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Crows ... rap stars of the bird world: I have always had an affinity for crows, those brash, sassy leaders of the feathered society. And no, this society has nothing to do with the Hollywood starlets who appear in public wearing no more than six strategically placed sparrow feathers.
Bullies of the world unite! Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. While many of them are loud and pushy, almost a cliché, more and more of them are less fond of the limelight. They carry out their bullying in a quiet, threatening manner that draws less attention and terrorizes their victim just as effectively as the bellowing of a blowhard.
A quagmire of resolutions: I have a painful secret to confess. The week before Christmas I murdered a resident of my household, one that had been hanging around since my first wedding in 1978. The murder weapon was a stiff bowl of Velveeta fudge, and the hapless victim was a General Electric hand mixer.
The reign of the demonic hair clippers: When I was growing up there was one day above all others that filled my brothers and me with dread. It was haircut day, and thanks to the mown grass look of the time, it came around with the alarming frequency of an obnoxious neighbor.
An oiling a day keeps the doctor away: Centuries ago, somewhere in the North Atlantic, some sicko of a fisherman decided to squeeze the oil out of a cod's liver and drink it. People have been gagging it down ever since, though parents don't torment their kids with it like they used to. Back in the 50s and 60s, it was rare to come across a kid who had never been forced to slurp down the foul liquid.
Egyptian jobs you might not want: Ancient Egypt was juuust a bit of an odd place. If you recently moved there and checked out the local Help Wanted ads, you might be tempted to run, not walk, back where you came from. Then again, if you had a weird streak running up your backbone, you would dance a little jig.
Brazen cleavage to die for: Plumbers all over the world have had to live with a stigma of their occupation for decades. This condition is caused when a fellow, or a female for that matter, possibly but not necessarily of a portly persuasion, bends over to look under the sink or pick up a tool.
Bring in the clowns: One of the most common phobias known to man is coulrophobia, the overwhelming fear of clowns. It is believed by some that as many as one out of seven humans have at least some degree of coulrophobia. It kind of makes me want to throw on my red nose and wander around the streets striking dread into the masses.
Black hearted Black Friday: Some people wait all year for Black Friday, the all commercial all the time day after Thanksgiving. Customers will start lining up before midnight in front of some retailers offering monster deals, which is what most of them scream out for weeks, if not months, ahead of time.
Eat more chocolate, it puts smiles everywhere! I, and probably 99% of the rest of the world, have always been a chocolate fan. Usually I choose vanilla when it comes down between the two but, after my research on chocolate, I may change my ways more often. It turns out that there is method to the madness of trying to fatten up your wife on special days by buying her a big box of chocolates.
Canes, sticks and … uh oh: I’ve decided I might make a good decrepit old guy. It’s not just because I’m fast approaching the wobbly stage, either. Canes have held a fascination for me since I first saw Sherlock Holmes whip a sword out of his handy dandy silver-headed cane. I’ve wanted a cane sword ever since.
Never trust a headless chicken: My late wife was a great bird lover and I am a great egg lover. That’s why we got a herd of chickens back in 2008. The chicks were as cute as I remembered, and as soft as a cloud. To the disgust of our wiener dog clan, their small kennel became the Chickie Hilton.
Interview with a cabbage head: “Do you, Mr. Cabbage Head, have anything you would like to say in your defense?” the stern voice asked haughtily. “You have been content for centuries to do nothing but create flatulence in the common man, and now all of a sudden you have the audacity to try to think like a human. Don’t you know you are nothing but a tightly wrapped ball of green vegetable leaves?”
Be careful not to sit on your bunions: There is no more frightening threat you could make to a kid than, “You behave or you will have to massage your Grandma’s bunions!” My own stomach still flip-flops at the thought of it, even though as far as I can recollect that particular strategy was never used on me.
The Burp and other gassy tales: The sweet, innocent act of burping a baby is something even the most sensitive soul could not take offense at. Add 10 years or more to the baby's life, magnify the milky little burp a few times, and just stand back a few paces and wait for the disgust and indignation to fill the air along with the gassy vapors of the burp.
Bored of the Flies: They show up in the spring, eager to spread their version of the dungfoot boogie. It continues until the wheezing gasps of summer’s demise provide them the opportunity to boost their infuriating buzz to hyper mode. They are flies, and they are perpetually eager to make their irritating presence known to one and all, and known, and known again.
Never bum out a bum from Uranus: I always admired a good bum. I am not talking about the English, Australian or Canadian bum either, which is what they call their rear-end. OK, maybe I have a certain fondness for them too. To me a bum is somebody who has removed himself from life as we all know it.
The curse of the propeller beanie: It's funny how an idea can seem so great one day and go down the tubes before the paint on it even dries. Maybe it is just destiny, or because some of us are just magnets to sour ideas. Or, sadly, maybe some of us are just idiots.
Eat more chocolate, it puts smiles everywhere! I, and probably 99% of the rest of the world, have always been a chocolate fan. Usually I choose vanilla when it comes down between the two but, after my research on chocolate, I may change my ways more often. It turns out that there is method to the madness of trying to fatten up your wife on special days by buying her a big box of chocolates.
Eating cootie pie: Most people I know, especially women, would deny that they gobble a full pound of bugs every year. They would be wrong. Almost every food we eat has a maximum permissible level of insect contamination, and we all eat them. For instance, wheat flour has an average of more than 150 insect fragments per 100 grams.
Bummer of a tale: Everybody knows a little something about bummers, some much more than others because things most consider inconsequential bum them out. Others know much more for they are nothing less than walking bummer exporters. We all know a few, and we are usually aware that most of them are totally unaware of their rare talent to bum out the general populace.
The love nibble of the bed bugs: Bed bugs have become one of the trendiest blood suckers around, even more so than the popular movie vampires. It is not that they are admired or, Lord forbid, lusted after, but in the 21st century they are likely to show up in any high-class hotel at any time, especially in New York.
Confessions of a bathroom reader: I can’t remember how old I was when I started taking my passion for reading behind the locked door of the family bathroom. Probably as soon as I learned to read, for it seemed like a waste of time to sit there doing nothing.
The attack of the flaming bacon: I know people who would kill for bacon. Don’t laugh, it’s true. If they had been lost in the woods for a week and suddenly found their way to your campsite and you denied them the pile of bacon on your plate, they would murder you and gobble the bacon.
When all else fails, buy a hat: Bald heads have been attracting attention ever since the first time sunshine reflected off of a hairless dome. Rest assured, some smart aleck caveman noticed it and shouted out, “Hey Chromey, put a sock on it! Ha ha ha!” Not everybody is so rude anymore, but there is one thing that hasn’t changed. Make that two things.
Age old bones: A friend of mine, whose thirst for trivial things rivals my own, told me an interesting tidbit the other day that I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around. There is a species of jellyfish, the hydrozoan, that is the only known animal in the world to have truly discovered the fountain of youth.
The revenge of the Bowling Ball Crew: Man first domesticated dogs about 14,000 years ago. They have been his best friend ever since then, though that has not stopped both sides from snacking on each other from time to time. Personally, I would eat my neighbor before I would eat one of my dogs, but that is just me.
The pecking order: Sometimes the world doesn't make any sense. A guy works hard almost every day of his life and then, right out of the blue, he is forced to face the ultimate indignity. He is lower on the totem pole of life than a bunch of stupid chickens. My old herd of laying hens, now deceased, decided that not only were they the boss of me, but that I was such a boob they must monitor and direct me to keep me from fowling things up.
Real wings have bones: OK, I've had it up to the gumps with the liberties marketers take. The first thing I would like to do to show my dissatisfaction is to kick the man who invented "boneless chicken wings" right in the bohogies. Wings have bones, period. Gnawing on them is the best thing about eating wings. If you don't like chewing on gristly bones with only a few bites of meat on them, order a big, sissy boneless breast and leave the cartilage munching to us true wing lovers.
A beard isn’t all it’s whacked up to be: At a fairly confusing time in my life, I spent a few years trimming my beard with a 1960s-vintage electric clipper that sounded like a 500-pound mosquito and had so much torque it tried to jump out of my hand every time I cranked it up. It made up for having twice as much noise and vibration as other clippers by weighing four times more than the heaviest competitor.
Undies and girdles and bloomers, Oh My! Last year I performed the very unmanly act of pitching out some old underwear that were still relatively young, especially when compared to my youngest son, who is only 32. In truth, one pair may have been as old as he, but there was still some life left in them. I just decided that I would rather toss them out than listen to any “ragged panties” cracks from somebody who might happen to catch a glimpse of them.
Baiting is not a game for the squeamish: Dating through the ages has been labeled everything from medieval torture to a little slice of heaven, depending on the level of frustration reached by the labeler on their previous date. For most it is something in between, and I admit to being a bit skeptical of anyone who gushes for too long about how smooth things went on their first date with whomever.
Dung beetles are us? Ahhh, dung beetles, one of the few totally positive creatures on the planet. They keep the place clean and ask nothing in return. Except, of course, a good supply of droppings. There are merely 7,000 species worldwide, compared to 44,000 weevils, most of whom are destructive.
Little Boy Pink just doesn’t sound right: My favorite color has always been blue. Since blue is the most popular of all colors, that would make me just another run-of-the-mill color dude. I am not partial to any particular shade of blue, I seem to like all of the dozens of tints. Did I say dozens? How stupid of me!
The perils of brain flatulence: Science, in its infinite wisdom, can come up with a technical term for any act or condition. "Maladaptive brain activity change" is the scientific term for the phenomenon known as “brain farts,” the curse of the human male species. Yes, I did write about that subject a few months ago for another paper, but it is worth another try.
But what if I turn into a werewolf? Have you ever wondered how much your butt, by itself, would appraise for on the open market? Admittedly, it would be very difficult to turn it into a separate item. It would also be hard to find a buyer for, except on the cannibal web. They do love a good rump roast.
Colors are getting a bit snobby these days:  The world of color grows more mystifying every day. The colors in the rainbow are not enough anymore and have not been for a long time. Everything has a sissified name, like mauve, taupe or chartreuse, and if you dare to call something purple, half of the women within a hundred yards will give you that “you idiot” look.
Oodles and Oodles of Poor Limp Noodles:  For thousands of years erectile dysfunction has stiffened (sorry, get used to it) the resolve of civilizations to find a cure. My resource listed the beginning of such research as 2,500 BC in China. Personally, I think it highly unlikely that the Neanderthal age, 200,000 to 500,000 years ago, did not suffer from such a malady.

© Ken Carpenter and Kootenai Valley Times
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83806
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