The Espenblog

"You never know what may come forth from this simple-minded man!"

Grandma Shows Up

Written By: George Espenlaub - Jul• 12•12

After the beating I just had from this big headed, crooked smiling, flop eared, cheesy teeth, smooth talking idiot; the last thing I needed was someone banging me upside the head with a wrench. Excuse me, but I have to throw this in right about here. I don’t know how or why my brain does what it does but at that very moment while my head was throbbing and my ears ringing, I thought about grandma. No, wait, it wasn’t a thought, I actually saw her standing to the side of the face punching, hand stomping wizard of wealth.

Although my eyes were almost swollen shut I could see the look on grandma’s face that I used to see when she was getting ready to straighten me out. Suddenly the guru didn’t matter, Jake was like nonexistent, and it seemed as if the world stopped turning as grandma stared me down. After what felt like forever, although I have never felt forever, grandma walked up to me, grabbed me by my already afflicted ear and twisted. Oh baby that hurt! As the ear was twisted, right to the point just before it breaks off, I left out a squeal that would have gotten the attention of Ms Ernestine.

Do you know what baffles me? Why, when someone is afflicting severe pain on you, do they tell you to stop jumping around and shut up? Grandma had me by my left ear which set my right arm flapping as if it were a bird’s wing. Indescribable sounds were emanating from deep within me that sounded less than human. My legs were pumping like fast moving pistons in a high performance automobile but I was going nowhere. The pain was unbearable, yet she insisted that I be still and make no noise. It must be noted that grandma had raised 5 boys so she had this ear grip thing down pat.

I was one slight twist away from my ear breaking off when I had a vision of my 5 uncles. They were all laughing hysterically at me. While they were enjoying themselves at my expense I studied their ears. I was somewhat relieved when I realized that my 5 uncles had a total of 10 ears which equaled two apiece. Apparently grandma had never broken any of their ears off, but there was always a first time for everything. I definitely didn’t want to be the first so with every fiber of my being I forced myself to stop moving and shut up. Grandma didn’t release her grip but I felt better knowing that she wasn’t going to break my ear off. As my uncles faded away they were still cracking up over my dilemma. Uncle Pete was the last to leave, but before he left I saw him wave with one hand while shaking his head like he was saying, “Been there, done that.” By the way, he was still cracking up as he drifted away.

This whole episode from the very beginning until now has been nothing but blood, sweat, and tears; all mine. First the wealth goof inflicted much pain and hurt upon my body; then Jake shows up and beats me severely about the head and shoulders with that monkey wrench he carries around. Now grandma appears and puts her famous ear twist on me while my 5 uncles gaze upon the scene laughing hysterically. Just reminiscing about this makes my ear hurt.

I see it’s time for my medication so I’ll leave you for now. Leave some comments, give us a like on Face Book, share a link, tweet a tweet or whatever it’s called, and tell a friend about us. Tune into The George Espenlaub show tonight at 6:30 p.m. eastern time live from The Funny Farm. Thanks for stopping by. Cya!

The Coach Will be at the Farm Tonight

Written By: George Espenlaub - Jul• 11•12

There has been so much happening here at the Funny Farm that it’s been almost impossible for us to catch our breath. Pops is busier than a one legged paper hanger that can’t catch up with himself. He’s constantly on the phone, talking to the guests that will be appearing on the shows so all things go well for the listening audience. The old boy is continually reminding me of the fact that details matter.

Of course Pops is always having meetings with Ms Ernestine, Harvey, and me in regards to our journalistic duties and  he serves as a referee when Harvey and I get to ‘fussin’ with each other. On top of that the man is a free lance writer so you’ll find him banging away on the keyboard trying to catch up with his work. That’s the reason I’m writing this article about our guest that will appear on our show tonight.

Pops looks like a naked space cadet sitting over there banging away and it’s not even Friday yet. He’s lost all track of time but we let him alone so he can do his thing. As long as he has coffee and his medication everything will be just fine. He’s a mess without those two ingredients. Come to think of it, Pops is a real basket case either way you slice it. If you tell on me I’ll deny that I ever said such a thing.

Marie Dubuque will be our guest tonight on The George Espenlaub Show. Marie, based out of St. Louis Missouri, has been happily married for 17 years. She is a certified life coach, an author of seven books, loves to write and speak about life’s tricky situations, particularly those situations that couples and dating singles encounter. She’s also a unique specialist with regard to examining rudeness in the digital age.

Ms. Dubuque has appeared on numerous radio stations across the country and has written articles for more than 100 publications. For a wide and diverse sampling of Ms. Dubuque’s etiquette advise, visit her You Tube page. The videos are some sampling of her work. You can follow Marie on twitter @marieddubuque.  Pops told me that, “Marie is a bubbly sounding person with a great sense of humor.” Now that’s what he said after he spoke with her on the phone this morning. When they get to talking on the show this evening, it’s hard to tell where the conversation will take them. I hope Pops lets me ask a question.

I have to go for now and take care of business if you know what I mean but please tune in tonight at 6:30 p.m. eastern time for The George Espenlaub Show that will be airing live right here from the Funny Farm. Before I forget Pops wanted me to thank those who have been sponsoring our shows. Take some time to check out Mutual Channels after you leave here. You might find it quite useful. For all your latest tech news and needs click on the link and be taken away to a most interesting site where you can gain a wealth of information.

You know the routine….leave some comments, share a link, give us a like, and tell your friends to join us this evening at 6:30p.m.eastern time. You can listen to us right here on the espenblog just by going over there to the right and clicking on the player or click here but come in and join us.

My Heart is Overwhelmed…Jake Beats Me with a Wrench

Written By: George Espenlaub - Jun• 26•12

So here I was, being lead to the door that would change my life forever by this sadistic moron that beat and battered me to a pulp just a short time ago. As he led me across the room I could hear the compassion in his voice as he spoke ever so softly, “I had to beat you down to get your attention. I know it was extreme but it was done out of love and much concern for your well being.”

I found myself thanking this idiot for knocking me half simple, stomping on my face, crushing my hand with his big, overgrown, stinking foot, and just about making me a cripple by putting me in the figure four until I tapped out. Looking through swollen eyes as my guru gently lead me on, I could see what appeared to be a door not too far away. I was beginning to feel better just knowing that soon my life which had no future would become one of great wealth and endless opportunities. I now understood what people meant when they said, “No pain; no gain.”

Before I continue I must tell you what these many, loving, human beings predicted. Some stated that I could become wealthy overnight while others mentioned that it could take as long as three months. Then there were the ones that said it could take as long as one to three years before I would be filthy rich. There were a few, this one included; told me as soon as I walked through that door I could be making endless amounts of money.

Regardless of the time frame it’s safe to say that they all seemed to agree on several points. I was told by all that my thinking had to change, meaning I had to start thinking like a millionaire. Oh boy, I feel my blood pressure beginning to rise again. It’s becoming more difficult to breathe. I feel like there is an unseen hand choking the breath out of me. I’m fighting it as I fall from my chair and roll on the floor gasping for air.

Okay, I’m back up on my chair again ready to proceed. That spasm came upon me suddenly as most everything does around here. Hang with me just a while longer so we can get through this together. I really do appreciate your support so don’t give up on me just yet. I can’t become a millionaire by thinking no more than I can fly out the window by thinking. Anyhow I was told to change my thinking. Other points they all agreed on were: I would be trained by the guru’s themselves so I was guaranteed their undivided attention; I must take action immediately because this super, duper, whooper, whopper offer wasn’t going to last long; and I was given a 30/60 day money back guarantee that if I didn’t prosper beyond my wildest dreams they would refund my money with no questions asked. That last one is and of itself another story for later.

Now I’m standing in front of the door that will soon be opened by this caring man. He releases his grip from my arm. I almost crumble to the floor but I grit my teeth determined to stand on my own two wobbly legs. After all I’ve been through I’m not going to cave in now. I’m at the door and come hell or high water I’m going to walk through that door with no assistance. I steady myself, hold my head high, thrust out my chest, and look my wizard straight in the eye. “I’m ready to walk through the door,” I tell him.

The goof gives me a crooked smile as he says, “Trust me my friend.” With that being said he now dangles the secret key that will unlock the door to my prosperous future. I’m mesmerized by the key. My mind is displaying visions of far away exotic places, fancy automobiles, luxurious homes, and money falling from the heavens. I’m soon to become someone of importance.

Suddenly I feel like someone is jumping up and down on my shoulder, shouting in my ear, and pounding on the side of my head with some kind of metal device. I quickly realized that Jake had arrived upon the scene. I don’t have time to explain who Jake is other than to say, he is a little man that has been with me my entire life. He sits on my shoulder and constantly talks to me. Sometimes he gets me in trouble, sometimes he keeps me out of trouble, and sometimes he just up and leaves with no explanation. Jake had been gone a few days and I didn’t expect him to return for at least another week or so. The last thing I needed right now was Jake shouting in my ear and whacking me upside my head with that wrench he carried around. Up until this very moment I had never seen Jake use that wrench for anything. Now he was banging the side of my head with it like he was trying to drive a nail in a board. “Alright already, you have my attention Jake,” I cried out as he struck me one last time. Man that hurt.

Now I have a knucklehead with a crooked smile, dangling a secret key in front of me, a magic door that will lead to riches beside me, and a little man jumping up and down on my shoulder, shouting in my ear, and beating me on the side of my head with his wrench. Things were not looking good for me right now.

Yep, you guessed it, I’ll be back with more after I take my medications and check on the loons here at The Funny Farm in Our World. Please leave some comments at the bottom, share a link, a tweet on twitter, and a like on Face Book. Any other thing you can do to pass the word will be deeply appreciated…..thank you all for your support.

My Heart is Overwhelmed…Being Lead to the Promise Land

Written By: George Espenlaub - Jun• 24•12

I’ve wiped away my tears, blew my nose, washed my face, collected my thoughts, and put myself back together, so I’m ready to continue now. I get so emotional sometimes that I just come unhinged and fall to pieces. I’ll try to get through this article without any meltdowns.

Over the years I’ve been given multiple opportunities to become a millionaire by loving, caring, concerned, and considerate human beings. Each of these dear people were extremely upset that I had to live paycheck to paycheck, work such long hours, travel the dangerous highways,  and just plain do without the luxuries of life. They were going to give me the magic key that would unlock millions of dollars so I could kick back and live the life of leisure.

They all, not collectively, but individually had a secret formula that would launch me into the realm of a millionaire. They approached me one after the other like they were lined up outside my door. In fact, I was so sure these folks were lined up outside that I actually peeked through the window. I didn’t want them to cause a traffic jam on my street nor did I want people around me to know what I was being offered. Here’s where I tell you that most of these caring human beings only offered their secrets to a select few. You know what I’m saying?

The truth is these people were approaching me through my computer. One after another these kind people were sending me e-mails with the information that would lead me to the promise land where milk and honey flowed like rivers. There were many faces that appeared through my e-mail box but they were all saying the same thing. I, and only I, have the secret that will make you a millionaire Please note that this is where my face is getting red, steam is beginning to emerge from both ears, my hands are clenching into fists, and I’m almost at the point that I want to shout out harsh and derogatory statements about their mothers. Please bear with me while I take a deep breath so I can continue.

First they paint the ugly picture by stripping me of any dignity that I had. By the time they got done with me I was so low that I had to look up to see the bottom. You know, are you tired of your current job? Are you tired of running in the rat race? I know I’m somewhat slow but I could never figure out what that last question meant? I’m just saying. Would you like to tell your boss where to shove it? Are you sick of having too much month and not enough money? Is your family being neglected due to the fact that you are working long hours? Here’s the one that really jars my slats. Aren’t you fed up with falling for every get rich quick scheme that promises you the world, takes your money, and leaves you bruised and bleeding on the side of the road? Say what?  Now I kick back my chair, rise quickly to my feet, snarl like a mad dog, clench my fists, and look for someone to slap six ways from Sunday. I’ll be back after I take my medication and get some more coffee.

After they beat me down, step on my face, kick me in the ribs, and make me cry uncontrollably they begin to paint a beautiful picture. Have you ever had visions of sitting on the beach with a cold drink in your hand looking out over the water?  Have you ever pictured yourself driving that big expensive, brand new automobile that would make your friends jealous? Would you like to live in a luxurious home like the rich and famous? Would you care to wear the latest fashions? As they are painting a picture of sunshine and roses I slowly uncurl myself from the fetus position, wipe the tears from my eyes, forget about my bruised and battered body, crawl over to the wall, sit up, and give this idiot that just about beat me to death my undivided attention. I’m gazing upon this fast talking, conceited, lying, conniving, so called genius like he created the Grand Canyon.

My wizard now explains that it’s so easy for me to become a millionaire. If I take him up on his offer I can have money falling from the sky. His plan runs on automatic pilot so I’ll be able to make money even when I’m sleeping. I’m told that my money will accumulate while all I have to do is calculate how my bank account can facilitate that much money. I sure can appreciate that. I made that up on my own but you get the point. What I need to do is listen closely to what he’s about to tell me and I can be making a huge amount of money in matter of minutes. In a moment he’s going to open a door just for me that will change my life forever. Now I find myself standing, although I’m leaning against the wall. I’m watching his every move; my hearing is so keen that I hear his heart beating. I’m ready to receive as he gently takes the hand he almost broke when he stomped on it with his big feet. He slowly leads me toward the door; it has to be slow because I can hardly walk after the beating this goof just gave me. By the way, I’m watching his every move and looking at the magic door through eyes that are almost swollen shut due to the fact that this sadistic moron beat me severely about the head and shoulders. My face hurts just talking about it so I’m leaving now. I promise I’ll come back to write part 3 in a while but first I must go put ice on my face. Keep your eye on that door while I’m gone.

I know I’m long winded but I must express how I feel in detail. I’m just saying. Thanks for stopping by. Leave me some comments….follow me on Face Book; I’m not hard to find……follow me on Twitter @poppopx7…..listen to the radio show and have a great day.  I’m going to put my face in the swimming pool instead of putting ice on it. It’s so warm and pleasant here.

My Heart is Overwhelmed….Crying & Sniffling

Written By: George Espenlaub - Jun• 22•12

I’m sitting here in my office at 2:51 a.m. trying to count how many times I’ve been presented with the opportunity to become a millionaire. To think that not once, but countless times I’ve had people that said they cared so much about me that they were willing to reveal their secrets so I could rake in the millions and live a life of leisure. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about how much love I felt emanating from the hearts of those people that were willing to give me the secret key so I could unlock such wealth. Excuse me while I take the time to wipe away my tears of gratitude.

The folks that approached me didn’t want me to live paycheck to paycheck any longer. They were overly concerned with the fact that I had to drive those dangerous highways each and every day to make a living. Why, the thought of working for someone else was downright criminal. I shouldn’t have to rise up so early each morning, work long hours, run the rat race with the rest of humanity, and bust my butt. Those compassionate, loving, concerned human beings arrived to rescue me from the clutches of poverty. Somehow they knew that I had no future. Just as I was going down for the third time I was extended a hand that would lift me out of the muck and mire. The other hand held the magic key that would unlock untold wealth for me. Excuse me again while I wipe the tears from my eyes. There’s no greater feeling than knowing that someone cares and loves you. (Right here I’m blowing my nose).

Don’t we all love to hear a rag, to riches story? Especially a story that tells us the person faced the same difficulties, tragedies, heartaches, and dilemmas we have faced. It’s not only uplifting but it gives us hope. The people that were offering me the magic key had been where I was. They had walked the dismal path that lead to nowhere. Some lived in itty bitty apartments, others lived with relatives, and there were several that became homeless and lived on the streets. Credit cards were maxed out, cars repossessed, homes foreclosed, they were hungry, barren, and busted. As I heard each new story my heart felt like it was busting in a million pieces. Tears streamed down my face and I cried uncontrollably. Please don’t tell me anymore lest I die of grief. (Here’s where I wipe my eyes and blow my nose again).

Suddenly something miraculous transpired in the lives of these very people that had found themselves in dire straits just moments before. Each of them (not collectively, but individually) found the secret that unlocked a vault that gave them access to untold millions of dollars. Now they wanted to share their secret with me so I too could become a millionaire.

Each of these individuals stated to me that I no longer had to work long hours. It must be noted here that I was approached by these people individually. Everyone had their own secret key and I was to follow their plan and only their plan. It bothered me that such kind, compassionate, loving people that cared so much for me didn’t seem to care for each other. They each said the other guy was lying and that I shouldn’t believe anyone other but them. I don’t understand that if they all wanted me to be wealthy, why would any one of them be mean to the other as long as I achieved riches and happiness? Everyone seemed to agree that if I was willing to follow their plan I would only have to work anywhere between 15 minutes per day at the least, five hours per week at the most. (Here’s where I have to hang my head, wipe my eyes, and blow my nose because it makes me so sad that each one of them loved me but not each other…sniff, sniff).

You know what? I’m so sad right now that I can’t finish this article. My heart is breaking so I feel it’s best if I step away for a while so as to get myself together…. blowing nose again. I promise to come back later and share more with you.

Don’t forget to listen to The George Espenlaub Radio Show on the player over there on the right hand side. If you missed any shows you can catch up by click on that episode button and a complete list of all previous shows will appear. It’s as easy as that. You can join me in the chat room when we go live by simply clicking on the chat button. Go in and sign on with your Face Book name and off you go. You can also listen to the show by clicking on the link. Come on in and follow The George Espenlaub Show that comes to you live from The Funny Farm in a place called our world.

Take a trip over to the examiner site where I write articles pertaining to radio. If you want, click on that orange symbol there on the sidebar underneath the radio player and it will also take you to my articles. You can subscribe to my articles by simply clicking on the subscribe button.

Lastly, leave some comments here before you leave and tell all your friends and family about this stuff. Thanks for stopping by. Here’s where I wipe my nose and sniff again.

Just Some Stuff

Written By: Msernestine - May• 17•12

A former famous pianist, Crazy Eddie, and his band, played before a packed out crowd as the inmates celebrated their annual, “Dress up Day,” here at the Funny Farm. Since Crazy Eddie is a new inmate, along with his band members, the Board of Nut Hut Advisors determined that it would be appropriate to enlist the talents of such a great pianist; I mean a former great pianist.

            Although Crazy Eddie and his band are new here at the farm, they certainly aren’t strangers to other nut huts throughout the land. The entire group has come to us via of transfer from, “The Mountaintop Funny Farm.” It seems that Eddie and his group of crazies have difficulties staying in one location for any length of time. The band thinks it’s continually on tour so each nut hut here in our world keeps transferring the band from place to place so as to keep all members happy. One must continually be reminded that this is a place where fantasy and reality are intertwined and we can’t tell the difference.

I have no doubt that if Crazy Eddie and his band were still in the real world their concerts would be sold out worldwide, but yet in their minds, they are in the real world on tour. As long as each band member receives the proper medication they have no problems whatsoever. The chief psychiatrist of each facility is responsible for the bands well-being while they perform for the other loons. Our Chief Psychiatrist, Cindy, not only disperses the medication but she administers her famous shock treatments to the members while they are here. Crazy Eddie and the boys always seem to perk up after they get juiced up by Cindy. Our Funny Farm is the only facility that has such advanced treatments.

A well qualified physical therapist has been added to the medical staff here at the farm. Prichard Slimmins was a much sought after physical therapist in the real world. Prichard had a highly successful practice until he developed, “Bats in the Belfry.” He brings a much needed skill to the inmates, I mean clients, here at the Funny Farm. Mr. Slimmins will be a tremendous asset to this medical team.

Because of an increase in loons Pops has added another head cook to the kitchen staff. Marsha Groom who has been an inmate here for years will be responsible for late night meals. Most all inmates have one of two characteristics about them regardless of whether they are male or female. Loons in the nut hut will either sleep most of the time or sleep very little. Most of our crazies sleep very little so they end up moving around late at night. These loons have learned how to sleep fast so they can continually be on the go. Hence, the addition of Marsh Groom was necessary to meet the needs of the fast sleeping, fast moving, all the time partying loons.

I’ll leave you with some scuttlebutt that is circulating around the farm. Many of the loons are whispering about Harvey sabotaging a radio show very soon. I can’t get a confirmation on the latest but I can’t seem to get a denial either. I’ve had my eye on Harvey these last several days and it seems to me like he’s up to something. He throws off some kind of air and walks with a swagger when he’s about to bust loose and cause trouble. Only time will tell.

There’s much going on and more to come so continue to visit the blog and listen to the radio show. Our goal is to make you as crazy as the rest of us here at the Funny Farm.

Beware of the Face

Written By: George Espenlaub - Apr• 29•12

There are some fun events that will be happening both on, “The Espenblog,” and “The George Espenlaub Radio Show.” Maybe it’s best if I show my face and explain what’s happening in person. Caution: I will not be responsible for any side effects that may occur while you are looking at my face. You look at your own risk. This face has been known to make men, women, and children cry uncontrollably. Dogs have howled until they lost their voice and couldn’t howl anymore. Other members of the animal kingdom have stampeded, borrowed themselves into deep holes, and some of the weaker species have fallen over dead in shock. You have been forewarned so view this video at your own risk.


Written By: Generalharv - Apr• 18•12

Can you believe that I, Harvey, (the shunned one, the one who is always put down, forgotten, ridiculed, laughed at, and sometimes beat upon) finally got through to Pops of just how important I am around here. For the first time in ages Pops actually set down and listened to what I had to say. He must be softening up a bit in his old age.

Several good things came from our little chat. I’m proud to announce that I am now the GM of Georges’ Gorilla’s Fantasy Baseball Team. Yep, that goes to show what I’ve been saying all along, “My talent as a GM in both football and baseball is known throughout the sports world. There isn’t anyone that can compare to being as intelligent and brilliant as me. I’m so good that I make all other GM’s look like rookies.” Just for the record, I have our team in first place in our division and I’m going to keep us there by making some smooth moves as the season progresses. What do you all think of that?

Due to the fact that Mom Mom is ill right now and Pops is running around like a chicken with his head cut off, I’m going to be covering more stories. You could say that I’m replacing Ms Ernestine has lead reporter for this outfit. She’s so busy flaunting herself in front of the radio crowd that she has neglected to write any articles in over a month. Why don’t Pops suspend her like he did me for dereliction of duty? I have but two things to say to Ms Ernestine; “I am now top dog writer for this world famous gig, so move over baby. There is a huge surprise coming your way that will shake that big body more than any dancing has ever shaken it. Put that in your hat and pull it down over your ears.”

I ‘m going to be back on top like I used to be years ago. My fan base will come back and I will have the adoration that I deserve once again. Look out Charlie Weiner, I’m about ready to make you, “Charlie who?” Your days of being the cute, fun loving, adorable little puppy dog is about over. I’m going to show you what popularity is all about so hide and watch as I make my move.

I know, just as the sun shines in the sky, Ms Ernestine and Charlie are going to refute everything I said but don’t pay them no mind. Have I ever mentioned that I get blamed for exaggerating things? Maybe I do sometimes but this isn’t one of those times. I’m so excited that I can hardly sit still. Was that the crazy raccoon that just went by?

Some bad things are beginning to take place here in my hooch as I’m writing this article. There’s the cowboy over in the corner. What’s going on here? Why is this happening? I must get hold of myself before I become a nut hut case like the rest of these loons around here. OMG, here comes those crazy Funny Farm Party Animals right through my front door. Please tell me you see them dancing in my hooch. Just when I thought I was making progress this has to happen.

Oh no, Ms Ernestine just pulled up in front of my hooch in that raggedy old truck of hers. She’s falling out, I mean she’s getting out and she doesn’t look too happy. She’s stomping her way to the front door and I’m getting out of here before she comes in. Crazy raccoon, typing cowboy, party animals, and now, “Ms Ernestine who thinks she’s a bag of chips and everything else,” is going to crash through my front door. Why do these things always happen to me?

Don’t forget to listen to the radio program by clicking on the show player over there on the side. When Pops does a live show you can join him in the chat room simply by clicking on chat and logging in. It’s simple to join… can use your face book sign in stuff so come on and join the fun in the chat room while the show is live. Gotta go, my own hooch has been over-run by a bunch of loons. Leave some comments before you leave and I’ll see you later.

P.S. Pops just wrote another article in Examiner so click on the orange gizmo under, “Read my articles on Examiner,” and you’ll be taken directly to his articles.

When Times Were Different

Written By: George Espenlaub - Mar• 16•12

Perhaps I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Our society is moving so fast that it’s possible to pass yourself going in the opposite direction. If that’s not bad enough, the very fast movers don’t even recognize themselves as they pass by. I see you as you sit back after reading that last sentence saying to yourself, “That’s impossible.”

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Picture in your mind the last several hours or the last couple of days as you moved throughout society in your neck of the woods. What is it that you see and hear? For far too many folks the sights and sounds of transportation permeate the air, be it automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes or some other form of ride that I failed to mention.

The eyes and ears are focused on cell phones, tablets, laptops, and a multitude of other gadgets as one attempts to drive an automobile, walk across a street or a parking lot with no idea of what is taking place around them much less beside them. I wonder how many people in this country alone walk into poles, doors, other people, and buildings in a 24 hour period. What would be the number of people that walked in front of some moving vehicle, fell in a hole, or tumbled down a flight of stairs all because they were moving so fast they failed to fully focus on where they were going? With ear phones inserted and phones at the ready, society is on the move listening, talking, texting, playing games, and multi-tasking with no thought of consequences. I’ll delve into this subject matter at a later date but for now allow me to make a suggestion.

What I’m going to suggest will require some will power on your part. Reach in, over, under, around, or through where your cell phone is and turn it off. In fact turn all your gadgets off except the device you are reading this article on. I see you sneering and snarling at me like I’m some kind of a nut but this is for your own good. By the way, I am a nut hut case that takes medication daily and don’t forget this is the Funny Farm in Our World.

Now, would you please turn everything off?  Sit down if you’re not already and relax. Clear your mind of all distractions, close yourself into the now and only now. Follow me as I take you back in time when there were no cell phones, tablets, laptops, video games, or other gadgets that sucked the time and the very surroundings out of us. A time not too many years ago when you weren’t moving at a breakneck speed with your head down focused on a screen. A time when you were able to see and appreciate your surroundings, a time when you were able to communicate face to face and know who was beside you. A time when we moved a little slower, showed some concern for those around us, knew our neighbors as real people, not as an avatar on a screen. A period when kids played outside in the dirt, got bloody noses in the schoolyard, played baseball from sun up until sundown, had more than enough participates to play tackle football anywhere there was space to play, and the girls played jump rope and hopscotch.

Here we go.

It’s a warm summer’s night, around 10:30 p.m. in Pleasant Valley. The sky is clear, the moon is bright, and millions of stars seem to be dancing through the universe. From my vantage point on the third floor of the old house I can see almost the entire neighborhood or at least the biggest part of it. From Eighth Street to as far as Twelfth Street in one direction, from Jefferson Avenue to the top of the hill where George Street ran across in another direction and from the schoolyard down to Pleasant Valley Blvd. and up the hill to the top of Eighth Street where you would see an automobile making its way down the steep hill. There wasn’t a lot of traffic down on the two lane highway at this time of night although by today’s standard it would have been considered early. For the most part the neighborhood is quiet now except for the occasional bark of a dog.

All the kids had left the school yard soon after the street lights came on leaving the big building that was Lowell School to sit alone and cast its shadows across the yard. Just a short time ago there were sounds of laughter and music coming from transistor radios. The sounds of kids playing hide and go seek and kick the can could be heard wafting its way throughout the neighborhood but now there was silence in the schoolyard.

As I looked out through my open window on the third floor of my house all things looked as if they were in their proper place. Each street was laid out just right along with each house. The orchard below the house and the one across the street just seemed that there could be no other place for them to exist than where they were. I scanned each house naming the folks that lived there and became convinced that no other family would fit in that house like the present occupants. They just belonged there.

As I gazed upon the neighborhood that particular night my eyes were drawn to a bright spot on Pleasant Valley Blvd. and Twelfth Street. Although some 4 blocks away it stood out like a lighthouse on the sea coast. The lights shining from the building made the entire parking lot look like daylight. The Highway Pizza Shop was where families, kids, along with boyfriends and girlfriends could gather to eat pizza, and listen to the music being played from inside on the juke box. You could go inside, order your pizza, eat pepperoncini peppers from the big jug on the counter, sit down inside or take your pizza out to your vehicle while you talked and listened to the music coming from speakers attached to the outside of the building.

I spent many nights over the years looking out of my open bedroom window on the third floor of that big house. Of course in the winter time the window remained closed but the curtains were pulled back so I could watch out over the neighborhood and particularly the pizza shop. Oh, by the way, I spent a considerable amount of time at that establishment eating those peppers and delicious pizza. Why I even worked there for a time. I didn’t work inside but every morning I would pick up all the trash in the parking lot. I was paid .25/day. I had it going on back then and enjoyed every minute of it.

Everything is gone now and has been gone for a number of years. Jefferson Avenue became Valley View Blvd. around 1961 but the pizza shop was still there. Lowell School was shut down and purchased by the Assembly of God Church that sat across the street but eventually that was torn down so they could add more parking. The old homestead was the last to go in 2009. Up until then I would go home every so often and at night I would always go to the old third floor bedroom. It was always made up for when I went home. That same window would be opened and I’d gaze out upon the old neighborhood. Many of the houses had been sold and torn down, replaced by commercial buildings. There was always a continual flow of traffic zooming by the house late into the night but that didn’t really matter to me.

You see, I didn’t see things the way they had become, I saw the old neighborhood as it was over 50 years ago. I was able to see the kids in the schoolyard and hear the sounds of the neighborhood; the sights and sounds of neighbors talking while they set on the porch or visited one another in the yard. I could hear the bell from the popcorn truck and hear the music as Mr. Softee, the ice cream man arrived. I could smell the spaghetti sauce and the hot peppers as it cooked on the neighbors stove and made its way outside through the open window and the screen door. I saw the people working in their gardens or cutting their grass and hedges.

In those days there were no cell phones to text someone and tell them it was time for supper. You were summoned from the yard or the porch by a whistle or a very loud voice shouting out your name. By the way, you had better not been late for supper.

For the young people that may be reading this article I have only one bit of advice. Take time to lift your head from the screen and look around. Stop moving so fast and allow yourself to take in the sights and sounds of what’s happening around you. Listen to the heartbeat of family and friends. Cherish the time of your youth and make memories that will last a lifetime. In the end, all we have is memories. I hope yours are as sweet as mine.

Pleasant Valley was and still is in Altoona, Pa. although so very much has changed throughout the city over these many years. I haven’t lived in Altoona for many years but I still go home every now and then. The third story bedroom window isn’t there anymore but as I close my eyes I’m transported back in time to that special place called home.

Charlie’s Been Shot

Written By: Msernestine - Mar• 04•12

It’s true. Charlie was shot in the heart with an arrow. Although the wound isn’t life threatening, it is life changing. He’s expected to make a complete recovery, however Charlie will never be the same again. When Charlie was struck with that arrow he went down like a ton of bricks. No one saw it coming, no one suspected anything, and it goes without saying that when he took the hit we were all dumbfounded. It’s been a hot topic here at the farm and the inmates are making over Charlie like he’s the greatest thing since The Lone Ranger.

I, and others, have noticed that Charlie had been acting peculiar at times but we thought it was just growing pains. There have been times when he just up and disappeared for no reason at all. Charlie would be gone for several hours before he magically appeared again with a big smile on his face and a click in his heel. The staff and the inmates thought that he wanted to be by himself so no one questioned him about his vanishing act. As long as he came back we were all satisfied.

I became concerned when Charlie wouldn’t respond correctly when I spoke to him. Two weeks ago I asked him, “Charlie, would you like to help me cover a big story taking place up there at The Mountaintop Funny Farm?”

“I’m really not into chasing bunnies around the honey farm Ms Ernestine,” he said as he skipped away dialing a number on his cell phone.

I just shook my head and lumbered off to see Ms Cindy, our Chief Psychiatrist. It was time for my weekly shock treatment anyhow. Charlie blew my mind by what he had said so I felt it necessary to clear my mind. By the way, I lost my toe nail clippers the other day and I’m wondering if any of you has found them. Call me on my cell phone if you did.

Pops has been concerned about Charlie to the point of following him around so he would have some documented proof to show our psychiatrist if need be. Here’s a few of the things Pops made a record of:

  • While Charlie was talking on his cell phone he walked out in front of the Funny Farm bus and almost got himself killed.
  • Charlie fell down a flight of stairs in the barn while he was talking on his phone.
  • He walked into a glass door while on his phone
  • Charlie face planted into the side of a building while talking on his phone.

The above list is by no means the complete list of Charlie’s mishaps. Notice though that each one occurred while talking on his phone. Whomever Charlie was talking to certainly had his undivided attention to the point that he almost killed himself several times. Those toe nail clippers have to be around here somewhere.

Pops started examining the phone records for Charlie’s cell phone hoping that it would shed some light on Charlie’s strange behavior. Sure enough, Pops found what he was looking for. I wish I could find those toe nail clippers. Anyhow, it seems that Charlie was in communication with a place called, “Dogs are Here,” which is a matchup place for dogs. This Dogs are Here place does one of those profiles and then finds a compatible match for the client. No wonder Charlie was so messed up; he had himself a girlfriend.

After the two of them had a long conversation that lasted well into the night, Pops gave Charlie the go ahead to bring his girl to the farm. I guess the reasoning was that Charlie wouldn’t be talking on his phone so much if his girlfriend was here. Charlie was as happy as a pig in mud when he got the okay to go get her. Did I just say what I think I just said? I think I did say what I thought I said.

            The next morning Charlie drove off in his vehicle to get his new girlfriend. Pops offered to drive him to the Dogs are Here place but Charlie would have none of that. Pops was concerned that since Charlie is a new driver he could get distracted by the girl and well, you know what happens when that happens. We all set on pins and needles until Charlie safely returned with his new special friend.

The music was playing

As Charlie drove onto the grounds of the farm he was grinning from ear to ear. There he was sitting high in the seat with his chest stuck out grinning like a big dog with his new girl by his side. The inmates, I mean clients, cheered so loud that I thought the windows were going to break out of the buildings. The backward marching band along with the backward marching drum corps played like they have never played before. This day belonged to Charlie and a girl dog by the name of Chloe. Why even old peanut breath Harvey was there to greet the lovebirds.

With Chloe here Charlie is having fewer mishaps although he did trip up the steps leading to the Funny Farm Radio Studio. He’s eating again, joking and laughing with everyone again, and strutting around here like he’s the biggest, most important dog in our world. He’s not that big being a weiner dog but he is certainly important to all of us. More on Chloe as time goes on. Thanks for stopping by and I sure hope you leave some comments.

Some updates before I go:

  • Now that Mom Mom has had her surgery there are only two more procedures that need to take place before she starts her chemo treatments
  • She has a bone marrow test scheduled for March 12
  • The doctor will put her port in on the same day
  • Shortly after that she will be starting her regimen of chemo

Thanks to all who have expressed their concern and have been praying for her recovery. Pops and Mom Mom appreciate all the support and love that has been shown. We’ll keep you posted as we move along.

The radio show and the blog has been somewhat neglected due to Mom Mom’s condition. Now that we know where we stand and what we are dealing with, Pop’s wants all to know that we’re going to be back on a regular schedule with both the show and The Espenblog.

In addition Pops is now writing for so by clicking on the link you can read Pops articles that he’s writing on about internet radio. I know he would appreciate it if you would jump over there and after reading the article/articles leave a comment. Of course it would really be nice if you would subscribe to his writing over there. You can also share a link on Face Book, Twitter, and etc. There’s a badge over on the side bar you can click on and it will also take you to his reports. Thanks so very much for all the support you have shown for both The Espenblog and the radio show. This is Ms Ernestine signing off for now saying Cya.

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