At Your Service

Summer continues, but here is an old A&J from 2009. At least the door is open, and the lights are on.

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

162 responses to “At Your Service”

  1. Folks in our neighborhood have grayed to the point that the local Cub Scout troop is down to just 2 boys, so our church has decided to make the Pinewood Derby an open event.

    Do I want to relive my old memories of coming in last because I followed the rules and did it all myself 56 years ago? When no once else did?

    Nah, I’ll just go, take some snacks to share, and cheer on those who can participate. 🙂

  2. Regarding the Close to Home strip: I contributed my favorite joke concerning the 10 Commandments:

    Daddy, what does this mean, “Thou shalt not commit agriculture”?

    Son, it means you should never plow another man’s field.

  3. Ghost is down 25 pounds since we finally met and has lost at least six inches in his waist. I wish I could say the same. We just began working out at gym after I got released to do so.
    He works so hard at walking his treadmill.

    Ghost is most definitely best shape senior citizen at the wellness center but I am not too shabby compared to the women over 20s I suspect. We are working on health and fitness.

  4. Debbe, I loved the bell ringing cats. I wonder how long it took to get them to do that.
    Today’s A&J about the garbage can was funny. I bet we all have some interesting stories about garbage trucks and the people who run then

  5. I have been running pinewood derbys for the church for almost 30 years. I stepped down as Cubmaster a log time ago, but they just can’t seem to find anyone who understands how a double elimination runs. I keep getting roped in every year. They have been putting 2 packs together to make it more competitive.

  6. Waking Arlo up at the romantic parts would keep him up much longer than a bathroom escort. At least, I would certainly hope so.

    I have been awakened in the middle of the night for quite a few things, but never to accompany someone to the bathroom.

  7. Old Bear, my ex and I trained our dog to ring a bell hung on the door when she needed to go out. Made it a lot easier to know when to take her out.

  8. Mark: When you said “for something completely different”, I expected “confuse a cat”. Guess I’ll have to go look for it.

  9. Gerry has a button for the cat to push.

    Ours verbally and non-verbally make their wishes known
    whether it is go out or time for treats.

    They prefer eating out of the dry food bin rather than their own
    dish. Each is available all the time.

    They are spoiled worse than if they were grandkids

  10. Notice how small was the rear ends [hams?] of that hog? The article clearly refers to its 6-inch tushes!!

    Whenever I see the damage wild hogs do in any place to which they have access, I wonder if they could somehow be harvested as free meat for those in need. It would require hunters – which could include some of those beneficiaries – some inspectors to make sure the animals were fit to eat, and persons with butchering skills. There is no doubt the landowners would applaud such a program.

  11. RA/WP: Yes, I well remember – while I lived in Melbourne 40+ years ago – that hogs were being seen. In fact, studying wild hogs was one of the topics for biology graduate students there. At the end of one study, the people involved roasted one and held a party. I ate only a smidgen – it was still pink and I feared brucellosis and who knows what other diseases. As far as I know, no one got ill, so I guess that one was OK. Maybe the perpetrators chickened out and bought a commercial pig!
    The other major topic for bio grad students seemed to be mosquito fish, gambusia affinis [if memory serves]. I read a number of theses about them. Wild pigs HAD to be more interesting….

  12. Ghost and I are thinking of going to ACA convention in Amarillo, TX on August 5-6 if we can arrange our schedules. Lawdog had a book out now and we’d like to meet him.

    There is another writer there we are interested in named J.L. Curtis who blogs as Old NFO. author of about four modern western novels a d a couple science fiction novels.

  13. Prayers and good vibes, please? Robert (younger brother) crashed while crop-dusting today. Outlook at moment sounds good, but a long road ahead. MRIs and etc. yet to determine all. Thanks.

  14. Llee, Ghost and I are very alarmed and hope for good reports when test results are in. Please let us know what happened and where he was flying? Whatever you know. Is it on news?

    So sorry. We will call you tomorrow.

  15. Prayers and good wishes for those needing them, either as victims or as kin/friends thereof. Last October I lost a good friend to a glioblastoma and lost a cousin in September 2015 to the same disease.

  16. Good morning Villagers….

    TR and cXp, from what I’ve been reading, prognosis is grim.

    Saw some early pics of John McCain in his youth…nice, very nice looking young man. Proud to have him served our country.

    Llee, sorry to have read about your brother, prayers for you and all family……….Amen.

    Hey, Jackie and GR….how long do you want to play this game…pulled this up:

    Can’t believe there’s a Ding Dong, Texas 🙂


  17. Louisiana weirdest name was Waterproof? There are ONLY three towns in parish I grew up in on family cotton plantation: Newellton (where I went to school, legal address), the parish courthouse in St. Joseph and Waterproof.

    Waterproof is smallest but all are small. Name was supposed to be because it didn’t flood from Mississippi river.

  18. THanks folks. Thanks for the link, MArk. I knew it was out there but lost it. 🙂 After second surgery in the wee hours of the morning, sounds ok. Stabilized. Damage to upper neck vertabrae (?) and bleeding stopped/corrected. He got out of the plane on his own, once some wreckage had been cleared. He’s at a good trauma hospital and outlook right now is good but long haul ahead of him. Dr. will be back on rounds this morning and then we’ll hear more after.

    I can almost imagine him trying to avoid the line “shoot shoot shoot…don’t mess up this plane”

    Boss got hotel rooms for Allison/family as well as him&Wife across from hospital. Sounds like a good guy.

    Thanks for the support, folks.

  19. Thanks for the update Llee. Glad to hear his boss is taking care of things, good for him.

    You’re welcome for the link. I did quick search and got several returns last night.

  20. We talk about “snail mail” but it looks like UPS is in real competition for that title:

    In the summer of 1971 I went on a tour with Young Americans in Concert in which I played bass clarinet both in the symphonic band and the orchestra. I faithfully mailed a post card or letter home (paying for air mail) from each hotel we stayed in overnight. The last to make it home, from Rome, arrived in March of the following year.

  21. The so-called “shark cam” system off NC is having work done by a crew of at least 2 people; you can watch them do their thing and wonder exactly what that “thing” is.
    Yes, now, even as I type.

    I have never seen so many gazillions of small fish there; maybe the fish feel safe from predation with two such larger individuals present – who are not being predatory.

  22. It strikes me that I have never seen a crab at the shark cam site; are crabs too smart to be out in clear view? No doubt some permanently predatory piscivores would expand their menus and consider cunning, crafty, cancrinoid critters crunchy!

  23. I’ve been watching the shark cam too. The number of fish today is truly amazing, as is their disregard toward the divers. They also didn’t seem disturbed earlier when a shark swam through their midst. The movement is mesmerizing.

  24. cx-p: I’ve seen lobsters, the Caribbean spiny variety, but not crabs and they’re not included on the fish/non-fish ID guide (link above the comments on that page). Maybe it’s too deep for them.

    For anyone who’d like to join the watch party, here’s the address –
    Rumor has it the divers were adding a light to the cam area.

  25. Ruth Anne, some crabs are found thousands of feet down, and this platform is in shallow water – when the camera points upward, the sun’s illumination is obvious. However, I don’t have any better idea….

  26. Overheard in the vehicle yesterday:

    Ghost: “I have no clue what that highway crew was doing to the closed lane of that bridge.”

    Jackie: “They’re DOT; they probably don’t either.”

    Ghost: “Heh; probably not. ‘Grady, round up a crew; pick out a random Highway 9 bridge in McIntosh County; and spray some a that green stuff that just came in on it.’ ‘Well, awrite then, boss; I’ll do ‘er.’”

  27. We had a great time visiting with my cousins at an old time seafood restaurant and tavern. I had not been there since I left college in about 1963 I think. Nothing had changed in 54 years. Same staff I think.

    Busy day tomorrow.

  28. PA has a lot weirder names than Coupon

    Moosup does not sound weird – but then I grew up just down the road
    Woodstock CT has Stogie Hollow which is a district like Coupon.
    Also there is Indian Neck & Slaughter Beach

    Little Canada in MN is not strange not when there is cities called Coon Rapids &
    Sleepy Eye & Welcome & Hayfield

    It looks like they had an Atlas with a limited number of named in the index

  29. More tests and stuff for RObert yesterday, but it is sounding good. Ok, as good as such a crash might be. Here’s the last update from last night: Lumbar cath, head CT, & Optho went well. Drops for left eye, its swollen a bit open. Lumbar drain 1st done @ 5pm, 7cc over 1 hr, so good. Off the BP meds. Started feeding thru tube & added a CVP central venous pressure line to watch fluid levels such effect BP. After 8pm he was getting his mouth washed out & teeth brushed by nurse. He was following commands. I asked Rob to squeeze my hand as I said goodnight and he did, strong and eyes tried to open. My heart soared!

    🙂 And JJ today’s made me laugh out loud. THank you!

  30. Steve, I’ve been in all three. In 1962 or ‘3 I participated in the theft of a sign pointing to Climax just off I-94. The perpetrator was an Olivet College music instructor as we returned from presenting a play at K College. He was gone by the next year. As for Hell, my late wife and I for 15-20 years led a “trip to Hell” on the Saturday before Halloween: Dinner at the Dam Site Inn, sometimes pizza, sometimes white tablecloth menu, followed by a drive to the Pinckney State Rec Area’s Silver Lake, followed by walking, in the dark, a mile on a dirt road and a mile on a hilly wooded path, flashlights discouraged. I presented gold bricks stamped with “Good Intentions Paving Co.” to all who went, and one year, I presented invitations for this dumb idea in a handbasket. Dumb idea, neat tradition. Widowed in 2011, I remarried in 2014, turned 80 last month and took up light jogging in the spring. I’m contemplating taking my new wife on a trip to Hell. But she won’t be up for camping at Bruin Lake; we’ll have to find a motel.

  31. Thanks for the update, Llee.

    “Any landing you can walk away from…” Although I suppose any landing that involves hitting power lines cannot be properly characterized as a “landing”.

  32. Footnote from last night regarding the tavern at which we ate: Jackie commented that what she remembered most about it was the bar and the pizzas she got there. Both her cousins swore the place had never made pizzas, and that perhaps her remembering the bar so well might have been related to her memory of the nonexistent pizzas.

    They both teased her unmercifully on a number of subjects. I could tell they had a lot of love for her, as well as great fondness for the memories of growing up with her. And like me, some of their best childhood memories obviously involved time spent with their cousins.

  33. It is hot as he’ll in Louisiana. I am resting up yo go buy flowers at Hobby Lobby. A cold shower is in order.

    The seafood has been really disappointing. Two bad meals in a row! I am not happy about this but my relatives and guardians, everyone we came to see likes Ghost. How could they not?

  34. “I don’t like the looks of it” said the king. “however, it may kiss my hand, if it likes.”
    “I’d rather not” the cat replied.-Lewis Carroll

  35. Our educational system continues to fail us, or something…

    News show on TV in lobby, covering christening of USS Gerald R. Ford and flashing facts about ship on screen: “Length of Flight Deck – 5 Acres”

  36. As a proctor at a local tech college, I am amazed by the confusion engendered by one simple question:

    “A forest ranger can see for 12 miles from the fire tower. How many square miles can he see?”

    If the multiple choice answers included 144 square miles, about 80% of them would choose it, thinking the observed shape would be a square. Some even tell me the shape of the area would be a triangle. 🙁

  37. Note to Bill in Bossier, Ghost says to tell you “Hey, we just went through your city on way back to Oklahoma!”

    We unfortunately had another .mediocre seafood meal in Louisiana, although Ghost said his roast beef po boy was pretty good. It seems places went down In the several years since I ate in them. Sadly.

  38. Back home in Oklahoma and reading about Comic.cons. wondered aloud if Jimmy was going to any this year? Ghost said ask him.

    Jimmy are you going to be at any comic.cons this year?

  39. Recent pleasantry: I just – this afternoon – made contact with an acquaintance whose last contact was 60 years ago! It was especially satisfying because I was able to track her down via genealogy sites even though a critical site had misspelled her maiden name [so I could not find her there], and I didn’t know her married name, either. Being logical can pay off….

    Locally, we had 7.3″ of rain a week ago (in 2 or 3 days) and another 2.8″ just yesterday. Rivers are flooding. Great for those growing rice or raising frogs, I suppose, but really, really sad for those living in low areas. Prayers for them.

  40. TR, alternate answer: pi * (12/2)^2
    Problem fails to define if 12 miles is a straight line of sight in any direction from his tower, or the total combined distance Ranger Rick is able to observe from two compass points 180° opposite.

  41. I would like to see “Dunkirk” too, and I haven’t been to the movies for years. Glad to see your recommendation, Rick.

    The cataract removal surgery is over and done with, and boy, am I glad! Results are good although not spectacular. I didn’t think I was seeing that badly before, but there is a nice improvement. All went smoothly and I had no pain — was indeed awake through the operation but as Ruth Ann told me, I didn’t care. They made me so relaxed and comfortable, it was quite enjoyable. Nurse Maureen kept bringing me heated blankets while getting me ready — lovely, and blankets stayed on in the operating room. My only gripe at present is that lots of eyedrops have to be applied, by myself, for no one else is here. I am learning to do it pretty well and am not too skittish about it, but it sure breaks up my day. It’s tedious and time-consuming.

  42. Miss Charlotte, I am so glad your cataract surgery went so well. Applying all those drops were the hardest part for me too. Llee how is your brother doing?

  43. Laura, he’s doing well. 🙂 Thank you all for sending good thoughts.Sounds like the dr is pleased so far. Robert tried to smile at his wife yesterday afternoon. Made her day.

    And look at today’s strip! Momma used to get mad at us reading comics (or anything fun) instead of “educational” books. Look at this Mom-comics do teach! Thanks Jimmy 🙂

  44. Back in Oklahoma and hotter here than Hades too. I need to go out and water some plants. Things did not get watered while we were gone.

    This house is so nice and cool. It is tempting to just stay in and do laundry. Gasp!! Laundry as the cool activity.

  45. Well, it is supposed to rain today, don’t know when. Then we have hot and sticky instead of just hot, just like Alabama summertime.

    Got to do laundry myself later today.

    But first a fun thing. Found somebody selling the Complete Far Side set on Craigslist for $30 (for what retails over $100) and will be going to pick it up. In a public place in broad daylight, of course.

  46. Trucker Ron,

    I had the same question as TMFKAS, radius or diameter. Since the earth is a spheroid, that also has some bearing on the total area. The the distance along the surface is longer than the straight line sight distance. Probably more importantly, there are various wrinkles (hills/valleys) in the surface that also increase the surface area. My guess is that the multiple-choice question likely included a correct answer that approximated the area assuming a planar circle. 🙂

    Of course, if the problem said the ranger could only see out the window on one side of the tower, then the triangle guessers would be right. But, they’d need to know the width of the window and the distance from the ranger to the window to solve (that’s making the assumption that the two triangles have the same angles on all corners. Knowing that the angles on the inside then allows the sides of the outside to be calculated . The height of 12 miles is given. Finally, since the triangles both are isosceles, the area can be safely calculated.

  47. Seems the page editor has problems with parenthesis and brackets… here’s another try

    Trucker Ron,

    I had the same question as TMFKAS, radius or diameter. Since the earth is a spheroid, that also has some bearing on the total area. The the distance along the surface is longer than the straight line sight distance. Probably more importantly, there are various wrinkles
    including hills/valleys in the surface that also increase the surface area. My guess is that the multiple-choice question likely included a correct answer that approximated the area assuming a planar circle. 🙂

    Of course, if the problem said the ranger could only see out the window on one side of the tower, then the triangle guessers would be right. But, they’d need to know the width of the window and the distance from the ranger to the window to solve– that’s making the assumption that the two triangles eye to window and eye to distance have the same angles on all corners. Knowing that the angles on the inside then allows the sides of the outside to be calculated –to get base width–. The height of 12 miles is given. Finally, since the triangles both are isosceles, the area can be safely calculated.

    –no, I don’t have anything else to do right now… 😀 —

  48. Trucker Ron and David in Austin,

    A well defined problem is 90% of the solution.

    This one reminds me of the physic test question, “using a barometer how do you find the height of a building?” The answer was expected to be a calculation in a change in barometric. An enterprising? student proposed measuring the height of the barometer and the shadow it casts. Then applying the calculated ratio to the building shadow to arrive at the building height.

  49. We went to a neighbors apartment to watch since we didn’t own a tv back then. Gasp!

    Of course, had an accident taken their lives I would have been paying out benefits to their families under the Federal workers compensation program. So I should have been watching. I don’t like watching things go wrong, reading is bad enough.

    By the way, the cover up on the Mercury fire extended to the official accident reports filed. I found out about cover up when everyone else did. Much later.

  50. I wanted to watch it, but my parents insisted that we drive home from my maternal grandparents’ home as it was happening. Nor would they tune the radio to the newsfeed; they wanted to talk about something boring to my teenage mind.

  51. Where I was at the time of Apollo 11 moon landing. Listening to it on BBC radio in an NCO club; drinking a beer while cleaning a pistol. Have no personal recall of the other six missions.

  52. Charlotte:

    I understand your not having gone to a movie in years.

    Besides the fact that I am growing too old for most movies (they almost always pale next to the novel), more and more movies simply aren’t any good.

    Also, they all seem to be variations on the same theme. I once read that there are seven basic conflicts in the arts. Note to Hollywood: You’re missing at least four of them.

    Another factor is that several of today’s TV programs are outstanding: Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Preacher, Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, The Americans, Hell on Wheels, Sons of Anarchy, and more.

  53. Heard around the hacienda this morning–

    Jackie: “That gray and peach checked shirt looks really good on you.”

    Me: “Just as the mysterious gypsy woman foretold when they abducted me.”

    **MGW: ‘One day in the near future, you will wear a peach-colored garment.’**

    **Me: ‘Hahahahahahaha!’**

  54. Hi Ghost darling, sorry I just have to share this one. Love you.

    This is the coolest thing I have ever seen and I absolutely love it. This laundry folding board came with Ghost and it folds the neatest laundry I have ever seen. He saw it on the Big Bang Theory and bought one.

    I watched him refold the badly folded tee shirts I had done by hand and said does it do sheets and towels? It does towels perfectly.

    Now I am going to pull all the towels from linen cabinet and fold them perfectly and identically.

    And all my tee shirts. And capris. And jeans. And anything else it will fold. Watch the clip.

  55. Some people would have said perhaps that the shirt was actually gray and orange but I think it was a Chaps shirt so more like a bright corally peach? (Hal said morally peach)

    There are few colors that don’t look good on Ghost. But he looks awesome as man in black.

  56. You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

    Didn’t get my Far Side. Seller and I missed connections. Told them I would pass on another attempt.

    Good night all.

  57. Are Carlo’s parents still alive? This small memory seemed to be about remembering his mother as much as as about a clock.
    I meant Arlo. Darned Half.

  58. I bought one of the T-shirt folding boards (as seen on Big-Bang Theory) too. I saw an organization specialist use it with one extra twist. After folding the shirt on the board, fol once more in half. Then, rather than stacking in a drawer all the shirts can stand on edge. That makes everything visible at once and requires no digging. Of course, I sort mine by colors AND fold so any printing is visible when folded. (I’m not compulsive, but I am more than a little obsessive.)

  59. Today began with a cosmic shock and the world shifted beneath me.

    Life is not fair. I was simply too happy for it to allow.

    Ghost and I together and I thank all gods there be for that miracle. Thank you Jimmy Johnson, thank you for Arlo and Janis, thank you for the Village. You made my fairy tale happen at last.

  60. Awakened with call at 9 a.m. to schedule breast cancer surgery immediately in Tulsa as result of mammogram. Said clearly shows cancer in left breast without biopsy. They are scheduling a needle biopsy and lining up Hillcrest hospital and breast surgeon, cancer doctors there for me at once.

    Ghost knows but he had returned to Mississippi for some medical appointments of his own.

  61. I just read an article, precipitated by John McCain’s diagnosis, that we should not use “fight” or war-like language in regards to cancer. Well, I apologize, but cancer sucks and I just ask for prayers and positive thoughts for everyone with this diagnosis. I know the power of positive thinking and pray that you will stay as positive as possible so that your body can heal.

    They positive that comes to mind is that you are not alone. Not just your physical family and friends, but your virtual family here. Fight the good fight.

  62. Hang in there, sweetie. Here’s hoping it is just a little thing, not cancer.

    THey plan to remove breathing tube from Robert this morning. Sounds like good progress.

  63. I am going to stay positive. Going to get my nails done and polish removed, finish laundry and get some information since I have no idea what to expect in this. I have never dreamed this could happen.

    All I could think was that like Arlo, these are probably Ghosts favorite parts. They will have to operate on both sides so I have a matched pair.

  64. Jackie, hang in there. You will come through this all right. As the saying goes, your whole is more than the sum of your parts. Don’t feel that Ghost will like you any less without one of them as he is smarter than that!

  65. It just isn’t fair to Ghost either. We have just gotten my knee fixed and had scheduled the second one. We were going to celebrate two new knees in 2018 with a return to South Louisiana and Mardi Gras at Franklin, LA.

    BUT ………. I am at nail salon having toes and nails done, getting polish taken off and natural if I am going to hospital this week.

  66. At physical therapy doing knee exercises. I am trying to get two additional week’s in if I possibly can. I will do up to four sessions a week if can, that is most allowable.

    Keeping on working on knees and not cancelling our travel until it is a no go for sure. We are supposed to be going to Port Townsend, Washington and Maine this summer, Atlantic and Pacific a month apart and most of the West and east.

  67. Sorry to hear that news, Jackie. Said disease can be beaten totally or, at least, for a long time.

    My MIL was diagnosed with just the crude methods available in 1947. She beat it back with only the initial treatment – also crude by today’s standards – for 24 years. As I tell my MBH when she worries about the genetic factor involved, “You’re 78. Even if you were diagnosed today and did only as well as your mom, you’d live to be 102. As detection and treatment methods are so much better today than they were in the 1940s, you’d probably do better than your mom.”

    I am sure there can be a similar statement applicable to you, JM. Odds are that you will live out a normal-or-better lifespan anyway. Go for it! [And keep us posted.]

  68. Since I am now 73 I already have beaten the life expectancy odds the actuaries used back in the 1980s to calculate how long I’d live. I was planning to last as long as my mother, my grandmother’s and my aunt’s, all of whom made it to 90s even with cancer.

    I just had such a fun retirement Ghost and I were going to start the first week in August by heading to Port Townsend and the western states. Chemo and radiation were not part of it.

    No, I will do this as publically as the knee replacement. If you can’t show humor through the horror it doesn’t inspire.

  69. Wow, Jackie that’s a real kick in the head. I know you’ll keep a positive attitude and see this through to a good end. Keep on keepin’on.

  70. I’ve been quiet today, due to having driven nine hours yesterday and getting up early today to keep dental and medical appointments and take care of other business. I got the call from Jackie this morning while waiting for a blood draw for labs. I spent the rest of the morning clearing the decks by rescheduling appointments, and then sitting in a dental chair for three and a half hours this afternoon. I will be returning to Oklahoma early tomorrow morning to be with my darling Jackie.

    Little known fact: Ghost is a cancer survivor who has not only survived but thrived for almost twenty years. I expect nothing less from Jackie. Plus, I’m lending her my motto…”Non deficere.”*

    *”Never give up.”

  71. I too am a cancer survivor… 40 years! With Jackie’s can-do spirit… the support of her many friends… I am expecting to hear of her adventures for many years to come!

  72. Going to bed. Didn’t hear from hospital or surgeon but it is just Monday. This was first I’d driven van in two months, Tulsa is 90 minutes away each way. I am tired.

    Thanks for love and support. I am honestly wanting to have right knee replaced in October. I was looking forward to two good knees and legs same length.

    Miss my Ghost. Love my porcine aviator. Pigs do fly.

  73. Prayers to all that need them.

    Good customer’s daughter had stroke at 47 – mind is sharp but the body (rt side) is weak.

    Pray for all of us – we all need it one way or another.


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