Join the Army and See the World… or Buy a Cute Little Camper Van in New Zealand!

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*What could possibly go wrong?

The Missus and I need a big house so we both can have our own space.

And in the land of semi-retirement, you watch your money pretty closely.

So, of course, we just bought a little camper van.

In our defense, it’s not really a camper van.

Certainly not like the big one that two families squished into 20 years ago to tour all of New Zealand.

That one had eight berths and a stove and fridge and pooper and shower.

That kind if serious camper van now rents for about $400 per day.

So, when you throw in insurance, diesel and campground fees, etc, it costs about $9,000 to get our of your driveway.

Which poses a dilemma.

How do you quityerbitchin’ about living in the most beautiful country in the world yet never actually seeing any of it?

The answer came last week from above. Or at least the internets.

I was looking for a cheap car, using my super-braniac search engine words “moving to Australia.”

And poof.

There, among all the actual cars, popped up the cutest little camper van you ever saw.

I mean, it’s called a Mazda Bongo Friendee.

How could that not be a thing of happy destiny?

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Hellooooo Grown Up Musician Son, Let’s Talk Retail

headphones-clip-art-headphones-clip-art-7

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Don’t mind my 26-year-old musician son as he grumpily digs through the mall trash bin.

He is not foraging for food, like many starving musicians.

He is looking for the plastic packaging that he shredded about 30 minutes ago to get to his new headphones.

Why?

Because we have just had the following Father-Son chat at the mall coffee shop, after Junior strolled up holding new headphones .

Dad: “Heh, I bought some of those headphones.  The look cool, but they really suck.”

Grumpy Son: “They so do!”

Dad: “Take them back. Just put them inside the packaging, and take them back.”

Grumpy Son: “I threw it away.”

Dad: <Rolling eyes> “Seriously? If I had a dollar for every time we have had this conversation about packaging. And receipts…”

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The Eccentric Titirangi Chicken Woman

 

I love eccentric people, especially if they have chickens.

And don’t live next door.

Hence, I love going to the physiotherapist, to have my head rotated and get an update on the Titirangi Chicken Situation.

(Yes, I shot that seven-second video last year!)

It seems that the Council — after six months of meetings and complaints and strategies and tactics and skulduggery and general Titirangi weirdness — finally hauled away approximately 28 chickens.

Now, before all you pinko-lefty-chicken-pluckers get all moisty-eyed about the poor, dear chickens, you need to understand that:

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What a Good Man Looks Like — Bob Barry, Jr

Bobby and buddies from the Norman High School "Trail".

Bobby, left, and buddies, circa 1973 — NHS “Trail”.

The older you get, the more you understand how hard it is to find a “good man” in this life.

The outpouring of emotion this week in Oklahoma, following the premature death of TV sportscaster Bob Barry, Jr., proved that in spades.

I honestly encourage you to have a look at “BBJ’s” memorial service, which was televised live.  It is compelling, heart-rending and enlightening viewing.

Loving husband? Check.

Doting father? Check.

All round good guy? Check.

Even so, I’ve heard of many men who checked all these boxes.

But in my 35 years of working in or with (frequently “precious”) media types, I have never seen such a tidal wave of love from friends, colleagues, competitors and “plain, old, everyday people.”

Chip Off

Obviously, BBJ was a “chip off the old block,” the son of legendary Oklahoma sportscaster Bob Barry, Sr. (a.k.a. Big Bob).

He obviously had his Dad’s DNA, and was even mentored by the old man.

But BBJ also had a lot of Will Rogers in him.  Seems like he never met a man he didn’t like, or wasn’t really interested in.

This week, Oklahoma media have been inundated with stories from John and Jane Q. Public, and their kids.

Stories about BBJ’s authentic kindness, goodness, curiosity, support, generosity, and his unique ability to “make everybody feel like they  were the most important thing in the universe.”

As one of his own loving kids wrote, “He really didn’t know how big of a deal he was.”

Sports Animal

For three decades, literally hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans got their sports fix from BBJ on radio (The Sports Animal) and television (KFOR).

Even though he was a Big Dog, turns out that he never acted like one, if you can imagine such a thing in this day and age.

He was the last guy to leave work, always trying to improve a story, always making sure everyone got a fair shake.

Personally, I have been so impressed by his positive outlook on life, and his relentless efforts to promote young athletes, right across the Sooner State.

Unless you have lived in a small town, you simply cannot imagine what it would’ve been like on a Football Friday Night for KFOR’s chopper to fly BBJ into Podunk, Oklahoma.

And then for him to interview your local hometown heroes with as much enthusiasm as if they were the Selmon Brothers.

Never Saw It 

Even though I grew up in Norman and went to school with “Bobby” for a long time, I never had an inkling of what he’d turn out to be; as a man, I mean.

He was a year younger than me, so it’s not like we were close friends or anything. Plus, I was a football player, and he was a round-baller.

Even so, I’ve rediscovered more than a few vivid memories of him, which sort of bubbled to the surface after his tragic death. (He was riding his motorcycle when a driver did a U-turn and killed him).

My abiding memory of Bobby is that he was a real character; skinny, thick glasses, and pretty much always up to something.

At the memorial service, one of his oldest friends said, “We had Robin Williams before there was a Robin Williams.”

At Norman High, Bobby was always worth the price of admission.

He could mimic anyone — teachers, vice principals … pretty much everyone in authority.

Bobby 1 -- basketball team shot

BEEEEEEEEE!

He could be funny doing anything, especially if it was sports related, which makes perfect sense.

Countless times when we were messing around in the gym, Bobby would show off his patented, goofball, basketball move.

He’d jack a one-handed jumpshot from half-court, his face all contorted, staring at the ground, stiff-legged, with his feet spread about four-feet apart, and making an annoying noise like “uh-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

Seems like about half those ridiculous shots were swishes. Or maybe they were all air balls.

I dunno.

I just remember that he made me laugh. Every time.

Just like when he’d hold court outside the Senior Center, making a comedy routine out of simply saying his name.

“Uh-beee- beeeee-beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” he’d stammer for about 5 seconds, then pound his chest and spit out “Bob Baaaarreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

I must have heard him do that bit 50 times. It killed me every single time, especially the time he actually knocked the wind out of himself.  You should have been there.

That’s really all I have on Bobby in my memory banks.

(Well, there’s that one NHS party memory that didn’t end very well, when his Dad came charging up like John Wayne. Whoa.)

No Hint

Funny, I never had an inkling that little, skinny, always-entertaining Bobby had “greatness” in him; like what was so evident during yesterday’s memorial service.

Great kindness. Great love. Great friendship. Great humility. Great manhood. Great humanity.

I wish I’d know him better and for longer.  The last time I saw him was probably in 1974.

In many ways, I wish I was more like him now.

I’m honestly going to try. Maybe we all should.

Rest in Peace, Bobbeeeee Baaaarreeeeeeeeeeeee.

Blessings from an old Norman Tiger in New Zealand.

Bob Barry, Jr.

Car Buying at 60-ish? Not Even Possible

I am now within spittin’ distance of the big 6-0 which, despite media lies, is NOT the new 40.

I have carefully monitored the physical changes that go along with aging — don’t ask — but only recently have I started to consider certain mental changes.

For example, I have been looking for a car for the better part of a year and simply cannot make a buying decision.

I have always been picky and cheap.

Even so, back in the old days, pre-2010, I could actually make a decision, and I bought many cars.

Back then, I would even, on rare occasions, visit a used car dealership, even though I hated them.

When Junior was about 12, I drove through one to look at prices.

A sleazy car salesman stood in front of my car and kept motioning for me to get out.

Smiling.

Like a raptor.

Car salesman raptor

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Shaky Dog Love

 

lingtop

Cracktop Computing

I guess I need to get used to the seizures.

The Crack Puppy would not settle next to my leg last night, as we Facebooked, watched TV and read about Salvation History.

Then she raised up her front end and went rigid.

She was seizuring again.

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BaconPalooza — Our Urgent Call For Way More Bacon Holidays

Bacon-Flag

We are well past time for National Public Holidays honoring bacon.

And we don’t mean the lame-o Dec. 30 alleged “Bacon Day” that nobody know about.

We’re talking the need for major, urgent changes to the United States of America’s Public Holidays.

Day                                                                        Date     

  • New Year’s Bacon Day                                 January 1
  • Martin Luther King Day                              January 19
  • Presidents National Bacon Day                 3rd Monday in Febr
  • Memorial Day                                               May 25
  • Bacon Independence Day                          July 4
  • Labor Day                                                     1st Monday in Sept.
  • Crispy Columbus Bacon Day                    2nd Monday of Oct.
  • Bacon for Veterans Day                             November 11
  • Thanksgiving (for Bacon Day)                 4th Thursday in Nov.
  • Day after Bacon Thanksgiving                 4th Friday in Nov.
  • Christmas Day                                             December 25

How will these MUCH IMPROVED holidays be celebrated?

We’re so glad you asked.

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