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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.

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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.


Just leave snakes alone

 

Wasn’t this enough of a hint?

This Public Service Announcement is brought to you from an article on CNN.com (6/29/2017).

Up to 70% of reptile bites are provoked by the person bitten, based on cases seen by the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

That does not surprise me, nor any of the Bird Crew, I am sure. Each one of us has done our share of antagonizing reptiles (amphibians, mammals, birds, insects and just about anything else that can be found crawling, walking, flying or swimming in the northeastern US). I don’t know why, exactly, but it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Arizona has more, and more deadly species, for sure. But I have not seen very many animals unfortunate enough to cross the path of a gang of teenage boys escape unscathed.

“Most of them tend to be males under the age of 25 who have been drinking …

Holy shitake, stop the press! Under 25 and drinking?!

“…they’re out there messing around with snakes doing some dumb stuff,” said Goode. (Matthew Goode, a research scientist in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona)

 What I like best about this article is that, much like a well written poem or haiku, Mr. Goode was able to convey the entirety of his message with a minimum of well chosen words. Two properly constructed sentences, actually, that cover all of the ground most of us guys (and quite a few girls) know from experience.

Messing around with snakes is dumb, no argument there. But a snake basking on the side of a trail or swimming by when you are fishing is just asking for trouble. It’s not unlike waving a red flag at a bull. It prompts action.

And the addition of alcohol? That is just fanning the flames.

“Hey Birdwell! There’s a cot-danged rabble snake over here in the ditch. Grab me a stick…and another beer…”

That was in my younger years. These days I am much kinder and softer of heart to the local fauna. Just ask the 4-foot black snake that I uncovered while turning over the mulch pile with my pitch fork. I could have easily (and safely) skewered it, skinned it’s scaly hide and rendered it’s bones (for the collection). But I refrained.

Because I like rodents even less. And snakes eat rodents.

Like a lot of things in life, the hard lessons are the best lessons. I consider myself indeed fortunate to have all fingers and toes intact. It doesn’t matter much if the object of your scorn is lacking legs or not. If it has a head and teeth, watch the fark out.

 

 

 

 


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