It’s been more than 80 years since Clarence Birdseye, inspired by ancient food preservation methods used by Arctic Eskimos, made history by introducing the very first frozen food option: “Savory Caribou on a Stick.” Though his first selection was met with little enthusiasm, Birdseye persisted and eventually created a line of frozen vegetables that many of us are still gagging on today.
I, for one, am still unable to walk past lima beans in the frozen food section without getting the dry heaves. This reaction stems from my childhood, and a spoonful of lima beans I’ve been trying to swallow since 1973.
Unless you’ve been hermetically sealed and stuck in a freezer, you already know March is “National Frozen Food Month.” Coincidentally, I should mention this happens to fall in the same month as “National Ear Muff Day,” “Extraterrestrial Abduction Day” and “National Pig Day,” meaning that, for anyone whose pig happened to be wearing ear muffs at the time it was flash frozen by alien abductors, this is a big month for you.
After seeing my latest post offering survival tips for parents attending high school bowling tournaments, Lynn at “Life After 50” asked to see photos of how one of my tips — bringing a lifeguard chair instead of a foldable chair — can improve your viewing experience.
Here are just a few examples of how the experienced parent can avoid the rush for a good seat by showing up anytime they want… as long as they have their own lifeguard chair…
Why rush to stand in line at 6 a.m. when you can bring your own “Best Seat In the House?!?”
First, let me put your fears to rest; I’m not living in an abandoned train car. I’ve been passing this graffitied relic for quite some time on my travels between our home in Florence (Oregon) and Cottage Grove (still in Oregon), shuffling between newspapers for which I was once editor. As I mentioned a few posts — and yikes, months — ago, I left journalism after 23 years back in 2021. For the next year-and-a-half, I worked as a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service (Motto: Bringing your Amazon packages… Oh, and the mail!). But this past October, I left the USPS after a year of 6-day, 70-hour-plus workweeks with no end in sight. Time with my family had been nearly non-existent and, after coming home one day and finding our dog had been given my spot on the couch, I knew it was time to make a change.
The dog had to go.
We got a cat and now no one can sit on the couch.
Ok, not really. My end game had always been a simple one: Eventually retire and spend my days helping other writers with their manuscripts, short stories, memoirs, etc., IN BETWEEN time spent smooching my wife, making key lime pies, traveling in a fifth-wheel together and making sure the dog doesn’t get my spot on the couch again.
Sooo where were we..? Let’s see, last time we talked I had dark hair. And was flexible enough to sit headfirst on an ergonomic chair. That’s not so say I couldn’t do it now. It’s just that I’d need to see a chiropractor or, preferably, have one standing by after being dislodged using the jaws of life. I’ve lost some weight, gained a future son-in-law, slowed down life in general while speeding up my road to retirement.
I’m also sporting some ink in tribute to my friend Jason, shaved my beard, celebrated five more wonderful years with my amazing wife, finally got a Harley, survived a pandemic…
Let’s see… what else… what else…
I know I’m forgetting something…
OH YA! I retired from the Siuslaw News a little over a year ago.
It’s hard to believe my first blog post was 10 years ago last January — and equally hard to believe my last post was 5 YEARS ago this past June. Since then, there are folks who began following this blog who haven’t seen a new post since I was in a red thong. That seems particularly cruel. Sort of like witnessing something horrible — like a Tofurkey dinner — moments before losing your sight. I’m sure somewhere out there is a class-action lawsuit waiting for me…
We all have skeletons in our closet. Mine just happens to be wearing a red thong.
Two years ago this Friday, hundreds of people tragically lost their eyesight as a result seeing me in a red thong for my role in “The Nedinator,” a 6-minute movie spoof that premiered in our local theater the same night as “The Terminator: Genysis.”
The movie was heralded by critics as “Ned’s best 6-minute performance.”
And my wife agrees.
For anyone who started following this blog since then, or who has wondered why there are so many references in the comments section about my red thong, rest assured you haven’t stumbled into a hive a kinky people. This is where it started. And, thanks to a court order siting “codes of human decency,” also where it ended.
The story behind the mini-movie is a long one, and is just as drama-filled as any Hollywood production — except with less silicone, money, sex, tantrums, Perrier, etc.
After reading about how the parents of LuLu Diaz gave their daughter $6,000 breast implants for her high school graduation gift, I couldn’t help but be shocked by the idea of a father agreeing to anything that would make his teenaged daughter more enticing to teenaged boys.
As luck would have it, I actually spent several years in my teens. Because of this I can tell you there are many teenaged boys who still haven’t made it past the “breast” portion of this column. Sadly, some may never finish reading it because, in order to break them out of their current hypnotic spell, it will become necessary for a close friend or family member to light them on fire.
Let’s face it: This is the nature of most men until the aging process inspires a level of physical maturity that dethrones sex as the main motivator. While there is no set timeline for this transformation, most experts agree it begins anywhere between six and eight months after death.
A year ago today I was attacked by an ergonomic chair in our office. The following surveillance photos are proof of how dangerous these chairs can be. Especially if you don’t actually know how to sit in one…
Being a journalist, I am trained to notice the most subtle signs of something amiss.
A hesitant glance.
A bead of sweat.
A chair that appears to be built backwards.
So, as I walked through our composition department this morning on my way to the news room, I immediately noticed that Peggy’s standard-issue office chair had been replaced with a broken piece of furniture. Who would do this to poor Peggy with the lower back problems? Why not replace her desk with a TV tray while you’re at it? Maybe we could move the copy machine on top of a book shelf so she has to use a ladder!
Poor, poor Peggy.
Then I remembered her mentioning she was getting a new “ergonomic” chair. Using the deductive skills I’ve developed over 16 years as a journalist, I came to the following conclusion:
As I’ve mentioned, during our town’s annual spring Rhododendron Festival, the carnival sets up across the street from our home.
If it were any closer, I could high-five everyone on the tilt-a-whirl without leaving the couch. So each night after work, I walk two blocks home and pass through the carnival, enjoying the fact that the sound of screaming teenagers — for once — isn’t coming from any of mine. I take time to watch the interactions of people, the motion of the rides, the flashing lights, and take in the carnival-specific aroma of frying corn dogs and sweet cotton candy mixed with freshly spewed vomit from the squirrel cages.
Being a writer, this is a target-rich environment of atmosphere, character and dialogue that I store in my memory to either draw from later or, as in the case of what I’m about to share with you, eventually discuss with my psychiatrist or lawyer.
To the Class of 2017, faculty members, parents, dignitaries, mis-informed wedding crashers, and Visa/MasterCard representatives who have gathered here today:
I am honored to have the opportunity to address this group of graduating seniors and impart the wisdom I have gained since my own graduation from high school nearly 150 years ago.
Standing before you today, I see the anticipation on your faces as each of you comes to realize what sharing my wisdom with you means: Possibly the shortest commencement speech in school history.
Before long, you will step forward and receive the culmination of 12 — possibly 14 — years of education. You will shake hands with some of those who have helped guide you to this milestone. And unless your last name begins with a “Z,” you will return to your seat as the rest your classmates step forward to receive their diplomas. That’s when you will silently think to yourself, “I really shouldn’t have had that second bottle of Mountain Dew.” Continue reading My commencement speech (that no one asked for)
Admittedly, I had a bit of a crush on my College Prep English teacher, Mrs. Fillers, who was young, inventive and extremely encouraging to the only freshman in her class of 25 juniors and seniors.
The first semester was a breeze as she allowed us to explore creative writing with few boundaries. Each week, along with our reading assignments, we were given a new list of 20 vocabulary words — usually with a theme — that we were required to use in a story. Most of my classmates crammed as many of those words into a single sentence as they could (The decrepit, cantankerous, ill-tempered man raised his wrinkled, weathered, sallow fist in a show of furious and frustrated rage over losing his car keys…”)
I, on the other hand, fleshed out 15 to 20 pages of handwritten storyline, usually with the last five to six pages devoid of vocabulary words.
I got good grades but, as you can probably imagine, was rarely asked to read my stories in class due to the time constraints of a 45-minute period.