Saturday, November 30, 2019

It's Late, It's Late

I keep hearing we have  a late Christmas this year. I really wonder how that can be since Christmas always comes on December 25th. It's the same every year.  So, since it never changes, how can it be late?

Perhaps the confused members of the news media mean the shopping season is late, since Thanksgiving is fairly late compared to Christmas.  But is that really true?  Are shoppers mindless automatons unable to make their purchasing decisions until and only when Thanksgiving has passed. The same mindless automatons bombarded with Christmas imaging since before Halloween at many stores?

Me thinks perhaps the consumer is not quite the fool the retailers make him out to be.  People scan the universe looking for the best deals. Just two days ago at Target a man used some AP to scan the TV he was interested in. He looked at his phone and headed for the nearest exit, apparently in search of a better value somewhere else.  Maybe it's the retailers trying to fool everyone who are wrong and not the consumer.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Black Friday

I was in a large chain store that was not Walmart two days ago.  Some customers noted employees were stocking shelves.  "Wonder what they'll have for Black Friday?"

Well, I sure as hell don't know. I don't go near stores on Black Friday as I really do not like crowds. I question the deals are really all that wonderful, although I guess they have a few things to get people in the door.  Of course my family is somewhat impervious to holiday shopping as we don't exchange gifts. We quit doing that a  long time ago--everyone just loved it.  No ugly sweaters or coats that don't fit, no more books you'd never read,  I'll get nothing for Christmas and am delighted with that. Back when our family exchanged gifts no one liked what they got, ergo our delight at not getting anything.

However, for the benefit of the shoppers who do feel the need to give gifts, may I suggest staying home on Black Friday and buying nothing.  The stores will panic and they'll have even better deals in a few days.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Be Safe

They say there are more residential fires on Thanksgiving than any other day.  So, while I'm eating a superbly cooked turkey that I've prepared, be safe out there and try not to burn down your house or poison your dog.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Movies

Is the new Star Wars movie going to be as bad as the last one? Probably.  I doubt I'll even go see it.

The trailers for the new Christmas movies really struck me as extra awful.  Best stay home and sleep or play with your dog, me thinks.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Bums

One of the bad things about living in Tucson is the never ending supply of panhandling vagrants. They are literally everywhere.  In fact, there's a strip mall that has vacant retail space because no one wants to rent there because the panhandlers are so thick.  Of course these strip malls could hire security guards to try and contain the problem, but that would cost money and these places seem unwilling to do anything like that.  So the problem persists. 

People actually giving these bums money just make the problem worse. They're what sociologists call enablers, although they surely see themselves as the good guys.  To put it more bluntly, if they weren't taking in money, they wouldn't be out there panhandling.  

And what should out political leaders do about the problem.  They could make the panhandlers liable for the cost of cleaning their blood off cars if they're run down.  I got some Mexican money once, it was worth about a dollar but looked like a lot in pesos. the peso has risen since then and at about fifty cents, this wouldn't work.  I'm sure there's some foreign money that's worthless one could give them. And I once said I haven't got any money but you want a bottle of apple juice. Well, the apple juice was actually urine.  I felt bad about that and never did that again.  Maybe writing them a check on a closed bank account might be interesting.

A vexing problem, isn't it?  The best solution is don't play. if people would stop giving them money the problem would go away.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Turkeys cometh

Well, we're almost once again on Thanksgiving.  And I once again remind folks my turkeys are amazingly good.  Keep that goo out of the bird and you'll have a better tasting bird and one that won't expose you to salmonella as the hot air flow through a hollow interior cooks your bird differently  and better than if you plug it up with that damned stuffing.  Most of the stuffing never gets very hot and can harbor salmonella  which can make you sick. Leave the turkey interior open. If you must have stuffing, buy a package of Stovetop stuffing. It's put out by the folks at Kraft/Heinz and it's really good. 

I cook over a grill with mesquite. You need to watch your heat if using charcoal. A gas grill does a fair job and you can use get a bag of wood chips for a nice natural smoke flavoring.


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Sick season

I note here in Arizona really high numbers of flu cases for this early in the season.  Don't know why. Most folks don't know about some of the influenza outbreaks of the early 1900s.  The so-called Spanish Flu hit in 1911 and killed millions of people. San Francisco was especially hard hit. I've seen stacks of hastily built coffins  that were piled high as no one had time to bury any of them because people were dying so fast.  Flu is not as virulent now.  And we have effective vaccines that weren't available back then.  Official records say 556 people died in the US last year from the flu.  I still get my flu shot.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Buying local

I've been on a buying local kick. I used to just go online and order from a certain large company. Then I decided the local businesses that provide local jobs and pay the local taxes that fix the roads could use my support.  So I've been trying to buy more stuff local.  It's not always easy. The local bookstore is nice.  Yep, we actually have books here in Tucson. There's even talk we may get indoor plumbing soon.  And I bought a nice book from the store.  It was a humor book. I thought I needed a laugh.

Alas, one thing they don't have is weird western books. Books like Straight Outta Deadwood, they ain't got. Oh, wait. They do carry one of my weird western anthologies. Gotta love local stores like the nice folks at Antigone Books on 4th street in Tucson.  Not only do they sell one of my books, they even have indoor bathrooms--no outhouses for this classy joint.  I wish all the snowbirds in town, and there seem to be more this year, would go by there and buy stuff from them.  They've got catchy greeting cards, too.  I read somewhere that half of the books sold are sold during November and December. If not them, then your favorite local bookstore. Time's a wasting. Buy some stuff.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cold and rainy

Today is the sort of day that do not put on postcards for sunny Arizona. It's cold and rainy. The rainy part is a good thing as our plant friends really need the rain.  I'm not really cold, but a lot of the locals are.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Green People

Would we really care all that much if little green men showed up and they weren't trying to probe or abduct us?  That's the premise in Tales From Dry Gulch, an anthology about a town where the saloon's piano player is from an alien planet.  If you came in off the trail and asked "Why is this fellow green?" you'd be told because he's an alien from another planet.  Then you'd reply: Does he take requests?

Of course he takes requests. The folks at Dry Gulch are friendly. 


It's just not the way that relationship is supposed to work in most stories.  Oh, he's green because he's from another planet.  And he plays the piano. I'll have a glass of your local malt and maybe he can play something.

Of course the Martians in my novella Fallen Angel are not at all nice. They view humans more as food.  Mabel Sanders is the only one who can communicate with them, so she's pressed into interpretation duty first by the Sioux and then by the United States Army.  She can communicate with them as, being an angel, she speaks all languages.  So, these green guys, you don't want to hang out.

I really like stories about little green men in flying saucers.  These are but two of them you can order or download right now.  See what you've been missing.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Wasteful

I read where UPS expects around 2 million return packages on January 2nd alone as people return all the crap they shouldn't have bought in the first place. This seems very wasteful to me.

My solutions to the problem:
Don't give clothing.  I always hated clothing gifts.  They were the wrong color, or the wrong size or something wool [I really hate wool and won't wear it].

If it's stupid, well it's stupid.  Remember Pet Rocks?  At least they didn't cost much.
Give something a person actually has a use for.

If the person can read and write, books are still good gifts.  I have three recent books to stuff that stocking: Tales From Dry Gulch, Fallen Angel and Legends of the Dragon Cowboys.  They're good books, especially Legend of the Dragon Cowboys.  I have another book, a science fiction novel called Bonded Agent, but male readers don't like it although female readers do.

Just don't give a gift at all.  My family stopped exchanging gifts years ago and we all loved it [except for the dog, who seemed to still want a present under the Xmas tree].


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Driving along

When I lived in Colorado I used to marvel at how  often cars driven by senior citizens drove into 7-Elevens.  Well, there aren't very many 7-Elevens in the Tucson area.  Lacking a 7-Eleven, some lady drove into my neighbor's house yesterday.  The fire rescue people carted her away to the hospital and the sheriff's department was tasked with figuring out what to do with it. Do they charge her with something? Can they take away her driver license?   I don't really know.  At least no innocent bystander was hurt.

Having an elderly parent myself who is still on the road, I do still worry that dad will be on the evening news some day.  I don't know what caused the lady to have her episode. Sometimes it's medical, other times they just get confused and think the gas petal is the brake.  I may never know. It's a sad situation that's a bit too frequent.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Animals

Last night the coyotes were howling.  I don't speak Coyote, so I don't know what it was about.  I also noted that our family of quail in the neighborhood are gone.  We also have a hawk that likes our neighborhood.  I call the hawk, Henry.  My dilemma is I don't know if the demise of the quail is due to the hawk or the coyotes.  Mt impression is both are quite happy with a quail dinner.

Now, what difference does it make?  None, really. It's just the sort of thing I spend my time wondering about.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Holiday Greetings

One of the many peculiarities of the Holiday season is the Christmas Card.  Folks send far less than they once did, but this oddity still exists.  Some years ago I found a set of old fashioned postcards. Since postcards don't need envelopes and have less postage costs than regular Christmas cards, I thought this concept was awesome.  I have not seen this sort of thing in years and am surprised it never really caught on.  I'd buy some if I could find some, but that seems unlikely.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Pluto, make up your mind.

Apparently Pluto is now a planet again. At least the guy in charge of NASA seems to think so. Citing its many planet features like a moon and stuff.  Supposedly it's thermal activity and atmosphere mean they should change it back from Dwarf Something.



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Shopping Bliss

Beyond yesterday's mention of getting kicked out of restaurants, I note I used to get kicked out of supermarkets.  For instance, some old hag kept running her shopping cart into me at a Kroger [King Super] back in Colorado.  I told her to get away from me and she immediately returned with a manager and I was removed and banned.  For a while there, this played similarly. At a Safeway this [another] old hag cut in front of me in line.  I told her she was dead if she didn't get in her place and the manager and police swooped over and not only made me leave but trespassed me as well.

Then, I stopped getting kicked out of stores when I moved to Arizona.  And now I get kicked out of restaurants.  The last one, I don't know why--perhaps mistaken identity.  The one last month, the hostess told me to sit anywhere. I sat at a table by the window [lunch time hardly anyone in restaurant].  "You can't sit there.  Go over there to crappy tables." And I replied "You said sit anywhere."  And she said, "You get out. We don't want your kind here."

It's not easy being me.

Way back in the good old days, the Irish were treated that way, tossed out of restaurants and barred from hotels.  My character, Miles O'Malley,  In The Devil's Due discovers his horse is more welcome at a lodging place than he is.

Well, alas, I don't seem as welcome as Miles lately.  And no, I have no idea what "your kind" implied.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Dining Adventure

Got kicked out of another restaurant here in Tucson. This one was a Chinese restaurant.  "You can't sit there."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Adventures in Holiday Shopping

This is the time when people start going into holiday mode. I was told yesterday at Costco that Christmas is late this yes. I replied, it's always  on December 25th.  What they mean is Thanksgiving is late this year. Christmas is always the same.  It's a retail myth people don't start shopping until after Thanksgiving.  I've already done my shopping--ha-ha, my family does not exchange Christmas presents ha ha take that retail world..I ain't buying nothing this holiday season. We may do a few Christmas cards but we stopped exchanging gifts many years ago and just loved it.  No returning a hideous sweater in my family because we don't get any presents to return.

what, no holiday cookies?


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Random Thoughts on Space

International Space Station is getting an oven to make cookies.

Other things they need:

A Christmas Tree, maybe one of those pink aluminum ones

A dog, name him Hasbro after the Jetsons. He’d be Hasbro the Space dog.

They need a machine to can and process poop, then they could sell it in the NASA gift shop as “Astronaut Poop.”

They should have a picture of Moscow Mitch in the Russian Section of the space station.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hmmm

Interesting off year election as I sipped a beverage from my official Moscow Mitch Mug.  City of Tucson had an election, but I live in the county and we had nothing going on out our way.

He sold us out to the Russians, He's Moscow Mitch.  Rootin tootinest crookedest Senator there ever was. He's Moscow Mitch.  Ketchup and Caviar on a bun--that's the Moscow Mitch sandwich. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Trash Talk

Well, it is once again trash day. Every Wednesday the garbage truck comes and hauls away my garbage.  They empty my can and head off to do my neighbors.  It's a glorious thing.  Alas, at times, I do worry that the trash people could cross over to the forces of evil.  Imagine if you could, dumping the entire contents of a garbage truck on someone's pool--you'd give up swimming.  or dumping a truck load on a freeway. That would make the commute more fun.  But, instead we have efficient removal of our refuse by dedicated solid waste professionals. 


disappointing holiday crap

Well, the movie trailers are dismal, now I've seen the postage stamps.  Disappointing is an understatement. They are pathetic. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fishing

Here in Tucson the local parks are stocked with fish during the cooler winter months [in the pond, of course].  Of course, no one believes my fish theory. I content ;here it comes,. that fish may in fact know full well what a fishing line does and they don't care. Meaning, you're not fooling them at all. They bite the hook because they're trying to commit suicide and there is no such thing as angler skill. 


Snowbirds

One of the peculiarities of places like Arizona is the snowbird.  They start showing up in November, most arriving by Thanksgiving, then they are around until March or April, then they all go back to whatever godforsaken wasteland they came from.  All because they don't like the winter weather back home.  Meanwhile, the local stores are crowded, as are the restaurants and the traffic goes from bad to unbearable.  You see, I am a year around resident of Tucson, Arizona. I love it here in the summer because the snowbirds are gone and the college kids are gone and it's not a bad place to live when everyone is gone.

Alas, we're just getting started. The snowbirds are flocking in like columns of geese. It happens every year and every year I complain about it.