Tag Archives: comedy

Happy Birthday to You, Happy Birthday to You…

30 Sep

Greetings, you “Corten Crazies,” you!

Joshua-23mosSeveral of you have emailed me lately, asking me what my son  Joshua wants for his Birthday.

We’re happy to report that on October the 12th, our son, and “Future Emperor of the Universe”… will turn two years old… and that both of his parents have survived it thus far!

As my family struggles to get Char through Chemotherapy and Radiation treatment, all the while trying to get a shipping container home built so that she and Joshua will be safe…

We’re stretched pretty thin and Joshua’s birthday isn’t going to all it could be.  In fact, we had to scramble to keep the power turned on this month, due to a conflict we’re having with the power company.

Last month, our power bill DOUBLED. (It was outrageous to begin with. I mean, we live in a tiny 2 room apartment.)  The billing period that I’m talking abut was the one where Char headed straight to Intensive Care, “Do Not Pass GO!”, after the Chemotherapy tried to kill her. In fact, she went back and forth a few times. As a result, we were out of house for quite a few days… And, as a result, we were gone for part of that time, while Char was in the hospital. And, everything was turned off, except the refrigerator. So, by using common sense, you’d think that the power bill would be less… and it should have DROPPED.  But, it zoomed up into “nosebleed” amounts.
I did what anyone would do. I had a coronary on the spot… Wait, that’s not it… I called up the power jerks, to try and figure out what the hell went wrong. I mean, it’s not possible for us to have used an extra $150 worth of juice, when we weren’t even home part of that time.
And while they were very polite, they informed me that they’d be happy to come out and run diagnostics on the meter, for $45, plus the service charge. So, they want ME to pay them to check a meter that THEY own, that is probably going nuts due to all the lightning and heavy weather we’ve been having lately. That, and just plain old age. This is by far the most miserly utility company I’ve ever seen…

This doesn’t make any sense to me, at all. It’s not even MY meter. Why should I have to pay to have them check their own property? Especially when the bills seem to confirm the reason that I’m contesting the bill in the first place?

In the meantime, I’m on the hook for the bill, and there’s a late fee if I don’t pay on time. Oh yeah, they finally told me all of this several “go-rounds”, and then after the bill I disputed had become “late and disconnectable.” I know $300 doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck and paying for medical treatment and medications out of that… it adds up quick.
Needless to say, the “Birthday Bucks” we were trying so desperately to save (literally saved… $10-20 a month) for Joshua’s birthday is mostly gone now, thanks to those Mississippi Power jerks.
So, Joshua’s not gonna get the birthday that we’d hoped for…

Back to the gist of the post…

While it’s hard to tell sometimes, he DOES like to read.

Rather, he get’s his hands on my “trades magazines” and then he flips through the pages… and then he turns them into confetti. It makes my wife crazy. It’s starting to look like we have a fifty pound hamster living with us! There’s paper shredded all over the house!

And he giggles like a demented mental patient while he does it. It’s really quite disturbing!

But, it does indicate that he likes books. But, we’re being rather selective in choosing his reading materials. For instance, have you ever really paid attention to the “goings on” in that age old classic; “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”?

  • Kids getting baked in ovens by mean old ladies? I mean, all they did was EAT HER HOUSE!
  • Trolls under bridges trying to kill you, just for trying to walk home? I used to walk 20 miles uphill, to school, in the snow… both ways! A troll’s gotta make a living, too!
  • Girls kidnapped and hidden away in tall towers, who get their hair ripped out while trying to escape? Um… er… never mind.
  • Girls in red cloaks getting eaten by wolves? Hey, that red cloak was only supposed to protect her against hunters!

Man, that stuff will give a kid nightmares!

We’re opting for books a little less “trauma inducing”.

But, not these books;


book6Not this one either!

book13Definitely not!

book7Um… No.

And last, but not least…


Oh, man…

Wait…. Now that you mention it…

I’m thinking he doesn’t want books at all. Maybe a cool rocking horse, or some blocks, or even some Hot Wheels…

Stay tuned…

The Renaissance Ronin

I want MY Independence!

4 Jul

Oh Happiest of Happy Days!

And I’m not talking about that “Fonzi/Potsy/Heeeeeeeey!” stuff neither!

Today is THE day, around the “Ronin Roost!”

It’s the day we get to demonstrate our um… er… “glee” at the living in America! You know, that place where we all complain about everything under the sun, while people in the third world complain about things like clean water, epidemic diseases, and criminal despots acting like tyrants!

We forget that here in America, we actually have it pretty good… Even if those rotten bastards in Jackson don’t like the idea of my building a house out of Shipping Containers!

So, today… just for 24 hours mind you… you can cast all your cares aside, push all your frustration onto the back burner, and then…

Go out there and blow some %^*$#@!! UP!

july4aOh yeah… I forgot the “legal stuff…

july4dHappy 4th of July!

The Renaissance RoninFYI: Twisting up a sparkler, and then using it to “brand” your little sister is a bad idea, no matter WHAT family you live in. Trust me on this… I got grounded for the whole summer! Oy!

The Truth about Michael Jackson

3 Jul

Michael Jackson died a few days ago, apparently of a heart attack brought on by drug abuse. And, if you’ve been watching the media marathons on Cable TV, you can see that people all over the planet are mourning the loss of the King of Pop.

Even that “Mouthpiece of Merchandising” jumped on the bandwagon… “I’m more famous than the King of Pop!” boasted Billy Mays. And then, HE suddenly fell over dead.

RIP Billy MaysJust goes to show you, you should never mess with “The Gloved One” or he’ll give you the finger… 🙂

In cities across the globe people gathered in squares and parks with candles in hand to mournfully sing classics like “Beat It” and  “Don’t Stop till You Get Enough.”  According to one source, the Salt Lake City Boys Choir did an acappella version of “Billie Jean”  that was broadcast on loudspeakers into the city and on Mormon Television Networks.

heaven_or_hell4michaelMichael had a hell of a run… It makes you wonder where it will all lead…

And, did you see the “Youtube Prison Tribute?” Some warden has “Michael Jackson Fever” baaaad! In a far flung prison, an entire criminal population broke out in dance, waving flags, and singing “Beat it!” at the top of their lungs, to the beat of a hundred tasers… um… er… prison guards tapping out the medleys in unison! Zaaaaaap! Who’s BAD?

Now, being “The Ronin…” and having mastered a measure of “ninja stealth…” I’ve become privy to a document, found floating in Lake Neverland at Michael’s “ranch,” that spelled out Michael’s wishes should he ever “Stop before he got enough!”


It’s Michael’s wish that his remains be cremated (no last minute anal probes, please). He wishes to be carried to the crematorium gates on the shoulders of  his teammates, The Harlem Globetrotters (he was made an honorary team member in 1978), while they perform Stevie Wonder tunes on the kazoo.

“I just called… to say… I gloved you!”

Once his ashes are given “the big bake-off”… Michael would like to have his ashes scattered over his homeland… the surface of the moon. Oh yeah, and don’t forget his favorite microphone…

rogersAfter all, we all knew that he wasn’t from around here.

However, since the recent discovery of “the state of his affairs –  financial,” it’s not gonna happen.  Instead, he’ll be cremated and put into a hollow plastic egg, and that will be strapped to the nose of an Estes Model Rocket. His pet monkey (Bubbles the Fifth) will press the banana flavored launch button, and his remains will be shot up into the heavens, to commit a “cosmic coupling” (probably by embedding itself in the belly of any passing 767 lucky enough to be headed for LAX during launchtime!)…

Included in the plastic egg will be the ashes of some of Michael’s favorite things, the charred remains of Elephant Man, Bubbles the Fourth, and Lisa Marie Presley’s… um… er… Macauley Caulkin’s  lips.

Michael also asked that on the anniversary of his death, Diana Ross, and The Four Tops be cremated and shot into space, in a similar fashion. Whether they are still alive or not isn’t really that important, according to the document.

The family has decided to hold a wake (complete with rocketship shaped casket), and it gives one pause to Wonder (no relation to Stevie)…

The closed casket at the wake is bound to raise some questions. Is Michael really dead? Did he pull an “Elvis?” Did he fake his own death?

varvel1Was that REALLY his nose? All eyes are turned to the scientists harbored deep in the bowels of Area 51. Why? Because the sky is buzzing…

One scientist, who asked not to be identified, replied simply:

“Jackson Dead? Samuel DIED? Oh Gawwwd!…


Oh wait! You meant Michael? Hell, he’s not dead! He’s just went home… Nanoo-nanoo!”

RIP Michael…

And kick up a little dust while you’re up there, so we know that you’re okay!

The Renaissance Ronin Ah, relax! Hey… If you don’t laugh, you have to cry. In the last week, everybody started dropping dead! You could be next! So smile a little bit, and remember the good… because dwelling on the bad… will make you move to Mississippi! 🙂

Ronin’s Pick of the Month!

17 Dec

For the past several weeks, I’ve been corresponding with some architects and even (gasp!) engineers. I know… Architects are like lawyers, and all they ever want is your money, and then… the rest of your money, right?

Well, I grew up around architects. One of my rich relatives ran a rather large firm, that built “buildings of note.” And, frankly, most of them were “prima donnas.” Those guys were highbrow bloodsuckers… um… er… bluebloods, with their noses so far up in the air, you couldn’t make out one single sentence for all the nasally sounds they emitted. And, when I was young, they made it clear that I was supposed to be one of them, “once I grew up.”

They kept telling me that, over and over again, even after I cleared the hurdle of puberty and discovered fast motorcycles and the women they attracted (that I wasn’t fast enough to actually “catch…” But that’s another “tale of woe…” for another time)! LOL!

So, instead I chose an attempt at education, Motorcycle Racing on Friday nights, and sneaking a cold beer here and there, over hanging out “ohh-ing and awe-ing” surrounded by stacks of drawings that looked more like hieroglyphics than actual street scenes.

You see, like many other professions, architects have their own language, filled with terms that defy explanation or interpretation to the common man. In fact, it’s like listening to doctors talk about a troubling case, sometimes, as you try to figure out what all those three syllable words have to do with building a house out of wood and nails.

So, I completely understand when people email me, and tell me about the architect they just “interviewed” with, that said things they couldn’t comprehend, much less make a decision about. Many of the comments I receive are aimed at the fact that I really try to explain how things work, at a level that allows people to actually understand what I’m talking about. In crayon, if I have to…

Okay, maybe not “many comments.” One. Sorta. Okay, I admitted it. Satisfied?

Anyway, talking to architects can be like going on vacation, and getting off a bus in a strange land after too many cold beverages. I mean, “Where’s the bathroom? I gotta pee, dammit!” just doesn’t translate, sometimes!

paul-stankeyWell, Paul Stankey must be the exception to the rule.

This architect is one of those “grass roots” kinda guys who (aside from being a visionary) talks to you like you’re actually a human being. And, he actually builds what he talks about, instead of just rendering opinions about “If I was gonna do it, I’d do it like this…”

Can you really build a cool cabin, out of shipping containers?

photo-12Paul can. And he did it in the middle of “Ice Hell.” For almost nothing.

And, what do you do with all those pallets behind your warehouse?


You build another warehouse… or… a shop… In “Ice Hell…”

Who is this “madman?”

Here’s a little bit about him (that I lifted from his corporate bio);

“Paul Stankey is an Intern Architect living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has extensive hands-on experience in design-build stemming from work in Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana as a designer, craftsman, and teacher. Paul was a founding employee of Ridgeline Builders in Bozeman, later worked with the Montana Arts Council, and more recently as an Intern Architect in the office of YunkerAsmus Architecture in Minneapolis. At YunkerAsmus he collaborated on the Windsong Farms Golf Club which received a 2005 AIA Minnesota Honor Award. He has also worked with Alchemy Architects in St. Paul developing the weeHouse and other residential work. While at Alchemy he had several projects published in Dwell, Metropolitan Home, Wallpaper, and Ink. He is currently working with m.a ARCHITECTURE in Minneapolis and is a Co-Founder of HIVE Modular, a modern modular home supplier and designer.

Paul has a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture from Montana State University with a focus in concrete technology. While there he worked with Architect/Professor, William Massie helping develop his integration of CNC machining with architecture. He is continually exploring the inherent aesthetics of natural and manufactured materials and objects. Paul’s construction of his families’ cabin is an exploration of ready-made products, recycled materials and shipping containers within a very tight budget.”

What it doesn’t tell you is that he’s embarking on a mission to build modular homes, all over America, and even Canada.  (If I know him, he’ll probably trade one for beer… LOL!) And a look at his website will demonstrate that the designs are good looking, innovative, efficient, and affordable.

How does he accomplish all this stuff? And can he really speak “english?”

Here’s some advise, from the Master, himself;

Breaking stuff into phases is generally a nice way to tackle an otherwise insurmountable amount of work.  Having a clear focus and clear set of goals and schedules is the best way to make progress, keep enthusiasm up, and stay sane.

Have you ever decided that it’s time for a new car, and then looked at cars out of your league, first? And have you ever noticed that the cars you end up looking at, the ones you can actually afford, all look like crap, in comparison to that first one? Well, houses are like that, too…

Except Paul’s.

So, if you live anywhere near “Ice Hell,” or you’re looking for a modular home, you should start here.  Everything else you look at, will look like crap, in comparison. How do I know? I looked.

You can find him here:

Paul Stankey
hive modular

And try to stay warm, Paul. I saw that it was sub-zero in your neck of the woods, again, today…

Stay Tuned…

The Renaissance Ronin

Al Gore Contributes to Global Warming!!

23 Nov

Even More About “An Inconvenient Truth”

Okay, for the last time…

Enough already! It seems like every week, I get email spouting propaganda that “I got right from ‘An Inconvenient Truth,'” like Al Gore had suddenly become Moses!

C’mon, people… gimme a break, okay?

I’ve made reference to this “movie” before. I don’t consider it a “documentary.” Documentaries are, by definition, based on “facts.” Al Gore’s spin on Global Warming isn’t the TRUTH. He uses twisted facts and bad science to stir the pot, because lemmings throw money at him, to appease them. We all know that the excesses of mankind have repercussions, but only an examination of the real facts will help us find the answers we need, to save our kids, and their kids.

And Gore isn’t doing it for “free,” he’s making millions of dollars to be the “carny barker” at the circus that he’s created. And don’t get me started on his “investments” into carbon trading companies. If the reports are true, Al Gore can actually buy carbon set-offs, and line his own pockets, at the same time! He actually  has a monetary interest in engaging in his B.S. laden alarmism.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is simply a very emotional series of “Convenient Lies,” that I truly believe was crafted by a guy who was tired of being out of the limelight, and was seeing his cash reserves dwindle down to near nothing. After all, Al Gore’s life of excess must be pretty pricey, what with his energy-glut of a mansion, his fleet of SUVs, and his private Gulfstream Jet!


Folks, Gore ain’t in this out of the goodness of his little calcified heart. Al Gore charges thousands (that’s right… thousands) of dollars a minute (I repeat, a MINUTE), for his tired old speech, that goes on and on like a well-rehearsed dog and pony show.

Goggle it! I’m not kidding!

Most of his “facts” have been proven to be based on scientific errors, bad science, conjectures, and generalizations, aimed at making him some kind of “lie-spouting energy messiah.” Al Gore KNOWS that most of his propaganda is not “factually based.” He’d be a fool not to. After all, if you really pay attention to Al Gore, he’ll go out of his way to use his “I’m so smart” speech. After all, “he” created the Internet. Remember? So, surely he must have researched his stageplay, before putting his neck in the noose by spouting his own “hot gases” about the globe’s predicament, right?


Nope. Al knows that the media defines “fact” in this generation. All you have to do is trot yourself out, and say what people want to hear, and do the “puppet dance,” and they’ll embrace you like “turkey on Thanksgiving…”

(Don’t even get me started on that one. I’m part American Indian, and so is my wife. I got yer “Thanksgiving” right here…)

So, I have a few suggestions for Al, in his next “I spent all the “A-I-T” money, and I need more…” sequel.

Only a jackass talks about saving energy, while globetrotting around in a private jet, sipping on imported champagne.

(One of his staffers recounted a “huge hissy-fit” Gore threw when “his favorite drink” wasn’t available. They actually landed the plane to get Gore his beverage of choice.)

And, implying that you’re richer than G_d by talking about your family’s big-assed cattle ranch is bone-headed.

Wow, Gore, you’re just one of us! Yeah, we all feel bad for you. Boo-hoo, you moron! Wait, I bet that Al Gore learned to belch his own special brand of methane from those cows… Hmmmm…


And I’ve got news for you, Georgie boy… A true “Energy Messiah” would NEVER deplane from his private jet, and then plant his butt in a fuel-guzzling SUV, or a huge battle-taxi of a limousine.


Not even if the world was on fire, and the flames were headed right for him. What, they don’t have Prius’s where you do your little dance number?


I think his arrival at his events in a “compact hybrid” would make pretty good press, don’t you?

And, last but not least, take some acting lessons. Hell, you’re surrounded by talent. DeCaprio seems to be connected to you at the hip, these days. Get Leonardo to give you a few pointers, so that you aren’t so damned boring. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you’re about as interesting as watching paint dry.

Don’t get me wrong…

There is some merit to the “Global Warming” controversy. It made us all take a long hard look at what we were doing, and now, we’re finally motivated to make peace with Mother Earth, so she’ll play nice with our children and grandchildren.

But, nothing we can do in America, is going to even offset all the coal-fired power stations the Chinese are bringing on line, this decade. So, stop telling us lies about “Global Recovery,” okay?

More importantly, I have a real problem with Al Gore lining his pockets while he “single-handedly” saves the planet. To listen to him, he’s a modern-day Mahatma Gandhi! He’s a lying hypocrite.

This jerk spouts his “Green rhetoric” and asks us to sacrifice trillions of dollars, while he munches on cheeseburger after cheeseburger, high in the sky, ala his private luxury jet. Gore, the only thing that sucks more gas than you, is the jet engines on your Gulfstream.

When Al Gore sells his mansion, gives up that private jet, sends his SUVs (Escalades that he reportedly got for free from Cadillac for being such a “Green Guy” according to one of his own staffers) into retirement, and ponies up some of his own money (he can start with that purse he got from the Nobel Prize committee he bamboozled) to actually do something besides gas belching… um… er… talking about saving the Earth, I’ll start listening.

Until then: “When Al Gore speaks… Ronin changes the channel.”

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog at all, you already know that I am all for “recycling.” I love reclaiming stuff to use in another manner, to save it from becoming waste or landfill material. I applaud the guys and gals who toil tirelessly to make energy savings a reality, and help provide a more affordable, environmentally friendly, and comfortable life for my family.

But that’s gonna take hard work and a considerable amount of sweat on my part. It’s not gonna happen because I wasted time and money listening to “pipe dreams and blown smoke” from a guy who dresses like a tele-evangelist, and gets richer by the minute, spouting fiction painted as “truth.”

Maybe THIS get-up would work better…


And stop sending me “Al Gore says so-and-so” email, okay? I’m tired of it. It’s not funny anymore. Wake up! Hello… You’re being lied to. Don’t believe me?

For crying out loud, pick up a newspaper…

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

George Carlin talks about America

24 Jun

WARNING: Mature topics and mature language. If speaking frankly and eloquently, with an occasional [expletive deleted] offends you… don’t watch!

You’ve been warned!

“Keep thy religion to thyself…” George Carlin

23 Jun
Until it’s time to find out what’s on the other side…
George Carlin in 2008

George Carlin died today, of a heart attack, at the age of 71. It’s amazing really, the guy you thought would live forever (or at least longer than Keith Richards) has passed through the veil, to see what kind of mischief he can get into, on the “other side.”

It was George Carlin who said; Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.“


As much as I loathe cleaning out the gutters, I’m tempted to go up there just to see if he’s there, so I can bring him back down for an encore.

I guess he figured he’d done all he could do, and decided to leave us to our own devices. After all, he’d won Grammys, the “Mark Twain Prize for American Humor,” the “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the American Comedy Awards, and too many others to mention. He endeared himself to us with his acting, his antics, and his “cut right to the chase” views on the human condition. And in the end, it was that human condition that took him from us. He’d lived long enough to exit gracefully, without a complaint, a whimper, or a sour note.

Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Comedy Awards in 2001
Although he started out in a suit and tie, in 1970 George reinvented himself, and that long-haired, unkempt maniac in jeans and a T-shirt we all grew to love made us laugh, and more importantly, he made us think. As he attacked our eccentricities, and our weaknesses, he reminded us that he was one of us, and that we were all in the same boat, together.
George was always right in the middle of the action!
George was one of the smartest men I know, and his vision helped us grow, and evolve as the troubled times we live in changed all around us. Through unrest, war, and crisis, George made us laugh, he gave us hope.
Monkey see... monkey do... but you better not!
He once said; “The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other going in opposite directions.”

My only wish is that he hadn’t gone out of his way to prove it was true.

George hated the idea of “dying.” In fact, in some of his more famous routines, he ranted about the euphemisms that are so widespread in American culture.
Forever smiling... sometimes!
Older” sounds better than “old,” doesn’t it? Sounds like it might even last a little longer. … I’m getting old. And it’s OK. Because thanks to our fear of death in this country I won’t have to die I’ll ‘pass away.’ Or I’ll ‘expire,’ like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital they’ll call it a ‘terminal episode.’ The insurance company will refer to it as ‘negative patient care outcome.’ And if it’s the result of malpractice they’ll say it was a ‘therapeutic misadventure.'”

George ponders life.
George Carlin said that It’s never just a game when you’re winning.”
Well, my friends, the game is over, and we are the ones who lost.
If “great comedians” go to heaven, then the skies should be filled with the laughter of angels for quite some time to come…
No dear, that’s not thunder. It’s George…”
At least I got away from all those crazies!
Let’s hope that G_d has a sense of humor!
We’ll miss you, George…
George Carlin, who left us all alone to face the madness… 1937-2008