Author Archives: guypagano

About guypagano

Author, writer

Please do not…

Annoy, torment, aggravate, agitate, besiege, discombobulate, disturb, distract, disrupt, pester, plague, molest, worry, badger, harry, harass, heckle, persecute, irk, bullyrag, vex, disquiet, grate, beset, bother, tease, nettle, tantalize, perturb, unsettle, upset or ruffle the animals

Fark you, Birdwell!

 

Hey Bird, get me stick…
…and another beer.

You see, I am the animal pesterer. The animal irkster. I like to grate, beset and bother the animals. Always have. Not sure why, just do. Vexation and badering are my trademarks, just ask any dog that has been unfortunate enough to live next door or any squirrle that has helped itself to my birdfeeder.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

Or my dog, or cat, for that matter. Just because they fall under the general rules of protection in my house doesn’t mean they don’t get bothered, disquieted or worried, occassionally. It all depends on my general mood and blood alcohol level.

 

 

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

I was eating a bowl of chili one evening and noticed the dog across the room in his standard pose – that being prostrate on the floor and motionless, except for his eyes, which always seem to look at me with a mix of distain and worry. Feeling uncharacteristically generous, I flicked a red kidney bean at him. It landed right by his nose. He knew it was there, but like my presence, he gave it no more attention than a nostril flare.

Ungrateful hound. So I flicked a few more at him, all landing in his fur. Neither he, nor the beans moved until I pointed it out my daughter. I’ve never owned a hound like this, one that would eschew easy food in exchange for not having to exert any additional energy in the eating of such.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

Badger, harry, harass or heckle?
The cat, after 7 years, knows that turning his back on me is just not the best idea. Never can tell when a spit ball might come flying out of a sippy straw, or a Nerf projectile (or two, three, four or five) might be launched in his general direction. (I’m so glad my wife purchased that Nerf launcher for my daughter. Now that I think about it, Sweetpea tends to hide it on me and I haven’t seen it lately).

Now, let’s be clear here. I don’t hurt the animals. I just persecute, bullyrag, tease and nettle them. The ears are likely targets, especially if they stick up from the target animal’s head, exposing the inner ear. It must be the same impulse that causes one to give someone else a ‘wet willie’.

Pester, plague, molest? Well, if I can get away with it, sure.

After a lifetime of such behavior, I generally know when enough is enough. I still have all ten fingers intact. But I have a keen sense for when it is time to move onto some other form of entertainment. It usually is not when the animal is ruffled or tantalized.

I cornered a large water snake in some rocks alonside the lake. It chose the wrong crevice to hide in becasue there wasn’t anywhere to escape to. I probed the crevice with stick, trying to sprun the snake into evasive action, but its chosen defense was to emit a horrible, musky stench. I bailed.

Once, I threw a dried kernal of corn into the nostril of a bison. If you’ve never seen a bison nostil up close, let me assure you, it was not that difficult. I could clearly see the corn kernel sitting in the low area of the bison’s nostil, until it inhaled and sucked it up. To this day I am still uncertain if it was aspirated into it’s lungs, or shot back out on exhale. I believe the latter, as the bison became somewhat annoyed and head-butted the fence hard enough to shudder the supports. Talk about beset, bothered and bullyragged. I moved on to other, smaller game that weren’t capable of trampling me.

 

Fark you, Birdwell!

But don’t think that size alone will deter me. I once swatted a full grown milk cow in the head with my bow when a herd of them had gathered around me whilst I was bow hunting for deer. At first I didn’t mind, they provided good cover as they lay there, belching and chewing their cud (a most disgusting and unnerving sound to the uninitated). The problem began after they satisfied their gutteral needs. They seemed to grow restless and began bumping into me, rubbing their head on the end of my bow and stepping on my feet. If you haven’t had a cow step on your foot a couple of times, let me assure you, heavy boots don’t do much to mitigate the discomfort.

I wasn’t sure what I could do – a two-legged human of around 175 lbs – against a large, 4 legged ungulate ringing in around a half ton or so. I pushed back, stepped on a few hoofs and back-handed one square on the snout (ker-whap!). They thought I was playing and became even more rambunctious. One cow in particular seemed quite fond of me. I could tell because she proceeded to cover my lower half with cow slobber and bovine snot. That was when I drew the line and cracked her in the skull with the bow. It got everyone’s attention and they stampeded off across the field. Cow stampedes are also very unnerving to be in the middle of.

Is there a problem, Birdwell?

 

Also, know this: A moose is a large animal. If you’ve never seen one up close, let me tell you. Large. Even so, they don’t like being shot with the slingshot. (now that I think about it, neither does anything else…). And just because you are driving alongside one in a Jeep Cherokee whilst poinking marbles off of their ribs doesn’t mean that you are protected. Because, as my good friend Chris pointed out, they can easily turn, attack and roll the vehicle. And that would not be a good thing deep in the Maine wilderness, 10 miles from the nearest paved road and another 4 from camp.

I advise you to stop your shenanigans, Birdwell.


What a Douche_bag…

Do you realize how vulgar that is?

The above title and subtitle were taken from a dialog between my wife and I, a few years back. I was admonishing someone who had wronged me (pro’ly while driving) and wifey responded. I still repeat both phrases to myself, at random times. It always give me a chuckle.

The term ‘Douche_bag’ is about as New Jersey as a taylor ham and egg sandwich.

Here in the NJ/NY Metropolitan area we are not known for our patience or politeness. Not by a long shot. Nor will we ever score high on our defensive driving skills or our ability to give others the benefit of a doubt.

No. Offense and blind accusations are the norm in these parts.

There are a lot of people who fit the loose definition of a douche_bag around here.

A lot.

I say ‘loose’ because we are not talking about a feminine hygene product here, we’re talking about people’s behavior and as such any number of words, deeds, looks, glances, real or imagined slights; questionable driving, parking or other motor vehicle skils; general disposition and/or impatience can get you slapped with the ‘douche_bag’ tag.

I recall hanging out with some friends from the South and describing someone from my past as a ‘douche_bag’.

A marked silence fell about the room.
“Really?” Drawled one of guests. “You mean they looked like one, or they clean feminine…”
“Wait a sec, dude.” I interrupted. “I don’t know what one looks like, nor am I broaching the subject of cleanliness ‘down under’ as it were. I’m simply stating how this person was acting.”
“So he was squishy, spurting warm water and smell…”
“Stop. I beg of you. I think we’re experiencing some kind of a disconnect here. Maybe it’s a Mason-Dixon dialect issue or perhaps the term ‘douche_bag has fallen out of the vernacular.”

“It’s a Jersey thing.” My friend, who relocated from up here to down there, explained, much to the relief of everyone. “He means ‘an impolite, self-centered, rude asshole.”

“Ohhhh…” Serveral others exclaimed. “Now I get it.”

I wasn’t so sure. But what I did understand was that folks down South tend to use much kinder words to describe their antagonists than we here in the Tri-state area. Then again, they might not have the same density of douche_bags per square mile as we do.

#douche_bag (Say it out loud, like this: ‘hashtag douche bag’).

The underscore?
Funny you should ask.
I was partaking in a week-long computer class with a friend of mine. At the time we threw the term ‘douche bag’ around quite freely, as mates ’round these parts tend to do.

The instructor was emphasing, at length, the fact that the underscore character ( _ ) was (and still is) an acceptable character to use in your password.
“Butter_dish, coffee_cup, drive_way…” He illustrated needlessly, including the word ‘underscore’ in his lesson.
I looked at my friend and said, (once again in my life, louder than was appropriate), “Douche_bag.”
It actually brought the class to a halt. Not only was the instructor looking at me, but a good deal of my classmates were, as well.
“What?” Said I, not sure if I had violated the rules of politeness (there were only guys in the room). “He’s my friend.”
“Do you always talk to your friend like that?” Someone queried.
“Yeah.” Both my friend and I replied at the same time. “Don’t you?”

And ever since that day, when I key, type or otherwise spell ‘douche_bag’ I insert the underscore character. It’s sort of a tip of the hat, if you will, to that friend and that time.

Again, typical Jersey guy stuff.

Your atypical douche_bag has a lot in common with your garden variety asshole in that they are only concerned with themselves. But I think a douche_bag is more narcissistic than an asshole. (or maybe it’s the other way around?)

Douche_bags are somewhat blind to others, they can only see as far as their own needs. Assholes know what they’re doing and do it anyway. Douche_bags can’t see beyond their own immediate selves. Assholes do things out of malice.

#asshole

Neither tag is desireable, to say the least, but we have all worn the hat (asshat). Wrongly accussed or not, people throw both terms around quite freely. So you shouldn’t be too greatly offended when one or the other is hurled at you, although that is easier said than done. No one likes to be called either.

There is, however, a certain solace in calling someone else a douche_bag. Not much, but enough to take the edge off of whatever offense you have suffered. Just slightly.

I have also noticed that when I call someone else a douche_bag. I say it with a noted measure of disgust in my tone, which must harken back to the feminie hygene reference.

How vulgar, indeed.


Whadayamean, whadayamean?

Say it fast, it sounds funny.

Broken down this is a quintessentially Jersey response to someone asking “What do you mean?” (phonetically – Whadayamean?). It is the natural reply someone would give when they don’t quite understand what is being told to them.

To which you, or the person being queried responds, in exasperation, ‘Whaddayamean, ‘whaddaymean?’?!
Because you (or the person doing the explaining) can’t, at that moment, understand why there is a lack understanding on the receiving end (neccessitating yet another explaination).

It is a result of not understanding why the other person doesn’t understand or why they are asking (perhaps in exasperation themselves) ‘whaddaymean?’ Because you, yourself, don’t understand their lack of understanding.

It’s all very clear.

(follow the punctuation, folks. It is very telling).

Person1: Then, if you see the light on the VPN connector is still lit and connected, disconnect it.
Person2: Whaddaymean?
Person1: Whaddaymean, ‘whaddayamean?’?! If the connector is connected, disconnect it. Simple as that.
Person2: Oh. Got it.


Hot enough for ya?

They even look like little diablos…

 

News item: Man hospitalized after eating the world’s hottest pepper.

According to an article I read on Cnn.com – a 34-year-old man experienced a series of intense headaches and dry heaving after eating a Carolina Reaper, reportedly the hottest pepper in the world. the man developed excruciating pain in his head and neck, prompting him to go to an emergency room, according to an article published Monday in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The word ‘reaper’ is in the very name of the damn thing. Did he actually expect a satisfying culinary experience?

What, exactly, would prompt a person to eat something toted as ‘the world’s hottest…anything’? I used to like hot peppers, but I would stop at a cherry pepper or jalapeno. No sense going any further. I used to like Tabasco sauce, too. But you wouldn’t catch me near a bottle of Zydeco Molten Lava Insanity sauce. Who needs that kind of discomfort? What are you trying to achieve?

the ol’ man likes to grow hot peppers. I recall this one crop – they were dark purple, like miniature eggplants. They stuck out at odd angles from their stems. Right there I knew they were dangerous, but how bad could they be, really? I plucked one and cut the very tip off with my pocket knife. I touched the cut end to the tip of my tongue, {{ding}}, just for a split second. The heat (I would say it was more like ‘burning sensation’) began in about 2 seconds, steadily spread across my tongue, throughout my mouth and down my throat. I developed a headache. I drank copies amounts of beer to wash out the toxin (wait, that might have been before the pepper…) and I never did it again.

When it comes to hot peppers, there are some clues to foretell danger. Smooth skin and rich coloring will usually signal heat. But folds, crevasses and odd colors indicate danger. the Carolina Reaper, when fully ripe is a wrinkly and shriveled looking pepper that glows a satanic red and sports a pointy tail. Surely it is cringing under its own Scovilles. Who needs a crystal ball to portend the qualities of something like that?

Furthermore, who is cross breeding these things and developing new species, the demonic Monsanto Corporation? Ironically, no. It is the PuckerButt Pepper Company (no shit).

And remember: If it burns that much on the way in, it sure as hell is going to burn on the way out.

How are you going to quench that heat?

Fire hiney!


The Russians did what?

Virst, push rock. Then I vill crack you vith my Swiffer!

The Russian curling team was charged with doping. This sounded so bizarre to me that I had to do some research.

And comment, of course.

Russians at the Olympics and cheating go together like mac and cheese. Like politicians and lying. We all know the Russians cheat. They’ve been doing it for years. We don’t even question it any longer, it’s a given. Did the Russians’ cheat this year? Does a bear crap in the woods?

Commrade Svishchev (the head cheese of Russky curling) said it was possible that an athlete’s food or drink had been spiked with meldonium and suggested that rival Russian athletes or Russia’s political enemies could be responsible.

What are you trying to say, exactly? That the Russian figure skating team was jealous of the curling team and slipped them a mickey when they weren’t looking?

Yeah, we’re not buying it.

I don’t wish to offend anyone, least of all the American Curling teams (Congratulations!), but I just don’t think this needs to be an Olympic sport. I will say that, unlike the many versions of figure skating I have to suffer through, I do like that that this game is judged on a point basis, as opposed to the opinions of several judges from other countries that may, or may not, like us.

But the notion of a curler having to ‘bulk up’ is a tough sell. Seems to me that the curling folks are the only Olympic team that can excel at their chosen sport while still sporting a beer gut. (and that right there might be reason enough for me to try out).

The Russian coach tried to defend his team by saying that pushing the polished rock over the slick ice and sweeping the slick ice with the Swiffer are actually hard work. By training hard and working out it is somehow made easier.

And I bet wearing those sneakers is difficult, as well.

I have done a lot of sweeping in my time – floors, decks, driveways, patios – and, although not my favorite chore, I certainly have not much more than worked up light sweat. And then only on a hot summer day.

So, again, no sale.

Is winning a medal at the Olympics really so important to a country that they need to resort to illegal tactics to get an unfair advantage? If the answer is yes, then put more time into training your people. The games are about fair play and sportsmanship. No one cares about you flaunting the size of your rocks…or your Swiffer.


The Bee Zoofer

Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

The yellow zap icon indicates where the entrance to the hive is

 

And what a mother it can be.

I try to keep the compound safe for myself and others. I am watchful for hazards and remediate them as quickly as possible. I was sizing up this big arborvitae that needed some trimming when I noticed a yellow-jacket hive beneath the lower branches.

As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, (Bumbles) I dislike flying, stinging insects. Judging by the location of the nest, I could easily see myself getting stung (perhaps multiple times) while mindlessly cutting the grass. Or worse, one of my children or grandchildren suffering the same.

Yikes. No bueno.

I began with standard eradication methods – soaking the entrance hole with a couple of gallons of water-based insecticide. After a few days I could see that wasn’t having the desired effect. Not enough bees were contacting the poison and the leaf litter was sponging up the deadly liquid before it reached the core of the nest.

How could I ambush (bushwhack) the little bastards on their entrance/exit without standing there all damn day?

Enter The Bee Zoofer. (patent pending).

The Bee Zoofer  is a shop vacuum set strategically at the entrance to the bee hive. As each individual bee either exits and tries to take flight, or hovers in for a landing, it gets caught in the suction and…zzz-ZZOOOF! gets sucked into the vacuum. Neat, clean and effortless. The captured bees are bounced around violently inside the vacuum drum, which I believe kills them quickly. To be sure, however, I leave the vacuum alone for a few days before emptying it out, just to be certain.

The most difficult part of deploying the Bee Zoofer is the proper placement of the business end. You need to place the nozzle right beside the entrance hole. That can be a touchy proposition with the rapid comings and goings of an active hive. Once in place, however, you just press the ‘ON’ button and walk away. Of course, it is entertaining enough to watch, for a little while.

Initially, I left the Bee Zoofer running for about 3 hours. Activity in and around the nest certainly slowed down, but the next day it was back to pre-Zoofer levels. I then ran the Zoofer for two sessions of 2 hours each (to allow the shop vac to cool down). Again, activity slowed to nill.

My aim was to reduce the population of bees until the hive could no longer support itself and collapse. Surely any bees that were left are coming back to an empty nest. I could picture their reaction –
‘Hey…WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYBODY??’

But that wasn’t the case. Either the hive was much larger than I thought, or bee reproduction was ramped up to meet demand. So I turned on the Bee Zoofer and procured a long pole and proceeded to poke at the nest from afar. This produced the desired effect of an attack, which also put many more bees into the suction flow. (Full disclosure – I got stung once, on my arm. Aparantly one of the little bastards avoided getting sucked in and went on a large, circular hunt that ended with me. That is what you get from farking with a bee hive).

 


The Gutter Zoofer

 

Once a year I turn my attention to cleaning out the gutters on the house. I usually do this by scooping up the old leaves, dead bugs, particulate matter the roof sloughed off and other crap with a gloved hand and bagging it. It takes much longer than I would like.

This year I set my mind to finding a better way. Somehow I managed to put two-and-two together and cast a thoughtful eye towards my trusty leaf blower. The leaf blower is by no means a one trick pony. It moves a lot of air with little to no effort. I have used it to flush varmints out of the drainage pipe, antogonize groundhogs in their holes and dry paint. I have also used it to get a hot fire going faster than you can say ‘what the fark is he going to do with that?’

At first, I blew out the gutters that were within my easy reach. However, there exists a second level that I have not ever cleaned out becuase it is above my head. There also does not exist a safe method for me to get up to the second story gutters around the house and as such, the accumulation of afore mentioned crap had built up to the point where grass was growing in the gutter.

When grass is growing in your gutters, mi amigos, it’s time to clean them out.

If you have ever purchased a new leaf blower you will notice that most come with a bag and attachments for SUCKING leaves up (as opposed to BLOWING them. As such, the leaf blower is a device that both sucks and blows). I have never used that feature, although I should look into it for some of those tight spots around the shrubs.

One of the attachments is a big curved tube, almost half of an oval. It reminds me of a large wind instument – tuba or saxaphone.

My initial thinking was that if it fit (somehow) for sucking, then maybe it will also fit on the business end for blowing.

Well, not exactly the fit I that I needed. Enter the purple duck tape. Now, before I have to listen to a whole chorus of caterwalling about the proper termination of DUCT vs. DUCK tape let me say this: DUCT tape is silver. It is made by one or two companies and has been around for a long time. DUCK tape comes in many, many colors and was born out of the mispronounciation of DUCT tape by the unenlightened. More on that at another time. This was purple DUCK tape and it did the job nicely – that being holding the black hunk of curved tubing onto the end of the leaf blower and thus turning it into –

The Gutter Zoofer (patent pending).

I clambered out onto the roof, fired up the engine and went to work.

The first thing that I noticed was that it worked well. The second thing I noticed (becasue I am very observant) was that it would have been good to outfit myself with goggles – and a face mask and a hat. The Gutter Zoofer moved a lot of crap, very efficiently, but it moved it ontop of me.

However, I had the gutters cleaned inside of 10 minutes and I didn’t have to perform any hight challenging theatrics or unsafe ladder tricks.

Good until next year.


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