Saturday, March 4, 2023

Brought to You by the Letter 'B'

 Somedays, somedays I just hate myself.  I mean, I've got a hugely powerful computerphonecamera with me and I don't think to ever use the darned thing for much more than a phone.  Hate myself somedays, I do.


Well, a couple days ago I was coming out of Publix (supermarket, their slogan is "Where shopping is a pleasure" and they are serious about it.  clean store, clean workers, workers are knowledgeable and if the staff doesn't know, they use their hugely powerful computerphonecamera thingies to access that store's computer inventory and inventory layout to immediately tell you that, yes it is on x shelf at y aisle or no,  it's not on the shelf/in inventory in back/discontinued.) Well, I was coming out of Publix and pushed the cart up to my nive little minivan (Ram Promaster City cargo edition, basically a rebadged Fiat eurovan built in Turkey with a US engine, gotta love globalism, well, me likey my RPC) and lo and behold, bees.

Much like this one.  
My van. 
Nice van.  Sooo utilitarian.  Works.  Has working AC.  Is speedy and zippy.
What more does a man need.  
Bought mine when the previous van, a GMC Safari, started going Tango Uniform during move from House to Apartment.

Like bees everywhere.  Not being one to fear the bee, I got to my van and opened up the back doors and started loading groceries into the big plastic totes in the back.  Why totes?  It's a cargo van, and only the dog bed separates he two front passenger seats from things sliding around in the back, so big plastic totes so I can load tons of groceries and stack the totes two wide and two high and still have room for cases of water and paper products, and another tote on the dog bed (which is occupied by the dog when wife and Lurch the wonderchair are also in the van, which leads to no room for more than one tote because ramp parts and wonderchair occupy space of 4 totes and water and paper products.) 

Nice black plastic totes, 5 of the bottom one, 1 of the top one.  
Will hold almost all of a month's worth of normal groceries and only
require weekly trips for perishables.
Beans hates going out.
Beans buys lots at one time.
Beans is (relatively) smart.

And as I'm loading the totes, I'm pushing bees away from my face. Load a bag, move bees, load another bag, move bees, watch bees fly into the van, bees, hmmmm, bees.  What? Bees?  Bees in My Van?  How rude. And, seriously, bees?

Which makes me look up and around to see me, my groceries and my van are being swarmed by bees.  Lots of bees, lots and lots of bees.  And a big clump of bees clumping on the (outside) roof of my van.  Swarm of bees, hundreds of the little ladies (and probably a couple males in there.)  Straight out of some nature program.

Reason for said swarm?  A local hive of bees decided to split and send off a or a couple of junior queen(s) with a corresponding blob of males and worker bees.

But on my van?  While I am starting to do the peepee dance? Ever notice your bladder starts sending "Hey!" messages about 400' after you pass the bathroom and while doing something, like loading a van with or without the help of a swarm of bees.

Yeah, bees.  Everywhere.  So I take a tote lid (big flattish yellow piece of plastic) and scoop bees out of my van, close the rear doors and start pushing all the fine ladies (and a few men) bees off of my van.  All the while talking to the ladies (and men) and asking them (with my mouth mostly closed) to leave my van and my presence so I can finish loading and go home and undo the needs of the peepee dance (fortunately I live only 5 minutes and 2 traffic lights from store to home or home to store.)

Meanwhile, clueless masked idiots are walking into the now flying swarm and freaking out because bees.  Freaking out means stopping, screaming, flailing, running away and acting like masked idiots.  So I have to calm the local maskers and idiots (Venn diagram of maskers and idiots is almost a 100% convergence) and tell them that the bees are nice bees and just looking for a new home and are taking a break.

Of which, per every other masked idiot, I get the "Oh NOOO! They're Killer BEEEEEEEZZZEEESS!!!" 

Remember this?  Back when Saturday Night Live was actually somewhat funny?
Not 'have to be stoned to enjoy' funny like "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
Yes, Beans the very straight no-fun guy knew people who got stoned to watch MHMH.
Beans tried to watch MHMH, but show was too stupid.  Probably because Beans wasn't stoned.

Me:  "No.  No they're not.  They are just nice wild imported European Honey Bees that have broken off of an existing hive and are looking for a new home.  See?  Nice little bees, happy bees (as I carefully pluck one off of my face and shoo it away.)"

MI:  "But all the honey bees are dying, there's no new bees, the world is doomed because of no !"

(Yes, this is happened almost like this, this is a compilation and synopsis of about 20 conversations I had with individual Masked Idiots in a span of about 5 minutes.  A constant stream of masked idiots coming in and going out and back and forth.)

Me:  "No.  Commercial bees that are moved all over nations are having problems but that's more because the comm bees are being exposed to all sorts of stuffs.  Local bees are perfectly fine and happy and producing pukeloads of honey, more every year, the world is fine, bees are fine, you're being lied to, (and quietly, under my breath, take the mask off so you can let some oxygen get to your brain.)"

Meanwhile, I got all the little black and yellow furry ladies (and some men) off of my van and into the tree that I parked under, which allowed me to move to my side door (van comes with two midsection doors, very handy) and chase some more ladies (and possibly one or two men) out of my van and then finish loading from the middle of the van into totes in the back.

Then I drove home, lowering the driver's window down about once a minute to shove a lady (most likely no male) bee out the window.

Got home, started unloading, which means grabbing a tote and stacking it next to the front door, repeat, and tossing some more bees out of their former wannabee home, and then it hit me.  No, not a bee.  The fact that I had a computerphonecamera and could have videod and photoed the swarm/clump/hive of bees that swarmed/clumped/hived me and my van.

Dang it, Beans.

I've had this issue with bees before. They seem to like me for some strange reason. At the old house, a horde of bees took over a wall of my old garage and in the middle of "THE GREAT BEE DIE-OFF" I could not interest any beekeepers in the area to come take the darned things away, even with cash remittance and the bees as extra cheddar to seal the deal.  Which, of course, flew in the face of "THE GREAT BEE DIE-OFF" and "THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT BECAUSE OF THE GREAT BEE DIE-OFF."

Silly bees. Stay off me, my van, my abode, live long and prosper.

To end, a musical note.  No sad clown, just the 'most happy rock song ever' otherwise known as "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra.

Seriously, just a good happy tune.  Hard to be unhappy after hearing this. 

See?  No sad clowns.  This time.  Muhahahahahahahah...


  1. Always interesting to see a bee swarm as they are looking to establish a new hive. I've been fortunate twice to actually see a swarm establish a new home in hollow trees. Photos would have been very nice but the best ideas/responses occur after the fact...

    1. Yep. Pikturs or it didn't happen. Mrs. Andrew is always asking for video or photographic confirmation of what happens, and I just don't think that way. Even when I had a camera and was on vacation I didn't think to take pictures as I was storing stuff upstairs and enjoying the moment.

  2. Beans, one thing most people simply are not aware of is that unless you bother bees by getting into their home or trying to actively kill them, they have almost no interest in you. They are really just mostly concerned about going on about their own business. Once again, humans convinced they are the bee-all and end-all of existence (see what I did there?).

    Although I have never had a report of someone actually in a bee swarm. That is interesting - odd that they seem attracted to you.

    The totes seem like a brilliant solution the problem of storage and things sliding around.

    "Blue Sky" was actually used some years ago by Volkswagen for one of their commercials. Although generally I am not a fan of such things, it was nice that such a song, which had not gotten a lot of play time in 30 years or so, was able to get it again. It is so peppy and upbeat (I am biased of course, considering ELO to be one of the greatest bands of all time).

    1. ELO is one of the greatest bands of all times and it is a travesty that it took so darned long to get into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. Now if only Grand Funk Railroad would finally get inducted, then all would be right in the world. Or the world would end, like rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem or something.

      Never understood people who freak over bees, European or Africanized, either one. Leave the little ladies alone and they'll leave you alone. Now, yellowjackets? Kill with FIRE! FIRE GOOD! BURNY BURNY YELLOWJACKETS. Those vicious little copulators are also attracted to me (I think it has something to do with genetics or blood sugars or something) but in all the wrong ways. Grrr.

      Started using totes in vans back when I had the Ford Econoline Deluxe Serial Killer/Child Abductor version (plain white cargo van) with a queen-sized frame and futon in the back, jacked up just enough with wooden legs to allow totes to go under. Excellent way to go camping or any long-distance trip, except for the complete lack of air conditioning. But that was when I was young and thinner...

    2. Beans, Yellowjackets and wasps are, in my opinion, solid proof that evil exists in the world. Even if the fact that they are pollinators and can attacks other pests remains, at best, something that only slightly moves the needle.

    3. Wasps are only slightly evil. They can be avoided or mostly ignored (though why they insist on making nests on/in my van is beyond me.) Yellowjackets are very definitely evil.

  3. Crusty Old TV Tech here. At least Beans, with your (not so) Killer Bees, you did not have to deal with that crafty Land Shark! Ah yes, SNL back when humor was the name of the game, not a bunch of buzzkill PC garbage. Garrett Morris intoning "Lord and Lady Douchebag!", the Olympia Cafe ("CHEEBURGIE CHEEBURGIE!")...ah, good times.

    The proper name for the dance done by human males (of all ages) when attempting to avoid the void is "Rain Dance". You know the one, alternate foot hopping with knees up, to jostle the nether regions enough to prevent the dreaded Bladder Chatter!

    As for ELO, never was a fan, but "peppy and upbeat" for me was something like Kiss "Strutter", or Blue Oyster Cult "Astronomy"...or maybe Head East "Never Been Any Reason". Elmore James "Dust My Broom" also comes to mind. :-)

    1. Rain Dance and PeePee Dance are, I think, regional variations, kind of like how all sodas are 'Cokes' in the South. Maybe.

      And, yes, at one time SNL's skits had a decent track record of about 75% funny/25% eh. And declined after the first group left.

      As to ELO, my middle brother turned me on to them. Eldest brother turned me on to Three Dog Night, Grand Funk Railroad and such stuff. Middle brother tried to turn me onto the Osmonds, but thankfully I rejected that. Though he also turned me onto the Nugent and such. Not having cash, many friends into music, nor being around a functioning radio station (could only mostly get top 40 where they assumed you already knew who the band and the piece were and was, so I am just now with the interwebs discovering the names of various groups and pieces.

      I like ELO and a lot of other progressive rock bands because they tend to have rather complex melodies and rhythms. Though I do like Kiss and BOC.

  4. Down here in south Texas, there are some killer bees. I don't know how to tell them apart from the nice ones. So, I treat them all with respect. I've only seen one bee swarm, and that was back in the 60's. I've always wanted to have a hive or two, but never had the place to keep them.

    When I was running the roads as a field service rep, I tried those totes. I wound up blowing the sides out. I always had too much weight in them. They tended to slide around anyway in my Savana. I finally found a cargo net that I could hang about halfway down the length of the box, and stacked everything behind it. That stopped the whirlpool of parts.

    Before I found out the way to stock the van, it was a pile of junk just swirling around back there. If I opened the sliding door, half of it would fall on you. I had to warn to border patrol guys about that. They peeked in the window and noticed the bulkhead. He couldn't get the door open to check the back, so I asked if I could hop out and do it. I told him you had to smartly snap the handle down and be prepared for an avalanche. He was crowding the door, and I told him to back up.... I told him. Ever see Barney draw his gun on an attack box?

    1. Crusty Old TV Tech again. I would pay money to see Barney attached by an Attack Tote.

      Worked for a TV shop in college. Didn't have a partsnado story from there, but something more entertaining. The owner had a 1969 Buick Special Wagon for most TV pickup/delivery work. Buick Nailhead 350, 3-on-the-tree manual, never gave any trouble. However, the shop van was a different thing entirely. For pickup/delivery of the big combo AM/FM/record changer/TV's, we had (when I first started there) an early 60's IHC Metro Mite van. Looked like a bread van with the rear end hacked off, and an English engine, BMC B-Series. Very underpowered, but it wasn't the British engine that gave the most trouble, strangely enough.

      One day, while returning from a big Zenith combo unit pickup, whilst making a turn, all of the sudden the van lurched, and came to a sudden halt with the sound of screeching tires in front. Somehow the steering linkage had gone "over center", and one tire was pointed for a right turn, the other for a left. Well, after some cussing and fussing, the linkage was coaxed back to its normal state, and we returned to the shop without incident.

      Not too long after, another tired van showed up to take Metro Mite's place. It was a 1964 or so Garage Man's Curse Handi-Van, and though it did not have the entertaining habit of splayed front tires in a turn, it tended to shake the carburettor off the manifold at random intervals. The cue was rough running and a smell of gasoline from under the engine cover. Blasted Chevy 2 4-cylinder, it was so big it shook like Little Egypt.

      Pretty soon, that van was gone too.

    2. The reason I discovered totes (originally those packing totes like you see at the grocery store, and now the black totes) is because when Mrs. Andrew and I went camping, we took, well, everything including TheKitchenSink (actually bus trays like used in restaurants.) So, tent and stuffs, and had to have a way to pack stuff inside and load it and maintain it carefully in the van so it didn't get mixmastered from driving down bad roads. Just one of those happy little coincidences.

      Of course, when I had the Ford Aerostar (with the mustang 2.8l engine in it, and, yes, I had gotten over 100mph in a friggin minivan) things were tighter and more messy, the move from Aerostar to SexPredChildAbduct Econoline required better packing because things were so tight in the Aerostar they couldn't move while the Econoline was very spacious.

      Key to not having things slide around is either one of those rubber mats or some sort of framing. The Econoline had both with the addition of a bed frame in the back. Heavy and dirty stuff under the bed, light and clean things on top of the bed. I was always one of those people who spent time stuffing and storing stuff as a kid so it became natural.

      As to vehicles, I tend to, like jobs, ride them into the ground. You know, start out with electric windows and air conditioning and radio and all the works and slowly over the years system failure after system failure leave you with a vehicle without ac and with maybe one working window, maybe. But I get good usage out of said vehicles until they die.

  5. I have noticed a slight increase in the bee population around Rancho Juvat lately, Nowhere near the most liberal definition of swarm, just more. I agree with your strategy, don't irritate them, they won't irritate you.
    If you'd have gotten video of the Masked Moron freak freakout show, Beans, you would be set for life. Billionaire at a minimum, but alas, you were not quick enough on the uptake. Perhaps, you could pick up the techniques of the Mobile Morons. Those who walk around with their phone 6 inches in front of their face video-phoning someone and completely and utterly unaware of anyone else in the universe. HEB (our local Publix look alike) seems to attract them like "Bees to Honey" (to tie in to your post). I have been bumped into by them which generates anger on their part and disdain on mine. But...were you to adapt that habit, your phone would be primed and ready for any hilarity in your general vicinity.

    Just sayin'

    1. How to describe Gainesville, Fl, to people in Texas? Think Austin levels of stupidity and leftist bullsquat. And I spend most of my aware time when in crowds trying to keep my mouth shut and avoiding the freaks.

      I need to be more aware of the computerphonecamera thingy. Sigh. Could have become internet famous. Sigh.

      I like bees. Lots of stinky pollen plants around for them to get stinky pollen from. Mayhaps that is why you are seeing more bees at RJ, the wildflowers are blooming. I can tell when the wildflowers are blooming because of decreased vision due to allergies.

  6. Maybe the bees are attracted to your pretty white van...thinking "there is a lovely nice bigger bee hive to make our home in"...most bee hives that are man-made I have noticed are painted white. Not quite sure why, other than maybe to help radiate heat off during the summer? Dad had bees for decades, and we often had to go chase swarms. He used to keep a couple extra supers around so that when a neighbor or the fire department called, he could go get the swarm and turn it into another hive.
    Guess the lesson for the MM's is not to park under a tree during swarming season, especially since bees like trees...
    Now I get to go deal with the 7+ inches of cold white stuff Mother Nature dropped overnight on my lawn...and driveway...sigh.
    I think Mother Nature is off her meds again. Right now it is 46* out, and everything that fell last night is melting like crazy. She did the same thing this past Tuesday too...dropped 5 inches on the driveway and then popped the temps up into the 40's. So I let her take it away then since she brought it, but today I think I will go exercise the snow blower. It has been feeling a bit neglected this winter. Thankfully!!


    1. Mother Nature is always off her meds. It's one of the things that GlobalWarmingClimateChange religionists don't understand. Mother Nature is off her meds and is not very kind. She's kind of psycho, to tell the truth.

      I, personally, have witness a high of 64 degrees in July in Florida. Florida is also the first place I ever saw snow (Christmas Day, 1973, Satellite Beach, FL, just south of Cape Canaveral, well, south by a few miles.) Florida used to be the pineapple capital of the world, then it got too cold, then the citrus capital of the world then it got too cold. Funny that.

      As to why white for hives? Easy to see? White's cheap? Once a color is established it's tradition? Dunno. It works.

      As to why white or light colors for my vehicles? White's cheap, easy to see, tradition, helps radiate/reflect heat, and I'm cheap. All I want out of a vehicle is for it to carry me and mine and all the accumulated stuff of me and mine from home to destination and back comfortably and safely. Then again, I think cargo planes are 'sexy.'

      Back to the weather, last night the low was 74. Now it's 75 and raining, probably get down to the low 60s tonight. I hate heat, but I hate being wet and cold even more. Having experienced snow sticking to the ground and ice on the road (the great Florida Ice Storm of 1989 on Dec 23rd) I much prefer not having freezing white stuff and its brother ice all over everything. Though, well, during the heat and humidity of Florida, I, unfortunately, will mildew during the day. True thing. Combo of sweat and heat, and Beans mildews... Bleh.

  7. "storing stuff upstairs and enjoying the moment" - That's my thing, I often see wondrous stuff and have a brief, "need to take a picture" moment, then decide, nah, screw it, I just want to watch this so I can remember all the little details years later.

    Like the flock of had to be over a thousand geese in the air that I saw Thursday while leaving work. Cellphone camera wouldn't have done it justice, so I just enjoyed it. Most impressive it was, and no, I'm not exaggerating, had to be a thousand-plus.

    Great post Beans, I like ELO and I loved the old SNL. You never knew what was going to happen next and damn it, it was usually hysterical.

    1. You get me, about the camera thingy. I also don't have a wall of personal photos, because I have them upstairs. Do have a wedding photo and a photo of my dad at his desk at Kwaj, but otherwise, not so much.

      Though I do wish I had pictures of me fighting.

      As to SNL, who knew Belushi could cut a tomato in half during a Samurai Delicatessen skit?

    2. A thousand plus Gooses in one place! That is a LOT of Evil!

  8. Bees swarmed a camera at a Padres game a few years back. Unfortunately the keeper didn't move them, just exterminated them.

    Glad you did the kind thing and helped them move along. No stings?

    Good song!

    1. See (referring to the Padres game)? Ifn bees were so Beepocalypseish, they would have properly been moved. But, no, officials are certain to kill all the available bees they see.

      And no stings. As long as you aren't an idiot and flailing, you can skate being stung from even Africanized bees.

    2. If your wife comes home wearing white and smelling of honey, she's a keeper.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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