The Oil Glut


From the Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. is so awash in crude oil that traders are experimenting with new places to store it: empty railcars.”


A couple places I suggest for a crude oil larder

include the heads of Congress — they are empty but for ardor.

Also try my bank account — it’s pretty deep and hollow.

And Donald Trump’s vast ego could a million barrels swallow.

How about Judge Scalia’s seat? I hear it’s vacant now;

it’s used to holding flammables and pomade anyhow.

Those with student debt can fill their beer kegs with crude oil;

it may not give much storage but their binges it will spoil.

Of course you can’t just turn it into gasoline so cheap;

that could spoil consumers — and would make their bankers weep.

Money, or Respect?

"I don't get no respect!"
“I don’t get no respect!”

 “You give them respect. They appreciate that better than money.”  K.C. Pang, HR executive.

I went into a restaurant for a large, delicious meal.

When I finished up I told the waiter “Here’s the deal . . . ”

“I haven’t any money, but I want the chef to know

that I respect his cooking cuz it made my stomach glow.”

The waiter punched me in the nose and took away my wallet;

That is sure ingratitude — I don’t know what else to call it!

Over at the Walmart I grabbed clothes and DVDs

and walked out of the store with them, as happy as you please.

Some cops arrived and cuffed me in the Walmart parking lot;

even though I told them I respect all that I got!

At work I found a comfy spot to take a little snooze,

and yet the boss said that my job I now would surely lose.

I told him that it was respect that made me take a nap,

and didn’t have a thing to do with any income gap.

Is it so wrong to think respect is better than a dollar?

(I guess it is if it don’t help you move away from squalor . . . )


Memories of Tim Holst

Tim Holt 003

As the only two Mormons on the Blue Unit in 1971, Tim Holst and I made a pact with each other that we would faithfully attend morning services each Sunday, no matter where we were or how tired we felt.
And we felt mighty tired after three shows on a Saturday; we never seemed to get to bed before one or two in the morning.  And Sunday was usually move out night, when we had to pack everything up so it could be put on the train for the next town.  Holst also helped roll up the two miles of green rubber matting for an extra $25.00 per week. He built up some good muscles that way, which is why we nicknamed him ‘Bear’.
LDS Services generally started at seven in the morning on Sunday.  So the routine was either I would be banging at Bear’s door at 6am or he would be banging on my door at 6am, so we could get shaved, find some breakfast, and either call the local Mormon chapel to see if we could get a ride, or call a taxi to take us to services.
I remember in Baltimore, Maryland, we couldn’t raise anyone at the local chapel and we were too broke to afford a taxi.  I was all for giving up and going back to bed, but Bear insisted we board a local bus and see if it took us near the chapel.  The surly bus driver was of no help, so we sat, the only two on the bus, scanning each side of the street for the familiar LDS chapel outline.  Miraculously, we DID pass right by the chapel, and got off the bus just in time to attend Sacrament Meeting.  Afterwards I asked Bear if he had had a ‘revelation’ about taking the bus.  He thought a moment and then replied that no, not a revelation, but rather just a feeling that the chapel would be on a major bus line and if we just took the bus we stood a fair chance of finding it.  He was always that way – pragmatic and unemotional; he thought that if he could figure out a sensible plan, it stood a fair chance of working.  That’s why he never felt completely comfortable in clown alley.  The majority of clowns, like me, didn’t believe in a structured, sane universe; we felt in our bones that total chaos was only a stone’s throw away, and acted accordingly.  I guess that’s why Bear went up the corporate ladder so easily at Ringling.  He had a serene sense of the basic rightness of things, while I stayed a clown, which is the only thing I ever wanted, because I believed that there was very little to plan for beyond the next pie in the face.
Once we got to church it was no problem getting a ride back to the show in time to get made up for come in.  There was always an LDS family delighted to drive us right up to the back door of the arena, where Charlie Baumann would inevitably be waiting for us.  How he hungered to see us late, so he could fine us!  He did not approve of clowns going to church, and I suspect he had already guessed that Bear had his sights on Charlie’s job as Performance Director.  We got the better of him each week, and he would glance at his watch, then glare at us balefully while intoning:  “Okay, funnymen, be funny.”
The only time we came close to being late was up in Montreal, Canada.  We were there late in the fall.  Too late, as it turned out.  That icy Sunday morning Bear and I managed to get a ride to church from a local member who only spoke French.  Services were in French.  I started to get worried while the service was going on, because huge snowflakes were coming down thick and fast outside the chapel window.  By the time our new French-Canadian friend was ready to take us to the arena there was a full-blown blizzard going on.  Being a true Quebecois, this did not bother our driver.  He got us back to the building in time for the matinee.
But no one else was at the arena!  The show bus, and all private transportation at the circus train, was snowed in.  But the Quebecois audience showed up on time for the matinee, which meant that Bear and I had to slap on our makeup and do an hour-long come in, playing for time until some of the other clowns and cast could dig out and get to the arena.  We must have done Bigger and Bigger, and the Broom Jump, about twenty times.  Plus I got to try out my musical saw for the first time.
The show finally got started about an hour late.
By hook or by crook Tim Holst and I managed to make it to church every Sunday that season.  It’s a record I still look back on with pride, and amazement.
The very last day of that season, as the clowns were shaking hands with each other after the last show, Swede Johnson sidled up to me with a wad of bills in his hand.  With a lopsided grin the old reprobate explained to me that at the beginning of that season the word had gone out that two First of Mays (Holst and I) had decided to go to church every Sunday, without fail.  No one believed we’d do it, except Swede.  So he started a betting pool, with odds three to one against us, and began taking in money.  We had been watched with keen interest every Sunday that season, to see if we would slack off.
Since we never did, Swede had collected a handsome bundle of mazuma.  In gratitude, Swede had already offered Tim Holst a slice of the winnings, but Bear had imperiously told him to take his filthy lucre and begone; he had not struggled all season just to satisfy some lurid betting instinct.  So Swede next came to me, offering me a sheaf of greenbacks as a way to say thanks for the killing he had made off of our piety.
I glared at Swede; did he think I would stoop to taking his tainted cash, which looked to be about a hundred bucks?
You bet I would!

Donald Trump Resists Calls for Tax Returns

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1GZCO

“It’s none of your damn bizness what my tax returns may say;

you oughta be contented that right through the nose I pay.

The IRS will audit me until until the ocean’s pink;

unless I’m in the White House — then they’ll have another think!

I don’t care if Rubio or Cruz release a wad

of tax returns that go back past the childhood days of God.

Why SHOULD my income bracket and deductions be a source

 of late night commentary and news persiflage so coarse?

I’m paying my own way in this here contest, ain’t I chum?

I can tell the P-A-C’s that they can kiss my bum.

So shut your pie hole, neighbor, you ain’t never gonna see

what all of my casinos and hotels bring quarterly!” 

Plant Some Backyard Fruit Trees Now for Emergencies Later!

apple tree

Fruit trees are extremely valuable to home gardeners who not only want to save money by producing more of their own food, but who also want to enjoy many more fruit varieties than are generally found at the grocery store.  By picking your fruit when it is ripe, you can enjoy the full flavor that only fruit from your own trees can offer. Commercially grown fruit is most often picked long before it is ready so that it looks ripe by the time it reaches your local grocer.  Unfortunately, that means that the fruit is lacking in both flavor and nutrients.

It’s also a prudent idea to have some fruit trees on your property in case you can’t get to the store because of a disaster or emergency. reminds you that during a crisis in your area your local grocers may not be able to supply you with fresh, reliable produce, including fruit. So why not invest in a few apple, pear, peach, or plum trees right now?

Once you have decided what kind of fruit you would like to grow and determined that there is enough sun and space, the next step is to select varieties and rootstocks that are appropriate for your situation.  Be sure to read the rootstock descriptions to choose the one that is best for your climate and soil.  The next factor is the chill hours.  Do you get enough chill (hours under 45 degrees) for the trees to set fruit?  The chill hours indicated on our website are the minimum number of hours that the trees need in order to produce fruit.  If you live in a very warm place like southern Florida, do not try to grow a 700 hour cherry because you will never get 700 chilling hours.  Conversely, if you live in Maine, do not attempt a 200 hour peach because the peach will almost certainly bloom way too early, the blossoms will be destroyed and you will never get any fruit.  The idea is to choose varieties that are suitable for your climate to maximize your success.

Once your trees are planted, there will be some maintenance required.  The amount will depend on what kind of trees you have planted.  Watering, of course, will be the most important task.  Mulching will help to retain soil moisture and reduce water needs.  Fertilizing with a good organic fruit tree food is also recommended.  Follow the directions on the package for application amount and frequency.  Most fruit trees will require some pruning, if only to remove any dead or damaged wood.

Seasonal activities will include insect, pest and disease control, if required.  The most common disease problem with fruit trees is probably peach leaf curl, a fungal disease that affects peaches and nectarines.  You can spray to control it during the dormant season.  Apples and pears can be prone to fireblight, a bacterial disease, and codling moth, a pesky insect that is responsible for the worms inside the fruit.  Another seasonal activity is fruit thinning, which involves the removal of some of the fruit so that what remains will reach a reasonable size.  Some peaches and apples do require thinning for good fruit size.

If you’re just not sure what kinds of fruits will grow best in your area, contact your County Extension Agent. His or her agency will have a website, and contact information so you can get the best advice for your part of the country.

You can get virtually any kind of fruit tree today in a small variety that will not require ladders or interfere with utility lines overhead. Most fruit trees nowadays will begin producing fruit within three years of planting.

So what are you waiting for!

Trump & Christie.

trump and christie

Politics makes fellows strange inside the old boudoir;

even prudent men find that they are playing rouge et noir.

Cuz if you back the winner then your future is a cinch;

but if you choose the loser you will start to feel the pinch.

Christie has decided that the Donald will prevail,

and so that is the ship of state along which he will sail.

But have a care, O governor; for Trump feels obligated

only to himself, to whom he’s constitutionally mated.



Zumba, Shmumba!


Feel the beat, yeah, feel the beat, yeah, feel it in your bones.

If you are an old fart they will crack to your loud groans.

We gotta do the Zumba cuz it’s sexy and so glam —

ev’ry oldster needs to get into that body slam.

Twist those hips, there, honey, till you shake up something loose —

probably your coccyx down below the old caboose.

Shake it up, yeah, shake it up, yeah, shake it till cracks.

We gonna do the Zumba till we’re dropping in our tracks!

Like a plate of Jello all our blubber shimmers fast;

soon we will be hoppin’ in a funky plaster cast.

Gimme all your sugar and I tell you what I do —

lay you out in pieces and then get the Elmer’s Glue.

No one lives forever, so start stomping your flat feet —

we’ve got a paramedic waiting right out on the street!

The Birds and the Bees . . . are Kaput!


From the New York Times:  The birds and the bees need help. Also, the butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and bats. Without an international effort, a new report warns, increasing numbers of species that promote the growth of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of food each year face extinction.”

The news is not encouraging; the birds are going “South”.

The bees are dying off like flies (honest; from God’s mouth!)

The wasps and beetles, bats and moths, are gonna be rubbed out;

And butterflies lay down and die midst flowers all about.

All these pollinators keep our fruits and flowers blooming;

Extirpating them today our lives may just be dooming.

What causes this extinctive fact, this dismal certitude

Is that man is careless, toxic, and completely rude.

He’s poisoning his nest with fumes and chemicals debased,

And all of Mother Nature he’s habitually defaced.

Don’t drive your car; don’t spray your plants; don’t use your water tap.

Migrate to a cave and feed your fam’ly uncooked pap.

If that don’t work and world conditions continue so to harshen,

I suggest we sell the place to some unsuspecting Martian

Apple Files Motion Opposing Order to Unlock iPhone


It started with an iPhone, then it escalated fast;

now the Feds desire all the details of our past.

Bank deposits, voting records, parking tickets, plus

do we have a discount pass when boarding any bus.

Have we been to AA, do our molars need repair,

what’s the size of dresses, shoes, and even underwear.

What denomination do we claim, and just what do we speak;

Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, or maybe ancient Greek.

Are we on a diet, must our meals be gluten free;

have we filed for very early (gasp!) Social Security.

Did we get good grades in high school; was our SAT okay.

In the shower do we sing “The Road to Mandalay”.

Each atom of our being now is scrutinized by those

who count the very hairs we have inside our very nose.

America is still the land of happiness and hope;

it’s just that we are all beneath a giant microscope!

Ubiquitous as milk men


From the Wall Street Journal:  MetLife Inc. is preparing to part ways with a central force in the company’s history: its life-insurance agents.

Ubiquitous as milk men, once upon a time back when

United carried luggage free, no one had heard of Zen;

the men with bulging leather satchels went from gate to gate

to arm the world with blandishments against uncertain Fate.

If you lost a leg or arm, or had an eye misplaced,

your policy gave you some cash (though paid with little haste).

And should your life be forfeit, then a beneficiary

would have some reason to rejoice back from the cemetery.

But now they’re gone, or going — these tall sidewalk striders brave;

and an online broker takes you unknown to the grave.