over the stupidity being displayed than anything else. lol

      Many Thanks!

  12. Sorry you've been having a hard time . . . the new car is nice but please be careful! :-) On the fast food menus--I can't read them anymore. The print is too small and I always have to ask for prices if I don't have a sharp-eyed youngster along.

    1. Leslie, I appreciate you stopping by!

      I'm not quite as crazy a driver as it may sound. Most of my time is spent watching out for the idiots driving around me. lol I will be careful, though.

      I agree with you on the menus. It's almost like they're attempting to make the prices so small you'll order regardless. I've got to the point of looking at the window posters as I drive in and if there's nothing that catches my attention driving right back out tonight. (My wife got irritated at me for doing that tonight at Zaxby's. lol) Many Thanks!

  13. Bloody hell what a week, have to say road work can be so frustrating I hate the delays, but also know that the work needs to be done, but can't they wait till I don't need to drive on the road to do

    1. Hey,Jo-Anne, good to see you!

      I've had better weeks, but such is life. We have to take the good with the bad. It's just been a little more than normal to deal with probably because of the heart incident.

      Construction is a pain, but there's better ways of doing it than they usually utilize. Instead of working and completing a section at a time, they seem to do a spot here and then another ten miles ahead and another seven miles after that, slowing you down three times instead of one. There's really no logic to it, nor the way some people drive through it. Still, the alternate routes are filled with tractors, so you can't win. lol Many Thanks!