Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bye Bye to the Christmas Tree


Once Christmas is over -- this being December 26 -- one of the most unpleasant reminders of the holiday is the Christmas tree. There it still sets, suddenly unwelcome, like a hangover.

I look over and feel nothing but queasiness, whereas, somehow, before Christmas and on Christmas Day it was such a great thing to see. I really don't know what it is about a Christmas tree on Dec. 26. It's not like it has rabies or rickets or some other communicable disease. It's the same thing it was yesterday ... and isn't Christmas supposed to have 12 days and not just one?

The tree I have is one that comes in a box. Artificial. Unless you're a tree grower or the Optimist Club, the only kind to have. I had a real one for the last time in the '70s. Unfortunately I was slow about taking it down and it dried out and the needles fell into the carpet, keeping me up till 3 or 4 in the morning cleaning it up. Never again! And I've been good to that vow.

But still, it's work to take it down and get it in the box. There's ornaments and various knickknacks on it. Then there's another problem, unplugging it, knowing it's not going to work right when I plug it in next year. It didn't work when I plugged it in this year. I messed with it for an hour, changing a few bulbs and doing all kinds of things, to no avail. Then I left it half-on, as it was, and when I came back in the room a few hours later it had fixed itself! Can't depend on that every year!

I got the idea today that if the tree could talk, and if it knew my disgust with it on Dec. 26, it'd probably say, "I didn't ask to be set up. You brought me into this world. If there's something wrong, obviously it's something in your own psyche and nothing about me. I'm the exact same tree I was yesterday." Which, you know what? I agree with!

Everything about the Christmas tree, except for the physical thing, is in the psyche. I think it's something like this, recalling stuff I heard as a kid: The ancient whoever, our ancestors, thought when winter came everything was going to die. So to keep things alive, they brought a tree in the house. Then, I guess, if everything did die, all they had to do was take the tree out in the spring and everything would resurrect. How they kept the needles out of the carpet, that's what I don't know. Probably wooden floors.

I'm not especially a big believer in a magic tree keeping things alive in the spring, certainly not an artificial tree. But there's still something in my psyche, apparently, like everyone else, that says, "Must have tree in house ... just in case everything dies, or whatever." Even Republicans have Christmas trees. They might not accept global warming and the need to save the whole planet, but by golly, we're going to have plants in March!

Bye bye, tree. Back in the box you go. See ya around Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishing You the Merriest of Christmases Ever


Christmas always comes this time of the year. And without dispute, it's the most wonderful day of the year. A time of good cheer, love for all, and universal peace. It arrives like magic, then 24 hours later, unfortunately, it's gone in a flash. But while it lasts, O what reverie, what a blessed time!

It is our wish, our hope for you, that this will be the absolute greatest Christmas ever, making past Christmases as well as future ones pale in comparison. Then we hope that in the sad Christmases to come you will be able to look back to this day in 2013 and remember it fondly with the complete gladness that it brought.

YULETIDE JOY
JOLLY OLD KRIS
--as his bells come tinkling across the sky bringing joy and gladness to so many disturbed homes -- we pause a moment to wish you, our beloved readers and friends, every happiness, and thank you for any service it has been our wonderful treasure and blessed privilege to render. Further, it is our fervent hope that the New Year, basically unforeseeable as to its trials and challenges, will be full of happiness with not an ounce of dread misery.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
ROBBER OR SAINT?
Some of we old ones call him a robber -- but the youngsters all call him a Saint -- But he casts his magic spell over all of us, so here's to the day when he holds sway, and here's to you whom we hail as friends and readers.

You have brought us such joy that we are constantly astounded that such a vast reservoir of joy can even exist. We think, "Surely by now some multinational company with a legal team and a huge host of marketing experts second to none would have snatched it up and started parcelling it out to the miserable at $25 a pop, speaking of robbers unambiguously not Saints."

IF WE COULD MEET YOU
IT COULD BE DICEY
Perhaps 'twould be nice if we could meet you all and tell you how much we appreciate the friendly cooperation which has characterized your dealings with us. Or perhaps not. We are not what you'd call the most social of beings, clamming up nearly instantly in the presence of strangers. And what would we have to talk about, really? How much you like the blog? That'd take about 10 seconds. Then what? You might want money or, worse, sex, which is not our desire.

GRANDMA SLUMP BLOG INDUSTRIES UNLIMITED

P.S. - Remember, I'm sending a special select group of friends -- my dear friends -- a French Silk Pie for Christmas. If you receive one, God bless you. If you do not receive one after waiting a sufficient period of time, how ever long that may be, then I can only hope it will become obvious to you that I didn't send you one.

May you receive everything you so richly deserve on this blessed Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Huge Snowfail Last Night


I was out trash-talking the weather today after the big snowstorm. First, you know me, I wasn't impressed. I used to hear the old timers talk about snow so deep they had to cancel school for a month. That was back before the government realized you could build trucks to get rid of it. And, second, I'm just not that easy to impress. Even if nature eventually destroys us completely, my last words will be, "With any competence it wouldn't have taken so long."

Of course I don't have to worry about nature destroying us. Mankind is king of the universe, OK?, the judge and jury over these pipsqueak storms. We have brains, but nature has no real organization. If I were pissed off nature (nature with brains) I'd concentrate my whole force in one area and make an example of someone. Like Afghanistan. American man has been screwing around in the war over there for close to 15 years and doesn't seem to be any closer to beating whoever it is we're fighting. But if I'm pissed off nature, I whirl and blow till they beg for mercy and choose to have a righteous democracy, giving rights to their girls to go to school.

That's all taking me pretty far afield, since I didn't mean to get mixed up in Afghanistan. If any terrorists are reading this, please don't hurt me. I wouldn't normally be afraid, but, seriously, if American man has been screwing around trying to beat you for close to 15 years, you must be doing something right.

My actual topic is the failure of our snowfall last night. I've never thought of snow as a true success till it's hit the ground. That has to be the purpose. It's up there in the tallest part of the sky and has the ground as its destination. But -- this is Nature vs. Nature -- it gets caught in trees, on cars, and even on my head. That's a weird thing I think of every snowstorm: "This snow fell from the tallest part of the sky and just happened to land on my head. Imagine that, if only snow came with winning lottery numbers!" And you can even localize it more, if it lands on an even smaller target, your tongue...

I was driving past this local wall, seen in the photo, and saw the tragedy of snow failing. Such as getting all the way from the tallest part of the sky and screwing it up with a mere 8 inches to go! Instead of falling on the ground, it got trapped in the crevices of the bricks. Then 8 inches up from that, and on and on. Isn't that a drag if you're snow? You're looking at the ground and knowing it's a sure thing ... just to have the wind swirl at the last possible second and put you on a ledge 8 inches up.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas from White Pool Hall


Probably the first thing you notice is that I'm advertising a pool hall, in fact wishing you Merry Christmas from White Pool Hall. I've only been hanging out here about a month and already Gus heard I had a blog and a good reputation for web design, so he spotted me a few drinks for coming up with this ad.

The extraordinary thing about all this is that I'm even in a pool hall. And that I'm actually getting over the guilt, since a bunch of the guys here have really befriended me. They're very friendly, and of course they get friendlier as the night goes on, not being afraid to put a few away.

But me ... in a pool hall! Which was a dirty word when I was growing up. Anyone -- you, your dad, anyone -- who went to a pool hall was scum of the earth. They were drinking away their paycheck, their kids were dirty and poor, and they didn't belong in polite company. But now here I am! And while all that is absolutely true -- I've never seen such dysfunctional families -- the guys are honestly very friendly ... and generous with their paychecks, buying drinks, treating me to pool games, etc.

I made this big switch in my personal life when my Mom died in August. It's been a hell of a year. The thing is, you see, she was the one who came up with the rule against pool halls. It was "God's will," and all the rest... That would be the same God who took my Mom. Kind of a downer, first giving her cancer, then making it so she was the wrong blood type to get the best radiation, then complicating things with her diet so she'd waste away, and finally ... the bitter end. Right then I vowed what anyone in my skin would say: That's the way you wanna play it, I'm going to pool halls!

The weird thing about my childhood was: We always had a pool table! I think Mom and Dad were trying to convey to us that good families could still play pool, just not at pool halls. We played Rotation, 8-Ball, and a game I made up called Jackoslovitch, which was kind of like hockey, played with pool cues broadly swiping the table. Now, of course, those days are long gone. Everyone's dying off. We're all getting old.

I think about Mom all the time, too, at the pool hall. Hoping that maybe she's not that ticked off in Heaven, since, after all, I am 60, old enough to veer off the straight and narrow path from time to time, depending on how I choose to live.

Hey, hey! A truck driver kind of guy, a big burly Dutchman -- Jake -- just came in the door. They act like I'm "the Professor," since I know big words and still act a little uptight. I'm also the kindest guy here, but I'm hoping to get coarser as time goes on. But, really, doesn't the world need sweet guys too?

About the advertisement -- Hope you like it. We really do wish that Happy Thoughts Caress You at Christmas. And that Good Old Santa doesn't forget you and yours. Christmas is for the whole family, but I always say it's really all about the kids. And I'm thinking I'll probably try a few interventions with some of the guys here, to get them to not waste their whole paycheck on drinks. A few's nice, yes, but I don't like the idea of kids suffering. Definitely not at Christmas. I'm going to call that my strictest rule.

That's it! Happy Holidays! All the best of the season! And stop in for a game!
Mama don't allow no pool hall goin' 'round here,
Mama don't allow no pool hall goin' 'round here.
Well, we don't care what Mama don't allow,
Rack them balls up anyhow!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

When Bikes, Buggies, and Books Collide


I'll try to be brief, although I could actually go on at length about this incident. I'm still a little shook up, trying to make sense of it. It's hard to believe it all fits together, even if the tie-in with books is admittedly a matter of my own theory. The rest is 100% certain.

I was leaving a parking lot today in my buggy. I had to cross a sidewalk to leave. I pulled out in the middle of the sidewalk and stopped to watch for traffic. A guy on a bike happened to be coming from the south on the sidewalk. He had to stop because I was blocking the way. But instead of stopping he only slowed down, then came toward my buggy and intentionally smacked into it! He did it on purpose, you see, a total a**hole!

I didn't do anything in response except look his direction. I didn't cuss, I didn't finger him, I didn't make any gestures at all. He crossed the road and I crossed the road and parked. He could see me get out to check for damage, because I was going to call the cops. Fortunately, there wasn't any damage. It appeared that he had merely bumped into my tire with his. Still, what an *sshole!

Naturally, I went over the facts in my mind, over and over, justifying myself completely. Yes, my car was on the sidewalk, and, yes, he was probably ticked off. But that doesn't give him the right to smack something on the sidewalk. Obviously I was already there, like anything. If someone else is there, you can't run into them without being at fault. Unless you're an assh*le, like the guy totally was.

OK, I left and reentered the parking lot, intending to shop for books. At the bookstore I found three books that I wanted. Then I talked myself out of them, knowing that I already have hundreds of books and need to save money. So I put them back and left.

Then, later in the evening, I thought I would go back and get them. How many books did I say I wanted? Three. But when I got to the bookstore, two of the three were missing! How likely is it -- I'd like to know -- that in a bookstore with literally 30,000 books, give or take, that any two of three random books are going to be sold in the space of six hours? My suspicion: The guy had followed me, saw my interest in those books and figured I'd be back, and screwed me over by getting two of them.

What I would have hoped for is this: That the guy would've taken them to the counter and told the checkout guy the whole story, how he had a grudge against me, therefore he'd take the books. With the checkout guy then saying, "Yes, we sell books ... but we're not selling them to you under those circumstances." Since it's out of an irrational grudge, merely meaning to screw me over, and he was at fault.

Like I said, I went back to the bookstore to get them. I was hoping the relief checkout guy would see me looking for particular books, and without me saying anything, remember what the other checkout guy said, about the first guy (me) and the other guy (the ***hole), and would know where the books were that I wanted. I didn't ask, I was going by faith, but none of it worked out. The books were gone and that was it.

In conclusion, the final word on the subject, what probably happened was the bike guy saw where the first checkout guy put the books, then came back in later, stole the books, leaving one behind to be on the safe side. Then the relief checkout guy saw me come back, went to get the books, saw they'd been stolen, and chose not to say anything about it. He would've known I was going by faith and wouldn't want to shoot it all together.

I told a friend the whole story of what happened and to him it sounded reasonable. So I'm telling you.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

French Silk Pie


I had a great idea this year for Christmas. I'm getting all my friends a French silk pie from Perkins! Seriously, each one is getting their very own pie! (To qualify, you needed to be one of my friends before now, like at least a year ago and thereafter showing the various signs of friendship. And if you become my friend now, I'm likely to suspect your motives, possibly having next Christmas in view. The bottom line: I alone am the judge on any and all terms, and my decisions are strictly final.)

How about that? My friends are going to be really happy, since I've never met anyone who doesn't like a French silk pie. They might get a hundred presents from a hundred different people, but this is the one that will stand out. They'll all be like, "I'm friends with this guy and look what he gave me! Isn't that something!? A French silk pie from Perkins!"

It's about time to get my order in, too. Because even Perkins needs a little notice, since I'm going to need probably 10-18 pies, maybe more depending on how the final criteria comes down. There's a few "shirttail" friends, acquaintances from church, etc. Depending, again, on the various signs of friendship, and possibly throwing in a few qualifiers for some "hard luck" that they've experienced, I might need more pies. There's this one guy. He's been on oxygen all year -- terrible case -- gasping all the time, and yet he'll shuffle across the sanctuary, a 20-minute shuffle at his pace, just to say hi and "God bless you." By the time he makes it back to his pew they're calling out Code Blue. I'll probably give him a pie. It's the least I can do.

I know, though, that when you start doing a thing like this, it can become a bastard. A few of them will feel guilty they didn't get me anything. Or I'll be on their list for next year; they'll be going into debt to pay me back, just what I don't want. Or they'll think there's something wrong next year if I don't give them a French silk pie. This is so true: If you give something unusual, like a French silk pie, they'll never forget it. But if I handed out a sack with an apple or box of chocolates, it'd be like nothing. That's something to think about.

No, I'm not backing off the idea ... not yet, at least. So if you're one of my friends -- and several of my actual friends do read this blog -- don't worry. I thoroughly believe the pie's on its way! Just be patient. I have to work with Perkins, blah blah blah. And I do have the money for it. I've been eating at home all year, not Perkins, saving up a ton of money. So it'll be like my whole Perkins budget in a normal year spent in one lump sum at Christmas. That works...

I wouldn't mind going there today to get a French silk pie, just so I can be eating on it while I'm making up my list and final preparations. You know how much fun that sounds? Very fun! They're so rich though, I'll probably have to eat it in thirds through the rest of the day. I'm very hungry for one, and I hope you are too, if you're one of my friends.

In conclusion, Christmas is also a great holiday for music. And I'm thinking of one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. You know the one by Brook Benton, "You're All I Want for Christmas"? That's the one I want to listen to. And here's an idea -- I just had this idea! -- I could splice in some spoken references to French silk pie in the original recording. I have the audio software! Making it sound like this:
I only want FRENCH SILK PIE for Christmas.
I need no other presents under my tree.
You're all I want -- FRENCH SILK PIE.
And that would be ... the world to me.

As far as I can tell, Santa doesn't have to load his sleigh,
He can mark all my gifts "Return", or give them all away.
I only want FRENCH SILK PIE for Christmas.
The rest is only tinsel and show.
You're all I want -- FRENCH SILK PIE.
And mistletoe ... at candle-glow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Get Those Panties Off!"


Editor's Note: I was reluctant to post this on my blog, because of its obvious lascivious nature. We have a guy telling a series of females to "Get those panties off!" But I shared the whole story to a woman friend of mine, who thought it over and now has been repeating it back to me -- certain aspects of it -- for over a week. When it comes to her I'm afraid I created a monster, since this thing about the panties is all she wants to talk about. As for me, to keep it going, I was rooting in her dirty laundry and had a pair of her panties in my back pocket .... Well, you're probably not interested in what happened next...

We had some serious discussion about it, and for me that's good enough. I'm not expecting any major favors. All I want, frankly, is to move on. But not until I likewise infect your mind ... corrupt it, really ... with the lurid tale of ... The Guy Who Said "Get Those Panties Off!"

What a bastard this guy sounds like, to me. Like the cock of the walk, the man of the house, policing everything they did, the women. Who honestly were doing their level best. Of course they wore female underthings, which then on occasion would need to be washed and dried, the whole bit. You wear panties for a week, yes, they're going to get dirty. That's only logical, to my way of thinking.

They were all under the same roof, and who knows if things started out in a more egalitarian way... But certainly with the passage of time -- and perhaps it had to do with the way the relationships went -- the guy became more demanding, much more demanding, to the point of ... telling them, in no uncertain terms, what to do! Just the sound of it rankles me: "Get those panties off!"

And to make it worse, think of who these women were: One was his own mother! Terrible, but true. He went right up to her and demanded, "Get those panties off!" I know if I'd ever said that to my mom she would've decked me, and deservedly so. But with his mother -- and maybe it had something to do with his demanding tone of voice -- she ran from the room and down the stairs.

The second woman was his girlfriend, who must have had her own reasons for being with the guy. But I don't know. All I know is once he saw his mother running down the stairs, it must've given him a real sense of power. Because he didn't hesitate for a second but went directly to their bedroom and confronted her, issuing the same blunt command, "Get those panties off!" Of course she was aghast, running from the bedroom, leaving him there clenching his fists.

For me, the third one has to be the worst, since this wasn't even a woman, in the strictest sense of the word, but his 11-year-old niece, just visiting for month. Still, he had the same attitude and gave the same brusque order: "Get those panties off!" She must've been frightened, running down the stairs like the others, escaping the big bully. I'm glad she got past him.

He grimaced, one of those very determined grimaces where you get a fat lip, and rolled up his sleeves, heading down the stairs. They would get those panties off or he'd know the reason why! And just as he got down the stairs, here came the women in from outside. Obviously each one had had a hand in the task, what they were doing, but the girlfriend carried the basket, heaped over.

It turned out the big lummox hated to see panties that by then had been dry for hours hanging on the clothesline. Whether through absentmindedness, neglect, or just shear laziness, they hadn't brought them in. And there they'd been, flapping in the breeze. Every time he looked out, there they were, leading to his demand, "Get those panties off!"

Friday, December 6, 2013

Not a Groatsworth of Difference


I hope you like this post, as always, although, frankly, when I think of it, it won't make a groatsworth of difference if you do. It'd give me some temporary satisfaction, probably -- it's possible -- especially, you know, if you wrote in with your opinion to that effect. You might say, "Thanks for the laughs. I love your blog." Of course I'd like that, even though it'd quickly wear off, and in the end wouldn't make a groatsworth of difference.

I'm resigned to life like that. I really am. I'm 60 going on 70. And when you're that old one of the things you've had driven into your head is the idea of vanity. I'm getting pretty damned good at it. I see kids walking out of the stores with the latest shiny crap and I remember back when I did the same thing. The latest album, a new change of clothes. Then it goes on your shelf and in your closet and you're looking for a new high. The things you crave eventually don't make a groatsworth of difference.

Just the fact that I'm writing this doesn't really make a groatsworth of difference. I was laughing it up earlier this morning. It's been 12 hours, or just a little over, since I thought of it, and I was laughing like a hyena. Does laughter help? Yes, doctors say so. Laughter's the best medicine, helps extend your life, they say. But let's say it extends your life an additional 10 minutes. Yes, that's an extension, but does it make a groatsworth of difference in the whole scheme of eternity? Fat chance.

I've been thinking a lot about eternity lately. Again, I'm getting old. I used to pray, "If I should die before I wake..." back when I didn't really mean it. Now I'm praying it sobbing like a baby, sweating as it were great drops of blood. Beyond just the process of dying, I've been dwelling on what happens to dead people. Even going so far as to look up (Google) information on the decomposition of the body, how long it takes, etc. Look it up, you'll never sleep again. A body liquefies! And the resulting "soup" they call "corpse liquor." I'm not making that up! They go to exhume you and you're just a puddle of slop in the bottom of a casket. One of the junior cops is puking behind the tree, but to you, measured now in fluid ounces, none of it makes a groatsworth of difference.

If it's going to make something close to a groatsworth of difference, you have to tackle the problem now, while you're alive. Which is one of the big reasons I've underlined and bolded and red-asterisked the word "CREMATION" in my final arrangements. Put me to the torch! That's what I'm saying. Line up some fagots and put me on top. Douse it all with lighter fluid and be done with me. Actually, honestly, the crematorium has an oven strictly for cremation. I saw one one time when it was brand new. True story. I toured a new funeral home before they had their first body, even though, to be completely above board they had pre-sold several vaults in the wall. They said it went up to 1500 degrees and you were ash and bone in a flash. Like a microwave, only much hotter and faster.

Sorry about veering off into death. I know a lot of my most faithful readers are either so young none of this matters to them, or essentially brain dead, only looking at my site to bone up on their ABCs, so none of this makes a groatsworth of difference to them.

How about me? Should I go on? Is it going to make a groatsworth of difference? Would it make a groatsworth of difference if it did make a groatsworth of difference? Nope, not a groatsworth.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sneaking Around, Sleeping in a Thrift Store


DISCLAIMER: I have to be careful the disclaimer isn't longer than the post. But I know this is where a guy needs to tread lightly. You can't be positing illegal activity without giving at least a passing nod toward warning people from actually doing it. In this particular post, I am only imagining what a person might do, not suggesting anything that anyone should actually try or do. It's just like the ads on TV that say "Do Not Attempt." No one, for example, has any reason to think that you would mimic the actions of "Mayhem" on the insurance commercial and fall off the top of a garage backwards. But it's still necessary to say "Do Not Attempt" to be legally covered against that one idiot who might try it. Similarly, I am going to write about sleeping in a thrift store, which I in no way endorse as an activity that anyone should actually do. To conclude, please don't try this, and if you do, don't tell me. There's a place downtown where they sell smoking paraphernalia, but they say they won't sell it to you if you so much as hint around what you're going to do with it. That's my disclaimer as well. Do not even read this post if you're so much as tempted, even slightly, to actually try it.

It's cold again, with the coming of winter. Leading me to think about what I would do if I didn't have a place to go at night. So far I've never been very homeless. But I always wonder ... What if?

I was near a thrift store today that I know sells mattresses. They're stacked up against the wall. I don't think the place has a 24-hour security system, but if they did this idea would be totally out. I was thinking of the obvious scheme, that a guy could go in there and insinuate himself between the mattresses and wait for everyone to leave. Follow me? I figured you would.

OK, here's where it gets good. Once I'm totally sure everyone's gone, then I picture myself lowering the mattress and sleeping on it. Which is what anyone would do, of course. My big difference is I do not make any movement in the store, unless it be very minimal and then done only by crawling, shimmying along on my belly, or just up on my hands and knees. This keeps down shadows in case any traffic is near the door or windows.

You figure they have a bathroom. So I go crawling along the floor till I get to it. At this point, most bathrooms don't have windows so I might feel comfortable enough to stand. But I do not turn on the light. That might be disastrous. Then I crawl back to the mattress.

At this point I really have to rely on my ability to wake up on time, because if I'm still there when the manager unlocks, like Goldilocks in the well-known story, he will catch me. Once I wake up, I assume there's an alarm on the doors. So I can't just leave. Instead, I have to prop up the mattress and stand there till the place opens, PLUS 15 minutes.

Voila, a decent night's sleep!

Have you ever stayed in a roomful of other guys? Like a youth hostel, something like that. I remember one time sleeping in a room of guys. The snoring and farting were unbearable, and that was just me.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Fig Leaf Over the Crotch


Here's a picture that packs a punch! Don't get too close or you might find out how literally true that is! Struttin', clickin' my fingers, an occasional thrust for good luck. The only thing I'm lacking is a stripper pole. And, dammit, I saw one at a garage sale just three weeks ago! But how does a 60-year-old man carry a stripper pole up to the lady with the cash box and buy it? It'd be like, "This guy's a pervert."

That's her opinion, obviously, since I already know how normal I am. It's exhausting to be so normal, but I don't mind it, since I get eight hours of sleep almost every night. Then the next day I'm back up, looking for new opportunities to express my normalcy. Which occasionally do include attaching huge leaves to my pants and taking pictures for the anonymous internet trade.

But there is an upside, no pun intended. As here, it gives me a little something to share with the lady readers of my blog. And a few of the guys I know. This is the kind of erotica I like, the best kind, leaving lots to the imagination. A handsome man covered only with his shirt and jeans and a well-positioned fig leaf.

I personally think modesty is very sexy. (I hope that's not "too much information.") It's better, in my opinion, if someone is modest, better, say, than just letting it all hang out. And in my case, to be wearing underwear in addition to blue jeans and a fig leaf ... what could be more modest than that?

That's one of the biggest thing I remember from church when I was a kid. How Adam and Eve each had fig leaves over the pertinent stuff. Adam with one big leaf, Eve with three. At first they didn't know they were naked, then when their eyes were opened it occurred to them. That's pretty damned modest.

Maybe what I need to do is parley the anonymous internet trade spoken up above into a money-making enterprise. Get subscribers to see my latest leaf. Video it and make my thrusting somewhat more interesting. Different colors of pants. Spandex or my jogging suit that I use for pajamas. Anything for a buck, as long as it adheres to my modesty and normalcy, of course.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Enjoying the Thanksgiving Lights


It's been a great Thanksgiving so far. I just got up from a long nap after eating the big traditional meal. And now all that's left is to drive around town and see the Thanksgiving lights.

That's a lot of fun -- even though I don't personally decorate for it -- the way the neighbors and folks around town go all out, their houses decked out in lights, lawn ornaments, and the whole bit. They really get into it, outdoing one another if possible, with displays that are very elaborate.

Of course we have the poorer side of town, where they're lucky to have a small lit turkey. Those aren't really much fun, although I guess everyone has to start somewhere. You never know, you might hit the lottery and be able to step up your game. Certainly everyone's trying to hit it, those with an extra dollar every now and then. One family I know of has a little lame son, and that's his dream, to win the big prize, hopefully then to get his leg fixed, but more importantly to be able to get into the Thanksgiving spirit with the best of them. Until then, he and the others just stumble along.

My own neighborhood is between that and the others. We're not too poor but neither are we rolling in it. The decorations are nothing to get excited about but neither are they anything to be overly ashamed of. Any lame kids we happen to have are more or less secure, and more or less proud of what their family puts out. A decent medium-sized turkey, strings on the trees, an inflatable pilgrim, etc., they're doing OK.

Frankly, I like driving around neighborhoods like mine. I don't get angst pains, as you can readily imagine a sensitive guy like me gets when I know people want to do better but are frustrated and stumbling along. After all, it's meant to be a fun thing, not frustrating. Although I'm just as quick to throw out a word of encouragement: No matter how poor you are, there's always someone somewhere worse off. So be encouraged! However, and this is equally as important, you need to do your best, because they might catch up and leave you behind.

Then there's the real fun, the culmination of the whole thing, getting over to the rich side of town. Where they've got enormous turkeys, and every color of the rainbow for lights, and elaborate pilgrim scenes with moving parts. It's great, with the only downside being the traffic. The folks over there are playing for the crowds. And that really takes some effort, with a couple of families even putting out a short-range radio signal for passersby to hear the story of Thanksgiving and their good wishes.

With money comes great responsibility. Your town depends on you for the good stuff. And obviously some of them get an early start, probably sketching out their display as early as July, and getting the stuff up anytime throughout October. As for their lame kids, if they have any, they're waving from the windows, beaming with great pride, happy as clams.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Raised My Own Thanksgiving Turkey


I did something a little different this year. I was with a friend at a farm sale and bought a baby turkey, just the cutest little thing, not nearly as big as a full grown bird. The idea, of course, was that I would raise it for my Thanksgiving meal.

After I got it, then, I realized there was lots of stuff I needed, actually making my meal this year more expensive than if I'd simply gone to the store. You need a good cage, a bunch of feed, fresh water, etc., right down to shots and an occasional visit to the vet.

Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the downside. Because having a baby turkey is actually a lot of fun. A rewarding experience. I had a good time petting his little feathers when he was young. And I named him, Sammy. My little Sammy! But he wasn't little for long. Sammy got some real girth on his bones, a good display of white meat and dark, all covered with some pretty cool feathers. One of which is going in my scrapbook. That is my vow.

Most of you might recall this wasn't exactly a great year for me. My mom died in August. And there were a couple days around that time when I didn't have a single friend in the world to share my feelings with. Except Sammy. Who patiently listened to me, and even seemed to reach out a drumstick as a gesture of comfort. It was about that time that I gave him a middle name, calling him Sammy Dale, and even sang him to sleep a few times: "Go to your sleep, O Sammy Dale..." Thinking about it now still makes me emotional.

But, you know how it goes, time stops for no man. Thanksgiving has been drawing near for the last month, and there's been no stopping it, no matter what. Sammy Dale was raised for this purpose, and so he couldn't be spared, no matter how much anguish it caused me to lift that damned hatchet and bring it down. One thing I was careful to do was to make it swift and sure. No rust on the blade, the thing completely sharp, nothing that would cause suffering and prolong it.

That was all yesterday, Tuesday, because I wanted it to be far enough in advance of Thursday to get rid of the emotions, allowing me to detach as much as I could from the bond we shared.

So tomorrow, then, Thanksgiving Day, it will be into the oven with what's-his-name, and he will be a beautiful spread of meat on my table. Carving him will be an experience, I hope not too sad. Because of course he's already passed on. There's no time for regrets when it's too late to go back. And honestly, he isn't really any different than any other turkey I might've gotten at the store.

Plus -- and I know you'll think this is pretty cool -- I will have one extra thing to be thankful for this year, that we had that quality time through the year. I bet most of the birds at the store didn't have that luxury. 

Murder? The "Good Timin'" Defense


I've always believed in coincidences. Even though I've had plenty of friends who've said there's no such thing. Which is a coincidence, because I knew they were going to say that.

Of course there's coincidences! If a man is riding a horse in California and another man is hiding a horse in Siberia, that's a coincidence. Only if it's the same horse is it not a coincidence.

Because coincidence is a real thing, right there's your defense against a murder charge. My topic for the day.

I was just reading the murder news in the paper, and realized these are the guys who get all the press, all the great attention. We pay more attention to the aftermath of an apparent murder than anything else. A guy supposedly kills his wife because she's in terrible health, a guy supposedly snaps and kills his four friends and an infant, or a guy supposedly commits mass murder in a bus station, airport, theater, mall, church, school, grocery store, parade, or anywhere else people gather in numbers above 10, and that's all we can think of.

With the supposed murder comes the long hard slog through the legal system, because, and I support this, even if a million people saw him do it, he only "allegedly" did it. I'm actually a stickler for this. Even as a kid I liked that sense of innocence before declaring him guilty. Even if he shot at me and I saw the bullet coming through the air straight between my eyes, my last thought would be, "He's only allegedly doing that to me. There could be all kinds of extenuating circumstances. Maybe he didn't mean to shoot. It could be a weird trigger. Maybe he was cleaning the gun. Maybe he saw Sasquatch behind me and missed. Or it's a simple case of temporary insanity." Then after death, if I had the power to think one more thought, it'd be, "Maybe I died just before the bullet hit me, therefore exonerating the guy from murder, with the charge being at most desecration of a corpse."

It could happen to one single "victim." You were going to die anyway just before the bullet reached you. And it could happen to 1,000. Right down the line the alleged murderer goes, with all 1,000 of his supposed victims dying by natural causes just before the bullet got there.

Therefore, that's a good defense. Which I'm calling the "Good Timin'" defense, after the old Jimmy Jones song (1960). The way I remember it is it asks the question, "What would've happened if you and I hadn't just happened to meet?" A great question. But as it turned out, "We had timin', a tick, a tick, a tick a, good timin', a tock, a tock, a tock, a tock a, timin' is a thing it's true, good timin' brought me to you!"

So there you are, the alleged murderer, with the only friend you have in the world, your public defender, suggesting that it was a matter of "Good Timin'" that your supposed victims all dropped dead. It was a coincidence, each person beating the bullet by a fraction of a second, thereby exonerating you completely ... or, again, reducing your charge to the desecration of one or many corpses.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Body Parts From Heaven -- What Are You Missing?


Every reader of this blog knows that I am equipped with an enormous well-functioning brain. It's one of the things I'm proudest of, my ability to put my forefinger to my head, make a few clicking noises, and come out with the answer to any problem. My brain's usually a blessing, but sometimes a curse, like if people want problems solved but don't realize I have to live too and therefore don't come across with payment in addition to their expressed appreciation.

Not to belabor the point -- it's hard to be humble -- but God! Am I smart! Sometimes I wish I weren't so smart, because the ignorance I see around me is staggering. It might be that the only redemption for me is to stagger and fall on my head and hurt my brain. Then even though I'd probably still be twice as smart as everyone else, at least we'd be that much closer.

Now, getting to my point, my brain isn't really all my doing. I chose it in Heaven, you know, right before I was conceived. Because that's the way it works. We choose what we're going to take with us in that time. And there's a lot of laziness in Heaven, since there's very few challenges to keep us sharp. So future kids are putting it off, getting prepared, and they show up incomplete.

In Heaven they're saying, "Hurry up, get your body parts: Arms, legs, brains, hearts, kidneys, stomachs, etc., and all the various valves that go the parts, etc.," but these idiots answer back, "Yeah, yeah, get off my ass! I'll do it when I'm good and ready!" Then they doze off, many, unfortunately, just as their parents are finishing up, and the thing is done. And it's too late.

Me, on the other hand, I was ready weeks in advance. In fact, I can remember sitting on a lawn chair outside a storage unit with a gun on my heavenly lap, holding off looters. Being, however, smart enough not to let on the wonderful assembly of parts I had inside. A brain to beat the band, and all the rest. As soon as my parents were in the grips of passion -- I was timing it, having watched all the training movies -- I opened the unit and everything came into me, all in miniature form of course, and I was off.

Then later, a lot later, I'm in school. And there's kids missing an arm, missing a leg, having diabetes, having various heart valves, stints, or they're virtually brain dead. And all I could do was shake my head and wonder what happened. (You temporarily lose memory of what came before.)

I knew this one guy. True story. The guy was nothing but a misshapen head with a spinal column, that's it, and a covering of skin. No heart, no liver, no kidneys, etc. A head and tiny brain, the size of a pea, the spinal column, and a covering of skin. They said the only reason he was alive was sheer cussedness.

And here's the other part of the story, how I knew him so well. Because my growing brain was giving me headaches in my sophomore year, and because this guy was so extremely deformed, he and I were the only boys in the whole class to be excused from an otherwise-mandatory semester of wrestling. We simply sat there in the guidance counselor's office, me thinking vast thoughts and him with his cussedness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Incredible Offer! "Who the Devil Are You?"


I recently came across this cool graphic. I didn't make it up. It's an oldie, one of the great cuts from the old printer's supply catalogs from the Kelsey Company of Meriden, Connecticut. Remember those? (I used to have one of their Excelsior printings presses, so reading and rereading their catalog was a joy of my childhood.)

Anyway, pretty cool graphic,  huh? There's a blank spot to write in your name. So you can say "I AM so and so. WHO THE DEVIL ARE YOU?"

My incredible offer to you is really wild. If you send me your name -- either real or fake -- I will make a graphic like this for you and post it on my blog. My email is dbkundalini [at sign, of course] gmail.com. Or you can leave your request in a comment. I check my email every three or four weeks, so it won't take very long to get this accomplished.

SMALL PRINT STUFF: This offer is good for the first 100 people, with one name per person. At my discretion, I might do more than 100, but there's no guarantee. Your "name" can't be any weird message, to be determined by me alone. I hate to give any examples. Just let your imagination run wild. If your name is very long, like RUMPLESTILTSKIN, it might end up more condensed or smaller. This offer may be discontinued at any time, without notice, by me alone. If I happen to die or am incapacitated, my heirs will be held harmless to fulfill the offer. Everything about the finished graphic will be for entertainment purposes only. There are no guarantees of satisfaction on your part. The results are strictly take it or leave it.

MORE SMALL PRINT STUFF: If the true owner of the graphic, in all likelihood probably dead for 40 years, steps forward and sues for royalties, the offer will be immediately terminated. No warning, no notice, no nothing. If time is of the essence for you, please get your request in as soon as possible. I cannot be held responsible for any dilly-dallying vis-a-vis your requests. I.e., if you fail to request a graphic, one will not be made for you. I repeat: I am not a mind reader!

PENULTIMATE SMALL PRINT STUFF: The above small print stuff does not exhaustively cover all the terms of this offer. Any needed small print stuff, as determined by me alone, will be immediately formulated and triple-rushed into service as the exigencies of any future moment are determined to warrant it. Such warranting to be determined by me alone, with my decisions alone final, if finality indeed is something I choose. You, the requesting party, agree that you have no rights and no recourse regardless of any grievance you may claim or experience. If I am given the slightest bit of grief -- even the slightest bit -- I will terminate the offer with prejudice, as though I am holding a cudgel and am prepared to use it, and your name in the mortice will not appear. Quite simply, you are holding me harmless whatever your beef. If you have a beef, save it. No one cares.

LAST SMALL PRINT STUFF: Death threats will be taken seriously. You will do time. I will see to it.

OK, everyone. This will be fun. Send me your name, or post it in a comment, and, going by the above conditions, I will work up a graphic. So people will know "who the devil" you are. Also, you will be asking "who the devil?" someone else is!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boarding My Dog -- Interviewing Kennelmeisters


There's big business in boarding dogs. You wouldn't think it was so. You'd think nearly everyone would have relatives to leave them with, cutting out the middleman so often that the middleman couldn't make it. That's the way it's been for me all these years.

Frankly, I'm not sure my relatives are as "busy" as they say they are or if they're just sick of my dog. Underbrush, being 14 years old, is a lot more to handle than she used to be. All the coughing -- congestive heart failure or maybe just something wrong with her throat -- can be a lot to handle. I have some pills for her but she hates to take them. You need about a pound of hamburger, then if you embed it just right, with a leaf of parsley camouflage, she'll get it down without eating all the meat and spitting it out.

Whatever the case with the relatives, I was left with no option but to take her to one of these boarding places. Which means, you know, a slight trouble with trust on my part. I want my old baby to have the best. And if one of these guys turned out to be a Nazi, I'd never forgive myself.

One of the worst ones I saw was in the country. Two big buildings, lined with cages for the dogs. What immediately jumped out at me was the terrible noise. When I went in the dogs went ballistic barking, literally raising the roof and perhaps moving the place slightly off its foundation. Like I've said before, Underbrush is virtually deaf in her old age, but this was ridiculous. It's Death Row waiting to happen!

Most of the others looked much more humane, being part of veterinarian clinics. Of course there's was no sign of hominess. Stainless steel grates on the cages, mass-produced chew toys, not a table scrap in sight.

I really took my time, interviewing the kennelmeisters who happened to be on site. (And several weren't, some of these being corporate veterinarian clinics, where the Big Man is in a metropolitan office somewhere and the Underlings are the boys in charge. Those I eliminated.)

I found one kennelmeister who looked sort of like me, with the same nervous looking demeanor. We shook hands tentatively, which made me feel comfortable. Both of us sat in chairs, a nice touch. I could tell this might be the place. Then we got down to brass tacks, me broaching some of my concerns. He was easily able to smooth my ruffled feathers, giving me various assurances -- and in a soothing voice -- that the various dogs who come through their door are treated well.

One of my biggest concerns was whether the dogs were provided with fresh water on a daily basis. Had he not been a kennelmeister, he probably could've been a psychologist. We clicked just like that. He saw my concern, and instead of replying with mere words, he took me back to the kennel area and showed me several clean bowls by the sink, just waiting to be filled and put in the cages as needed.

Given the opportunity, I glanced in a few cages and saw the water looking fresh, like the flowing water I see in commercials for the Rocky Mountains. This was the place! We shook on it! And that's where Underbrush will be going when I go out of town tomorrow. (She actually has to go tonight, because I need to leave early in the morning before the vet's office opens.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

An Accidental Stabbing Death


His wife was having a hard time slicing a ham sandwich. The blade seemed a bit dull, prompting the man to comment on it. She made a motion toward him to show how sharp the knife was, apparently joking, then immediately pulled back. As luck would have it.

He reached over, thanking his lucky stars for his life and health, and took the knife and stabbed her to death, the love of his life. That was all she wrote, as the saying has it. She slumped to the floor, a tangled mess of body stuff, without life, her lifeblood there, the whole scene.

An investigation revealed the truth, that it was a matter of confusion, not the fulfilling of a premeditated plan. Sometimes you just act on instinct, kill or be killed. And the only time he would end up serving would be a life sentence, not confined but alone at home, wondering how things might've been different. How can ham sliced so thin be so damned hard to cut? It seems to toughen up when fried.

They were all gathered at the funeral, her relatives and his. Just like their wedding, each side of the chapel hosted the respective sides of the family. But now he was all alone, released on his own recognizance but wisely keeping a low profile until he had to appear.

The casket was in place, the flowers primped and fluffed, the cards of remembrance in their little basket. There was a kind of hush in the place, the pall of sadness more than you could easily bear. The husband was the last one to enter, escorted to his front row seat by an understanding daughter.

He stood up to eulogize the dearly departed. He thanked everyone for coming to pay tribute to the love of his life. Then he touched on his sadness how she had "jokingly" came at him that way with the knife. He knew she was smiling, but perhaps something more maniacal lay behind it. In short, he didn't think, he acted, like you'd act if a wild beast lunged at you.

He paused for a long time, choking back tears. And concluded with a barely audible, "Love conquers all," before he was escorted away, lost in loud sobbing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"God Bless You" Beggars


I had the "pleasure" of passing a begging bum today and getting the dreaded "God bless you" with my refusal to part with my "change." (He wanted "change," presumably prepared to turn down bills.) I actually didn't have any change, since carrying money went out when the debit card came in, but that was no business of his.

This idiot wasn't the average beggar, not having a vacant look or the apparent patience of Job. He appeared competent and able-bodied. I might've given him $5,000 if I could trade places with him in terms of youth and health. Here I am on my last legs, but still able to get around without help.

The guy was spread out on a bench downtown, sitting there, hands up, arms spread on the back of the bench, looking as comfortable as can be. He might've been sitting on a white sand beach with a six pack of Coronas, he was that comfortable. "Excuse me, sir," he says, "Could you spare some change?" or words to that effect. I kept passing and said no and looked back at him, to which he called out, "God bless you!" I replied, "I don't do that." To which he replied, "Well, I do! So God bless you two times!" Meaning, he thought I was saying something against religion and God and not saying "I don't do that," i.e., giving to people on the street.

Another guy walking along the sidewalk, close to me, said to me, "They learn that in beggar's school," the "God bless you" crap. I said that I knew that to be true, recalling another guy telling everyone, "Jesus loves you."

I am not anti-religion or anti-God or anything. I go to church regularly and read my Bible and holy books daily and do my little meditations. Hell, I was in the dentist chair just today, saying my prayers. So for this idiot to think his little passive-aggressive "God bless you" was going to really push my buttons in some sort of affirming way was a bad thought. Again, just like me at the dentist, I know the drill.

Instead, it gave me something to laugh about and gesticulate about on the way back to the car with my companion. "I'm young and able-bodied and yet seemingly unable to do anything but sit comfortably on the bench downtown and beg for change!" And "God bless" people with one tone when they give change and another tone when they don't! Yes, I'm quite the sidewalk theologian, yet likely having no conception of what I'm even saying when I say that.

The other guy was right, beggar's school covers this base very well ... for anyone out there who might be easily fooled.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Weal and Woe of the Misfortunate


If you happened to see "Wheel of Fortune" last night, you saw a heartbreaker. Oh! how terrible!

The contestant in question was a deputy sheriff named Syeeta, who managed to accrue over $19,000 before attempting to solve the puzzle. The puzzle was this: HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Syetta had enough letters that the solution was obvious.

She seemed tentative as she launched out on solving it. Getting everything but WIZARDRY right. I thought she said WIZARDY without the R. My companion thought she simply said WIZARD. Whichever she said, the final R of the word was already revealed. So if I'm right, she mispronounced the final syllable, more likely. And if my companion is right, she stopped a little early. Either way, she lost.

That's a sure $19,000+ down the drain, simply gone. How horrible would that be?! Ghastly. I don't think I'd even be able to watch my episode later at home, knowing that happened. For most of us it takes a lot of time and effort to get $19,000+. Then to see it just [POOF] right out of our grasp would be too much. I felt sick for her.

But for me, the cherry on top was Pat Sajak at the end of the show wishing her well, saying he hoped it was "a good experience" for her! Think of everything you could say to that. "Yes, it was a fantastic experience ... seeing $19,000 go down the toilet ... I only wish it happened everyday!"

I got some laughs from my companion when I was kicking my leg up in the air. "Yes, I love kicking myself in the ass so much! It's such 'a great experience' for me! Great experience?!" And there I go chasing Pat Sajak around the studio. Vanna would have to step in and be the temporary host the last few minutes.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Seriously, Stars Should Be Big News


It surprises me that the stars aren't bigger news than they are. It's been a long time since I saw a decent article in the paper about the stars, that they're there and anything else about them.

When I take my dog out for her business, sometimes it's after dark or dark in the early morning hours. Each time, if the sky is clear, I look up at the stars and feel kind of amazed that they're there and about some of the things I know about them. Then, amazingly, I don't see much news about them!

The little bit of study I've done on the stars was a year or so ago. Since then, I've forgotten a lot of what I learned. But there for a while I knew the names of maybe 15 different ones. Still, anyone can look up at them and enjoy them, which I do.

The grouping that has Orion's Belt is the one that always catches my eye, in the times of the year that I can see it. It has Betelgeuse in it. This is an interesting star, in that it's expected sometime to blow up. Seriously. An interesting thing about it is that when it does blow up, it will have blown up something like 600 years ago. Meaning, by the time we see it blow up, if it does in our lifetimes, that will mean it blew up like 600 years before. Because even though the speed of light is totally fast, it still takes quite a while to get here if the source of light is extra distant! To me that's big news!

I don't have a good view of the northern sky, but that's where the dippers are. Sometimes I can see the Big Dipper, which I always enjoy. I see it only sometimes because it's busy, from our point of view, going around in circles. If you look at the top (sometimes bottom) edge of the dipper and extrapolate out from those two stars with a straight line, they lead you to the northern star every time. To me that deserves a story!

Then there is the immensity of the stars, which should be big news. Because there's nothing bigger, except black holes and various distances. We think the Sun is enormous, and it is, but a bunch of these stars in the night sky dwarf the Sun. They're immense ... and so far away that -- I haven't tested this -- even a pair of binoculars doesn't make them seem any closer.

I hesitated posting this article about the stars. Because it's a little too much a straightforward serious science article and not something humorous, which I prefer posting. Call it a big complaint I have, though, and sometimes I simply need to use my huge soapbox on the internet to agitate for progress. If you agree with me that the stars are getting the short end of the stick in the news, please contact your local newspaper and tell them you want more.

I really don't think the papers have it in for the stars or anything. That would be ridiculous. What I think it is, is the stars are always there and we take them for granted. Like trees or Dairy Queens. So we're not giving them a second thought. But when we do, ah, things are different. The fact that they could blow up any minute, 600 years ago, is really something. The fact that they point to the northern star, and thereby to the cardinal direction north, is unbelievable but true. And the fact that they're enormous and very distant is a bit of trivia -- truth -- that ought to be more generally known.

They're so busy reporting everything else, the newspapers ... how about giving the stars their due?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cool Scam -- "Did You Ever Sneak In Without Paying?"


Here's a scam I know of that's making big money. Just last week I -- I mean an anonymous friend -- took in over $1,000, and it doesn't show any signs of stopping. The only reason I'm saying anything is because I feel like bragging to someone ... about my anonymous friend.

The key to it are all the little Facebook groups about podunk places around the country. It doesn't work with New York City or other big places, just county seats, little burgs where people -- usually guys -- don't mind bragging about what they got away with in the past. You've probably seen these groups, with names like "You Know You're From Pocatello When..." The locals join, including the alumni of the schools, etc., who are now between 25 and 80 and living somewhere else.

I start like this -- meaning of course my anonymous friend -- by researching a particular place and event. I'll give an example of car racing in Harlan, Iowa, just a place the dart hit on the map. (See the ad.) This tells me that in 1971 they had a place called the Shelby County Speedway with races that cost $2.00 to get into. Then I -- my anonymous friend, we'll call him Walt -- join the "You Know You're From Harlan When" group.

The first thing 'Walt" does, also based on research, is ask if anyone remembers certain teen hangouts in the early '70s, like, you know, the slot car place or whatever. It establishes him as a one-time local. Then, speaking of racing, "Boy, I really remember some wild times at the races over at the Speedway... Crap, it only cost 2 bucks, but that was big money for me back then. So me and a bunch of guys would just sneak in ... so sweet!" Next thing you know, there's other guys confessing to all kinds of things: "I snuck in, too! Saved me 20 bucks on the whole season!"

Then behind the scenes, "Walt," using a different name, like "Stan," has a bunch of letterheads from a fake law office, always with the town in question as the locale. It seems this law office has been retained to collect on past debts, cold case stuff going way back, and it's come to their attention that you posted online several confessions of wrongdoings against their clients. "In the aforementioned instance," the letter says, "our client, the Speedway, hereafter to be known as the party you ripped off, claims damages in the amount of $20, augmented with interest and adjusted for inflation since 1971." "Walt" pulls a number out of the air, in this case $200.

Sweet deal, huh? Please don't tell anyone. I don't want "Walt" to get in trouble.

And it's not just the races, of course. But school plays, ice cream at the Tastee Freez, pilfered candy at Woolworth's, and even breach of contract suits from jilted elementary school hopefuls, like that little girl you knew in 4th grade and promised to marry. Didn't think anyone remembered, did you? Well, they didn't, until you confessed it on Facebook! You didn't know you broke her little heart, which now can only be mended to the tune of $4,000 a month for life!

Remember, this is just between you and me and "Walt." For entertainment purposes and every other disclaimer we can throw in, wink wink.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Joining Westboro for the Traveling

I got this idea as soon as I heard the Westboro Baptist Church was picketing the funeral of former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.

(My first thought was Tom Who?, since my brain doesn't work with the same efficiency that it did years ago. Then I scoured my memory banks and finally came up with a hint of recognition at the name.)

It was that -- exactly that -- the obscurity of Tom Foley, that made me think, Maybe I should join them and get in on all the traveling. I never do anything but stay home, while these people are all over the country and maybe abroad.

Plus, it'd be kind of fun, a growth experience. I normally treasure it when people like me. But everyone's become so selfish these days they don't really like anyone, just themselves. That leaves an insecure guy like me wondering What's wrong with me? Till I think a little more and come up with the answer: People hating you is really the same as people liking you; it's attention; they LIKE you while hating you because they're getting a kick out of your existence. Follow that? It's basic Psychology Today 101. Not only will people love me if I'm carrying a picket sign proclaiming God's hatred for them, but I'll be able to travel ... and love myself more!

So you can picture me at Westboro Central. We're scanning the papers, looking to see if any two-bit historical figures have died. Or someone's shot up a school. Or a hurricane's happened. Or the price of rice has gone up in Japan. Something! Anything! It's been two long weeks since I was a thousand miles from home! Ahh, here it is: TOM FOLEY IS DEAD! The less-intelligent members of WBC go, "Who?" But pretty soon we're all on the same page, with me casting the deciding vote: "Yes! We go to Washington, D.C.!" (We honestly ought to be protesting Lou Reed's funeral. He's a rock God, which the actual God has to hate.)

In Washington, since I'm at heart a very responsible person, I hold the protest sign, even if it's only for 30 seconds, then duck out to take in the historical sites, including the newest statue showing the Republicans not only shutting down the government but helping reopen the World War II memorial they closed for the PR. I check out all the great places, including Ford Theater, where God showed his hatred for the end of slavery by killing Abraham Lincoln.

Back in Topeka, a few weeks have gone by. A kid in Kansas City was expelled from school for a Jesus tattoo on his forehead. But I don't feel like traveling to Kansas City (big whoop!), so I vote no on that. And there's a few other close-by places. The governor's poll numbers are slightly down because God hates the price of tea in China, but if you live in Topeka obviously it's no fun to stay in Topeka, so we all vote no.

I suddenly come up with a good one. France! I've always wanted to go to Paris, so I photoshop a fake newspaper article, "Homosexual Man Discovered in Paris." Which is plausible; if they have them at the Vatican, you realistically could find one anywhere. Out with the signs! I've got a free trip to France! Where we search high and low and never find the guy. But to make it worthwhile, we march around the Eiffel Tower, hoping against hope that it might fall down, helping to make our case. Again, I only protest for about 30 seconds, then I'm off to eat at the French McDonald's and get coffee at the French Starbucks.

My Dreams of Open Carry


My dreams of open carry are coming true! And this is even one of those weird things I never thought would happen, like flying cars. I figured the Old West was gone and we'd never get it back.

This is true, that as a kid watching westerns, I always complained that they carried guns all the time and we couldn't. Our guns were hanging on a rack -- unlocked, mind you -- and we only took them down for hunting or cleaning or showing someone.

Parents didn't believe in safety as much then, which was OK, because we did all right. We had the run of the town. We played lots of war games, cowboys and indians, and killed each other all the time, only in our imagination. Even though we had guns, we never actually killed anyone. Although I remember having a grievance against the sheriff one time. All water under bridge...

I gave up all hope of open carry -- walking around with holsters, dangling guns down to your knees. Never thought I'd live to see it, but now... All praise and glory! They're back!

Frankly, I don't know how long it'll last. His term is only so long. Meaning, we need to groom future black presidents so we never have to go back to a ban. There's definite benefits to a generalized paranoia, which we're reaping now.

Only, I don't see any decent candidates being groomed. On the bright side, we might get a woman president for eight years. Of course that'd give our testosterone a workout, meaning open carry would be safe. Yet, it's all temporary. What we need is a constitutional amendment -- call it the Second Amendment Part B -- that presidents can only be black and/or women.

The worst case scenario for open carry is that we get another white man like Bush, especially like Bush. He had that whole ignorant good-old-boy thing going so strong there wasn't ever the slightest temptation to allow open carry. And the more dishonest he was -- we frankly didn't have time to plumb the depths -- the more people liked him. I still see various idiot assholes on Facebook pining for those supposedly "good old days" of a white male president, with absolutely no understanding of what it meant for open carry.

I personally haven't taken the gun plunge yet. The openness of open carry is still a little too primitive for my taste. If you kill someone you still have to account for it. I want it like the westerns. You do your killing, you have a drink and play cards undisputed. Or go upstairs to Diamond Lil's room and do whatever they did back then. Teach her a thing or two with your barrel.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Key to My Mouth


I'm able to go profound lengths of time profoundly silent. Witness what I've done here at my blog. I've resisted the temptation all month, until now, when I feel I have something to brag about, to write. I have literally let the pearls of wisdom that I normally transfer from my mouth to my hands lie dormant. They've been locked up.

Now, though, only when I have something to brag about, my profound silence, do I break my silence and proclaim it. Quite the deal.

I guess I've always been that way. Starting way back, when I first heard of the concept of zipping your lip, then, more impressive to me, of locking it all together. I was like the fainting goat of speech, everything I was meant to be by nature, but with the added discipline of just keeping to myself.

Someone would interrupt me, let's say, then ply me for my opinion. But by then, whether stealthily or in the open light of everyone's field of vision, I would have taken an invisible key from my pocket and locked my mouth. Then, no matter how they begged and wheedled about it, I would sit silent, stone-face, breathing only through my nose.

That's a dynamite feeling, too. If you've never tried it, try it. Let a roomful of people sit there and see you with the discipline it takes to not unlock your mouth. I'm getting a head rush just thinking back over my life, and hoping, as strange as it sounds, that someone offends me very soon so I can do it again!

So often, though, I've been very civilized. I might be sitting there in a group, trying to offer my two cents' worth, and all the others are filibustering. Then I try to pipe up with something and some blowhard across the room will talk over me. So often I've just let it go.

But it all depends on how I'm feeling, and you definitely feel more civilized as an adult than a kid. But say I'm feeling cantankerous, like a kid, I'll reach for the key and very publicly lock my mouth, and that's it! Now, all of a sudden, everyone wants to hear me! Funny how that works! So, again, depending on how I feel, I might unlock it quickly, or I might just sit there and not.

It'd be cool ... How about this? I'm offended right away, then I lock my mouth and throw away the key. It's over there somewhere, invisible. They're begging me, "Please tell us what it was!" and I just point to my locked lips. Then I sit there the entire hour or two, whatever it is, letting the lock do its thing! It'd really flummox them! Later, they see me on the street and I'm talking, because I always carry a spare key.

Anyway, you have two lessons today. Locking your mouth is something to do. And, don't interrupt me, or get on my nerves in any other way, or I'll lock my mouth and you'll never know what you missed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

HealthCare.gov Is Down


Well .... fark! I was looking forward to getting healthcare coverage. October 1 and all! But it looks like everyone else had the same idea, and the damned thing wasn't ready to go.

"We didn't know there might be lots of traffic -- millions and millions of people -- so we didn't have the website crap ready to go when they got here. Our bad! But we are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible ... the issue being that this could've been foreseen, probably, since we've only been looking forward to it for -- what? -- three or four years.

"But what would it have taken to have been ready? Maybe a few more servers? Frankly, we don't know how it works. Please try again later."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Bucket List


I was late to the party on the phrase "My Bucket List." Honestly, I never heard anyone saying it, then suddenly I heard it all the time. So unless it was a matter of spontaneous combustion -- and I don't think so -- people were already using the expression widely, then it suddenly hit me.

I watch "The Price is Right" and a bunch of the contestants say it was on their bucket list to be on the show. That's  how pervasive it is, and apparently how trivial it is. Not that it wouldn't be a terrific honor to be on the show. But you have to figure, they have a huge crowd, and only a handful of people can be contestants. I'm pitying the poor folks in the audience who don't make it, yet it is on their bucket list. O! To be that close!

(Just let me mention here, Drew Carey is the nicest guy on TV. He's a fantastic guy. I heard someone a few weeks ago bemoaning not having Bob Barker, and I'm like, "What?!" I seriously would not trade the nicest guy on TV for Bob F'in Barker! That's not on my bucket list!)

Anyway, the bucket list. My opinion of bucket lists is, Who cares? Whether you do something or don't do something before you die is a matter of little importance. Once you're dead, you're not going to be drifting around somewhere -- pure consciousness enclosed in the full reality of its source, let's say -- complaining that you didn't win a scooter and trip to Aruba on Price is Right!

And the same thing about whether you're able to see your great-great-great granddaughter graduate from college. It doesn't even slightly matter.

Rip Van Diner


We've all had this happen. The waiter is incompetent. So we sit there, waiting and waiting. Me, if I were a waiter -- God forbid -- I'd be so hyper about my tables, the people would have a whole different thing to complain about.

It happened for me a few days ago, being out for breakfast. The waiter gave us "a few minutes" to decide, which extended to 10 minutes at least. He seemed to arc way out then anytime he was near our table. Then when he finally got back to us, he had the ignorance and/or audacity to ask if we'd had time to decide. Good grief, that was the kicker.

We were talking about where to go for breakfast today. I mentioned this particular restaurant, just joking, and got laughter in response. So it definitely makes a difference for business. You're a waiter, wait on us!

(In April, I wrote the post, "Peacetime Has Ruined Our Restaurants," about the same place.)

Going Back in Time -- 1948


Too bad I can't actually go back in time. I promise I wouldn't mess up anyone's life. Of course if I stumbled in the street and the guy who would've been your father swerved to miss me and accidentally got killed, I'm wouldn't be able to help that.

As for my own parents -- both passed on now -- it'd be great to see them as younger teens. Let's see, my parents in 1948 were around 14-15. And Elvis Presley was 13. I'm a big Elvis fan.

That'd be wild, in my opinion, to show up and make Elvis' acquaintance before he was ever famous. It was possible for people, once upon a time. For people actually alive in 1948, the key thing being if they'd only known. Just like for us, we don't know which unknown kid now will be a superstar 8-10 years from now. Although, who cares? Whoever they are, they're no Elvis!

Anything Helps -- God Bless You


I'm a bleeding heart, but I don't give to these guys ... ever. I'm honestly not convinced that it "helps," especially when it goes on for weeks, months, and years.

But, hey, it's a job, of sorts! As good as anything else, in the capitalistic spirit of things. If you can convince your customer base to support you, then, indeed, God bless you! You've got a good thing going. May as well keep it up.

I do always like the "God Bless You." Throw in a little religion, that softens us up.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From Feeble Man Stagger to The Beatles


Me and my mates -- Dozy, Beaky, Mich, and Tich -- came up with our own group, me on drums, of course. (I learned a few years ago when I built a platform over the couch to give me something to do during commercials. And now, amazingly, I keep a beat with the best of them.)

The biggest problem for me and my mates has been to settle on a name. We wanted something fairly decent. A good name is ... good to have. But it seems like most of them have been taken. There's not much left.

Anyway, me and my mates got serious about it, and pretty soon we were coming up with ideas. In my opinion, my best idea was Feeble Man Stagger. I was driving uptown and saw an ordinary guy walking like he was drunk. Who knows, maybe he was, but it was early in the morning. Might've been an early stage hangover. The guy looking pathetic, I said to someone, "He's doing the feeble man stagger." Inspiration's funny like that!

Not long after, we got a letter from another group called Feeble Man Stagger and their lawyer, demanding that we cease and desist.

Now, here's something ironic. Me and my mates were drinking our disappointment away and saying over and over the words "Cease and Desist."  You can guess the rest; we immediately started calling ourselves Cease and Desist. Until we got a letter from another group -- Cease and Desist -- and their lawyer, demanding that we cease and desist. Damn.

Anyway, me and my mates weren't sidelined for long, and in the complaining about it, we switched to Desist Again. But not for long, because other groups have been through this, too, and Desist Again was already taken. At first, I was incredulous, "You're telling me you have a group Desist Again?" Yes, that's what they were telling me, with the guy getting real snotty: "That seems to be the gist of it." 

Me and my mates were getting desperate, and drinking ourselves back to health, and cussing this guy in abstentia, we repeated his stuffy patrician retort about "the gist of it" until we decided that's IT! We'd be The Gist of It. Which lasted only a couple weeks before some other "The Gist of It" came visiting. They couldn't afford a lawyer yet but we got the message. We tried to argue, but of course we'd eventually lose. In my anger I justified us, saying, "You know, you're not exactly The Beatles! How were we supposed to know?"

So that's how we got the name The Beatles. I figured, sure, there was a group called that once upon a time, but they're dead and gone. As I told my mates, "What could possibly go wrong?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Wolf Lobo

FOR THE TEACHER -- This story will appeal to young readers because it conveys a sense of adventure and danger. However, if you notice any lingering fear on the part of your students, pleasure assure them that Lobo is a kind wolf, who would never in a thousand years hurt the bunny.

Facts Worth Thinking About

If you cite any of this information in scholarly papers or journals, please credit this website. But it'd be a good idea to misspell the footnote badly, so the prof will finally give up and just assume you had a credible source.

Other than that disclaimer, I will say these are all facts as far as I know...

I Love You For a Hundred Thousand Reasons

"I Love You Because" is a song on Elvis Presley's first album. It has the lyric, "I love you for a hundred thousand reasons." But you have to think the reasons would be fairly thin by the time you got to 100,000...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fangs of Hell Security Systems


There's probably people out there with actual security systems. Stands to reason. They're advertised all the time, they can't all be fake.

But I know I go plenty of places where the signs are carryovers from old companies. The subscription ran out -- one thing or another -- and all they have left are the signs. Like little shields, they're right there by the door, fading and maybe falling over. Or there's decals on all the doors, also shabby with age.

The bet is the criminals won't know which is which, protected homes from unprotected. Although it seems, the shabbier the sign, the less likely it's connected. Or, if you throw a brick through the window and nothing happens in two hours ... maybe Sasquatch is sleeping.

One of the first fake signs I ever saw was in the early '80s, at Goodwill, no less, where the sign said something like, "This store is protected by a really sensitive security system." No name, no clue as to what it might be; they could only divulge it was "really sensitive." Very primitive ... and not convincing.

I personally have the signs of about five different security companies in my yard, and, I'm not going to say if any of them are true. Although you can probably glance up at the roof and see if the sniper's there or not. There's only two sides of the house he could be on. As for my Superman sign, I'll just admit, that one's definitely fake.

My "Screen Door Has a Hook" sign is absolutely true. But it's very loose, and just a little pressure, like a three-year-old halfheartedly bumping it is all it'd take. Please, though, if you're in my neighborhood, don't try it. Sometimes I put a frozen turkey on top of the door. And I always hope I remember it when I get home.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Enhancing Your Dreams


My life of lucid dreams began when I started wearing glasses to bed to catch more detail. From there, it progressed. Still today, REM activity actually continues through most of the morning. If you see a guy fluttering his eyes at you, that's me!

The glasses were enough for a while, but I wanted more. I started sleeping with a chair, thinking that if I could sit during dreams I'd be able to take in more. Indeed, things were less hectic. I was suddenly less a participant than a spectator. That was fine, but dreams are meant to be participatory and not so tame. So I went "full gator," sleeping with a stuffed alligator, which made things very wild very fast. I was chased and cornered more times than I can remember. I almost ended up with my own show on Animal Planet, in my dreams, but thankfully woke up in time.

Other times, I wanted things to be more pastoral, with dark blue skies and bright stars, and fairies and satyrs roaming the countryside. I got some books at a book sale, Van Gogh, Yeats, and Greek mythology. I tore out the specific pages to create the scene and had one of the best nights of my life. All except for the satyrs. They're very randy rascals, so if anyone tries this, make sure you make provision for them to have a good partner.

A lot of my favorite enhanced dreams involved going back to my childhood and camping with my family like we used to do. Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, brothers, cousins, everyone. Naturally, this involved going to bed with a photo album, a lantern, and a chunk of tent canvas. And throw in some fishing equipment. The biggest problem wasn't the fact that I woke up with my pillows at the end of a stringer, but that I associate camping with downpours. Touch the canvas and it leaks right through. I not going to tell much about it, except to say I changed the sheets and put down plastic.

Anyway, in my dreams I've done a little of everything over the years, including running away and working for the circus, like Toby Tyler. Even though Toby's adventures were mostly misadventures, I had more success. But it's true what they say about clowns; I'd rather be chased by satyrs any night of the week!

The weirdest, most elaborate dream I ever had was the entire Apocalypse -- 360 degrees, 3D depth, the entire judgment, God, devils, and white throne. Thankfully, it had a happy ending: I awoke five years later to a blessed morning, having seen a lot of angelic nudity and lots of other cool stuff, the works!

To prepare for this, it took workmen a whole week to construct what looked like a swing set over my bed, with pulleys, chains, and various berths for figures carved by craftsmen. These were prophets, angels, devils, etc. All this apparatus was connected by a team of technicians to several bicycles, the whole works carefully choreographed by a panel of respected ministers, according to their reasonable theological consensus. Lastly, the bikes were powered by members of a trusted Boy Scout troop. I once bought popcorn from them, so I knew they were good.

Despite the noise, I dozed off. Around midnight, I heard the cranks and pulleys churning and the breathing of the Scouts at their bikes. I drifted off again, and ascended through super consciousness into the heavenly spheres, passing through the seam that separates mundane existence from the higher realms. It was fantastic! Not a satyr or clown in sight!

But as the Apocalypse involves tumult, destruction, judgment, and the eventual reconciliation and restoration of the cosmos -- and a lot of close calls with devils -- I had more on my mind than I knew what to do with. It's harder to get back than you'd think. This is where I probably went too far, and, like I said, I ended up sleeping for five years. I was out of it! I don't know if anyone paid the Scouts and the craftsmen. Everything of my normal life was gone. All I knew during that time was the inner world I inhabited.

My family, who otherwise would've been out camping, took care of me, bedridden as I was. And if I hadn't covered the bed in plastic, I can only  imagine the bedsores I might've had. Thank goodness for my wise planning.