Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All Is Forgiven When You're Dead

A local TV channel's weatherman committed suicide. True story. I hadn't personally ever heard of him, since I don't watch that channel, but of course I feel sad that something, whatever it might have been led him to do that.

I heard about it on one of the competitor channels, and they gave a nice presentation on him. Apparently he was something of a cut-up on air, since they had him flapping like a wild chicken, dressed in a Superman costume, and so forth. Perhaps not the most flattering images, but they meant well, that he was well known and respected for various antics.

OK, but I have some objections. If the people on the competing channel aren't watching the other guys' shows, how do they know about him? And how did they become so chummy all of a sudden, since it's usually a cut throat business. Even while they were praising the deceased weatherman they were still using slogans for themselves like, "The most accurate weather report," as if to say the competitors' weather sucked. Maybe that's what pushed him over the edge, everyone questioning his accuracy.

The whole thing has been on my mind, as you can tell. It reminds me of the old truth that once you're dead, everything's forgiven. You can kill a hundred people, but once they get done executing you in the electric chair, you're in for an honorable burial. No one comes around and kicks your body. At least in America. In Libya they probably do. Or Iran. I think it makes a certain amount of sense. After all, it is your body. Why not pulverize it if you were that bad?

The weatherman, of course, wasn't a bad guy. According to what they're saying. They didn't mention why he committed suicide. Maybe no one knows. But they are definitely promoing the various signs of suicidal behavior, that the rest of us might be vigilant in the face of similar behavior in our loved ones. So that's a positive.

When they started promoing the upcoming story of the dead weatherman, I figured it was going to be some old 80-90 year old retired weatherman who was beloved in the area. Because I believed they used the term "dearly loved" or "well loved." So I was expecting to see an old black and white picture of the first weatherman in the area. But then it turned out to be this young guy, 41, flapping like a chicken, and I thought, "Whoa." They used the word suicide and I was thinking that's unusual! Who's happier than a weatherman? No one! Maybe the sports guys, whose constant happiness lies in their superficial approach to life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A World Of Wonder For Jimmy

My board of editors and I left the garage where most of my blogging is done and went out on a story, to interview Jimmy. Of course Jimmy needs no introduction, if you read my post on the 17-year-old boy whose parents restrict him to the Children's Room at the public library. This is one of the library's actual rules:
A parent or guardian must accompany a child under 18 to approve their child's card and can choose to restrict it to materials from the Children's Room.
My board of editors is also well known. We have Trade and Mark Smith, Dale, and Delilah. Last week we had a guy named Frank but he's since been fired.

I worked it out with Jimmy's father to set up an interview, telling him it would be a human interest story. But my secret plan was to ask such pointed questions that I knew Jimmy would rebel and insist on using the big people's section of the library. But that didn't actually happen.

For the interview, the library made us so comfortable in the Children's Room, with the little cups of milk they provided, that I also felt at home there. But for the tiny chairs, I might've restricted myself! Jimmy, though, looked entirely comfortable, having never known anything else.

Watching him before we sat down, I began to be more and more impressed. He treated the Children's Room like his own personal domain, and  I could see by the way he pulled books off the shelf that he definitely knew his way around. Yet none of it was old hat to him. It was all a world of wonder! And it's easy to see why. The Children's Room has books on giants, fairies, and all manner of other weird beings. It'd be easy to get lost in your imagination there!

Anyway, we got ready for the interview. Jimmy was behind a small table. His father sat at his side, obviously prepared to run interference. His mother was off to the side, knitting. I and the board sat facing Jimmy. Trade, Mark, and Dale were off to my left, leaving Delilah on my right to take notes, obviously the secretary.

I did all the talking for our side. The board was there to offer whatever moral support I might have needed, although I didn't need any.

I asked Jimmy if he felt the restrictions imposed by his parents had hurt him any. He looked at his dad, who gave him a helpful frown. "No,"  he said, going on to state his happiness with being able to easily read 18-20 books a day, while his friends using the whole library could barely get through one book a month. The board and I nodded. If you look at it like that, he could read through the entire Children's Room once a year while his friends were stuck on one shelf!

But I thought I'd try again, asking if he felt his outlook on life had been stunted in any way. "No," he said, first glancing at his father, saying he was aware that life was a mixed bag, with smiley faces and sad. And that's the way it is in children's books, too, he declared. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry. He referred to one interesting story that I hadn't heard of before, in which the evil witch is pushed into a blazing hot stove while the children make their way back home via a trail littered with bread crumbs and pebbles.

And one other probing question. I asked if he had any secret desire whatsoever to sneak into the big people's sections of the library. I thought I detected just the slightest hesitation, but a quick glance at his dad steeled his resolve. "No," he said, stating that he felt he was presently getting the best preparation for life ahead. The Children's Room gave him a solid basis for life, and his dad would be there to help him with the rest. I couldn't argue with that, of course, since he was clearly a big help to him.

Overall, though, I had mixed feelings. One, Jimmy looked very immature for 17-years-old, but maybe that's the whole point: His parents are keeping him young! In a weird way I could envy him. I'm 58 now and feeling old, but what if my parents had restricted me to the Children's Room? I might feel 35 now instead of old!

Soon we brought the interview to a close. Jimmy's parents put a dark hood over his head and walked him to the car. I lingered behind for a few minutes, checking out some of the titles. 18-20 books a day? I thought. Amazing!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why The Old Vets Are So Quiet

I still haven't given up on the theme of the sex lives our soldiers and sailors in World War II. You might remember, I asked, "Did World War II Soldiers Have Sex?" Then I followed that with, "Should World War II Soldiers Have Had Sex?" Later, "I Forgive World War II Soldiers For Having Sex." But just because I forgave them doesn't mean I shouldn't explore the issue a little further. I get a lot of hits on these stories, and that's good for my ego.

WW II veterans are dying off at a staggering rate, and they're about gone. So any light the remaining ones could shed on this issue would be helpful, both for the historical record and for their peace of mind at having come clean. My word to them would be, Any vow of silence you made to your brothers in arms, surely you have kept up your end of the bargain. They're gone, but you remain. Bygones being bygones, come clean already!

As for the historical record, historians like to have a little fun, too. We think of  historians sitting in big ivory towers memorizing names and dates and quizzing one another every few hours. But that's probably just a stereotype. I think there has to be more to it. Frankly, I'm positive they're like the rest of us -- horny bastards -- and would appreciate a little lasciviousness in their work. So, please, veterans, let's get going before you die completely, so the scholarly assessments can proceed. What were your sexual exploits overseas?

You ever notice how quiet WW II vets have always been about their time away? I've known quite a few and except for one lone exception, I've never known any to recount their sexual exploits. The one exception told me just the barest bones story, some generalized experience he had with at least one prostitute. The details, alas, were lacking, and at that time I didn't have the same resolve as now in getting to the bottom of it.

As for the rest, maybe they were embarrassed to discuss something that is admittedly best left unsaid. Or perhaps they wanted to keep up a front in the presence of wives, girlfriends, and mothers that they had maintained their innocence. We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say veterans have historically been quiet about what they did in wars. But what if this is exactly the reason why! That they were having crazy sex, whether in ancient times or more recently, and simply didn't want to come clean!

The ones we've known, many of them, have gladly bragged about everything else, their boat, car, and family. It's kind of weird that they wouldn't be telling us everything they did in the war. But people think they're just reluctant because of the trauma, the life/death issues, all too deep for words. Balderdash! If you're a survivor, you're going to crow about it, unless there's a good reason not to, like covering up sex.

I'd like to get the confidence of a few of them, although with age it's getting harder and harder. They can always pretend to be deaf or out of it. But say I did. Say I had five of them at a table, and they think it's finally OK to talk about how many guys they killed. They're going on and on and I'm such an encouraging presence. Then I lay on them, "What'd you do for sex?" Suddenly they clam up, so we all know!

That's what it's always been. To disguise the real root of their silence, they chose to be silent on the whole war experience. All this time they were just bustin' to tell us how many guys they killed, and all the rest, but had they dared, inevitably mom and grandma and girlfriend and wife would've known. Because they'd have to go suddenly quiet when we turned to sex.

In a way, it's a tragedy. They came home as victors but had to carry a guilty conscience for decades. Their complexes grew and grew and eventually took over, to the point that they wouldn't have been able to say anything about it if they wanted. Finally, for the ones who died, they look up, see the lights of glory and mistake them for the red lights of a house in France; in their mind, they're suddenly 19, their face lights up, and they die with a smile.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Editorial Board -- I Fire Frank!

Well, just like that, the brand new editorial board for my blog has been whittled down to five, including myself. I wasn't expecting it to happen, but it did. Frank turned out to be a bad seed, couldn't be trusted, so now he's out.

It's only been a little over a week since I named the board. And, frankly (no pun intended), I had high hopes for Frank, since he was, as I said in introducing the board, a serious person. I had hoped we would have a long, happy relationship, giving me the chance to bounce serious ideas off him. Now that he's gone, I'll have to hope that either Trade or Mark are serious characters willing to help. Dale has a funny side, and Delilah being a woman, well, say no more...

But play with fire, Frank, and you'll get burned!

As it turned out, Frank became critical of the blog's direction, apparently being upset overall with my recent posts on "The Imaginary Stud." In particular, he seriously objected to the post on "Your Biological Clock Is Ticking," and what it might mean for premarital sex and pregnancies, although he didn't bring his concerns to me. He took it to the rest of the board in a secret meeting, with what looks like the intention of forcing me out and taking over.

It happened like this: I was watching TV, then I went to the kitchen to get a snack. I happened to glance out the window and saw the lights on in the garage. That's strange, I thought. So I went out and heard voices. I peeked in the window and there they were, holding their little secret meeting! I opened the door and made my presence known, resulting in a lot of guilty faces. Delilah quickly covered the minutes book with her hands.

I had an intuitive sense of what was going on. I demanded the minutes book and glanced over the page, seeing that Frank had called the meeting to order, etc., and saw a summary of his complaints. I declared, "This is not an official meeting because I wasn't notified. You were brought on board to help me fulfill my hopes and dreams for my blog, not to immediately usurp my place and take it over for yourselves through blind ambition!"

I let the others slide and trained my fury on Frank alone, telling him how painful it was to find a shiny knife with his initials thrust squarely in my back. I shouted, "If there's anyone going to be cut, it's you, Frankie boy!" He turned white as a ghost, white as a sheet, extremely white, white as the driven snow. Of course he knew he was ... busted. And there could be no reconciliation. We went on like that, with blustered rejoinders and hasty, non-scripted parries.

Then I accused him right to his face. I accused him of making passes at Delilah. He insisted on his innocence and said that was "The furthest thing from my mind."

I countered, "The furthest thing from your mind? Is it really? You're thinking of it right now! Even now you're forming a rather nasty picture in your mind of you and Delilah making mad, passionate love on my kitchen table! Try to deny it!"

He looked guilty as hell but had a convenient comeback. "Yes, of course I'm thinking of it now, because you said it, making it impossible for me to not, fleetingly at least, have some mental conception of such an act!"

I was spitting mad and declared, "You've convicted yourself with your own words!" Frank immediately shrunk in my sight like the maggot he was, and I had to count to 10 to restrain myself from squashing him underfoot like any other vermin. To think he'd do that to Delilah, and on my kitchen table, when I had made such a point of warning them away from her. Disgusting!

As for the rest of the board, after Frank vanished into the night in disgrace, I gave them a stern talking to, making it clear that I knew what was best for the blog. Still, to be conciliatory, I said if they had any ideas about it to please feel free to come to me personally. I assured them I'm a reasonable man, which I believe to be true.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The $700 Gun Case

November 2011:

MR. ANDERSON -- How would you like a $700 gun safe for Christmas, dear?

MRS. ANDERSON [sarcastically] -- Yeah, heh heh, that'd be great.

November 2016, Eyewitness Action News 9:

JOVIAL MALE NEWSCASTER -- Mrs. Anderson of the city has a real story to tell!

FEMALE CO-ANCHOR -- That's right, she doesn't own a gun but has repeatedly been the victim of gun thieves.

MALE -- Eyewitness Action's Piper Klinebeck has the story:

PIPER -- Mrs. Anderson wouldn't know a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a Yamaha tuba, but that hasn't stopped gun thieves from targeting her home. In the last five years, she's been the victim of 10 break-ins, and every time the criminals were looking for guns in her gun safe. But all of them left empty-handed, because Mrs. Anderson has no guns. Why does she have a gun safe?

MRS. ANDERSON ON TAPE -- A few years ago, my husband asked me if I wanted a $700 gun safe, actually the furthest thing from my mind. I thought he was kidding. And when I said yes, I chuckled, and figured he knew I was kidding. Then when I saw a package 6 foot tall under the tree, I started having my doubts.

PIPER -- Her husband indeed gave her the gun safe, and by then what could she say? So there it's been, in her home for the last five years. Somehow then word got out that the Andersons had the safe, with everyone assuming that anyone who had a safe like that would also have some valuable guns. And obviously the wrong kind of people heard it as well. Mrs. Anderson says she was surprised to have so many troubles over the years.

MRS. ANDERSON ON TAPE -- I was surprised when the troubles started, the first break-in. No one was home, we weren't expecting it, and when we got back, there it was, standing wide open, completely pulled out from the wall and scratched.

PIPER -- That was the first break-in, but it was destined not to be the last. Since then, thieves have repeatedly visited the Anderson home, breaking into the safe and continuing to scratch it up, in some cases causing some considerable damage.

MRS. ANDERSON ON TAPE -- This huge scratch, my husband said they must have whacked it with a tire iron trying to get it open.

FEMALE ANCHOR -- Piper, you say Mrs. Anderson never kept guns in it?

PIPER -- That's right. Her husband got it for her more or less as a joke. Then when she got it, it took up so much room she needed to use it for something. Actually, what she keeps in it is her collection of vintage Bohemian Santa Clauses, all reproductions, not valuable at all, with only sentimental value. The safe has done its part in a good way, but with the break-ins, a few of the Santas of course have been broken. Piper Klinebeck, reporting for Eyewitness Action 9 News.

FEMALE ANCHOR -- It looks like the lesson for the Andersons is, "Live and learn."

PIPER -- True enough. But there is one sad side note to the story to share. Two years ago, Mr. Anderson was home and tried to prevent the thieves, who unfortunately bludgeoned him to death with one of their tire irons, also again scratching the safe. So it's not all good...

MALE ANCHOR -- That is a sad note to end on. Another lesson would have to be, "Next time, pick more practical gifts."

It's Thanksgiving All Over The World

One of the reasons Thanksgiving is so great is it's one of the few holidays that brings the entire world together in a common celebration. Most of the other holidays, while being great, are so much more provincial, Christmas, New Year's, the Super Bowl, and even Arbor Day.

But for at least one day a year -- this day -- we can all be Pilgrims and Indians, recalling the old days. That's what they mean by "Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Olden Manner," that we bridge the years back to the holiday's original spirit.

The fact that Thanksgiving is held in common, and treasured in common, around the globe makes it something so much more special. Because we're truly able to see, much as when we glimpsed the Earth from outer space in the days of the astronauts, that we have one planet and one family, one common humanity.

Thanksgiving of course has a religious significance, as we give thanks to the one true and living God for His rich bounty. It's a day that brings all men together in harmony, even atheists, to reflect on our blessings from above and to yield up the spirit of thankfulness from reflective hearts.

We see Thanksgiving's magic in the micro sense around our own dining room table, with loved ones who won't speak to each other any other day of the year suddenly embracing in tears before enjoying the sumptuous feast. Every divide is bridged!

Abraham Lincoln, one of our best loved presidents, having a special place in the hearts of his countrymen, had it right when he proclaimed what Nature had already dictated, that men everywhere need to and long to give thanks to a beneficent Creator. We are suddenly reminded, as though we could forget, that who we are and what we have is found in that common, ultimate Source.

Lincoln issued the first proclamation long ago, declaring that, "Few will remember or long note what we have said here today." But he was wrong on this point. Indeed, few were present in that small room as the president spoke. But those few took his word to a few more, then those to a few more, and so forth, until the proclamation had touched the entire world.

And so it is today, in places as different as the Ukraine, the Netherlands, Africa, the Congo, Europe, Asia, and, yes, the United States and the Americas, men will sit and break bread, as well as roasted turkeys, and offer up a heartfelt word of "Thanksgiving" to Him who sits on high.

Our children will watch with wondering eyes, perhaps not entirely aware of the significance of the day. But the lessons they see will sink in, until the day they reach the fullness of manhood, and are called upon to pass it on to their children, and their children to their children, as long as life and the world shall be.

Happy Thanksgiving, world!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Imaginary Stud -- Your Biological Clock

I'm a little reluctant to put this out there, because it's killer information. The actual secrets of our species are contained herein. And putting it out there as I am, it could have consequences I'm not prepared to deal with. Such as a terrible backlash, for obvious reasons: The average family doesn't want their sons and daughters hearing this. But I'll just hope I'm not too badly dragged through the mud for it.

If you're reading this and getting hot under the collar, please realize that I myself didn't make it up. And I'm not responsible for the consequences. Although, think about it, if there's a sudden baby boom, a population explosion thanks to me speaking up, it'd be kind of cool to have an entire generation named after my blog, The Grandma Slump Generation. Looking at it that way, maybe I don't feel so bad. Let's get this party started! Just because you came with one guy doesn't mean you can't leave with another! I better get a grip, because it's that kind of talk that really could get me in some serious trouble.

It's this guy I know who told me -- whom I call the Imaginary Stud, because I'm not sure his exploits and conquests are 100% true. But even if I'm not completely sure he's really the father of most of the babies in this area, as he claims, what he says does make a certain amount of sense. I'm a Human Environmental Scientist, and my gut feeling says there's something to it.

In short, here it is: The Imaginary Stud says the in he often gets with women comes after some discussion of their "biological clock." It was a secret to me, but apparently this is the Number 1 button, or source of anxiety, with women. It's not, "I love you, Ginger, let's procreate," as sexy as that sounds. It's not, "You remind me of my sister, let's have a non-cross-eyed rug rat," which is somewhat less sexy. And it's not even, "You've got me so hot, baby, I've gotta have a baby with someone, how about you?!" Desperation is so overrated.

No, it's none of that. According to the man, and he seems to have the confidence of experience, if you casually say something about her "biological clock," not in the heat of the moment but a day or two before, she's going to be mulling it over time and time again. She might laugh at first, but when she's alone, she'll be looking in the mirror for wrinkles, checking her body for any unusual sagging, and, most of all, flushing her pills down the toilet. She might try telling herself, "I'm only 19!," but it'll be only temporary relief.

It's kind of sad in a way. If only she hadn't been tainted by the idea of her ticking biological clock! How much happier she was before he said that! Now there's no recourse but to call the fine, young, intuitive, wise gentleman who obviously knows so much about it. If he brings flowers, who cares? If there's foreplay, who cares? I can't waste another second! I'm virtually dead. By the time my baby's 18, I'll be in my upper 30s! Where have the years gone?!

All this time, of course the Imaginary Stud is expecting a call. And ... "like clockwork" ... there it is! ... The phone is insistent; it jumps out of his pocket. "You wanna come over and ... watch TV ... or something?" she purrs. "I just checked Netflix and it seems to be working." That's rare, he thinks, a sign from above. Then he remembers, We won't be watching much TV tonight!"

We'll follow him just a little further. He gets there. And he is sweet. He has a bouquet of flowers he picked from her yard. But she still very well might back out. It's here that he treads a fine line. If he meets the slightest bit of hesitancy, he will not -- I'll repeat that, he will not -- mention her "biological clock." But he will use the word "clock" a few times, spaced over time. Such as, "That looks like an antique clock, an old one. Gotta love the old days!" Or, pointing at it, "Time really flies. Always later than you think."

She gets the message and there's no more delay. And now, pretty soon, she'll be thinking a lot about time, months, trimesters, etc. While the Imaginary Stud has skipped down the stairs on his merry way, brightening the lives of many others as he makes his frequent stops.

Note: Check my archives for a few more posts on "The Imaginary Stud."

Church Meets For Worship, Preacher Preaches

I pity the poor guy at The Miami Daily News-Record (Miami, Ohio), in 1948, who had to write a headline for every local church's news. Instead of just having a listing, each church's news was a separate article. But how many different ways can you say the preacher will be preaching a message? And the church will meet as usual?

Let's look at the variations, from the paper on Sept. 26:

The pastor's name is in the headline and we're told the Methodists will hear him preach.

By theme they mean he has prepared a sermon on a particular subject. And if you come to church, he will lay it on you.
The Episcopal has some events happening at church today, like always, and we're listing them.

I didn't make note of which church Rev. Curtis was from. But it's a variation, leave out the church name, lead with the pastor's name, and the usual news that he's preaching today.

Similar to the Rev. Curtis article.

The pastor will give a sermon today.

By "Friends" they mean the Friends church. The pastor will talk today and they will hear him.

No mention of the pastor's sermon, only that he's planned services.

I think the Christian Science church had/has a list of topics they cycle through. It wasn't any different this particular day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Would These Tweeple Unfollow Me?

Everyday on Twitter, a handful of people unfollow me. And likewise several follow me. I follow almost everyone who follows me and unfollow everyone who unfollows me.

It's been a while since I initiated a follow, but the ones I have whom I follow but don't follow me reflects some of those folks. (I'm following 3913 as of this minute, with 3833 followers.) I say it reflects some of them because there's a bunch, I don't know how many, who follow me but I never followed them.

I really don't know any of them. I know a few of them (less than 10) better than the ones I don't know at all, but even these relationships (laughable use of the word) are nothing. In short, I don't know anyone on Twitter.

Following the 3913 as I do, naturally I don't keep track of what they're saying most of the time. The only ones I see are the ones whose tweets happen to be streaming past in the three-to-four minutes a day I'm looking at it, on TweetDeck. I see their names in that little space of time, but they're all the same. None of them except the less-than-10 I mentioned do I recognize even in the slightest.

Now, 3913 isn't really very many compared to some of them I've seen. Take FacetStudio in the graphic, following 68726! That's huge! But still, 3913 is quite a few if you were trying to keep track of them. On TweetDeck, the tweets of these are zipping by extremely fast, blip-blip-blip. In a few seconds they've scrolled off the screen, never to be seen again.

One other thing about me unfollowing. I said I unfollow anyone who unfollows me. But I don't initiate unfollows otherwise. The reason is, frankly, who cares? They're not bothering me in the slightest. I do unfollow these other characters because, WTF? Why are you unfollowing me? I'm not doing anything that should get too many people agitated.

Recently, though, I did a few political humor tweets. In the larger scale of anything, about as consequential as tossing a pebble in the ocean. Maybe someone would unfollow me for that. But usually, it seems to be the most random, unnecessary act in the world to, suddenly out of the blue, unfollow me.

In the graphic I have two who unfollowed me recently, out of bunches. They're opposites, that's why they're pictured.

Let's look at IAMPREVALENT. I don't know if I initiated the follow in that case or not. Probably not, because at the time I was looking for people who would follow me back. Prevalent's balance doesn't show that as being likely. So apparently Prevalent initiated things by following me first. Then I followed back. At some point, then, Prevalent unfollowed me. We ask why? It looks obvious that Prevalent wants to get a lot of followers without actually following back. So I can see why I would be unfollowed. That one is very clear.

The more interesting one is FacetStudio. Following 68726, followed by 81662. It could be Facet is going the way of Prevalent and I just happen to be one of the first ones to go. Just unfollowing us wholesale, if that's what happened, OK. But excluding that, I can't think of a good reason. Like I said, following 3833 is so many I don't know one person from another. If I were following over 68000, it's going to be so much worse, why would I be micromanaging it to such a degree that this guy and this guy get the ax? I wouldn't know those guys in the slightest, there'd be no reason.

Of course I'm looking at all this from the way I do things. But maybe Facet, having a studio and everything, has higher standards in who to follow and unfollow, and a greater system of doing it. Maybe there's employees tinkering with the following list, always at work pruning it for merchandising purposes or whatever. Since I haven't bought a painting, the computer is blinking and beeping: NUMBER 53,456 MUST BE CUT OFF! It's such a large outfit in my imagined version of things that they're turning us over at super speed, like the way they continually rotate silage so it doesn't burst into flames. (Rural background.)

The weird thing would be if Facet is just a guy like me, sitting at his computer, manually and purposefully tending to his 68726 follows. He'd have to be some kind of super brain, and definitely more into worthless minutia than I'll ever be!

Take care, IAMPREVALENT. Following only 18, your feed is nothing. That'd be nice. And take care, FacetStudio. Whatever you're up to, it's cool.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Imaginary Stud -- What's In A Name?

So the Imaginary Stud was beaten to a pulp and his two front teeth knocked out, and of course he was upset. But I used some of my great people skills to calm him down and send him home to find a comfy chair and settle in with a good book. I told him I'd come check on him.

When I got there earlier this morning, he was stretched out on the floor. The blanket was half on him and stretched to the chair. On the nightstand I saw evidence that he had been trying to drown his sorrows with a half can of beer. How sad. He looked every bit a dead man, the illusion only broken by his rough snoring and violent thrashing about. He was obviously reliving the experience of the deranged sister and wild bulls who had put him in this sorry state.

I shook him and gently called his name. He came up fighting, swinging his fists, and had a hard time breaking the dream's hold. But he finally realized it was me and settled down. "What time is it?" he asked, provoking me to mercifully relieve his curiosity as to the hour of the day by glancing at my cellphone and faithfully conveying the information back to his wondering mind.

He got up, went to the bathroom, did his personal cleansing rituals, then came back and went into a whole yoga/exercise regimen he follows. But before that, he tossed me a "Composition" notebook that he uses to keep track of his dates. He motioned me to open it, which I immediately saw was his way of convincing me that everything he says about his conquests is true.

Indeed, it appears that maybe he really is the father of a very large number of children in the community, assuming the notebook itself isn't part of the ruse. Until I know for sure, I will continue to refer to him as the Imaginary Stud.

He kept the yoga exercises going, bringing his hands together, dangling his foot, breathing in/breathing out, and stretching as I quizzed him on some of the names.

CARMEN -- "She definitely sounds hot," I said. Carmen is a fiery name. I'm sure she was with him every step of the way, a gal who could keep up and give as good as she got! If she had red hair, I wouldn't be surprised. And if she did, I'm sure she had everything that goes along with it! He gave me a gesture that said, "I'm not that good at names, but you're probably right." The two scratch marks indicated twins.

KAYLA -- She sounds like a handful, just going by the name. I'm thinking of kiss, ecstasy, la-la land, and climbing the walls, Kayla clawing his back, Kayla calling out for more, more, more. "Where do you find these chicks?" I asked with a laugh. He kept up the yoga, only gesturing as if to say, "It's really nothing, dime a dozen." There was only one scratch mark, so that'd be a litter of one.

ESTHER -- I'm thinking, Esther? "Come on, you gotta be kidding!" I said. And yet, I got a hold of myself, names aren't everything. She wasn't responsible for her own name. If he had her in the notebook, she must have somehow raised herself above the limitations immediately suggested by her name. I started thinking, maybe he's not kidding me, because what's the chances of him putting "Esther?" If it were all a scam, surely he would've come up with something a little sexier, like Mildred. Be that as it may, there were three scratch marks, so at least she was fertile. Traditional girl from some little village, her first date, stoved up with eggs.

TAWNY -- OK, Tawny, now we're back on good soil. I can well imagine him meeting and sweet-talking a stripper into submission. Of course they can be the toughest cookies to crack, having had all kinds of bad experiences with the male race. But a charmer -- whose charm is real and doesn't quit -- is all it'd really take. And a sweet promise: "I'll take you away from this life and share with you my riches." She'd fall into his arms. Then a quick trip back to her place at the Pine Cone Motel, a roll in the hay, and an angry goodbye. She was good for a single scratch mark, a single kid to keep in the dressing room, sucking his pacifier while Mom grinds out another set.

I thumbed through the book, estimating there had to be at least a hundred names. But his exercises only took 15 minutes, then he needed to get out, see the dentist about a couple of implants, and perhaps work in one or two seductions before lunch.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Imaginary Stud -- Something So Precious

You remember the Imaginary Stud. He's just a guy, respectable in every way, simply out obeying life's prime directive to reproduce as far and wide as he can. There shouldn't be any problem with that.

There shouldn't be a problem, but of course it's right when you think you're home free that your real troubles begin. Others, in jealousy or obeying some social injunction, step in to hassle you. It's not like he was doing anything he shouldn't! Spores, seeds, the whole thing, are nature's way. No one chops down a tree for dropping its seed.

And it's not the fruit of his actions that's disagreeable, the baby. That's where we all came from. The rest of us, for the most part, are out there doing our part to perpetuate the species, so there really should be no objection. "Children are precious," the Imaginary Stud insists.

Maybe you can tell I'm coming around to a greater belief in the Imaginary Stud's claims that he's the father of every child he sees. Although I'd have to tweak that, I know he's not the father of every child, but perhaps he really is the father of quite a few of them. (I'm still going to refer to him as "the Imaginary Stud" just to keep it clear who I'm talking about.) It would definitely explain the very real tension he shows when he sees a pregnant woman or a woman pushing a stroller. "Hide me!" he hisses.

Be that as it may, I definitely agree with him that children are precious. To have a baby on board, what greater fulfillment could there be for any woman? And to have a houseful of them, such love you're not going to get anywhere else. They are precious, and yet there's always someone to get in the way and deny it.

I saw the Imaginary Stud all banged up the other day and asked him WTF? He looked at me and recalled one of the worst nights of his life. He'd arranged a rendezvous with a particular woman, then found out too late it was a set-up. He'd cried out, "It's a trap!" The woman had him cornered, screaming, "You knocked up my sister and abandoned her, you bastard!" That was her big beef. And if that wasn't enough, she'd arranged a few bulls to be hiding outside in the brush.

He described his thoughts: "It's bad enough I have to deal with a troupe of evil mamas, now their crazy deranged sisters, too?!" He tried to pacify her, a clearly deranged woman, but it was no go. She opened the door and in rushed the bulls. A couple of them held him while the other pummeled him, even knocking out his two front teeth (uppers).

The sister was cackling like a maniac, "Kick him where it counts!" Meaning he would be the sad recipent of a swift, painful assault to the crotch. They took him out and left him in a heap in the middle of the road. Cars veered to miss him and honked their horns, and it was with the greatest struggle that he managed to crawl to the ditch.

He complained to me, "How can something so precious go so terribly wrong?" The whole thing had been a scam. She had lied to him when they could've shared so much. Again, what was precious was trodden underfoot by deceit. Then, capturing him as they did, the kicks, the broken teeth, it was all so wrong, like a blasphemy in the face of life itself.

"But what can you do?" I asked. "There's always going to someone who doesn't get it, so all you can do is rise above it and go on, knowing that you're doing the right thing even if the whole world doubts you." With that, he calmed down, enough that he was able to go back home, get an ice pack and find a comfy chair, and settle down with a good book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Three Cheers For Brains

The Wizard of Oz famously said, "Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain!"

To which I say, "Hallelujah! Someone finally gets it!" Because I've been saying a version of that for years. And not only about brains but lots of other body parts, too. This realization came to me early on, which, frankly, might not be something a kid would think of today. They're not as close to nature as we were back then, since we were always going fishing and hunting, then cleaning/dressing the fish and other animals.

I'd look at the animals and point it out to my proud dad that a rabbit has two eyes, a nose, ears, etc., just like we do. And I'd do the same for squirrels, deer, dogs, and even fish. Fish are a little different but the same basic body parts and functions are there. When we'd clean fish, it was one of my least favorite things to cut out their digestive track. But I held my nose and did it anyway. And now I'm glad I did, because it made me aware very early in life that fish also excreted waste.

Of course we had pets, mostly dogs. I really learned a lot about life by observing dogs. One, they appeared to have a brain, just like the man said. Then there were all the other things I'd come to expect, including eyes, a nose, and so forth. Now that I'm thinking back, I actually remembering pointing out to someone that dogs had heads and the basic design of their heads were just like ours.

If you want to think of differences in dogs, between them and us, look where their nipples are. If we were built like that, our nipples would have to be near our waistline! Thankfully it's not that way! Imagine what it'd do for cleavage! The thing about dogs in this regard, though, speaking in practical terms, with evolution in mind, is that they generally have multiple young. So they adapted, the ones with nipples where the young could get to them tending to pass on their genes. Thankfully, they found a happy medium, i.e., where they're located now, since clearly they were running out of room, stopping just shy of the genitals.

I'm sure glad I have a brain. I use it all the time, really for everything. There's not a day goes by that I'm not using it. But I still don't know how to spell pusillanimous without looking it up. Although, since I'm a man, I can come a lot closer than every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas, which also, regardless of their inability to spell, still have brains.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Board Of Editors

I want to thank everyone for their applications to join the Grandma Slump blog in an official capacity.

When I first had the idea, some weeks ago, I was apprehensive, thinking maybe no one would apply. Or just a few internet scoundrels and ruffians trying to cause trouble. But I was very gratified, and frankly overwhelmed, when the applications started pouring in. I didn't count them all, but it had to be several hundred. The fact that you took the time to fill out a 70-page application, and did it with such optimism, and most of you with such false hopes from the get-go, is something I'll never forget.

Well, today, I'm happy and relieved to say the long and involved process of getting just the right people is over! Whew! The positions are all filled. Gentlemen, I give you The Board of Editors:

Of course that's me on top. As publisher and editor-in-chief, I keep the supremacy. It's my voice you will continue to hear, pretty much exclusively. The others are new, wet under the ears, and it's not been determined what exactly they will do.

Below me, and occupying a rank together above the last three, are two guys named Trade and Mark, the Smith Brothers. Both have facial hair, as you can see, and other talents. I put them in the middle mostly for symmetry, one on top, two in the middle, three as a base.

In the lowest position, then, under the Smith Brothers and myself, more or less in a supporting role, so far also with undetermined duties, are Dale, Frank, and Delilah. I'm not going to worry about their last names at this point. We'll first let them prove themselves fit for the job.

Dale doesn't seem as serious as Frank, just my impression. Which might come in handy, because sometimes I'm looking for someone to bounce off crazy ideas. But  Frank, being more serious than Dale, might also serve me well, since sometimes I put away the crazy stuff and am serious.

Delilah comes in for special mention for a few reasons. One, she's a woman, a lady, and that's how we're going to treat her, with respect. That's going to be my rule. And if I see any of the guys coming on to her, particularly when they're on duty, that's going to be it. I don't want her sexually harassed in the slightest.

One of my first duties, I guess, should be to come up with a written policy on what I mean. When she's in the bathroom, let's say, there better not be anyone at the keyhole. If I catch them, that's it! They'll never work at this blog or any other blog again. I'll be paying special attention to what everyone says around her. And if anyone so much as hints certain things about himself and her, he'll be gone.

Of course, if one of them and Delilah strike up a romance after hours, then somehow come out officially as a couple, at that point it will be different. I will work with them if that happens, so they'll be allowed to address one another in a loving way, etc., depending on how explicit they choose to get.

As for her duties, I will be gentle. Being a woman, I will not overburden her. She already makes a mean pot of coffee, so that's good for now. And it's nice to hear a woman's cheerful voice around the place, something I haven't heard much of since Grandma died. And I probably don't even have to say she's easy on the eyes. Something not true of the Smith Brothers, despite their higher ranking.

The artwork I have of Delilah probably doesn't do justice to her actual figure. The jacket's so tight, surely her boobs must be fairly compressed in there. And maybe it's just the pose, or again the tight clothes, but her hips don't show the kind of curves that she likely has. The long legs are just right. And the boots. You've probably heard my Number 1 statement on women's fashion: "Boots always make the outfit." I literally do a double-take on every pair of boots I see women wearing. Even galloshes.

It's going to be nice, I hope, working with a board of editors, an editorial board. I'm very possessive about the blog, as you must know. And I won't give that up easily, if at all. But as we get used to each other, me and the board, who knows how things might change? I might trust the Smith Brothers to take out the recycling.

The first thing I'm going to do at our next meeting is give them each a press pass and a firm handshake. And maybe a brotherly peck on the cheek.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Imaginary Stud -- Johnny Peopleseed

There is this guy -- The Imaginary Stud -- I'm focusing on for a while. Because he's so extraordinary. He feels, at least he says, that he's responsible every time a pregnant woman walks by or a woman with a baby. "Hide me!" is his constant plea.

Maybe he is responsible for a few of them. Like I said, maybe he's gotten lucky a few times after a wild drunk. But could he be the father of every baby out there? Somehow, I seriously doubt it!

But whether he is indeed the True Stud he thinks he is, and not just the Imaginary Stud I think he is, that question will have to wait for the DNA results, if we're ever able to get him to take a test. Because he appears to be forever on the run, pausing just long enough, according to the story, to impregnate some poor gal who hasn't heard of him. Assuming he's ever impregnated any actual women...

He fancies himself a regular Johnny Peopleseed. Like Appleseed of lore, Peopleseed also has his mission in life, armed only with a single front appendage and a sack of seed. To hear him tell it, the sack continually replenishes itself like the oil and fishes, the cruse of oil and the 5,000 fish of the Bible. He cruises into town, the tank topped off, an eye out to disperse what is needed, knowing it will be replaced later. Like perpetual motion!

I'm only imagining what must happen on one of these encounters: "Hello." A possible likelihood is at hand, a doll face who doesn't know she's meeting the sire of thousands. He's quite open with her now, until he gets his way, then we'll hear him hiss, "Hide me!"

She's standing there with blue jeans cut midriff-high, with enough buns to start a bakery. His eye scans her like the Six Million Dollar Man. Her beauty is one thing. But the Imaginary Stud makes complex evolutionary calculations. "Her nose plus mine. Her pleasant eyes plus mine. Her fantastic build plus mine. She's got the hips for quintuplets!"

He's done it many times, the story goes. And if that's true, the calculations he makes must become less and less conscious and more instinctual. Like the hidden knowledge of a spore or seed, doing its thing, knowing not how. Spore trailing spore, seed/egg, peach/pit, vital essence, the rupture of the egg, he senses all of it at the primal level, raising his head in a sign of joy at the recognition, hearing distant thunder as the lightning delivers another soon-to-be-born soul. Who can blame him? He didn't ask for this duty of nature, we're assuming.

I was reading a few pages of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, and came across a passage that reminded me of the Imaginary Stud:
"And, to make a long stoney badder and a whorly show a parfect sight, his Thing went the wholyway retup Suffrogate Strate." (p. 242.)
I couldn't have said it better myself. But I can try:
Needles to say, he epistemologized her, in the bibbling sinse, with an episiotomy probelly in her suture, big heads tending to run in his lying.

Jimmy's Terrible Library Card Dilemma

I was at the library and overheard some kids talking about this. One of their friends, 17 years old, is restricted on the books, CDs, etc., that he can check out from the library. Yes, it seems that's one of the rules in place, thanks to the library and his idiot parents.

I didn't hear much -- I'm not an eavesdropper by nature, I really have to work at it. But according to them, and I think this detail is essential to get out there, the poor kid's name is Jimmy. Jimmy as in "I'm an adult baby, or maybe more accurately, a baby who will never grow up." Thanks to his idiot parents, that's probably what'll happen to him, like this guy (40-50 years old) I saw on a "Taboo" show who sits in an enormous highchair that he himself built and wears big adult diapers by choice. A formerly homeless woman with problems of her own changes him, lovingly, I might add.

Anyway, Jimmy, that's what you have to look forward to! You have problems now with your library card and what you can look at, so you also have a life of weird fetishism ahead. The bright side is there's always some merciful enabler who will gladly change you.

Getting back to the rule. Here's the rule, word for word, from the library's "basic information" page:
A parent or guardian must accompany a child under 18 to approve their child's card and can choose to restrict it to materials from the Children's Room.
Obviously, at some point in the library card getting process, during the tricky negotiations, Jimmy's parents made a conscious decision to restrict their son. Why precisely they would do that, since I don't know them, I can only guess. And honestly I don't have the first clue. But let's just assume they're crazy or sadistic. Maybe Mom's crazy and Dad's sadistic, or it could be the other way around, or it could be that both are crazy and/or sadistic. It makes good sense. They don't want Jimmy in the big-people books looking up things about his batty dingbat parents!

But 18 is coming, you crumbs, then he'll show you! Unless he chooses to self-restrict his library use to the Children's Room as some perverse, sick, infantile submission to their authority, which would be too bad. Because there's a lot of good reading in the big-people section. And I hope he has the chance to discover that.

It's too bad the library doesn't help ease him into the big-people section. My reading of the rule doesn't seem to exclude that as a possibility. Theoretically, he could be reading books in the big-people section. The way I read it, he can only check out books from the Children's Room. So if he wanted, he could be reading all the volumes, say, of Frazier's Golden Bough, definitely a big-people set, then taking home the latest exploits of Where's Waldo. If you want to get technical about it.

But perhaps, probably that would violate the spirit of the rule, which he probably shouldn't do. When he gets home, Mom and Dad would see a guilty look and that would be bad. He might get sick and spit up pabulum all over Mommy's nice clean dress.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bringing In The Sheaves Yeah Yeah Yeah

I'm going to entertain you with a few impressions I've been working on. I'll be including the immortal voices of some of our favorites, Foghorn Leghorn, Jimmy Durante, James Cagney, and The Beatles. That's quite a variety, I know, everything from cartoons to '40 radio to movie classics to the swinging '60s!

What I -- or maybe I should say they -- will be singing is the old church classic, "Bringing In The Sheaves."

OK ... [clearing throat] ... here we go ...

    Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness, I say, there boy!
    Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve; you dirty rat.
    Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping, yeah yeah yeah,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. Ha-cha-cha-cha!

        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, I say, the sheaves!
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves; yeah yeah yeah.
        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, ha-cha-cha-cha!
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheave, you dirty rat.

    Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows, here now, boy.
    Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze; Inka Dinka Doo.
    By and by the harvest, and the labor ended, you dirty rat,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves, yeah yeah yeah.

        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, you dirty rat,
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves; Mrs. Calabash
        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, yeah yeah yeah,
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves, I say, I say!

    Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master, Schnozzola!
    Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves; yeah yeah yeah.
    When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome, I say, welcome, boy!
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves, you dirty rat.

        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, why don't we do it in the road?
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves; you dirty rat.
        Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, that's a joke, son,
        We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves. Stop da music!

Dr. Momus Of The Museum Of Art

Dr. Momus of the Museum of Art likes to vary his habits. One habit involves going out for breakfast, which he usually does unless there's something else afoot to prevent him, such as an important meeting or another responsibility. Like schmoozing a rich museum patron who's already eaten.

His habit, as I said, is going out for breakfast, but I also said he likes to vary it, which is just a roundabout way of saying he doesn't go to the same place every time. He spreads the wealth. He supports most of the restaurants in town, not in any regular way, but going wherever strikes his fancy on a given day. You can be sure, though, that his fancy is not to go to the same place over and over without varying it. OK?

There's some good to this scheme of doing things. "Variety is the spice of life" is what the old saw says. Who wants to have the same old bagel and coffee at one place if you can have it somewhere else? At least occasionally. I definitely know what he's thinking: It's a drag going to the same old places all the time. But I've been going out for breakfast so much that I've also worn out the new places.

Then, and this is where Dr. Momus' role at the Museum of Art comes into play, who knows what he might find of an artistic nature if he varies his eating habits? Because restaurants sometimes have artwork on their walls for sale. Seriously! If you go to McDonald's all the time, of course you're not going to see it. (Dr. Momus actually does go to McDonald's once in a while, but not that much.)

Anyway, here's what we're getting to. One day I went to a particular cafe for breakfast, a place I'd never been before. I saw some rudimentary artwork on the walls that tickled my funny bone (I'm trying to be merciful here.) I was like, "Look at that one!," while making disparaging remarks about it.

PERSONAL INTERLUDE: Over a year ago I bought a canvas and some paint. I haven't used them at all. Because I don't have any idea how to paint, but I know what I like. My excuse for not painting on this canvas is that it's too small; I need a bigger canvas. My small canvas isn't even out of the plastic yet. The only reason I don't buy a bigger canvas is that I haven't used the small one yet! But not everyone is as reluctant as I to get going on the thing...

The painting I'm pointing to, in my opinion, is no good. It sucks. It's a house and a tree, both very elementary, both very primitive. So imagine my surprise when I'm sitting there right when Dr. Momus (Dr. EFFEN Momus of the EFFEN Museum of EFFEN Art!) comes in, immediately espies this crappy painting, and declares it a work of genius, even going so far as to describe it as a lost Van Gogh! (He says Gogh like he's clearing his throat, so it has to be right. The only other name I know like this is Bach. If you had an expert talking about Van Gogh and Bach in the same breath, you'd need a spittoon!)

I'm like, "You can't be serious, you crazy ninny!"

"Serious? I'm as serious as a heart attack. This is a lost Van Gogh, priced at only 20 bucks, I'll take it!"

The Imaginary Stud

The imaginary stud is a guy whose eyes perk up when he sees a woman walking by with a baby. "Hide me," he says, because he doesn't want the mother of the child to see him.

Except you keep going down the road and eventually see a woman pushing a stroller built for two. "Hide me," he says, quickly averting his face, because two kids, that's so much worse. If she sees him, knowing he hasn't paid whatever child support he would be obligated to pay, he's going to be in big trouble.

You keep going. The imaginary stud is wiping the sweat away from his brow, so much so that the tissue (or cloth) is wringing wet. And he's checking out some of the sweet femininas swinging their hips down the sidewalk. These are some of this thoughts: "Ooo, mama! Look at the butt on that one!" and "Yesss! Come to papa!" And, "I'll take a piece of that ... right now!"

Since we, along with everything else, were meant for reproduction, with the result of our reproduction being meant for reproduction, all the way out to the most distant generation being the same, naturally the guy's eye is going to rove, only finally coming to a rest when he sees something worth feasting his eyes on that would, given the right circumstances, fulfill nature's purpose.

He's in a state of agitation even if you can't see it, because, let's face it, he's socialized (civilized) to a certain extent, and able to keep his pants on and pass by undetected in ordinary circumstances. In other words, we're not talking about Herman Cain, although the guy of our story is still potentially an actual stud.

He is definitely an "imaginary" stud, because, look, he can't physically be the father of every baby in every stroller! There's others out there being the bull in most of these cases. But who knows, maybe he's gotten lucky a time or two -- after some especially wild drunks -- and you never can tell whose kid may be whose! Even if twins, triplets, or quadruplets don't run in his family, there's no way of absolutely excluding the possibility; they could be his!

Speaking of triplets, that's the next group we pass. The mom looks like she might be overwhelmed, because a stroller built for three is rare, and yet there she is, the proud (maybe not) pusher of three. A boy, a girl, and another boy, just to give an example of what we might see were we to stop and look inside. But the proud papa, the imaginary stud, won't be looking that closely, averting his eyes and face: "Hide me," he says, himself overwhelmed, thinking maybe he actually does know her. What a life of drudgery and expense! Diapers for three!

The only thing worse than that .... for our possible papa .... is an even more unusual sight, a woman pushing a stroller with four babies. Four? That's an entire litter! Now we're talking some severe fertility drugs! Something's made nature go haywire! The imaginary stud isn't ready for that kind of commitment! He's barely able to support himself! Still, he did the crime, why shouldn't he be doing the time?

If indeed he did it.

I'm With Stupid

I like to think I'm a reasonably smart guy. All depends on what you mean by reasonably. It's definitely a qualifier, in my opinion meaning, "By ordinary standards, nothing fancy, such as putting me up against Einstein or Hawking, I'm smart enough to get by in typical human settings without sticking out like a sore thumb for being stupid."

It's all relative. Although I suppose you could make the case that since everything's relative that nothing's relative. But if we have have even one guy who's smarter than another guy, which is easily demonstrable, then obviously there is relativity in this important matter. So the other guy has to be stupider. He's stupid, just maybe not the stupidest guy there is.

What's the chances of the first stupid guy you meet being the stupidest guy ever? The chances of meeting the stupidest guy ever are slim. Of course if you eat a lot of fast food, you have a better chance. If he messes up your order, even a simple order, maybe you've found him. I tend to be more lenient, more merciful in these cases, especially if I'm thinking. Because maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend before coming to work, or his car's getting fixed and he knows he can't afford to pay for it, or his child support is due, or his kid is sick or something. That would explain why doesn't realize a Number 7 comes with coffee without being told. Still, if he's able to function at a job at all, he can't be the stupidest guy in the world.

Anyway, let's say you find a really stupid guy -- and he's not only apparently stupid because of troubles with his girlfriend, his car, his kid. Chances are you could find someone stupider, given enough time and the freedom to travel. So this guy is stupid, but he can tell you someone stupider. And that guy can tell you someone stupider yet. And that guy knows someone even stupider. We keep tracing the line of stupid people from this one particular branch till we find their stupidest guy. Then even he knows of another branch where the smartest guy is stupider than him.

I'm reasonably sure that you're never going to find the absolute stupidest guy, because at some level it's going to just be a pool of brain dead people who are identically stupid. If you got there there would be nothing really to cling to to quantify their intelligence or lack thereof.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm On A Reading Jag

It might be slim pickins' here for a while, because suddenly, it turns out I'm on a reading jag.

I'm actually reading, isn't that something? Actual full length books, from start to finish, cover to cover.

Huh? Huh? What do you think of that? I'm on a reading jag, so I can't be sitting here making up stuff of my own.

I happened to be walking through the library, saw an interesting looking book on the shelf, on display, picked it up along with another one and checked them out. I didn't know I'd actually read it, since I've checked out lots of books before that then just came home with me and set there until I finally took them back.

When I'm at the library and happen to see something interesting, I always have the best of intentions to read it. It just so happens, though, that I don't. I get busy, let's say, or I'm tired, or I'm worried about something, or whatever. I hear something from a family member about some problem with a third cousin, whatever, and I can't concentrate on reading.

Another thing about me and reading, is I'd love to read a lot of things, but it's a terrific investment of time to sit and read a book through. Because the others on the stack also look interesting. Then I pick up one of them and get going a chapter or so, the other one gets forgotten, and in the end I haven't read any of them. As it turns out, I've read the first six or seven pages of lots of books!

But this time -- the last few days -- it's been different. It's an out and out reading jag. With me finishing one of the books I brought home from the library. Then, somehow, in the course of looking up various things about it on the internet (it was non fiction), I saw an ad or blurb for some other book I thought I'd be interested in (fiction but with a historical basis), downloaded it to my Kindle, and I'm busy consuming it.

I haven't been all that interested in reading on the Kindle lately. Various reasons. Mostly because I have lots of print books already on hand, not having to put out money, and it seems like I should be reading them. But in this case, I downloaded it, and the jag continues!

I've had these reading jags before. They never last. A week or so, maybe two weeks, my biorhythms will change, I'll get busy again, and it'll be over. But I'll always have the pleasant memory of these days when I was seriously into something I should be doing all the time.

One thing that might make me stop real soon is I have a crick in my neck already from looking down. So I might be back sooner than normal. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 In 1911

From The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Nov. 11, 1911, page 6.

From Hutchinson News, Hutchinson, KS, Nov. 6, 1911, p. 10.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pastor Wadd: The Sexual Root Of Everything

One of the more influential people in my life has to be my preacher, Pastor Wadd. He's right up there in the top 50 overall, for sure, and the top 5 of those having to do with understanding the underlying nature of life.

You probably remember, Pastor Wadd's special area of expertise is sexual addictions. He counsels guys on that topic day after day, plus a few ladies. I've never actually been to one of these sessions, not having that problem. My willpower is impeccable. Plus, several years ago I had the zipper permanently welded shut on all my pants.

Anyway, in addition to his counseling, Pastor conducts regular Sunday services, and that's where I hear his teaching. I just wanted to clear that up so no one gets the wrong idea. I've never even been to Penn State!

Whether you have a problem in that area or not, it's still interesting to hear the man hold forth with his various theories. Whatever he says, he's always definitely convinced, and with a spirit of power like he has, it's hard not to be impressed. This past Sunday his message was on the pervasiveness of sex in our culture and psyches, with religion serving to replace that, if God's grace is allowed entrance, and we're lucky.

Of course, the man's doctrine is that there's a sexual root to everything. If you turn when a woman passes by, there it is. If there's any undue perspiration, prolonged eye contact, or even the slightest variance in your breathing patterns, you're guilty. And I hate when he gets started on what it means when you move your legs -- you want to stay perfectly still around him -- because what he defines as rubbing is very subtle.

Sometimes, though, as much an expert as he is, I can't help but think he's making things up. Or seeing connections -- like with the rubbing -- that simply aren't there. He's like Freud. If you drink milk, you're lusting for your mother. That kind of thing. He sees strange linguistic stuff, unlikely connections, that seems like an obvious stretch.

Like "proclivities." He parses it for us, the root of the word, that "pro" means "for" and "clivity" is what every woman has. It may be normal size or it may hang down like the end of a scarf. It may be dainty and ladylike, like your pinky, or it may be heavy, with the girth of a Marine's duffle bag. So women are the ones with proclivities, making them so darned tempting to men.

The corollary in men is a word I hadn't heard before, "prodermis." "Pro" again meaning "for" and "dermis" meaning "skin." Put it together, he says, and you have "foreskin." Which the children of Israel were supposed to lose that they might be true. OK, I'll give him that one. It sounds convincing.

Be that as it may, Pastor Wadd is definitely serious about being true, even to the point of making his counselees suffer to attain it. A guy from the church, whom I also know from the exercise club, he counseled on being chaste, meaning preserving his "vitality," his "vital essence" in the most extreme way, going months. But he bloated up so much, some of the guys started calling him Lugnuts, and he finally had to go in and have it lanced.

My own take on it: There's a time and place for everything, and let's face it, that includes using the equipment God gave you and not letting it go to waste.

Grandma Slump Takes Ukraine By Storm

Look at the global reach of my blog this week. (For the graphic, I dropped off all the countries after Germany who aren't keeping up. But they were United Kingdom (7), Malaysia (5), Romania (4), Sweden (3), United Arab Emirates (2), and Canada (2).

What's precisely wrong with Canada, I don't know. Don't they have the internet up there? 2, that's barely one per province. They have provinces up there. They're very provincial. I could go up and teach them a few proverbs, see if they could prove themselves, and dump a little provender on the ground, anything to provoke them. Wake up!

The United Arab Emirates, I'm not sure what that even is. Is that the name of a country? It sounds like a subdivision of a country or a sports team. I suppose they're very into oil. I remember my dad teaching me how to change oil in the car. Over there, it's probably a dime a gallon, so it doesn't cost much for the kids to have someone else do it.

Sweden. I like the Swedes. I knew some Swedes, they made a big deal of the fact that they still knew Swedish after all these years. There was this one old guy, 90-something, and his wife would tell me, "Pete's talking the Swede!" I couldn't understand a thing. And one day I found a bunch of Swedish books. Tried to sell them on eBay but no one wanted them. If only I'd had these three visitors back then!

Romania and Malaysia, I think they're doing very good at 4 and 5. Because the last time I consciously visited a Romanian or Malaysian site, I can't remember when it might've been.

The United Kingdom, they're tied with Germany at 7. I'm a little more disappointed with the UK, which is why I clipped them from the graphic. After all, we share the same language, and I've listened to music from England (the Beatles, Stones, probably others). They need to step it up and read my stuff, or, who knows, I might turn on them, too.

That brings us to the big boys. Russia and Ukraine. Look at that, 13 and 77 from the Ukraine all by itself! Obviously something happened, because I don't remember any spike like that from there before. The thing is, I'm just guessing, one of my posts must have been linked on one of their sites. I can't figure it out, but I've had a number of traffic sources that appear to be Russian gambling sites. And the traffic is all centered on one post of mine from 2009, "Sternness Meets Creampuffness."

I had to look the post over, because I forgot what it was about. It had to do with self-esteem and personal pride, bringing forth strength in your personality. I used wrestling/rasslin' imagery, with Sternness facing Creampuffness (psychological states) and beating the crap, or cream, out of Creampuffness. So my guess is, these Ukrainians are visiting gambling sites that have something to do with wrestling matches, and in there somewhere, this post got linked.

It's still a good message, so I hope they're lingering long enough to be encouraged. Bring forth the stronger sides of your personality, and, seriously, don't let Creampuffness get the upper hand.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Blog Post Adoption Program

Unto us a son is born, a child is given. The child given, the son born, is your opportunity to adopt my blog posts. Where you can pick up the little tykes, so to speak, that I have written, and care for them and really make them your own. Are you up for that?

This is part of a personal goal I have to make my readers feel more involved and invested. It would be more fulfilling for them, and as far as I'm concerned, I'd get a kick out of it. Just so there's no fighting over any of my "kids." I don't want to have to cut one in half, let's say, to find out the true parent!

At the heart of this idea is the fact that people like to have responsibilities. People want little tasks. It makes them feel useful and a part of the larger whole. Like when we were in school and different ones wanted to clean the chalkboard, or monitor the hall, or taste the teachers' food to make sure it wasn't poisoned. We lost a couple kids that way, but the bright side is they got a full page memorial in the yearbook.

People want to have a part! And so it is with a blog like this one. There's always an upside and a downside. If they aren't included, they drift away. They're always looking for a role to play. That leaves the writer, me, with a couple options. One, do my own selfish thing and let the people drift away. Two, include them, whether in an intrinsic way, like having co-writers, which isn't likely to happen, or get them involved in some other aspect of the blog.

The latter option could of course include nothing more than busy work, like writing me "Attaboy" letters and getting a nice response, but I don't want to go that route. I want it to be something fairly intrinsic without it being entirely so, something just good enough to keep you committed. As they used to say about the canned milk, "Contented cows are happy cows."

So the idea is that my readers will adopt my posts, like Cabbage Patch Kids. Each already has a name, a title. You simply get to know it intimately, kind of nurse it along in the public square, promote it in the world, then sit back and feel the pride of watching it succeed.

You adopt it! It's your "baby!" I would then have a list of the adopters, and periodically send you by email an update on how your baby is doing. If it got 40 visits from around the world, that'd be good. But what if it got 400? What if it just got 4? Of course if it's just 4, you'd have to promote it more!

I haven't got it fully worked out, but we would have to have some rules. Like if you were neglecting your baby, I might have to step in and take it away from you. But I don't really want any unpleasantness to intrude on the relationship at this point. Stay positive, keep everyone smiling!

So let's get started. So far I have over 1,300 babies up for adoption. You can go back to the very beginning, or check out the nursery from 2008, 2009, 2010, or some of our more recent deliveries.

One of my recent favorites is baby "Fahoup Fahep Fitzguh", a recent child, that could use some tender loving care. It tells the hilarious story of how the rock group came up with that name. I can see how a lot of people would like to adopt "FFF," because it'd be easy to promote a child who's a rock star!

You might want to adopt "The Legend of Paul Boone," from October. This child was an underachiever, but I still think it's got something valuable to say. All it needs is a little TLC, a loving parent to take it under his wing to help it make its way in the world.

Here's a good one that'd make a fun child, "Pitbulls, Sex Offenders, and Jake Brakes." This is the only post I know of that had people on Facebook organized against it. You realize, pitbull owners have no scruples against an angry response, and I was the unfortunate target of their ire. But if you're adventurous and can stand the heat, it'd be a lot of fun to see that post adopted. With that one, though, I'd need a full background check of the parent-applicant, just to make sure the pitbull people don't get their hands on it and kill it.

Go through the list and see if you can find a baby of your own. There could be great benefits in it for you. Like if you're a childless couple, can't have kids, and you're struggling with your marriage. This program might put the spark back in your relationship and give you something truly blessed to share. And one other benefit, it's a lot cheaper than an actual squalling rug rat. You get all the benefits of a child but none of the headaches!

Let's get you started. Leave a comment, telling me which one you want to adopt. And if you think you can handle twins, triplets, or even quadruplets, theoretically you could do that, but the process could also be that much more complicated. Definitely the parent who takes the pitbull post will want to stick with that one alone.