Monday, June 25, 2012

Without The Fear Of Contradiction

It's been a while since I've had a contentious comment or an email from a reader objecting to something.

That could be bad. It might mean that, despite the 14 hits I got from Croatia the other day, they've moved on to other blogs. It's something I've feared, really, but didn't know how to adjust to counter it. I always figured, you know, that since my readership skewed younger, mentally at least, that with maturity they would migrate on. But then that others would find their way in.

Or it could be good. It's long been proverbial that if you can keep the Croatians contented, anyone will be pleased. So I'm banking partly on that. Or it could be good because the readers feel they're getting exactly what they need, their daily recommended serving of rhetorical goodness, with a flourish or a flair here and there.

Believe me, these questions keep me up at night. Just last night, I woke up in a cold sweat, thinking, "Whoa Nelly, what should I do next?" It wasn't till an hour or two of that that I finally came up with my answer, that I shouldn't worry about it. But then, in addition, that I should maybe double down on spouting off my opinions, conjectures, and claims.

To do that, then, let me start by saying: I have no fear of contradiction, no matter what I may say. There, the ball's in your court. If you want me to fear contradiction -- which I don't -- then you need to call me on it. Until then, buzz off! Down with fact-checkers, those who would question my logic, or the disputers of theories. You don't know everything anyway. And since you don't know everything, how can you realistically question me on anything?

OK, I'll pull a few so-called facts out of my ass, and so be it!

Without the fear of contradiction, I claim that Smokey the Bear himself sets fires to forests. Can you prove he doesn't? Isn't it a little suspicious that he hangs out in forests all the time and yet fails to stop fires? If we can't depend on Smokey, going by that, who can we depend on? But going by my contention, that would explain a lot of things. And -- and here we're getting to the nub of the issue -- who would have a greater motive to torch a forest every now and then than the very guy who profits from preventing fires? If there's never a fire, he's out of a job. We would do very well to keep an eye on him. I'm proposing an ankle bracelet monitored by GPS.

Without the fear of contradiction, I submit to you that bugs are invisible. No one can dispute what they can't see. And with this claim, I don't mean they're microscopic, hence visible under a microscope. I claim that they are literally invisible. A visit to the kitchen in the middle of the night proves the point. You walk in, you have a creepy feeling there are bugs, yet you don't see anything. Of course you don't, they're invisible. I've had a problem now for two summers, being bit by invisible bugs. When I was a kid I saw bugs. A mosquito or some other apparently visible bug would land on me. And I'd get bit. But when I grew up, my childhood second sight went away. I'm still getting the same bites, but nothing's there. Freaky.

Without the fear of contradiction, I declare that topical humor sucks. I'd rather have something that's perpetually funny, like a guy with an odd walk or a bicyclist crashing into the back of a garbage truck and being sucked into the gears than a topical joke. I was listening to a Lenny Bruce album -- Live at the Curran Theater -- and he was riffing on a judge who didn't want him saying naughty words. I think Lenny was going to jail for it. This goes way back, when the words were first invented, so they were crazy. But it's topical, meaning we aren't that amused now. Without the fear of contradiction, he would've been a better comedian if he would've simply stuck to regular jokes. Which he could've done.

Without the fear of contradiction, I am never wrong...

There But For The Grace Of God Go I

Stylized reflections on my good fortune as compared to others of the human type suffering from dramatic strangeness, all credit and glory being given to God alone:

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

I saw a guy sitting there with a big bushy white beard, terribly scraggly, basically repulsive. How in the world he could ever find love (of a physical kind) is beyond me. To have that horrific display in your face, not only as a detestable appearance but as a nightmare to the touch, is beyond sickening. And yet, somehow, in his ignorance, he persists in life, appearing in public. Are we on the same page, folks?

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

This other lady -- fart, this is bad -- was a rolling gelatinous something. About as scraggly as the other guy, no doubt googling a future in the circus. "What are your qualifica--? Oh good God, sign her up!" Mop my brow, I'd never sweat like that in an air-conditioned room. This I saw with my own two eyes; what do you think?

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

I had to leave. Such a display was damaging my faith in humanity. It's too much to behold. I had to retreat to the bathroom, and without touching anything, behold my own perfect form in the mirror. The nose is right, the forehead not prematurely sloping, the eyes even, looking straight ahead, the mouth a miracle of design, my ears not too protruding nor too small. Oh Lord, who's this coming through the door? What a vile specimen! Reminder to self: Bring toilet safety shield next time!

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

Back on the mezzanine, I feel I'm again in the safety of normal company. I see one of my rare betters moving by with a briefcase. This guy's a success, such polished shoes, such a nice fitting pair of pants. The eye thrills to follow him as he approaches the light post and vanishes around the corner. When what do I see coming the opposite direction? Saints, save me! How hideous can someone be?! To think this was someone's baby, sucking one time at the breast, treasured and kept from harm! What horrible karma has played out its cruel hand since then? He's a walking zit, with what looks like an unintentional mohawk, and he's a bit old to be carrying a crumbed-out skateboard under his arm!

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

I'm headed for the bookstore, where the beautiful people live, breathe, and browse. In the safety of those stacks, I can also breathe, breathe in the wisdom of the ages. I settle in the paperback section, browsing and perusing. This or that author, I've heard of them. They were despicable in their time. No one liked them, but I think, if I'd been there, back in their time, I would've treasured them. Edgar Allan Poe is the author of this particular collection. Talk about a guy with a dark side. I should've read Poe more when I was a kid. I got stuck on "Tell-tale Heart" and just read it a million times and everything else none. I look out the window and see a crumb slink by, nothing like Poe.

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

Where can I go that I shall not be beset upon by life's dregs? Don't these losers, bozos, and turds ever stay home? They're out and about. For their great difficulties at life, they certainly appear to excel in the open air. There's this one guy I'm thinking of, he's like a Viking. He's not dressed in a coat of mail but he would be if someone gave him one. His hair hasn't been washed since he was three. He's got a crazed look, but it might be a put-on. No one disturbs him. You wouldn't dare. He looks dangerous. He's never once exchanged a glance with me. He's so antisocial it's painful...

There but for the grace of God go I ... there but for the grace go I:

Another specimen I see ... and another ... there's one without a head, completely severed, and yet he wanders the street. There's another. He can't afford food. But every square inch has been tattooed. Born a rebel. Good grief. Spare me. No head, how can that be? Just a big eye in his navel, exposed to the world. With a very hairy belly.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Something Put Him In An Early Grave

This is about a friend of mine, the late Q------ Wiswell, who was never married yet somehow found himself put in an early grave. He was 42, a young age to die at.

I've given it a lot of thought, and I'm wondering what it might have been that was responsible for his premature demise. It's a sad thing when people die, especially people with any degree of closeness to me.

I met Quentin in church. Of course church is where a lot of healthy people go. They're known for keeping their lives square not only with the Lord but with man. So they're not given to various excesses that so often spell tragedy for those outside the fold. And yet he died ... and I never heard an actual reason why ... Just a bunch of whispers. 

What might it have been? Why would "Q" have died so early? Maybe he was living a secret life. That happens, you know. Folks aren't always what they seem to be; sometimes they're quite a bit different.

Could it have been a secret life of gambling and debt? There's lots of people who play the ponies or bet on sports or are addicted to card games and one-armed bandits who die early. Because they're not frugal with their money. They get in deep with the wrong crowd. And before you know it, their money's gone, and so are they! But I never knew "Q" to gamble, and he always seemed to have enough money. He gave me a nickel for a parking meter one time.

Could it have been a secret life of drugs and alcohol? I despise it when people get hooked on all this crap. They think they're having a good time, which probably they are, until it's too late. You start taking that shit and you'll always be chasing the first high. Unless you only drink wine for your heart. But I never once smelled anything on "Q" or noticed any odd staggering.

Could it have been a secret life of treachery and espionage against his country? It's doubtful. You hear of double agents and spies who turn on their country for money or ideological reasons. But I was at his place several times and never saw any weird insignias, flags, microfilm, carved pumpkins, etc. Plus, I was at his funeral and saw his body. He wasn't beheaded, so he was clean in this area.

Could it have been a secret life of womanizing? It might have been! I probably shouldn't tell tales, but I did actually see him once going into a club well known as a hangout for women taking their clothes off, called strippers. The imagination runs wild. I can well imagine these cute girls taking off their clothes a bit at a time, say a piece and a half for every song on the jukebox. Or, to be more exotic, a classier lady with props -- boas, scarves, a shag rug, or a playful dog puppet, sniffing around -- taking it all off in a classier way. The first girl, she's just stripping for a quick carnal excitement. The exotic lady actually puts the tease in striptease! That's what leaves you wanting more, not someone just moving mechanically (and sometimes lethargically) toward stark nudity.

It is very well likely that "Q" died from watching too many bad strippers. That would put me in an early grave, too.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Feeding Our Feathered Friends

Guess what! I'm on my second bag of feed, and I've been filling the feeder every morning, much to the delight of our feathered friends! True story.

I started thinking, What would be a great way to spice up the back yard? Then I went to the garden center and checked out some of their wares. I could get some cool lawn angels, a trellis, a little marble-like bench, a small wrought iron table, a rototiller, or some garden gnomes.

But I thought, No, I'd rather have something that adds a little life to the place, so I plunked down my debit card for a feeder, a bag of feed, a post for the feeder, and that's it. I would simply let nature do the rest. But could I trust nature? I was about to find out.

I stuck the post in the ground -- stay with me here. Then I hung up the feeder -- you see where I'm going? Then I filled it with feed, carefully so as not to spill too much. Now all I could do was sit back and let nature take its course.

And then it happened... A couple of our feathered friends flew in and pecked at it, looking skittish that someone might sneak up on them. They flew away and next a few more showed up. Within an hour -- and it didn't take any longer than an hour -- so many of our feathered friends were there they had to take a number and wait. Wow!

It was fun to watch, and it's continued on like that in the days since. The line is 40 deep. Others are circling the lot as they wait. I'm already on my second bag of feed, and it's about gone, too! I go out, like I said, the first thing in the morning. The feeder is nearly empty. And I fill it. Then I get back far enough so they know it's safe, and, sure enough, our feathered friends fly in for their morning feed.

It's been really cool with all the feathered friends I'm seeing. I even jotted down a few notes to help me keep them in mind. So far I've noted a number of different types. I've seen "red, blue, yellow, and brown" ones, so all colors, oh yeah, I need to add black. They're bigger and have a harder time landing on the little feeder.

One funny thing I learned is this: I didn't need to be so finicky about spilling seed, because our feathered friends are busy scattering it everywhere anyway as they eat! You ought to try this, if you think it'd be fun. Just go to a garden store and they will get you all set up! And if you say no, our feathered friends will go hungry.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Gods Of Interchanges And Junctions

To me, there's plenty of incentives for being a safe driver. The biggest is survival, living to drive another day. Others down the list are, avoiding the intrinsic inconvenience of wrecking, paying big fines, and having to revise your day's schedule at the last minute.

But there's another great incentive: You don't want to piss off the gods of interchanges and junctions. Why, you ask, would there be gods of interchanges and junctions? Well, set aside your evil doubts and I will explain. Where do we all meet, and where then would there be the greatest concentration of human energy in the world? It'd have to be interchanges and junctions. You literally can't approach a junction without there being three other cars at the other three corners.

Now, since all gods are human projections that somehow became living spirits, where else would you expect to find them in the modern world? It started -- I'm estimating -- probably in the 1920s when everyone started driving more than before. These powerful projections felt a terrible recurring blockage, having to stop at every interchange and junction. Then some of them got out of the car, and pretty soon they took up residence there. Then, as would be their natural wont, they assumed lordship.

It blew my mind when I first realized this. Because, remember, a month ago I had the brief post on "The Traffic Light Lord"? The city and county has been installing a bunch of cameras at stoplights. Then, mysteriously, city and county employees were sensing a great force, causing many of them to literally explode, or worse, turn to stone. In either event, they're dead. No one knows (or knew why), but this has to be it, what I then discerned, the terrible wrath of the gods of interchanges and junctions!

As the discernment process unfolded, I've been bringing together certain facts, that it's our behavior on the road that's being rewarded or punished by them. With good driving being rewarded, and the driving of the other 90% being punished. How worthy are you? is the main point. This is what we're dealing with!  

So, it turns out, the better you drive, the better your trip will be. They're doing all this very actively, even reading our thoughts, watching our progress, and matching it up with others on the road. Sometimes our road karma is tied in with other people's. The worst jams, clogs, bottlenecks, and wrecks are reserved for the worst sinners. So when a guy gets drunk and goes off the steep embankment and his car bursts into flames and he dies a horrendous death, don't feel so bad; he deserved it. But don't feel good about it either, or you could be next. They're always watching. Even when you're at home and not even near a road, they're saving it up to get you later, or to let you pass unscathed.

Traffic police are their pawns. You know how you've been passed by a thousand drivers going 90 mph? And you yourself are only going 61 in a 60 mph zone but get stopped? It's because the gods of interchanges and junctions are doing you a favor, in their own way. They want you to slow down so you don't accumulate bad road karma. As to the others, they have a bitter end in sight, usually a massive pileup, a fiery crash, a bridge-out situation where vandals stole the warning sign, etc. I heard of one guy, his body was blown to bits. There wasn't anything left. His funeral was closed-casket because there wasn't anything in it.

After I figured all this out, about the gods, for a while I was afraid to drive. Then I ran out of toilet paper, and once the leaves of my trees were gone, I had no choice, I had to go to the store. While there, I also got food, which I also needed. And I didn't have a bit of trouble. Every stoplight was green, and there was no competition at the stop lights. I kept in my own lane, kept it below the speed limit, and thought happy thoughts, and I was able to pass through without incident. That night in a dream I saw their smiling faces, meaning they think I'm a good driver!

But what do I see just yesterday? Two semis collided south of town. One was carrying old battery acid for recycling and the other live skunks for delivery to zoos around the country. What a mess! The skunks were mad anyway, but once the acid reached them, they became irate. They let out a stink, and of course a skunk in acid is an environmental nightmare, the farthest thing imaginable from what is pleasant. The whole thing was due to the gods of interchanges and junctions! I guess one of the drivers had a terrible driving record, and the other was going just a titch over the speed limit. What else could they (the gods) do but make them collide? It's kind of funny when you think of it...

Drive safely! But know this, even if you're a completely safe driver, you're not really safe. Because they need a perfect sacrifice now and then.

The Very Insulated Hospital Employee

Have you ever gotten a huge hospital bill? If you've ever been in for anything worse than visiting a sick friend, the answer has to be YES. Although, what about the weird irony that eating at a hospital cafeteria is usually cheaper than going anywhere else? It's 80 bucks for a tray of food when you're a patient, but 8 bucks when you're not!

But let's say you're in the hospital for a week. That's when you see the big charges pile up. (I'm not writing out of personal bitterness, but I have a friend who got some big time charges. Like $7,000 or $8,000 a day. Enough to take the vacation of a lifetime and happily drop dead at the end of it!)

Let's just guess at the charges, since I didn't see his itemized bill. What would the toothbrush have to be? Maybe 40 bucks. Then we have the bedpan rental fee, $50 a pop. He needed another blanket, so that'd easily be $100. Then an air conditioner fee so he'd eventually need the blanket, $500 a day. We already know the tray of food is $80, maybe more if you throw in a $10 fee for the lid, $5 for the napkin, and another $5 for tomorrow's menu.

It's great how they're able to make him well. But when he gets the bill, of course he's sick again!

Here's my thought: Folks who work at the hospital have to know what's going on. They know you can get a decent meal in the real world for less than 100 bucks. And go to McDonald's; you can take all the napkins you want for free. I know a guy who hasn't bought toilet paper for 10 years! Hospital employees have to know what expenses are like inside and outside. I bet they are! They think about it all the time, and the ones I see hang their heads in shame. To them I say, "I know it's not your fault personally. Of course you profit off the corruption, but most people, to survive, have to look the other way at their job." So I'm not condemning them. Even so, if there's a literal hell as the afterlife, I wouldn't want to be a deceased hospital employee for anything!

My thought here is, what if we had a hospital employee who was very insulated? He's been in the hospital forever. He works all three shifts. He never leaves. He's picking scraps off used trays and laughing to himself, "I just ate $400 worth of food for nothing!" He steals a hospital bandage and knows he just committed a felony, since they have to be over $20. He looks both ways to avoid getting caught and sticks a $500 gown down his pants. He knows a guy who sells stuff on eBay. That's my thought.

OK, one day a supervisor notices, "Joe's been here a long time, a loooooonnnnnng time. What the hell?" They check the video and there he is, eating scraps, stealing bandages, and smuggling out gowns. He's fired and banished from the premises. He wonders, "How am I going to eat? I don't have $300 for the day. And if I do eat, where am I going to get a toothbrush for under $40?" And so forth. Then he finds, much to his amazement, that things aren't really that expensive!

Hospitals have it made. But we're on to the bastards! After you read this, please pass the link on to all your friends. Talk them out of getting sick, whatever it takes! If they have to drop dead, so be it! Let's starve the beast, these corrupt money-grubbing hospitals!

The Tertius Conundrum

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. (Romans 16:22)
While mowing the yard, I was thinking on the plenary theory of divine inspiration -- God inspiring the Bible so every word is precisely His own -- as it relates to what we might call the very incidental, even trivial, verses of Scripture. Doing yard work, there's no better time to work on these issues, along with trying not to run over too many sticks. My blade needs sharpened as it is.

Anyway, one of the weirdest verses I can think of is Romans 16:22, where, getting to the conclusion of Paul's great epistle, a guy named Tertius, who was the guy manning the quill, tosses in his own hello. I'm not what you would call a big plenary kind of guy, by a long shot. But I've known a few. At first glance, you might think this would call it into question. But maybe not.

It seems obvious it wouldn't have occurred to Tertius that what he was taking down was anything but another letter. How would he know that the thing was divinely inspired, word for word? Most of us don't think that. Yes, maybe I do, occasionally, regarding my blog, but not always.

It's pretty easy to see Tertius was just saying "Hi," saluting the recipients in the Lord. Nothing more. Is that divinely inspired? Maybe so. He wasn't long-winded, and for some people that takes a miracle.

There would be some plenary folks, maybe most, like one of my old friends, who insist that plenary inspiration is only for "the original autographs," which are either lost or no longer exist. But it would seem that this verse would have to be original. He's the guy who wrote it.

So would it take divine inspiration to say "Hi."? Gomer and Goober said "Hey" all the time. Apparently they did it without divine guidance, and they weren't even that smart. What then would Tertius' problem be? Did he need the guidance to put it toward the end and not at the beginning? Did he feel like writing more but was somehow mysterious held back? Short of me taking another mystical journey to the Akashic Records, we're not likely to know.

It seems clear to me that the Bible writers were not consciously writing Scripture, but used occasional letters to make relevant points to their congregations. It was not till the writings were used in the congregations for teaching, then with their collection, and later their canonization, that we have the rise in theories of divine inspiration. Clearly, all Tertius was doing was saying "Hi." It took a century or two for it to become a big deal. And it would only become a big deal because of the surrounding writings. If we had only this one verse in isolation, and were completely unaware of the surrounding writings' existence, we wouldn't come to the immediate conclusion that he was divinely inspired.

I think there's a larger issue, and that's our ability to discern what is divinely inspired and what is not period. Have we somehow an innate ability to make that determination, and against what are we comparing? When I was mowing the yard earlier, I nodded and waved at a lady going by, the equivalent of saying "Hi." I want my own page in the Bible!

But I can really see some ecclesiastical use for Tertius saying "Hi", say for a lesson on being bold and greeting one another. You see the pope or the super vicar of the Protestant faith saying "Hi" to folks, and it's a big deal. Then we say, "I'm just as much a worthy person as those yahoos; I say "Hi" all the time." Tertius was just a schlub like me, and when we say "Hi" sometimes it's a big deal to people.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I vote Tertius stays in the canon. He was smart enough to stick it in there, out of his own will, or something higher.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Searching For The Great Unknown

I've decided to announce that I'm on a search for The Great Unknown. I've been searching for a little while now, something like three days. It suddenly occurred to me, I might be able to find it!

When you launch a search like this, it's a big deal, because you go up and down in your optimism. Sometimes you're very optimistic, then not very optimistic, then you can be downright pessimistic. It's probably no secret that I've run the gamut. Today, actually, I'm fairly optimistic, which explains why I've suddenly decided to go public.

I woke up today, like most days, taking stock of my feelings, mood, and outlook. And guess what; it was two thumbs up on every account. I felt good, went to the kitchen and made coffee, checked the news online, then immediately picked up the search. The Great Unknown has to be somewhere! So it was a good morning, marred only by one nagging question, whether I should call it a "search" or a "quest." But I put it out of my mind, thinking, the first thing I thought of was search, not quest, so search is good enough.

That was actually a breakthrough that, upon reflection, helped my confidence. Because when you do anything, searching or questing, if you start having second thoughts or doubts, it can kill you. You have to do it right, Go with your gut. Go with your first instinct. Some of the earliest explorers probably had the same conviction, which is how they managed to eventually discover all the continents.

But I'm looking for something a lot more nebulous, something that might not be right there in plain sight, and that's going to be tougher, The Great Unknown. Just to spell it out like that gives me pause, because What is it? What do we really know about it? Two things: It's Great and it's Unknown. But is it absolutely Unknown? If it is, how do we know it's Great? The answer to that has to be, It must be Great if it remains yet Unknown, and yet is apparently findable.

Now, where to look, that's the question. And how to know when I've found it, that's another problem. I honestly don't know the answers to those questions completely. But I'm thinking, it might pay rich dividends not to leave home too quickly. Because there's lots of things to delve into, the main one being the chance that the answer is to be found within.

Think about it! My sudden desire to find The Great Unknown obviously arose from within me. I didn't have the conviction a week ago. Then one day, there it was! If it is within me, within the psyche, that will be one huge step toward finding it. Then if I'm able to come up with clues, something that narrows the field, perhaps there will be something physical somewhere out there to complete the puzzle. So, if I narrow the field psychically, then launch out on my quest -- scratch that, search -- the two just might come together in a blinding flash.

This is a search that will be ongoing. I'm not going to update the world on every aspect of my search for The Great Unknown. Two big reasons: 1) It could get boring real fast, me butting my head against the wall; And, 2) There are probably others looking for it, too, and I want to find it first. There will be big prestige in naming it after myself, and I'm guessing there will be big money groups wanting a piece of it. Like Facebook. If they gave a billion for Instagram, imagine what The Great Unknown is worth!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How Easy Do Rabbit Heads Pull Off?

I have a bunch of rabbits in my yard. I see them everyday. They haven't been thinned out now for generations, meaning rabbit generations. Grandpa used to make traps for them, and we'd eat a lot of rabbit. But since his death, I have pretty much given up the old ways. Now I eat store-bought food, and I can't think of the last time the store had rabbit.

I used to go hunting for rabbits. Of course this was an activity that came from my grandpa and the other male members of the family. We'd get up bright and early, between September and February, and head out to the ditches in the country. You needed a .410 shotgun for rabbits. But you couldn't legally have your shotgun already put together in the car, so you needed to stop, get the gun pieces, put it together, and get it loaded, and hope, in all that time, that the rabbit wasn't already gone. Rabbits must be very dumb, because we'd still get lots of them.

As for the skinning of a rabbit, naturally it was the same whether you shot them or caught them in a trap. The first thing you do is pull their head off. And it's remarkable, but there's nothing easier in the world than pulling off a rabbit's head. You put it under your shoe or boot, holding it by the back legs, and pull. You don't even need to strain yourself, because their heads come off like they're held on by a single thread. Nothing easier. Maybe waving hi.

These days, to tell the truth, I hate killing anything. The other day I destroyed the appearance of an iPod player to rescue a gnat. That's how much I hate killing. Although, to be honest, I've killed a few bugs that have suddenly landed on me. It's just an instinctual reaction, happening just that quick, and didn't come from my considered judgment. A small spider was in the sink and I was very considerate of its well-being. But back then, we ate rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, turtles, raccoons, 'possums, and every variety of fish. I was raised by people who lived through the Depression. We ate dandelion plants from the yard! And it was all good, too...

That meant I'd personally get a rabbit every now and then. And it was actually not that disagreeable to pull off their heads. They're obviously designed to come off easily. God knew they'd be way down the food chain, so why give them good neck muscles? Connect them with the sinew equivalent of Scotch tape and be done with it. A rabbit gets up in the middle of the night for a midnight snack and trips over a rock ... whoops, lost his head!

I said that about God and the food chain. That might be the real story on rabbits' heads. But there's other critters down there with them, squirrels and fish come to mind, and their heads are on good and secure. I can't remember what we did with squirrels, but obviously their heads don't come off as easily as rabbits, because that's something I would remember.

Rabbits' heads are barely attached. We can go our whole lives without seeing another human decapitated. Not rabbits.

Meadow-Gold Ice Cream And My Dad

Family Trivia Question: What is the one thing that my dad couldn't stand to eat? No, let me rephrase that: What kind of ice cream did he absolutely hate? Not what flavor ... what brand? I mean. This is actually a stumper even for some people who knew him pretty well. But not me. Because I know the answer -- it's ingrained in my memory -- Meadow-Gold!

My dad made it crystal clear to us growing up that he despised Meadow-Gold ice cream. Given the choice of Meadow-Gold ice cream or dirt, he would've been a man of the soil every time. He didn't like the stuff, although seriously I can't remember why, or even if he ever said. It seems like he alluded to getting sick from it, which probably came from a bad batch or something.

That would make sense. Because, and this would be through no fault of the Meadow-Gold company itself, if you have thousands of independent ice cream shops and stands, there would have to be one once in a while that wasn't storing it right, or was selling it after its expiration date. I think way back then they probably didn't even have expiration dates on stuff, so it would be a case of keeping it too long, maybe even out of ignorance. I was at a grocery store a couple weeks ago and saw some meat still in the cooler that had an expiration date of three days before. I pointed it out to the meat guy and he immediately removed it. So if they're lax today, what might have happened in 1938?

My dad was born in the early '30s, so I'm just guessing, maybe his bad experience with Meadow-Gold happened when he was somewhere between five and ten. Those are formative years. You get hold of something rotten when you're that age and you don't forget it. To this day I will not touch Jack Daniel's whiskey, although to be fair, the half-full bottle we found at the train-yard might have been pissed in by a hobo.

I found the above ad, the original elements of which come from 1938. We can clearly make out that Meadow-Gold advertised their ice cream as great stuff. Ice cream itself was "The King of Foods," and among ice cream brands, Meadow-Gold "reigns supreme." That's pretty good! You're the King of Kings, the Jesus of dairy. "You're getting the best, the purest, the freshest..." they said. Of course my dad would be lured into eating Meadow-Gold.

But then what? Assuming as we are he got some from a bad batch and the entire brand isn't crap, just going by my imagination of what happened, he ate it, it tasted not terrible, then later he vomited his guts up. It had to be something traumatic for him, to swear off a particular brand even 50 years later. We'd be driving along, see a Meadow-Gold sign, want ice cream, and inevitably he'd say, "I don't like Meadow-Gold."

Now he's dead, so I can't ask him to give me the full scoop. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life. Why, why, why, when he lay a'dying, did I not ask him why he hated Meadow-Gold ice cream so much?

Just The Cutest Tabasco Packet

Look at this cute little Tabasco sauce packet. I didn't know they made these. I noticed the place I go to breakfast doesn't have bottles of Tabasco anymore. So I asked about it, and the guy directed me to a container of these little packets.

"How cute!" I said. And  how convenient as well. I'm always a little nervous about condiments in bottles in restaurants, because you don't know what the last guy might have done with it. When given a choice, I always take the freshest, fullest one.

But these little packets, that's exactly what I need! And the fact that they're so darned cute, that just adds to my delight.

Remember, I'm the guy who advocates that Tabasco is good for a person's health, speaking for myself. You can read about my Longevity Diet, which centers on using lots of Tabasco. In that post, I predict that I will live to be 158 and still have what it takes to date 20-year-old women. Or, I should say, 20-year-old men, whichever I happen to be in the mood for at that age. They'll be like, "You're a great lover for a 90-year-old!" And I'll say, "90-year-old, my ass! I'm 158 and I'm gonna be dead next week!"

OK, let's review what I did for breakfast, along with one odd quirk. The guy directed me to the container with the cute little Tabasco packets. In the immediate fever of my surprise, I reached down and took three, even though, upon reflection, I only needed two. But what to do with the third! This is the quirk: I'm funny when it comes to things like this. Like if it's jelly, I hate to waste it. There's this little container of jelly, and I think of how much it took to make it and that it should not be wasted. The same with even salt and pepper packets. Just imagine how I must feel about Tabasco, God's most perfect food...

I had the third packet there, yet didn't feel like having three on my eggs. So what to do with it? I could take it over and put it back in the container. But then I thought, No, because I've had my fingers all over it. And even though I don't have any diseases, someone might see me and be upset. I think I'd be upset if I saw a guy putting packets back in the container, because, again, I don't know what he did with them.

So under those circumstances I did the only thing I could do, which was to take it with me. There's one obvious benefit to that: I scanned it for this post. But the other more important benefit is, when it comes time to eat Tabasco, which I do all the time, I'll have this little packet to use first. In terms of physical size, it's pretty small, really small, but in terms of longevity, who knows?, it might add a few days to my lifespan. And that's too good to waste.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Get Back The Last Two Minutes Of Your Life

As a long time observer of internet culture, I can report that the number one snarky comment made in response to cultural news is some variation of this, "I wish I had the last two minutes of my life back." For all those who have said this, or have been tempted, I have good news: "You've got it!" You can have it back, two minutes, four, six, seven, whatever it was ... yours ... and good as new!

It's my theory, anyway, if I'm trying to be objective, but more than that, it's my own subjective fact. It's based on two related truths: 1) Time in sleep is obviously variable; and, 2) It's God's will. And you can't get higher than God, unless, of course, you discover a way.

Maybe one of the greatest benefits of this fact -- that you can have your two minutes back -- is that it takes the sting out of the snark and renders it even more ridiculous than it already seemed. It's ridiculous for this reason alone, that if you've already wasted two minutes, you're wasting at least two more minutes bitching about it; you should've moved on. But you need your little parting shot. I see this trite comment and what else can I say but, "I wish I had the last 10 seconds of my life back." Fortunately, 10 seconds is no problem.

But if you think you're not going to get it back, then you ought to be more discriminating in the stories you click on. I see this snark at Huffington Post all the time, so let's think about it. If you see a link that tells you Rihanna discovered a new bruise, simply don't click it! Just tell yourself, "So what!," and move on. I know it's hard. Because you think it could be a bruise in a personal place and whatever picture they have could show the surrounding flesh, leading you to something more interesting.

So you yield to temptation, then inevitably the picture disappoints, and you just have to pay them back. What do you do now? You simply must hit the comment button, go to the trouble of typing your password in again, since HuffPost can never seem to retain this information, and say, "I want the last two minutes of my life back!"

OK, I promised you could have your two minutes. And here's how it works: The Universe (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss) -- God, for short, has your best interests at heart, thanks to the Oneness of it all. But just so everything doesn't get screwed up for people around the world, having to reset their clocks every time you click on a stupid link, it's all taken care of while you sleep. A world of sorrow is made right in sleep. Sleep is like a big mandated health care program. Everyone's covered but they don't complain about it.* The Supreme Court, so far, hasn't gotten involved.

In addition to taking care of your lost minutes, there's no judgment. We really could imagine that God might calculate the time you wasted and match it to the genuineness of your regret, and just dribble out a few minutes, leaving the others a permanent loss. But it doesn't work that way. God takes care of every minute you wasted at Huffington Post -- whether reading about the guy who ate off someone's face, the guy who ate someone's intestines, the mother who ate her baby, or the latest diet tips for cannibals.

It can happen simply by grace, with nothing for you to do. But if you want to appreciate it more, think to yourself before falling asleep, "I wish I had back the eight minutes I wasted through the day reading this shit. And, Lord, if I should die before I wake, I pray no one will eat me." And just like that, as you sleep, time contracts, ever so imperceptibly, ten seconds here, five seconds there, and when you wake up, you're caught back up, where you should have been!

One ironic possibility, which I hesitate to publish because it might be abused, is that the more time you waste at Huffington Post, the sounder your sleep might be and the longer your night. So in that weird sense, lingering there might be just what the doctor ordered, although to my way of thinking it's a temptation to be resisted; it violates the spirit of the injunction, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," and such a big chunk of catching up might mess up the time stream for whoever you're currently sleeping with. Who knows, you might be cast into the bottomless pit, where there's no internet connection, and you'd miss out on the maniac who eventually eats Rihanna, bruise and all.

* Not applicable in New York and Las Vegas