Hello Kitty.

I just ran across an unusual item. It is a Hello Kitty assault rifle.

This company has taken a AK47 assault rifle and given it a purple finish with Hello Kitty logos on the butt and magazine.

Somehow, I can’t see this being used by any paramilitary groups but I could be mistaken. Usually, the paramilitary groups are into camouflage of green, brown and black. Purple just doesn’t fit their color scheme.

I suppose, this would be a rifle for a preteen girl to use. But given that the Hello Kitty rifle sells for about $1,000, which is quite a bit for an AK47 these days, I suspect that only rich little girls will get one.

This company also makes a My Little Pony M4.

Can we expect a Sponge Bob 107 any time soon?

The door.

For as long as we have been in our house, (22 years) there has not been a door at the stairway leading down into our basement. Well, we now have one.

In an effort to contain the warmth of the basement and to keep the cold drafts out of our basement computer room, I installed a door. But the door is proving to be a challenge for the family who is not used to a door being at the top of the basement stairs.

Since we live in a split level ranch, we have a series of short stairways that function kind of like a switchback. As soon as you reach the end of one set of steps, you do a 180 and go down another set of steps.

Now, the family is used to going down these steps rather rapidly, rounding the corner and going down the next set of steps. And this is fine. The only problem is that there is now a door at that last set of steps.

You hear them going thump, thump, thump down the first set of steps. Then you hear them going thump, thump, thump down the next set of steps. Then you hear a bam! followed by some muttering. Fortunately, it is a hollow core door so it is not that hard.

We may have to paint the door with yellow and black strips.

Parking meters.

The other day, I was walking back to my office from a meeting in downtown Lansing when I noticed the meter maid writing a parking ticket.

I always feel sorry for people who have to park in downtown Lansing because parking is so hard to find. People might have to walk for blocks to get back to their car before the meter expires.

With traffic lights and closed sidewalks, it could take some people an extra 5 minutes. And when they do get back, they discover that the meter maid has just written them a ticket.

More often than not, the people who use parking meters do not work downtown. They are downtown for a one hour meeting and don’t know where else to park.

So, since I had a pocket full of dimes and nickels I decided to help some hapless souls avoid the hassles of a parking ticket. So, starting with the nickels, I walked along the road looking for expired meters as I made my way back to my office. Once the nickels ran out, I started on the dimes.

Now, granted, a nickel or a dime doesn’t buy you much time. But I didn’t need enough time for the owner to return, I only needed enough time for the meter maid to pass. And since she had a regular route that she followed, I figured that by the time she came around again, the owner will have returned.

All and all, I made the day for 6 people and it only cost me 50 cents. That was fun. I will have to plan on doing it again.

“every body plays, every body wins”  Jerry Seinfeld.

The title.

Several years ago, my youngest daughter, Rachel, needed to buy her first car. Since she had no credit rating, I had to co-sign the loan. And because I co-signed the loan, my name, along with hers, was on the title.

The car is now paid for and the bank has released their claim on the title. So, Rachel, who now lives in Ohio, wanted the title changed so that my name was no longer on the document.

If she transfered the title using the Ohio Secretary of State, I would have to be present for the title signing as it would have to be notarized. If we transfered the title in Michigan, I could do it without her being present.

Since I didn’t really have the time to drive to Ohio, we opted for a Michigan transfer. So with documents in hand, I headed for the local Secretary of States office, which is just a couple of blocks away from where I work.

After about a 10 minute wait, my number came up and I proceeded to the next available agent. I announced to the agent that I wanted to do a title transfer. I then produced the original title, the loan release from the bank and the document filled out by Rachel authorizing the transfer.

The agent looked over the documents and then announced that she needed the registration and proof of insurance for the car. I told her that I didn’t have the registration for the car because the car was already registered in Ohio.

It was at this point that the “tilt” light went on. And just like in the movies where the killer robot is shut down by the good guys, the woman froze, head leaning to one side.

Finally, after a few moments, I asked “mam are you OK?” She affirmed that she was. Then she stated that she needed the registration. And again I told her that the car is now registered in Ohio and that all I want is the title changed.

She then checked her computer screen and announced that the plate had expired in September. I told her that I was aware of that and that the car now has an Ohio plate on it and is registered in Ohio. With that, she went over and conversed with an associate.

A few moments later she returned with her associate who announced that she needed the registration and proof of insurance. Once again, I told her that the car is registered in Ohio and now has Ohio plates.

Her eyes started blinking rapidly. (I had seen that movie before. The eyes of the alien killer robots started blinking rapidly just before their heads blew up.) She asked, “How did she do that?” To which, I shrugged my shoulders.

The associate then pointed out that with out the registration and proof of insurance, she could only transfer the title and not the registration. I told her that that was fine.

She then pointed out that she could not put an Ohio address on a Michigan title. I told her to use my address on the title. I figured that once the title was transfered, Rachel could do what ever she wanted with the title and the address.

Ten minutes and twenty dollars later, I was out the door, title in hand. Mission accomplished. Once again, I beat the bureaucracy!

The video stores.

When renting movies first became popular, there was only one place in town to rent them and they had a good selection. But soon, it seemed like every one had videos to rent. In fact, there were so many places that I can’t even remember their names, just there locations.

I think that the first video store was in the Crystal Flash Plaza. ( It was named the Crystal Flash Plaza because it was a strip mall next to the Crystal Flash gas station though I don’t know if it was owned by Crystal Flash.) And we rented a lot of movies there until they accused us of damaging one of them, which we had to buy.

Then, we started renting videos from the local grocery store. We rented a lot of movies from them until they closed.

From then on, we went to a little store on the outskirts of town. And, we rented a lot of movies there but soon we discovered that the drug store on our end of town rented videos and they were cheaper than the other place.

Unfortunately, the drug store was sold and then closed, which started the drug store wars but I will write about that at another time. So, we started renting movie in Grand Rapids. Since we could rent for a week at the new place and since we were always in Grand Rapids on weekends, it worked out just fine.

Mean while, back in Lowell, video stores opened and close and moved and reopened. In fact, one video store moved so many times that I finally lost track of it.

Then, we got a Video Gallery which is a chain here in west Michigan. They built there own building, and rented videos and games. And they had good prices. So, the Video Gallery is our new home for movies. Two videos for 6 days for $1.99. Such a deal.

In all honesty, I don’t know if anyone else is renting out movies here in Lowell any more. I’ll have to check just for grins.

Reel Tyme.

Reel Tyme video has closed. It really wasn’t opened that long. I never visited the store so I don’t know what kind of selection they had.

They had a good location, right next to a pizza place, so it must have been their business plan or lack of one. If the way that they closed the store is representative if how they ran their business, I can understand why they closed.

When they closed the store, they had a sign on a pickup truck that read “all video $5”. Now, I didn’t see any thing that said “going out of business” so I just assumed that they were selling videos just like at Best Buy.

And, since I didn’t need any videos at the time, I didn’t stop in. Had I known that they were closing, I might have stopped to browse.

Oh well, better luck next time.

Walk, don’t drive.

All most everyone here in downtown Lansing, walks every place that they go. It is not because they are health conscious. It is because there is no place to park.

Just like in Hitler’s Das Capitol, parking is hard to find. Oh granted, there is parking available. I, for example, park under the building where I work, but that parking comes with a price. If you can’t afford to park under ground or if your building doesn’t have underground parking, then you have to walk.

For some, the walk is a short distance but for others, it can be for several blocks. And, if the weather is bad, that walk can be brutal.

Between state government and the local community college, the city of Lansing makes a small fortune off of parking. Every place that you go, you find parking meters. And if there isn’t a parking meter, you probably don’t want to park there any way.

And what do they do with all of that money? I am not sure but they certainly don’t use it to plow the streets or the sidewalks in downtown Lansing.

Stinking pepper corns!

We have several acrylic pepper mills. One we use in the kitchen and the others we use on the table.

One day, we ran out of black pepper corns. So, I went to the store to buy some more. As I was about to pick up a container of black pepper corns, I noticed the store also had a container of multicolored pepper corns. Since the green and red and white pepper corns looked more attractive, I purchased that instead.

As I was filling the pepper mills, I noticed an unusual odor but thought nothing of it. But, it was when I went to use the pepper mills that I really noticed the foul odor. It smelled like pig excrement! Whats more, it passed that smell on to the food that I was eating.

At first, I thought that it must me, but when Kathy noticed it too I knew that it wasn’t just my imagination. The pepper corns were foul.

At first, we thought that we could dilute the colored pepper corns with some traditional black pepper corns. But that didn’t work. The smell and the taste remained. Finally, we couldn’t take it any more. The pepper corns had to go.

The multicolored pepper corns may look nice but they certainly taste bad. Maybe we can find a decorative glass container to display them in. Something with a tight lid!


Once again, it is scarecrow season here in Lowell. Every year, the Lowell Arts Council sponsors a scarecrow building workshop. And the by product of this workshop is, well, scarecrows. Once the scarecrows are constructed, they are tied at the waist to the street light poles on main street.

The scarecrows are a little distracting to drivers, particularly in the morning. You are never sure if it is a person getting ready to step off the curb or if it is a scarecrow.

Of course, rainy weather tends to make them a little droopy. It kind of gives them that drunken scarecrow look. And if they really get wet, they bend at the waist giving them that sick drunken scarecrow look.

One of these years, if we have a cool fall, I am going to dress up as a scarecrow and go down to main street. I bet I could really freak out a lot of people. 😉