Cameron Yount’s name popped up in this week’s drawing. The number was 1599. I’m not checking on eligibility anymore. I’ll do the checking after the chosen party claims they are eligible.

And now for the rant.

This week I started smoking. And I didn’t even have to buy a pack.

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Usually you can see for 30 or 40 miles from this vantage point. But today’s smoke that the Dept. of Ecology should be protecting us from has dropped visibility to a half-mile.

WA State residents theoretically should soon be receiving $4.5 million per man, woman and child in fiscal stimulus from our northern neighbors, via the Dept of Ecology. Unfortunate for us, they’ll probably drop the ball. When it suits them, they drop it. And when it suits them, they do their darnedest to do make life hard for some of us.

A friend of mine got a ticket a few months ago while cleaning his yard. He was burning a pieces of wood and some tumbleweeds just as an official from the Dept. of Ecology was driving south on Hwy 395 from Spokane to the Tri-Cities. This observant pseudo authority was scanning the horizon for smoke and violators and hit the jackpot, thanks to my friend Nate.

Nate got fined $2500 for his grave injustice to the ecosystem. In reality, Nate’s cleanup was bothering no one. The five-minute plume of smoke was gone before the ink was dry on the ticket. This story is absolutely true.

These non-producing blood suckers rub me the wrong way. It almost makes me want to return to the cowboy and Indian days. I can guarantee both the cowboys and the Indians wouldn’t put up with Ecology’s shenanigans. The first ticket written out for a smoke-signal infraction would be the last written out by that ecological wanna-be manipulator. In addition, he would no longer have need for a barber.

One of the biggest and baddest is the ever tightening death-grip Big Brother uses to choke farms, small business and anyone else who is trying to tiptoe around or through their maze of regulations.

Living here since 1957, I have seen many changes.

We have always burned fields, weeds, wood and other flammable stuff that needed to go. Nowadays, if you light up your sack of trash in a burn barrel, the dudes in Spokane are checking their satellite photos on an hourly basis and schedule immediate visits to the land owners of violating coordinates on their screen.

The next action that follows is the ordering of more deposit slips from the Dept of Ecology’s bank to deposit all the fines and penalties they have rolling in. It’s a little much, akin to taxing the tea on the boats in Boston Harbor in my mind.

A few years ago two ladies in Spokane bellyached until they got rules passed that shut down all grass seed stubble field burning that had been going on for generations in the state. Proliferation of insects and diseases now run amok while productive farming practices have been squelched and buried, thanks to these two vocal minorities.

Last year I burned some weeds around our potato storage and a few days later an Ecology official stopped by. He was very upset about the “Burn Scars” that were scattered on our private property. Burn scars? I’m going to see if I can find my dad’s old branding iron and show that guy what a real burn scar is.

A letter arrived soon after with the threat that if any more burning was detected by their agency, we would be fined $10,000 a day for each violation. These guys operate on fear and legalized plunder.

During this same visit, he saw a rusty barrel and excitedly walked over to inspect the prospective burn barrel and question us. He was licking his chops but was visibly disappointed when he learned that that was where we dumped the ashes from our wood stove in the shop.

Which brings me to the punch line. If my friend got nailed for $2500 for burning the equivalent of .001% of the lumber in an average tree, I’m thinking Ecology should hit the road heading north tomorrow morning and investigate the burn scars that Canada is generating. If they ticket Canada at the same rate as my friend got nailed, the Canucks will be on the Washington State Department of Ecology hook for approximately $25 trillion. We’re talking American dollars, not Canadian.

This is one time the state should quit taking and start giving…to it’s residents. According to my calculations, if they did the right thing, this Canadian windfall would result in a return of $3,571,428.57 to each WA citizen. If I then took my check across the northern border and cashed it in for Canadian dough, I’d net a tidy sum of $4,464,285 minus the hundred bucks it took to make the trip to the border.

This is the only way Big Brother’s screwy regulations would make me happy. I hear story after story of cities, counties, states and feds going crazy with nonsensical tactics that smash the little guy. They do little more than hurt anyone in the business of producing goods and providing services.

While pecking this story out, I’m reminded of the Fed Fish and Game’s attempted intrusion in the Columbia Basin. They used a weed called the Bladderpod  to propel them into alarming and drastic control of private property. This is something they do on a regular and ongoing basis throughout the country.

I’ll save that story for another day.

I’ve always thought that if we had no bureaucracy, 50% of the “work force” would be out of work. Giving them the title of “work force” is a stretch. The other 50% would immediately start becoming more productive than they already are because all the red tape would be gone.

My wife hates it when I go on one of these tirades.

 

 

I hate to deliver news like this but everybody needs to know.

His name was Mike. I called him Michael for short.

If things got tense, I called him Michael Karl Casper. This was only when I really meant to give him the business.

Regrets from the past often catch up with us, don’t they? Do you ever wish you could turn back the clock to do it all again? This time in a kinder, softer way? I know I do.

He was the last of six. He was my baby boy.

One cold winter January morning during the early ’90’s, my dear Michele, heavy with Mike, went into labor. We headed out the door. I brought up the rear just to make sure I could hold on to Michele to keep her safe on the slick and icy steps.

I lost my footing on the ice and started beating cheeks down the steps. Michele and Michael were right in front of me and soon they were enjoying the ten or twelve foot winter wonderland sleigh ride to the bottom, compliments of their sugar daddy. It was a little bumpy for all three of us as we navigated each step down. More for me than them.

This was one of those times when I wished that I could turn back the clock and do it in a kinder, softer way.

From this experience, I would recommend this exercise for any mother with child. It definitely cuts down on the waiting time and hospital charges (unless you break a leg).

If I had to do it over again, I absolutely would make sure Michele had the steps cleaned off before I went down.

So we raised Mike for the last 24 years. How I have hated to see him go but sometimes things just happen.

“When did he die?” You might ask.

I would mumble with tears running down my cheeks,  “Let’s just say he is in heaven and leave it at that.”

These are some of the last moments I have recorded before his transition:

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He’s a goner.

 

I’m going to miss the kid. Judging from the last scene in this video, he’s going to miss me too.

Thanks to my great and grand son-in-law Todd Holbrook (Holbrook Films) for videoing the day of joy and delight that marked the end of me having to make Mike’s monthly car insurance payments.

Welcome Amelia!

Michele and I have held our breath for over a year now. We can finally exhale, grab some fresh air and start waiting for an incoming stork to show up.

Don’t be a loser!

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Christine got nothing, as you can see. Don’t be like her and walk around carrying a bag of regrets for the rest of your life. Don’t miss out on 500 smackers like three of my friends have already experienced. Be my Fb friend to get in the running, become a Recovering Idiot blog follower and share some of my Facebook posts about the blog. That’s all you’ve got to do!

And if you are a follower, you won’t miss out on any of my wacky posts.

We draw a name every Saturday. Review previous blog posts for complete details!

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I will award the bonanza as soon as we draw an eligible winner and I can pry the cash out of Michele’s rigid fist.

It is no secret I’m a fan of ice cream and cash which is the reason for this post.

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A whole new set of rules has evolved because three of my Fb friends have turned out to be losers, at least in the category of my $500 giveaway. I’m changing things around mostly because of my wife.

As many of you have noticed, my svelte figure is one that many weight-watchers eye with envy. This is because my wife refuses to buy me ice cream when she makes her weekly grocery run. She buys yogurt for herself because she claims it has half the calories of ice cream.

I refuse to chow down on yogurt for several reasons. They are:

  • I don’t like the name. Yogurt rhymes with EWWW! and YUCK. I personally am not aware of a worse sounding name than yuckgurt.
  • Bacteria. Yogurt is one moving morass of little crawly bacterias with ten legs just waiting to propagate like skeeters in a Louisiana mud puddle.  ‘Cept they do it in a nice, warm mouth and stomach of some health food nut. I’m not in that category.
  •  Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk. I stay away from anything fermented. I’ve lost several friends because they couldn’t refrain from fermented products. Because I am so risk averse, I do my best to shun all addicting substances, namely fermented yogurt.
  •  Yogurt is produced with byproducts from cows, water buffalo, goats, mares, camels, yaks and ewes. EWWW! is the root word of ewe.
  • Yogurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria. Sometimes, whenever one of the workers stirring up the concoction gets in the mood, they yell “Yo! Gurt.” Then Gurt throws a shovel full of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria into the pot. If for no other reason than Gurt and his shovel, I refuse to partake.

So I stick with tried and true ice cream. And any announced name in this contest who turns out to not be eligible is invited to my house for a helping of ice cream. By making this rule change, my wife is now forced to stock our freezer with ice cream.

In fact, anyone who didn’t get drawn but would like to share a bowl of ice cream, stop on by. I’ll dish you up a serving with a minimal charge of $50 per bowl. This will help defray the cost of that $500 I’ll be giving away sooner or later.

Recovering Idiot followers and sharers are adding up. Soon, I will draw the name of one them. I will be five hundred bucks shorter, they will be five hundred longer and my wife will once again stop buying ice cream.

Until that time, when any losers are drawn, they are invited to stop by my house for a consolation prize of a big bowl of ice cream. I too will indulge just so you don’t feel like a stranger.

This will accomplish two things:

  • Losers will feel like winners
  • My wife will have to start buying ice cream again so we can feed the losers (including little ole me)

 

 

I haven’t a clue. But the winning number is 1904. Finding the winning name that matches up with the winning number takes up a good portion of my Saturday morning. As I scroll through my Fb friends, I see many good friends and one or two not all that good.

I see a few who have died and a few who have really stepped up in the past and bailed me out of one situation or another. I see many great people who I count it as a privilege to have known.

I see a few sprinkled among the masses who I know are eligible to win the cash and I see a lot who aren’t.

I see a guy named Tyler Hawkins who is my biggest Recovering Idiot blog fan. Each week I hope Tyler’s number is picked and so far, we’ve both been disappointed.

I see one or two who are loaded to the gills with cash already and have no need of the paltry $500. I break into a cold sweat worrying about their number getting picked. If I end up giving this prize to a loaded-with-dough or fair-weather friend, it’s going to hurt.

But then again, if they’ve taken the effort to become a blog follower and share a post, I guess I can’t complain.

The name of my 1904 Fb friend is Austin Fox. Austin, if you are eligible, let me know what your email address is as registered on my blog Follower list and if you’ve shared RI blog posts on Fb. I’ll then get a picture of me handing the $500 over to you and post it. If you aren’t, I gotta go through this whole process again next week.

If that’s the case, get yourself eligible as there’s a chance your number might get picked again.

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So far, the ineligible winners have been Al Yenney and Christine Jenks. I’m not going to track down Austin’s status as I’m worn out from counting. I’m just hoping Austin followed the program so he and I and everyone else can experience some Recovering Idiot worrying-about-the-cash closure. Let me know Austin, you lucky sucker you.

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Things were a lot different when I was a teenager. Back then, when the phone rang, we answered it. Post haste pronto. In fact, we ran and fought over who was going to answer first. Back then, we were on a party line. If we didn’t answer it, our neighbors would.

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I wonder if there’s a kid in the USA who has any idea what a party line is (or was)?

Sorry, I can’t help myself…

AnsweRING a phone’s ring  was paramount because we didn’t have answerRING machines or Caller ID. The calls were so much more important and almost sacred to the recipient. They were special, especially if the call was made long distance.

And the ring itself? It was an authentic telephone bell being rung without all the fake bells and whistles of today’s world.

A techno but normal speech-impaired teenager in today’s world won’t answer the phone. They simply refuse. I’ve watched this phenomenon in person. Time after time. I have to fight the urge to walk over, snatch the plastic screen out of their hands and answer it myself.

Or, even better, put them over my knee and do a little i-phone-paddling. That too is a lost art form. Especially in the schools where it’s needed most. I know it kept me and my buddies in line, at least a time or two.

Back to the missed call. There is no doubt in my mind that the caller on the other end of the line would be over the age of 40. In fact, I’d be willing to bet 100 shares of AT&T stock on it. If I lose, give me a call to collect. For the first time in my life, I won’t answer.

There is no doubt (at least in my mind) that it is nigh impossible for anyone born after 1985 to stop texting and start talking.

Why? I think it’s because they have never learned the social art of conversation. Their social art is text, text, text. That’s it. And they’re not even that good at it. You might say they’re all thumbs.

Or maybe they can’t hear. Since texting came into play, there is no need for sound. The hearing genes haven’t been utilized for decades now. Pretty quick, these kids are going to start being born without ears.

All a teenager in today’s world has learned is to understand acronyms, send emoji’s, dabble in internet slang and see how fast he can move his thumbs. From morning until night. No talk, all text.

Even my kids who are in their 20’s and 30’s won’t answer their phones. It drives me nuts! I know I didn’t raise them that way.

And what happens if I want to talk to Michael, my youngest man-child? Forget it. The next time I see him in person after trying to call him ten times, he says “What’d you want, Dad?”

Will? NOpe with a capital NO.

Christianne? She’s a little better.

Once in a while she even answers. But then again, she’s got three kids. Most of the rings I send to her probably get lost in the ambient noise pollution of her castle hallways.

But my older kids will pick up on most occasions. The discerning factor is they were born in the early 80’s. Texting and the alphabet hadn’t been invented yet.

They must know I’m calling long distance when they answer. Maybe they have been gone long enough that they are starting to miss the sound of my voice. They might even be thinking that any day now I might fall off a grain bin and quit calling their Apple. At least that’s what I call it.

When I was fifteen I would have had no clue what ringing an Apple I-Phone meant.  My closest guess would have probably been throwing a Red Delicious at the Liberty Bell. And guess what? Nowadays, like the real ring, the Red Delicious is almost obsolete.

If the younger generation doesn’t wake up and start answering the dang phone, the Liberty Bell and everything else we hold dear may disappear too. Just like the telephone ring.

 

Don’t forget to read my previous blog posts telling you how to become eligible for the big $500 giveaway this Saturday!