Thursday, January 14, 2010

Curing Cabin Fever through 'Global Wqrming'?

Northern Arkansas
(Photo by EIC Team)

As you can see from the above photo taken by one of the EIC team, the Arkansas Ozarks are covered by snow and chilled by cold these early days of January. Old folks just north of Izard County, like my Uncle Cran in northern Fulton County, are staying indoors, when they're not outside doing chores like feeding and watering their cattle, and that weather-enforced incarceration is leading to a bit of cabin fever.

Apparently, old folks to the west over in the Kansas flatlands around Topeka are suffering similar weather and similar fever, as the case of my Cousin Bill attests, for he and Uncle Cran had an online 'conversation' the other day, beginning with a suggestion from Cousin Bill in response to a prior email from Uncle Cran concerning some sort of vocally challenged tongue-twister called 'Global Wqrming', apparently an ironic comment on the arctic cold that's recently hit the States.

Anyway, that prior email, with its orthographically challenged subject heading, cued Cousin Bill to suggest a way for Uncle Cran to keep warm:
Grab the pilfered McDonald's straws (from one of your big-night-out-on-the-town trips), grab the longest extension cord you've got, plug it in at the house (or if long enough at Polk & Reta's place -- "a penny saved is a penny earned"), attach the foregoing to your Sears drill equipped with a 6-inch-plus bit (only slightly larger in diameter than the straw), and meander down to or up to or whichever way to the pond, drill some holes in about a minute and install the Big Mac straws in the vertical holes. If those cows get thirsty enough they'll figure it out. No more time-consuming ice chopping with the axe! And you'll have more time to nestle in that warm chair, read, drink hot chocolate and casually pet those dogs.

Another plus -- after sucking water through straws over the next month and a half those cows will probably be able to whistle -- making for some pretty background music on pleasantly warm spring evenings when you're sparking on the front porch swing.

Just an "idée" from one of your favorite nephews (with some extra time on his hands tonight).

Tell your Better Half I said hello!

Nephew Bill

(Did I mention I had A BAD CASE of cabin fever?) And is Rita spelled Reta? Just curious. And your Subject Line -- What the heck is Global Wqrming?
In response to that snarky if weirdly humorous email from Cousin Bill, Uncle Cran replied:
We don't need to pilfer straws. We just wash the two we got years ago and recycle. Cows are set in their ways. They would just eat the straws, then die of thirst. They're funny that way. A guy told me that when you see a cow walking across the pasture, she is looking for a hole in the fence, or a place to die. As for whistling cows, please note that they can't pucker their lips. Instead, in frustration, they will attack you, break your hip, and leave you maimed for life.

As for sparking on the front porch, let me mention a recent trip to the Stage store. I was looking at the perfumes, and the saleslady recommended one titled, "Pleasures." I asked instead, "Do you have something called, "Distant Memories?"

Your powers of observation are fading. My better half is worse at this time, with a bad head-and-chest cold. Be careful how you speak to your bride! Cabin fever can escalate to serious consequences.

You are letting down on your self-appointed task as context, grammar, punctuation, and grammar police. You failed to correct my spelling of dogs, where I hit a "t" instead of "d". (Or perhaps you have given up trying to reform me).

Reta spells her name R E T A. Of course it is single spacing, with only the R capitalized. She, (as I also), got her name like the little boy got his whipping. He didn't have any say in the matter, it was just given to him.

Global warning was created in the fevered brain of former VP Al Gore. It worked for him, as he has become famous, and honored with a coveted prize. Of course, as we recently learned;, you don't really have to do anything to get one.

I appreciate your concern. And our responses demonstrate that cabin fever leaves us with too much time on our hands. We then waste these valuable moments with nonsensical email postings.

Your (favorite?) uncle, Cran
And I waste my time here in the 'Frozen Chosun' posting their nonsense. Well, things could be worse. I could be wasting even more time fisking this 'conversation' all to pieces! But it sort of fisks itself, especially Uncle Cran's response, with his by now long-familiar bid for our sympathy with the passive-aggressive reminder of his suffering at the hands of Cousin Bill due to the latter's repeated editorial attacks (note the twice-adduced and thus once-otiose term "grammar"), not to mention the pitiful reminder of his suffering at the hooves of oddly frustrated, infamous 'cows' due to those beasts' attack back in November 2008 (Uncle Cran apparently having forgotten that not a herd of cows, but merely a single steer attacked him).

All the same, greetings from a fellow sufferer of Cabin Fever, this infirm soul stuck in Seoul.

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At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The double reference to "grammar" was intentional. Greek grammar uses the double negative to increase the negativity. My own Cranfordian grammar uses double usages of nouns to intensify the topic. Nephew Bill is a grammar freak. He delights in correcting my spelling, referencing, grammar, punctuation, verbal usage, and (especially) grammar. Note the double, (even sixfold), usage of the term in my reply.
Actually, another favorite nephew suffers from a similar malady.
This may be perhaps a case of academic fever, or an uncontrollable urge to correct every correspondence he receives?
How many other readers of this blog are also suffering from cabin fever in this period of global freezing?


At 8:27 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I hear that Greenland is warmer than usual because a large, stationary high front is blocking the arctic cold and forcing it into Europe and North America. I take it that the Greenlanders are outside cavorting in the less-frigid snow and ice and thus suffer minimal cabin fever. In all likelihood, they have little time for grammar-led pursuits.

As for me, I'll be getting out this afternoon to taste some beers with a fellow expat and thus will also lack time to improve your grammar, Uncle Cran, but I wanted to post your latest literary meanderings because I know how much all of my readers miss your guest posts -- or at least one reader who resides roughly in the vicinity of Gepp, Arkansas probably does.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A reader who resides in the vicinity of Gepp, Arkansas?

It can't be JK, as he resides in the vicinity of Melbourne, but whether one of the 50 states, in Australia, or some other country, I can't say.

However, a recent conversation with a man that I asked to try my deer rifle, and see if it was sighted in properly, sheds some light on the unnamed Gepp resident.
He fired a couple of shots, handed it back to me, and said, "Cran, if a deer walks across a field, you shoot at it, and the deer keeps going, just go in the house and look in the mirrow. There you will see your problem."

The cartoon opossum, Pogo, once said, "We have met the enemy, and it is us."

Perhaps I see the mysterious Gepp reader quite frequently.


At 9:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nice anecdote, Uncle Cran, but what's a "mirrow"?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Arkansaw it is a shiny piece of brass in which you dimly peer at your image.


At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Arkansaw it is a shiny piece of brass at which you peer to see your refection.


At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or is it refwection?


At 9:44 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Just keep on digging at that hole in your grammar, Uncle Cran. When you reach China, we can meet in a buffer state and share a Taedonggang Beer!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"In Arkansaw it is a shiny piece of brass in which you dimly peer at your image."

There's something faintly amusing about that description Cran. No. Not that the mirror is brass, neither "Arkansaw." Rather the way you appear to peer.

Anyone else notice that?

I suppose that's why I keep returning to this site, hopefully Cran'll show up and suddenly I'll feel better about my own shortcomings.

Good to hear from you Cran.


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I figured if Uncle Cran showed up, JK would be close on his heels.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point I will simply refer my nephew to the second paragraph in my original comment, acknowledge my friend JK's self effacing comments, make an overdue appointment with my optometrist, then, as my hero, Walter Mitty would do, straighten my shoulders, stand scornfully in the face of my literary firing squad, erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, and (as my hero did), remain Cran the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last.


At 11:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You could grow more scrutable with better attention to proofreading, but we'd all then have less fun.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:46 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Our beloved Uncle Cran's a riot…sober. Would like to be there when he quaffs the Taedonggang Beer.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Cousin Bill, you can help Uncle Cran dig that hole by continuing to critique his grammar. He'll just defend the errors of his way and keep digging on down.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One final note before exiting this particular blog:

My grammatical and spelling errors could possibly be ascribed to three severe concussions in my lifetime. One in particular involved a fractured skull and subsequent blood clot on my brain, causing me to be confined in bed for three weeks with an ice pack on my head.
As a result, when I proofread my email or blog, my cognitive powers are such that my brain automatically, and unpercieved to me, thinks the spelling or grammar is correct. Also, If I don't write down names or numbers immediately, they just go away.
The result is a cause of great glee to a couple of unnamed nephews, and a mysterious JK, as they point them to me and others.
I suppose I should be glad to be able to provide such pleasure in their otherwise dreary life.
There is one benefit from such accidents I have had. In our daily newspapers we receive, there is always a section where words are jumbled, and for most people, it takes a great deal of time to unscramble them. But when I look at them the correct order just jumps out to me.
I am thankful it isn't worse, since my older brother Bill was kicked in the head by a young horse or mule when he was young, and has suffered all his life, far beyond anything I have experienced.

And, as Job stated to his "friends" who came to comfort him, "Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on." (Job 21:3).



At 9:10 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, your sob story has touched my heart. I will therefore ignore such errors of expression as "this particular blog" for "this particular blog entry," lest I cause you more pain and suffering.

By the way, did Uncle Bill really get kicked in the head by a mule?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a young horse or mule.
Brother Bill (known to us as Elmo, since our parents called him by his middle name), suffered from this all his life.
Especially in his later years.
Nephew Bill could tell you more about it.
I was luckier that he, as I haven't any problems, except the ones I mentioned.
But now that I think of it, I was the first in my navy radioman class of 180 students, where I learned the morse code.
That code would ring in my head day and night, and as a result, by the end of the sixteen weeks course, I could copy almost twice as fast as anyone else in the class.
But I don' think it affected me otherwise at all.....did it....did it....dah dit.....dah dit......dah dit dah?


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, that doesn't sound like a disability in your case.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:20 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Here’s the story…around age 15, Dad was kicked by a mule colt when attempting to get it out of the barnyard.
Dad (like his Mom) always required a little coaxing to tell the whole story, but my inquiries as a youth…“Dad, how come you have a dent in your head and your eye is a little tilted?” brought this response…”I got kicked by a mule.” “Why?” “Well, I was trying to get him back over the fence and he kicked me.” “Did it hurt?” “Yep.” End of his story.
I got enough of an answer…then.
Years later when attempting to get long ago stories from Grandma, I ask about the mule kick story. Grandma (about mid eighties) offered this version. “Yessiree, that boy came running up the lane with his eyeball hanging down on his cheek, eyelids ripped off and blood just a running, crying and yelling ‘the mule kicked me’.” “Well, we got the doctor out, and he put the eye back in and sewed the eyelids back on.” “And he missed school that year.” End of Grandma’s story.
I didn’t ask any more questions. Should have.
I relayed Grandma’s story to Dad…his response…”No, my eyeball wasn’t hanging down on my cheek, Mom always exaggerates.” And again, end of Dad’s story.
Again, I didn’t pursue the subject further. Should have.
Well, whether the eyeball was completely out or not, he got hurt…bad. He has almost a inch and half vertical x half inch dent in the right eyebrow and forehead area, an upper eyelid that was sewn back on that sits as he’d say “a little catawampus.”
As stated earlier, my Dad is a man of few words (unlike one son, his youngest brother, and one nephew) and never let on he suffered, even from headaches. In 1969, Dad (age 47) suffered a severe seizure (first time) and has since dealt with seizures (pretty well controlled by daily medication). And for several years he has suffered with Parkinson’s Disease.
Whether that long ago mule kick brought on these problems is unknown. Neurological tests then (and subsequent) couldn’t determine the cause of the seizures.
Although I’ve always thought the dent gives Dad a “distinguished look”, I’ve avoided the same by remembering Dad’s advice “never walk around the south end of anything that has hooves.”
Next time I talk with Dad I’ll ask more questions, for now that’s the story…as I know it.

At 6:28 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

How does one cure cabin fever?

He/She gets the heck out of the house and takes pictures, dang-it!

Best, however, to avoid cattle altogether!

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Bill. Maybe Grandma Hodges mentioned that kick, because the story of the eyeball sounds familiar.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Daddio, I'll have to learn how to use a camera . . . especially for this summer in the Ozarks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, nephew Bill, for the illuminating account of your father's injury.
My mother told me the story, but I don't recall her telling me his eye came out of the socket, However, with my memory problem being what it is, perhaps she did.
I also thought I noticed that an "ask" might be missing the "ed," in your mention of your grandma's account, but who am I to point out such a minor omission?
I do appreciate your and my other nephew's concern for my grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other writing abilities, and your loving efforts to improve them.
I know it is because you only want to improve my capabilities.
Deep down within my inner being is a warm feeling for you both.
Or is it just heartburn?


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, you list "grammar" only once in your items in a series this time. I'm sure that's an oversight.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, Jeff & JK:

There are some minor discrepancies in my previous blogspot entry, solely for your viewing pleasure.
After all, who am I to take away one of the few pleasures you have left in your dreary life?


At 11:07 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

We appreciate that, Uncle Cran.

Jeffery Hodges

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