Friday, March 17, 2017

Ireland Explained

Ireland:  Welcome American suckers!
Ireland is like Disneyland only drunker.  On this St. Patrick's Day, let me explain.

Many years ago when Ireland ran out of potatoes, large numbers of the O' Haras, Murphys, Ryans and other Micks hightailed it to the United States where there was food, lite beer, TV, Celtics and Red Sox games not to mention many like minded red-faced alcoholics (see Germans).  The remaining Irish citizens, too lazy to fish, distracted themselves by either fighting or getting drunk.  You are, of course, familiar with the old Irish conundrum: Get drunk and fight? Or, fight and get drunk?  The situation was dire.  Not only were most Irish citizens too blitzed to find their car keys, they also suffered with an economy that held little in the way of good paying quality jobs.  No longer was it enough to be either a mud farmer or a sheep rapist.  Those days were gone.

One day some inebriated wag in the Irish tourist bureau latched on to the idea of tourism as a key to reviving the fortunes of the Old Sod.  Why not play up the whole St. Patrick's Day claptrap about a guy driving snakes from the Emerald Isle?  Punch up the leprechaun b.s. too and throw in rumors of a pot of gold and all that jazz.  You see, word had reached Ireland that most of the folks who had split for the U.S. when spuds became scarce could not stop bragging about their former homeland and loved to cry in their lager about wanting to go back.  "Let's lure them back with cheap tours and superior booze," was the rallying cry.  A national turnaround had begun.

Bill O'Copper, typical ugly American and distant relative.

And so it came to pass that Ireland became the absolute best place on the planet to find drunken boisterous Americans.  Head for Dublin, Cork, Killarney or any of those oh so lovely old cities and you'll see tons of fat Americans in tank tops and Bermuda shorts loudly proclaiming their Irish heritage as they stagger from pub to pub.  

If you don't drink, an Irish tour can be an amazing bargain.  Not only can you scarf all the delicious chowder and the abundant fruit of the sea that the locals discovered once they learned to bait a hook, but you will never pick up a check thanks to all your drunken pals saying, "I got this."  My wife, Linda, and I did this very thing about seven years ago with several other great Americans who also make vague claim to Irish identity.  (My grandmother's name was Ruby Ryan and I used to drink...a LOT.)
I do believe we made money on the trip.  Everybody else was pretty well impaired--especially after the Guinness tour--and more than happy to pick up every soggy check.  Good times!  

Another tour of the Emerald Isle in the future?  Nah, but I will have another bowl of those Lucky Charms.  Murphy is buying.

Linda and me looking at yet one more old pile of Irish bricks.
Something for the fitness freaks
"It's amazin' Seamus, you can eat the stuff you pull out of the water!"

Friday, March 10, 2017

Keeping Your Teeth To Yourself, and other stuff...

The Idaho DMV is no longer allowing people to show their teeth when getting a picture taken for a new driver's license.  Apparently showing a big ol' toothy grin messes up the new facial recognition software designed to help the state stop identity theft.  I read this story a couple of days ago in the local paper and, naturally, had to reach for my wallet to make sure I was not in violation of this new mandate even though my license was a couple of years old.  To my relief I found my picture to be in compliance as it merely made me resemble a mentally deficient vagrant who could be either toothless or hiding an amazing set of choppers.  I also noticed, for the first time, that my hair color is listed as "bald".  Perhaps that explains all the smiles flashed my way by the elderly matron who took my picture and my money.  "I'll fix this California chrome dome," may have been her mantra.  Whatever the case it's good to know that my tight-lipped follicle free visage is quite accidentally in compliance with the new spud state rules.  

This news had me remembering the number of driver's licenses I have carried which featured no picture and were mere pieces of paper containing my name and address.  When did the plastic authorizations with our pictures happen?  I really can't remember.  It's like that now.  The older I get the more I realize that many things are far different than they were just a couple of years ago.  And, it also seems as if every time I ponder that dilemma, a "couple" of years winds up being twenty or thirty.   
For example:  Where did white wall tires go?  How about curb feelers and fender skirts?  Table radios or, for that matter, just plain old radios.  Try to buy a radio in any electronics store today and you'll see what I mean.  Hula hoops, full service gas stations and fifteen cent hamburgers are missing in action as are water beds and rocking chairs.  Most of we boomers remember rockers from our grandparents house or recall their resurgence when JFK made them cool again.  Try to remember the last time you saw a rocking chair in a furniture store.  (I know, Lazy Boys are far better, but rockers were kind of cool.) 

I still have my grandmother's rocker.  It must be at least 100 years old by now.  I'm thinking seriously of taking it with me the next time I head for the DMV and a license renewal.  They can snap my likeness as I rock slowly and show off a very large mouthful of those novelty Bubba Teeth I bought at the Exxon station.  It'll fit right into my life plan to remain idle and dependably entertaining.


Grandma Copper's rocking chair ready for action.
Available wherever the Hillbilly lifestyle is embraced.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Help! Spring Emergency

"We've been here thirty years and never seen a winter hang on like this one."
Lake Coeur D' Alene, March 2017
I've been hearing lots of this refrain and frankly it's not helping.  Coming to Lake Coeur D' Alene in the Idaho panhandle from Southern California more than two years ago is still doubtless one of the best moves my wife and I have ever made.  Neither of us relished the prospect of being among the last twenty or thirty conservatives in a circus where the ringmaster, Jerry Brown, and his liberal monkey minions are in control of the Big Top.  Having lived in eleven of the fifty states, it truly astounds me that in a mere thirty years of central planning and identity pandering sufficient to embarrass a Tijuana madam,  Democrat politicians have taken California from first to worst in my Hit Parade of states.  I miss friends but, my God, what a colossal train wreck the once "Golden State" has become.  Tragic, really, but the weather IS nice.   

North Idaho is spectacular.  Taxes are low, the scenery stunning, people are friendly and the price of nearly everything is a bargain compared to California.  The first two winters were handled with ease and then we had this one.  WOW!  More than 100 inches of snow, lots of rain and temperatures that have seldom seen fit to mosey out of the 20-35 degree range have given my wife and me cabin fever and a super duper hankering for some SPRING.  

Now, this is more like it!

Every morning I check the long range forecast and see nothing but "rain and snow showers through next week."  I'm beginning to feel like Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining".  Warmer weather,  a patch of green grass, and blue skies would be a remarkably positive change in direction.  The problem is I don't know how much longer I can hold out.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.  All work and no play make Jack a dull boy...............................................................................................

Now, where is that ax?  "I'm comin' to get you Wendy!"