Cornhole Glory, Follow-Up

A couple of months ago, I bragged about my amazing skill and unparalleled mightiness at the greatest of all tailgating sports, Cornhole. Yesterday, the Match of the Titans took place at the park opposite the Burlington (Vermont) airport, where the Lund Family Center pitted 64 teams against one another to crown the Ultimate Cornhole Gods (2018 edition).

Jay had signed us up as a two-person team (“Otter and Lemur”, naturally) more or less for the heck of it; neither of us had actually played Cornhole before. The Lund Family Center is a vital part of our community’s social network, so the money raised and donated goes to a good cause, but I don’t think that really had much to do with Jay’s decision to enter us. Random whimsy plays a large part in his decision-making.

Upon signing us up for the tournament, Jay did order a Cornhole set (boards and beanbags) and told me we’d train like madmen so I’d be ready for the tournament. Unfortunately, with the late arrival of spring weather, we didn’t break out the set until last week. I think we practiced about 4 evenings, from after we ate dinner until the mosquitoes started to eat theirs (us, that is). Well, it was better than nothing.

We wound up in a round robin against three teams:

  • The Corn Dogs, a team of young girls, I’d say about 12 to 16 years old, whom we managed to beat on points (meaning we didn’t make it to 21, the official game score; the ending score was 9-3 in our favor).
  • The Kernal Sanders, a team of five guys who didn’t have a ton of experience either but still managed to whomp us fairly readily.
  • The Unicorns, a mixed team of five employees of the event’s main sponsor, North Country Federal Credit Union. They beat us soundly. We threw in the towel when it was 20-9 and the organizers were making ever more strident remarks about how the third round games needed to get finished, like, now. Nevertheless, I DID get one ringer shot in that game (see video above).

The elimination rounds were to take place after the round robin, based on the results thus far. We didn’t stay around for them, having worn ourselves out over three rounds of HEAVY aerobic activity; also, we didn’t want to exhaust our wildly cheering fans.

But we had fun. And I got a great sunburn on one arm and one side of my neck. 🙂

Woo-hoo! Op-ed in the Washington Post


Guess who got their op-ed about ethics printed in today’s Washington Post?

Woo-hoo!

You can read the column here or see the print image of the column here.

A few people have asked how it came to be — the answer is, I idly put in a few tweets the other day, found them somewhat amusing, and decided to submit them as an op-ed to the WaPo. They liked them too and the thing ran on Saturday, May 12. (I had published them here on furrs.org, too, but was asked to take that copy down until after the op-ed ran. They’re back up now, for what it’s worth.)

The amusing/disturbing thing, to me, is that in the 300 or so comments on the WaPo website so far, virtually all have been positive. First comment section I’ve seen on a public website that wasn’t full of racist trolls and flames. Amazing, huh?

 

Ethically Not Weighing Coal

Copyright: oleandra / 123RF Stock Photo

I am a Vermont resident (been here 20 years as of May 16) and, as it happens, duly appointed Weigher of Coal for the town of Richmond, Vermont (population 4000 or so). Said job has no actual responsibilities or duties whatsoever — it’s a carryover from long-bygone days. Since the town voters have never seen fit to get rid of the position, the Town Manager finds some sucker to take on the title each year and the Selectboard ratifies the appointment. Then the Weigher of Coal gets down to the hard work of not actually weighing coal.

From the Vermont Statutes Online:

24 V.S.A. § 1032 § 1032. Weigher of coal. A weigher of coal shall be sworn and shall not be directly or indirectly interested in the sale of coal. Upon request of the seller or purchaser, he or she shall weigh all coal sold in his or her town.

32 V.S.A. § 1677 § 1677. Weigher of coal. The fees of a weigher of coal shall be $0.10 for the first ton and $0.04 for each additional ton, to be paid by the person applying for the weighing.

This dates back to the days when homes were primarily heated by coal and you wanted to make sure you got a fair weight for the price you paid. Towns would have official municipal scales and the Weigher of Coal would be in charge of them.

As it happens, Richmond doesn’t have official municipal scales. No town in Vermont does. I’ve thought about showing up at the Selectboard meeting and asking them to buy some, but I figure I’ve only got so many opportunities to be the town kook and I want to make the most of them.

So anyway: today, after being the Weigher of Coal for three years or so, the town finally got around to asking me to read and agree to abide by the town officers ethics policy. I take my non-performance of my duties VERY SERIOUSLY so I read and signed.

You can read the policy yourself: Code of Ethics 2018

I’m very glad to have finally gotten a copy. My masters degree is in public administration and I know about these sorts of things. It makes sense that there would be one; it’d just never come up before.

I will need to take all this very seriously — I want no conflicts of interest when it comes to my not weighing coal. I want to show no favoritism to family members and other individuals in the non-pursuance of my duties.

This is Very Important.

But even as I sit here, enlightened and filled with a new sense of responsibility regarding the public trust placed in me as Weigher of Coal, it occurs to me:

… There are more stated policies for ethical nonperformance of coal-weighing than there are for the office of President of the United States.

From the “Things I Will Never Understand” Department

Like most people, I’ve uploaded a few videos to YouTube over the years: mostly videos of the Burlington Concert Band performing at Battery Park, but a few other things as the occasion has arisen.

Most of my videos have gotten ten, twenty, sometimes as many as forty views. (Who knows how many of those were me, looking at my own videos and tweaking something?) Video of our local concrete ‘n’ cement company doing festive things for New Year’s and St Patrick’s Day have done a bit better.

Then there’s my all-time champion:

That little video of the ice cream truck was taken one sunny day in June of 2016 when our building arranged for an ice cream truck to pay a call. I stopped and recorded a short video as it pulled up. Totally pointless. So, of course, I uploaded it to YouTube for posterity to enjoy.

I grant you that just shy of 25,000 views is nothing in an era where Rebecca Black can get sixteen million views spitting phlegm into a Kleenex, but it is perplexing when such a video is head and shoulders above everything else I’ve uploaded in terms of viewership. Is there some unmet need out there on the Internet for ice cream truck videos? Am I missing my calling?

Memphis Follies

I’ve been in Memphis, Tennessee for work most of the last couple of weeks. Two days out of three, I’ve stopped by a Starbucks at the corner of McLean and Union to grab a green tea latte and a chai tea latte (iced) before heading on to the customer site to work.

And apparently my normal morning zany/attention-hungry behavior has gotten me some attention:

Meticulous Accounting, Home Edition

So yesterday I picked my car up from our mechanic and paid a not inconsiderable amount of money for a new exhaust pipe/muffler assembly, plus labor.

And this morning I sat down, as one does, to enter the transaction and the other expenses of the week into Quicken.

And upon entering the payee, the amount, and the date, and moving on to choose a category for the expenditure, this is what the program served up to me:

Apparently Carole, over the years, has found it necessary to enter certain automotive-related expenditures with extreme accuracy.

Slices-o-Toast

I had lunch today at Cafe Eclectic, an unassuming little joint in Memphis, TN.

I had chicken pot pie, but that’s not what made me want to post about the place.

What did was this:

Slices-o-Toast.

I mean, man! With a name like that, the item could have consisted of them staple-gunning a loaf of stale Wonder Bread to my head and I’d still have ordered it.

The reality wasn’t that dramatic, but what do you expect for $1.50?

A+ for marketing, Cafe Eclectic.

Proof that I’m insane

Carole and I live in the woods, in Vermont. We’ve got about three acres in the town of Richmond, up on top of a hill with a deep gully behind the house. Trees all around. We see all kinds of wildlife criss-crossing our lawn: deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, foxes, wild turkeys, even the occasional bear. We may have moose now and then but we haven’t actually spotted any and we haven’t been motivated enough to go out after a fresh snowfall to examine tracks.

Anyway, Carole bought me a wildlife/game camera for our 20th anniversary last September, something I’d put on my wish list on Amazon and hoped to get one day. It’s got lots of features — infrared pictures, video, all kinds of groovy things.

And I haven’t installed it. I know where I probably will install it, on a post in the middle of our back yard or by the back of our deck, both places that I know we get a lot of critters. But I haven’t taken the minute or two it would take to go strap it to a post and configure it for nighttime shooting.

Why?

Well, Carole bought it for me in September. In Vermont, the cold weather rolls in pretty early; we’ve gotten snow in October before. And it tends to stick around; we’ve gotten snow in May. And … I haven’t hung the camera up yet because I’d feel sorry for the animals stuck out in the cold. If I got a picture of a bunny hopping across our snowy yard, I’d just feel so sorry for the poor little cold bun looking for something to eat.

Obviously, this hypothetical bunny is out there whether I’m taking photos of it or not, but if I don’t take photos, I don’t have to think about the bunny.

But in a few weeks when the weather does warm up, I’ll hang the camera up then…

Watch the first picture I capture be one of some weasel or fox or something eating our hypothetical Mr. Bun.

Mascot Parade

I have a bizarre fixation on “Champ“, the costumed mascot for our local short-season A minor league baseball team, the Vermont Lake Monsters. Despite the creature obviously just being an employee in a suit, I have a habit of projecting that he’s a barely-tame creature of menace that is only kept under control by being fed copious amounts of ballpark hot dogs.

Carole has grown used to my texting running comments about Champ during games:

Champ makes a lot of public appearances and, if I can, I try to show up. Like I said, it’s weird.

So when the local mall (we’ve only really got one in the whole state, in terms of an actual mall with interior areas and not just a big strip mall) announced that they were going to have an Easter Bunny Mascots Parade this past weekend, I promptly added it to my calendar. Apparently they’ve done this before, getting something like 12 local mascots from various teams and nonprofits and so forth to show up and pose for pictures with kids and the Easter Bunny and so forth. I knew I had to be a part of it.

I was a little disappointed when we didn’t get twelve mascots this time around, but Champ was there, as was the moose mascot of the local hospital, Rally the Catamount from the University of Vermont, a big fishing bob from Lake Champlain International, and the bear mascot from Smuggler’s Notch, one of our local ski area. Oh, and the Easter Bunny.

The kids in attendance mostly stood around dazed — your average three-year-old is kind of overawed by having a giant anthropomorphic fishing bobber looming over him. But we had a good time.

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CORNHOLE GLORY

GREETINGS FLESHLINGS

I WILL BE COMPETING IN THE 2018 LUND FAMILY CENTER “PITCHIN’ FOR A PURPOSE” CORNHOLE TOURNAMENT.

CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR ME.

I WILL CRUSH YOU ALL

YEA VERILY THERE WILL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH. AMONG MY FOES, THAT IS

THE LUND CENTER DOES VERY GOOD WORK TO SUPPORT FAMILIES, PREGNANT AND PARENTING TEENS, YOUNG ADULTS, AND ADOPTIVE FAMILIES. NO NEED FOR GNASHING THERE! HA HA HA

PLEASE SPONSOR ME AND IN SO DOING HELP FUND THE VITAL PROGRAMS THAT SUPPORT WOMEN AND CHILDREN ACROSS VERMONT.

I SHALL BESTRIDE MY OPPONENTS LIKE A COLOSSUS OF YORE. COME WATCH ME AT BURLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ON MAY 12 STARTING AT 11 AM. BRING SUNGLASSES TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM THE MAGNIFICENCE OF MY CORNHOLE BAG PITCHING GLORY

OH MY YES

A Different Kind of Valentine’s Day

The lovely folks at the Vermont Lake Monsters minor league baseball team (short-season A, New York-Penn League) offered a special deal this year — for a low, low price, their team mascot, Champ, would deliver flowers, chocolates, a special customized card, and vouchers for two game tickets to the special person of your choice. Needless to say, I didn’t pass such an opportunity up.

Carole was amused.

Hoons At Night

Note 1: Carole, like any adult, has occasional bad dreams that prevent her from getting a good night’s sleep.

Note 2: Carole typically has a terrible temper in the morning, made even worse by tossing and turning all night.

Note 3: Carole would like to come downstairs to the room I sleep in (when I’m in town) and be comforted after a bad night, but, unfortunately, her terrible temper means it’s hard, if not impossible, for her to find a polite way to request said comforting services. And she doesn’t want to come down and just yell at me when I didn’t do anything wrong.

So I suggested that I simply put up a poster somewhere in her room where she could wake up and see it, something that said something along these lines: “IN CASE OF HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES AND YOU NEED COMFORTING, TELL JAY THE HOONS HAVE BEEN SQUAWKING”.

She liked that idea a lot.

So I blew a few minutes, needing no further encouragement to exert my creativity in pursuit of inanity, and produced the following:

I think that oughtta do the trick for even the surliest Carole, don’t you?

I footnotes