Little Green Apples (100th Post)

Apples are great. Whether eaten fresh and raw or baked in one of many delicious ways, they satisfy like no other fruit. With just a little garnish of butter, cinnamon, and sugar they burst with flavor in your pie, cobbler, or tart. Apple fritters, pancakes, applesauce, apple butter, apple jelly are all welcome at my breakfast table.

Early fruit that falls from the tree also makes excellent ammunition among brothers. Little green apples and bored farm boys make for an exciting combination. I seem to remember one fine summer day when…

The brothers took turns helping with the evening milking and related barn chores. With a barn population of almost 80 cows, calves, and steers there was plenty to do. One of the tasks was to scrape the walkway outside the barnyard entrance. This concrete extension of the barn foundation provided a transition from the dirt, mud, and muck of the barnyard into the barn. Each evening the returning herd tracked goop onto the concrete on their way inside. At almost 40 feet long and 10 feet wide, it took several passes with the bladed scraper to clear the muck off.

This day, our eldest brother had the chores. The warm summer day had encouraged him to remove his shirt. He labored in boots and jeans only. We others had gathered loads of little green apples and brought them to the fence at the far side of the barnyard. The distance was about 120 feet and the target was a moving one.

We started slowly, taking turns with our throws. At first we deliberately missed. The intent was to scare him into a reaction, not cause injury. After several near misses we refined our tactics and aimed to bracket him in front and back as he moved. He ducked and arched his back to dodge our missiles. They shattered against the red-painted boards of the barn near him.

He tried to sprint with the scraper, stubbornly determined to finish his assigned chore before retreating inside the barn. The friction against the concrete and the growing pile of muck hindered his progress. He turned and ran to the left end of the platform. Once there, he started another pass and we began another volley.

He moved in spurts attempting to confuse our timing. It backfired on him. One apple intended to pass behind him grazed his back as he suddenly stopped in place. He lunged forward and the next apple, already thrown, smacked him hard in the rib cage.

The impact could be heard across the barnyard. We froze as he dropped the scraper handle on the walk. He pressed his hand hard on the injury and looked at us in rage. He ran straight across the muddy barnyard at us. We scattered by instinct, but he was locked onto the one who threw the offending apple.

No matter how much I dodged and ran, he lurched at me with a single purpose, to share the pain.
Game over.

iTunes Always Changes

I despise the way Apple continually changes the iTunes software interface. Friends gave me an iPod as a gift. It has been an excellent device. One that I use daily. I have several hundreds of songs loaded. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and can even watch movies on the little screen.

At my day job, radio reception is poor. The steel framed building interferes with clear reception for many stations. Consequently, I use my iPod to provide the soundtrack of my day. I’ve got playlists and favorites at my fingertips.

Once a week, I take it home to synchronize content and download fresh podcast episodes. Here’s where the problems begin. It seems like every week or every other week, Apple releases an updated version of iTunes. Why? Who knows? It may be to trap users into spending several hours each week tinkering with their interface. For me, it’s a time sucker I can’t stand.

I had the interface set up the way I liked it. I could attach my iPod, quickly synchronize content, and detach all in a few minutes. Now I can’t. Apple kept prompting me to download and install the newest version of iTunes until I finally relented. Then it happened. My interface exploded into an unrecognizable layout.

Where did the menus go? Where are my settings? What happened to my playlists? How can I build new ones? On and on it went. After spending way too much time in the unhelpful “Help” files, I reached a truce with iTunes. Some semblance of recognizable layout had been restored. A partially familiar interface was attained.

The next morning, I connected my iPod to my car using the USB cable. My car stereo reported an unrecognizable software interface and would not function. Thanks Apple. Now I have to upgrade my car just to stay current with you? No thanks.

A restaurant that removed your favorite item from the menu, a bad cover of a great song… Write a post about something that should’ve been left untouched, but wasn’t. Why was the original better?