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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fwd: Jesus Turned the Water Into Wine Not Knowing Barabus Had a Drinking Problem

            Jesus turned the water into Wine not knowing Barabus had a drinking problem

A phone conversation between Pastor Jim and church member Mrs. Jenkins

" Hello Pastor Jim, how can the Lord and I help you today? Oh, sister Jenkins so good to hear from you. Say we didn't see you in the service last Sunday. Come to think of it it's been some time now since we've had the pleasure. But I do see your lovely daughter in Sunday School every week. She's such a delight, always so full of Gods energy. At least I think it's God's. Could be the cookies and milk acting out after their snack time. What's that?...That's the reason you're calling ........I'm sorry to hear little Mercedes is having a problem. Allergies you say? Eggs and milk? Well she wouldn't be the first, when my boy was young he couldn't drink cows milk. We had to buy goats milk or he'd get a real belly ache. I'm sorry to hear your little Mercedes is allergic...... What's that she not allergic? Intolerant? She's intolerant of eggs and milk. Well we'll keep an eye on her at snack time then......That's really not good enough? She could by mistake drink milk? I'm sure she would know if it was milk in the glass sister Jenkins. Maybe at home you could set up three glasses, one with milk, one with water and the other with orange juice and see if she could identify the glass of milk.......Pardon? ....You've already tried something like that? She picked the cream did she? They're kinda the same aren't they? Not a good test group I'm thinking. Maybe if.....Sorry?....You'd like us to stop us serving milk to the rest of the kids and remove the cream off the adults coffee cart as well. Water or juice and a powdered creamer in their place,...I see. So you want the 150 kids and again probably that many adults to stop partaking of any dairy products in church?....As well as the cookies?...No cookies either!? I see,.. so many have eggs in them and again little Mercedes could mistake an apple slice for a cookie. Does Mercedes need glasses?.............But...........I do apologize. That was not very sensitive of me. I didn't know she thought her grandmothers glasses looked funny and she'd rather be dead than to wear glasses. But sister Jenkins if I cut out the cookies, milk and real cream in their coffee I'm going to lose half my congregation! They are a fickle bunch! Maybe if you actually came to church and sat with your child to make sure .... What's that? You're a very busy woman? And no I don't know how hard it is to get a tee time on a Sunday morning. But Barbara we don't want you to take your daughter to Sunday School. We want you to BRING Mercedes to Sunday School. Then everyone would be happy, drinking milk and coffee with real cream and eating cookies all under your watchful eye......Water, juice, celery sticks, carrot sticks and powdered cream makes you happy while your daughters here and you're on the golf course. Right. Well Babs I'll bring it up to the board and see how they feel.... Yes I know your brother-in-laws bosses neighbour is on the board. He's told me what a...he said he knew you.....Yes he's very important to our church. As you are Babs. We are all Gods creations tolerant and intolerant of people,......sorry I meant eggs or dairy. Well good bye then I guess we'll see your taillights this coming Sunday?....What's that? Yes I guess it will depend on a vote for you. The salvation of Mercedes versus eggs and dairy for the multitudes. Do we really have to take it this far? ... Yes I understand she is your only child. But YOU have to understand you're making this hard for God's only child's business......Absolutely! That's right He does have a dairy farm just out of town on Hwy. 97.????? You might of seen their billboards 'Got Milk Got Eggs Got God? And I gotta go. Good Bye."
"Oh Dear Lord! Do you hear what I have to deal with? Intolerant! Not allergic. No milk and cookies she wants me to turn them into juice and carrot sticks! This would never happen to You!" ' What He turned the water into wine?!! Doesn't He know Barabus has a drinking problem? I'm sorry you'll have to switch the wine to Gatorade or the weddings over!'

Bob Niles

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fwd: If it's Yellow Let it Mellow......

                                                      If it's Yellow Let it...............
Two weeks ago.

"Why is the cat making such a fuss?" I shout as I remove myself from the front of the TV.
"Gabriella and I are giving her a bath!" Charlottes shouts back overtop Boot's disproval of her cleansing routine.  
I run downstairs to the laundry tub to where I wash Buddy-the dog- and find,...nobody? "Where are you?" I ask the house. No response. Just the pleas of the cat, begging someone to come and free her from her current situation. I run back upstairs and follow cat sounds. Cat sounds that I've never heard before. I've never heard them before because I've never bathed a cat! Cats are self cleaning. Why I've seen cats spend hours (it was a slow day) licking themselves clean. One time I was out in an alley with a co worker and we both were observing how a cat goes to great lengths licking themselves washing, and I commented that I wished I could do that. He said 'Go ahead he looks like a friendly cat.'
Back to matters at hand.
I open the bathroom door and find my two granddaughters bathing the cat in the tub. NOT! The cat's in the toilet! With the lid closed because, 'She was scratching us!'
I open the lid to a cat projectile. A projectile with the GPS coordinates of under the wife's and my bed. Somehow she managed to fit under her target, dodging more exercise equipment than I would like to admit. Or use. Or pay all the easy monthly payments for.
The girls are bleeding a bit causing a few tears. The floor and the little rug in front of the tub that the wife gets mad at me if I get it wet, wet! But most important, the toilet bowl is super clean. With the cat clawing cleaning power of Boots!
"We-e-e were helping  youuuu clean (this part is then interrupted with the backward nasal pull of about a pound of boogies) the-aaaa caaaaat." Explained the two sobbing defeated girls.
"And you thought that putting her in the toilet and flushing it a few times would do that?"
No answer, just tears and the backward reverse of of mucus was their only response.
Why is it, and what is it about the toilet that frightens and fascinates kids? They, at first cry and fret over being over it. Sitting on it scares them to tears but then five minutes later they use it as a time portal and flush teddy bears, trucks and balls through its black hole. And that's is if I'm lucky. I've had the toilet in the main bathroom off more times than the three little pigs had houses. Each time clearing a traffic jam of toys that couldn't make it in to our sewer system for the rats to play with. That would then eventually end up on the 'For Sale' table at the sewer plants annual toy sale. And here I must say a poorly attended event. I just go to see how much I've lost and if it's worth the risk to reclaim.
We now are experiencing a water shortage and the 'If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down' rule is followed at our house. The grandkids are over for four days a week and the four yr. old twins are great at following this rule. I think I'm also helping them learn colours as they place three yellow toys in the toilet bowl before the find a brown plastic farm cow and try to flush the whole mess down.
The girls are no better. They use half a Costco roll of toilet paper every time they sit down. If they make yellow twice (sorry but it's a toilet story I had to get a bit graphic) in a row there is no water in the bowl, just a paper pudding that won't flush. It becomes a solid platform for Big Bird to perch on.
Last Tuesday their pet Goldie who stays at our house died. Goldie is a goldfish that they got for free as prize from church that cost us $30 bucks for a bowl, gravel, water treatment and food. Anyway,.. they all fought for the right to bury Goldie at sea via the toilet. A right of passage I was more than willing to stay out of. And I did, as the oldest, Gabriella, was able to overpower the other three and with little noise. It wasn't till about four that afternoon that I went to check to see if I had to use the plunger to flush any of the toilets. And there in toilet no.1 (my command central) was poor dead Goldie floating in a bowl of,....well it was yellow and going off mellow. Gabriella had laid it to rest in the bowl and because of the no brown rule she had thought it had to stay till brown o'clock. And there it stayed, there all day. The boys had been using it for target practise standing on the edge of the tub peeing!
I felt so sorry for old Yeller that I fished her from the commode and we buried her in the backyard beside Peaches ( a treasured Guinea pig). We said a few words about what a good fish she was, and how she or he was a friend to everybody. I paid the minister a couple of hundred bucks and we said good bye. I was hoping to trade him some exercise equipment for his services but he seemed to need the cash. I'd hoped it wasn't for more goldfish. Oh well Boots probably would of clawed me to death had I tried to remove anything from her under her bed hide-out. She takes residence there every time the kids come over now. A temporary residence I myself have sometimes thought of too.
"Grandpa! The toilet is throwing up!" one of the twins now inform me. "I was just walking by and it puked stuff all over the floor. It got grandmas rug in front of the tub wet too. Boy are you going to be in trouble!"  I didn't ask why his socks were wet or where his constant companion Brownie was. I somehow knew as to its location.
Hundreds of dollars spent on toys and educational stimulants to further their mental and physical development and it's the toilet, trying to be used as a time portal that's become their educational stimuli of choice. It's times like this that I wish for the old outhouses. 'What's that you say? You dropped Brownie down the hole. Oh look! Do you want him back? No? That's what I that the cat down there? GIRLS!'

Bob Niles

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fwd: Happy New Year! (Story)

                                                          Happy New Year!

Remember when starting school in September was the start of the new year? It was our new beginning of a school grade that was hopefully a digit higher than that of last June. And it was going to be great!
Remember how you made new year resolutions  to change all the bad habits you'd collected over the past school years? And remember how you promised yourself that this year would be different? This was the year you would apply yourself and play well with others.
You started the new year with new clothes for a new look. New books, pencils, erasers, coloured markers and pencil crayons all together in a new pencil case. Why even a new pot of glue was required even though you can never remember ever needing or using glue in your entire school history. A new ruler marked out in inches. All 12 in a row like disciples, the way God wanted it. Not metric! If God wanted metric he would of only had 10 disciples.
And then there was the smell of new plastic binders filled with lined paper, Pink Pearl erasers, freshly sharpened HB pencils and for the low achievers,.. the smell of glue. The smells and sounds of thick denim and corduroy as they swished and wooshed  down the hallowed halls of education. New lunch boxes with a glass lined thermos that only lasted a week. New desks with old graffiti. New teachers giving you a chance of a new start. It was certainly was a time to celebrate a whole new year of school.
You were going to be smart that year. You were going to apply yourself to your studies. Do your homework and watch less TV you promised yourself as you got off the couch and turned off the old black and white Motorola for the first time since June. This was going to be your year!
Yes expectations were high of your new teacher who would spend the next 9 months leading you to the next grade. A teacher that wouldn't know anything about you. There were no such things as school records on kids. You hoped. To her you were a blank canvas ( which after about the second week of school that canvas matched your stare).
And all these school years were just over 9 months long. It's like we were on a separate planet that went around the sun at a different speed.
I remember our sleeps being longer and week days that would drag on forever and weekends that went by in a swoosh. Then for a period of about 10 weeks during our parents summer nothing happened. Nothing! Oh sure you rode your bike to nowhere, dug holes, built forts, looked at clouds (from one side Judy Collins), worried bugs and pretty much did all the 'I don't know, what do you want to do?' with your best friend.. But 'nothing' best describes the summer of our youth.  
And it's here where we find ourselves now. Our summer is just about over and the kids are going to begin their new year. Their Scholastic New Year. A time for celebration for parents, grandparents and all other family daycare specialists for your summer watch has ended successfully. Excitement is building, bigger than even if it were the calendar new year. Stay home parents are now again pouring bubbly libations and toasting one another to a quiet house full nothing. All the kids are getting dressed up and going out. Out! Away! Gone. Special foods and snacks mark the celebration, placed in metal boxes and bags taken to school and hopefully consumed. Moms and dads are dancing everywhere. If bands aren't playing they should be for this is a New Years  celebration.
Then, just as with all resolutions you sank back into 'the same old same old' around the second week. What happened!? It was going so good I had new books! New teacher! Glue? How did it go wrong so fast? Was it the compound fractions and me wondering where it would ever apply in my life? My need for visual stimulation from a large fat wooden box that was now presented it in living colour? Dam you coloured peacock! Was I angry because I couldn't get a cool drink at school because my thermos was now broken and the water fountains for some reason always ran warm. Was it because teachers in the smoke filled staff room shared stories about problem students and how they dealt with that same child last year? And, then they would note that the office had quite an extensive file on his behaviour. "Thank you very much school records!" I scream through clenched teeth, with fist to the sky doing my best Basil Fawlty impersonation.
I thought God was going to help me that year because of my ruler with its 12 disciples. Was it too much to ask for divine intervention when it came to my edumacation? I had to get not dumb, because I was going to be an astronaut. And as it worked out in my 12 years of public schooling I did do a lot of dreaming of being an astronaut. Why I even had some teachers  say that all I did was take up space.
Twelve times I celebrated the coming of a new scholastic year with the same great hopes and dreams. I believed I was going to do well that year, I was going to be better than a 'C' something average. I went at the start of each school year believing I'm better than I am.
For myself, the hope for a new me was short lived. But to many, this summer long hope of a new beginning is exactly why we shouldn't adopt year round schooling. Having all the nothing time in the summer to forget, and reevaluate the past and then the hype of the coming new year can be a driving factor to do better. Just as we adults do come January 1st every year. 'I'm going to be different this year!'  Kids need to go into a new school year triumphantly! Using the whole summer to think about ridding old bad habits and to start fresh come September.  And with new clothing, books, pencils, papers, rulers and for some reason pots of glue, a whole new attitude might be achieved. Just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean it didn't work for my doctor.

Editors note:

In the words of Popeye, 'I am what I am what I am' sums up who we become no matter how hard we try not to sometimes. Sitting still and learning wasn't for me, I had to learn things by using my hands. So I became a plumber, and that glue pot and I became well acquainted.
The fact that I quote Popeye instead of Socrates, Einstein or Twain says a lot about the space I took up in school.

Bob Niles

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fwd: Watch Out For the Dingleberries!

                                  Watch Out For the Dingleberries!

Is there a good way to pick blackberries? Do they really taste that good? So good that you'd risk cuts, mosquitoes and thousands of little hooks grabbing at all your clothes. 'Hang on a minute' hooks perfectly designed demanding that you stop to carefully attend to the removal of their prickly spindly arms. And would my life be any different if I never ate another blackberry?
I say no to all the above. And if it were found that blackberries cured cancer, and I had cancer, I'd still have cancer. The harvesting of blackberries is not for the likes of the unbalanced hemophilia, the infected inner ear berry lover or the involuntary palsy affected mortals. Or anyone breathing!
I say all this because my neighbours have blessed my back fence with a blackberry bush that has become my nemesis.  Between my fence and their garage is a three ft. (one meter) spot where I try to cage this beast. The neighbours don't bother with it as,...well, we can't see it who cares! They rent the place and it seems they have no need for space behind the garage. And if that beast just stayed there, I'd be okay with it, but it wants to climb over the fence all the time. So I treat it the same as the neighbour kid that tries to hop the fence to make a short cut through my yard. I go at the little bugger with the gas powered weed whacker.
Time after time each Fall I've gone at that thing with my weed whacked. -Not the kid the bush.- And every time it comes back with a vengeance. And then every spring that beast and I go at it again through the fence like a lion reaching through its cage trying to kill a porcupine. And I'm the lion with a machete.
It's a losing battle! I seek out expert help at the super duper hardware store to kill the beast but they just droop their heads like a child without the answer at school. I seek answers on YouTube  and a guy with a hump on his back with three eyes tells me 'There's nuttin better than that there Roundup!' He then yells at an imaginary friend, turns his nose into the wind, howls and runs off.  
I give it a maybe.
Then there's video after video of guys making their own kind of Roundup with vinegar, Epson salts, orange oil, dish soap, eye of newt and Draino. They just pours everything they have from under the kitchen sink and at the back of the garage into a bottle and makes a video of it.
But on YouTube I did find out that timing is key to its demise . The Fall when the sugars flow back into the root is the ideal time. "Pick the berries then kill it with some sort of birth defect causing poison" was proclaimed to be the most effective  plan of attack. But I really don't want the berries. I just pick them so I don't get leagues of blackberry eating rats in the yard grazing on the fallen numbers.
I think the only people who could pick blackberries without injury would have been King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Iron clad, from head to toe, harvesters armed with swords.   
Myself,..lacking the shining armour (pawned it after I got married along with my trusty steed) have tried thick clothing in blackberry brambles. But that just seems to attracts its long needle filled arms that hold you in space and time. So it was because of this I got the idea to do it naked. And here very slowly is key. Plan to start your berry picking just as soon as the wife leaves the house for the mall on a non windy day. Once you're out there you'll be surprised at how long it will take to do it in the buff. But what a difference berry picking with no clothes. Nothing to get hooked on while tickling needles lightly tingle and raise goose bumps across your skin. If you're careful and mind the dingleberries it's very pleasurable. But slow. And slow is how my wife let me know our neighbour, old lady Jensen was home from the hospital. How was I to know? And you'd think, as nosey as she is, she would of called the police right away rather than waiting for me to finish berry picking. It got cold out there with only my rubber boots on.
So because of this, and the other incident chasing little Peyton Griffin with the weed whacker I now have community service to do! I'm now tending a flock of goats grazing along a parkway.  Apparently they like to graze on blackberry bushes. Goats eat blackberry bushes! Who knew!
 I spent a whole day chasing goats in and out of blackberry brambles as payment for my crimes. Clothed! Some dumb farmer had lent his dumb goats to some dumb project of getting rid of blackberries. And I was the man in charge. In charge of dumb goats.
But I did see a smart solution to my situation at home. That night when the farmer came to get his dumb goats, I hid one in my car. The cute one. I told him it wandered off and that he should head back to his farm and I'll look for it. "See ya tomorrow!" I waved as I drove off home,...I mean to look.
I'm named him Barry. Barry Bush. A relative of George and Barbra on his fathers side. And knowing the Bush's probably the mother's side too.
Barry lived in my car for two days till I could sneak him in the house after my wife went to the mall. Upon her return the wife got wind of our new house guest. I told her I had adopted a dog which lessened my community service time. And she bought it! What a stroke of luck she thought Barry was a dog! One big ugly dog with a throat problem.
But what was even a bigger surprise for her was that her ugly German Shepard ate blackberries. And with great fervour. I removed a few boards from the fence for Barry to get at the bushes and he slowly chased them vines back to their roots. Ta-Da!
Now Barry goes back to the farm. But my wife loves her ugly dog now. And the city and everyone else in the world thinks it's a goat. So my wife, to prove them wrong thought Barry could be trained to be a seeing I goat,..I mean dog. But Barry would always lead them to a high place or in the middle of a blackberry bramble. Then the wife thought he could work at the airport searching for drugs. Barry ate them but in doing so became a better seeing eye dog.
Cadaver dog? He ate the rotten pig used as a cadaver test subject. Herding sheep? He just hung out with them and caught up on old times. Search and rescue? All he did was climb the mountain of crumbled building and stand and look around and do his funny bark from time to time. It was no use Barry was doomed.
I phoned up the farmer and told him I had found Barry. He said he knew. Our efforts had been well documented in the papers and TV news. And that the rental of Barry for the last two months came to a total of $720 dollars.
I swallowed hard then yelled at the wife to close the door but it was too late. "Ah man!" I said "Barry just ran out the door Mr. farmer." I lied. "If I find him again I'll give you a call." Then I hung up the phone.
All this happened last Fall. I eventually came clean with the wife about Barry. He was a goat. I stole him and I needed to borrow,...HAVE $820 dollars to give the farmer for his rental. And so it was with $100 dollars in my pocket this story came to an end. Except for the fact the blackberries are now back.
So if you'll excuse me I have to strip down and do some berry picking. Old lady Jensen's going to love this! I need Barry back.

Bob Niles