New State Nicknames

Been thinking the States all need new nicknames. The old ones have become a bit worn out. So here’s a list I am proposing:

Alabama, the “between Mississippi and Georgia” state.

Alaska, the “I can see Russia from my house” state.

Arizona, the “wanna see our sinkhole…it’s a canyon” state.

Arkansas, the “Bill Clinton, need I say more” state.

California, the “who’s afraid of the big bad earthquake” state.

Colorado, the “our pot is better than your pot” state.

Connecticut, the “who can spell me” state.

Delaware, the “we’re bigger than Rhode Island” state.

Florida, the “we do know the difference between a dimple and a chad” state

Georgia, the “we have real pits in our peaches” state.

Hawaii, the “we’ve got lu’aus and surfing, what have you got” state.

Idaho, the “can you take some of these potatoes off our hands” state

Illinois, the “our President Lincoln was better than your President” state

Indiana, the “you spell it backwards and you’ve got anaidnI” state.

Iowa, the “we start the whole mess every four years, would you please forgive us” state.

Kansas, the “when you’re in Kansas, you know you’re in Kansas” state

Kentucky, the “wanna race” state.

Louisiana, the “oh, no, not another hurricane” state.

Maine, the “Stephen King scares us too” state.

Maryland, the “we’re in the Navy” state.

Massachusetts, the “home of the Boston cream pie, don’t you wish you had a pie as good” state.

Michigan, the “we’ve got four Great Lakes, how many do you have” state.

Minnesota, the”oh geez bet it’s gonna be cold tomorrow” state

Mississippi, the “we’re right next to Alabama” state.

Missouri, the “we can show you the way to Kansas, Dorothy” state

Montana: the “we warned Custer and he just wouldn’t listen” state.

Nebraska, the “Warren Buffet lives in our state” state.

Nevada, the “get married and divorced in 24 hours” state.

New Hampshire, the “can’t get more Yankee than us” state.

New Jersey, the “we’re really not that bad, we just play it that way on TV” state.

New Mexico, the “hey, come see our balloons” state.

New York: the “youse guys” state

North Carolina, the “we got nice mountains” state.

North Dakota, the “wish I was South Dakota” state.

Ohio, the “we’re named after a river, what are you named after” state.

Oklahoma, the “I’m just passing through” state.

Oregon, the “we’re just below Washington” state.

Pennsylvania, . the “nobody steals our stealers and we have the authentic cheese steak” state.

Rhode Island, the “yes we’re here.. just look really hard” state.

South Carolina, the “if you wanna be a Republican president, you better win our state” state.

South Dakota, the “I wish I was North Dakota, y’all” state.

Tennessee, the “state where al gore invented the internet and discovered global warming” state

Texas, the “our jack rabbits are bigger than your jack rabbits” state.

Utah, the “our capital is named after a lake” state.

Vermont, the “state where two hippies could make ice cream and name it after other hippies” state.

Virginia, the “older than all the other states” state.

Washington, the “rain and more rain” state.

West Virginia, the “we’re the only state that’s got west in its name, Kanye” state.

Wisconsin, the “our cheese really is cheese” state.

Wyoming, the “cow tipping” state.

Ten Things To Know About Cow-tipping

Note. For purposes of safety, do not confuse cow-tipping with outhouse tipping. The latter can get you damaged by the outhouse occupant. If you do practice this sport of outhouse tipping, please be prepared to run like hell.

1.   According to the International Organizations for the Advancement of Cow-tipping United for Pleasure (better known as IACTUP), cow-tipping has been in existence since the founding of the country. Previous to the coming of the English at Jamestown, the Indians participated in a practice called bear-tipping. Due to the high percentage of loss of life from the exercise, the Indians were absolutely thrilled when they discovered the English had brought several cows and a bull with them to the New World.

2.   When the country was trying to decide who the first president would be, the founding fathers held a cow-tipping contest. George Washington beat out Thomas Jefferson by fifteen seconds. General Washington would have done a slam dunk of three minutes had he not dropped his false teeth and picked them up and put them back in his mouth. The teeth always needed considerable adjustment. Why did he waste time retrieving his teeth? He knew that the paparazzi would be taking photos and he wanted to look his best.

3.   When Theodore Roosevelt went west, he participated in the sport. He not only tipped cows. He tipped waiters. He tipped waitresses. He even tipped buffalo. By the time he returned east, he had gotten himself into the Guinness Book of Records with forty-three cow-tips.

4.  According to Hoyle’s Rules for Cow-tipping, proper attire must be worn for a successful cow-tipping affair: For the casual cow-tipping, broad-brimmed hat such as a cowboy hat, long-sleeved shirt, jeans and boots can be worn by both men and women. For the more formal affair, broad-brimmed hat, black tux and dress boots for the men. For the ladies, a gown of any color will do in addition to the hat and the boots.

5.  It is essential that the prospective cow-tipper bring two bottles of whiskey to the arena. One for the cow-tipper, one for the cow.

6.  Before the actual cow-tipping, identify the target of your affection. Is it a cow or is it a bull? To do this, approach said target from the rear, lift the tail and inspect the goodies. If a bull, please do not disturb the fellow. Back away slowly and leave him in peace. He may very well think you are a cow. Bulls are well-known for their poor eyesight.

7. When approaching the cow, watch your step. If you don’t, you may be up to your neck in manure. In 2012, thirty potential cow-tippers died from drowning in the stuff.

8.  If you happen to hear loud noises during your cow-tipping, it probably is not a car backfiring. More than likely it is a the cow’s owner. He/she may very well be  upset with you for cow-tipping without a license. Cow owners, better known in the local vernacular as cow havers, have been known for their excellent marksmanship when drawing a bead and firing on a potential cow-tipper. In most Western states, it is not against the law to damage a cow-tipper. IACTUP is lobbying to have the law changed. The Wyoming legislature in 2013 was the first state to cooperate. California may soon join Wyoming.

9.  Cow-tipping has become so popular there is a movement to create a National Cow-tipping Hall of Fame.

10.  A cow-tipping kit is now being sold for all those amateurs who may see this as a rite of passage into adulthood. Please follow the instructions exactly. The manufacturer will not be responsible for any deviations.

Old friends fit like comfortable shoes

Searching for my old school buddy, Wayne, I moved through the ballroom and the New Year’s Eve party crowd. I hadn’t seen him in twenty years, not since high school graduation.

Then three weeks ago he’d called me out of the blue. Said over the phone that he’d like to see me, had something to tell me, and he’d be here at this party tonight. He’d leave a ticket for me at the front door if I’d come.

I told him I’d be here and hung up. Over the days that followed, I debated. Did I want to see him again? After all, I ‘ve changed a lot since I was no longer that seventeen-year-old kid he’d hung with. We’d both been on the football team. I was a quarterback and he my receiver, and we’d done everything together. Chased the cheerleaders. Cruised in the bright red Mustang we’d fixed up. Fought in the same fights, always standing up for each other. Gone to the best parties, seeing who could out chug-a-lug the other. We were the Boomer Brothers, the toughest dudes around. Everybody said so.

Then high school was over and Wayne left town. I never found out why. I only knew that he was the restless sort, always looking for a change. The last I heard he’d gone off and joined the Army.

Finally New Year’s Eve morning, I decided I’d come to the party tonight. I made my way through the crowd, checking out the features in each face, trying to figure out if it was really him. I looked across the room and saw someone who could be Wayne. I hesitated, then headed towards the guy. A few feet away I realized that it wasn’t him.

He isn’t here. Why don’t I just leave? Though I wanted to see him, I wasn’t sure how he’d take me these days. But, over the phone, he’d sounded like he really wanted to see me. I decided to keep looking. I guess I’ll find out real soon. If he’s here, that is. I’ve looked everywhere. Where could he be?

I started moving through the sea of faces again, glancing at each one, giving each a quick once-over. Still no Wayne. I looked at my watch. It was almost midnight.

Then, a foot or so away, I saw a face, his face. I would recognize those intense, dark blue eyes anywhere. They were his eyes alright. But that couldn’t be Wayne.

I took another look at his face as I got closer to him. It was definitely my old buddy. But what had happened?

Over the phone, I hadn’t recognized his voice at first. It had changed that much. And now I understood why. But how could I ever have guessed that he had gone and done what I had done?

I ran up to him and hugged him.

“Wayne, you’re a woman too,” I said, releasing him from my hug and acknowledging our sex change operations.

“My God, John, these shoes are killing me,” he said. “When I made the change, I never realized how hard it was going to be to get decent shoes.”

Tonight it’s late and I am grieving for my country

At least two men, George Floyd and  Ahmaud Arbery, lie dead in the past several months, murdered by white men for no other reason than that they were black. And I know anger isn’t the answer and yet I’m angry. So angry. What is wrong with us? And where are our leaders who can bring us hope and show us the way out of this mess we have made of things?

Then I was reminded of a speech that Robert F. Kennedy gave in Indianapolis shortly after he learned of the death of Dr. King. For a variety of reasons we have not lived up to his words. But we can start here and now as a country to change, and demand justice, and do what we are asked by one much wiser than me asked us to do, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Ikeadom

Several Sundays ago, we made the pilgrimage, Mrs. Bardie and I, to the holy shrine of Ikea. I’d heard it was a shopping paradise. Have heard it is now one of the three main reasons to come to Orlando, Disney and Universal being number one and number two. Just walk in and they have everything, interior designwise. It will make your eyes water, your words go gaa-gaa and your wallet empty. (Guess that’s why God made credit cards, huh?)

First we had to get a map. Made me think of Epcot, only Ikea didn’t charge, and that’s when I knew I was in trouble. Anyplace I need a map to find my way to the bathrooms, I know, is going to be a bit too much. I was hoping they’d give me a compass too but no such luck. And of course, there’s a Shopping List form on the back of the map.

From the entrance, I played Follow the Leader, following my significant-other up the stairs and into the Big Store. She turned to me and said, “Now, Bardie, if you get lost, remember your Boy Scout skills. Stand still and I will find you.” The place was big, I mean, really big. And so many choices. There was book shelves everyplace and the book shelves had book shelves. And they all had Swedish books on them. I’ve never seen so many Swedish books in my life.

I saw a chair that I kind of liked. It looked comfortable. So I sat down. But I couldn’t get up. If I brought this one home, I’d need a crowbar to pull my heft out of all that comfort. If I looked around, I am sure I would have found that crowbar in the accessories department. There were living rooms so spectacular I plan to end up in one of these when I kick the bucket (oops, cliches slipping in there, Bardie). And a place for that big big screen TV I’ll buy when I win the lottery.

There was a sign saying “Serenity Now. Because there’s nothing better than knowing where everything is…” Now that sounded reasonable. I liked that. Too bad Ikea couldn’t help me in that department as I tried to find my way through the store.

Soon I found myself among a whole bunch of closets. There was one so big I commented, “You could stuff a dead body in there.” I was thinking of my Character Closet theory. If a Character has a dead body in the closet, he must be a serial killer, huh? You know it’s the little things, the details, that give a story its color. Of course, this closet was filled with shoes. Imelda Marcos must have loved Ikea.

There were desks and more desks, more desks than I’d ever seen in my life in one place. And I used to work in an office supply store. These Ikeaistas have made the phrase “everything including the kitchen sink” into a life mission statement. There was way too many kitchen sinks for me to want to look at. There were big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones.

Well, I am not one you want to take shopping. I like my shopping in little doses. My head started to hurt. I’d seen too many living rooms and I was starting to run out of steam. All these rooms were taking on the same tinge. I said to the Mrs., “We’re starting to get reruns here.” Sure it was full of well-made furniture that was inexpensive. But it was just too much.

Then, oh, my God, we headed downstairs, and would you be believe, more stuff. The cranky was now coming out in me. And the “I just want to get out of here”. How were we ever going to get out of this place? It made me appreciate Hansel and Gretel and their bread crumbs. “My God, will we never get to the checkout?” Then, “Oh, no, there’s a line longer than the one at the Pearly Gates.” Well, there was light at the end of the Ikea store. I could see the Parking Lot. As we made our way through the noise and the confusion and into the Parking Lot, I knew why someone said, “There’s no place like home.” They’d been to an Ikea store and were ready to head for home.

So that’s my Ikea experience. Maybe it wasn’t a nightmare. But I know one thing. I just don’t want to dream about it. Next time, it’s online shopping for me.