Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Got An Email From Snapfish Today

The computer generated email was an attempt to get me started using their Picture Printing Services. The email said:

Hi Cliff,

A few weeks ago, you uploaded digital photos to Snapfish. You earned a credit for 0 free 4" x 6" digital camera print in your account, but this credit will expire soon.

I became very excited. I need to act quickly. Like the time Ubawahna was promising me that $1 million for helping him hide from his evil relatives.
Life on the farm was never this exciting until I got a computer. Yea! I just might cancel my Directv. Who needs that when you've got the internet.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And Then There Were 8

This is Boston Arthur. He is the latest Morrow born to our youngest this past week.
Mom is tired and beautiful, Dad is beaming and both are proud and should be. 
Boston will join Hudson and Cooper at home.
8#7oz   January 20th, 2011
 This is a picture of Boston holding hands with Grandpa.
Grandma and Grandpa are BREATHLESS once again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Communication May Be Overrated

Last October during our soybean harvest, I ventured to town with my tractor-trailer with a load destined for our local elevator. It was windy, cold, and overcast and of all the things to worry about, flies or mosquitoes were down the list quite a ways.
But as I pulled to the back of the line, I could see a group of farmers swatting. They were swatting first their chests, then the sides of their vests, then their jeans in the front and then their jeans on the backside. If just one of them had been doing it I might have thought of the term the old timers used and called them teched (as in, he was teched in the head, meaning a bit unstable mentally) (I think they meant "touched").
What were these folks doing? It looked much like a training exercise for future major league third base coaches. ("Okay men, the steal sign will be 5 touches to the body, but only after I've first touched my hat.")
What could these folks be doing? I got out of the truck to investigate but on my arrival to the party, everything seemed normal. After a few minutes talking about the local farmers who had made some "public" mistakes during harvest - like who hit a tree with their unloading auger or how that truck on the county road had landed on its side while turning into the field or who had pulled the unload switch on the combine when they meant to hit the "auger swing out" switch instead and left 50 bushels of beans strung in a line, right by the side of the busiest blacktop in the county.
Well they weren't talking about me this time so I was feeling pretty smug when the swatting mystery was solved right before my eyes.
One person's cell phone rang and everyone started swatting at their bodies in search of their own phone. It looked like a group of TSA airport agents in training. It is indeed a problem for farmers because where their phone is, depends on how they are dressed and what job they've been doing. If they have on vests or sweaters or jackets or coveralls, the phone could be anywhere. And believe me, it could be hard to get to. No one recognizes their own phone when it rings because we all learned a long time ago that we can have a different ring for each person who calls us and so there could be someone whistling or my wife is calling. A band is playing a jazzy little tune on the radio or my buddy from Colorado is calling. A doorbell is ringing in this tractor cab or one of my sons from Lincoln is calling.
I've even been known to be driving down the road in my pickup while moving my hand around the dash trying to stop that incessant buzzing noise emanating from deep inside my gauge cluster, only to realize my phone is set on vibrate and is sitting in plain sight on my dash, and that my wife is calling wondering why I won't ever answer my phone. The short answer is that I couldn't hear it ringing. Because, well, technically it wasn't ringing.
Most meetings I go to have attendees seated at tables spread with note pads, calendars and their cell phones. If just one of those cell phones rings because it hadn't been put on the silent setting, everyone else picks up their own phone. It gives the appearance that they are doing the only polite thing and checking to make sure their own phone won't ring. In reality they've picked up their phone to check for text messages. I can only imagine how disconcerting it is to try to speak to a group preoccupied with their phones.
Old guys who have lost some of their hearing are particularly vulnerable to cell phone problems. More than once I've had someone interrupt a conversation we were having by saying, "Is that you." I answer, "You mean, am I me?" "I sure am." Next they ask, "Is that your phone that's ringing." I start swatting myself.
I'm not sure we're making upward progress in this technology arena, but at least we're busy. Give me a call sometime. I may answer but only after a quick pat search.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Changing Out an Insurance Company

I've had my boat insurance with Progressive, but had recently heard some very disturbing news about it's CEO and his philantropy's.
I looked up his bio and found that what I had read is true and have decided that the ACLU and George Soros do not need my help bringing this country to an end. They're both succeeding in that endeavor with out my money.
He'll need to look elsewhere for my couple of hundred dollars.
It was as much fun as I could have had without laughing.
...Okay, I did laugh.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year: New Rules

This might be my last column here. I just got an email from someone in Egypt, Ahcmed, who will send me $2 million and all I have to do is keep it and write a check back to him for half of it when he gets to the United States. If I'm a millionaire in the making I won't need to mess with this writing thing. Oh yeah, plus I also need to buy a ticket for him to get here but that's nothing for a rich guy like me. I'll not go into the awful thing that happened to his camel herd.
In case this doesn't work out, I've decided that I need to tidy up my act for 2011 with a form of resolutions list for this farmer.
When I was a kid, we got to stay up until midnight on New Years Eve. We looked forward to it. Nothing could be better. Then as a young adult, I did stay up until the clock struck 12. As I began to age I couldn't stay awake that long. As time progressed, midnight seemed quite the insurmountable objective. Perhaps a useless goal. Now, midnight is about the time we begin thinking about getting up. As nearly as I can tell, in a few years, a celebration beginning at midnight will be easy once again. Only then we'll be frying eggs and bacon for the party.
Now for some things that need changing…
I'll try to never ever again buy a bin floor, attachment or assembly of any kind that uses the words "sometimes it might be necessary," "some field cutting will be required," or my favorite, "If for any reason you have trouble with this product do not return it to the store where you purchased it." They always fail to add the words "You're on your own, baby." They instead want you to deal with their factory, which just happens to be in China.
I will no longer purchase products with instructions that will require approximately two days of leaning against my pickup and staring at papers trying to figure out where slot B and hole hh are and what country the dude was from who wrote these words.
I resolve to not be surprised by the first snow fall. After 60 years on this earth you'd think I would learn that it snows in the winter around these parts, so get ready for it.
I also resolve to never again try to run a heavy duty five-gallon can of gasoline through my snow blower. Let's just say I was lucky.
I resolve to quit reading labels on products like shampoo and body lotion. I've found that volumizing shampoo doesn't (I suppose there's little to be done with just a few strands of hair.) and why use a body lotion that promises to "relax my skin." Isn't that the problem to start with? We need skin that's at least just a little tense. Mine's kicked back in a "skin recliner" mode.
I resolve to find a machinery dealer whose shop manager hasn't looked up the credit balance left on my Farm Plan account and then tried to find enough work on my combine to somehow use it all up.
I hereby resolve to not pay $500 for a bag of seed corn. At least not yet.
I will fight the urge to put a $30,000 automatic steering system on my $15,000 tractor. But I could use the sleep. I'm worried though about the Missouri River that is at the end of one of my fields and not waking up to turn the rig around in time.
A Happy New Year to one and all. May your next year always be better than the last. And lastly, I think it best to align yourself with the man who said he had resolved many years ago never to make New Years Resolutions. He said that so far, that was the one resolution he'd been able to keep.