Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

  Between Christmas shopping, traveling to New England for a couple of days, ogling Giada de Laurentis' cleavage on the Food Network, and planting whoopee cushions on co-workers' chairs, I've had a tough time keeping up with reading all your posts and coming up with comments such as "LOL!  Great post!  Keep it up!  Even though I really haven't read it, but I want you to think I did so you read my blog" (where you'll also probably leave the same comment).  I've also had precious little time to write hilarious commentary (or this).  So, some things have fallen through the cracks.  As I was reading your blogs, I saw that baygirl32 was participating in the Deja Vu Blog Fest.  This is a great chance for us to dust off one of our old posts and bring it back for another go-round.  Kinda like Hugh Hefner's wiener.  We needed to have this done by December 16th which, unless you're in California, Alaska, or Hawaii (and, for all I know, China.  Although, it may even be a different day there), it isn't anymore.  But, since it's only 2 AM on the 17th and I haven't been to bed yet, it's still effectively Friday.  Plus, who's gonna stop me from throwing up (ooh, throwing up is probably a poor choice of words) an old post?  Which, I'm happy to say that Sherilin from Laughing My Abs Off hasn't read (well, she may have, but she didn't comment). 

  So, without further adieu (actually, I've probably written a lot of 'dieu' already), I give you a post from November, 2009....

Behold, the Mighty Tree!

  One of the benefits I’ve found since retiring from the military, besides the chance to regale the hapless (and slow) with countless “I was there” stories, is that I now have a lot of time to be with my kids.
    Instead of flying over the Arctic Circle, sailing the Persian Gulf, or meandering about the French Quarter in search of churches and monuments (that’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it), I now coach youth soccer, umpire Little League (I call this...“hazing”), and act as a piñata at birthday parties.
    I also get to go on field trips.
    This week, I volunteered to chaperone my daughter’s class in an Outdoor Learning Experience.  This annual event, touted as an invaluable chance to get up close and personal with the glories of nature, takes 90 or so Sixth Graders to an off-season summer camp to endure an educational smorgasbord featuring topics such as Pond Study, Animal Tracks Study, Poison Plants Study, What-First-Aid-To-Use-After-Rolling-In-Poison-Plants Study, and so on.
    It also involved a little unit called:  Tree Study  or what I like to call, Naptime.
    Don’t get me wrong.  The study of trees and their benefits can be quite stimulating, in a “Spend-An-Evening-With-An-Insurance-Salesman.”  Little did I know there was so much to learn, from branch patterns to which is the best kind of tree to make slingshots out of.
    For instance, did you know that trees which drop their leaves are called deciduous, those with pine cones are called coniferous, and those with yard sale signs are called telephone poles?
    When I arrived at Camp Mengele, I was immediately grouped with two other parents who were likewise too lazy to state a preference for something cool like Boating SafetyShooting At Things, or Pizza Delivery.  To our horror, we quickly learned our combined knowledge of all things “tree” consisted of:  they give us paper, shade, and baseball bats.
    Expressing our misgivings to the “Camp Nature Director and Wendy’s Drive Thru Associate”, Dr. Jones (I am NOT making that up), we were assured we were more than capable of guiding children along the road of arboreal excellence.  Besides, if all else fails, she said, just wing it.
    With those words of wisdom, she squared away her fedora, stuck a six-gun in her belt, and used her bullwhip to swing off to the archaeology pit (OK, she didn’t wear a fedora).
    Watching the first group of shiny-faced cherubs approaching our station, we steeled ourselves for the first of ten forty-minute sessions.  Luckily, Dr. Jones already labeled our trees (Tulip, Ash, Hemlock, Dogwood, Cedar, Hickory, and Stump) and the teacher in charge supplied us with ample answer keys and field guides (which we stuck in our back pockets and forgot about until laundry day).
    Even though we were a little nervous, the three of us were as ready as we were going to get.
    Surprisingly, the first session went pretty well.  Dividing the students into three groups of three, we proceeded to go over characteristics of trees, their uses, and how to measure their growth.
    I learned that, when pressed, the students always said, “Trees lose their leaves, they can be used for firewood, and we use lasers to measure them (I guess that, since lasers sound cool, they figured it was the right answer).
    The students also always said, “Oak” or “Maple” when asked the name of a particular tree.  Unless it was an evergreen.  In that case, they said, “Christmas Tree.”
    Subsequent lessons went just as well.  Luckily, the instructor guides were pretty basic (“Trees are made of ‘wood’”) and we were able to easily impart what we hoped was expert-sounding instruction throughout the course of the day.
    In fact, we were so successful that, when asked what their favorite topic of the camp was, the students invariably answered, Obstacle Course.
    Followed by Boating SafetyArcheologyOrienteeringAnimal TracksStream StudyPoison Plants StudyGoing To the BathroomLunchThrowing RocksWiping With LeavesGarbage Can HuntPicking Up SticksThrowing Dead Things At GirlsLighting FartsTree Study, and Pond Study.
    We took great pride in knowing we weren’t as sucky as Pond Study.
    In other words, Pond Study blows.
    Think I’ll go hug a tree.

By the way, SIGH, yes, I know, this is the second post I've written in one sitting.  But, I didn't want to wait until December 18th to write this and I've already written my Christmas newsletter.  But, that's okay, a little bit of me goes a long way (although, not in the yucky sense like they did with William Wallace in Braveheart).
Don't worry, I still have a few holiday posts to write and will get them working this weekend (I'll post them during the week).  Till then...
best fishes,


  1. Lighting farts doesn't belong in that list because it's definitely an indoor activity. Check out the videos on You Tube. (No, I can't be bothered to link them, just use the search facility.)

  2. And to think I just watched Giada for her cooking skills. I didn't even realize she had cleavage. Course I am a lady and we don't look.
    I hated field trips. Don't tell my daughter.

  3. Something tells me it only felt like "Camp Mengele!" I'm still laughing at your Hugh Hefner reference! Julie

  4. @Gorilla: Jimmy Woznick was the king of fart lighting at summer camp. It was science in action.
    @Ruth: Cleavage and teeth. I suppose she's a good cook, too. But, seriously, you'd think I watch if it was "Cooking With Gas. And Danny DeVito"?
    @Julie: That word always makes me people chuckle. Even if I said, "Hitler's Wiener," at least SOMEone would smile.

  5. My blog isn't old enough to really participant in this I don't think. :P

  6. Okay, so you said you were going to post less, and here I am for the 3rd time in 24 hours, Christ man, what is posting more like? You were quite the bon vivant in your military days. And I thought it was all rugged sailor types fighting in bars and nailing hookers in strange ports. The poison plant study is important before the wiping with leaves study. Ooooh blisters on the nether regions not a good thing.

  7. You do know you only had to link to the actual post right? :D And what a great post it is. I giggled - always a good sign. I'm signed up one below you - WORDSINSYNC. :D X

  8. Aww what a clever idea. :D

    And Zomg...that was hilarious.
    The only trees I can hug here are palm trees. And those are all prickly. :(

  9. Giada cooks?
    I like trees. They are warm.
    We went on a fieldtrip to the proctologist. That was even lower than pond study.

  10. That field trip actually sounded like a lot of fun to me plus there's nothing wrong with coaching soccer either, my personal hero Coach McGuirk was a soccer coach haha and you can't be any worse than he was! Great stuff as usual Al.

  11. haha studying trees hmmm at least I can flip the insurance salesmen off. The trees just give you the woody look, no satisfaction there.

    Oh yeah I almost forgot! Great Post! Nice! Great Job! Wow! Bravo! Great Blog! and the always wonderful, "Great Blog +following" when they don't really follow.

  12. Now I know we are soul-mates, I thought I was the only one to fleeting use Mengele in a post (evil grin). And hey, 10 out of 10 for at least showing willing, last time I put my hand up for a school outing, the b*****d's in charge made me cuddle a tarantuala to demonstrate how harmless it can be (if you stay completely still and don't breathe).

  13. @DWei: Don't worry. They don't check IDs. I hope.
    @Anne: I'll be posting less in 2012. The next week should see quite a few posts, though. I plan on taking the last week of the year off. Then, it's down to maybe two a week next year. As far as those sailor activities....well, there WERE those. Maybe I'll write about that fight I with all those Seabees.
    @Shah: I think I knew that, but had more fun doing what I did. Now, if someone can only tell me how to program my toaster to watch "Sportscenter"...

  14. @PeaceLoveandSharpies: I think those prickly trees are just happy to see you.

  15. I remember this post the first time around, which means I've been hanging around here way too long!

  16. Honestly, Al, I don't know how you could have figured out which one to repost. They're all so funny. And, yes, I read the whole damn thing every time. Not that I always get everything, but that's just me (scratching my head.) My favorite part? The telephone pole line! Too funny! You always are!

  17. Those are some funny courses, LOL

    Thanks for joining up with the Blogfest!

  18. @Eva: Deja vu all over again. Hmm...that sounds familiar.
    @Nancy: The best thing about this trip was, that as I was wanting to kill myself, I thought it would make a funny story one day. And Pond Study really did blow.
    @Lydia: It was fun. I felt bad that I let the December 16th deadline pass me by (it's a lot like my youth that way).
    @Shrinky: I thought the "Mengele" line could be considered tasteless. But, this post was written two years ago, so I hope my writing has matured a little since then. Now, I just talk about penises, lighting farts, and rubbing pee cream on my heels.
    @Pat: I was HOPING that someone would leave that comment! Thank you, I wasn't disappointed.
    @Yeamie: I was a soccer coach for multiple soccer teams. Unfortunately, I was never a GOOD soccer coach for multiple soccer teams. A fun game because, unlike American football, I get to run AWAY from people.
    @Bushman: I always wondered why anyone would want to be a proctologist. Gynecologist, yes. But, a proctologist? I'm thinking he was the tail end of his med school class. ;-)

  19. I laughed out loud several times at this (disturbing my wife's & son movie). Written obviously with only the most quality snark! :)

    Thanks for contributing, late or not!

  20. @DL: MY apologies to your wife and son. But, thanks!

  21. I was a Naturalist (one who wore clothes) and taught outdoor ed. one summer. Greatest job ever. And hugging trees was a lot more stimulating than pond study.

  22. @Robyn: Gotta watch for those splinters, though.
    @Dawn: Good wood is always...uh...good. But, if it lasts longer than four hours, call your physician. Or tree surgeon.

  23. OK, all through this I kept thinking, "Number three, the larch," which only makes sense if you enjoy Monty Python.

  24. Great D-Over post, Al.

    I'm in the Christmas Tree camp! If it's green and looks like one, then that's what it's called.

    Funny, as usual. And, Al, I'm glad you participated!


  25. @Botanist: You didn't even need to say Monty Python for me to get "the larch." And I wonder what that says about me.
    @Jenny: What about 'telephone pole?'

  26. I kinda figured you probably would ;)

  27. I never went to camp, but I imagine would have been one of those "hey, let's go find some funny shaped mushrooms and make the weird kid eat them" crowd.

  28. @Beer: No, we made the weird kid eat other things.

  29. Great post. And got to be fun to coach youth soccer.

  30. Ah camp.... or as it was known round my house "The place you somehow got poison oak underwear"

  31. I returned after a holiday haha
    great post :D

  32. @Steve: Plus, you really had to watch what you wiped with.
    @Damon: Welcome back!