Tag Archives: Book

THE CLUCK YOU SAY…

cluck2

Oh dear…we find the strangest things in the news!

A proposed ordinance allowing backyard chickens in the city of Racine, Wisconsin is being acted on by the City’s Council. Backed unanimously by the City Board of Health last week, the proposal would allow single-family… (Single-family? They’re discriminating against multi-family homes right off the bat?)…owner-occupied households… (Owner occupied? now they’re discriminating from renters? Renters’ money isn’t good enough???) …in the city to keep up to four hens, but no roosters. (What the cluck???)

(Why up to 4? Why not 6 or 10, or 20? Are they concerned about square footage per chicken? Or perhaps the decibel level of 5 chickens is the maximum that can be tolerated by the neighbors. Clucking volume must be it… so are we now looking at a clucking chicken noise ordinance? Have you ever heard the ear-splitting sound a single chicken makes while laying an egg? Is this in consideration? And no roosters? Why no roosters? Is council denying chickens their rights to have male companionship now? Isn’t that now a sexist factor? The girl chickens have needs after all. No, I get it. They’re worried about the production of baby chickens, and more baby chickens, and soon the entire city of Racine will be overrun with little chickens. What a bunch of clucking sexists.)

The news comes about eight months after a local resident approached the board to see if its members might craft a measure allowing residents to keep the birds. Since then, the Public Health Administrator has been working with the board and others, including the Wisconsin Humane Society and City Attorney’s Office, to draft and fine-tune the would-be ordinance. Under the guidelines set forth in the proposed law, residents could only keep chickens for domestic use. (“Domestic use“? What use? How does one “use” a domestic chicken? Oh, it’s a pet! We can put a harness leash on it and take a walk around the block…the same as we do with Fido!) Chicken owners could not slaughter the chickens, sell their eggs, or breed the animals for sale. They would also have to keep the chickens in the backyard in a coop and/or pen approved by the department’s Environmental Health Division. In addition to those requirements, owners would have to follow strict rules for the disposal of chicken droppings and the size of the enclosures and pens.

(Wait, what about our constitutional rights here? We can breed & sell all other kinds of animals, like dogs and cats. Why discriminate against the chicken? Could this be a hidden attack against right-Wing — get it? “Wing”??? What a tough crowd! Chicken owners and restaurants like Chic-Fil-A? Where’s Al Sharpton? There might be police officers shooting innocent chickens! The chickens will riot, and burn down innocent Chic-Fil-A restaurants! Call in Jesse Jackson, too! We need Colonel Sanders to come back on a Wing and a prayer! Okay, we’re winging it on our commentary here, give us a break. Preferably a chicken sandwich break, made from all breast meat… oh, damn, now WE’re being sexist!!!)

(WOW! These guidelines are stricter than our human guidelines. I haven’t seen government workers work this much in insuring the health and welfare of our citizens. The poor, needy, poverty, government housing polilticians, just have to keep adding rules and laws upon us poor owners, ignoring the renters, clucking us every chance they get…)

There also are recommendations for the bedding, feeding and watering of the animals. (What? now we have to buy chickens new beds? Hey, Petsmart, what aisle are the chicken beds on???) Those who want to keep the birds would be required to get a $50 license from City Hall. (More discrimination against the chicken! Dogs and cats don’t require $50 licenses! Only rabies tags!) Part of the cost of the annual license would fund inspections aimed at ensuring that coops are the right distance from adjacent properties and maintained in the backyard area of homes. Anyone violating the rules set forth in the ordinance could lose their license or face a possible $500 fine. If a license is revoked it couldn’t be renewed for three years. The last time city officials discussed the possibility of allowing chickens in the city was 2010. City officials ended up receiving about 250 signatures from residents opposed to the idea, and the Committee ultimately voted to set it aside. The City Council is slated to consider the proposal. Although aldermen could decide to approve the ordinance or vote it down, they could also decide to send it back to the Board of Health or City Attorney’s Office for adjustments or to another committee for more in-depth discussion.

(You mean the chickens have been put on the back burner again?!? Oh my! I want mine with mushroom sauce, please!!!)

BASEBALL – WHAT’S WITH THE LICK AND WIPE RULE?

We must confess that the Major League Baseball’s “Lick and Wipe” rule has baffled us since it was imposed a few years ago (better known as Rule No. 8.02 to be specific).  Being confounded about what we thought was just a “bad habit” and concerned that no one was carrying around bottles of Germ-X….we ventured on a quest for an answer.

Mike Pelfrey has a propensity for licking his hand more than any pitcher in baseball. During one game, it was noted he licked his hand a total of 89 times! Wonder what his mom thought about that.

Let us preface all this by saying that we’ve been avid baseball fans since the early 80’s, going back to the good old days of the Atlanta Braves when Bobby Cox was still around and Skip Caray actually narrated the games….nothing wrong with Fredi Gonzalez and Chip Caray mind you…fondly remembering how it used to be. Though a Braves fan through and through, we can’t help remembering Darryl Strawberry (played for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees), with his 6-foot-6 frame, his controversial behavior and one of the most awesome sluggers there ever was. Our curiosity about the rules and regulations abound.

Cyndi noted that in all the years that she sat on the bench watching her kids play T-Ball and Little League Ball, never once was there a discussion about a Lick and Wipe issue; nor a Spit Ball Issue. Perhaps the coaches talked about it with the little guys and discouraged it, but bleacher moms never heard tell of such a thing.

So, with all that in mind Cyndi decided to ask a few men friends their opinion on the rule.

Man #1:  Stated “I dunno, guess it helps ’em throw the ball better”

Man #2:  Stated “Oh, it’s a new thing, you gotta lick your fingers, to get a better grip on the ball, but you gotta wipe the spit on your shirt or the ump will call a balk on you”

Man #3:  Stated “Yeah, they do it just to tick off the umpires”

With all that manly knowledge floating around, something still didn’t sit well within. Jack reached out to the Internet for some realistic information.  Laughable now, but when he did a search on the “Lick and Wipe Rule” he instantly realized his mistake as he was bombarded with Internet porno sites advising who, what, when, where and how to lick and wipe…in great detail. Fearing the worst, thinking the Internet Police or FBI would surely show up at the door, he I closed down the browser and turned the computer over to Cyndi!

Thinking “smart” is always better than just “thinking.”  We next did a search on Major League Baseball rules…there we go.  Rule No 8.02.  For any of you who always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, we share with you (in layman’s terms) the rules for Like and Wipe, or spit ball, or whatever substance must not be used on the baseball!…

It seems the pitcher may not, for any reason “expectorate” (spit, slobber or otherwise drool) on the baseball. Nor may he apply any foreign substance to the ball, rub the ball on his clothing or within the pitchers glove, nor deface or alter the ball by any means. We also learned that the pitcher may not bring his pitching hand up to his mouth or lips while within an 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber (pitching rubber?…oh, what we call the base on the mound).  BUT…if it’s exceptionally cold out during the game, and if it’s agreed by both managers, the umpire may allow the pitcher to “blow” on his pitching hand throughout the game. If the umpire catches the pitcher doing any of the above, he may penalize the pitcher by calling a ball (not a balk fellas); he may give the pitcher a warning; or he may actually eject him from the game and suspend him from up to 10 full games! Wow! The rules do have more “whys,” “wherefores,” and “thou shalt not’s,” but this is the down and dirty of it. Just think if we had this many rules at work…or at home?  You get caught drooling at home…and YOU’RE OUTTA HERE! 

Apparently Cyndi’s three purveyors of wisdom DID have a good point about the whole thing. Having sticky fingers does indeed provide a better grip on the ball, providing the pitcher with a greater ability to throw harder, stronger and more accurately. Therefore, the rules were altered a few years ago allowing pitchers to actually lick their fingers, though they must be off the plate, and they must wipe their fingers on their uniform, hat, etc.  We still think Germ-X should be involved.

It’s interesting to note that these particular rules came about in 1920 when Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians took a spitball to the temple from the Yankee’s Carl Mays. Sadly he died from his injuries. In those days, no one wore batting helmets, and whatever substance Mays was using on the ball discolored it and made it more difficult for Chapman to see. That’s why MLB instituted the rules banning foreign substances on baseballs and a requirement that umpires must change out the ball whenever it gets dirty. Which also explains why a team can go through 80 baseballs in a game!

So, there ya go!  Baseball’s Lick and Wipe rules to live by.  By the way, we’re debating if we should go back to some of those “other” websites for a quick sneak-peak.  Don’t tell anyone!

THE SPY WHO DROVE ME (To Drink Years Later!)

WAY, WAY, back in the dinosaur days (sometime in the 1970’s during our high school years), the future J&C Wordsmiths, LLC (otherwise known back then simply as Jack and Cyndi) talked about writing our Task Force Series; we even outlined our Task Force Team & what their jobs would be in the books we wanted to write.

AS FATE would have it, we went our separate ways before those books even got out of the brain and onto the paper (no computers to speak of back then, just typewriters and pens and pencils). We’re reflecting back, what, thirty-five years (but who’s counting)? Ahhhh, but we found PROOF, or at least a little piece, of our vision so long ago, tucked away in a box stored in Jack’s house and found this week.

AND LOOK at what we found: the personalized license plate that Jack purchased for his car (and it was also his “CB” handle… oh, how redneck, ya’ll!):

Spy plate 2THE SPY  is dated November, 1985, just a few years after our high school years, yet fresh in mind of a novel series that was to be written sometime in the future, with its main hero character code named “Agent Spy.”

FATE? DESTINY? Whichever it was, it’s here. All these years later, we’ve both retired from our old jobs and writing the TASK FORCE NOVELS series we always wanted to write, and so far it’s going many, many places worldwide.

SOME THINGS are just meant to be…

DO WE need a drink after that extraordinary archeological discovery? You bet! Indiana Jones, eat yer heart out!

J&C Wordsmiths – TASK FORCE NOVELS

Website: www.jandcwordsmiths.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/2sAnd3s

WordPress Blogs: https://jandcwordsmiths.wordpress.com