Mar 312015
 
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Birthday, Cake with candles

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Hello everyone. Well, why you are waiting for the next installment from the coots, it has come to my attention that Monday has been gathering cobwebs around here. I guess it is either up to me to change that or delegate it to someone else.

As for today, Facebook has informed me that this is the day that Bob was dug out from under a rock somewhere in the back country and mercilessly prodded into a lifetime of Cantankerosity.

Finally, a thing that Facebook is actually good for. At any rate we here at the Coots, well at least me and I would assume Ralph but his cantankerous button has been turned up to high lately, would like to wish our colleague Bob a Happy Birthday.

I will have to come up with some fancy song like in one of those restaurants who can’t bring themselves to go traditional because of pending charges from Michael Jackson. Wait, Michael is dead, who got all of the Beatles songs and Happy Birthday rights?

Well, happy birthday Bob, I don’t expect tomorrows live broadcast to be too cantankerous, it was just your Birthday after all. But then again, last week all of his plumbing in the yurt tried to go to hell on him.

There is no telling with Bob.

Happy Birthday Brother,
-Justin

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Justin

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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Up With – Hood Ornaments

 Posted by at 11:03  Up With
Feb 232015
 
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“Hood ornaments. They were just lovely, and they gave a sense of respect. And they took ’em away because if you can save one human life- that’s always the argument- it’s worth it, if you can save one human life. Actually, I’d be willing to trade maybe a dozen human lives for a nice hood ornament. I imagine those things really did tend to stick in bicyclists.” Michael O’Donoghue

It is comforting to be a Cantankerous OLD Coot because when you look around at the trivial cultural wasteland of modern day America, you, at least, have the memories of better times. Sick of ugly, look-alike cars? Remember hood ornaments! Back when you used to be able to tell one car from another and all cars weren’t ugly, hood ornaments were totally useless sculptures found on the hood of every car no matter the price or cache. These were not trivial junk but carefully crafted works of art designed to reflect the unique image for the car make itself and quite often the specific model. The hood ornament was just one more way to make a car distinctive. Today most of us will remember the Flying Lady for Rolls Royce or the Mercedes Star because those two manufacturers held out the longest before abandoning hood ornaments. It may have been safety that precipitated the end for hood ornaments but in the long run I think the big reason was cost. Popular priced cars after the onslaught of government regulation in the 60’s couldn’t afford hood ornaments and as hood ornaments became rare, the few remaining became collectors items causing Rolls to go to outlandish length to protect theirs before giving up.

We at Cantankerous Old Coots want to propose a solution to the ugly car problem. We say bring back the hood ornament! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make your car distinctive again? Now that you can’t tell a Toyota from a Lexis from a KIA and all cars look like a cross-over, think what a hood ornament could do to make your car distinctive. Finally you could stop having to click your key fob and wait for the lights to flash to know which car is yours. Look for the one with your special hood ornament,

Ralph

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

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Up with Fall

 Posted by at 11:03  Up With
Feb 232015
 
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“Let’s drive up to New England and watch the leaves die.” Bruce Eric Kaplan

 

Maple leaves

Maple leaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in the mid-west where four seasons were the norm. I never gave much thought to what what life might be like in warmer climes or somewhere without seasons altogether. I accepted Spring showers, Winter snows, Summer humidity and the leaves falling in Autumn. It was the natural order and the way things are supposed to be.

Then after college when I had to decide where I wanted to live and work, I chose California and everything I thought I knew about the seasons changed. In Southern California where I lived for over 30 years, Winter can be the best season. In Winter you get the full gamut of possibilities; rain, sun fog, even enough chill to make a fire feel good, once in a while. There is a lot of sun but it is never too hot. Flowers bloom all year round and it stays green- or at least the gray-green shade that you learn to accept as green in arid regions- all year round.

 What’s not to like about SoCal?

From day one, I loved the weather. I learned to understand June gloom and look forward to the Winter rains. I loved forgetting that there was something called humidity. I never noticed how Fall just disappeared because the leaves just don’t turn in Southern California.

I truthfully didn’t miss the fall color at all. I remember that I kept wondering why anyone in SoCal would even plant a deciduous tree, I couldn’t see any appeal to a bare tree when you could have a green one all year round. There were deciduous trees in So Cal but because the weather was too mild, they didn’t get bright colors in the Fall. They just die, turned brown and fall off. How boring!

NoCal is different!

In the mountains and even some parts of Northern California, the air gets more chill and some selected varieties of deciduous trees will color. Now that I am 100 miles from the Pacific and 1,000 feet above sea level in the Sierra foothills, we get a faint shadow of the seasons I knew back in the mid-west. Just this week, the weather turned and the nights became cool. Our maple leaves are starting to dry but it is too early to tell if we will get color this year. It’s never a sure thing.

The sycamores lining the parkway started browning in August. By now they are totally brown and shriveled but still on the trees. Any day now they will drop and cover the ground. They are really ugly. I always wonder why our city planner selected them. They aren’t particularly lovely. They don’t color in the fall or have flowers in the Spring- only some nasty pollen, followed by silky seeds. I think their only charm is that they are native to the area which seems like a poor excuse to me. What I loved about California was the great variety of plants from all over the world that can grow here. I loved the groves of Eucalyptus trees all over the state and particularly the ones leading to our home in SoCal where you would know that you were almost home just from the smell of the leaves. Nobody plants eucalyptus anymore. They aren’t cool because they aren’t native.

Aging makes you reflective.

These days I miss the dramatic season changes from my youth. I think about driving into the mountains in the Fall to see the brilliantly colored aspens and closer to home look for the odd tree in my neighborhood with real fall color. At this point, I probably will never be willing to move back to someplace with four real seasons. I just don’t want the extremes of hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. I have become more appreciative of deciduous trees however and the beauty of bare branches against the winter sky; the colors of the leaves in the Fall and the soft green of the Spring buds.

It’s been a long time since I first came to California and in that time both I and the state have come a long way. Maybe it is just that I’m getting older but these days, I really appreciate the dramatic show of color before the leaves die. I can understand making a grand statement and going out with a flourish. It inspires me to have a few more adventures before I finally concede that my life is over. I can learn something from the leaves of Autumn.

 

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Ralph

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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Newer readers may not have noticed that there is an instructive dimension to Cantankerous Old Coots. Early on Justin and I created a series of Cantankerous Old Coots Lessons designed to help fledgling Coots perfect their cantankerosity. Starting with Lesson 1 “Let it out” up to Lesson 21 “Cantankerosity lasts” we provided direction to COC wannabees. We even established Cantankerous Old Coots University with an ebook containing augmented versions of lessons 1 through 5. It was a glorious vision. We would help create a more perfect world by communicating the COC vision as stated in our manifesto and help spread the COC message to the initiated..

Coots in action

We imagined that COC would wake up hundreds of sleepwalkers from the boring tedium that is 21st century life. We were certain that slowly- over time- our readership would grow and more Coots would join with us to spread the spirit of cantankerosity. We were wrong.

COC gets read but as far as we can tell, no one wants to join the ranks, take the lessons seriously and move into serious cantankerosity. Our most popular post continues to be Coots Lesson 13 “Same to you.” a thoughtful and timeless lesson from Justin about standing up for yourself. It isn’t clear to us why this lesson resonates so well with our readers but as we struggle to understand our reader’s thinking we wonder why their pleasure with Lesson 13 doesn’t cause them to check out Lesson 12 or even Lesson 14.

Then I get it. Our readers are indeed Cantankerous Old Coots. They can’t be bothered with the effort required to locate those other lessons just like Justin and I can’t be bothered with creating a web page with links to all the lessons. This is the most encouraging news we’ve had in months because it means that we are finding Coots and Coot wannabees out in the blogosphere. They have found COC and appreciate the message and like good Coots, they are not willing to waste any time or effort to make us feel better. They have a mission to improve their quality of their lives. Improving the quality of our lives here at COC, not so much.

We clearly didn’t connect all the dots when we developed our business model here at COC. We talked a cantankerous game but measured our results using ordinary standards. What this suggests is that more people might enjoy the COC Lessons if we got off our double-wide asses and created an index of those lessons with convenient links. Being user friendly and customer service focused is not generally the prime directive here at COC This is going to take some time to sort out. Stay tuned.

 

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Ralph

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

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Up with Columbus Day!

 Posted by at 11:03  Up With
Feb 232015
 
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First landing of Columbus on the shores of the...
Image via Wikipedia

Did you celebrate Columbus Day this year?  Columbus Day along with the country that thought up the idea has been demonized so harshley that hardly anyone celebrates the holiday anymore. Sure New York City still holds a Columbus Day Parade but more often you get rags like the Huffington Post telling us that Columbus is not worth our respect:

Called everything from a “rapist” to an “idiot,” Columbus Day now occupies the position of a bona fide controversy in the annals of America.

Amazingly no one ever seems to notice that when they tear down the giants from the past, there is no one left to look up to. I’m sick of all this negativity. They say that our founding fathers were nothing more than miscegenating slaveholders who created our deeply flawed country in their own self interest, ignoring it’s greatness through the centuries. There is too much here to get into. I am going to stick with Columbus today. It is very simple. I don’t know much about his ethics or morals. I don’t actually care because IT DOESN’T MATTER. Christopher Columbus discovered America and made our country possible and without America, I’d probably be a worthless Swedish welfare suckup today. The man did good by me.

The Huffington Posters and the other hate America folks like to point out that discovering America wasn’t so good for the Indians. I don’t know about that. Those hypothetical s always bother me. Who knows what might have happened if the Aztecs decided to develop an empire. Who’s to know how well that would work out for the Indians. What if the Vikings came back? You just never know.   This just might be the best of all possible worlds. They never like to credit America for fighting to end slavery, saving the world twice from the Germans who seem to have an unstoppable stream of bad ideas to foist on the world or taking in immigrants from every country in the world and making American’s out of them. America has been good for Americans, the world and it has made a place where Huffingrton Posters can safely snivel about some better world. If things are so bad. why are they still here?

So I say Up with Columbus Day and let’s celebrate the bravery and hutzpa of our man Chris. He may not have been the perfect human being. He might have had a flaw or two but he had the balls to talk the Spanish into fronting his expedition to reach India and sail to the edge of the earth. Along the way he discovered a new world. Whatever the cost, the result, as they say in the credit card ads, is priceless. Give the man his due. He is the kind of man we need more of today instead of the self-serving timid and pansified leaders we seem unable to kick out these days and rags like the Huffington Post seem to find flawless. Let’s hear it for flawed people like Chris who took a chance, risked everything and made the world a different and better place. Then lets kick some pansified ass next month.

Ralph

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

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