Feb 232015
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A lot of Thanksgiving days have been ruined by not carving the turkey in the kitchen. 
Kin Hubbard 

Carving your first turkey is a rite of passage. 

Real men know how to carve a turkey

You grow up watching your father carve the turkey on Thanksgiving.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal because you’re a kid.  It’s just a grownup thing and you don’t pay any attention.  Your main priority is stuffing yourself silly and staying under the radar. It isn’t important to observe how that turkey meat gets sliced off the carcass.  That’s just a detail.  You don’t notice or appreciate the finer points of carving.  You don’t keep score about how even the slices are, how many times the knife slips or how artfully arranged the final serving platter might be because you are a spectator with no skin in the game.

This goes on for years. 

You move from grade school to high school and then on to college always staying on the sidelines and never considering the possibility that your turn is coming.  Then suddenly and with no warning the world shifts.

You get married. 

When Thanksgiving comes around again, your bride presents you with her first roasted turkey. She stands proudly at the table beaming expectantly at you- the man of the house.  She is obviously expecting you to carve it.  Not only that, she has invited her folks so you have an audience.  There is that beautiful golden bird, steaming and fragrant sitting on the dining room table.  There are your in-laws watching intently.  There is your lovely bride proud at pulling off her first Thanksgiving feast and gazing at you trustingly.  It’s your turn.  You pick up the carving knife and realize that you don’t know what to do.

Panicking, you realize that your father let you down. He never took the time to take you aside and explain the facts of life.  He failed to guide you through the mysteries of manhood by sharing the secrets of carving a turkey and you begin to sense a pattern.   You remember your wedding night and realize that it’s not the first time he left you unprepared and this time you have an audience.

Well with all the eyes watching, you forge ahead and it isn’t a pretty sight.  By the time you finish, the turkey might as well have been attacked by rabid wolves and the serving platter is a mess.  Instead of tidy slices of meat, it looks like pulled pork.  Meat clings in tatters to the carcass. Skin and drippings ornament the tablecloth.  Drumsticks hang precariously off the serving platter. It’s bad but there is nothing to do except plow on.

After an eternity it’s over.

Relieved, you pass the platter around and sit down.  You have avoided catastrophe.  Sighs of relief break out around the table and your mother in law tells your wife that her turkey is perfect.  Life goes on. You can’t look at your father in law.  He thought you were stupid before today. You don’t want to know what he’s thinking now.

Since my first turkey carving trauma, I have been an avid student of turkey carving.  I experimented with various techniques hoping to develop mastery.  I relived that day over and over in my mind trying to correct my errors.

In the end, however, turkey carving mastery eludes me.  My carving skills haven’t improved much since that first turkey.  Much as I might envy and emulate those master carvers at fine restaurants, my techniques remain flawed and my execution is messy.   I tell myself that if I carved two or three turkeys a day, I’d be good at it too but down deep I am convinced that it is just a reflection of my inadequacies.  Real men instinctively know how to carve a turkey.  I got dealt a bad hand.

Now I change the play.

They tell you when life gives your lemons, make lemonade. They say if you don’t have what it takes to play the game, then change the rules.  Who says that carving the turkey is part of the Thanksgiving dinner program?  Who decided that exposing the man of the house to ridicule and embarrassment contributes to the event?  No one!

So I’m playing by a new rulebook these days.  If the old rules make me look bad, it’s time to make up my own.  These days I carve the turkey in the kitchen.


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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Feb 232015
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wall of microwaves
Image via Wikipedia

Folks who know me know that I am a very retro type guy.  My tastes run retro in music, in politics, in lifestyle…in almost every aspect of my life.

I love to cook…and don’t own…or want…a microwave oven, even to boil water or melt butter for a recipe or to reheat leftovers.

I love to fish, but I’d rather do it with a cane pole or cheap spinning rod/reel combo from a creekbank or the banks of a farm pond than with a lot of high tech fishing equipment from a 60 MPH bass boat.  Folks sometimes think I’m so retro that the term “luddite” is a fitting description for me, but I’d like to dispel that notion and tell y’all that I’m retro because I’m so dumb.

Yep…I’m dumb, and my retroness comes from that.

My overall retroness is an outward display of a desire for “the way things were” socially and an acknowledgement that I’m not smart enough to re-invent the wheel, instead looking to the past to find what has worked before and a desire to “fix things” by a return to those times.

A few examples would be:

Today’s youth’s disrespect for rules and authority.

When I was a kid if I screwed up 2 blocks down the street from my house while out playing, the neighbor (stay at home) mom gave me a swat on the ass and sent me home, where my mom’s reaction was to send me to my room until my father got home when my butt got rally blistered.  Now, the neighbor mom isn’t home, and if she were and even looked crosseyed at Little Johnny his parents lawyer up.

The other side…authority…has done it’s share to cause it’s own downfall too.  When I was a kid my parents taught me to “look for the cop on the corner when you have a problem.  He is your friend.”

No more.  Law enforcement has become, in large part, jackbooted Gestapo-like thugs.  If two kids hav a schoolyard fight, rather than being sent home with a note for the parents the kids leave school handcuffd in the back of a police car.  Hey…authorities…listen up!  Every rule infraction doesn’t require criminal charges!

In the 50’s and 60’s the family unit included a father and a mother.

Single family households were rare.  Also in the 50’s and 60’s dropout rates were much lower, drug useage was not as bad, teen pregnancy was an anomaly rather than something normal…

…can you imagine an out-of-wedlock birth in the 50’s being cause for celebration, complete with baby shower and proud grandparents?

So…I’m retro…because I’m too dumb to come up with new ideas to fix societies ills…but I see solutions in the past.  I’m a big believer in “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  I’d kinda like to return to societal mores that weren’t broke.

Bob@HayleStorm Interactive

Bob comes to us with a skeptical attitude and a full cup of Cantankerousness. He also writes about homesteading and yurts over at JuicyMaters.com and rants about politics at Common-Sense-Conversation.com Most of the time, though, you'll find him at HayleStorm.net, cranking out great websites for clients OR writing tutorials teaching them to build their own sites.

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Feb 232015
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I rail about government quite a bit.  It is a really easy thing to do if you believe in the United States and the vision the founding fathers had for it…and if you believe in the rule of law as set down in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with subsequent amendments.

One thing I often hear…and that I find quite irritating…is the statement that, “I don’t do anything because it does no good.  Washington only pays attention to lobbyists and big doners.  The people have no chance.”

Bullshit.George Washington's 1788 letter to the Marquis...

OK…so we DO have to work a little harder than we would if we had elected officials that KNEW we were their bosses, not the other way around.  Well…a little hard work never hurt anyone, and we brought it on ourselves anyway, by sitting on the couch with a beer and chips and watching football and American Idol instead of paying attention to what was happening to our country.

So, now we get off our asses and take our country back from the communists.

Yes, I said communists.  With very rare exception…and to those exceptions, I apologize

…our elected officials in Washington fall into two groups:  Communists and cowards.  One group wants to destroy our constitutional republic, and the other group doesn’t have the balls to stop them.  Well,,,you and I, backing them up, can help some of them grow a pair.

And yes…your voice DOES make a difference, as the video proves:

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Bob@HayleStorm Interactive

Bob comes to us with a skeptical attitude and a full cup of Cantankerousness. He also writes about homesteading and yurts over at JuicyMaters.com and rants about politics at Common-Sense-Conversation.com Most of the time, though, you'll find him at HayleStorm.net, cranking out great websites for clients OR writing tutorials teaching them to build their own sites.

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Feb 232015
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Well hello there!  I know at least 2 of our regular readers just fell off of their chairs when they saw that I had written this article and not Ralph.  It has been a long time since this site has been much of anything except Ralph’s other blog.  But fear not!  Ralph is not the only one ready to Cantankerify your brains.  I have grand plans of a series about Mother in Law’s that has taken a month to get the venom out of.  More on that to come.


Cover of Yes

So gentle readers I am back.  And here is what I have noticed.  One of the key words for this site is Old.  Yes, old.  And I am getting old.  Granted, I am almost 38 and in the grand scheme of things, that is not considered old.  These days, even Bob and Ralph are not really considered old, retired or not.  But, I am getting old.

Long time readers of any of my blogs (links here to my other blogs…..well maybe not) know that 5 years ago my 1 year old daughter ended up in kidney failure.  2 years of dialysis, a kidney transplant, and 3 years later we took her on a Make A Wish Trip to Disney World(can’t help that link it is the whole trip).  That whole experience during those 5 years aged me.  Enough to be a viable member off this blog, even if not old yet.

Life has thrown me some cement curve balls the past couple of years and I can’t catch very well.  So I have been knocked down bleeding, but I still have managed to stand back up.  But it ages me further.  So here I sit, with 4 kids growing up, a pile of bills (that could really use some help from you if you happen to be shopping at Amazon.  Just click to Amazon through my link over there in the sidebar.  Thanks.)  an attitude that is becoming more and more cantankerous, and a body that just feels old.

Ralph is always jealous of the sweet music that emanates from the kettlebells.   I still like using the things but my rapidly aging body keeps telling me to slow down.  I have finally got my elbow back to useful after 2 weeks.  And then there are the grey hairs, and the unwanted ear hair that my wife seems to find great pleasure in curling with her fingernails if I don’t get it trimmed fast enough.

(St Mary and St Barlok)Monument to Sir Ralph F...

(St Mary and St Barlok)Monument to Sir Ralph Fitzherbert,d.1483,and his wife:detail of tomb-chest. Ralph’s children are shown on the side of the tomb. first three are Richard, Thomas and John – this is John who was Ralph’s heir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the need for sleep.  And it goes on and on.  And it will not end until someone is nailing shut my pine box.  One of the most disturbing things that my wife and I have been looking at over the past little while is what to do with our kids if something happens to both of us.  That is a, well necessary thing but good hell it is depressing.  And then looking at life insurance for both of us, and on the kids.  Not to mention retirement savings.

As much as I hate thinking about it, one of these days, hopefully about 65 years in the future, I will be gone.  My kids will need that life insurance to pay for the funeral or at least the dynamite to blow me up with.  And maybe they will have a bit left over at the end.  There is insurance for that as well.  Now I am bumming myself out.

We all get older.  in reality it all happens at the same rate.  There are still 365.25 days in a year and the years go by one after the other.  The adage is still true, “The only certainties in life are Death And Taxes.”  And they will tax the hell out of you when you die.  Bah.  I need to get with Ralph and have him teach me how to not feel so old.  But for now, I have kids to raise.  16 more years and the wife and I are buying a 1958 Corvette  2 seater and cruising the country….sans kids.

I had better get writing, but first some liniment and a nap…..in the middle ages I would be an old man…and most days lately, I feel like it.

What about all of you out there reading this?  How do you feel?

Anyway, here is to more blog post from someone other than Ralph, as much as we love his take on things.


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Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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Feb 232015
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Coots Lesson #4: Say It When You Feel It.

We don’t Worry.

Are you one of those people who worry about being “politically correct”?  Do you always think out what you want to say before you say it?  Do you get home later and say to yourself “I should have said….”

Well then this lesson is for you.  In the pursuit of Cantankerousness, there is not much room for political correctness.  As Ralph has so eloquently said in the past, polite is a euphemism for a lie.  This is the same for the political correctness BS that is so prevalent in our society.

Let It Out!

There is way too much self editing these days.  Too many times we have to stop our tongues so that we don’t offend people.  Well that is over and done with.  In the continuous pursuit of being a better person I now believe that the best thing to do is just say what comes to your mind.

Lose that internal filter that clogs up with what you “should” say, and just say what you mean.  It may anger people but shooting straight is the best way to deal with society as a whole.  Keep your lies and your equivocations; quit pandering to people who don’t really mean anything to you.

Don’t keep it bottled up.

If the time is right to give any said SOB the MapQuest directions to Hell, so be it.  Tell people what you think right then and there.  If you keep it bottled up you will probably end up killing someone.  While that may seem attractive at the time, it will only land you in jail and keep you from voting or owning a gun.  Telling people what you think right then won’t land you in jail most of the time.  Slander is another post altogether.

So here is today’s homework: if somebody pisses you off, tell them.  Don’t just sit around and mutter, tell them off in a loud and clear voice that leaves no room for doubt.  Like our good friend Howard Beal did, stand up and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  Don’t take it.  Give it.  You are well on your way to being a Cantankerous Old Coot.


Justin is the young Coot with a Cantankerous Soul who continues to be educated by older, more cootish Ralph and Bob. His Cantankerosity is his own.

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