The Country Curmudgeon

Lost in translation

Recently I have been picking up pieces of programs about misunderstood subjects. One of these has targeted the Bible, explaining how we may have mistranslated stuff from Hebrew to Greek to whatever you happen to be speaking now. One of the most sensational involves the “Thou shalt not kill” commandment. Seems a more accurate rendering might be “Thou shalt not murder,” which is quite different. It might make sense though. There was an awful lot of slaughter back in the old Bible. It seems like there wouldn’t be enough room down under for all of the kill violations. Maybe there would.

Have it our way

There is a disturbing practice that has embedded itself in our culture. We are supposed to view it as a benefit because the practitioners portray it as such. Like with Hitler, if a lie is repeated over and over, people begin to believe it. By now you have probably guessed that what I am referring to is the “fix your own” movement. It pervades our restaurants and its close relative “pick your own” is found in many rural areas bordering our towns and cities.

I got the blues

Everyone knows that you lose height as you get older. What I recently realized is that your feet also get bigger. My shoes are a half size larger these days. This is nature’s way of compensating us for the balance issues that most of us seem to have around the same time. We need a wider base and not so much height. I think a lot of the balance problem is because our weight has moved around on our bodies. I know that while I am the correct weight for my height, my waist size is actually larger. Some have a problem with hips, while for others it is their head.

The hungry games

How come everything on the planet is trying to eat everything else, with the sometime exception of certain plants which seem to be able to live on sunshine and dirt. Of course they are not completely innocent. In an attempt to defend themselves against being eaten many give off noxious substances or make themselves taste bad. A lot of insects do the taste-bad thing. This is not much help for the one being eaten, but sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team.

Soup to cereal to nuts

There is a soup commercial that shows Clay Matthews, NFL linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, eating chunky soup. We are given to believe that this is what’s for supper. These are the guys that eat steak and eggs for breakfast and more than three meals a day. Soup? Really? It doesn’t even fill me up, a mild-mannered newspaper columnist. I need a sandwich to go with it. Actually the sandwich is the meal and the soup is just a hearty beverage, even if it does have chunks. After all, my hot chocolate has chunks of marshmallow and nobody is trying to tell me that’s a complete meal.


I went out to get the mail the other day. I had a vaguely uncomfortable feeling on the way to the mailbox, then a sense of relief when all I found was advertising flyers; no bills today. Then it dawned on me. Getting mail is no longer fun. It has not been fun for a long time. When you are a kid you are waiting impatiently for that decoder ring. Running to the mailbox is delicious torture until one day … it’s here! Never mind that it turns out to be a cheap piece of plastic that breaks after about a week. The real fun was in the anticipation.

Weather or not

Yes, we got a dusting of snow recently, about 2 feet. Here’s the thing; we live in the north. Part of living in the north is that you get snow. People still run to the store and buy bread and milk in case they get cut off from civilization. This could happen … for about a day. If it is more than a day your pathetic last-minute shopping is not going to cut it. If it is for an extended period, well, now you know why it is good to have a dog. What!?! You can share his food! What were you thinking?

Enough said about that

Ross Perot once said, “Some people get talking about a thing confused with doing it.” Oh dear. Who does this remind us of? he asked, as he looked in the mirror. It’s time I took action.

James Bond, the real James Bond, Sean Connery, not these jumped-up imitations, once drove an Aston-Martin that had these neat nozzles that sprayed oil on the road so that the car following would skid and crash. I am not quite sure how he kept from making everyone behind him from crashing, but the principle seems sound so I am working on it. Beware tailgaters!

To act or not to act

There are two kinds of actors, as far as I am concerned. There is the kind who is immediately recognizable and is employed because of this. Audiences go to see John Wayne be John Wayne as a cowboy, preferably. He did a couple of movies wearing a suit, but that was just not right. The war movies worked because everybody was making war movies when there was a war on. That is still the case. “The Longest Day” had John Wayne as paratrooper General Jumpin’ Jim Gavin. OK, I’ll buy that. I think Ryan O’Neill was an army engineer. Yow.


In the early days of computers, the U.S. military thought they had found a way to predict events. All of the big generals and admirals gathered in the computer room and formulated the big question on the punch cards used in the early models. The question they asked was, “Will there be peace or war?” The computer whizzed and clicked for a moment, then spit out the card with the answer. The answer was “Yes.” Exasperated, the generals formulated a further inquiry, “Yes what?” The answer promptly popped out. “Yes sir!”