Ain’t No Coupe deVille In That Cracker Jack Box, and the Inevitability of Entropy

My sympathies to Meat Loaf (the singer/keyboardist of late 1970’s legend, not the dish) but as far as the pithy bits of life and love, he was spot on.  It really sucks that the poor guy has asthma.  It’s bad enough trying to sing – or do much of anything else- with constant sinus drainage and congestion, (even after sinus surgery I still have to sleep somewhat sitting up to keep from choking on snot) but I can’t imagine trying to sing and not be able to breathe.  I can understand why he has a hard time performing- asthma, heat and humidity, and he’s not a young man.  It’s a shame that a man of his talent would be so vexed.

I’ve always liked Meat Loaf, ever since I got the Bat out of Hell cassette tape and set it right on the “I’m breaking out of my body and flying away….ayy…like a bat out of hellll!” refrain at the end of the song so that’s what would blare from the stereo speakers when Mom started her old Ford.   Never mind that I was underscoring the obvious, because Mom drives like a bat out of hell, always has, and everyone including local law enforcement knows it.  That was funny.  Almost as funny as when I put the “F—  the IRS” and the “Bad Cop/No Donut” bumper stickers on that old Ford.  Dad should never have let her have anything with a displacement over two liters, let alone a 350 Windsor.  It didn’t corner for shit,  and the suspension was shot, but that old Ford would go nine kinds of fast in a straight line.

I’ve seen many Cracker Jack boxes in my life, but the prize always seems to be somewhat disappointing.  It would be my luck to get this one:

Apparently it’s a guide to clubbing in the Short North?  This little booklet was a Cracker Jack prize at one time (I actually took this pic in a museum.)  It must hearken back to more innocent times, when “queer” was just another way of saying “a bit strange.”

Some of the Cracker Jack prizes I remember from my own childhood were kind of cool- the plastic mini magnifying glass which you could use to either fry ants or melt army men, if you had the patience, was one of my favorites.  I did have the patience, and I also had plenty of time since I really didn’t have very many friends.

There’s a statement to be made here.  Fanny is a big, fat cat.  She is every bit of 15#, which is just plain lardy for a female cat.  Fanny, for some inexplicable reason enjoys napping on my AB Lounge.  She is not amused when I dislodge her ample carcass so I can do my obligatory 50 daily crunches.  Perhaps she is trying to convince me of the futility of the pursuit of fitness, or she’s just a fat cat who has managed to find a comfy place to nap that the dogs can’t get to.

Entropy is a fascinating concept to me- a sort of cosmic Murphy’s Law.

Entropy (n):

a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system; broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system
a : the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity
b : a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder
I wouldn’t even pretend to be a physicist.  My knowledge of physics is pretty well limited to how it relates to internal combustion, ratios and other things automotive, but I understand entropy very well.   The Cliff’s Notes definition is:
Everything eventually turns to shit.
What a depressing thought.
Intelligence is a constant, the population is growing.

Potty Trained and Literate, and Other Parenting Goals

Dad always said that he enjoyed children once they were potty trained and literate.  Mastering these basic skills can occur for some children by the age of five, but I do not have a whole lot of confidence in a young child’s toileting accuracy, and few children gain reasonable command of the written word until about the age of eight or nine.  I can understand why Dad is rather uncomfortable in the presence of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  He’s sensitive to smells, and he has an almost phobic reaction to the bodily effluvia of others.  After the age of eight or nine kids are a bit less messy.  It is far less likely that they will pee, poo, puke or snot all over you by that time.  They understand using the toilet, and hopefully before they hit puberty, they will understand snot is not a condiment, and they should also have a rudimentary knowledge of how to use Kleenex. 

Steve-o has been potty trained and literate for about ten years, which for a male is pretty good.  When I say “potty trained,” I mean fully trained, as in (for males, anyway) we aim and achieve our target without spraying the entire bathroom floor, AND we both wipe and flush every time, after dropping a deuce.  He could read relatively well by the age of seven, but it took a long, long time for him to get “wipe and flush every time” down.  

There are few things more disgusting than walking into the bathroom to find a huge corn-loaded turd floating in the toilet bowl, coiled up all alone, without any paper to keep him company.   The only thing worse than walking into that sensory gag-fest every time young Steve-o pinched a loaf was his “science” experiment involving Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.   I will comment a bit on this.  If you eat nothing but Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for three days straight, your feces will be exactly the same color as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

I do have some standards.  If you want to see hot red-orange poo, go troll about on Rate My Poo for awhile.  Trust me, there you will find all things poo and then some.

We are working on the Holy Grail of parenting right now, which is: Gainful Employment and Independence from the Parental Units.

Steve-o did work at Taco Bell during his last two years of high school, but for some reason he either can’t seem to find a job or (my personal suspicion) doesn’t want to find a job while going to college.  This is vexing to me- and a major contributor to my constant state of poverty.  The only thing I can hope for is that when he graduates he finds gainful employment and becomes an independent, self-sustaining, meaningful contributor to society.

Some people hold lofty goals for their children, but I’m a realist.  So far Steve-o’s done pretty well, especially when one examines the lame track record of his age cohorts.  He’s stayed out of jail, and as far as I know he doesn’t have a horde of baby mamas after him, nor has he fathered any offspring that I know about, anyway.  I am not opposed to the whole grandmother thing- I’m old enough for it and I like kids well enough as long as they’re not mine and I can send them home- but he’s got to be able to pay for his own rugrats.  I’d also like to request that he be married to the potential baby mama, although these days that’s a lot to ask. 

In some ways Steve-o is better trained than Jerry is.  Jerry is gainfully employed which gives him the overall advantage, but Steve-o is getting close, and he has already surpassed Jerry in matters of etiquette.  While Jerry generally does wipe and flush, aiming is still a weak area for him, especially after a twelve pack or so of Natties.  Older men should sit and pee anyway, because it’s a long, long time and a far, far distance to have to keep that stream steady, and I’m getting too old to have to keep scrubbing dried up stale pee from the toilet and vicinity.

Jerry does reasonably well when he’s sober, considering he was raised by wolves.  When he’s wasted of course, all decorum goes right out the window and he has the potential to piss in the closet, moon the picture window, run outside in nothing but whitey tighties and a smile, and to play horrible old country music at obscenely loud volumes.   I’ve tried to socialize him somewhat, but in practical application, I’ve had better luck with Sheena.  Sheena has learned to sit and be polite if she wants a munchie, she will go to her crate on command, and she knows her name.  She is also very affectionate and sweet.  This is no small accomplishment for a dog who has only been with us for about 90 days.  Granted, Sheena is not the most intelligent dog I have ever encountered (Huskies can be a bit stubborn and dim-witted, and Sheena is no exception) and her physical coordination is abysmal, but she’s a lot easier to manage than Jerry when he’s 15 beers or so into it.

Dogs are easier than kids by a long shot- the worst thing a dog might do is to drop a deuce on the floor or knock something over.  Kids can get into all sorts of trouble, cost all kinds of money, and can end up in jail.  What really sort of sucks is that even after they turn 18 and you should technically be done with them they still cost a boat load of money, hence my anticipation of the day that Steve-o truly takes on his own adult responsibilities for himself. 

The main problem with breeding is the wrong people are doing it.  I was watching an episode of The First 48 (yeah, I love cop shows) last night and one of the murder suspects being interviewed admitted to, “well I have about five baby mamas and two on the way.”  The same scum bucket was found to be guilty of capital murder and received a life sentence.  Guess who’s paying for those seven kids?  Daddy certainly isn’t, that’s for sure.

I don’t believe in abortion or infanticide or anything Godless and evil like that- it’s not the kids’ faults their parents are scum.  I find it ironic that the same people who advocate mollycoddling violent criminals and murderers oppose the death penalty, but have no problem with abortion.  Isn’t that more than a little backward?

I do, however, believe in preventing ill-advised conceptions in the first place, and I have absolutely no problem with society carrying out its obligation to preserve public safety and to deter crime by executing violent criminals (murderers, rapists and child molesters) swiftly and publicly.