Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Learn to live in the world

It was not surprising to wake up to a pitched battle on the morning news yesterday, concerning the little four-year-old boy from Cincinnati who wound up in the gorilla habitat at the Zoo. And the big ape grabbed him, and the zookeepers made the decision to shoot the gorilla and rescue the lad.  

And along came the accountants, sales clerks, lab assistants and computer programmers who are also zoologists and experts in animal husbandry, all howling about the plight of the gorilla.  

Yes, it's sad the gorilla had to be killed, for nothing he did was wrong.  Yes, it's sad that the child will have to deal with years of therapy to deal with the trauma he will carry.

Image result for jack hannaBut it's also sad that, sometimes, people who love animals feel that their love imbues them with wisdom and experience beyond the ken of the rest of us.  Jack Hanna, annoying as he is with his leather hats, knows a lot more about animals than I do, so when he says the zoo did the right thing, I agree. 

I understand the sorrow for the killed great ape.  I wish there was half that much sorrow for the fact that animals are taken from their natural environment and taken thousands of miles away to be placed in a closed environment and made into a sort of sideshow. If we really need to put animals in zoos, can we at least put up impregnable boundaries to keep the children and others totally away from them?

Because humans cause harm to these creatures, and it isn't right.

And while I'm up preaching this morning...we had another case in Baltimore the other day, when a little girl went to a creek in a park and fell in, almost drowning.  

Please tell your kids to keep a very close eye on their parents.  In the blink of an eye, they can disappear on you.  The parents, I mean.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Rerun: Tick Tock

If you're a schoolteacher, this is the time of year that you have my undivided sympathy.

Not so much during the many, many vacation days, snow days, it-might-snow-later days and religious holidays that find our schools shuttered tight.  That's just jealousy on my part, although I do worry about the rumors that our schools will close for a week next year to celebrate the Druid feast days of Romaine, the god of lettuce, whose early work with dried seasoned bread crumbs and anchovies led Caesar to invent the salad.  That's a little beyond what's needed, to my mind.

But this last month of school is when the Miss Crumps and Mister Novaks really earn their pay, which is not high enough, I hasten to add.  In high school, you have the seniors sauntering around like Lord and Lady Fauntleroy, untouchable by discipline (the principal is tired of looking at them, to be honest) and grades (you're not about to fail a senior and then, what, have him around for another whole year? No way!) as they tick off the remaining days until graduation.  

Also ticking off those days are the good people down at the Ocean City Police Department, who are stocking up on supplies needed for Senior Week, the bacchanalian festival by the sea that is a "right" of passage for a lot of people who by all "rights" should still be in classrooms learning about their rites.  Be that as it may, in a couple of weeks, the seniors will be gone, down to the ocean, to be followed by trips to campuses and recruiting depots all across the land.

Which just leaves the kids in grades K-11 sitting around watching a clock that just seems to go backwards, if it moves at all, until the middle of June, when they are free to compete with their teachers for summer jobs as pool attendants, ice cream vendors, and groundskeepers.  I remember the summer after sixth grade, seeing our teacher working in a liquor store.  What was I doing in a liquor store at age 12?

I had an in - I knew the guy behind the counter!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Saturday Picture Show, May 28, 2016

It's not hard to imagine that the guy in the sign shop can let his mind drift now and then.  What would be nice would be if the boss in the sign shop, wherever this took place, had assigned someone to do a little quality control.
I guess one of the unfulfilled dreams of many lives would be getting to ride in a motorcycle sidecar.  This one might be the coolest one in history!
Dawn over Dubai.  Every day begins with a promise and a clean slate.
Lest we forget, this is Memorial Day weekend, a time set aside to honor those who laid down their lives in defense of our nation. Please don't confuse it with Veterans' Day, thanks.
This is the New York Daily News front page from October 4, 1955, the day after the Brooklyn Dodgers, referred to as "Dem Bums" by disappointed locals for years, finally beat the Damn Yankees and won the World Series.
Picnicking this weekend?  Why not go cheap and try a hot dog with everything?  I see sauerkraut, relish and chili.  Ummmm!
This is the Red Pool in Thailand and no, the water is not red, but the tiles in the pool are.
Just to see what I'd get, I Googled "cute animals."  They are never wrong!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cut me In

You would hate to think that the man who invented the Double Meat Whopper couldn't afford to have one for lunch, or that whoever came up with the Uber ride-hailing service had to walk everywhere for lack of dough.

But John Spinello, 77, of Bloomingdale, Illinois, invented that "Operation" game in the early 60s when he was an engineering student at the U of Illinois.  He came up with the idea when he recalled sticking a pin into an electrical outlet as a child and getting a shock.

So I guess he was shocked again when he saw millions of those games being sold at Toys "R" Costly, and he didn't see a nickel of it all, because he sold his invention to a guy for a quick $500.

Image result for john spinelloAnd that guy was a smooth operator, who took the whole shebang to Milton Bradley and made a bundle from it.  And as the years went by, Spinello (left) went into the warehouse business, but that went toes up during the recession.

And then he needed dental surgery - $25,000 worth of it.

Things looked bleak until Peggy Brown and Tim Walsh, who are both friends of Spinello and fellow game inventors as well, put on a fundraiser for him through a crowd funding site.  

"I think assumptions are made that inventors make a lot of money off these kinds of things and in this case, it's just really not so," said Brown, of Milwaukee.

Happy Ending Dep't: They raised more than enough to take care of Mr Spinello's choppers.

Prediction Dep't:  The man or woman who invented crowd funding websites will never need a fundraiser put on for him or her.

I mean, can you just imagine the irony?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I don't know

Unlike some people who are currently seeking political office, I just hate not knowing stuff.  Hate it.  

Like when the Orioles are on the West Coast and I can't hang long enough to see the end of a ballgame that might last until 1 in the yawning.  I could stay up that late, but the cats want breakfast at a quarter past five, and you know who runs this ship.

So I have to hit the sheets not knowing how the game will turn out.  Friday night, they were tied 4-4, and Saturday night, it was a scoreless tie when I gave myself over to sweet slumber.  And so on Saturday and Sunday mornings, unlike other days, the first thing I grabbed was my phone to Google the score...and both times, the O's had won, which meant the cats got an extra nuzzle on the way to breakfast.

ICYMI, here is the video of Matt Weiters slapping a homerun to win Saturday's game on his 30th birthday.

Image result for a prairie home companion
They don't do sports results
My delayed-information sports weekend had this other twist.  I was DVRing the Preakness, so we ran over to Bertucci's for our favorite Sporkie with added anchovies. The whole way over, I listened to A Prairie Home Companion on the radio, knowing that Mr Keillor would not break into his News From Lake Wobegon to give the results of the 13th at Pimlico.

I ran into the pizza pickup area and turned away from the television and told the young lady who brought me the delectables that I was deliberately not turning around to see the TV for fear of finding out who won.  She laughed and promised not to tell, and even offered to hold the door for me as I left for my car, where Peggy sat waiting in the pizza pickup parking area, mere feet from the front door.

And then a little red-haired demon youth running into the restaurant turned to his father and said, "Hey Dad!  Exaggerator won!"

I should have bet on that happening.  Not the horse. The kid.