Dec 282019
 

I don’t want to compare myself to the freedom fighters in Hong Kong, but there arise moments in our lives where we must choose to either step up and act for the greater good or back away and allow wrong to prevail.  Good versus evil.  I came to such a crossroads recently.  It tested my very fiber.  Was it on a dusty street in a communist country?  Not exactly.  It was at a Safeway chicken wing bar. 

It occurred at the end of a long day.  I stopped by Safeway for some takeout.  Safeway has a chicken wing cart near its deli.  They put out six flavors.  Among them are BBQ, Buffalo, General Tso’s, and my favorite, Salt and Vinegar. 

This is where the trouble began.

I marched up to the chicken wing bar and found, for the third visit in a row, that all the Salt and Vinegar wings were gone.  COMPLETELY gone.  Yet again, I found myself staring down at an empty stainless-steel tray.  My disjointed reflection on its bottom mocked me. 

Here is the injustice: All the other trays with the other flavored wings were filled to the brim.  Salt and Vinegar wings were apparently the crack cocaine of chicken wings.  People were literally gobbling them up.  And by people, I mean people who got off work earlier than me.  Which, by the way, means that they probably weren’t working as hard as me, and therefore, did not deserve the tasty Salt and Vinegar wings nearly as much as me. 

This was my fork in the road.  This was my Birmingham.  This was my Tiananmen Square.  This was my Hong Kong.

I marched up to the deli counter and demanded to speak to the chicken wing manager.  (I was going straight to the top.) 

An older woman in a hair net emerged and said she was the manager.  I laid out my complaint in no uncertain terms.  Why in the world were they making the same quanity of all the flavors, when any moron with an IQ above room temperature could tell that Salt and Vinegar were the most popular?  It was an outrage!

The hair net lady listened patiently.  Then she explained that the store was sent a box with packets of the same amount of each seasoning for each flavor.  They used all the seasoning each day.  They were making all the Salt and Vinegar wings they could.   

Dagnabbit!  The hair net lady had me CHECK and MATE!  I had dared to step up to the precipice of the chicken wing powers, but the chicken wing powers prevailed – THIS TIME. 

I would need to retreat and regroup.

So for today, but only today, I’ll let the freedom fighters in Hong Kong take all the glory.

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Dec 212019
 

I always enjoy reading “Year-end Letters” from families updating us on their activities during the prior year.  I especially enjoy their humble nature.  For example, here are a few excerpts from a letter I received last year:

“Guess who just got accepted into Harvard?  As if any of us doubted he’d get in!” 

“Jim got an enormous raise!  ‘Somebody’s’ shopping for a new Escalade!  Ha ha!” 

“Who says air travel sucks?  Our family flew to Monaco last August in first class ‘pods.’  We arrived fresh as daisies!” 

Well, I’ve decided to get in on the act.  So, without further ado, I present the inaugural Edwards Family Year-end Letter –

The Edwards Family Year-end Letter

We have MUCH to be thankful for this year!  

Where to even begin?

We celebrated a VERY thankful Thanksgiving.  Timmy was released early for good behavior, so he was able to join us for the first time in three years!  (Those of you who were able to attend his trial know he was railroaded.  Everybody but those stupid jurors know eye-witness testimony isn’t reliable!  Plenty of people wear spiked purple hair and have a Mickey Mouse tattoo on their neck.) 

Little Suzie got a lesson about corporate greed this year.  After only five days on the job at McDonald’s, Suzie was shocked to learn about an unreasonably strict rule.  Apparently, buried in the fine print of the McDonald’s employee handbook is a rule that says being late for your shift three days in a row is cause for termination.  But Suzie’s a fighter!  She’s already written an email to Bernie Sanders asking him to do something about this injustice once he’s sworn into office.

The whole family (minus Timmy, of course) had a more exciting summer vacation than we’d planned.  Long story short, we checked into a cozy Motel 6 just off the highway near Seaside.  (Well, it used to be a Motel 6.)  It turned out the place had a catastrophic lice infestation.  Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!  We’ll remember that vacation!

I should also take this opportunity to address the rumor that I had an affair with a stripper named Candy from Newport a few months back.  First of all, her name is Candi, with an “i”, and NO, I did not have an affair.  And even if I did, it would have meant nothing to me.  (Honey, I swear!  It meant nothing to me!)  So, please take anything you hear about me during the coming year with a grain of salt.

That about wraps up the year! 

The entire Edwards family wishes you and yours all the luck we’ve enjoyed as we begin the new year!

(Important Author’s Note:  The real Edwards family does not have a son named Timmy.  We do not have a daughter named Suzie.  And I do not know any strippers named Candi, with or without an “i”!)

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Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

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Dec 152019
 

As you may recall, Oliver the Cat showed up on our doorstep last winter and informed me and my wife that he was now living in our (his) home.  So far, Oliver has been quite reasonable.  With few exceptions, he has let us have the run of the place. 

You may also recall that I didn’t have much trouble identifying his breed.  He’s not a Siamese cat.  He’s not an American short-hair cat.  He’s an “Alarm Cat.”  Oliver begins meowing like a tsunami siren at 5:30 every morning, and if I don’t spring up like a firefighter racing for the pole, then he starts whacking his paw against our bedroom door.  Oliver has all the patience of Saddam Hussain.

As it turns out, Oliver is also the first feline Philosophy Professor.  Let me explain –

We live in Eugene, Oregon.  Oregon is famous for its rain.  Out of the 365 days of the year, on average, it rains 366.  (This is just in case it’s a leap year.)  Well, Oliver isn’t much for rain.  He might go out and prowl around the porch, but Oliver’s more of a sunny-weather cat.

So, here’s the deal.  We usually let Oliver out through the front door.  He’ll make it clear he wants to go out by running straight for the door and then freezing and staring at it like he’s a statue.

When I open the door, Oliver always sticks his head out to survey the situation before he exits.  If it’s raining, he’ll do a U-turn and head back in. 

But that’s not the end of it.  Oliver will then run down the hall to the back door.  I will then dutifully go open that door for him as well.  You see, Oliver figures that just because it’s raining outside the front door, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s raining outside the back door.  I’m not saying that Oliver does this every time he sees it raining outside the front door, only 99% of the time.  (I’m guessing Oliver flunked Earth Science in middle school.)

Because I am a little slow off the dime, it took me a while to figure something out.  It’s a lesson I keep trying to remember:

Oliver is not the only one looking out the front door and then checking the back.  Oliver isn’t the only one who can’t see the big picture.  It’s me.  Here I am sitting on this little blue planet in this vast unending universe, which I can only describe as an impossibility.  And I regularly make the mistake of thinking I have even a modicum of understanding of how it works.  In short, I am not much smarter than Oliver the Cat. 

Thank you for helping me remember this, Professor Oliver.  See you at 5:30 a.m.

**************30****************

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Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

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Dec 072019
 

I’ll admit it.  The title of this column is just a fantasy of mine.  I do enjoy imagining, however, that somewhere out there, perhaps south of the Mason-Dixon Line, one lonely peach-obsessed farmer discovered mid-impeachment hearings that the entire hubbub had nothing to do with peaches.

Sadly, not only did it have absolutely nothing to do with peaches, it didn’t even have anything to do with farmers – not even UNKRAINIAN farmers! 

The Democrats’ official position is that it is their solemn constitutional duty to remove President Trump from office due to the clear and imminent danger he poses.  And that danger is that he may well wipe the floor with whomever Marxist-sympathizer the Democrats nominate to run against him.

The Republicans’ official position is that, yes, President Trump is a lying carnival barker who wouldn’t know the truth if it snuck up and bit him on his considerable backside.  But he is THEIR lying carnival barker, and they’re going to hang onto him come hell or high water.  Oh, AND the stock market just hit 28,000!

If you are among the one-tenth of 1% of Americans actually watching the impeachment hearings, I visited the Official US Congress website and found a page called, “The Official Impeachment Definition Guide.”  I copied it, and I posted it here for your convenience –

Constitutional Crisis: Even the mere thought that “Russian agent” Donald Trump might win a second term.

Witch Hunt: The quest to find any Trump short-coming, even if Adam Schiff has to pull back the elastic band and peak into Trump’s underpants.  (A task that Schiff seems entirely willing, perhaps even disturbingly eager, to perform.)

Senate Impeachment Trial: The Senate version of kindergarten naptime, except before laying down on their mats, the senate “jurors” remove their dentures.  The verdict is expected to be a nail biter.  Senate Majority Leader McConnell seems pretty wishy-washy on the issue.  It appears he could tilt either way. 

Sleep Aid: [See Senate Impeachment Trial definition above].

Meanwhile, in “flyover country,” the people who are paying for all the Lincoln Town Cars to ushers these very important people around just want to grow their peaches.

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Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

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Nov 302019
 

When it comes to volunteering for important acts of charity, just remember one thing.  It’s not important who gets the credit, as long as I get some of the credit.  And when it comes to helping meet the financial needs of those who are struggling, it isn’t important who steps forward to meet those needs, as long as it isn’t me.

Settle down, folks!  Don’t get your panties in a bunch.  I’m just kidding! 

Nothing makes me feel more satisfied than when I come across some poor soul who is in desperate need of assistance, and somebody else meets that need.

Just kidding again!

In fact, about this time of year, I find myself breaking my rule against giving money to panhandlers.  Their lives have been ravaged by drugs and alcohol.  Their only hope is that they will be able find a path to sobriety and begin to put their lives back in order.  But it’s the holidays.  It’s freezing out there.  I figure they could use a drink.

Now, I’m about to breach a very sensitive subject.  So, if you are in any way sensitive – if you cried at the end of Frozen ­– if you make it a habit to send get well cards to people who aren’t even in the hospital, stop reading this IMMEDIATELY.

You know those Salvation Army bell ringers stationed at every retail business in the continental United States and the Territory of Guam?  They need to follow my advice.  If they do, their donations (or “take,” so to speak) will increase three-fold.

Here it is –

Please, please, please stop ringing those bells like you’re trying to shake a crawdad off the end of your finger.  Are you getting paid by the ring?  Chillax! Slow your roll!  Do this –

Give the bell a little ring.  Pause a few beats, and then give it another gentle ring.  Right now, it sounds like you’re trying to call your cattle back down from the mountains.  I’ve seriously been thinking of taking ear plugs the next time I go shopping.  I’m really hoping the Salvation Army somehow hears my message, and in their great wisdom, actually implements my new, improved bell-ringing policy.  If they do, I hope that they’ll remember that it’s not important who gets the credit, as long as I get some of the credit.

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Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer

https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Secrets-Need-Right-Lawyer-ebook/dp/B01MU778TA/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=Hugh+Duvall&qid=1575075229&sr=8-4

Nov 242019
 

I don’t want to alarm anyone.  But it has come to my attention (this is true, you can google it), that the chemical they use on most store receipts causes cancer.

So, the next time you’re buying a Big Gulp, for example, and the bored looking clerk across the counter asks you if you want a receipt, according to this new research, the appropriate response is, “Do you want testicular cancer?” 

Here is a VERY REAL excerpt from a WebMD article:

Bisphenol A or BPA, a common chemical found in plastics and other consumer products that’s been linked to reproductive harm and other ills, can also be transferred to the skin from cash register receipts and dollar bills ….

“BPA is a developer used in the thermal paper,” says Erika Schreder…  It’s found in the receipts used by probably 95% of stores, she tells WebMD.

The writer of this WebMD article reached out to get the other side of the story, and included this response:

            “…[A] spokesperson for the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group says there is no reason to worry.”

This gives me EVERY reason to worry.

So, the other day I’m at a Dollar Tree buying pens. (Note: I do not know whether 7-11 or Dollar Tree stores are included in the 95% of stores that use BPA on there receipts… but … do the math).  So I take my pens to the checkout stand, and this is where I was faced with a life-altering dilemma.  The pens were for my business.  They were TAX DEDUCTABLE.  But I would have to take the cancer-causing receipt to claim it on my tax return.  Yeah, I read the stupid article about the cancer-causing receipts and how they said to tell the store clerk to put it in the bag so that only the store clerk would get ravaged by cancer. But even so, it’s not like I’ve got a bio-hazard suit hanging in my closet at home. Let’s face it, at some point, I would have to handle the cancer receipt.

And so, I took it.  I took the cancer-causing receipt.  My life-long inherent cheapskateness took precedence over dying a long, miserable death from cancer.  I’ve got to own that.  It’s in my DNA.  I come from a long line of cheapskates.

So, let’s review:

BBQing your steaks causes cancer.

The sun causes cancer.

Processed meat causes cancer.

Alcohol causes cancer.

So, in short, over the past few decades, scientist have established one thing conclusively:  Living your life causes cancer.

It’s Chernobyl out there! 

I would simply go wrap myself from head to toe in polyurethane to protect me from all these dangers.  But guess what? 

Polyurethane causes cancer!

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Nov 102019
 

If there is one thing I know, it’s how to gain a disturbing amount of weight over a remarkably short period of time.  I don’t want to brag, but I once outgrew a pair of Wrangler jeans in under two weeks.  How does this help save the giant panda, you ask?  Keep reading.

I am not claiming to be a certified expert on the giant panda.  However, I did watch the entire Sixty Minutes story last Sunday.  I even paused the show when I went to use the can.  That is how committed I am to the plight of this majestic (though largely useless) animal. 

The giant panda is the official animal of China.  Say what you will about China’s human rights abuses – the imprisonment of dissidents, the repression of religious liberty, the forced harvesting of human organs – just remember one thing: These abuses are against their people, NOT their pandas.  FACT: China has never, NOT ONCE, imprisoned a panda for his political views.

According to Sixty Minutes, the wild giant panda population is dropping faster than you can say “China is the world leader in intellectual property theft.” 

Here’s the panda scoop:

Fact #1 – Female pandas can only conceive three days a year.  (Note to self:  Bottle giant panda hormones.  Sell them on the black market as birth control.  Make billions $$$.)

Fact #2 – Pandas must eat bamboo 17 hours a day because each pound of bamboo provides about half a nano-calorie of energy.  Thus, pandas are always too exhausted for any extracurricular activities. 

Fact #1 + Fact #2 = There’s only one new panda born in the wild every 172.3 years.  Just kidding!  The actual scientific number is two baby pandas every 172.3 years. 

The solution – 

The Chinese must talk to the Japanese.  I know they’re still a little sore about Japan concurring China during WW II, and all the torture, beheadings, systematic rape and general mayhem the Japanese imposed on them, but they really need to get over that because, trust me, the Japanese can save the panda.

Chinese Panda Officials need to ask the Japanese to loan them one of their sumo wrestling dietitians.  They need to put these pandas on the sumo diet.  I know a little something about this diet because I accidently ended up on it for several months a while back.  This is the diet that Japanese sumo wrestlers use to gain that extra pound or two to give them a competitive edge. 

The sumo diet is easy to use and extremely effective.  Step one: Wait until late in the evening and settle down to watch an episode of Hawaii Five-O.  Step two: Wash down generous quantities of high carbohydrate snacks with copious amounts of beer.  Step three: Sleep on a belly full of that mixture night after night and let Mother Nature work her magic.

If you truly care about saving the giant panda, here is what you need to do TODAY:  Send a letter to the Chinese Giant Panda Central Authority and ask them to immediately implement the sumo wrestler diet.  I am confident that with your help, in less than two weeks, not a single giant panda will be able to fit into his Wrangler jeans.  And soon after, they’ll have baby pandas coming out the wazoo.

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Seven Rules for the College Playground –

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Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

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Oct 192019
 

Milo the Dog ventured south from Portland this week to enjoy some “me time,” in Eugene.  For those of you who don’t speak dog, “me time” is doggy language which translates to “pee time.”  It’s a time to pee on new and exciting things – birch trees, box plants, landscape ornamentals, and distracted neighbors.

Oliver the Cat, who has been living in our home as a squatter since last year, translates “me time” to “eat me time.”  This is Oliver’s greatest fear, and what he believes is Milo’s primary goal between his pee times. 

Thankfully, the weather is cooperating, and we’ll have wonderful dog-walking conditions this week.  Here’s the forecast

When he’s not enjoying a nice walk through the daily monsoon, Milo enjoys spending time in the spa (living room) between his pee times, getting his beauty rest –

Living with both Oliver and Milo is like playing a 24-hour game of Tetris.  Oliver goes into the utility hall while Milo is in the house but is let to roam freely when Milo is outside.  Prior to letting Milo back into the house, we must find Oliver, take him prisoner, and transport him either back into the utility hall or put him outside.  Luckily, when he’s not napping (which he only does 23 hours a day), Oliver likes to spend as much time outside as possible looking for creatures to torture and eat. 

I recently caught this action shot of Oliver (don’t blink) –

One of the most exciting things about having Milo visit, is that it gives me a chance to become the key prosecution witness in a murder trial.  As everyone who watches an unhealthy number of true crime TV shows is well aware, the “key” witness in every murder trial is some poor sap out walking his dog at midnight.  Here is an official excerpt of a murder trial transcript (well, it would be official, if I hadn’t made it up):

Prosecutor: “What time was it when you saw the baldheaded man with the bloody knife run from the gazebo and race away in the dilapidated Dodge Durango?

Key “Dog-Walking” Witness: “Uh… About midnight.”

Prosecutor (with a sour look on his face like he just bit into a rotten peanut M&M): I rest my case, Your Honor.”

Sadly, I think it is far too rainy this week for me to witness any murders.  So, there goes that opportunity.  The only way I think I’ll get to witness a murder is if Milo’s “me time,” I mean “pee time,” REALLY becomes “eat me time.”  Good luck, Oliver!  We’re rooting for you!

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Time to Visit Ukraine: The Disneyland of Eastern Europe

 Humor  Comments Off on Time to Visit Ukraine: The Disneyland of Eastern Europe
Oct 122019
 
Map brazenly stolen from Wikipedia
(in the fine Ukrainian tradition)

Like most Americans, you’ve probably been asking yourself this question: “Isn’t it time I vacation in Ukraine?”  If so, you can’t afford to delay.  I am warning you about this because I was recently informed (this is EXTREMELY TRUE) that the name of the Ukrainian national anthem is (again, I swear this is true – look it up), “The Glory and the Will of Ukraine Have Not Yet Died.”  To be clear, Ukraine is announcing that it is dying – AND the Ukrainians are apparently quite proud of the fact, but it’s dying nonetheless.  But…, “Not Yet.”  So reserve your plane ticket pronto.

And while you’re at it, order some Ukrainian currency from your bank.  The counterpart to our dollar is the Ukrainian “hryvnia.”  (This is pronounced “hryvnia.”)  The current exchange rate is one US dollar to 24.62 hryvnias.  So a hryvnia is worth about four cents.  Hryvnias are subdivided into 100 parts called kopiyoks.  (The simple mathematical calculation to determine the US currency value of a single kopiyok is as follows: 1 hryvnia, divided by 100 kopiyoks, times 24. 62 = Zero. Therefore, mathematically speaking, kopiyoks have no value.) Practically speaking, Ukrainians use 50-pound bags of kopiyoks as doorstops.  In fact, a common “witty” retort in Ukraine is, “I don’t give a kopiyok.

Another reason to visit Ukraine is its rich heritage of intricate, artistic design.  This history of combining rich color with beautiful, complex designs is most prominently displayed by the dazzling intricacy of the Ukrainian national flag. Here it is –

Yet another good reason to visit (if you even need one), is that Russia has been gobbling up Ukrainian territory like a fat guy swallowing a pizza.  They’ve already grabbed an area called the “Crimea.”  (This is the peninsula sticking off the bottom part of the map.)  Ukrainians refer to the Crimea as, “The Florida of the Ukraine.”

So, start booking those Airbnb’s and reserving those tables at the hot spots in Kyiv and Poltava.  Because while “The Glory and the Will of Ukraine Have Not Yet Died,” the Russian clock is ticking.  If you want to visit Ukraine while it still has its “Glory and Will,” now’s the time to stuff a few hundred thousand hryvnias in your pocket and make your move.

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Quitters Never Win

 Humor  Comments Off on Quitters Never Win
Oct 052019
 

There are times when we must admit we’ve failed.  For me, one of those times is now.  I have failed.  I need to admit it.  I’m sure you’ve already guessed my great defeat, but I’ll say it anyway. –

My recent campaign to promote chain smoking has failed.  In fact, I’m not aware of a single, solitary person who has taken so much as a puff as a result of my efforts.  If you don’t recall my campaign, here is the link –

The saddest part is that I feel like I’m letting Vince Lombardi down.  You might be familiar with Vince’s famous quote:

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

This is especially painful because Vince loved a good cigarette.  Here he is sucking on a fresh butt –

Football: Closeup of Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi smoking cigarette on sidelines during game vs Chicago Bears at City Stadium. Green Bay, WI 9/15/1963 CREDIT: Neil Leifer (Photo by Neil Leifer /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X9486 )

Frankly, looking at this picture I stole from Getty Images gives me a second wind.  A smoky, hazy wind, yes, but a second wind nonetheless.  I just now starting to feel the strength to dig deep, to push forward, to persevere.  I can hear Chuck Yeager in my ear whispering HIS famous quote:

“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.”

Can I really abandon my mission to promote the health benefits of chain smoking?  Especially now, with all the young folks starting to “vape.”  Vape!  It’s so dangerous.  Listen people, and listen well: Unlike cigarettes, there are no health benefits to vaping! 

That’s it.  I am NOT going to give up!  I am going to embrace yet another Vince Lombardi quote:

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Yes, my chain-smoking campaign has been knocked down.  But I’m going to pick it up, dust it off, and move forward.  The medical benefits are too great to ignore. In the spirit of the great Vince Lombardi, my new campaign slogan will be:

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you light up.”

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https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov