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The Country Curmudgeon

Holiday films to scare kids

Looking for Christmas gifts for the kids? Here, in the tradition of The Brothers Grimm, are some of “the essentials” available on DVD (or VHS at yard sales), true classics.

“Bambi.” Two stars. We are introduced to the just-born fawn and his mother. We watch him growing and learning about the world while mom watches over him. What child would not be truly terrified to have his mother disappear accompanied by the sound of gunfire. A bit dated. Watching the morning news works, too.

What a stoop!

Some of my earliest memories involve city kid games. Some of these revolved around the front stoop. A stoop is a series of steps with a sort of landing at the top, only outside before you enter a building. If I remember correctly, there were five steps.

Outside of the box

I pretty much learned to cook by reading the instructions on the outside of boxes and cans. This works pretty well as long as they don’t use cooking jargon. Lining up your potatoes on the counter in twos is not what they mean by pared potatoes. I avoided dicing onions. It took way too long to put those little dots on them.

Years ago I worked for a book distributor and got my hands on a copy of “The Joy of Cooking.” It was full of terms like “sauté” which meant absolutely nothing to me. Another instruction that floored me was “cook until done.”

What price glory?

We all have those high points in our lives when the glory was ours. For some it was a Nobel Peace Prize, for others a prestigious promotion. I, on the other hand, once won a game of One-A-Cat in fifth grade.

The horror — or treat

Halloween already? I am not a fan. It just seems like an excuse for all those kids to run amuck, demanding tribute while their parents lurk ominously in the background, “checking” (eating) some of the candy to make sure it is safe. Of course the little kids are cute in their costumes of the moment. Whatever has been popular in the movies or TV is usually pervasive. I remember seeing a lot of Johnny Depp pirates a couple of years ago and then there was the year of the Chewbaccas. I can’t wait to see all of the tumbling, out-of-control astronauts this year.

The ultimate space game

The ultimate space game

Let’s say that my country does not have enough space for all of its people, but my neighbor has more space than he needs. Logically, some of my people would go and live in the other country. This is what happened in America. In the rest of the world the system was to acquire territory from the neighbors, and anyone who lived there already now paid taxes to the new owner.

Bonan matenon!

You heard me. Bonan Matenon. My spell check is going crazy. I have just wished you a good morning in what I thought was a dead language.

I noticed a sign at the desk in the doctor’s office that asked for your language of preference. Being my usual smartass self, I requested that they put me down for Esperanto. They had never heard of it.

What I hate

I do a lot of complaining. Much of this is under the guise of bringing attention to wrongs that need “writing.” People who agree with me like this stuff, people who don’t just ignore it. Comedians use this a lot. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have heard a stand up start out with, “You know what I hate?” This is followed by such things as airline food, trucks with really big tires, aggressive drivers, rude cell-phone users and those guys who wear their baseball caps backwards. It helps if the audience has had a few drinks first.

Talk with the animals

I am no Dr. Doolittle. However, most of the animals I have known have been able to communicate with me in their own special way.

Definitely too many cities

As Rain Man would say, “Too many cities, definitely too many cities.” Jim Cantore on The Weather Channel has confirmed it; cities cause global warming. He didn’t actually say this, but you can read between the lines. He was talking about the “heat bubble” around cities that can register as much as a 15 degree heat difference. It is due to the asphalt and concrete and the heat thrown off by various devices, including cars, which are highly concentrated there.