Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. It appears that the newsletter didn't go out the last two weeks (010806 and 010813) so I'm going to send them instead of this week's newsletter. If you don't get then, please let me know. Hey... How's that supposed to work? OK, I never claimed to be the cutest baby on the block (whatever that means).
It's over sooner than we wanted it to be. I'm talking, of course, about Hot August Nights and the mind-boggling number of classic cars and the events that surround them. This is what is went like:
Tuesday> pick up the T-bird from Brian's. He starts it several times double-checking everything and then hands us the keys and says "Take her home and see how she does." He's in a hurry to catch a sale at Sears, so he leaves as we're getting things loaded back into the bird's trunk. Then when Anne tries to start it... nothing. No crank, groan or even a click! I quickly call Brian's cell phone thinking that I can catch him before he gets too far. Brrr-eep... Brrr-eep... Brrr-eep... I can hear it ringing in the garage!
Wednesday> Anne and I went to Sparks for the participants dinner hosted by Carl's Silver Club and watched the cruising. We discussed the different effects that got the crowds attention, such as cool paint jobs (she want's it factory white but with a pearl-essence or "illusion" over coat), wide tires and loud exhaust (both of us believe in quiet power), real flames coming from the headers (absolutely not) and neon ground lighting (yes!).
Thursday> We pick up the T-bird. Seems the problem was in the way that the old wiring harness isn't grounded when using one of the newer, single-wire alternators. Brian, mechanic extraordinaire, figured out how to ground it without tying it to the alternator and we were off! After an evening at the Reno Hilton and a great concert by the Association we headed to downtown Reno for some cruisin'. What a mistake. The only people trying to help out with the traffic were some H.A.N. volunteers and they had their hands full. Every kid in town was trying to get in on the controlled cruise with the classics and most of them refused to show any respect to a lady in a reflective vest. Where are the cops in this town? We spotted a total of 9 officers. Every one of them standing around in little groups on the sidewalk, shooting the breeze like it almost donut time!
Friday> Anne and I went to dinner with Bob and Cathy Cowan. We all piled into the Thunderbird and headed down to their favorite "Chinese place", King Buffet; Afterwards we pointed the car towards Sparks to try our hand at "draggin' main" there. What a difference! The Sparks police were out in force and in the streets directing traffic. Not only did they make us keep things moving, they prevented anyone without an H.A.N. participants sticker in the window from getting in. This in itself made the cruise much less congested and running smoothly. After dropping Bob and Cathy off we took a short break before going to the airport to pick up Anne's brother John and his wife Jannie.
Saturday> John, Jannie, Anne and I take the 'bird downtown for a pair of 2-for-1breakfasts donated by the Cal-Neva. Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we walked through the south half of the Show&Shine on Virginia Street. That was about all I could take so we headed home to rest up. After an early supper, I encouraged Anne to take our guests out again. She took them for a couple of passes through Sparks and then they parked the T-bird and just watched all of the neat cars go through Victorian Square. Kudos, again, to the Sparks P.D.!
Sunday> The moment of truth has arrived. The big finale. The Hot August Nights Parade! This is what we've been spending our money on and all we wanted to do was make it through town without boiling over. The parade is only open to the first 1,000 cars to arrive (over 5,000 vehicles were registered!) and we arrived soon enough to be about in the middle. This, I thought, wasn't going to be easy. Once we were under way I maneuvered away from the muscle cars and positioned us behind a nice '63 Thunderbird. I made it a point to stay back from his exhaust about 1.5 to 2 car lengths and take the load off the engine whenever we had to stop. Success! We drove the whole route and 'bird only got a little warm, never enough to worry about. This called for a celebration and we headed to the Hilton for some Tex-Mex at Chevy's and to try and catch some of the $20k in the drawing.
Later that night Anne and I surprised John and Jannie with a real extravaganza. A friend of ours had set us up to see Jubilation at Flamingo Hilton and we all had a blast. If you get the chance to see it, definitely go. Not only is the main show great, but "Pudgy" (the comedienne/hostess) is a laugh riot!
Monday> We all go to Genoa to see the Mormon Station (the first settlement in Nevada). Then we drive through Minden/Gardnerville and on to Lake Topaz for lunch and some ankle-wading. Some people up the beach had tied their dog's leash to the ice chest and when he took a liking to us he suddenly came bounding through the water with it in town! "Come here, boy!" I called. "Bring us the beer!" We all laughed, but when the neighbors finally retrieved dog, ice chest, ET AL., we found out that there really WAS beer in it. Hahaha... OK, time to head home to some homemade soup and fresh bread!
Tuesday> Lazy day. I trouble-shot some image transfer problems he was having with his new laptop and digital camera. The software package that came with the camera will not even load, so I load it up on my system and transfer the pictures to the HD. Then I burn them to CD for him and all's well. It turns out that Windows 2000 isn't as Plug-n-Play compatible as Microshaft claims it is. I recommend that he pick up a 64M Compact Flash memory card for the camera so that he can simply store the photos until he gets home. John and I played Diablo II:Lord Of Destruction while the girls go do some running around and shopping. Mid-day we're headed back to the airport and fond farewells as John and Jannie fly to Salt Lake City for her family reunion. Hope they have as much fun there as we did here!

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GRINS & GIGGLES:
THE VALUE OF UNDIES

Be careful what you wear (or don't wear), when working under your vehicle ... especially in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald Australia comes this story of a couple who drove their car to K-Mart only to have their car break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car there in the lot. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underwear turned private parts into glaringly public ones. Unable to stand the embarrassment she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand UP his shorts and tucked everything back into place. On regaining her feet she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by. 

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his head. 

[thanks to Neal and Dot Wilson for this one]

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:

Just as you wouldn't leave a child alone to wander around downtown, you also shouldn't leave them alone on the internet. Sure, there are numerous software packages out there that attempt to filter out unwanted stuff, but (as you should know) they're not perfect. Generally their "block" programming is based on either lists of known web sites, examination on incoming data for known words and "skin tone" colors or some combination of these.

The weakness with this type of passive filtering is obvious. Any reliance on lists of known problems is naturally incomplete. All of these programs will either not block things that aren't "known" or will unsuitably block legitimate information.

The best answer here is simple. Take part in your child's internet activities. In our house we have a half dozen computers, three of which are attached to the internet through a high speed, broadband connection. All of the computers are protected exactly as I have enumerated here for you in the last few weeks but where children are concerned, this is still insufficient.

When they are on the computer, the kids get to "drive." But, all of the children's computer activities are "shared" with adults. This not only makes them feel more grown up, but instills in them via the adult's interaction, with knowledge, ideals and principles that they can carry with them later.

Give someone a fish and you've fed them for a day.
Teach them to fish and you've fed them for a lifetime!

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MEATSPACE ALERT:
IT'S TRULY A DANGEROUS WORLD OUT THERE

Doubt that fact is stranger than fiction? See if you can tell fake from real news.
By Roy Rivenburg, Times Staff Writer

Hypersensitivity, political correctness and frivolous lawsuits are taking over the world. Increase your awareness with this handy quiz:


1. In their unending quest to purge the language of offensive words, the PC police have condemned several phrases. Which of these was not a news item?

a) A delegation to the World Medical Assn. has asked doctors to change the name of "German measles" and "Rocky Mountain spotted fever" because the terms could hurt the feelings of residents of those areas.
b) Meat-shop owners in France are protesting the use of "butcher" as a synonym for "murderer" because real butchers are "gentle, peace-loving"
people.
c) A Dutch animal rights group wants to outlaw the phrase "computer mouse" because it "insults the dignity of mice and implies they are subservient to human technology."
d) A British college has banned the word "history" because it begins with the syllable "his."


2. Recess and playtime might never be the same. Which of these news items is untrue?

a) The British government has urged schoolteachers to ban the game of musical chairs because it encourages children to be aggressive.
b) A California elementary school has halted students from playing freeze-tag during recess because it "discriminates against cultures from Arctic and subarctic regions of the world."
c) The construction of sand castles is now frowned upon at an Oregon day camp because castles are deemed too violent. Instead, youngsters are asked to build "sand villages."
d) At a New Zealand kindergarten, children who want to play cops and robbers must carry pretend weapon permits.
e) The National Program for Playground Safety says grass is an "inappropriate playing surface."


3. Zero-tolerance policies toward school violence have resulted in all but one of the following incidents:

a) A Virginia school suspended a 12-year-old because he made an origami gun from notebook paper and brought it to school.
b) A Massachusetts elementary school asked the parents of 6-year-old Joshua Smith Wessen to legally change the boy's middle name because of its similarity to handgun-maker Smith & Wesson.
c) A 13-year-old Michigan boy asked a judge to issue a restraining order against a classmate who threw dirt in his hair and called him "peanut butter boy."
d) An Alberta high school student was suspended after telling his gym teacher he had a dream about punching him.


4. In response to the suspension of a 6-year-old Pennsylvania student who brought a toenail clipper to campus, a school board member said:

a) "Guns don't kill people. Toenail clippers kill people."
b) "If toenail clippers are outlawed, only outlaws will have short nails."
c) "Well, at least it wasn't an origami toenail clipper."
d) "This is not about a toenail clipper. This is about the attachments on the toenail clipper."


5. Keeping in mind that no lawsuit is too frivolous, which of these cases hasn't been filed - yet?

a) A Texas inmate sued Penthouse magazine for $500,000, saying that its pictorial of Paula Jones was insufficiently revealing and caused him to be "mentally hurt and angered."
b) A Michigan woman filed a $1-million lawsuit against the estate of her dead ex-husband, claiming she still fears him, despite his current condition.
c) A Nevada man sued the producers of "Jeopardy" for $7,200, claiming that he answered numerous questions correctly while watching the game at home - and did so before the other contestants - thereby entitling him to a share of the winnings.
d) A New York City Transit Authority employee sued the agency for sexual harassment not because she had been harassed but because she'd heard about other employees being harassed, and had become worried about harassment, which she says is also a form of sexual harassment.


6. If Cain and Abel were around today, Cain would probably expand his famous "I'm not my brother's keeper" defense to say: "I'm not even my own keeper. If I did something stupid, it's somebody else's fault."
Which of these lawsuits is fictional?

a) An Australian man who drank beer all evening and then fell over a bridge railing while walking home from a bar has sued the city for building bridge railings that a drunk could fall over.
b) A Fresno teen arrested for spraying graffiti on a freeway sign has sued Caltrans for not surrounding the sign with razor wire to prevent vandalism.
c) A convicted burglar in Australia has sued his victims for $15,000 because of the emotional and physical pain he suffered from being arrested and convicted.
d) A Canadian woman who fell down the stairs of her parents' home sued them for not "adequately supervising the stairs."
e) A New York prison inmate sued the jail for failing to catch him smuggling in the gun with which he accidentally shot himself.


Answers: 1) c 2) b 3) b 4) d 5) c 6) b 

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, U.S. News & World Report, Associated Press, Wireless Flash News Service, the Oregonian, AM News Abuse 

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TRUE STORY:
I left off last week as we headed out to re-stain the fence after Tuesday morning breakfast. Two years ago, when we first stained the fence, I bought some Behr stain (5 gal. base tint 377 w/ B 1-12-0, C 5-20-0 and F 1-12-0) and a sprayer. The sprayer was just a cheap, portable, hand-pumped unit that is used to apply anything from insecticide to sealant, as long as it was thin.
I remember heading out with the full sprayer, determined to finish in record time and have fun with my new "toy" at the same time. I started at the off-side (no gate) and worked my way around the back yard, applying the stain in a controlled pattern. With the nozzle about 1.5' from the fence, I went up one board and down the next. That covered each slat twice; once with the main pass and again with a little over spray from each side. Then finishing each cross-board and 4x4 with a matching coat. It was glorious! In fact the fence looked better than it had when the contractor had first put it up. Damn, I'm good!
When I was finished my clothes looked like they'd contracted a severe case of measles. Fortunately I had worn my old tennis shoes, "holy" jeans and a T-shirt. Going in through the garage, I dropped the shoes by the door and went looking for Anne. "Girlfriend! Come look at how nice the fence looks!" I told her. We went over to a side window and she was properly amazed at my work. That is until a puzzled look came over her face. "What?" I asked. "What's that on the house?" she queried, pointing at the neighbor's place. I looked again and thought to myself "No way!"
Since our next door neighbors had split up a couple of months prior the house had been sitting empty with a For Sale sign out front. Anne and I carefully snuck around to the opposite side and quietly opened the gate. Then we ran around to get a closer look at the side that faced our house. Sure enough, it had "the measles", also! Apparently I had been so diligent about getting complete coverage of every slat, board and post that I hadn't noticed that the spray had been going BETWEEN the slats, too. Not only that, but it was already dry and try as we might... it wouldn't wash off.
Panic stricken, I looked for something that hadn't been hit. In the lower corner I pried off a small piece of trim and we drove up to Home Depot. "Can you match this color?" I asked the paint person. She took our 'sample' and put it under their system's camera lens. Minutes later we were home with a gallon of paint. We grabbed a couple of brushes, rollers and trays and together (what a great wife!) we spent the next couple of hours re-painting the side of that house. Finally I re-attached the trim and Anne checked it for color similarity. It was perfect.
To this day neither our former neighbors nor the current ones know that they got a free coat of paint out of us.

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QUICK WIT:

Maintain your composure under any circumstance.