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“What a stupid high price for a pair of socks!” I thought when I first saw these on “I’ll never waste my money on something like that. How dumb.” I silently pitied the fools as I sipped my beer.

“Huh,” I said to the dog two days later. “I wonder what this is.” I set the mystery package from the UPS man on the table. We both pondered the box for a moment. Then, “oh no…” I looked at the dog. The dog looked at me. “I was drinking beer and playing on Amazon again, wasn’t I?” The dog giggled under her breath and sat down under the table in her usual “let’s watch the funny monkey-man pretend to know what he’s doing” pose.

Forty-five seconds later…

“OHMYGOSH!” I hollered, startling the dog. “THESE ARE FANTASTIC!” Had any neighbors pulled in at that moment and peeked through the frost-lined windows they would have seen an aging hippie, clad in faded jammie bottoms and a black T-shirt with a peace sign in the center, dancing around the living room like an idiot, pointing gleefully at his feet upon which were a brand new pair of stupid-expensive socks, and a Golden Retriever quietly snickering under the table.

I wore the stupid-expensive socks every day for a week, pausing every few days to stand impatiently (and barefootedly) by the washing machine. On day eight I ordered a second pair.

These socks are, indeed, very, very much worth the money! They’re snug, they keep their shape (or at least they have so far – I’ve had ’em probably two, three weeks now), they show zero signs of wear even though I’ve worn them daily. Best of all, they’re WARM. I work from home in an old farmhouse in northwest Iowa – the high temperature today is supposed to be about two below zero – so my feet are constantly achingly cold, even if I wear two pairs of socks and my flappy-flappy slippers… But since I’ve started wearing these socks my feet haven’t ached at all – I can easily walk on the old hard, frigid floors without worry.

Considering the fantastic warranty and the wondrous quality of these socks, they’re not so stupid-expensive after all – I anticipate a few pairs of these miracles will pay for themselves over time (I usually go through fifteen or twenty pairs of super-cheap tube socks a year), and the joy of having comfortable feetsies in the winter is something you young whippersnappers will understand someday…

Now where’s my beer – I have more shopping to do…


I’m in a bit of a funk. It’s been a long, dry winter, money is going out faster than I can bring it in, and Beloved Wifey broke her foot. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the other room baking cookies*. I find that when I’m in a funk it helps to do something like that.

*It should be noted that “baking cookies” isn’t quite the right term, as there’s no actual baking in this recipe. It’s super-easy. I’ll wait while you go get a pencil to write this down. Okay, ready? You’ll love this. You’ll need a package of Girl Scout Thin Mints, a bowl of peanut butter, and some Nestle’s Quick. One by one dip the Thin Mints into the peanut butter, then coat them with the chocolate powder. IMPORTANT – These cookies can go bad rather quickly, so it’s highly recommended that you eat them immediately. In fact, don’t even set the cookies down, just dip, sprinkle, eat. Dip sprinkle eat. Dip sprinkle eat. 

Dear Apple…

Dear Apple Computers:

I really enjoy your products. I have several Macs that I use for work, an iPad and an iPhone for my business, and a couple little tiny iPods. I’ve used Macs on a daily basis since like 1992. Yay!

The only fly in the ointment is iTunes.

Here are the things I want in a music player: The ability to play music, and the ability to buy new music. While I’m sure both of those things can, indeed, be done with iTunes, I’ll be blessed if I can figure out how…

It used to be simple. I’d click on iTunes, click “Play” and music would play. But now I have to choose between Music, Movies, TV Shows, podcasts, Audiobooks, Books, or Apps. Seriously – it’s iTUNES – I want music. If I wanna watch TV I’ll, you know, turn on my TV. Put that other stuff in a different program and give me my Monkees.

It’s worse yet on my iPhone. Every now and then I’ll get all ambitious, find my headphones, and will plug ’em into my earholes to listen to some happy happy music… Yay! But, but… where’s my songs? I gotta push this button, then I have to choose… Wait, that’s not right. Okay, I’ll push… no… Crap, where’s my playlist of cool crap? No, that’s not it.

To be fair, one thing I really DO like is your “Radio” option. It’s like Pandora, only you can go back and see what songs you listened to half an hour ago. There’s an option to buy them, too, which I would really, really, really enjoy – except you make my put my password in every time I wanna buy my song. And you don’t let me have a simple password; it’s gotta have twelve characters, at least one capital letter, a number, and a symbol. Please, I dare you, enter GoatScrotumSo0p92!! [not my real password mind you] when you’re barreling through the pasture on your four-wheeler with a load of wood in January with thick-@ss gloves on… And if you try it three times and misspell something, you reset the password. Please, I just wanna click on “Buy Me” and, you know, buy the song! I’d have bought about twenty bucks worth of music today if I didn’t have to try to puzzle out the whole password thing…

Dumb Dog…

Years ago, for no apparent reason, I downloaded a version of the Blue Danube Waltz, with a twist. Get the song in your head… Here, this will help.

Okay, now imagine it was being sung by cats. “Meow meow meow meow meow… Mew mew, mew mew.”

It was a silly thing to download, but I was in a silly mood, lo those many years ago when things such as singing cats were still deemed kinda funny.

Anyway… So today it popped up on my computer’s random iTunes rotation and started playing. Superpup Buttercup was sleeping in the other room, but as soon as she heard the cats she woke up and ran into my office. She looked at my computer’s speakers, she looked at me, back to the speakers, she walked under the desk and looked around, and was generally perplexed the whole time. “Papa, I SWEAR I hear cats! Where are they?” I was smiling indulgently, laughing a bit at what simple creatures dogs are. How silly that Buttercup thought there may be a real cat in my office! Ha!

About then the next song started. The kick drum started the song, “thump thump thump thump.” Without thought I got up to go answer the door…

I swear Buttercup laughed out loud at me.


I used to read widely and profusely. These days I don’t have as much time for literature as I’d like, and mostly read fluff speculative fiction. I’ve been having fun with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series lately – it’s mostly comedic fantasy (Pratchett has a wondrous sense of humor), but buried in the humor are some deep thoughts. I found this to be an interesting, and disturbing, quote:

“The Patrician took a sip of his beer. ‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built in to the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.”

Excerpt From: Pratchett, Terry. “Unseen Academicals.” HarperCollins, 2009. iBooks.
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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at Mother-in-Law’s House.