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You don't know how proud this makes me of my own children...


If you only had a video of this to send to that boy's children when they are in sixth grade.  But then said future-child will probably not know what a video was...

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Well, I can sort of understand. Kid lives in Highlands Ranch, a southern suburb of Denver, where one might well think that poor people don't exist, much less cowboys... although I will admit that his disbelief in private detectives was a bit of a stretch. Turns out his grandmother loves old reruns of shows like Rockford Files and stuff, and the kid got it into his head that PIs were a thing of the ancient and lost 1970s...

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I had a similar experience with friends north of the border, adults mind you, who believed that everyone in Texas wore spurs and a hat, and rode horses everywhere. 

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9 minutes ago, Inarah said:

I had a similar experience with friends north of the border, adults mind you, who believed that everyone in Texas wore spurs and a hat, and rode horses everywhere. 


Wait...they don't???

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Believe it or not, the Yellow Pages are still around - one gets delivered to my apartment door once every couple years, though I can't remember the last time I've ever actually used it, and I have to imagine its days are numbered.


I was told several years ago that when children outside the U.S. are told to draw pictures of Americans, the picture usually looks like a cowboy... I don't know how true that ever was or if it's still true, but I kind of like to imagine that most folks think "cowboys!" when they hear "American"....


My brother emigrated from the U.S. to Canada; his office does a sort of "ethnic pride" thing where the multicultural workforce are encouraged to dress like their traditional culture and bring traditional food for a potluck lunch.  My brother wondered "how do you dress up like a 'traditional American'?, and decided to dress like a cowboy and bring a pot of pinto beans and cornbread... the whole thing apparently went over really well, with the folks from around the world instantly recognizing the cowboy boots + jeans + belt with giant buckle + country/western shirt + cowboy hat costume, and getting very excited about it, asking many questions and getting pictures with him and the works.


It's not something I think about often, but as charming as Dr.Bedlam's daydream about robots on motorcycles rounding up domesticated cattle with cattle-whistles so they line up and jump in a grinder one-by-one is, it's kind of reassuring to know there are still professional cowboys out there in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere (my sister-in-law is related to a couple professional Canadian cowboys!)   It's kind of sad to think about how much of the food production industry has become more like factories, than traditional farms and ranches, and for some reason knowing that there are still cowboys out there does lend things a human touch.


I wonder if it's possible to take those know-it-all sixth-graders on "career day" field trips to visit a working ranch and private investigator's office to meet real professional cowboys, private investigators, and such in person and ask them about their jobs?  Or perhaps invite some professional cowboys or private investigators to speak at the schools?  (At least, back in my day, we had a "career day" thing at school where professionals would stop by and talk about what they do and answer kids' questions... it was actually kind of cool; I remember the undertakers' presentation vividly!)

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11 minutes ago, YronimosW said:

Believe it or not, the Yellow Pages are still around - ....


It's true. We got ours yesterday.


"The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! The new phone book's ...




"... in the trash."

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My daughter didn't believe in lightning for a while in preschool, she figured it was all Photoshop.  :rolleyes: The problem with teaching kids skepticism is that they will apply it in ways you don't anticipate.  

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1 hour ago, Inarah said:

I had a similar experience with friends north of the border, adults mind you, who believed that everyone in Texas wore spurs and a hat, and rode horses everywhere. 

Imagine my shock the first time I went to ReaperCon, and found that Dallas was not in the middle of a desert with cactuses everywhere. Lots more trees than expected.


I never watched the TV show "Dallas" when I was young (aside from the opening credits), so the subtleties of the environment escaped me.


5 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

It's true. We got ours yesterday.


"The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! The new phone book's ...




"... in the recycling bin."

FTFY. Let's be civilized after all.


They still find use in propping up a table or a shelf.


4 minutes ago, LittleBluberry said:

My daughter didn't believe in lightning for a while in preschool, she figured it was all Photoshop.  :rolleyes:The problem with teaching kids skepticism is that they will apply it in ways you don't anticipate.  

It's part of what makes children so disturbingly amazing sometimes. They don't have the life experience to know what can or cannot exist. It's the same reason why children are sometimes the hardest to impress with magic tricks, they just accept everything they see as a Real ThingTM.

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Just now, Cranky Dog said:
18 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

It's true. We got ours yesterday.


"The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! The new phone book's ...




"... in the recycling bin. trash"

FTFY. Let's be civilized after all.


No. There is no value to putting paper (a completely renewable resource) into any sort of recycling stream. Which is why nobody will pay you to do it.

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1 hour ago, Doug Sundseth said:


It's true. We got ours yesterday.


"The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! The new phone book's ...




"... in the trash."


Hey, the yellow pages have an important purpose. 


I sometimes used them as booster seats during flying lessons so that I could reach the pedals. 

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I find they are much more useful as fire starters when I need to get the smoker going.  F- FR is going to be some pretty sweet brisket....

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      Tuesday was a cruel day.

      Zorro took out the Dewy Eyed Wonder with his trusty Star Trek Tracer Gun, a toy that shot plastic discs and looked nothing like anything ever seen on the TV show (although it did have a picture of Mr. Spock on it); Zorro loved it because it was quiet and surprisingly accurate within thirty feet or so, assuming you were using it indoors; breezes tended to send the little frisbee discs wide. Zorro would later learn to use this to his advantage, claiming he could shoot around corners if the wind was right, but I digress.

      Mr. Zulu fell victim to his own weapon; he tried to supercharge a water pistol using a CO2 cartridge haphazardly affixed to the water port, and the cheap plastic toy had simply exploded. A meeting was called, and Mr. Zulu was declared to not be dead, since the rules did not allow for death by misadventure. He celebrated by going and shooting Izod in the face as he came out of the dining hall.

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      Bobo was on his way to class when his backpack had begun making a metallic clattering sound; he stopped and opened the pack to find an old fashioned windup alarm clock in it... going off like mad. Taped across the face was a scrap of duct tape, bearing the magic markered words: BOMB THAT COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE TRACED TO WILD MAN,

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      Wild Man had gone from being a lovable loony to being someone to watch.


      No one died on Wednesday. This is because everyone had taken the concept of "paranoia" to a high art form.

      At one point, I saw the Troll enter the main hallway on the third floor where our rooms were by doing a tuck and roll out of the stairwell, ended by leaping to his feet with a water pistol in either hand.

      Wild Man had taken to carrying a net bag hung on his belt. In it were three brightly colored water balloons, each neatly magic markered with the word GRENADE. He said he could throw further than any water pistol or dart gun ever made, and his enemies had best beware.

      Mr. Zulu called a meeting; someone had put a rubber scorpion in his sock drawer bearing a little paper sign reading STING! YOUR DEAD. The committee reminded the assassin (Tom Slick) that one's own dorm room was considered off limits for assassinations, and therefore Mr. Zulu was, again, declared to be alive and still in the game. They then declared the method quite clever and otherwise legal, although a separate decree condemning Tom's spelling and grammar was also accepted by the committee.

      Mr. Zulu celebrated his second close shave by attempting to kill Zorro, who outran him on the quad and therefore survived. "Durnit," Mr. Zulu was later heard to say, "it woulda worked if I coulda got the CO2 cartridge thing working. Guns got no RANGE!"


      Thursday was filled with tension. Wild Man simply barricaded himself in his room and refused to come out for classes.

      Zorro survived close brushes with the disappointed Mr. Zulu and Tom Slick, and commented at length later about how he couldn't sleep or focus on anything for fear someone was going to come climbing in a window with a rubber dagger in his teeth or something.

      The Troll was sitting at the Student Union, trying to study while glancing up every few minutes to make sure none of his dorm mates was anywhere near him. No one was ANYWHERE near him, except for four guys he didn't recognize at the next table.

      ...one of whom suddenly said, "I leap to my feet and seize the Troll!"

      The second said, "I grab his gun arm! He can't reach his weapons!"

      The third said, "I grab his legs! We drag him out of the chair!"

      The fourth said, "And I grab his torso! Over to the window! CRASH! Down he goes, ten floors to the pavement!"

      ...a meeting was called. Troll complained bitterly about how he'd never had a chance, and that no one had informed him that hirelings could be used for assassination. Wild Man, grinning like an orgasmic shark, simply said that there were no rules against hiring henchmen, and that the murder had been carried out safely and harmlessly to bystanders.

      The committee reluctantly ruled in Wild Man's favor. Wild Man took his henchmen -- all Theatre majors -- out for beers in payment. Mr. Zulu later bitterly regretted not thinking to sneak down to Valentino's Pizza and shooting Wild Man in the face.


      And Friday.

      Mr. Zulu and Tom Slick met and made a pact, I later heard. They'd reached the breaking point. They agreed that they would not murder each other until at least an hour after Wild Man had been dealt with; he was NOT going to claim the kitty, durnit!

      And they went to seek him out.

      On the whiteboard next to his door, the message: TED I AM IN THE GIRLS DAY ROOM FOR DAYS OF OUR LIVES

      Could it be? They conferred with one another. It was well known that Wild Man loved his soaps. Was he really dumb enough to watch TV over on the girls' side? That was NOT a protected area! Maybe he'd misunderstood and thought ALL the day rooms were safe zones...

      It bore checking out.

      They sneaked over to the third floor girls' side TV room. They glanced in the doorway.

      Wild Man sat alone, in the front couch, watching TV. The only thing that could be heard were the soft dialogue of a commercial, and the two or three fans running to cool the place. No one else was in the room.

      Golden opportunity. Mr. Zulu and Tom Slick entered the room, silently, guns in hand... and began to move towards the couch...

      And Wild Man abruptly spun in his seat and hurled a water balloon.

      And Mr. Zulu and Tom Slick dropped fast. They'd been expecting this. The balloon would sail over their heads and harmlessly into the hallway.

      ...if Wild Man had thrown it at them. He hadn't. He'd thrown it at the rotary fan next to the doorway. Which had had its safety cage removed, and been turned towards the doorway.

      BLAT! The balloon hit the blades, and its contents sprayed the entire area around the doorway.

      Exit Mr. Zulu and Tom Slick, dripping and fuming.

      Later discussion revealed the facts: Wild Man had turned the brightness down and wasn't watching the show; he was watching the reflections off the big glass screen. It'd been a trap all along. Zulu and Slick didn't even call a meeting to appeal.


      ...which brings us to Saturday.

      Wild Man was well ahead in the races. It was down to he and Zorro at this point. But Zorro was smart. Zorro was clever. And Zorro wouldn't go down without a fight. Wild Man had a half dozen plans in his mind to deal with Zorro.

      ...but Wild Man had a problem. His roommate. His roommate wasn't playing the game, and Wild Man had avoided the bathroom all week, thinking it to be just too good a place for an ambush. Wild Man hadn't bathed since last Sunday, and his roommate was threatening violent action. It was time to bathe, and then some.

      Wild Man planned it carefully. He took soap, towel, and shampoo to the main bathroom ... at 4:30 that Saturday morning. Who'd be up and mobile at 4:30 on a Saturday morning?

      But Wild Man took no chances. He had his net bag of balloon grenades, and a squirt gun for good measure. Plus, it was a bathroom. If his assassin happened to get some spray off the shower, who was to say Wild Man hadn't shot him? This could work out to his advantage...

      And Wild Man undressed with one hand... a grenade in the other. Just in case.

      And Wild Man stepped into the bathing area, and into one of the shower stalls, still holding a grenade in his left hand, and his pistol clamped in his teeth. Backwards.

      He reached behind him and turned on the water. URRRRRGH! COLD! ALL over his shivering back! Still, though, he faced OUTWARDS, not INTO the shower stall. If he fell, his wounds would be in FRONT!

      But as the water warmed... he began to relax. It was 4:40 in the morning, for potato's sake. Who'd try anything at this hour? And even if anyone did, he was ready for them!

      The water was hot, now, spraying across his back. Keeping his eyes open, he let it wash across the back of his head, wetting his hair. Ahhhhhhhhh. After a moment's thought, he put the pistol down, but kept the water balloon firmly in his left hand. He reached up to wash his face... and stopped.

      His hand was bright green. Green rivulets ran up his arm, and green water dripped off his elbow. What the &%$#@???

      He spun around. The water gushing from the shower head was rich emerald green. And so was most of Wild Man, at this point.

      He snatched up his gun and ran out into the main bathroom area, where the stalls, sinks and mirrors were. And written in lipstick across the mirrors were the words: SULFURIC ACID SHOWER. The words hadn't been there when he'd come in.

      ...and this is where I came in; I was comfortably asleep in my room when I heard the scream. I staggered out into the hallway, along with a few other worthies not so hung over that they couldn't respond, to see Wild Man erupt from the bathroom, stark naked, stained a bright and runny green from crown to foot, dripping more green in his wake, clutching a water pistol in one hand and a water balloon in the other, and screaming and cursing with such vehemence, volume, and richness to turn the AIR green in his wake.

      I would later find out that Zorro had assumed that Wild Man would use the shower stall furthest from the door; it provided the best view of anyone coming in. Zorro had then waited until quite late at night, when he was pretty sure no one was going to be washing up... brought a hefty container of powdered tempera paint, wetted it into a putty, and had unscrewed the big industrial shower head in that stall and had coated the inside of the shower head with the green putty. It wasn't blocking the water flow, but when the water turned warm, it dissolved the putty, turning it into green paint... and....

      I remember those big clunky old shower heads. There was room in there for a pound or more of powdered tempera paint.

      He never did tell us how he knew Wild Man would be using the shower bright and early that Saturday morning; it remains a mystery for the ages...
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