Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘humor

Don’t Click

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It’s a game I play with myself almost every day I’m online. Don’t click on that bait. Sure, I’m curious about the 12 most outrageous ways some common thing we are eating/reading/handling/doing leads to these 16 unbelievable/startling/amazing/scary results that some doctor/study/company/environmentalist/yogi has recently revealed/published/announced/proclaimed/guaranteed.

One facet of clickbait-ology I am anxious to find out about is how the “number” is selected for these attention-getting carnival barkings. A quantity of 10 seems like a very dependable collection. It’s an even number. It’s double-digits. If I was making a list, my first inclination would be to shoot for 10. Maybe I just watched too many years of David Letterman and his Top-Ten List.

From that bias, I find myself puzzling over why a title would feature a list with 12 or 13 items, or even bother when there are only 5 or 6. I saw one once that boasted 17, which starts to press the boundaries of believability. I’m skeptical the source was really able to come up with 17 of anything on a topic that worked for a click-baitable headline.

I wonder what I could come up with to entice people to click through to a page of mine that has no redeeming value to offer in return.

“Never ever give in to the urge to read 10 answers to the most essential question ever pondered.”

You know, the number 10 doesn’t seem to work so well, after all.

I get it now. It’s too status quo. It’s ‘ok boomer.’

Instead, the more ridiculous, the better.

“Eleventeen reasons why things you are already doing won’t make enough difference to matter.”

“These 16 ideas never worked before, but they will now after you’ve read this!”

“Take a penny, leave a penny by clicking this article 7 times a day for 13 weeks and feed a hungry kitty that looks exactly like a unicorn.”

For the record, I don’t always win at my own game. One time, I clicked to see the umpteen most amazing images since the beginning of time. Then, I clicked and clicked and clicked about umpteen more times. Each image was on a unique ad-filled page that took a painfully long time to load. Luckily, the first thing to pop into view for each page was the table of new clickbait ads across the bottom with strange quantities of subjects for me to try “ignoring.”

No one said this game was going to be easy.



Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2019 at 7:00 am

Good Start

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Blessed with a day between drenching rains, yesterday we made great headway on the deck resurfacing project. Mike arrived about the same time daylight did and Cyndie primed our energies with a grand breakfast feast in preparation for the long day of labor ahead. Setting the first board required immediate customization, which is a part of the project I would have struggled to accomplish without Mike’s wisdom and experience.

After solving that challenge, the work settled into a board-placing routine that wasn’t particularly complicated but tended to eat up bigger chunks of time just doing than it seems it should.

Along the way, there were pauses to re-measure spacing and then tweaking the board gaps. Even simple board selection adds minutes, pondering how to minimize waste while selecting around imperfections in the lumber.

Eventually, we would reach a railing post and be faced with doing some customized cuts to enclose the obstruction. For the post below, Mike engineered two pieces that required multiple cuts which resulted in a pretty slick looking continued flow.

The thinking involved to plot where seams fall gets a little mind-boggling for me, but Mike helped to achieve a repeating pattern that I really like.

By lunch we had covered the bottom level, which was honestly my main goal, knowing in advance that progress most likely would be hampered by something. Nothing I have ever worked on goes so smoothly that I get more done than expected.

Most important for me was proving the process. I thought I would be able to do this in place of hiring professionals, but I was a little wary about the unknowns like detailing around the railing, mastering the seams and spacing, and even where to start, and how to finish the last board.









We’ve got boards cut to length and positioned, but not all of them screwed down yet. By the end of the day, we probably were just under halfway finished with the resurfacing. There is a lot of lumber yet to replace, but the number of complicated decisions left to be addressed should be less.

If we ever get another dry weather day, maybe I can work more on the project.

Actually, today’s rain has me wondering if we shouldn’t have skipped the deck project and focused on building a boat that could hold us and our pets instead. I’m worried our house might just float away if it keeps up like this, and we live on top of a hill!

Apparently, the atmosphere holds more moisture when the planet warms and is able to dump more precipitation as a result.

I wonder if we have any circumstantial evidence to back that up.

I wish I could remember where we put our PFDs.



Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Unglamorous Reality

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I think it’s only natural that our minds tend toward the fantastical when attempting to interpret an unexpected scene in our otherwise staid environment. Why would the first impression be the simplest option, when a more unlikely one is possible?

When I got home from work yesterday, I discovered a mysterious disruption around the front of my closet. There had obviously been some sort of disturbance. Several odd shoes had been pulled out, shoes I haven’t worn for some time.

I suspected someone had been looking through my shoes, but it was possible my footwear had been incidentally dislodged by a person looking for something else. What could someone have been after?

Well, I can narrow it down a little bit. The only “someone” around here all day would have been Cyndie. The most likely scenario would be that she was pulling out items to be laundered.

Not all that exciting, after all.

The truth was even less glamorous than that.

When Cyndie came in from trimming fence lines, she offered up a set of facts I had failed to consider. Pequenita had barfed in the vicinity and Delilah stormed in to take care of cleaning it up before Cyndie could react.

Lovely. Sometimes things aren’t quite what they initially seem.



Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2019 at 6:00 am

Nose Prints

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Over the weekend, while in the midst of my planking and stretching routine, I glanced out the bedroom door and noticed a message written on the glass.

Can you see it?

Delilah wrote it with her nose. What do you think she scribed?

My first impression was, “Too Much.”

I think maybe she was referring to the endless taunt of squirrels frolicking about on the other side of our doors and windows, and her unrelenting urge to chase after them.

“Who? Me?” she says.



Written by johnwhays

April 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

Doors Open

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Despite the strong spring wind roaring around outside yesterday afternoon, we opened both doors to the deck to let a few hours of fresh air into the house. Our weather finally switched from gray skies to blue, and the glory of spring and its infinite possibilities was radiating with vivid pizzazz.

Not to be a Debbie-Downer or anything, but… Cyndie walked down to visit the labyrinth and found this:

The multiple-language peace pole was toppled over. Cyndie’s winged angel statue was face down with a broken nose. In the distance, my “third rock” lay on the ground beside the boulders that previously cradled it.

I’m developing a grudge over the good old month of April. In my opinion, we should just trash the sweet saying, “April showers bring May flowers.”

I suggest something more up-to-date, like, “April is [@bleepin’#] Crazy!!

As pleasing as the afternoon was yesterday, it is mind-boggling to accept the warnings coming from our National Weather Service of insane amounts of snow that will begin tomorrow night and last through Friday. One to two feet possible!?

April blizzards bring pleas of insanity.”

Sometimes i get so frantic, sometimes i’m schizophrenic

Plead Insanity | Wookiefoot; from Domesticated – The Story of Nothing and the Monkey, released September 12, 2000 © all rights reserved


The squirrels seem to have kicked into overdrive on harvesting leftover corn cobs from the surrounding fields and bringing them onto our property.

I don’t understand their apparent fascination with plucking every last kernel off the cob and then leaving them lay where they fall. Maybe it’s like the human fascination with popping bubble wrap.

This is that weird field-corn that has a texture like hard plastic. It seems like it might rival the McDonald’s french fries for never, ever showing signs of decay, no matter how much time has passed since it fell under a seat in the car.

I’m wondering if the squirrels just keep trying to bite into each kernel, but drop it and move on to the next, hoping beyond hope that the next one might be like the corn their elders tell stories of eating when they were young.

Sound insane? It’s April, I tell ya!

They could be eating acorns, because there’s still plenty of those around from last fall. Although, now that I mention it, I suppose acorns could start to lose their appeal after endless months of nothing but.

April weather is like eating old, wet leather.”

It might be about to blizzard in April again, but we’ll re-open the doors soon enough. May is just a few blinks away, after all.

April isn’t all bad, it eventually ends.”



Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

It’s Possible

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Is it possible that the rising global air temperatures support higher amounts of water vapor aloft which can add fuel and intensity to localized weather events? Anecdotal evidence from my experiences certainly aligns with that line of thinking.

Today, we are granted a calm before the expected weekend punch of significant new accumulations of heavy, wet snow. It’s hard to know what to do with such a day. We don’t feel inclined to start any new projects while consumed by this looming distraction of an “other shoe about to drop.”

Who can concentrate when meteorologists are tossing out phrases like, “thunder snow!”?

“This storm looks likely to produce convective snow bursts Saturday afternoon and evening across southern Minnesota. That could mean thunder snow.

Snowfall rates may reach 2″ per hour for a few hours Saturday. Things could get crazy with lightning, thunder and snow coming down incredibly hard. If that happens, most of the accumulation could occur within just a few hours Saturday afternoon into evening.”


This storm sounds so intimidating, there was even a Minnesota Judge who issued a restraining order prohibiting any more snow in the state, “especially within Hennepin County.”

Of course, he was clear to communicate that this did not prohibit the storm from impacting Wisconsin, Iowa, or North and South Dakota. I suppose he did not want to seem to be ruling beyond his jurisdiction.

Weather forecasts being the educated guesses that they are, computer models show a possibility for some of Saturday’s precipitation to fall as rain, south of an indeterminate rain/snow dividing line. The restraining order doesn’t appear to include any provision for restricting rainfall.

Rain can really spoil a good snowscape, but if we get some of that, it will, at the very least, reduce the amount of plowing I would need to do.

Anything is possible.



Written by johnwhays

March 8, 2019 at 7:00 am

My Day

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Honestly, I never seriously thought I would one day be telling stories about how different things were, back in my day. That’s something old people do.

Last night, there was a news ticker across the bottom of the tv screen announcing school closings for today. At that point, not a single flake had wafted down out of the sky. How does that work?

When I was in school, if we woke up in the morning with mounds of snow covering everything, we would immediately turn on the local radio broadcast and listen for our school to be named in the list of closings. Superintendents waited until the last-minute to announce their decision. We never knew the night before.

Nowadays, kids know before they even go to sleep. They have no idea how easy they have it.

Have winter storm forecasts become so much more reliable that school officials trust them that much farther in advance?

This is what was posted yesterday as NOAA‘s model of what today’s storm would look like:

That was enough for me to throw in the towel on driving the long distance across the entire Twin Cities today.

If we end up with nine inches of snow by the end of the day, it’ll be another feather in the cap of present-day meteorology, for accuracy of their storm modeling.

And, I will feel justified to have voluntarily missed another mid-week shift at the day-job, avoiding the hazards of two rush-hour commutes during a snow event.

If the snow accumulation doesn’t measure up, I’ll be reminded of the old days, when we never knew how much snow we were going to get, until it had actually fallen.







Written by johnwhays

February 20, 2019 at 7:00 am