Wrap Rap

By Greg Fuller

April 28, 2018

So the cold is back. Or maybe I got cluster-bombed by the wildflowers during our trip over to Sonoma on Wednesday for wine-tasting and a nice dinner at the Girl & Fig. Six of one, half a dozen other symptoms. Misery any way you look at it.

Which means I am back on the OTC. Which is different from The OC, except there is also quite a bit of melodrama involved. But not much comedy in the situation. I’m talking Over The Counter drugs here, which is a rather obsolete term because it implies that there is a counter, with somebody in back of it peddling the drugs. What there is, is a bunch of aisles with signs over them saying things like “Pain” or “Foot Remedies” or “Eyewear” so you have to figure out just what sort of category your particular malady falls under without getting diverted by the Peanut M&Ms, backpack chairs and flip flops. Fortunately, “Cold Remedies” is rather self-explanatory. And I was able to resist the ‘Sharing Size’ of the Cadbury Mini Fruit and Nut Bars. But not the M&Ms.

So … what ever happened to pill bottles? I remember them before the Child-Proof Closures, which, like electronic equipment, can only be mastered by a five-year-old. Now … we have these boxes for our OTC with three or four square ‘blister packs’ inside containing the pills. I’m pretty sure they are called blister packs because that’s what you end up with trying to get the pills out. Along with broken nails, minor lacerations on your fingers and head contusions from whacking your forehead against the bathroom wall when you can’t get to your pills.

For starters, there is the shrink wrap around your box of ‘All Day Non-Drowsy Multiple Symptom Cold Relief’. It is not quite as onerous as the stuff they wrap CDs in (your remember CDs, don’t you?) so you can’t actually listen to the music, but pretty close. So after five or ten minutes of trying to pierce the envelope you say the hell with it and get out your 6 inch hunting knife – the one that’s also good for skinning game, and cut off the end off the box.

Ah, let’s pull out one of those little squares. Watch out – the edges are sharp! Now you’ll have to get the shrink wrap off the Band Aid box … Oh – you can see the pretty little pills on the one side, can’t you? But you can’t have them, no My Precious. Not yet you can’t. Not until you run the safety container gauntlet, which is just a bit short of Indiana Jones’ entry into the cave containing the Holy Grail.

The instructions say ‘Take Two” and lo and behold, there are little holes around each pair of pretty blue pills. I’ll bet that’s so you can separate them. Or not. Push it, bend it, ouch! Those edges are sharp. Gotta go get another Band Aid, which of course involves getting the wrapper off of the little dot ones before too much blood drips on the floor.

You tore off three? Never mind, you can save one for later. Now you can get your glass of water, just push the pills out the back and what? You have to get the indestructible security paper off first, because the only way to get the pills out with that on involves setting an IED on the vanity? Just look for the little corner where it separates and Ooh. Well, that nail will grow back in a couple of months after the infection from the puncture wound is healed.

Maybe the other corner. Or the other, other one? Lift and separate (wait, where have I heard that before?). Just edge your thumbnail in a little bit and Voila! A little end tears off. Perhaps the Bowie knife? You contemplate this as your spouse is yelling something about turning the #$%! light off so she can sleep and you’re wondering if the forehead against the wall motion is actually an effective decongestant.

Finally, that paper is off and now you can have your cold remedy. But noooooo. There’s still a layer of foil with the equivalent strength of the skin of an airliner. Not a 737 mind you. Push the pills through this. Nada. There’s no more little corners, so you are going to have to go in. Scalpel! Or maybe the little rasp thingy on your nail clippers that you’ve always wondered what it’s for? Just be careful with that sharp stuff because Ohhhh! – now there’s liquid coming out of one of the little capsules and unless you can lick it up fast enough – watch out for the sharp edges! – you’re going to have to start over again. Lucky you tore off three pills.

But I get it. If the OTC pushers made it to easy to get to their drugs, you might actually take them. You might actually take too much of them and end up in the ER. So we have to keep safe.

I do have pill bottles actually. I’ve got this huge one from Costco that says ‘Non-Asprin’ on the label. Which means I know what it’s not. Which also means I don’t necessarily know what it is. Could be cocaine, could be gemstones. Or lock washers. They all qualify. But if I read further, I can find out it from the much smaller writing that it’s Acetaminophen. It even shows the actual size of the pills and invites me to “Compare to Extra Strength Tylenol ®”. Which, by the way, I could also do with lock washers. In any case – no safety paper, aeronautical strength foil, or blister packing in there. I could just chug the stuff, all five hundred of them if I want. Which, if it didn’t kill me right off (‘Please read the warnings.’) apparently I could destroy my liver, which I would assume would take me out in a longer period — say, the time it takes to open up the All Day Non-Drowsy Multiple Symptom Cold Relief capsules. Oh. And the Non-Aspirin are Gluten Free. Says so right on the back of the chuggable bottle. I sure am thankful for that.

Which got me to thinking – at least as much as was possible with the fogged out consciousness that I still had while trying to open the blister pack. What if we packaged ammunition that way? I mean, I think we could prevent some mass shootings if the deranged killer had to extract each individual bullet from the safety paper and the foil and the blisters and all of that. So, before he or she had enough ammo to take out a school or Country Music concert or a couple of cops enjoying lattes at Starbucks, the potential perp would get so frustrated that he (or she – gotta be fair here) would either give up and head back to history class, or — having become even more deranged by the process — take the one or maybe two bullets that had been extracted thus far from the packing, and take him (or her) self out. Saving, who knows, countless lives.

And then, the OTC could put my cold pills in ammo boxes, so I could actually take them, and feel better, and not become deranged from this damn cold. Just a thought.


(c) 2018 by Greg Fuller

Embracing the Hoax – A New Adventure!

By Greg Fuller September 2, 2017

“So, by Sunday we should see all of the area not over a hundred and ten.” – Bay area weatherman Spencer Christian on the Channel 7 local news, 8/31/2017 **

Are you tired of bleeding heart Liberals whining about glaciers in some place you’ve never heard of? Or polar bears running out of ice for their cocktails? Sick of complaints by some namby-pamby Californian that his multi-million dollar front yard is now part of the ocean and there’s no place to park his Tesla? Growing tedious with wimpy-lunged, coughing ‘seniors’ from Medicaid funded nursing homes that won’t man-up and live with a little smoke?

Well friends and neighbors, I have just the thing for you! It’s our just launched Climate Change Denier Luxury Experience Tour, where for the price of only a few shares of Exxon-Mobil stock you will be immersed in the Real Nature – not the stuff from those Fake News reports, and see first hand just what’s going on in this paradise we call Mother $%#&en Earth!

Yes friends – sign up now for our Climate Change Denier Luxury Experience Tour, which, for the price of only a few Carbon Exchange Credits, includes:

Meet and Greet in the parking lot of the Bakersfield Wal Mart: After meeting your hosts and fellow deniers, we’ll all load into V8 Cadillac Escalades with the windows up and no air conditioning to simulate the so-called ‘Greenhouse Effect’. Fake News! You’ll see how nice and toasty it is in there on the simulated leather. And – we will be serving room temperature (just like faux melted glaciers) tap water imported daily from Love Canal at great expense.

Lay of the Land: Windowside Rolling Tour of Oil Wells Across the Desert: We start the tour with a bit of historical background. After leaving Bakersfield, we’ll head West across the desert towards Santa Barbara. Look out your hermetically-sealed windows as we speed along the Interstate! You’ll see miles and miles of oil wells, pumping their little arms away to bring you that liquid gold we all crave. Some people are even lucky enough to have them in their front yard! Wait, is that Jed Clampett standing out there by the cement pond with Ellie May? And just think, if some of those sign-carrying, slogan-shouting Sierra Club folks had been around when these wells were drilled, well, there would be nothing to see but open desert and green fields all over this great nation. And you’d be missing the beautiful industrial view you see today. I can almost see James Dean and Rock Hudson (you know those rumors about his being, you know, were fake news!) standing off in the distance in Giant. Now there was a true American movie! Have another sip of heavy metals in your complimentary beverage as you scan the countryside for natural gas flares.

Breathtaking Ocean (if not already, it certainly will be): Next, we roll into Santa Barbara and stop for a break along the seaside to take in the breathtaking view of the production oil rigs populating the Santa Barbara Channel. And we’re in luck!. With that high pressure system parked along the Western US, there’s none of that pesky ‘marine layer’ to cool things down, making you buy one of them foreign-made, unpatriotic sweat shirts to keep warm. The rigs are as clear as day for as far as you can see – at least except for that lovely brown tinge on the horizon. But hey, that enhances the view, don’t it? And how else would we be able to keep these Escalades moving for you? Solar power? I don’t think so.

Majestic Naturally Lit Forests: Take a few more deep breaths (well, not that deep) of the coastal air before we ‘saddle up’ our horsepower again. Next stop: the western forests, where, as luck would have it, we are in peak wildfire season! Mother Nature – the real one, not the one you keep seeing on those so-called ‘Network News’ shows (Fox Forever, Booh Yah!) has provided us with the ideal combination of timber weakening prolonged drought followed by the just ended torrential rainy season here in the West. All adding up to make one big bonfire lit up for your personal touring pleasure. We’ll head towards Mariposa, near Yosemite National Park and through Calaveras County (remember Mark Twain’s famous frog? Well, that’s the place), where one of the year’s largest wildfires is just winding down. Why, you can still see the haze and savor the wood smoke in the air! We’ll throw a couple of dogs and some marshmallows on the national park land for each guest for dinner. Enjoy!

Back in our Caddies. Marvel at the burned out trunks as we continue along – more charcoal for the BBQ! And now the real treat – we are going to take you right up to the fire line of one of the larger blazes in progress, to see CalFire at work. There’s a good use for your tax dollars, instead of supporting some immigrant ‘dreamers’. It just can’t get any more real than that. Reach over and pick up your commemorative face mask as the smoke gets thicker. Be amazed as the density of the floating particulates grows. Look – the fire is crowning just to the north! What a special experience! What timing! What luck!

Picturesque Washouts, Legendary Burn Scars, and More: Getting a bit toasty? Well, that’s just the genuine experience we have tailored for your tour. Soooo authentic. You can take it, right? Pull up your bootstraps and evolve or die, that’s our motto. As you know, it was one hell of a winter here in the West. But we were mighty thirsty after all of that drought and groundwater depletion. Who the hell had heard of an aquifer before except in seventh grade science class? But the biblical downpours not only filled back up our drinking cups, they also provided some pretty spectacular new land features to show to you right here on our tour. Where else would you find epic mudslides, sinkholes and washed out canyons – all in one state? We head back over to the coast to Big Sur, where the redwood forests meet the rocky coast – just beautiful. And never mind those stories of 60s hippie types and that guy that wrote those disgusting dirty books. They’re mostly gone now.

What you will see is a massive re-allocation of real, honest to goodness Mother Earth right there stretching into the ocean. We have a new peninsula here, just for your personal use (please hold onto your fellow tour guests, in case your footing starts to give ‘way). Just north of the el grande mudslide is the washout of Pfeiffer Canyon that took out the bridge. The new pilings are just starting to rise. Magnificent! Thank you CalTrans. And maybe, just maybe this little inconvenience will help to drive out the rest of those lefty-leaners living between the two, who now can only get their Greek yogurt and vegan meals by taking a big hike on foot. That’ll teach ‘em. All aboard! Enjoy more burn scars, and future charcoal, as we head back inland — because the coastal road will likely be closed for the next year and a half.

I Left My Heat in San Francisco: No More! You know the old saying, ‘You should have been here yesterday?’. Well, you shoulda’. It was a corker, especially for us true deniers. No more of ‘The coldest Winter I ever spent was Summer in San Francisco.’ No siree. One hundred and six dee-grees, an all time record there in the City By (and about to be covered more by) The Bay. But, once again, we have spared no expense or effort to provide a genuine, real news experience. Toss those Pakistani-made cover ups and put aside your Carhartts – we’ve still got some tourist-toastin’ times to go. Our visit to Califonee – A’s Emerald City will warm up any carbon-based heart.

And Finally, the Big Splash: Hot ‘enuf for ya? Well, it’s time for a little coolin’ off dip. Not in the Pacific Ocean, mind you. Even though it has come up a few degrees since the millennium, it’s still pretty chilly. So to top off the genuine, down to earth, #$%!en Mother Nature experience, we’ll be exiting the Escalades and boarding a private jet – no expense spared – to head down to the Gulf. Don’t mind the limited time ‘Closed Refinery and Burning Chemical Plant’ fuel surcharge. It’s less than your last investment in that Oklahoma fracking operation – or the legal fees –and certainly worth it at twice the price.

Timing is everything, as they say. Whoever they happen to be (not the classic media outlets, that’s for sure!). We are privileged to end our tour with another full immersion experience – a swim in the not-yet-fully-receded flood waters of – you guessed it – hurricane Harvey – right in the middle of downtown Houston. That’ll cool you down, eh? Enjoy the E-coli floating in what was formerly Interstate 10. See a neighbor’s Subaru float by. Watch the mold grow – before your very eyes – in the walls of abandoned flooded homes. Whoa! Look out for that alligator in the living room! He’s a big feller, ain’t he? Now there’s something you don’t see every day. Don’t worry if you miss Harvey – we’ve got more on the way for future tours. Why — Irma is bearing down on the East Coast at this very moment as I write this.

Adios and Good Luck! Well, that ends our tour. We were so happy to have had the opportunity to provide this unique experience to genuine deniers. Tell you’re friends, neighbors and especially Glen Beck about us. While you are savoring the last moments and smoky afterglow of our tour, whip out your cell phone if ya haven’t drowned it and place a call to one of the wonderful volunteers to come rescue you by inflatable or air boat. We’d love to help out ourselves, but as you know there is nothing like self-sufficiency in these tumultuous times. And we’re going to be late for our tee time in Bridgewater.

Visit us again during the next disaster season! We aim to please and no doubt there will be new truly amazing things to see and do as the waters rise and the elements collide. So Dorothy, just repeat after me: ‘There’s no place like Earth, there’s no place like Earth …”

** paraphrased, from memory

© 2017 by Greg Fuller

The Wine Country Thing

By Greg Fuller

June 21, 2017

One of the dangerous things about living in wine country is proximity. To, you know, all of that wine. I would think years ago it was more of an agricultural experience – enjoy the vineyard vistas, perhaps till the land yourself, maybe get to know a winemaker or two and occasionally be invited to sample their wares. Very bucolic and low key.

But now, between the tours and tasting rooms and special events – all within a few minutes of my doorstep – I can’t sneeze without getting a snootful.

Continue reading The Wine Country Thing

So How Was Your Day?

By Greg Fuller

May 22, 2017

I had one of those electronic breakdowns last evening – not a complete disaster, but at least a momentary minor crisis.

I had just finished a very enjoyable impromptu reunion dinner with a number of my colleagues from General Electric Company, an early career journey from the nineteen-eighties. Most of whom I hadn’t seen for perhaps thirty years. Continue reading So How Was Your Day?

Clicka Clicka Wot?

Feb 7, 2017

By Greg Fuller

If it wasn’t already enough fun watching the river rise today, we had a bit more water fun this evening. While making dinner, I spilled some water from a pan onto the so-called ‘sealed’ gas cooktop. Immediately after, the built in igniter started clicking like a manic. But with all of the knobs in Off position and (thankfully) no burners lighted. Yow! I know them sparks are a sparkin’ under the burners and there’s, uh, a gas connection somewhere in there, so I need to work fast. Of course the electric cord that runs the igniter is plugged in somewhere behind a bunch of drawers that I’ve never taken out, filled with a couple hundred pounds of cookware. So the only thing is to head for the breaker box in the garage. Continue reading Clicka Clicka Wot?

Odds and Sods – Sept 25th


A few days ago, Irene went boomba at her Zumba. Apparently her knee Zimmed when it should have Zummed. Now she is in great shape – except hardly being able to walk.

My view of exercise is akin to Thomas Inman’s paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath: ‘First, do no harm.’ And particularly do it in a way that keeps you away from those other Hippocrats – the doctors. This reduces my obligation – from a preventative perspective. No pain = no pain.  I try to keep it that way.

What’s this thing these days with making things sound more complicated than they are? Back when I first moved to the Bay Area, we had a thing called ‘fog’. It was the gray, wet stuff that enveloped the place much of the year, chilled you to the bone, and provided a handsome living to the purveyors of sweaters and sweatshirts to unsuspecting tourists.

From time to time I travelled down to Southern California, where, according to the song, it never rains. However, according to the weather reports, they had this thing called a ‘marine layer’ that would come in, chill you to the bone, and provide a handsome living to the purveyors of sweaters and UCLA sweatshirts to tourists. It looked a hell of a lot like fog to me, but I figured things are always needing to be fancier and more glamorous down there. So instead of fog, they have a ‘marine layer’.

Well, guess what? Apparently the rising cost of living up here in San Fran has attracted the fancy fog from down south. So now, on the news, in the weather report, we have our own ‘marine layer’. Just don’t go out in it, unless of course you can hear the sound of the marine layer horn. That should keep you from bumping into rocks. Or tourists at the Cliff House.

When I was growing up, if you had a bunch of extra trash – say more than the guys would take off your sidewalk on Wednesday morning, you took it to The Dump. This was also a good near-final resting place for old sofas, worn out tires, and really smelly stuff that you not longer wanted within a couple of miles of your place. But we don’t have a ‘dump’ anymore. Nope. What we have is a ‘Transfer Station”. I took a bunch of stuff to the Sonoma County Transfer Station while cleaning out Mom’s house awhile back. Big concrete and tin panel building you drive up to, back your vehicle up, and then throw your stuff onto a pile. Then some guy in a piece of heavy machinery pushes it around, so you can throw more stuff in. I guess that’s the ‘transfer’ part, although personally, it really does still look like a dump to me.

According to the Napa Valley Register, what we have here in the County is a ‘Materials Diversion Center’. I think because now, instead of just trash, we have ‘recyclables’ and ‘compostables’. And we put them in different colored cans so the trash guys no the different. So rather than just dumping or transferring the junk and smellies and such, they now have to be diverted. From what and to what I’m not sure. But I kind of suspect it may still be done by the same guy in the piece of heavy equipment. Who knows?

I’ve got this new day job that I have to drive a lot to get back and forth to, in day job hour traffic, and maybe also drive some more while I’m doing it, but not so much of that yet. This means I am listening to the radio a lot. A couple of times in the last week I heard a radio commercial for something called the OMBra. (Pronounced ‘Oh – mm’ and the rest just like it sounds, as in Playtex). I’m thinking, at least from the pronunciation, that they are trying to imply it imparts some mystical Far-Eastern serenity – like having the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi chanting on your iPod. Ommmmmmmmm. But maybe the ‘O’ and the ‘M’ are just short for something – like Oh Mama!, or maybe the founders Oren and Martha. The commercial didn’t say.

Apparently the OMBra is a female support sports undergarment which includes sensors reading the wearer’s heart rate and “other vital data” during exercise. In addition to the serenity of not too much chaos going on and keeping things on a higher plane, so to speak, while bounding along the sidewalk, a woman has the benefit of digital bio-feedback. So I’m thinking, what should we really call this? The ‘titbit’?

As bulbs burn out in the house, I’m replacing them with the new LED type ones. According to the package, these things are supposed to last like twenty-one or twenty-two years. Which is longer than I expect to be around, personally. I mean, when they finally do burn out, I’ll either be dead or the light-bulb-changing mantle will have long been passed on to someone who can climb more than two steps without breaking a hip. So these are the last bulbs I’ll ever buy, eh? Kind of gives new meaning to the term ‘lifetime warranty’.

So I’m thinking – what’s the business plan here? Sell everyone these bulbs at exhorbitent prices until all of the old, burn-out-just-when-you-really-need-the-light ones are replaced, then go to Tahiti for twenty years and wait for the first one to burn out? Who will still remember how? Hey, here’s one: How many Millennials does it take to screw in a light bulb? A what??????

We are coming up to other stuff like that as the years pile up behind me on the old trail of life. I remember my Dad saying “Well, that’s the last car I’m going to buy”. Kind of fatalistic I thought at the time. But you know what – it was. He kept it for, I don’t know, twenty-five years or so , was driving it the day he had a stroke at eighty-eight (years, not mph), and still only had thirty-five thousand original miles on it the day he died at ninety. The beige vinyl top was still in perfect condition, but the way. Hell of a deal, rush right down here now before someone else grabs it.

I know I’ve got at least one more BMW in me. But the current ride is coming up on fifteen years and with the cost to replace it, if I do, I just might expire before a new one is paid off. Wouldn’t that be a hoot! Talk about yer ‘free ride’.

And that’s all I have to say about that.


(C) 2016 by Greg Fuller



Dis N Dat Numba One

I am now officially engaged in Small Town News. David Letterman used to occasionally feature articles picked up (or most likely sent in) from various locales – Pig Ran Away, Found with Neighbor’s Wife; Maggie Simpson won the baking contest; etcetera; etcetera.

We get the Napa Valley Register every morning – a Paper on paper, which is a throwback in itself. I still really like the tactile experience of reading newsprint – spreading it out on the table in the morning, awkwardly flipping the pages, folding it over like a guy on the subway, or scissoring out bits that I want to save — like recipes or current events. This is the true meaning of cut and paste. Continue reading Dis N Dat Numba One

Jesus, Mary and Joseph – Call the Cyber Police! I’ve Been Hacked!

By Greg Fuller

November 6, 2015

If you are an observant person – and I’m sure we’re all that, eh? – you may have noticed this little missive originates from a new address, specifically www.crankcallsblog.com. Or maybe not. Perhaps you don’t really care because I usually email a link. Whatever. The salient point here Continue reading Jesus, Mary and Joseph – Call the Cyber Police! I’ve Been Hacked!