Monthly Archives: April 2014

Pigs Fly in Cincinnati

Flying PigRyland Pig

May is almost here and in Cincinnati that means that it is time for Pigs to Fly.  Along with Cincinnati style chili and being the birthplace of professional baseball, Cincinnati is known for pigs.  For a time in the first part of the 1800’s, Cincinnati’s easy access to river transport and farmland helped propel the city to being the number one pork processing center in the country. In fact Cincinnati was once known as “Porkopolis” and it was said that Cincinnati was where pigs fly. 

There are a number of theories about the origin of this saying, one popular story is that when the hogs were being delivered from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River to the slaughter-house on the Cincinnati side, they were loaded on flat top barges.   The early morning fog on the river would cover the barges as they glided across the water.  This left the naked eye to see “flocks” of pigs “floating” above the water giving the appearance that the were “flying” to Cincinnati. To this day, you can find a lot of “flying pig” items at the airport and in many shops around Cincinnati.  The “flying pigs” really take flight the first Sunday in May with the occurrence of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

I do not claim to be a “runner,”  but I have participated in the Flying Pig Marathon.  I blame my running on my dog, but that is another blog for another day.  My marathon “career” started one day in September of 2002 when Connie, a friend, co-worker, and marathoner stopped by my cubicle and informed me that she was going to run the Columbus Marathon and that I should run it as well.  My first question was, “When is it?”  She replied, “Three weeks.”  I told her there was no way, I had never run more than 10 miles in my life.  She told me that if I could run ten miles, I could finish a marathon.  “It is just a 10K with a 20 mile warm up,” she said.  Connie told me that you get excited running in such a large group, there are pople cheering you on, and you have to get back to where your car is.  So, I went home, ran 12 miles that night and then signed up for the Columbus Marathon which I managed to complete.

I found the marathon to be a lot of fun, in a strange and somewhat painful fashion.  When we got back to work, I asked Connie, “When can we do another?”  So I signed up for the Flying Pig in May of 2003 and every year since, until this year.  We talked Dave, another co-worker into joining the fun a few times as well.  Connie and I have started ten Flying Pigs together, a few we even arrived at the starting line before the gun sounded.  Twice, Ryland, my Stetson roommate flew up from Florida to fly with the pigs.

However, I am a little sad that this year, my Flying Pig streak comes to an end.  As much as I have enjoyed being apart of this marathon, I am excited that this Sunday, we will be attending the graduation of our youngest son at The Ohio State University.  You know, raising three sons is a marathon in its own right except there is no medal at the finish line.  (Actually there is no finish line).  This Sunday, the pigs will once again fly in Cincinnati while I will be penned up in Columbus, but maybe next year, once again, this little piggy will be going wee, wee, wee all the way to the Finish Swine.

Friday Funny April 25, 2014 – A Tough Row to Hoe

lwff

It seems like Old Man Winter has finally packed his bags and left town.  As I look out at the world starting to turn green once again, it reminds me of all the work that needs to be done out-of-doors.  Alas, I have a brown thumb instead of a green thumb and things usually do not turn out well for me with lawns, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. If only I could grow green stuff in my garden as easily as I can grow it in my refrigerator.  I pulled my yard working jacket out of the closet only to find that I had left a packet of seeds in one of the pockets and it had turned into a giant Chia pet.  I told my wife it looked like it was time to get the lawn mower out and cut the grass but I was having a little trouble getting mowtivated.  She noted that I had a lot in common with a lawn mower, she said both were difficult to get started, smelled bad and only worked about half the time you wanted them to. However, I am a little excited about my new weed whacker, it is the latest in cutting-hedge technology.  But I keep trying; I guess I am learning by trowel and error.

I am a bit concerned about the increased number of night crawlers I have seen in my dirt; I suppose it is just another consequence of global worming.  I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I think someone is secretly adding soil to my garden, it is a certainly a mystery to me, the plot thickens.   I try not to say anything very sensitive while I am in the garden because the potatoes have eyes and the corn has ears. Plus I’ve got an ongoing problem with a mole; it seems he keeps passing on confidential information about my garden.

Last year all the vegetables had a race, it was close but the cabbage won by a head.  But it is not all fun and games in the garden, just like everywhere there are personal issues to deal with.  Last year two melons fell in love and wanted to get married, but they were too young so they cantaloupe. One day a guy walked up the gate of my garden and just picked up the garden gate walked off with it!  I was shocked but I thought it best not to say anything in case he took a fence

Gardening can take its toll on one’s health.  I once found myself in the doctor’s office with a parsnip in one ear, a carrot in the other and pole beans in my nostrils.  Exasperated, I asked the doctor, “What’s wrong with me doc?”  He told me that I needed to eat more sensibly.

Some days I picture myself as a real plant manager, but if I don’t get a raise in celery, I might just quit.  Gardening takes a lot of effort and patience; one cannot expect a bonsai tree to grow the miniature planting it.  Yet, some days I just lose track of time and my wife has to remind me when it is time to cummin.  How will this year’s garden turn out?  I suppose only thyme will tell.

Thought for the Week

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. ~May Sarton

http://www.quotegarden.com

 

Disappointed with the Future

tang

Sometimes I wonder what happened to the future.  

I always thought that I was born on the edge of the future.  The same year that I was born General Foods began marketing Tang, the orange-flavored powdered drink mix.  John Glenn took Tang into space with him and you could drink the very same stuff at home while you dreamed of going into space.  All you had to do was take two tablespoons of this magic powder and add it to eight ounces of water, stir vigorously and you had a drink with 100% of your vitamin C, 100% of your vitamin A, 100%  of your vitamin E, 100% of your calcium, 100% of your riboflavin, and 100% of your niacin for the day and no real oranges were harmed in the process.  The future looked bright, innovation was the key.  In the future science would meet all our needs, nutrition-wise and other-wise.

Man continued to go into space and the trips became longer.  It was obvious that man could not live on Tang alone.  So, as the space program grew so did the culinary possibilities.  In the late 1960’s Pillsbury joined in with the creation of Space Food Sticks, a “non-frozen balance energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein.”   “Nutritionally balanced” was one of those great sounding marketing phrases which no one can explain like “ph balanced.” Space Food Sticks came in six flavors including peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate.  A man could live in space or on the earth if he had Tang and Space Food Sticks.

Alas, after the great promise these two products provided, the future seemed to fade. While Tang can still be found on store shelves, I cannot recall the last time I ever heard of anyone actually drinking Tang.  Sadly, Space Food Sticks disappeared from North American supermarket shelves in the eighties. They were revived in 2006 when the chocolate and peanut butter flavors were re-released. Today you might be able to find Space Food Sticks at flight museums, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum or online.   Perhaps I can take solace that these were the predecessors of today’s energy bars and energy drinks and their evil cousin energy gels (can one really expect something by the name of “Goo” to taste like anything other than flavored phlegm?) 

After a few quiet decades on the “food of the future” front, 1987 brought us Dippin’ Dots, the “Ice Cream of the Future.”   This ice cream gravel is created by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen – it is like cryogenics for food, that is pretty futuristic I guess. (Although I have often wondered what exactly one is supposed dip Dippin’ Dots in and it seems like it would be difficult to dip something so small in the first place.) No one is quite certain how many other foods were flash frozen before they hit on a winner with ice cream.  

Now almost thirty years has passed and apparently, the future has not yet arrived and Dippin’ Dots remains the “Ice Cream of the Future.”  I have a feeling that when the future does arrive, I may be disappointed with what it brings.

 

Friday Funny April 18, 2014 – Hop To It!!

lwff

Happy Friday! What a week! One day I wake up to the ground covered with snow and the next afternoon I am cutting the grass!! But I do think that spring has finally arrived.
Just in time for Easter, here is a basket full of rabbit jokes.
Wishing you a happy and joyous Easter and Passover.
Enjoy!
Leonard

HOP TO IT!!
Q: How do rabbits travel?
A: By hareplane.

Q: What is a bunny’s motto?
A: Don’t be mad, be hoppy!

Q: How do you catch a unique rabbit?
A: Unique up on it.

Q: How do you catch a tame rabbit?
A: The tame way.

Q: How do you know carrots are good for your eyes?
A: Because you never see rabbits wearing glasses!

Q: What is a rabbit’s favorite dance style?
A: Hip-Hop!

Q: Where do rabbits go after their wedding?
A: On their bunnymoon!

Q: What do you get if you cross a rabbit with an insect?
A: Bugs bunny.

Q: What do you call a group of rabbits hopping backwards?
A: A receding hare line.

Q: What do you call a rabbit who is angry over getting burnt?
A: A hot cross bunny.

Q: How can you tell which rabbits are getting old?
A: Look for the grey hares.

Q: Why are rabbits so lucky?
A: They have four rabbit’s feet.

Q: How do bunnies keep their fur neat?
A: They use a harebrush!

Q: Why did the bunnies go on strike?
A: They wanted a raise in celery!

Q: Why did the bunny get so mad?
A: She was having a bad hare day!

Q: What is white and has long ears, whiskers, and sixteen wheels?
A: Two rabbits on Rollerblades!

Q: What is a rabbit’s favorite restaurant?
A: IHOP!
Thought for the Week

While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

Luke 24:4-5

Nuts Do Not Fall Far From the Tree

 

wagers reunion

 

In our ever-changing, nothing is permanent, instant gratification, throwaway world it is easy to lose sight of where we have come from, to forget our roots.

My family tree has deep roots in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky.  I have been told that my forefathers settled in Estill County in the late 1700’s and I still have relatives there today.  My father was raised on a farm there and still thinks of the hills that are the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains as home.  There is even a spot on the map with the name of Wagersville — it really is not much more than a spot on the map.  For many generations Wagers were born, raised, lived, died, and were buried in Estill County. There is a cemetery close to Wagersville where several generations of Wagers lay in rest in the shadow of the hills.

I remember going to the Wagers reunions growing up which were held in even-numbered years. Family that had been scattered throughout the land would come back to the hills and hollers to catch up on what everyone was doing.  Often the reunion would take place at the Indian Fort Theatre in Berea.  There was a stage there and on one side there was a cabin-front that was used for productions as seen in the picture above.  (Yes I am in the picture.) I chose this picture because I think it captures something I have some to realize and appreciate: being a Wagers means having a sense of humor.  

As far back as I can remember I have been trying to tell jokes and trying to be funny (notice I did say “trying”).    I can remember jokes that were told to me by Aunts and Uncles and cousins.  Several years ago I remember that my Great Aunt Helen’s 90th birthday was celebrated as part of the reunion.  At one point I walked into the kitchen and there was Great Aunt Helen sitting at the table and enthusiastically telling jokes.  It hit me right there —  it is not my fault that I keep telling jokes and finding the humor in situations, it is in my genes.

So don’t blame me that I post, supposedly, humorous blogs or that I will tell you a joke when I run into you, it is a genetic condition (I wonder if it is covered under ADA?) Perhaps you think I am just plain nuts.  Well, it appears that this nut indeed has not fallen far from the tree.

Friday Funny April 11, 2014 – It is That Time Again

lwff

Happy Friday! I hope you have had a good week up to this point.  

However, as a CPA, it is my duty to remind you that April 15 is almost here. This week my goal is to ease your pain just a tad. So, I have dug deep into the Internet to find some tax related quotations for you.

Enjoy!
Leonard

IT IS THAT TIME AGAIN!

It is income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta. ~ Dave Barry

I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money. ~ Arthur Godfrey

People who complain about paying their income tax can be divided into two types: men and women. ~ anonymous

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. ~ Albert Einstein

The Government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul. ~ George Bernard Shaw

The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf. ~ Will Rogers

Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them. ~ Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.
~ Herman Wouk

Look at it this way: If you don’t spend your dollars on the IRS, you’d probably just squander it on foolish things, like food, rent. ~ Cindy Adams

The one difference between death and taxes is that death does not get worse every time Congress meets. ~ Jeffrey Fry

Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what’s called a red flag. That’s something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That’s a red flag. ~ Jay Leno

Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income-tax form than it does to make the income. ~ Alfred E. Neuman

If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don’t get wet you can keep.
~ Will Rogers

A fool and his money are soon parted. It takes creative tax laws for the rest. ~ Bob Thaves

[The Internal Revenue Code is] about 10 times the size of the Bible and, unlike the Bible, contains no good news. ~ Don Nickles

I am thankful for the taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.
~ Nancie J. Carmody
Thought for the Week

“Love takes many forms, but none of them are tax forms.” ~ Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here For You

 

There Ought To Be A Law

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 Each day we have to navigate our way through a veritable sea of laws.  There are federal laws, state laws, county laws, municipal laws.  There are a ton of laws out there, literally.  In 1970, the Code of Federal Regulations alone was 54,834 pages and by 1998 this had grown to 134,723 pages. I hate to think what the number of pages is today.

Not surprisingly there are laws of questionable value at each and every level of government.  Here are just a few examples:

On the federal level there is a United States federal law makes it illegal to issue a fake Weather Bureau forecast, Some days I wonder if you could tell the difference?

In Ohio, it is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday.

But in Tennessee, the only game you may shoot from a moving automobile are whales.

In Oklahoma it Is Illegal to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7 pm. 

In Indiana mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans.

If you go to Chicago for a nice meal and the restaurant catches on fire, leave immediately, because the law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

If the law books have room for all these frivolous laws, surely there is place for a law which I am certain you will agree with me and see the value of.  I am seriously considering writing my congressman and ask him to introduce the Uniform Coffee Maker, Microwave and Copier Act.  Think about it – how many times have you purchased one of these products, stayed in a hotel room or gone into an unfamiliar office and tried to use one of these devices – you just stand there with that proverbial “deer in the headlights” look just waiting, hoping, praying for someone to come along and tell you where the on switch, brew switch, popcorn or copy button are.  I know we have our share of problems, but this is still a great country.  I am convinced that if we brought together some of the greatest minds, they could develop a universal instrument panel for each of these devices.  A real stroke of genius would be if they could develop one standard cluster that could be used on each one.

I even have a little motivational trick to assist the process.  We put all these brilliant minds in one room with a coffee maker, a microwave and a copy machine and then each day we put in a different brand or model.  After a few days there would be total buy-in.

Don’t you think it is about time that we got Congress doing something productive?  You can thank me later.