Make Me Laugh!!!

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COMIC STRIPS?

One of the advantages of writing a blog is that it give me a place to express my opinion. This blog will go into my “sounding off” section. Today I am sounding off about the lack of comedy in the newspaper comics.

I love Sunday mornings. I relax in my Lazy Boy and read the paper and just enjoy the morning. Even when I have a motorcycle ride planned on Sundays I try to delay the start time until 9 or 10 a.m. so I can enjoy the morning with my wife. I read what interests me in the news and look at the ads, searching for something for which I have a need or look through the sporting goods and hardware ads looking for things that might make my life easier more enjoyable. Lastly, I pick up the comics section and search for something funny, something that will make me laugh or at the very least, make me smile. Rarely do I find anything humorous and almost never find anything remotely even clever or original. It seems to me that most of the time the creators of comic strips just rehash the same old story lines. Case in point; how many times do we need to know that Garfield is fat and lazy and that Sarge is a mean SOB and likes taking out his temper on Beetle?

I would never claim that I have the talent of making people laugh. My wife says that living with me is like living in a poorly written sitcom, but I do know what is funny when I hear it or see it.

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When I was in college I was listening to a talk show commentator that was discussing what is funny and what makes people laugh. He claimed that it was to say or do something that is totally unexpected. He cited Steve Martin as a comedian that had mastered this technique. He gave an example, and I want to apologize to Mr. Martin if I don’t get this completely right. Steve Martin,  “When you take hostages you have to make demands. For example, I want one hundred thousand dollars in small-unmarked bills, a get-away car and a full size elephant made of chocolate. You always need to ask for one completely crazy thing so if you get caught you can claim you were insane at the time….LOL… get-away car.” See what he did there? You thought he was going say the chocolate elephant, but unexpectedly he said get-away car. It’s funny or even more funny when you see Mr. Martin deliver the line.

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Rita Rudner was the Queen of comedy that incorporated the unexpected line. Here are some examples: “

I love to shop after a bad relationship. I don’t know. I buy a new outfit and it makes me feel better. It just does. Sometimes I see a really great outfit, I’ll break up with someone on purpose.
My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can’t decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
I had the worst birthday party ever when I was a child because my parents hired a pony to give rides. And these ponies are never in good health. But this one dropped dead. It just wasn’t much fun after that. One kid would sit on him and the rest of us would drag him around.

To write a comic strip you should be qualified and those qualification should include being funny. Have any comic strip writers ever been a stand-up comedian or at the very least, a class clown? Or were they just good drawers of cartoon characters and thought, “hey, I should be a comic-strip writer.” In and of its self, no cartoon character is funny enough to make people laugh if the character is saying something boring or if they have said it a million times before.

In all fairness, there may be some really funny comic strip writers out there and maybe our newspaper is just not willing to pay for funny comics. In the past I have enjoyed reading Calvin and Hobbes or Gary Larsen’s The Far Side, but even they did not always make me laugh or even smile.

Maybe I expect too much. Maybe the Comic Strips are not intended to make me laugh, but the definition of comic is, “causing or meant to cause laughter.” I think that if they would just change the name from Comics to, “Redundent Strip”, or “Boring Strip” or “Funny Drawings (just ignore the words) Strip, maybe I wouldn’t be so frustrated when I try to find something that will make me laugh in the Comic Strips.

 Anyway….for what it’s worth.

 

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Lose weight by being taller

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Fun With Film, Digitally Speaking.

They say that the camera can add ten pounds. The thing is, I don’t need any help looking larger. I’m sure that an additional ten pounds on some people would be flattering. I know a couple of people that need to gain ten pounds, but they are few and far between and no,… it’s not you. If they can make a camera that will add ten pounds, I have to ask, why can’t they make a camera that can subtract ten, twenty, thirty or even forty pounds?

As I thought about it, I realized that even though a camera can’t make me look thinner, I knew how  to edit any photo to make me look thinner.

I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say, or have said it about ourselves, “I’m not over weight, I’m just too short,” or “according to my weight I’m really six inches taller” or “I don’t need to lose weight, I just need to be taller.” Well, that’s probably true, if we could stretch ourselves taller we wouldn’t be over weight, so why not just make ourselves taller in our pictures. It’s pretty easy to do using basic programs like Microsoft Paint.

Here is a picture of me on a trip to Glacier two years ago. I look kind of wide at 240 lbs and 6′-1″

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Here is the same picture. I’m the same weight, but in this picture I am 9′ tall. Thinner, right?

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And finally, here I am in the same picture, only now I’m 240 lbs and I’m 12′ tall. Looking good, right?

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By now you are probably wondering how you can do this. It’s simple.

1. Find the picture you want to “Improve” copy it and post it someplace easy to find, like your desk top.

2. Right click on it and click on edit.

3. Your computer will probably open your selected photo in paint. If your photo is too big to fit on the page, click on the view tab and reduce the size by clicking on the magnifying glass with the negative sign until the photo fits on the screen. If it fits on the screen, skip to #4.

4. Click on resize and when that opens be sure to make you un-check the “Maintain aspect ratio” box.

5. The “Horizontal” box should say 100 and the “Vertical” box should say 100. Now we are going to change the 100 in the “Vertical” box to 150, or 200. Be sure that you only change the “Vertical” number because if you change the “Horizontal” to 200, well here I am twice as wide. Not flattering.

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You can use the “Horizontal” setting and not use the “Vertical”, but make it a smaller number than 100, like change it to 50.

6. Now all that is left to do is to close the screen, save your changes, post your new picture on Facebook and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Anyway…for what it’s worth and for the fun of it.

What Makes a Man?

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My dad was a good man. To make ends meet, he worked two jobs most of the first seventeen years of my life. He was a policeman, working day shift, swing shift and grave yard, so even when he was home during the day, he was sleeping much of that time. He was also a good friend. When someone needed his help, he was there for them offering his skills and talents to help them with their projects. He was a skilled builder, sharing his talents by helping family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances design and build homes, barns, shops, and sheds. Rarely did he accept money for his work.

Between being a cop, moonlighting, sleeping during the day and helping other people, the time he was able to spend with my brothers and I was limited. The time we spent with him was precious and he made it quality time.

I loved my dad. My dad was a man. He was a man not because of his age, not because he sired three sons, not because he was a cop, not because he could shoot a gun better than most, not because he was tougher than rawhide and stronger than an ox. My dad was a man because of all those things and because he was a good citizen and took that responsibility seriously.

Robert Duvall, one of the greatest actor of all time, starred in a movie in 2003 titled Secondhand Lions with another great actor Michael Caine. In the movie, Duvall’s character found opportunities to help young men, who were being delinquents, get onto the right track to becoming men by giving them the “Man Speech”. During the movie I waited with great anticipation, wanting to hear this life changing speech, but each time Duvall started to give the speech the director would cut to another scene.

It was a good movie, but it left me disappointed that we never got to hear this profound speech that seemed to change the lives of the young men who were privileged to hear it.

My dad never gave me the man speech, he lived it, his life was an example of it. Most of the profound lessons I have learned during my life were lessons taught by him. Sometimes those lessons were voiced, but most of the time they were taught by example.

I wrote a series of western books, “Where the River Bends”. In the last book Justus, the main character in the series. was asked by his new bride, Gracie, to briefly describe his dad. The character of Justus’s dad is based on my dad. (You write what you know.) Justus thought about his dad for a few minutes and then started to describe him and the lessons he had taught Justus. When I was done describing Justus’s dad, I realized that I had written the “Man Speech” that Duvall must have been giving those young men in the movie. The following Man Speech is based on my dad’s life and the lessons he tried to teach his sons.

THE MAN SPEECH

Being a true man is a responsibility that some grown boys choose never to accept. To be a true man you may have to choose to take the more difficult road. To be a man you must believe that courage, honor and virtue mean everything and when faced with the choice, honesty is what you will always choose. A man can live without contract because his word is as good as his bond. A man believes that there are more good people in the world than there are bad and that good will always triumph over evil. A man will always leave things better than when he found them and when borrowing something, he will return it in better condition than when he received it. A man knows that taking care of what he has is more important than having more. A man helps his neighbor because he wants to help and for no other reason. When a man agrees to do a job, he agrees to do his best even if he is working for free or for very little money. He knows that what he does will not be perfect, but that what he does will be closer to perfection if he tries to make it so. He will treat everyone as individuals, trusting and respecting all races, religions and gender until they prove to him that his trust and respect is ill placed. He knows that loving his family is more important than what they do wrong and he always love them unconditionally. A man will strive to always do better and be better and in this pursuit, he will never falter. These are the qualities a man should do and believe in because these are the things worth doing and believing in.

I’m 58 and still question my manhood, because I know that the things I have accomplished in my life does not make me a man. What will make me a man is taking responsibility for my life, living the lessons my dad taught me and becoming a good citizen of my community and this world.

Gun owner control

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Guns don’t need controlling!Proactive_Handgun_Training.190224443

Thinking about and talking about gun control hurts my brain. How can we control something so deeply rooted in the very soul of our country and society? From the very inception and establishment of our country we have had the right to keep and bear arms. Was that the right thing or smart thing to do at the time? Probably. Over the past 230 plus years the fact that Americans were heavily armed may have discouraged hostile invasions of our country. Is an invasion of US soil by hostiles still a threat? Probably not and probably not just because for every 100 people in the US there are 90 guns. There are over 3 million people in the US. That means there are over 2.7 million guns and no one knows where they all are or who owns them. The number of guns in the US is growing every year and at an exponential rate, especially in the last ten years. Of the 8 million guns manufactured in the world last year, 4.5 million were sold in the US. So when I say that the subject of gun control makes my brain hurt, I mean this; are we trying to control the sell of guns or are we trying to control who owns the guns, or are we talking about full disclosure of where every gun is in the US and controlling those guns or are we talking about only controlling certain guns, or are we talking about all these things?

Let’s face the facts; guns are very dangerous and deadly, especially if they are in the hands of the wrong people. My father was a law enforcement officer for the City of Bend Oregon. Growing up in our home my two brothers and I were exposed to guns, both hunting rifles and handguns, on a daily basis. I knew that if I was with my dad, anytime, anywhere, he was carrying a gun or had quick access to one of his many guns. My dad was a very responsible gun owner and taught his sons to respect guns. In his twenty-nine years on the police force he never once had to fire his gun while on duty, but he won many marksmanship awards. By the time I was sixteen I could shoot a gun as well or better than most of the police in the department. I once scored 555 out of 600 on the police-shooting course. My dad taught us how to shoot, but what I remember most about his lessons was how much time he spent on gun safety. Even to this day I handle and treat every gun as if it were loaded, even if I know it is not. My dad once told me that most people are killed by an empty gun. How many times when you hear someone accidentally shot someone else, you hear the shooter say, “I thought the gun was empty”. Nearly every time.

So back to my statement, “guns are very dangerous and deadly, especially if they are in the hands of the wrong people”. The same thing could also be said about a lot of things, cars, planes, heavy equipment, medicine, scalpels… And how do we control who operates or handles those items? We require training, a certain level of competence, insurance and a license. Do we all have the right to own and drive a car? Yes, as long as we are of a certain age, have been trained and obtain a license. That would be called “car control”. Is our car control system perfect? No it is not. We still have people who drive without a license, without insurance and drive while impaired, but imagine what our society would be like if there were no “car control”. I think that responsible, honest, law biding and clear thinking people agree that we need to control those who operate cars.

With that said, do we need to control guns? I think it is clear that controlling guns, given how many there are in the US, would be nearly impossible, if not impossible, to control. It is really true that guns do not kill people. People kill people. We need to stop trying to take away our right to keep and bear arms. We should celebrate that right, but we need to stop trying to control guns and start “controlling” (determining competence, training, insuring and licensing) the people who own guns. Our forefathers probably should have said that we have “the right to keep and bear arms as long as we are found competent to do so”, but they didn’t. Maybe they thought about it, but then they thought, “Nah, that’s just common sense”. Let’s keep in mind that they wrote the Constitution in 1791 and things have changed some since then.

Let’s stop calling it gun control and let’s start calling it “Gun Owner Control” or better yet, let’s take the word control out of it and call it “Gun Licensing”. I believe this would be at least a reasonable place to start.