The Four Things Captain Kangaroo Taught Us.

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Although it went off the air in 1984, Bob Keeshan’s Captain Kangaroo television show continues to inform and influence the American psyche.  More sophisticated than Romper Room; earthier than Mister Roger’s Neighborhood; and more fantastic than Howdy Doody, the Captain Kangaroo Show captured generations of viewers with the force and intensity of a Hula Hoop craze. The lessons the Captain taught us, intentional or otherwise, are still unforgettable today:

  1. Never trust a Bunny Rabbit (or a Mister Moose). The keystone to Captain Kangaroo’s personality was a trusting innocence that bordered on gullibility. The man wanted more than anything else to be liked, and so would put up with the most appalling abuse from his cohorts.  While the show itself was set in a bland and benign never-never land, there were sinister characters at work.  I’m not afraid to name names – Bunny Rabbit and Mister Moose!  The mute Bunny Rabbit, with his respectable glasses perched on his nose, was the acknowledged ringleader, while Mister Moose, with his laid back yellow antlers and folksy, high-pitched voice, acted as a jeering Greek Chorus.  The Captain could never learn to leave these two shady characters alone; the upshot was always the same – a deluge of ping pong balls upon his Dutch boy haircut.  The lesson for today’s youth is still quite clear:  Hand Puppets Are Evil.
  2. Beware of green jeans bearing gifts. Green Jeans, played by Hugh Brannum, appeared on the surface to be a genial country hick who often brought cute little barnyard animals for the Captain to inspect and enjoy.  What has been carefully expunged from the record all these years is that Mr. Green Jeans had his own agenda in buttering up the Captain with his pets, clearly revealed in the taped-but-never-shown episode where he introduced the Captain to a Gaboon viper, mislabeling it as an ‘inchworm’.  The ugly truth is that Hugh Brannum was after the Captain’s job, and would stick at nothing to obtain it.  Fortunately the viper had just ingested a large rat and was rather sluggish, so it did not strike the Captain.  It is interesting to note that after this episode Mr. Green Jeans was always shadowed by Dancing Bear, who allegedly had ties with the Mossad . . .
  3. There will always be a Banana Man. Despite the depressing intrigue and abuse that swirled around the Captain like an oily fog, there were always those moments of pure and delirious enchantment when the Banana Man would make his appearance.  This gifted zany, a throw-back to Vaudeville, visited the show about four times a year with his trunk full of foam rubber bananas and other clownish accoutrements.  He represented the simple and joyous side of childhood silliness.  Even the avowed cynic had to smile at his uninhibited nonsense.
  4. Clocks can talk, as can radios. Grandfather clock not only kept time but dispensed wisdom as well.  His maxims are still with us today, although it is mere urban legend that he came up with the phrase “It’s Miller Time!”  The old-fashioned cathedral radio that the Captain would turn to (and turn on) during good times and bad, also dispensed sound and rational advice.  From this we learn that the inanimate world has valuable lessons to impart to us, if we will only seek to ‘hear’ them.  (Not Intended as an Endorsement for the Use of Any Recreational Substance.)

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Today is World Vegetarian Day.

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October 1, 2014 is

World Vegetarian Day

Today is World Vegetarian Day! Organized by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), World Vegetarian Day promotes awareness about the proven benefits of vegetarianism. Each year about one million people become vegetarians in the United States.

People choose to become vegetarians for many different reasons. Common motivations are ethical concerns, health concerns, and environmental concerns. Not eating meat saves animals from gruesome factory-farm conditions; reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer; and mitigates the environmental pollution of animal agriculture.

Join other vegetarians today at parties, potlucks, and food tastings in honor of World Vegetarian Day!

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This healthy blog is brought to you by Sprouts supermarket.  They have the best produce in Utah Valley! And their prices are always organic!
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How to Housebreak a Husband.

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How to housebreak a husband.

 

Husbands really only have one problem; they tend to be men.  But that one problem covers a wide variety of concerns, which we will address here.  No need to hire a “Husband Whisperer” to get the job done.  Just follow these 5 handy dandy little tips, and you’ll have him not only doing his business outside, but thanking you for the privilege!

  1. The first time your husband throws something dirty or wet on the floor, get a rolled up newspaper and tap him gently on the nose several times, while repeating firmly, but not loudly, “Bad husband!” After about a dozen times he should catch on and begin leaving his stuff in a laundry basket, or at least at the foot of the basement stairs.
  2. Break him of the habit of leaving water rings on tables, right away. It’s easy to say to yourself “Oh well, the dumb creature is caught up with a football game and I’d rather not disturb him until it’s over.”  We cannot begin to tell you how wrong such delay is!  The minute your husband puts down his beverage without a coaster you must confront him.  Turn off the television or radio, or quietly take away his Sports Illustrated magazine, and make him sniff the coaster you wave under his nose.  Demonstrate several times in a row how to use it.  Then throw one in the corner and make him fetch.  By now he should have a pretty good idea of what to do with a coaster.  Leave a large supply of them within handy reach, and don’t forget to reward him when he does use a coaster – give him some additional Doritos or an extra piece of Slim Jim.
  3. Husbands like to sleep on the furniture, where they shed hair and leave unpleasant odors. Unless you have purposely banished him to the couch for the night, you must maintain a constant vigilance so your husband does not curl up and begin snoring on your fauteuil.  When you catch him getting too comfortable, have a spray bottle filled with water ready to give him a couple of spritzes with.  He will quickly learn that his place is on the floor, and not on his mistress’ good furniture.
  4. Keep him out of the bathroom. Husbands love nothing better than to mess around in your bathroom, lathering themselves, shaving, gargling with horrible sounds, and singing Beach Boy songs in the shower. To prevent this you must make your husband understand early on that you have made a place for him out in the garage.  When he displays the urge to enter your bathroom, tighten his choke collar for 30 seconds to indicate your displeasure and then walk him out to the garage and leave him there for an hour.  He will soon prefer to spend all his time out THERE rather than in your house.
  5. It is frustrating, and embarrassing, when you are out walking your husband, to have to stop every other minute so he can mark his territory by saying hello to every pretty girl that passes by.  You can solve the problem very easily by putting a muzzle on him for a few weeks.  Once he gets over the discomfort and stops wagging his head back and forth you can take the muzzle off and he’ll remain as quiet, and docile, as a mouse.

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This entertaining blog is brought to you by Joes’ Shoe Repair, of Provo, Utah.

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Six New Cereal Brands.

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As you shop for groceries you have probably noticed that all the big food companies are expanding their cereal options.  Everything from quinoa to spelt, and beyond, is now being popped, puffed and popularized for your breakfast nutrition.  In order to keep you up-to-date we’d like to offer a brief description of the 6 most recent cereal creations.  Bon appetite!

  1. This chewy cereal is chockfull of cellulose fiber, the same kind of fiber that keeps beavers so healthy and active all year round.  Have you seen the teeth on a beaver?  They are huge.  You, too, can have the ability to gnaw your way through wood paneling in a trice when you have a bowl of Sawdustios each morning.
  2. Sugar Snax. Let’s face it; what you want in the morning from a cereal is a sugar rush – a blast that will propel you out the door and into the jungle at work where you have to claw your way to the top.  Sugar Snax is pure cane sugar – no wheat, no oats, no salt, no nothin’ but sugar in concentrated little pellets.  Don’t even bother to pour milk over them.  Gobble them up, washed down with a pint of hot black coffee, and your manager will think Genghis Khan has invaded the office.
  3. You know how the kids are always begging you to buy some dumb cereal that has a ‘prize’ inside?  Now you can shut the little finks up with Drecky, because it contains NO cereal whatsoever; just a bunch of cheap plastic toys made in China that pose a choking hazard to children of all ages.  Pour them a bowlful and watch their greedy little eyes light up as they scoop up their loot and run off to school, without having dirtied a single spoon in your immaculate kitchen.  Way to go, mom!
  4. For the ‘au jus’ crowd, those tired of starting the day without the taste of blood.  Meaties are hunks of raw meat marinated in the juices of more raw meat, and preserved with gunpowder and Copenhagen snuff.  This stuff not only grows hair on your chest, but on the palms of your hands when there’s a full moon.
  5. Bug Bits. This is the stuff that used to go into hotdogs; now they mix it together with bran mash and force it through an extruder and bake it up nice and crisp.  It’s organic, all right; nothing has touched it since it crawled on the processing room floor.
  6. Funky Flakes.  Just an excuse for another Fox Network cartoon franchise – The Funky Family.  They’re a lovable family of kooky eccentrics, animated by a North Korean studio that has a unique drawing style (often referred to as ‘slave labor’).  Each box of Flunky Flakes features a portrait of a member of the Funky family.  As for as the cereal itself; it’s composed of spillage from every other cereal at the processing plant.  So they call it a ‘variety mix’, and the FDA leaves them alone.
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Ten Tips for Your Next Job Interview.

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10 tips for a successful job interview.

You have exhausted the possibilities of your present position; it’s time to move your career to the next level.  This often means interviewing for a new position at a new company.  Here are 10 tips to help you ace the job interview:

  1. A firm handshake. Perhaps you would rather put your hands together, while murmuring “Namaste”, but that isn’t going to do the trick for most HR people.  They are looking for a sturdy and confident handshake, one that will crack open a salted peanut shell, but not a brazil nut.  You can prepare yourself for giving this kind of a handshake by taking a navel orange with you wherever you go and squeezing it in your right hand constantly.  You will soon notice how stronger your grip is getting.  Try to ignore the fruit flies.
  2. Eye contact.  This goes right along with your handshake.  You have to be able to stare straight into the eyes of your interviewer, like Svengali, and mesmerize them with the force of your personality.  Then command them to rob Fort Knox and deliver the gold to you at the old abandoned warehouse down at the waterfront; this is the basis of about half the recent blockbusters we’ve had foisted on us by Hollywood.
  3. Dress for success. On the other hand, you can’t be discriminated against for your personal beliefs; so why not join a nudist colony and show up for your job interview accordingly?  At least  we could then view it on CNN.
  4. Hold a reverse job fair; invite employers to come see YOU so you can decide if they are a good fit for what you have in mind. Give them each a cheap plastic keychain with your name on it.  Make sure to mispronounce their names consistently.
  5. Stuff some cash in a manila envelope and slip it to the HR person doing the interview.  The trick is to not say anything; let them assume whatever they want.  If you are hauled before a judge just say you were making a donation to their favorite charity.  (That way you can get a receipt.)
  6. Use a fountain pen. This will show how much elegance and class you have – and that you have not yet accepted the Internet.
  7. Eat a celery stick just before the interview. There’s nothing better for your breath than a crisp stalk of celery.  While you’re interviewing be sure to pick out all those annoying celery strings that tend to get caught between your teeth – this will give you something to talk about during lulls in the conversation.
  8. Prepare ahead of time. When you meet your interviewer be sure to say “I know where you live and how many children you have.”  This is guaranteed to make you the center of attention.
  9. Never ask about salary.  Just TELL them about it; how you made millions investing in Silicon Valley and lost it all when the bubble burst and are now looking to recoup your losses by getting a huge expense account from your new company.
  10. Don’t accept their first offer. It’s always just a feeler.  Demand the vice presidency of marketing or you’ll walk.  Once you are out the door and back on the street you can be assured they are going to talk about your interview for a long time to come.  First impressions are very important.

slowburn

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Famous People I Have Met.

I thought I was shaking hands with Jehovah.

I thought I was shaking hands with Jehovah.

Working as a circus clown for Ringling Brothers back in the 1970’s, I came in contact with a number of celebrities who visited the show – usually pushed, prodded and/or bribed into coming by the show’s nimble publicity agents.  Even though I think most trips down Memory Lane are train wrecks, here is a partial list of the luminaries I met while performing with The Greatest Show on Earth.

  • Tony Bennett. The great crooner and his wife came to see the show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  When clown alley heard he was in the audience, we immediately set to work cutting out a gigantic foam rubber heart, which we hurriedly painted a lurid red.  During intermission all 26 of us trooped up to Mr. Bennett’s seat to tell him we were returning the heart he had lost in San Francisco.  He took the joke well, and one of the clowns approached his wife to say “I understand you’re from my hometown in Ohio – Zanesville!”  She looked at him coolly for a minute before replying “That was his last wife.”  The publicity staff quickly shooed us all back to our steamer trunks.
  • Larry Fine. The beloved “porcupine” of the Three Stooges came to see the show in Los Angeles.  He was in a wheelchair, hooked up to a portable oxygen tank.  After the show he insisted on coming backstage to shake hands with every single clown.  For a young man like me, who was desperately trying to master the art of slapstick, it was like shaking hands with Jehovah.
  • Cary Grant. Also in Los Angeles.  I was hurrying out a side door to make my entrance for a clown gag and ran into a well-built older man in a black suit.  I don’t wear my glasses when performing, so I did not see this road block very clearly.  Irritated, I asked him to please move, and he replied politely “Certainly.  I’m sorry to be in the way.”  There was no mistaking that voice; I turned at once and gazed myopically into the face that launched a thousand heart throbs.  “You’re Cary Grant!” I sputtered in complete awe.  “Sometimes; when I feel like it” he replied with a real Hollywood twinkle in his eye.
  • Art Linkletter. The genial television host was in a bad mood when he was told the evening performance had been delayed by fifteen minutes due to some issues with the Siberian tigers not getting their horse meat on time.  He was the guest ringmaster.  In the circus, the animals are always fed and watered before any human being – but Linkletter did not grasp that concept.  I was standing next to him, so I heard him muttering, apparently NOT in jest, “This is no way to run a circus.”
  • Richard J. Daley, perennial Mayor of Chicago. Daly and his Democratic party cohorts bought out the show one evening, and then threw open the doors and let the people of Chicago in for free.  He took the microphone away from Harold Ronk, the ringmaster, and hosted the proceedings himself, often stopping the show for a brief political harangue. Being mildly liberal back then, I did not take kindly to his politics, or his raucous personality.  When he asked all the clowns to come up and sit in the box seats with him, I quickly rearranged my makeup – putting on a Hitler mustache and combing my hair down in the style of the German dictator.  I then goose stepped up to Hizzoner and gave the Nazi salute.  He simply shook hands, uttering in his guttural style, “Nice ta meetcha!” and took no more notice of me.  After the show, which lasted into the wee hours of the morning, I caught holy Hannah from the performance director, himself a German.

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The International Year of the Family Farm.

Bipartisan resolution, which coincides with a similar United Nations designation, recognizes the important contribution of family farming in providing food security and eradicating poverty around the world

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced that their bipartisan resolution designating 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming passed the Senate. The resolution, which coincides with a similar United Nations designation, recognizes the important contribution of family farming in providing food security and eradicating poverty around the world.

“Family farmers across the world lift up their communities with every harvest,” Klobuchar said.  “This action in the Senate recognizes that rural communities are the backbone of local economies around the world, and honors the contributions that family farmers make in our global fight to eradicate poverty and hunger.”

“I’m glad the Senate passed this resolution recognizing the contributions that family farmers make to the world community,” Grassley said. “Farming is a tireless and often thankless way to make a living, yet time and time again, family farmers stand ready to feed and fuel societies around the globe.”

The text of the resolution is available below.

 

Designating the year of 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming”.

 

Whereas United Nations Resolution A/Res/66/222, adopted by the General Assembly on December 22, 2011, designates the year 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming”;

 

Whereas the International Year of Family Farming recognizes the important contribution of family farming in food security and eradicating poverty around the world;

 

Whereas in the United States, family farms constitute 96 percent of all farms;

 

Whereas the agriculture sector contributes more than $130,000,000,000 to the United States economy, employs approximately 14 percent of the total workforce in the United States, and accounts for nearly 5 percent of the United States gross domestic product;

 

Whereas 45 percent of individuals around the world make a living directly by farming;

 

Whereas family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in both developing and developed countries;

 

Whereas family farming serves as a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fishery, pastoral, and aquaculture product;

 

Whereas family farming plays important socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural roles;

 

Whereas family farmers grow high-quality food, are active participants in civil society, and are stewards of the land;

 

Whereas 75 percent of the poorest individuals around the world live in rural areas;

 

Whereas family farms are linked to most areas of rural development and have invested significantly in local communities;

 

Whereas the majority of farmers around the world are women who produce up to 80 percent of food around the world; and

 

Whereas 870,000,000 individuals are suffering from chronic undernourishment and a disproportionate number of such individuals are farmers: Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1)   designates the year 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming”;

(2)   congratulates family farmers in the United States and around the world;

(3)   recognizes the vital role family farms play in the economic and social well-being of the United States and around the world;

(4)   recognizes the importance of raising the profile of family farming by focusing the attention of individuals around the world on the significant role of family farming in alleviating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development in rural areas;

(5)   encourages countries, national organizations, and States to undertake activities to support the International Year of Family Farming;

(6)   recognized the role and importance of women in family farming;

(7)   emphasizes the positive impact of family farms and developing new programs for domestic and international family agricultural development; and

(8)   advocates for the protection of the viability of family farms, which serve as the foundation of rural society and social stability.

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