Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Survives -- I Blame Hugh Hefner

WE CAME THAT CLOSE TO WINNING,
BUT FINISHED THE BATTLE WITH
NEXT TO NO SURVIVORS, ONLY
ME. AND I'M GOING INTO HIDING.

I was up early this morning, looking for signs of success against February. My heroic attempt to destroy February as a month on the calendar, then divvy up most of its days with other months and preserve a "stump month" of 10 February days, hung in the balance. Alone in my prayer citadel -- other than the courthouse the highest point in the county -- I tried to have faith, but reports coming in from around the world painted a dismal picture. There was no popular groundswell, none whatsoever, to do away with February.

I held out hope, biting my fingernails to the quick. Various lieutenants and family members climbed up to check on me. The braver ones warned me to be prepared for bad news. They said reports arriving from other states and countries showed the chances of destroying February as bleak. Legislators were not meeting, Congress pitched pennies instead of working, and the United Nations was closed, ambassadors laid off without pay.

Finally, I realized I had to put on a brave face. And show that everything was fine with me, in spite of my disappointment. I stripped off my outer layers of clothing. (It's a cold day.) Then my thermals. Last, I shed the rest of my clothes and stepped out on my citadel balcony, totally naked, me against the world! In one last expression of defiance, albeit vain, I peed. Reasoning, if I can't destroy February, I can go for the Guinness world record for the longest adhering urine stream. I was stoved up with two pots of freshly ground coffee -- jet black! My stream might still be flowing -- somewhere, somehow -- even as I write this two hours later.

So what happened? It's too early for a complete post mortem. I won't get into the details of my agitating government and the media. I put my heart into it, but it wasn't enough. I would like to mention, as an incriminating aside, that there seems to be a lot of old-time XXX movie houses very close to the Capitol. Could it be our "faithful representatives" are more "hung" up on some "pressing" matters of the flesh than they are "coming" to the aid of their people? 

OK, I did the government thing, but the heart of the campaign had to be this very blog. I put the word out there everyday -- with a worldwide outreach -- and what did people do with it? That's what I'd like to know! I know you'll say this is in bad taste, but frankly I'm shifting much of the blame to my readers, whose personal pleasure was their only real concern. Pretending to be on my side, pretending to do the heavy lifting, but then ... not really. I'd guess most of them are also into XXX entertainment, whether in some rundown smelly/sticky theater, or right there with their iPhones "in hand."

I've suspected all along that I've been dealing with mental cream puffs, halfwits, and the usual run of dim bulbs you meet on the internet. They're spoiled, there's no commitment. You know what, I remember the internet back in the '90s, man. Back in the '90s, man, you'd run a campaign -- destroy February, replace Christmas with Worship a Pine 2 x 4 Day -- and you'd get it done. Then the 2000s came -- 9/11 and people became pansified -- and now we're so soft we've essentially melted. It's 2015 and you couldn't raise an internet volunteer to YAWN on cue; they'd be asleep already before you flashed the sign!

OK, you had your chance. So don't come looking to me next year when February rolls around again. Just suffer. Because I'll still be nursing a grudge -- an eternal grudge -- stewing over how you deserted me, then even went so far as to callously stab me in the back right when I was on the brink of victory. The very worst time for betrayal, because the hurt never leaves. I'll always remember ... this time back in 2015 when I took on this literally thankless task. When my readers were so "into pleasure" they couldn't be bothered to support a brother in his hour of need.

It's a lot different from what I grew up with. I grew up hearing about the Depression, with my relatives' memories being how they stuck together, through thick and thicker. So where did things go so wrong with society? You know what I blame it on? There was strength in World War II, then a huge letdown, and people relaxed. When, guess who, Hugh Hefner comes along and fills the vacuum with Playboy magazine, setting the old mores aside as well as the old values. Look it up in any sociology text. Hugh Hefner gave us the dawn of a hedonism that would've made Caligula blush. And therein is the reason we couldn't destroy February.

So it's a problem with our government, and a problem with my readers, existing as they do in this reckless XXX world. And apparently there's nowhere to find better ones. Even the most prominent think tanks can't find people. They're all so hopelessly wasted, there's probably no one but me who'd even be smart enough to apply.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Destroying February -- Did I Do Enough?


Dear Friends,

I am given to understand that we are on the verge of a great victory in our interminable month-long struggle to destroy the month of February. Let me be clear, for any who may not understand the gravity of this moment; I don't mean February simply will end for another year; I mean this is literally the end of the calendar as we have known it, as it has included February. That's right. This is the last February any of us will ever see. A major reorganization of time itself will soon be underway!

Understandably, I'm flushed with pride that we undertook this great cause, and now are seeing a successful conclusion to the campaign. As I recall, they literally said, "It won't be done, it can't be done." Please note the emphasis on the words won't and can't. That's rich! I'll savor that a good long time! For the old truth is still good as gold: If you set your heart and mind on something -- and go after it with everything you've got, be you madman, be you fool -- it's as good as done. I've proven the adage.

If there's any doubt that the deed indeed will be done -- and frankly all that's left is the mopping up -- time will tell. I believe we'll get the confirmation tomorrow, on the last day of February for this year ... and ever. I can't tell you how much I'm longing to see everyone's faces -- especially the doubters and haters (as modern lingo puts it) -- I'll probably pee my pants like a little girl with front row seats to a Menudo concert. Or whoever's popular now. There's a lot moments like that I'm going to enjoy!

Talking it over with supporters, they want me to use caution, and not prematurely declare victory. I know, I know, Nervous Nellies are everywhere! Even among my best allies and trusted lieutenants. But look, friends, we've overcome all; what is there to be nervous about? Haven't you seen yourselves the opposition fold like a dime-store napkin? Have you seen even one hint of passion on the other side? If I'd known it'd be so easy, I would've taken out February as a kid. I hated it then, having to hear kids born on Leap Year going, "I'm only four years old!" Sickening stuff.

But what if they have a point? We do have the next few days to celebrate in a big way. There's no reason we have to step on the gas and blow out the pipes today. Save some fun for later. Plus, and this is a little lesson I know from my group dynamics research on humiliating people, for any resistance you get from a ne'er-do-well, an enemy, a hater, it's better to lengthen their discomfort, self-recriminations, and disgrace than let it end too soon. Shame is a nasty concoction you want them to sip ... slowly!

I can just imagine how I'd feel if I thought February might survive this ordeal. Just saying What if? I'd feel terrible, and I'd be kicking myself, asking, "Did I do enough? Just tell me. Is this on me?" What if, instead of taking time out for myself during the struggle I'd been working harder? It's true, I watch Wheel of Fortune like everyone. And I think, Is this smart? What if it all came down to one more blog post, one more poster, one more meeting at the union hall, one more Februarian beaten to a bloody pulp and left in the alley? From one agitator to another, It's you or me, pal.

But I've been going by the domino theory on this deal, and that gives me confidence. You know the domino theory, I hope! (And yes, it's merely a theory; it's never been proven dominoes will fall reliably every time into the future. Until now, though, the domino theory has held up.) You push one over and it has ramifications, consequences. The theory states: "If the next thing, i.e., the domino, or something else that would react as a domino to the prior domino-like thing in a line, is struck by the prior domino-like thing, both will fall." You extrapolate from that, naturally, that the third, fourth items, and on and on, will also fall.

By the way, there's a second Domino theory, which is this: "Pizza from Domino's isn't bad, but there's usually a better local option." Obviously, it depends on where you live, so I'm not happy with the word usually.

Let us all get a good night's sleep tonight, then with the morning's light I believe we'll be looking at mountains of good news. Then, as the clock ticks ... the pendulum swinging back and forth ... or Felix's eyes going back and forth ... the lifeblood of February will be trickling out an open vein, leaving it finally a cold, hopeless, abandoned corpse. Our deliverance, at last, is at hand!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What About February Birthdays?


I'm very busy these days, and I'm looking to finish my "Destroy February" campaign on a high note, with total success. I will consider anything short of absolute destruction of the shrimpiest month a failure. But I'm determined not to fail. I've done a few meetings this week, speaking to a few society women, who, frankly, needed to be filled in on every detail of the campaign, not having heard of it before. I believe they're on board; they said it was "interesting."

Of course I've been spreading the good word on this blog, racking up some huge numbers as more and more people take notice. I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 hits on my "Legislature" post, which, being 35 hits minus 28 days in February gives me a bonus of 7. It's numbers like that that really add up and gladden my heart. That's not to say I haven't faced some outright hostility. A guy wrote in to criticize me, saying I was "a fool," which hurt like hell. It's really true what they say about the internet; there's some real trolls out there. I may seem strong online, but in real life I'm very sensitive.

I wanted to address an issue today that I hear about all the time. The ladies in the society meeting even brought it up. They were celebrating one of their member's birthday, February 24. And this is actually the number one question I get, everywhere I go: If February is destroyed, what about my birthday?

Rest easy, everyone ... Let me gather my thoughts. I'm getting just slightly warm under the collar as I think about it. I'm heating up more and more as I just sit here. I have some mental tricks that help -- techniques, procedures -- when I feel myself entering a time of rage. Just mentally looking to my core, and lightly breathing. I am OK, I am OK, this too shall pass. It's nothing, the people are nice, very nice people... They're just curious. I myself have been curious about things, so I know how they feel. I remember being curious why my mom didn't want me messing with salamanders at the lake. She was afraid I might fall in and drown. Breathe in, breathe out. I'm OK, most of the people are nice. Most of them are innocent of malice. Forget that guy who called you a fool. There's always someone like that who wants to bring you down, those sons of-----

I am sick to death of hearing this question about your stinking birthday! I feel I've already covered it a thousand times! No, I don't have the links! Unfortunately, an enemy hacked the page, the links are gone... Happy now? The simple fact of the matter, folks, is that knowing when your birthday is is a vastly overrated thing. It doesn't really matter. The fact that you're here proves you were born, hatched, or perhaps in some other way -- your own individual Big Bang -- came into being. Whether you fell from the highest star, or they dredged you up from the flaming bowels of Hell, which is a distinct possibility, here you are. What's the big deal?

Knowing the exact date of your birth, you've always taken it by faith anyway. Whether it's February, March, September, or Christmas Day, it doesn't make a bit of difference. If  you're so worried about the horoscope column in the newspaper, you needn't be. They're written for entertainment purposes only and have nothing to do with guiding your life.

Yes, I know there are legal reasons to know your birthday. You get asked it all the time when you go to the hospital. You need it when you apply for a credit card. If someone's throwing you a birthday party, it helps in the planning process. And so forth and so on.

But just drop it, please, for a while, and let's work together first to get February destroyed, then I promise we'll work on migrating your birthday to another day. And it'll be just as good, better! February's days will be assigned to other months and renumbered. There will be a 10-day stump month in its place. And everyone will live happily ever after. Remember, George Washington went through the same thing. He was born in 1731, they changed the calendar, and he was born again in 1732. True story.

I can see a system where you might be given the option of when you want your birthday to be. I think that'd be an enhancement over our present system. Isn't freedom of choice what we all like? Of if you want to go into a lottery system, that'd work too. We'd have the days of the year and a ball would pop up. That'd be your birthday. Or there could be some other system, such as the day your grandfather was born, just as long as it wasn't February.

OK, I have now explained it -- it's all common sense anyway -- for the 1001th time. Hope you're happy. I'm like Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights. Which we might need to edit, in case some of those nights happened to be in February.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Your All Bad News Horoscope


Scientists tell us there's more stars in space than grains of sand on Earth. And there's far more grains of sand on Earth than there are people. Meaning, if you think about it, there's at least enough stars that each us can have one of our very own. So is it so hard to believe that there's also a bad star out there with your name on it? Always portending disaster.

I know people like bad news. True, we don't always like it about ourselves. But bad news is what sells, according to folks in the business. And of course it's better to know than not, so, on the chance that it might do some good, we could try to get ahead of it and avert it.

With all that in mind, I had the great idea of a horoscope column in the paper dedicated to nothing but bad news. Diseases, accidents, various cautions, take it slow, etc.

Here's a few samples:

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) -- Bad news is coming your way, when a long lost parent shows up, until now thought dead, but alive and in serious trouble, probably massive debt.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) -- There will be a mass escape today of birds from a turkey farm. Most of them will make their way to your home, with some entering your closet and chewing your clothing to nothing but buttons and shreds.

Aries (March 21-April 19) -- The tree in your front yard that you've always seen as protection against an out-of-control vehicle will develop sap rot and need to be cut down early this afternoon. Later tonight, a drunken semi-truck driver will jump the curb and careen through your bedroom wall, killing at least one person. If you happen to have a date, it'll be two. The driver will survive.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) -- Your church will burn down this week. There will be a massive financial drive to rebuild. You'll be expected to contribute, even though you'll lose your job tomorrow.

I know what you're thinking, those might be a little too specific. It's hard to believe that so many churches will burn down all at once, one for every person born under Taurus. Or that turkey farms will have such bad luck and those under Aquarius will bear the brunt. But maybe horoscopes are tailored only for those who actually read them. Meaning, if I don't read it the turkeys stay put? Which doesn't make much sense; how does a turkey know if I read the paper?

Probably our best horoscope writers have the right idea. Keep it so generalized it wouldn't really make much difference if you were Virgo or Capricorn. I'll try a few.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) -- Hold off on making any decisions, any decisions whatsoever, including the decision to follow this advice. It's going to be bad.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Your horoscope looks so terrible today, I haven't got the heart to even tell you what it is. You have my sympathy in advance. Maybe pretend you're a different sign today. If it's any consolation, the problem doesn't have to do with turkeys.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) -- I wouldn't get involved in what's coming up. Weapons may or may not come into play. He or she simply isn't worth it. End it, end it now, but remember, weapons may or may not come into play.

That's probably enough. I'll run it by a few syndicates and see if they want to publish it. It's very compelling. On a personal note, of course I'm a Capricorn. Both my parents are not just thought dead, they are dead. I was there when my dad died, but I took everyone's word for it that my mom died. Could it be? Is she suddenly going to show up, in serious trouble, perhaps massive debt. I need to go lock my doors.

Confidential to George in Syria -- You're part of a terrible struggle. You won't survive.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Believability People


Here's my latest get-rich business idea, and remember, you heard it here first. We are "The Believability People!" If you believe it, whatever, or think you might believe it, we believe it, too! Absolutely.

They're already doing this sort of thing on TV, with the various ghost-search shows, but the only thing they pretend to believe is there's a ghost in every house they visit, and if they talk the ghost will talk back. That's tough to believe. The fact that in 100% of 6,000 cases the ghosts have never uttered a single sentence doesn't inhibit their "belief," because it's an idea done for money. It's a niche show. I like the idea. And I do believe the ghosts will speak to them next time.

But I myself might have to start out small. I could even be available for children's parties; I haven't ruled them out. As I recall, kids believe all kinds of things, things that are under the bed, in the attic, and especially in the basement. When I was a kid, speaking of ghosts, I used to get creeped out in the basement thinking a ghost might be there. It was creepy. My family bought some printing equipment from an old hunchback man, and his was the first funeral I went to, and we had actual bats flying around. It'd be a great setting for his ghost ... and a kid's party.

That actually makes me a long-time expert in the field of believability. And even if I couldn't believe it now as an adult, it shall be believed if it needs to be. I've got it right on my business card: "Credulity's Our Business, Our Only Business," along with another slogan you have to think about a bit: "Believe It or ... Not's Not an Option." Pretty ponies, angelic visitations, leprechauns, Bigfoot, UFOs, and snipe hunts. We're at your service.

I'd be a good one for believing stuff, not just because of the old dead man, but because I make snap judgments all the time. I've got lots of theories I'm thinking about. Then I search around trying to prove it so. I've found it's tough to know what the actual truth is. One big reason for that is, One guy's opinion is as good as the next guy's. That's how I see it, and if your opinion is I'm obviously wrong, I believe you, too. You make a great case. But "If It Can Be Believed, It Shall Be Believed." Why wouldn't it be true?

I'd like to hire an Einstein computer guy to build a super fast computer for me. I'd feed information into it, what people expect me to believe and the results they want, and it'd spit out a paper telling me precisely how to do it. That'd save lots of time, as well as tough mental work for me. It's bad enough that I have to put information in the computer; I'd like to have 2.0, where it already knows what I want. And I'd like it to be so intuitive, all I'd have to do is grunt in its general direction and get good information back. I believe it can be done.

You've probably noticed I like slogans. I've already given a few. How about these? "You Won't Believe Us," "We Ourselves Barely Believe How Good We Are," "Believable Results in Seconds," and "The Toast of Believability." Believability needs someone who's the toast of it. That's me. Raise a glass.

All right, let's work up a sample question, looking at it from every angle, being unbelievable and believable:

"Does Bigfoot exist?" My first instinct is to say no. Rationale: We can find anything if we look hard enough for it. We've been looking for Bigfoot forever. Presumably we have superior minds compared to Bigfoot as a beast. If he exists, we'll find him. Because we can't find him suggests he doesn't exist. Or he's invisible. If Bigfoot is invisible, he could exist. Except anything that doesn't exist will naturally be invisible. If he's invisible in that sense, then he doesn't exist. If he doesn't exist, who are we looking for? And how do we expect to find him if he's invisible. We might mistake air for Bigfoot. I'm right here in a room with air. If air's Bigfoot, I'm in danger!

But I don't want to scare off clients so quickly. So let me give my true belief: There isn't one Bigfoot, there's thousands of them. If there's one, there has to be mothers, fathers, children, a community. They're not just beasts, they're super beings who live underground. They have advanced technology, blocking our tracking devices. They monitor our TV shows about them and laugh. Mostly because we've sent out the stupidest single-tooth hillbillies to look for them. Still working off a fuzzy video from 1966. You want to know what else is underground? Water. Bigfoots are down there pissing in our aquifers. That's what's making us stupid. By the way, they think the aquifers are theirs.

Everything I've said, you can believe it. It's all true. "Changing Credulity to Credibility Since 2015."

Monday, February 23, 2015

Destroying February -- Facing Polecats


Polecats are what I always think of when I think of the legislature. And I'm not even sure what a polecat is -- I hate to confuse myself by looking it up -- I'm guessing it's a cross-pollinated skunk and weasel with some other unknown vermin. The key thing is it's accurate enough for the situation at hand, the legislature.

In school we always heard the legislature was there to help us, being our representatives, our own decent neighbor and a bunch of other neighbors from other towns. And of course your own decent neighbor cares about you and gets together with the others and does positive things. The reality's a lot flakier, and that's when we turn to the polecat to describe them.

That's the system, where your vote doesn't mean much. Because even if your guy wins, if you show up agitating you're just a kook. With any given legislator "not sure" what went on, giving him cover for the next election. Oh, and don't you dare try to describe it to anyone else, like I'm doing here, because then you're such a hothead, very easy to dismiss. They're all gathered in assembly, loudly shouting, "USA! USA! USA!"

Maybe you can tell, it's been a bad day agitating on behalf of the "Destroy February" movement. But having some stealthy habits, I believe I insinuated myself enough that it wasn't entirely unprofitable. They open the capitol for sightseers, my fellow citizens, who are into the history of the place, the artwork, etc. My fellow citizens love to see the old agitators of the 1840s, the hardy settlers who obviously spent their time in action, not tourism. I glance up at the rippling muscles of guys with axes and think, there's a lot of flab in our present day.

But the old settlers and agitators, they knew who their legislator was. He was the guy swinging the ax next to them, the one with the big top hat. And they'd get together at the end of the day for a huge pint of whiskey. They'd say, "Here's where we stand, you get in there and vote for statehood or you die." Of course he was already on the side of the people. "Damn right we need statehood, because the savages will brutally massacre us otherwise, and that's just the Feds!" Then they were back to drinking and horseplay, especially ring toss with the saloon's mounted buck.

During this time I was able to appeal to my fellow citizens, surreptitiously, and I got some good nods and clenched fists. I was happy. The average man "gets it." He knows February isn't really anything worth keeping. What's so good about it? I can't think of a single thing. It was originally a stopgap measure, meant as a temporary fix until whatever war that was going on was decided. With the intention being to deal with it when peacetime came. Then they were exhausted and it just slipped by. How much better it'd be to take most of its days and plump out the other months, then keep, say, 10 days as a kind of stump month, used for reverie and hell-raising!

But you don't have to be at the Capitol long till you see the legislators aren't the average man. They're bought and paid for by fat cats, so they're ensconced behind closed doors. No drinking, no backslapping, no camaraderie, just distance. Occasionally peeking out to see if the coast is clear so they can scoot unseen past the tourists and get another coffee. This one guy, a couple counties up, had his pants down to his knees, barely aware I was standing there. He and his secretary were doing something inside but he was still thirsty enough for a quick coffee run.

In desperation I shouted "Destroy February!" It took the idiot by surprise, and he blubbered out something like, "Fill out the form and we'll run it by Legal." Legal? Put off by his immodesty, I'm thinking, Aren't you the guys who make the law here? If I had more than one vote, and lived in his county, I'd vote him out in a second. That's why they want to stop so-called voter fraud, because they know we'd take out the corrupt ones.

The worst thing you can do if you want to get something positive done in this country, like destroying February, is to take it to the Legislature. It's so gummed up there, it's a wonder anything gets done. They give you the cold shoulder. If you're not a tourist going gaga over the artwork and spending money, for yet another touch up of the gold dome, then what are you even here for? Go away!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Destroying February -- Fascist Rangers


February's slipping away, and there's so much left to do if I'm going to destroy it as a month. The worst thing I can think of is having February slip by unscathed. Then it'd be "Out of sight, out of mind," with nothing changed and nothing to change. There is literally no time to lose!

I'm checking my list, so many things to do, it's daunting. Get to the statehouse and lobby legislators, organize rallies, circulate petitions, then get crucial support for the new stump month to take February's place. The travel alone might do me in, not to mention the work! Whatever else I can say, the key thing is, It's all super important and must be dealt with -- pronto!

Damn it to hell, then! ... that it turned out to be such a beautiful day, more like spring than winter. And I foolishly put the list of tasks on the back burner, and went out -- again, so very foolish! -- and wasted the day, indulging myself. I had to think, Does February know its days are numbered? Is that why it's so nice? Who knows? But whatever it was, it really zapped me. I got in the car, which was already warm, and next thing you know, I was out at the lake enjoying the day.

I'll blame it on my new dog, Roughage. I've been wanting to take her to the lake and watch her in nature, running and acting like the springtime pup she is, full of joy and total abandon. So that's what we did, and it was a great time. The birds serenaded us with their happy spring-like songs; it was quite the time!

After she was a little tired out, we sat together in the car, the sun streaming in. I rolled up the windows because it was also fairly breezy. That was probably my big mistake, sitting there in the warmth, a sleeping dog stretched out on the passenger seat, trying to read my Kindle. I felt my head nodding, and tried to hold back but there was no resistance. Soon both of us were dozed off, and that's it...

I'd probably be asleep still, except I heard tapping at the window, which turned out to be a couple of park rangers -- wicked bastards -- asking if everything was OK. It seemed we were parked at the campground, and the main boss said, quite rudely, that that meant paying the camping fee and having the proper stickers and permits. And that he could run me in on a 402 or 511, this, that, and the other regulation I'd never heard of. The other guy said it's people like me ruining the campground for society. Well, of course that's just what I needed to hear! Having just woke up, I have to admit I wasn't as nice as I should've been -- I was downright surly -- and their mean snarling frankly didn't help the situation. If it hadn't been for the dog being so cute I'd probably be in jail right now.

Add to that the sudden awareness I had again of the list of things I should've been doing for destroying February, and it sunk me immediately into the worst mood. I got a headache, bang, just like that. And I left there resolved, that once I destroyed February, I'd also see to it that the entire state camping system gets its just desserts! As in "Bye, bye, fascist rangers!"

The day shot to hell, all I can do now is resolve and plan to get out tomorrow ... and get it done. Get out there and give 'em hell!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February -- Too Soon to Declare Victory


We're just this far -- a smidgen of an inch -- from proudly declaring total victory over February, and once and for all destroying, annihilating this infernal month.

But it's always that last stretch that can be tough, so we're taking it cautiously. One thing I do not want -- above all -- is to declare victory, then become a worldwide laughingstock, and, perish the thought, having to face February again next year amid heckling, laughter, finger-pointing, and other derision. There's already kids in the neighborhood setting my garbage on fire, just warming up for the main event, probably, and since I've been tossing my dead mice in there, you can only imagine the smell.

I hate the attitude I'm getting. But the world's come a long ways from the touchy-feely place it used to be, that my grandparents told me about, back in the utterly bleak days of the Depression, then World War II. The way they told it, they were just happy to survive. I knew I came from hardy stock when they told me the tough times claimed the lives of about half my relatives. Ground under the wheels of turmoil, leaving the rest to scamper for safety in a field somewhere, a clearing behind some trees. Those were great times, but touch and go, like when Grandpa's overalls were caught on a fence and Jap planes narrowly missed him with a barrage of bullets.

Yes, in many ways the good times are well behind us, as far as I can tell. And I'm usually an optimistic guy, believing the future can either match or surpass the past. This, despite what they say about rising oceans, creeping glaciers, falling meteors, the occasional fishhook in your finger, and roving gangs of hopeless teenagers, hopped up on tattoos, video games, and sagging trousers. A few of them in hoodies have left the rest of us with no choice but to arm ourselves, patrol our neighborhoods, and shoot anything that moves.

The police, you can't depend on them, through no fault of their own; their hands are tied. They're beholden to old rules of "justice and fairness" handed down by the courts, the same courts that have now deserted us in fear and taken to underground chambers. We want the police to have the power to take out unbridled terrorism, but they're still awaiting video equipment meant somehow to protect themselves.

So you see the situation I'm in. I believe the world would be a better place without February, and I believe we're on the verge of making it happen -- demon warfare be damned, and burning mountains of flame falling into the abyss notwithstanding -- if we can just have patience in these last few days, a little over a week to go. When they say "Time will tell," certainly that's true in this instance. February will either prevail or it won't. I'm putting my money on its destruction, but I won't declare victory just yet. That's for a time to come, and until then we must give it our all, thrusting forward, or back and forth, as circumstances demand, believing that in the great climactic moment a decision to withdraw from the battlefield will present itself, and at long last we will rest easy.

But whatever happens happens -- what's important for me is to be certain that I gave my last ounce of strength in the cause. Equally important is to avoid, as I said, ridicule, humiliation, and retaliation. But that can't be the focus. The focus has to be to give it all I've got now, because next year will be too late. If I fail -- God forbid -- I can change my name, move, get new papers, find a militia movement, let's say, and take out my frustrations on society and its recalcitrance in mob action. Folks, you need to help me now. This is where Unabombers come from, the temptation and pull of which I vow to resist with all my might.

We've long now passed a certain threshold in February, having garnered quite a bit of support to destroy February through my blog. I've been in the news. Quite a number of people have rallied for the cause. The State Capitol saw a rally, thanks to the free donuts we passed out. Right here in town, at the courthouse, a few people also rallied. I regret to say things got out of hand and they destroyed some artwork from the 1920s. But on the bright side there's always someone who can make new artwork.

Stick by me, OK? And together we'll have our declaration of victory very soon. I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen. For the next week I'll only be sleeping seven hours a night, not eight. Dear friends, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh. February's going down!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The World Comes to My Dog


I thought I knew quite a bit about dog behavior. But I've been having problems. Roughage gets up, goes out, eats, plays, etc., and takes a morning nap. All that's OK, but there's some misbehavior, her avoiding my calls and not coming to me, inside and out. What could be the problem? I keep asking. First, obviously, I blame the dog. But she's such a good dog, could it be I'm doing something wrong?

Different ones stop by the house all the time and they get nothing but loving behavior from her. Just in the last few days there's been several visitors, the postman, milkman, paperboy, freezer repairman, census taker, and brush salesman.

They've been very respectful and admiring of her. She goes to the paperboy OK. He's small and non-threatening and pets her lovingly. "She's quite a corker," he said, putting another chew of gum in the corner of his mouth. Good boy.

That's not to say the others have been hands-off. The postman was very kind, taking the bag off his shoulder so she wouldn't think it was a place for kidnapping dogs, and put his hands down. You think of postmen as being very anti-dog -- and probably many are -- but this guy, I believe he said, has a dog of his own at home, and she even has a French-type name, Fifi, and, he said, she's very gentle with everyone. He had nothing but soothing tones for Roughage, calling her "such a good girl."

The freezer repairman was here next, whose whole life is looking at frozen meat all day, with some of it so thawed that it's lost its shape and become a smelly mess. That'd turn off anybody, so you'd think he might be put off by a dog. Being like meat on the hoof. But I noticed he's able to separate the two in his mind. He reached out in friendship. And Roughage took right to him, as though she wouldn't mind visiting houses around town as the repairman's pet. I like that kind of gentleness. And if I should die, leaving her behind, the repairman would make a good father figure/master.

The census lady also came by. Even though we only do the census every ten years and it's not up for another five years. But she's a conscientious person who thinks there's no reason not to take care of some homes early, since she knows we'll still be here in five years. Pretty good planning on her part. She reads the paper and will know if we die (or move, fat chance), so she could cross us off the list then. Otherwise, when the actual census rolls around, she can concentrate more diligently on the ones who are non-responsive and need extra prompting.

I was a little concerned, since they don't include dogs in the census, but the census lady spent some real quality time with Roughage, even letting her chew meditatively on the corners of her paperwork. She was watching, of course, to make sure she didn't chew into the print area. She kept petting her on the head as she chewed, and it had to be a combination of things, the chewing, salivating, petting, and soft voice, that put Roughage to sleep right there in mid-chew. Very nice.

The brush salesman is someone I don't see much anymore. The days of brush salesmen are passed. And this guy isn't even really the brush salesman, but the son of the guy we used to have. His dad, now passed on, left him the bag and samples and he just shows up once in a while to keep the old traditions alive. He took one of his softest brushes and lovingly passed it through Roughage's fur. That, along with a soothing salesman patter, very soft, she was asleep again, the brush passing rhythmically back and forth. About even put me to sleep!

The milkman is also a very gentle guy. But this particular day he was rushed, and add to that, that I hadn't called in my order, so he had the conundrum of "Do I leave the usual order?" or "Will I get in trouble if I don't bring some special thing that he might have wanted?" He worked it out by arriving late, around 10 a.m., knowing I'd be getting up, me and the new dog. He came in and absolutely fell in love with Roughage, wondering, "What could I give her?" Dogs aren't known to like milk products, but he had a few Milkbones in his pack, and she graciously received one from his hand.

So what about the misbehavior? It can't be from the many human interactions she's had, since they were all great. So I'm blaming myself. Playing with her too hard, play-growling as I do, hiding behind things on my hands and knees and surprising her, and throwing toys and letting her chase after them. She seems to love it but maybe it's too manic for an animal whose mind is not yet fully formed. I promise to do better!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are Pharmacists Happy in the Grocery Store?


I have no problem with pharmacists, none. Of course I wonder about them from time to time, like everyone. Are they happy back there separating little pills with a knife? Do they resent that you just called in your prescription and you're already there? Do they ever suspect you're not who you say you are, picking up meds for someone? That's an issue all by itself. I've seen husbands picking up meds for their wives, and vice versa, and as a guy standing in line, I wonder, "How do you know they're not scamming you?"

I do think pharmacists by and large don't have it as good as they used to. Like back when they had their own stores, a place of their own, something to be proud of. Now they're in the grocery store, with people coming to them only because they're handy because you go there for groceries. Of course they still wear the funky shirt, as though that really means anything under the circumstances, but it's their tradition. Everyone needs those traditions to keep them at least slightly proud. But it can't be the same.

Actually, when I go to the pharmacy at the grocery store, I sometimes have them ringing up a few grocery items for me, and I wonder, Are they pissed off? After all, they went to school not to be a grocery checkout guy, but a pharmacist. They took classes, they ingested a whole range of medicines to know the effects first hand, they got a diploma and multiple certificates for any specialties. And now here they are ringing up my box of popsicles. Seems insulting, but it's two birds with one stone. And it's their fault. If you're in the grocery store, don't be surprised if you're stocking shelves later.

They do a pretty good job, though, and it is a lot more convenient than it used to be. Years ago we never called in a prescription refill. Plus you had to go in to get it. Now you might pull up to the drive-through window, etc. And ask extra favors, like, "Could you be a dear and run and get me a bag of macaroni and tomato sauce?" It makes them happy, I hope.

Here's what I'd like to be able to get, going by the old slogan, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. "Give me an ounce of prevention, please." "Sorry, we can't unless your doctor phones in the script." And doctors, since they're carefully balancing the tension between needing you sick enough to come in but well enough to be moderately happy, don't want anything to be quite that easy. "OK, how about a pound of cure?" They might sell you a pound of cure, since they'd be making a lot more money with a pound than with an ounce of prevention. But no, you also can't get a pound of cure. Again, the doctor wouldn't want you to have it, nor would the pharmacist really. A whole pound of cure would be all you'd need for five years.

But good for whatever ails you, that's what I want! With the closest thing being something like Ibuprofen or Alleve. We used to get Red Dope, which is what we called it, and we put it on everything, cuts, scrapes, bruises, toast, pizza... You put it on -- say you're a kid -- and everything's immediately better. And also, along with Red Dope, we had Castor Oil. Grandma was big into Castor Oil as a cure all. I don't know if it was really that great, but it tasted very potent.

Right now I'm only "on" one prescribed med. How about that for age 62? In addition to it -- cholesterol med -- I also take a baby aspirin every night ... for whatever ... veins not to clog up, I think. So I'm doing pretty well. I know a few people who have one of those trays with slots for everyday, and they're jam-packed full of things, morning, noon, and night. Somehow I've avoided that, so far.

I'm glad I'm not a pharmacist, not just for the various indignities they have to face, but for all the sick people they're helping everyday. But by now most of them have built up a pretty good immune system, so maybe pharmacists live forever.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February -- Got the Moves Like Dagger


Note: This is largely a fictional account of what I'd love to see happen to February. Yes, I'm trying to destroy February as a month, but, no, I don't (necessarily) want to accomplish it by violent means. Still, how satisfying it'd be -- one of those wish fulfillment things -- if my peaceful values could be just slightly different, and I could see a palace assassin plunge the dagger in, and watch February writhe in pain on the floor and finally die. Am I right?

The council of months was underway at the palace, high in the atmosphere somewhere, the various lords and ladies of time in the large courtroom awaiting their annual decisions. Decisions pertaining to how the kingdom would measure time for the year. Would it be as it had been for the last 10,000 years, with no variation, or could this be the year there might be a change?

As a lowly guest, being an acquaintance of a friend of a day in January, I stood behind a curtain in the very back, straining to hear, wondering, Might February be out? I had no reason to hope, but, being a hopeful guy, I couldn't help whispering a slight prayer to that effect. The same prayer I'd prayed the last 4,000 years.

Trumpets sounded, meaning the Council of Months' business session had ended, and they'd be returning to the court and to the great round table. The table itself was a matter of some controversy, true story. The vote had been 11 to 1, February outvoted again, who, inscrutably, always agitated for a rectangular table. My opinion, February would do anything to change the subject, to give us a reason to think of anything else but its shortcomings. And that's true, when you're misshapen in some way -- say you've got only 28 days to your name -- you tend toward strange eruptions around your betters.

So the months gathered before us and we listened for the announcement. There would be no change to the calendar. The vote was almost unanimous, 11 to 1, and the predictability of time had been maintained once again! February shifted uneasily in his chair, then in a pique slammed his fist to the table. Obviously he had lobbied for more days. I muttered to myself, "What a disgrace..." The other months were rolling their eyes and showing signs of irritation with yet another of February's many annoyances.

It had been widely hoped, not just by me -- like one of those impossible dreams -- that at some point the other months might just vote February out entirely, then divvy up its days between themselves. I'd long hoped they'd keep a kind of stump month, say with 10 days of the old February, and for those days to be a time of revelry and cussedness. I think it'd be good for society -- rife with criminality as it is -- to get it out of its system all at once.

Little did I know we were closer to that happening than I ever had reason to expect! For behind the scenes, behind the curtains, the plot was already in motion. An assassin from a violent group called the Coterie of Devils (represented in the picture as a literal coterie of devils) lurked. We didn't know a thing about it. But all of a sudden, in a flash, this big burly guy with no shirt and the hairiest back I ever saw sprang from a hiding place and plunged a dagger into February's back. There was an unbelievable gasp in the room, many exclaiming, "Conspiracy!", and I myself distinctly gasped the following words, "Well, hush my mouth!"

But what could anyone do? The guy was a stabbing machine, going like speed typing, and the other months, weighed down in their royal robes, and not being trained for defense, were motionless. February took at least two dozen lightning thrusts. Then the assassin, in one last act of boldness, mounted the table, dropped his pants, and mooned in the general direction of February's bloody dying form. This daring gesture accomplished, he leaped to the floor and ducked quickly behind the curtain and was gone.

I sensed the mood was a bit weird, like the usual miasma that goes with shock. Sure, no one liked February, but having him stabbed by an assassin? That's damned tough to endorse. But I decided to go for it, and stood strong on the table, waving a bloody napkin from February's place at the table, and shouted, "Let this be a day of independence for the progress of time and its descendants!" And what's this? The bastards booed me down, and I had to slink out of there in total disgrace, excoriating myself in no uncertain terms, "Too soon, stupid, what the hell were you expecting, you stupid idiot?" 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tips For Blogging Success


Having a successful blog as I do, of course I think of all the other blogs out there that languish, being more or less neglected by the whole world. That's how it was for me when I first started out. I'd be driving somewhere, on a lonely country road, come to a crossroads and have to stop for a passing tractor. Every time I'd think, "There's traffic at every damned crossroads on every damned country road, and I can't get one single idiot on the internet to visit my site."

But I kept plugging away, and following certain principles, and now, seriously, I get all kinds of traffic -- a lot of Ukrainian gambling sites constantly hit me. So now -- last time I checked the statistics -- my site, grandmaslump.com, is the 2,300,000th most valuable internet property, valued at $8.95. 2,300,000 sounds high, but consider, there's anywhere from 6-8 billion people in the world.

Anyway, enough padding this out, here's the tips for blogging success:

1. Keep your blog somewhat nebulous. Never completely define yourself. -- It's counter-intuitive, I know. Someone has a recipe site and it's clearly a recipe site, simple. But think, you're going to get the same people all the time, drawn to it because it's so easy, meaning they're likely airheads. My thought is to keep 'em guessing. You have recipes, then all of a sudden you run a story about the history of firetrucks. New people are visiting you now. My own blog has variety because it's simply what I happen to be thinking of at the time.

2. Ignore trends. Again, you can have terrific traffic if you follow trends. But the thing is, trends change all the time. Say the trend is a sudden interest in getting Botox while suntanning while binge-viewing porn. Obviously folks are getting a lot more health-conscious. Soon Botox and suntanning will be frowned upon and shunned, then you'll be scorned as someone who pushed a bad trend.

3. Maintain your integrity. -- Post what you want whether anyone likes it or not. You have your high standards, the public be damned. I follow this rule to a certain extent, with a few slips. As said before, I have one major, huge clientele to think of. So I never say anything bad about Ukrainians or gambling. It's not that they really read my posts, I guess, but they're continually hitting them for some reason. The honest to God truth is, I'm not as pro-Ukrainian as I let on, and I despise gambling.

4. Present yourself as possibly crazy. -- I think the benefits here are fairly self-explanatory. People love crazy people. It helps their self-esteem to say, "I'm gonna keep reading that blog, to remind myself how blessed I actually am. And, I'll even recommend it to all my friends, normal and crazy alike. The normal ones will feel better about themselves, and the crazy ones will get crazier ideas, keeping the rest of us in normal self-esteem heaven."

5. Respect your audience. -- This is one I could write about about forever. Because I think of my audience, what they like and don't like. In a way, I'd love to have more comments. I believe my last comment was a year or so ago, seriously. But in a way, I like it like that. Because I'm so naturally a people-pleaser that if they said they didn't like something, I'd be careful to tiptoe around them. Then I'd be getting comments that "You've lost your edge," or whatever. And they'd be offended.

I do read comments at some of the larger news blog-like operations, and, even though I respect the audience (wink wink), their audiences don't deserve respect. They're grasping at every opportunity to make smart ass comments, to find fault, and to bicker. Then you get trolls who say inflammatory things to get a rise out of the overly-earnest, and the whole thing goes to hell. For me, then, blogging success is a nice comment every couple of years, unsigned, and not expecting to be patted on the head for it.

One other point on respecting your audience, I sometimes have the secret thought that my true audience isn't even born yet. Let me explain. As one of the world's only "Super Brains," everything I write is so intellectually advanced that very few people raised under our current pathetic educational standards are able to keep up. And, yes, I'm even including eggheads with Ph.D. degrees in advanced subjects. They've had such a narrow focus, that's all they know; in short, they're idiots.  Then there's the vast majority of the people who are essentially into two things, video games and tattoos, and I might throw in the reading of graphic novels. They started out dumb, then dumbed themselves down even further. It's all tragic, because, as I understand it, mankind has such great potential. I offer myself as Exhibit A+.

But still out there somewhere, just over the horizon, just waiting for decent mothers and fathers, are future generations, who will rise above all the bullcrap of our current day. Those are the ones I hope will discover my blog, still online long after I've died, who will become my true audience, the ones who will be able to grasp most of the high-flown things I say and appreciate it. Then they'll comment -- intelligent comments, not the crap that passes for discourse these days -- and I won't be here to see their comments. Meaning, whatever I wrote, I wrote without interference. It's all pure for them to read, pass on, and make a better world for everyone.

That's the audience I respect, not the usual morons I get.

AWARDS -- I've gotten many awards for my blogs. If you'd like to read about them, check out this link. Of all my awards, I'm most proud of the Gorton Fisherman Award for Writing Excellence, in 2010. As I recall, I caught lightning in a bottle and lived to write about it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

George & Abe -- That's Presidents' Day

SINGING THEIR PRAISES

Today, I'm overlooking the whole Illuminati nexus thing with Washington and Lincoln and the shady dealings that elevated them to the presidency. Whatever secret information I may have intuited about them having to do with the Mysteries of Weird, I'm setting it aside. That's my serious face, this is my happy face, as I join the rest of the world in just blithely accepting the surface report of their service. Hurray for me! For one day, pyramids don't have eyeballs! The Illuminati aren't secretly symbolized in the American Eagle. I'm so happy! It'll be fun to see only what the other half sees!

I have to confess, though, I don't really know a tremendous amount of stuff about Washington and Lincoln. I was sick the day they covered them in school. But let me hasten to add that what I do know, I like. What's there not to like? These men brought us through whatever challenges there were at the time, and now we're fine. And they personally inspired me. So, everything I've managed to learn about them, while far from expert status, is something I feel I've done a good job retaining. We're always our worst critic -- as the old saw goes -- so I'd give myself only a weak A minus, perhaps dropping it to a strong B+ if I wasn't so generous. The other half of being your own worst critic is being the most generous forgiving your faults.

I'll go first with the main things I remember about George Washington. My earliest memories, looking through the haze, show a cherry tree, and him as a boy cutting it down. His father asked him about it, he said the Illuminati did it, and everyone lived happily ever after. Some time later, he crossed the Delaware, arriving safely on the other side. He was dentally challenged, being born with wooden teeth. One night he made a wish to be on the dollar bill, and woke up and it was so! I find that very puzzling; I couldn't wish myself out of an imaginary paper bag.

Next is Honest Abe, and what I remember about him, first, he was honest. He read by the fireplace, was a smart kid, then a smart man, split rails by day, and hairs by night, in debates. A little girl asked him to grow a beard, which he did, thankful she didn't ask him to wear pink panties and play with dolls. Later, with his beard, he led one side in the Civil War, annihilating the other. Finally, he survived all that just to be killed.

You can't get better than these guys. That much is certain. Still, though, understandably, we seek men for the office who at least aspire to be as good, if not better. That much has already been proven, as other men have held the same office. Each in his own way tried to emulate his forebears -- Washington and Lincoln -- and yet, however good they were, each fell way short of the mark. Except for Obama, who, like Lincoln, started with a team of rivals and only got more.


FUN FACTS ABOUT WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN:
(Kids, share these with your teacher for a sure A)

Neither ever jump-started a car, positive to positive, negative to grounded metal part, then disconnecting the cables in the reverse order. Too complicated.
Neither had any favorite records, always having to hear music live, or perhaps on a music box. In fact, most of the technological stuff we take for granted, they didn't.
Neither ever used a telephone, not the crank model, the dial phone, a telephone booth, or a cell phone. They had lots of time on their hands.
Both could speak English, no big deal.
Both had wives and lost their virginity at some point.
Both had a carbon footprint, but never as big and bad as ours.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN:

Washington never had to face a camera, Lincoln did. Washington faced painters, who quit before they got done. Lincoln's cameras achieved their goals.
Lincoln was born the same year as Edgar Allan Poe, Washington wasn't.
Washington died before the 1800s, Lincoln didn't live to see the 1700s.
There simply aren't many other differences between them. Both men were very similar to the other. What Lincoln lacked, Washington made up, and vice versa.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February -- The Mysteries of Weird


Don't you think it's amazing -- showing what a gracious guy I am -- that I celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday without once mentioning my grievances against the month of February? I think that's pretty good, and I'm assigning one gold star for myself. I told myself I'd let February pass for one day, then the next day lay into it again. (I'm trying to destroy February as a month.)

Speaking of Valentine's Day, and I'm going to add President's Day to the mix, it's hard for me to believe that a short, shrimpy, nothing-little-month like February somehow wrangled these two important franchises. I would seriously think these would be observed at a more distinguished time, like March. Except for Spring, March doesn't have many holidays.

But President's Day works like this: Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12. We used to celebrate his birth, a great president who worked like a dog to overcome the February curse. And George Washington was born twice in February! Seriously, check out his Wiki page. First, under the Old Style of the calendar he was born Feb. 11, 1731. Then over a year later he was born on Feb. 22, 1732! Unlike his fellow president, Lincoln, Washington had twice as much to overcome. But he made a vow -- deemed foolish at the time -- that he would be the first president of the United States, then he made it happen. Inspiring.

Or was it? Did either of these men actually become president in any honest way, or was it all someone behind the scenes, knowing how history would work out, pulling the strings to make it happen? I would suggest that the evidence is suggestive, suggesting some shenanigans. Really, what's the chances that Washington and Lincoln, two of our greatest presidents, should come along and actually be elected? What I'm really saying is that both men were probably involved with the Illuminati, who somehow have control of the strings of time and fate. The implication is they became involved with the Illuminati, but resisted and were briefly found to be unworthy. But when they ingratiated themselves again with the Illuminati, they had to settle for President's Day being in February. Making two strikes against Lincoln and three against Washington.

The two men then conferred, Washington saying, "The average people think of February as any other month." Lincoln agreed. And so, ever since, presidents have generally escaped the full berating for their many failings. This whole arrangement took the heat off future presidents, who could now say, "Yeah, but Washington and Lincoln were both born in February." Speaking of scandal. The truth is the Illuminati are always five moves ahead of the people, and the people are always ten moves behind them. There's no sanctity to anything, only evil scandal and no one with the cajones (or brains) to do anything about it.

I've been looking at this for a number of years. In those years I've said many times, more times than I can count in hindsight, "The Illuminati wouldn't be the Illuminati if they weren't doing Illuminati-type of things. This is just one more thing in their despicable in-your-face dealings. Their motto is, quite frankly, 'Take it or leave it.'" When you find you're over a barrel, that's the Illuminati. When you're painted in the corner, that the Illuminati. When you're all twisted up inside, with a fever and heartburn, that could be anything. But everything else is the Illuminati.

I need to study the Illuminati more, because they're tied in with February, as already illustrated. Still, I'd like to get to the bottom of their mumbo jumbo and find out what makes them tick. It's gotta be something, to keep them in business century after century, yanking everyone's chain, even power players like Washington and Lincoln. As I understand it, they're the ones we have to thank for eyeballs on pyramids (as seen on the dollar bill), the Washington Monument as a national phallic idol, and Betsy Ross' original circular arrangement of stars on the flag. They're big into circles, on the flag -- liking non-linearity -- and their work probably includes crop circles.

Time forbids me to list their many invasions into everyday life. I call it, however, "THE MYSTERIES OF WEIRD," taking the word "WEIRD" as a kind of proclamation that they are God. Such as "WE (that is to say I) R Deity. Toys R Us? No, We R God! Weird. Certainly they've been around long enough, we may as well call them eternal, so maybe they're right.