May 25, 2022

  • Getting There Is Half the Fun

    “Getting there is half the fun.” That’s what Dad always used to say back in the days when visiting Grandma and Grandpa was a full day trip by car. Remembering that when I’m about to embark on yet another epic journey seems to dull the dread of modern travel. A recent trip to the Dominican Republic gave new meaning to “half the fun.” Our first flight was scheduled to leave Phoenix at 10:45 PM, so we arrived at the airport our obligatory two hours before departure only to find that our flight was delayed until 12:08 AM. We passed the…

  • The Mad Scientists

    People often have the perception that the wine industry is all picturesque postcards with sophisticated people standing around pontificating on the finer points of their latest bottled masterpiece. That may be the case if you’re a well paid critic whose entire job is nothing but going from tasting room to tasting room. The typical is far less glamorous. While many people think of the art and romance of wine, there’s a great deal of science that goes into your average winery. Want to become a serious winemaker? Study your chemistry, microbiology, physics, and horticulture. I wanted to take you behind…

  • Explosions! Do Not Try This At Home!

    Appreciate a good teeth rattling, chest walloping explosion? I know, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, this boy has really lost it! Last week he writes about plinking and shooting teddy bears. Now he’s talking about blowing stuff up! Hide the kids!” Truth is, I come by this stuff honestly. It’s part of my heritage. My DNA is programmed to like things that go bang and boom. Let me explain. When I was a kid we visited my Grandfather’s house a lot. I’ve already told you that my Daddy was a mountain man, through and through. What you don’t know…

  • The Indestructible Wine, part 2

    In my last column, I took you through some of the history of Madeira wine, and discussed its role in trade and the formation of America. Here, I continue with the topic and examine the drink itself – what it’s made of, how it’s made, and understanding what the labels mean. Madeira Island has an oceanic/tropical climate, so fungal diseases and rot are persistent problems. To combat this, grapes are grown on terraced hillsides, often trained on trellises called latada. There are four traditional grapes: Malvasia (Malmsey), Bual (Boal), Verdelho, and Sercial. The grape Tinta Negra Mole became the most…

  • Unnecessary Manuals

    My new cell phone arrived the other day and I couldn’t believe how big the shipping box was. The new phone is about the size of a credit card, but the box it came in would hold a Sears side-by-side refrigerator freezer with room left over for a homeless Sumo wrestler. I knew it was my phone, because it said so on the box, but I felt a twinge of panic. I wondered exactly how many phones I had ordered or perhaps I had misunderstood how big the thing was. After all, I had never actually seen the phone, except…

FEATURED WORLD EDITION

Energy Crisis

Oct 28, 2019

MORE OUTSOURCING NEWS: According to a high source in the U.S. Department of Justice, nearly undetectable counterfeit $100 bills are being made in North Korea, and counterfeit cigarettes and U.S. postage stamps are being made in China for import into the United States. Counterfeiters with American citizenship have filed a formal complaint. FAST FOOD BUNGLED BURGLARY NEWS: According to a report in the Ann Arbor News, a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilante, Michigan around 5 am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk explained that he couldn’t open the register without a food order. When the…

New Man

Oct 28, 2019

                                        I just came from the doctor’s with The little list she made: “The food I must not ever eat,” The things I must evade. Right at the top is COFFEE, Which I’m drinking as I write; And next, I see, is BROWNIES, As I take another bite. POTATO CHIPS and KRISPY KREMES Are numbered three and four; Darn lucky since I packed them both For lunch the night before. And for this evening’s barbecue, With perfect timing clear, Are number…

Money, Money, Money

Oct 28, 2019

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?” — John Barrymore “In its famous paradox, the equation of money and excrement, psychoanalysis becomes the first science to state what common sense and the poets have long known — that the essence of money is in its absolute worthlessness.” — Norman O. Brown “The entire…

Well-intended Warning

Oct 28, 2019

Excentric World staff members take a look at the laws on some state’s books that make it illegal for drivers to flash their lights to warn oncoming traffic of a police car down the street. Evidently in this town, it is allowable to post the information on a temporary promotional sign. Our staff members felt that while the sign was well intended, it may be more effective a little further up the road.     Related posts: The Current State of America’s Economy Unnecessary Manuals Internet Dating Follow Up Refuting Climate Change

Loch Ness Laps Stunt

Oct 28, 2019

NESSIE NEWS: One lap of Loch Ness was barely tolerable, but two more proved too much for a group of nude swimmers who surrendered to bad weather. The four men and two women, taking turns of an hour each, began their charity stunt at night and completed their first 23-mile lap the following morning. That was all, as temperatures sank and winds rose. According to monitors and observers the temperature and winds weren’t the only things sinking and rising. BOOK NEWS: Six Wisconsin library administrators have produced a sexy calendar they are selling to raise money for their libraries. Five…

Whatchamacallit?

Oct 28, 2019

They say that as you’re growing old, Your whatchamacallit goes– You can’t remember little things Like if you wore your clothes, Or if your sister (what’s her name?) Has been released from jail, Or if your sister’s brother is Still trying to make bail. But, when you really think it through (Which, clearly, you can’t do), The things you don’t remember are The very things that you Would rather not remember and, In fact, would best forget, To give your brain some breathing room, So, frankly, you could get The life that you had rather lived Set firmly in your…

Assassination Confusion

Oct 28, 2019

TELEVANGELIST NEWS: Pat Robertson, CEO of the 700 Club television station in Virginia Beach, was quoted as saying he endorsed the assassination of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, claiming the dictator supported both the spread of Communism and Muslim extremism. Later, he backslid and claimed to be misunderstood, saying he meant the tyrant should be “taken out,” which could have a variety of meanings, like kidnapping him, taking him out for dinner and a movie or taking him out for a walk. As usual, the media was behind the confusion. GOING POSTAL NEWS: Thomas Shaheen, 49, of suburban Springfield Township, who…

Whatchacallit II

Oct 28, 2019

In reading last month’s ditty, I Have realized of late, That what I vainly preached about Has been my own true fate. My whatchacallit’s truly gone! I’m in a brand new zone! I don’t remember anything, And, boy, how I have grown! Or shrunk, I guess! At any rate, I’ve had to start anew and Invent a past and present that More fairly is my due. A myth, in fact, a naked lie, A fabricated rout! Complete with names and places that I’ve only dreamed about! But, wait, this seems familiar. Could I simply have forgot? I’ll never really know…

Baseball

Oct 28, 2019

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “Hating the New York Yankees is as American as apple pie, unwed mothers and cheating on your income tax.” — Mike Royko “Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything.” — Toby Harrah “Well, boys, it’s a round ball and a round bat and you got to hit the ball square.”…

Internet Dating Follow Up

Oct 28, 2019

Excentric World staff members look into the latest in Internet dating. A matchmaking company, Great Expectations, promises to help singles who are experiencing difficulty finding someone compatible. Our staff followed (let’s call him Bob) on a date after he selected a perfect match from an on-line questionnaire. He chose to have his special date meet him at his house before going out. The two listed a great sense of humor and slow dancing as their main attractions. Little did he know that his prospective date would far exceed his expectations.     Related posts: Financial Struggle Long Distance Longings The Current…

Lottery Offense

Oct 28, 2019

LAW ENFORCEMENT NEWS: A winner of the Arizona Lottery has been convicted of a federal offense, and was sentenced to prison for 10 years or 1 week each month for 42 years. MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH NEWS: Scientists in South Korea recently announced that, on the heels of cloning human tissue, they have been able to create artificial human sperm. This development will probably be of particular interest to married American males who are often either too tired or too lazy to create their own or are busy watching a sporting event. SPREADING GOSSIP NEWS: Some people don’t believe in repeating gossip,…

An Excentric Look Into The Future

Oct 28, 2019

Excentric World staff members take a look at all the happy gift recipients following the holidays. This couple is an example of two people so much in love that they gave each other a cell phone. Now, even before their ritual Sunday breakfast out is over, they busily show that love again by using their gifts to text and chat with friends. Perhaps they’ll take a Facebook picture of their meal, a popular, while goofy thing to do.     Related posts: Deck the Decking with Beer Can Bottoms From the Back Pew . . . Horoscopes for November 9-15,…

Sacrifices Made and Loves Lost

Oct 28, 2019

Holiday gatherings often stir emotions and memories of loved ones not in attendance. Our staff decided this month would be a good time to reflect and to remember the fallen. This photograph was taken during the winter of 2001 to commemorate September 11 and the gallant efforts of the firefighters to rescue as many people as they possibly could without reservations. Too often, time passes and without storytellers to preserve the images, times of bravery and sacrifice are too easily forgotten. So, just this once we would like to repeat a picture to remind those who might have forgotten–and involve…

A Christmas Poem

Oct 28, 2019

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight. The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream. The sound wasn’t…

Heart Rider

Oct 28, 2019

I peddled out of Phoenix Just about three weeks ago, And panted up the Mogollon, And through New Mexico, Then Texas, Oklahoma, and Across the Kansas miles, To end it in Missouri to St. Louis–welcome smiles. I peddled fifteen hundred miles With bare necessities: The clothing on my back, that’s all, And no real niceties. A sleeping bag and sunscreen, and Some shampoo and a comb, A couple of necessary tools, And my desire to roam. An Ogalala Sioux I met Who’s words cut clean and smart, Told me I didn’t ride a bike. Instead, I rode my heart. Related…

Americans Out of Work

Oct 28, 2019

Excentric World staff members look at Americans out of work and looking toward self-employment. This laid-off gallery manager decided to use his experience in dealing with paintings and painters and start up an interior improvement business. First, he needs to master the art of mixing paint.     Related posts: Economical Ways of Going Green Effects of Alcohol Binging Out-of-work US Citizens Bogus Automobile Insurance Claims

Failure

Oct 28, 2019

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.” — Dan Quayle “It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.” — Aristotle “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby “If at first you don’t succeed, find out…

Congressional Wins

Oct 28, 2019

NATIONAL LEGISLATION NEWS: Congress has been unable to agree on a budget, direct Social Security reform, solve the Medicaid dilemma or protect our borders. However, in emergency sessions, they have succeeded in exposing the steroid use in sports and making sure credit card companies collected from people out of work and forced to file bankruptcy, proving, once again, we have the very best government that money can buy. AUTOMOBILE SAFETY NEWS: A recent study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences should be of interest to those drivers who claim to buy SUVs purely for safety reasons. The results of…

Lesser Known December Holidays

Oct 28, 2019

December 1 is . . . National Pie Day and Eat A Red Apple Day December 2 is . . . National Fritters Day December 3 is . . . National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day December 4 is . . . Wear Brown Shoes Day December 5 is . . . National Sacher Torte Day December 6 is . . . National Gazpacho Day and Mitten Tree Day December 7 is . . . National Cotton Candy Day December 8 is . . . Take It In The Ear Day December 9 is . . . National Pastry Day December 10 is…

Top 10 Signs You Were Too Old to Trick or Treat

Oct 28, 2019

10. You got winded from knocking on the door. 9. You had to have another kid chew the candy for you. 8. You asked for high fiber candy only. 7. When someone dropped a candy bar in your bag, you lost your balance and fell over. 6. People said, “Great Boris Karloff Mask,” and you weren’t even wearing a mask. 5. When the door opened you yelled, “Trick or…..” and couldn’t remember the rest. 4. By the end of the night, you had a bag full of restraining orders. 3. You had to carefully choose a costume that wouldn’t dislodge…

No Girls Allowed

Oct 28, 2019

I’ve always been a skeptic when They cried, “Conspiracy!” But, lately, it’s apparent that They’re ganging up on me! Not lobbyists, or lawyers, or Republicans, or gripes. I’m talking about plumbers and The placement of their pipes. Or, maybe, it’s the architects Who all are growing taller, And simply draw the men’s room plans That plumbers all must foller. At any rate, I’m 5 foot 5″ A Lilliputian prince And when I use a public john It makes my ego wince. The plumbing has ascended far Above my dignity: The fellow with the kiddy stool Is more than likely me!…

Out-of-work US Citizens

Oct 28, 2019

Excentric World staff members take a look at empty offices, vulture capitalists’ answer to inflation. The job of the person who used to sit at this cubicle has been shipped to India. For just a few rupees, corporations can hire apologetic technical help to assist Americans with questions about their computer products. Out-of-work U.S. citizens are considering training in speaking with an accent and apologizing for your difficulty.   Related posts: Yard Work! Financial Struggle The Italian Pasta Diet Americans with No Abilities Act Passes

On Marriage

Oct 28, 2019

cur-mudg-eon (cur-muj’un), n. [origin unknown] 1. archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man. 2. modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner. “A married man should forget his mistakes; no use two people remembering the same thing.” — Duane Dewel “In olden times, sacrifices were made at the altar, a practice that still continues.” — Helen Rowland “Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.” — Jackie Mason “Marriage is like putting your hand into a…

Every Vote Was Counted

Oct 28, 2019

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real state agent which direction was North because, he explained, he didn’t want the sun waking him. She asked, “Does the sun rise in the North?” When another person explained that the sun rises in the East (and has for some time), she shook her head and said, “Oh, I don’t keep up with that stuff.” And then she voted! I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I…

Biggest Task in America

Oct 28, 2019

ECONOMIC RECOVERY NEWS: Economists say that when the dollar is weak, meaning it’s losing value compared to other currencies, one benefit is that more American products can be sold overseas. Now, the biggest task for American manufacturers is to find a way to sell more products in America. EDUCATION NEWS: The latest trend in modern education is tutoring 2 and 3-year-olds for preschool. Next will come surrogate potty training followed by substitute breast feeding. END OF THE WORLD NEWS: According to Harvard University scientists, a dying star lurking dangerously close to Earth is on the brink of exploding into a…

Astrology for the Weak

Horoscopes for March 30-April 5, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) Early this month, your brain is extremely active and it’s making you very productive and ambitious. Don’t panic, you’ll be back to addled in no time at all. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You will find yourself feeling like a surfer navigating waves of emotion. Then it happens – wipe-out! Your emotional house goes under water. File for bankruptcy. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) You may sense a person in a position of authority is subtly flirting with you. Then again, you have been adding a lot of leafy greens to your diet. Toothpick? ARIES (April…

Horoscopes for March 16-22, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) A bunch of planets move through Pluto, influencing you to expand your view of the world and your place in it. Unfortunately, you will also expand your waistline. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) The celestial atmosphere encourages you to actively pursue someone altogether eligible. That’s good, because you usually pursue those altogether ineligible. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) You usually think you’re right, but you can be wrong, of course. Much like this astrological forecast. The month of March will the best of your entire life. Or not. ARIES (April 18 –…

Horoscopes for March 9-15, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) Mars quincunx Pluto and Saturn squares Pluto, bringing some tension to the areas of your chart of finances. Since Pluto is officially no longer a planet, no biggee. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) In March, it may seem the world is moving too quickly for you and you may secretly have to make concessions. You just might bring honor back to fast food. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) By nature, relationships cause new feelings and sometimes present challenges in understanding. This month you’ll try to understand why you have no relationship. CANCER (June…

Horoscopes for March 2-8, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) This month you will embark on a journey to discover your inner self. A wrong turn down the trail and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a spiritual safari gone awry. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) You’ll have flashbacks of someone in authority saying that you will rue the day. You didn’t know what they meant, but in March, you will rue at least one day. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will discover a hitherto unknown talent for finding odoriferous elements in everyday life. You’ll eventually quit your job at the…

Horoscopes for February 23-March 1, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) February is emotional and weird which, means your family is involved. Bring your friends into the mix and you can add strange and border line illegal. AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You start the month off on the right foot, with a deep sense of what you want. But you’re not thinking – you’re left footed. No Dancing With The Stars for you. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) You’ll be dreaming big and setting the tone for the weeks to come. You’ll be radiant. You’ll be impressive. You’ll brighten the lives of…

Horoscopes for February 9-15, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) A cut lip will reveal a secret you have been able to keep for years. Someone will recognize the position of the cut on the lip smear on your Valentine’s Day card. TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) The good news is you’ll finally get a job. The bad news is you’ll have to wear a dorky uniform and clap and sing goofy happy birthday songs at least twice a day. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) You will have a very difficult time resisting temptation in February. You’ll run and you’ll hide, but somehow…

Horoscopes for February 2-8, 2014

ARIES (March 21 – April 19) You’ll try, but fail, to impress snow bunnies this ski season in Flagstaff. Too late, you’ll find everyone signed your cast, “This Stupid Thing Is Fake!” TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) This month you will discover Castor Oil is like WD40 for the gastro-intestinal tract. You’ll mix it with orange juice and end up non-squeaky clean. GEMINI (May 21 -June 20) The month of March finds you facing a conundrum?deciding whether or not to file a police report on the theft of your exotic plants for insurance purposes. CANCER (June 21 – July…

Horoscopes for January 19-25, 2014

CAPRICORN (January 19 – February 16) You’ve built up a lot of good karma over the past year, but you can’t stand around waiting for the big payback to come. What about all the years you screwed up? AQUARIUS (February 16 – March 11) You’ll encounter two challenging aspects causing you to counter the urge to make a mad dash into the sunlight. Good thing, because there was a big tree in the way. PISCES (March 20 – April 18) Competition can be extremely motivating for you this month. After conquering your visiting nieces and nephews on wii bowling, you’re…