Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Oil of Olay and Beards

We were enjoying a wonderful Christmas dinner that had been prepared by Mia. Beth and I were asked about the place that we "are staying at". Beth and I are staying at a horse farm in Marlborough with Noel our housemate, two cats, and American dog, a French dog (who seems to bark in English), and eight very beautiful show horses.
One of our dinner companions, I'll call him "Paul", started telling us about a neat guy that he met in Marlborough that he liked, which is something to be noted because "Paul" isn't particularly fond of very many people. He was buying a large quantity of hay from a fellow named Karl. When we heard "Karl" and "Hay" and "Marlborough" in the same sentence we figured out that Karl was possibly the same Karl that normally lives right here in this house. We haven't met him yet because being of above average intelligence, he is still down in warmer climates enjoying winter the way winter is supposed to be enjoyed.
Well Paul and Karl seemed to really click. Somebody asked Paul how old Karl is.
Paul waved his hand and said "Oh, he's about the same age as me".
I leaned over to Jenny and said "Well that really narrows things down".
Let me explain how Paul looks. He is tall, has great hair that he wears rather long. It is gray.
He has very bright eyes and wire-rimmed glasses. He doesn't really talk or smile unless he is required to, so he has a minimal amount of wrinkles, in fact, I can't recall seeing ANY wrinkles.
His skin is smooth and healthy looking. All two inches of it. There is about a one inch patch on each cheek that is not covered with fur. He has a very long beard and an even longer mustache.
He wears his fur proudly. It is one of the few things in his life that he has total control over and dammit he's gonna grow it as long as he wants to. It looks good, it's clean, it covers him completely. So you have his hands, his cheeks, and his eyes. That is not very much to use to make an estimate of age from. You could probably check out his teeth if you knew how, but I would be very careful doing that. Beth is probably the only person that Paul would show his teeth to anyhow. He looks healthy. He's cranky enough that you would suspect that he has been around for a while. There really isn't any other way to determine his age. He's ageless. Someday we will all go "Ooooooooh" when we read his obituary.

So you see, Paul's comment about Karl being his age didn't really narrow anything down.
So after my "Well that really narrows things down" comment to Jenny, Paul asked me what that meant. I replied that saying that Karl was the same age as Paul means that "Karl is somewhere between the ages of 40 to 80". Paul said "thanks a lot", but what he didn't realize is that it also is a compliment because of the 40 thing at the lower end of the scale. I really have no clue how old Paul could be. Karl's age is not a mystery to me anymore. Noel was talking about Karl today and mentioned his age. I asked Noel to repeat it. Paul the bearded one seems to have a problem telling the age of other bearded people too. I may not know how old Paul actually is, but at this exact moment Karl and Paul are probably not the same age even though they may look like identical twins. Karl is seventy nine. I wonder how old Paul is. I wonder how old Paul thinks Karl is. I sure wish I could grow a beard.

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Time to think about finances.

Hi gang,

It keeps snowing but today it is sunny for the first time since we arrived back in New England. The holidays were better than expected. We are taking care of appointments and maintenance of teeth, mind, body, and automobiles.
I am going to be researching methods of actually earning some income, but it will probably have to be a portable job of some kind because Beth has decided after two weeks of grayness that there is really no need to be in the North for winters anymore.

One of the areas of income enhancement that I am thinking of is the wide world of Ant Lions. The area of Florida we were in last month has a bumper crop of ant lions in the sand all along the dirt roads that we were walking on. When I was doing some research on the little beasts I happened upon a company that buys and sell ant lions.

They sell them as part of an executive sandbox system. You know those little boxes of sand that they sell with rakes and a couple of stones so that you can poke around as a way to relax (and/or get fired) while at the office? They sell them in ALL of the gift magazines, airline safety exit and buy this on your way out magazines, and Brookstone. Well, I never happened to buy one because with the energy level that I have been living with for the last two years, if I was any more relaxed at my desk I would have been officially comatose, and also with the way my desk was meticulously organized a stray cat could have used it as a kitty box and it would have taken me months to track down the smell.

Well anyhow, SOMEBODY buys those things. Well there is one company that adds a little blood and guts to the whole peaceful meditation process. They sell an executive sandbox with ant lions in it so that you can watch little creatures struggle for their life before being eaten. It makes you feel mellow AND powerful. See

Well they need sources for ant lions. Now you may be thinking "I didn't know that I could be raising Ant Lions for fun and profit" as I probably was thinking (but I honestly don't remember). You can. Because they sell the ant lions at the reasonable price of 3 for $10, they must be slamming these things out to happy customers as fast as... well as fast as customers find out that they can buy ant lions for their executive desk.

The AntLionDen actually recruits little kids to collect ant lions for them with their "Ant Lion Wrangler" kit and then pays them Twenty Cents for each one! Now a little kid can collect enough ant lions in an hour to earn FIVE BUCKS! And then they wait. When they have sold enough Pit-O-Deaths to powerful executives they replenish their stocks by sending postcards to the "wranglers" asking them to send more and then just wait for them to arrive.


To review: Twenty Cents EACH. Now to most people this would not seem like much, but you haven't been walking on the back roads that Beth and I have been on. There are THOUSANDS of these little things just waiting to be processed, sold into captivity, and perform tricks for food for the rest (of this stage) of their life. You may be thinking "It sure sounds like a goldmine Warren but what about all of those 'wranglers' out there in the system already?" I appreciate your concern, but I have thought about this and have an answer: screw them. they are just little kids, they can't possibly compete against ME! Instead of using the little slotted spoon that comes with the wrangler kit I will modify a portable Dysan vacuum cleaner to sort out the ant lions from the shells and stones and I then I will attach THAT system to a motorized vehicle or a Segway and I will have an Ant-Lion-Combine.

This system will collect so many ant-lions that I will blow this whole market wide open.

The market will be flooded and the prices will collapse and I will have a warehouse full of hungry ant lions that have been devalued to 1.64 cents each. The trick is to boost the market demand so that my Ant-Lion-Combine can make me rich.

DeBeers has a long history of buying a relatively common mineral and warehousing it to keep market prices high. They had created the whole concept of "engagement rings" in a brilliant ad campaign in 1939 as a way to market a colorless stone. They now push diamonds around using shovel loaders in more and more dark warehouses while "releasing" very small quantities to the public at inflated prices that are "what the market will bear". I created a marketing plan that redefines the Ant-Lion as a "living tribute to the ferociousness of my love" for the engagement market. If that didn't work then there might be interest in going for the relatively untapped Father market. I designed a little cage on a long necklace that holds an ant lion's torso leaving the pincers "free". I also designed a companion piece that could be described as a "ant-collar". It is unobtrusive and rather good looking. It is easy to attach to your daughters boyfriend before they go out on a date and is easy to inspect at the end of the evening to see if the ants are all there. Let's just call it a pre-pre-engagement piece of jewelry. Alas, the accountants at DeBeers determined that it is cheaper to store thousands of tons of uncut diamonds in 470 giant warehouses than to try to FEED the monthly output of my Ant-Lion-Combine. They politely declined.

My contact at Purdue has informed me that he is out on disability after an industrial accident. It seems that they loved my idea of using ant lions as a fast growing source of protein that feeds exclusively on garden pests, thus leaving a "very small carbon footprint", but Purdue immediately experimented with growing an oven stuffer version of an ant lion and it tore the arms off of six employees before they could trick it into visiting the "Turkey Hot Dog packing department". Which of course is how most genetic monsters are "re-purposed" in accordance with the "Moratorium against public monster and army humiliation treaty signed at the Tokyo summit of 1976". I think with the proper socialization and careful psychological programs, the Purdue six pound ant lion that they created would have been a wonderful domesticated food source and home extermination device.

So maybe we are back to the executive Pit-O-Death Zen Garden toys. I don't know if there is a big enough market for those.... unless..... ALL of you folks reading this, immediately buy multiple sets of this very relaxing executive toy. But of course, I am not in this business yet. I am just tossing around ideas here.

There is also the secondary market that is linked to this whole executive toy thing.
The food. They can also buy food for their executive ant lion zen-pit-o-death. That is another whole market. These executives (or presumably, their secretaries) buy food so that they can feed these hungry little monsters. Unless they are upper-upper-top-management, in which case they probably would outsource to an office Zen-Ant-Lion maintenance company. Boy those guys sure have a racket, everybody knows how easy it is to maintain ant lions.

But anyhow, back to the food...
Somebody actually raises wingless-fruit-flies to make it easy for genetics scientists that don't like to be bothered using those butterfly nets every time they have to study the nether-regions of another generation of fruit fly. What would Darwin think of us creating paraplegic fruit flies? Well these very same paraplegic fruit flies make terrific ant lion food for the desk because they can't run away. They just sort of tumble down into the pit in their little fruit fly wheelchairs and stare back up at you as you wait for the fun to begin.

So maybe after the ant lion market blossoms I will buy into the defective fruit fly market and then I will go back to Purdue with this brand new idea that I just got...

Wishing you a Prosperous New Year.

chemo sabe said...
I can see where you'd be getting antsy at this juncture, but REALLY!!!!
Hope you guys have a happy new year!!! This blog has been a lifesaver!!!
love chemo sabe January 3, 2008 11:47 AM
matt said...
thank you
January 16, 2008 4:16 AM

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