Movie Mirrors Society

Movie poster for "The Day My Parents Ran Away"I just watched one of the most brilliantly conceived, and apparently misunderstood, films I have ever seen. It’s called “The Day My Parents Ran Away.” It’s from 1993 but it’s incredibly pertinent today.

In the movie, Matt Miller is this spoiled little teenager who manipulates his parents and every other adult around him into giving him whatever he wants. He goes blithely through his days innocently convinced that he is entitled to everything his parents provide for him, and more. He thinks it unfair that his parents have the larger bedroom in the house when he has twice as much stuff as they do. He is completely bemused when his parents get tickets to a concert and plan to use their car on a night when he intended to use it. In other words, Matt is a liberal.

Matt’s parents, Bob and Judy, finally get fed up and leave. Of course, they leave him the house and a credit card and Matt is in Donkey heaven mindlessly piling up charges for a non-stop teenage party. He’s perfectly happy with this new arrangement so long as he continues to get everything he wants. In fact, he thinks he is representative of teenagers everywhere. Everything is groovy until the credit card is maxed out, the house is in shambles, the electric company turns out the lights, and his girlfriend, Melanie, dumps him on grounds of stupidity.

Eventually Matt learns that his future is ultimately up to him. He does some growing up and goes to work. Melanie, who saw his potential all along, gives him another chance. Bob and Judy come home and everybody lives happily everafter.

This quirky little film is a perfect mirror of our society. The liberals are convinced of their entitlement to all things. So long as they get whatever they want they don’t care, or even consider, who’s paying the bills. The more they get the more they want, and the very idea that a person deserves what they earn is just too confusing to even think about.

What, I wonder, would happen if those who actually are working and footing the bill in our society suddenly said, “You know what? We’ve had enough. Here’s the keys. Whatever’s left in the treasury is yours. Give us a call when you grow up.

True, it’s not practical but it sure is fun to think about.

What do you think?

Frog in Hot Water Experiment

Wanna see who can handle the heat?Here at the CowChows we take nothing at face value. We do our own research and experiments until we’re satisfied that every stone has been turned. So, when I heard the story about the frog I had to see it for myself.

The story goes that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out to save its life. However, if you place a frog into a pot of cool water and then slowly raise the temperature of the water the frog will stay in the pot and die.

So, I got me a frog, and a pot, and some water. I brought the water to a boil and dropped the frog in, and sure enough that little sucker came out of there like he’d been shot out of a little frog-cannon.

Next, after finally catching the frog, I filled the pot with cool water and placed the frog in it. Then, I slowly turned up the heat under the pot. The frog continued to swim around in the pot even as the water grew hotter and hotter. I waited long enough to satisfy the experiment but not long enough for the frog to die because that would be cruel, and frogs aren’t easy to find in February.

Next, I placed a copy of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto”
into the pot with the frog. After a couple of days I again slowly increased the heat under the pot, and once again the frog just swam around until he was almost frog soup.

So one more time, I filled the pot with cool water and placed the frog inside. I set the television to the Fox News channel and tuned in talk radio. After a couple of days I returned and once more turned up the heat. The water grew warmer and warmer, and I could see that the frog was increasingly uncomfortable but yet he continued to swim. Then, just as steam began to rise from the pot the frog swam over to the side, climbed up onto the rim, and hopped down onto the counter-top. He turned, looked up at me and slowly shook his head from side to side. He hopped over to the knob on the stove-top and turned the burner under the pot off. He raised one little wet frog-finger and with it he drew a coiled rattlesnake in the condensate moisture, and below the snake he wrote, “Don’t Tread On Me.” And then, he hopped back into the pot. Thus, proving conclusively once and for all that frogs don’t read.

Don't Tread On Me

Obama’s New Golf Czar

Image of Obama's unidentified Golf Czar
Who is Obama's new Golf Czar?

President Obama has now appointed a Golf Czar. The identity of the newly appointed czar is still unknown but announcements were just made of major rule changes to the game of golf. These changes are expected to become effective March 2010 and may be retroactive in southern States. This is only a preview as new rules, regulations and legislation are still being finalized. Here are a few basic changes:

Golfers handicaps:

  • Below 10 – greens fees will be increased by 35%
  • Between 11 and 18 – no increase in greens fees
  • Above 18 – player will receive a $25 check for each round of 18 holes.

Dollar amounts placed in bets will be as follows:

  • For handicaps below 10, an additional $10 will be assessed
  • For handicaps between 11 and 18, no additional amount
  • For handicaps above 18, players will receive the total amount in the pot even if they do not play.

The term “gimme” will be changed to “entitlement” and will be used as follows:

  • For handicaps below 10, no entitlements
  • For handicaps from 11 to 17, entitlements for putter length putts
  • For handicaps above 18, if the ball is on green, no need to putt, just pick it up.

These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness and, most importantly, equality in scoring.

In addition, a Player will be limited to a maximum of one birdie or six pars in any given round. Any excess must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par. Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player actually making the birdie or par, can that player begin to count his pars and birdies again.

The current USGA handicap system will be used for the above purposes but the term ‘net score’ will be available only for scoring those players with handicaps of 18 and above. This is intended to ‘redistribute’ the success of winning by making sure that in every competition, the above 18 handicap players will post only ‘net score’ against every other player’s gross score

These new Rules are intended to CHANGE the game of golf. Golf must be about Fairness. It should have nothing to do with Ability.

Obama – Hope and Change – You asked for it

A Most Perfect Valentine’s Day

Image of Pudgy Granpa Valentine Bear
Pudgy Granpa Valentine Bear

I know as men we don’t tend to get as caught-up in Valentine’s Day as our more sentimental counterparts do, but I gotta tell you I am having just the most perfect Valentine’s Day ever.

It all started several days ago when I began to take notice of all the Valentine’s Day advertising. First, I was told that only diamonds really say, “I love you.” I thought about getting Barbara Gayle a big old diamond, but knowing her as I do she would rather I got her a briquette of coal with a card saying, “Squeeze me tight for a very long time.”

Then I heard about this teddy bear from Vermont that I could personalize just for her. I checked it out and they had the Love Bandit Bear, and the Lover Boy Bear, and the Huggable Hunk Bear, but none seemed just right. So, I thought I would design the perfect bear for her. I was going to call it the Pudgy Grampa Bear, but it turned out looking more like the Road-Kill Bear. So I scrapped that idea, too.

Then I thought I’d write her a love poem. It was actually going pretty good until I got to the part that said, “Our love is an endless and perfect circle.” The only word I could find to rhyme with circle was hurkle. I tried and tried but once you use a word that means, “to cower with pain or cold,” in a love poem things kind of fall apart from there on.

Finally I thought, rather than show up empty handed, I would get her some flowers. This is not as easy as you might think on February 14. I stopped at several places but all the flowers that said, “I Love You!” were gone and the only ones left said, “I know I’m old and wrinkly and near dead, but please take pity on me because I tried.” Not really the message I wanted to send.

So, I walked in the door with nothing in hand. Since at the very least I wanted to say it first, I blurted out, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

And, my beautiful wife turned to me, stared at me for a long second, and then said, “Oh, that’s right. It is Valentine’s Day. Dinner’s almost ready why don’t you go wash up.”

I have to admit. It brought a little tear to my eye.

Wishing you a most perfect Valentine’s Day ever, as well.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Time Travel – not all it’s cracked up to be

Happy kids on a toboggan in the snowI experienced time travel today.

When we woke this morning the CowChows lay under a seven inch thick blanket of new snow. It was early; my neighbors had not yet ventured out and so the snow blanket lay pure and undisturbed. All was quiet; save the distant rush of the river and occasional birdsong it was as if the entire world still slept. As I stood at the window sipping fresh hot coffee, tendrils of smoke climbed from neighboring chimneys and curled skyward. And I thought, “What the hell am I doing up this early?” And, I went back to bed.

Some time later I was awakened by the sound of an angry hornet. I peered out through the frosted window pane and saw my neighbor whizzing down the road on his four-wheeler. Behind the noisy contraption and attached by a length of rope was a plastic toboggan with two happily screaming kids onboard. My first thought was, “Wow, a spill at that speed could hurt those kids pretty bad.”

My next thought was, “Man, that looks like fun.”

I was only going down to watch, I swear. But when I got down there and saw their beaming smiles and wind stung cheeks, when I heard their joyful screams and laughter, and as I stood there on the hillside with the other kids waiting their turn I couldn’t help but feel a thrill. Of course, I would have been perfectly happy to share in their fun vicariously, but when the little blond haired girl from next door turned to me and sweetly asked, “Would you like a ride,” well, what could I say?

Three small children took each arm and assisted me in lowering myself onto the toboggan. With animated chatter they instructed me to keep my feet inside, hang on tight, don’t fall off, and one taunting little voice said, “Don’t pee your pants like Jeffrey did.”

Finally I was ready. I squared myself on the toboggan, gripped the sides, and just as I was giving the nod to go I heard a voice from up the hill and behind me, “TIMOTHY LYNN COUCH!!”

I turned; my neighbor gunned the engine; the toboggan jumped out from under me, and I went sprawling in the snow. Suddenly, I was ten years old again; I’d just been caught in red-handed mischief, and all the other kids were laughing at me. As I lumbered up the hill rubbing my butt a sing-song voice whispered, “Timmy got in trouble.”

Time travel, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Frigidly yours,

Tim Couch

Boys being boys

Boys are smart alecksI was out back of the CowChows a little while ago poking around in my collection of undetermined purposes. I’m working on a new project. I got the idea from the Lazy-Susan in the kitchen, but in my design my La-Z-Boy sits on a giant turntable in the center of a donut shaped desk. On top of the donut will be two laptop computers, a television, a compact refrigerator, a toaster oven, a coffee maker, and of course the universal remote control. I call it the Youniverse. It’s going to be revolutionary.

While I was poking around in the pile looking for parts a couple of kids were playing shoot-em-up next door. They were running around chasing each other, making “p-keww” and “kapow” sounds, and arguing about who got who. I wasn’t too concerned about the outcome of the game so long as someone got shot, but then I suddenly realized they had gone silent. I first thought they had simply gone inside but a stealthy giggle told me that was not the case.

I turned to discover two young boys peering over the retaining wall that divides the properties. One I recognized as my neighbor, Mason. He’s the little brother of the little blond haired girl who regularly torments me. The other boy I didn’t recognize; possibly because I didn’t know him but more likely because both boys were making their best horror face. With their nose pushed up and their eyes pulled down and tongues sticking out and heads waggling from side to side they did look barely human.

I watched them for a moment wondering if I had a face in my own arsenal that could send them screaming for Mommy, but decided instead to take the tack of an adult. “You should be careful,” I said, “Your face could freeze like that and then you’d look that way forever.”

“Hunh unhh,” they replied in unison.

“It’s true,” I said. “Every time you make a face at someone you run the risk of your face freezing like that, and then you’ll have to wear that face for the rest of your life.”

“How do you know?” asked the little stranger boy.

“Well, that’s what my Mommy told me,” I said, “and Mommies don’t lie.”

Mason’s eyes grew wide, and then he shrugged his little shoulders and said, “Well, can’t say she didn’t warn ya.” And they ran off laughing and shooting at each other.

I think it’s going to be a long year.

Regards,

Tim Couch

A Moment of Clarity

snow capped birds nest among tree branchesOccasionally in life we are blessed with a moment of clarity, an instant of insight when suddenly we know something with unquestioning certainty. These moments have the potential to change us forever, to change the way we see the world, and to change our role in it. I had such a moment today.

I was out back taking care of the morning CowChows chores, and as I was trudging along the snow packed path I looked up and noticed a bird’s nest in a tree. It was nearly perfectly camouflaged even now in the dead of winter. Nestled in the bough of a young elm tree its twigs and leaves blended so perfectly that had it not been for the cap of snow on top I might have missed it. Certainly, it had been there all along and I had missed it until now. The tree which held it was itself entangled in the climbing vines of a multiflora rose and I could not imagine how the nest could have been better protected.

As I stood there contemplating this nest and considering the birds who built it I wondered at the process that brought them to make this specific location home. Were they born with an innate instinct, or were they faced with myriad decisions which eventually brought them to this place? As I studied the scene before me and imagined the two birds poring over maps and blueprints I became aware of ice flakes falling about me.

Overnight, a heavy frost had left the CowChows looking as if an expert hand had lightly sprinkled the world with a fine layer of confectioner’s sugar. Now, as the sun shone through for the first time in days and touched upon the upper branches of slumbering trees, these tiny crystals turned loose and wafted gently to the ground. Looking up, I watched them float towards me against a background of clear blue sky and I wondered at how not unlike they are to each of us. Each is unique unto itself and through all of time there will never be any two exactly alike, and yet all share similar characteristics and frailties.

It was while these delicate crystals of ice fell gently upon my face and birdsong carried lightly on the breeze that I experienced that moment of clarity. It came to me not as a thought, but as a fully bloomed flower of knowledge and in that instant I knew without doubt and with unquestioning certainty that, “Damn, it’s still cold out here.”

And I went in the house.

Be a Hero

Obama, Pelosi and Reid tie a damsel in distress to railroad track
Won't someone save me?!

I am a child of the sixties. I learned at an early age that there was no danger, no threat, no villain that could not be defeated or foiled in thirty minutes or less. No matter how many and how ruthless the rustlers the Lone Ranger would always find a way to outsmart or out-shoot them just in the nick of time. No matter how powerful or ingenious the villain Superman, somehow, always foiled their evil scheme with no time to spare. And, regardless how huge the mess or dire the circumstances Samantha Stevens could fix it all with a magical twitch of her cute little nose. Ah yes, I learned at a very tender age that there was nothing to fear. Good would always triumph over evil. But, more importantly I learned that there would always be a hero or heroine who would swoop in at the very last second and set everything right again. Unfortunately, it is not so.

For fifty some-odd years, going on four generations now, we have been raised in a haze. Through television and movies, the fodder most of us grew up on, we have been slowly impregnated with a sense that somehow some way everything will work out. Some benevolent  hero or as yet unknown force for good will ride over the hill and save us from all the lowlife outlaws. All we have to do is hang on until our savior arrives.

Many of us thought November 4, 2008 was that day. We voted for hope; we voted for change; we voted with our emotions and ignored our own common sense. We bought in to political rhetoric and campaign slogans and abstract goals. We believed because we needed so desperately something to believe in. Many of us believed that the Obama Administration was our hero riding in to save the day. Few voters on that fateful day recognized or comprehended the power that a Whitehouse and Congress controlled by the same party would have, and now…..

Our government is out of control. We all, as well as several future generations, are laying on the railroad tracks and the train is coming fast around the curve. we hear the whistle; we see the steam and we can feel the vibration of the churning wheels on the track. We look imploringly about for surely our only chance is that our hero will race to our side, release us from our bonds and whisk us away to safety. But wait! Our hero is the deaf and blind train engineer madly shoveling coal into the firebox. What ever will we do?

For starters, we can recognize that we are not actually tied down. We only imagine that we are. All we have to do is rise up and stop the runaway train of government from crushing us under its iron wheels. This is a time for heroism. But, this sense of waiting to be rescued is not only childish it’s foolish. We must become our own heroes. We must contribute to our own future and the future of our country. And, not by looking to someone else to lead us but by looking within and choosing the direction we wish to go. A hero is someone who chooses to do the right thing when there is an easier choice to be had.

We all know right from wrong. we may disagree in the methods and means, but we know what’s right and what’s not right.

It is not right to saddle future generations with our debts.
It is not right to regulate freedom.
It is right to protect ourselves by whatever means possible.

Just over a year ago we asked for change. Now, it’s time to demand it. Our government will continue to take control of our lives as long as we continue to allow it. Never before have we had so many methods from which to choose to make our voices heard: make phone calls, write letters, write blog posts, post video online, attend meet-ups and meetings. You can make a difference. You can make your voice heard. You can be a hero.

The choice is yours. Stand up, shake loose the imaginary bonds before they become real, and take responsibility as a citizen of these United States. Or, lay there on the railroad tracks and wait to be rescued.

The time to choose is now. Which will you be, the hero or the damsel in distress?

Regards,

Tim Couch

With Aches Comes Wisdom

Man on sled in cloud of powdery snow
Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark

When we awoke this morning the CowChows lay under a four inch thick blanket of snow. Snow brings a peace and quiet to the world that is both soothing to the nerves and invigorating to the spirit. I found myself at once wanting to be outside frolicking in the snow and inside curled beneath my own blanket near a crackling fire. Throughout the morning I chose the latter. If only I’d been smart enough to stay there.

We were just finishing up lunch when I heard the tinkling laughter of children outside. The CowChows is nestled onto the side of a fairly steep hill, and through the window I watched as a couple of neighbor kids took turns on a sled. Their laughter, falling snow, the aroma of wood fire created a moment of nostalgia and a tiny voice inside my head asked, “How long’s it been since you slid on a sled in the snow?”

“They won’t want to play with me,” I argued. “To them I’m an old man.” But, the next thing I knew I was bundled up in my coveralls, boots, gloves, cap and shuffling out into the snow. I stood off to the side and watched, feeling every bit like the kid who wants to play with the other kids’ toys but is afraid to ask. We exchanged “Hellos” and they continued to play, and all the while the little voice kept urging, “Go ahead; ask them.”

So, I did. I asked if I could ride their sled. Their stunned silence lasted only a few seconds and then they explained it was actually a “Snow Boogie” and yes, I was more than welcome to ride it. I wanted to start from higher up the hill and as we climbed to the perfect place to take-off from the little dark haired girl explained the finer points of snow-boogieing including steering and balance and safety, and I pretended to listen.

At last I said, “This is it,” primarily because I was already winded. We turned and with the excitement of a child I took two running steps and dove onto the boogie sleddy thing. As I picked up speed the years fell away and I was flooded with childlike sensations and childhood memories. The cold pinched my cheeks, my eyes filled with tears, and I could not stop smiling. I was flying down that hill and going faster by the second. At some point, though, fast became too fast.

About halfway down I was sure I’d passed the speed of sound because I could no longer hear myself screaming. I wished I’d paid more attention to the little dark haired girl when I realized I was not going to miss my neighbor’s mailbox. Luckily, my shoulder absorbed most of the blow and it hardly slowed me down at all. I caromed off the mailbox, across the snow covered road and into the ditch where we had placed several large rocks last Spring to prevent washout. Somehow my Snow Boogie stayed under me and not only skipped across the rocks but picked up speed in the process. When my eyeballs finally stopped bouncing I realized I was headed straight toward a neighbor’s truck. Rather than be decapitated, I bailed.

The world became a blur of snow covered ground and snow filled sky as I rolled over and over and over. Thankfully, a hedgerow of thorny bushes stopped my tumble. I rolled onto my back and lay there panting, and as if drifting down with the snow I heard again the laughter of children. Funny how much different it sounds when you know they’re laughing at you.

Perhaps age will eventually bring wisdom, but aches will definitely do the trick.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year post card of smiling boy and clock
Time: it's what life is made of

Well here it comes, a new year, a new decade even. This is the time for taking stock and making plans, a time for looking back at where we’ve been and charting a course for where we want to be, a time of new beginnings and second chances. Ehh.

I stopped making New Year resolutions several years ago. I wasn’t very good at keeping them so I figured, Why bother? If I didn’t make resolutions in the first place then I wasn’t disappointed when I failed to keep them. I thought that by making New Year resolutions I was just setting myself up for failure. In fact, before I stopped making resolutions all together I would go ahead and break them soon after the New Year began so as to get it over with.

I thought this plan was pretty good. It seemed to make sense at the time, make no promises, break no promises. But lately, I’ve come to realize it’s a pretty stupid plan. Actually, it was a plan to not have a plan. How’s that for not thinking things through? So, I decided this year I would do things differently and I started today.

I sat down with pen and paper and started by making a list of all the things I felt I needed to get done, all those things I’ve been putting off for one reason or another. It took a long time and the list covered both sides of a sheet of paper.

Then I thought that in order to approach this list realistically I should have some idea how long it will take. So, I made up an estimate of how much time each task would require and added them all up. Assuming no task takes longer than I estimate and no new tasks are added to the list I expect to have some free time around June of 2016.

Next, I thought in order to approach this list pragmatically I should have an idea how much it will cost. So, I researched the projects, estimated the cost of each and added them all together. After forecasting our budget, allowing for inflation predictions, probable tax increases and unexpected expenses I think it’s going to take yet another stimulus package. All in all though, I was feeling pretty good about having a plan. It was nice to have a direction even if the trail was straight up and rocky.

About that time Barbara Gayle called down from upstairs. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I replied.

“Stop it,” she said.

That’s when I realized I only needed one resolution: Stop Wasting Time.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch