What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'humor')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
<<August 2014>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
     0102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: humor, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 1,292
26. Whose Word Crimes?


Yesterday, "Weird Al" Yankovic released a video for his song "Word Crimes", a parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines". Since a lot of people I know are language folks of one sort or another, I saw it flow and re-flow through various streams of social media. But I had qualms.

I love Weird Al, and he's been a formative influence on my life, since I started listening to him when I was a kid. (My entire sense of humor could be described by three childhood influences: Weird Al, the Marx Brothers, and Monty Python.) I also think the detestable "Blurred Lines" is ripe for ridicule and attack. And I like words.

But how are we to understand the speaker in "Word Crimes"?

Most people I saw who shared the video seemed to identify with the speaker. This is not as disturbing as people identifying with the rapey speaker of "Blurred Lines", but it reveals a certain cruelty in the feelings of people who want to be identified as linguistically superior to other people. A tinge of cruel superiority is essential to grammar pedants, and "Word Crimes" reveals that again and again in how it characterizes people who commit such "crimes". On his Facebook page, Jay Smooth listed these characterizations:
"raised in a sewer"
"Don't be a moron"
"You dumb mouthbreather"
"Smack a crowbar upside your stupid head"
"you write like a spastic"
["spastic"?]
"Go back to preschool"
"Get out of the gene pool"
"Try your best to not drool"
Hyperbole in service of comedy? Or your (not so) secret inner feelings?

It's interesting to follow the comments on that Facebook post as well as on the Grammar Girl post that Jay Smooth linked to. Various interpretations and arguments come up, including the common complaint that it's just comedy and you shouldn't take it seriously (a pernicious attitude, I think). I don't know exactly what Weird Al intended with the song, nor do I particularly care (it's a clever song, with fun animation in the video) — it's more interesting as a kind of Rorschach test: Do you identify with the speaker in the song? Do you enjoy the cruelty and want to replicate it?




Usage pedantry is not harmless fun. It is ego balm that stokes a sense of righteous superiority. Typically, it's indulged in by people who don't have a deep interest in the history of language or the complexities of linguistics; instead, they like rules, because rules allow them to set themselves apart from the people who don't follow the rules. Usage pedants enjoy living in an intellectual gated community. Some will even refer to themselves as "Grammar Nazis", thus unreflectively siding with one of the most evil systems in the history of humanity. (And these people say they care about language! By the way, if you want to vomit, do a Google Image search for "grammar nazi".)

Typically, too, usage pedants are white people, and these days often ones who in some way or another identify with nerd culture. One of the commenters on Jay Smooth's Facebook page linked to Tim Chevalier's post "Can Geekiness Be Decoupled from Whiteness", which makes a number of useful points, including:
I think people who have been bullied and abused tend to use rules in the hopes that rules will save them. ... But it’s easier to like formal systems of rules when those rules usually protect you. If you live in a country where the laws were made by people like you, and are usually enforced in ways that protect you, it’s easier to be enamored of technical adherence to the law. And, by analogy, to prescriptive sets of rules like “standard English” grammar. It’s also easier to feel affection for systems of rules when people like yourself usually get a say in constructing them.

Not all nerds are abuse survivors, so perhaps other nerds (as adults) value rule-following because they believe the key to their economic success. From there, it’s easy to jump to victim-blaming: the line of thought that goes, “If other people would just learn and follow the rules, they would be successful too.”
Pedants need to feel superior, and displaying their (often inaccurate) opinions of grammar, usage, style, and spelling is a way to access such feelings of superiority. My life might suck, but at least I'm not one of those horrible people who splits infinitives or uses numbers in words!

There are crimes of language, but they are not the crimes the pedants police — they are the crimes of obfuscation and propaganda, the crimes that lead us to dehumanize each other, to exploit each other, to oppress each other, to hurt and kill each other.

Pedants don't typically get to those crimes. Indeed, often, by proclaiming their unwavering devotion to tradition, they perpetuate such crimes.

The stuff the pedants denounce may be violations of standard English. Or stylistic preferences. Or pet peeves. Talking about such things and discussing our particular perspective on them can be clarifying and can lead to more precision in communication and more knowledge of how language works. But we need to be aware of the assumptions underneath our prescriptions, the motivations for our pedantry. In my courses, I encourage students to abide by proofreading guidelines, but I also try in those guidelines to justify why I require them, and I work hard to undermine any sense of those guidelines being either eternal or immutable. They are guidelines for the situation that is our class, and are useful information for students who are adjusting their writing to the audience that is me, the guy who grades each student at the end of the term.

If you feel the need for rules, though, here's one for you, a famous one from Kurt Vonnegut:
Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—

"God damn it, you've got to be kind."

0 Comments on Whose Word Crimes? as of 7/16/2014 12:03:00 PM
Add a Comment
27. Illustration Inspiration: Bob Shea

Bob Shea has written and illustrated over a dozen picture books including the popular Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and the cult favorite Big Plans illustrated by Lane Smith.

Add a Comment
28. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

0 Comments on How Did We Get Here? as of 7/16/2014 6:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
29. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on How Did We Get Here?, last added: 7/15/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
30. The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice

Chock-full of Holt's trademark hilarity and hijinks, The Outsorcerer's Apprentice has overlords, underlings, and an unsuspecting young hero who might just change everything, including reality itself. Books mentioned in this post The Outsorcerer's Apprentice Tom Holt New Trade Paper $14.00

0 Comments on The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice as of 7/13/2014 5:03:00 PM
Add a Comment
31. Environmental Book Club

Today, my little lads and lasses, I have something different for you. An adult book for our club.

Home to Woefield by Susan Juby takes a cliched memoir subject, the city person getting back to the earth by moving on to a farm, and makes it funny. And she makes it funny without making any of her characters into ridiculous jokes.

Prudence Burns is seriously into sustainability but not having good luck with it in New York. She thinks a great opportunity opens up for her when she inherits a pretty much good-for-nothing farm in Canada. Prudence isn't totally ignorant of how to make a go of it in an organic kind of way, and she's a hard worker. She also earns the good will of all around her. Her problem is that she's overly optimistic.

With the farm she also inherits an elderly hired hand, who's not a great deal of help. She soon takes in a young alcoholic recluse whose main connection with the world is through the celebrity and metal blogs he runs. The three of them also end up with a preteen and her chickens.

These characters could have ended up as cliches, especially the preteen. She could have easily fallen into the wise-beyond-her-years stereotype. Instead, she is a damaged innocent. The elderly, foul-mouthed Earl and the equally foul-mouthed young Seth are also damaged. All these characters benefit from Prudence's can do sustainability.

This is the first book I can recall coming across that I think is comparable to Saving the Planet & Stuff  in that it finds humor in the struggle to live environmentally/sustainably without degrading those who are making the effort to do it. Prudence is not the butt of any jokes here. She recognizes them.

Juby is the author of a number of books for teens or that are marketed to both teens and adults. I'm reading Getting the Girl, whose main character seems like a younger Seth (my favorite from Home to Woefield), Seth before he suffered what he believed to be a humiliation he could never recover from and hit the sauce. I expect to be trying Alice, I Think soon, too.

Home to Woefield was recommended by a friend, by the way. Word of mouth.

0 Comments on Environmental Book Club as of 7/11/2014 12:51:00 AM
Add a Comment
32. Poking Fun at the Enemy

One can learn so much from children. Too often, in our haste to exercise control of every situation, we grown-ups unfortunately root out their innate curiosity and creativity. We drive from point A to point B without noticing the roadside art, whim, and fancy of the trip that is not lost on the childish mind. There is joy to be had in every journey.

I have recently learned you can poke fun at even the vilest of enemies. If you haven’t had a run with my current foe, hold on – cancer will find you somewhere. I don’t wish it on anyone, but unfortunately it worms its way into everyone’s life at some point whether through family or acquaintance. The Myers clan is relatively new at this contest. There is no rule book or instruction manual that I can find. No article 7, subsection 34b that tells us we can’t fight this demon with a joke and a smile.

Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from drowning in tears. While my bald, frail daughter lays in what was formerly my bed, at times, she seems to find ways to make us smile.

Take for instance a little wresting match with her sister when she attempted to apply a surprise atomic wedgie, but was blocked by the classic counter: the roll onto the back. Rather than move to a frontal assault, she poked her lip out and meekly proclaimed, “But I have cancer.”

With that, her sister waved the white flag, accepted defeat, and soon left the room to repair the damage to her drawers in private.

*****

Just the other day while urging her to drink more water to avoid dehydration and the inevitable trip back to the hospital, I declared, “If you don’t take a drink I’m going to sit on you.”

Her immediate response, “The doctor says you can’t sit on chemo patients.”

Touche, young one! Touche!

*****

 

Yes, we might be behind shoddy castle walls with little defense besides a catapult and barnyard animals, but we have our smiles and cheery hearts. The enemy can’t take that away.

Now leave before I taunt you a second time!

 


Filed under: Learned Along the Way

6 Comments on Poking Fun at the Enemy, last added: 7/10/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
33. jack the castaway

by Lisa Doan Darby Creek / Lerner  2014 Smart kid, dumb parents, and a menacing whale shark! What more could a kid want from a book?  Jack is a sheltered kid on the cusp of puberty living with his Aunt Julia safely in Pennsylvania. Or at least he was living safely until his Aunt met with misfortune and Jack was forced to call his world-traveling parents home from their latest scheme,

0 Comments on jack the castaway as of 7/9/2014 11:19:00 PM
Add a Comment
34. Dangling Feet & Screws by the Pound

Nearly every winter I have had to trap a flying squirrel or two in my attic and send them packing. Fortunately, I have a walk-out attic easily accessible from my 13 year-old’s closet. When she was an infant, I went on a hunting excursion and learned a valuable lesson – Don’t walk on rafters in socked feet. Yup, I slid right off the rafter and ended up perched on a 2×10 with half of me in the attic and half of me in the family room. Two of my kids and my nephew were watching a Christmas special and all three instantly yelled, “We didn’t do it!” to my lovely wife who stood looking up at my dangling feet.image

I’m not sure if I caught the little critter on that trip, but it did force a trip to the hardware store where Hershel works. Hershel is the best. He’s a little old guy who is slightly stooped from years of hard work. He can fix anything better than anyone who comes in the store, but he is never condescending about:

  • a) your lack of knowledge or
  • b) your stupidity for breaking whatever you came in to fix.

Hershel: Morning Mark, what can I do for you?

Me: I need some drywall.

Hershel: Big project? (His eyes light up! He loves big projects – not only because of what he can sell you, but he also lives vicariously through his customers’ building experiences.)

Me: Nah, actually a really small one.

Hershel: Well, the smallest we’ve got is 4 x 8. They’re in aisle seven. Follow me.

I don’t follow and he notices.

Hershel: What’s the matter?

Me: Nothing smaller? (I look down and estimate the size of my feet, adding an appropriate amount for overage.)

Hershel knows instantly: Where’s the hole?

Me (eyes still low indicating appropriate shame): The den.

Hershel doesn’t flinch or betray just how dumb he thinks I am. Telling me how much patchwork I have in store, he leads me to drywall area and loads me up with tape, mud, sandpaper, screws, and ceiling paint.

Hershel: Once Betty checks you out, go round back. Beside the dumpster, we’ve got lots of broken pieces of sheetrock. You just pick one out and take it with you.

Me: But I really only need about four screws. You sure this is the smallest size?

Hershel: We sell ‘em by the pound. That’s just one pound – smallest we got.

I wondered what genius came up with selling a countable product by volume, but yielded to Hershel’s judgment and headed home. A few days of work and the hole was patched – good as new!

This all leads me to the 4th of July weekend. We are updating the 13 year-old’s room, making it more teen and less little girl. This necessitated a few trips to the attic to store things. You guessed it, I missed a rafter.

Can a house really be considered a home until you’ve broken through the ceiling… twice?

A trip to the store. Hershel, slowed but still knowledgeable and helpful, stood leaning against the wall as I entered.

Herschel: Hey there, Mark. What can I do ya for?

I’ve long gotten over embarrassment over mayhem and destruction I’ve caused in my home. I confidently replied: I need some drywall.

Herschel: Where’s the hole.

Me: It’s in the garage this time. I’ve got the screws leftover from the last time and I don’t need your mud and tape because I don’t care how it looks. (I look at him pleadingly).

He knows what I want, laughs, and says: Sure, go round back and get you a piece… and be more careful next time.


Filed under: Dad stuff

5 Comments on Dangling Feet & Screws by the Pound, last added: 7/8/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
35. Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER



SCENES FROM LIFE:  A SHORT PLAYETTE
THE CHERRY PICKER
by Eleanor Tylbor
 

SCENE:   PRODUCE DEPT. OF SUPERMARKET. PEOPLE ARE GATHERED AROUND A DISPLAY OF CHERRIES

AT RISE: A WOMAN APPROACHES THE CHERRY DISPLAY, STOPS AND STUDIES THE PEOPLE GATHERED AROUND

 

FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me…um…can I get in here?

 (people ignore her)

 
(cont’d).  FEMALE SHOPPER

Excuse me, people…could you make space for me?

 (people continue to ignore her)

 
(cont’d.)  FEMALE SHOPPER

Hello? Earth to cherry pickers! An outsider would like to join you all!

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER moves her shopping cart forward and gently runs into someone)

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Ouch! That hurt!

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

I tried asking politely to get close to the counter but everyone seemed deaf to my request, so I had to take things in my own hands or with my shopping cart as the case may be

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

You could have tapped me on the shoulder, y’know

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it have made any difference?

 
CHERRY PICKER 1

Probably not but you could have tried

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Good price for cherries. Guess that’s why there’s so many people hanging out here. Hmmmm…where are the plastic bags. ‘Anybody tell me where the plastic bags are?’ Anyone want to give an opinion?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

(mouth full of cherries and oozing juice)

…are…none…left… Have to…ask…manager for…more…bags

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Are those cherries you have in your mouth?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…uh-huh…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Would it be presumptuous of me to assume you didn’t pay for them?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

…hav’ta taste them, first…

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You do realize that in some circles that would be considered stealing

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

And that makes it right? What are you doing! Did you just spit out that cherry pit back into the display?

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Yeah…I mean, I didn’t wanna dirty the floor or anything. Somebody could slip and hurt themselves. Anyway, everybody does it

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

But…your saliva has germs, which you are depositing on the cherries

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

What else am I supposed to do with the pits?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

You could refrain from tasting the cherries or at the very least put them in your pocket and take them home with you or something

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Everyone else is doing it. Check out the display

 
(FEMALE SHOPPER looks down at the display of cherries)

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Oh Gawd! |You’re right! To think I was about to put my hand inside there

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

You’re in luck. Here comes the produce manager with a roll of new plastic bags

 
PRODUCE MANAGER

‘Okay everyone -  move aside! I’m gonna clean up all the cherry pits at the bottom! Not healthy.’

 
CHERRY PICKER 2

Aren’t you going to take a bag for cherries?

 
FEMALE SHOPPER

Somehow I’ve lost my taste for them. There’s a sale on strawberries on the other counter, if only I can get near it…

0 Comments on Scenes from Life: a Short Playette THE CHERRY PICKER as of 7/4/2014 9:43:00 AM
Add a Comment
36. Copycat and a Litter of Other Cats

Copycat
Author & Illustrator: David Yow
Publisher: Akashic Books
Genre: Humor / Cats
ISBN: 978-1-61775-270-4
Pages: 160
Price: $23.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The letters “C-A-T” form parts of dozens of words in the English language. Using this as his premise, David Yow has combined his love of both cats and puns in Copycat and a Litter of Other Cats. This unique book shares a cat-inspired phrase with Yow’s drawings of cats in situations representing the pun.

Grumpy Cat, Felix the Cat, Top Cat and Sylvester the Cat make guest appearances, joining Alley Cat, Tomcat, and Bobcat in this parade of bright-eyed cats. Copycat is a fun and whimsical book that any cat lover will enjoy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


0 Comments on Copycat and a Litter of Other Cats as of 7/2/2014 9:17:00 PM
Add a Comment
37. Running to the Guru

“Four miles down, two to go.”

It seemed like the third time I’d told myself that very count. Mileage wasn’t passing. People were, not mileage. A short six miles was turning into a torturous climb under the sweltering Georgia sun.

And then, I saw him!

He came toward me walking confidently with both hands shoved in his pockets. His dark hair with streaks of gray hung well below his shoulders – unkempt, but not messy. Although there was no breeze, it seemed to wave behind him majestically like a flag in a hurricane.

In the brief moment he stood before me, I saw in his eyes a certain combination of peace, sagacity, and happiness uncommon to this world. He smiled slightly, but not at me. No, he radiated carefree joy – I was just a party to it. His turned up mouth revealed lines chiseled by years and somehow, if possible, even his eyes smiled.

He wore nothing special – wrinkled khaki pants, dirty sandals, and a grey t-shirt far too big for him that simply said, “Whistler”. I sensed he was above making clothing choices and didn’t consider what his appearance told others.

I must remark that I typically don’t notice much about others on my runs. I wave and say hello to fellow runners. I try to smile, but I don’t really look at them. That said, I was mesmerized by this gentleman.

When we passed each other, I realized that I had finally broken into my last mile. How? What propelled me? I had been running in quicksand all this time, never making progress and suddenly a mile ticked off! How did that happen?

The heat became stifling at 5.5 miles, but with the finish in sight, I soldiered on. Plodding, pushing, slogging until I nearly fell out with two tenths of a mile to go. And there he was again. Seated at the bench that marked my final turn. How he got in front of me I have no idea, but there he sat – smiling at me. This time I was certain he was smiling at me… For ME!

I collapsed ten feet from him and crawled on my hands and knees toward his bench, ready to thank him for helping me through the tough part of the run and hoping to learn something… anything at his feet. Just when I began to speak, he held up a finger. At his command, nature seemed to come to a stop. Birds didn’t chirp, frogs hushed, and rabbits ceased their noisy hopping.

When the time was right, he began to laugh – a slow, deliberate, infectious chuckle that I felt contained a slight mocking tone.800px-Guru_rimpoche_at_samdruptse

“Why do you laugh, Guru?” I asked, my voice taking the tone of Grasshopper.

He cocked his head back and roared. “You have not completed your run,” he mocked.

“Yes, yes,” I pleaded. “I have gone six miles.”

“Observe your watch,” He instructed between peals of mirth. “You are precisely 1/10th of a mile short.”

I frantically searched the screen of my GPS watch. “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

He was right. How did he know? I looked up, only to find he was no longer there. His laughter still hung in the air and haunted me – but he was gone. Where he went, I know not. I both hated him and wanted to be his best friend at the same time – I’ve never been so conflicted.

I wonder if I’ll ever see the guru again. I want to, and then again, I don’t.

Next week, I’ll run a tenth over my goal and show him!

 

***************

This was a  little writing exercise I concocted, built around an interesting man I saw on my Sunday run. Can you picture him?


Filed under: From the Writer

5 Comments on Running to the Guru, last added: 7/2/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
38. Running to the Guru

“Four miles down, two to go.”

It seemed like the third time I’d told myself that very count. Mileage wasn’t passing. People were, not mileage. A short six miles was turning into a torturous climb under the sweltering Georgia sun.

And then, I saw him!

He came toward me walking confidently with both hands shoved in his pockets. His dark hair with streaks of gray hung well below his shoulders – unkempt, but not messy. Although there was no breeze, it seemed to wave behind him majestically like a flag in a hurricane.

In the brief moment he stood before me, I saw in his eyes a certain combination of peace, sagacity, and happiness uncommon to this world. He smiled slightly, but not at me. No, he radiated carefree joy – I was just a party to it. His turned up mouth revealed lines chiseled by years and somehow, if possible, even his eyes smiled.

He wore nothing special – wrinkled khaki pants, dirty sandals, and a grey t-shirt far too big for him that simply said, “Whistler”. I sensed he was above making clothing choices and didn’t consider what his appearance told others.

I must remark that I typically don’t notice much about others on my runs. I wave and say hello to fellow runners. I try to smile, but I don’t really look at them. That said, I was mesmerized by this gentleman.

When we passed each other, I realized that I had finally broken into my last mile. How? What propelled me? I had been running in quicksand all this time, never making progress and suddenly a mile ticked off! How did that happen?

The heat became stifling at 5.5 miles, but with the finish in sight, I soldiered on. Plodding, pushing, slogging until I nearly fell out with two tenths of a mile to go. And there he was again. Seated at the bench that marked my final turn. How he got in front of me I have no idea, but there he sat – smiling at me. This time I was certain he was smiling at me… For ME!

I collapsed ten feet from him and crawled on my hands and knees toward his bench, ready to thank him for helping me through the tough part of the run and hoping to learn something… anything at his feet. Just when I began to speak, he held up a finger. At his command, nature seemed to come to a stop. Birds didn’t chirp, frogs hushed, and rabbits ceased their noisy hopping.

When the time was right, he began to laugh – a slow, deliberate, infectious chuckle that I felt contained a slight mocking tone.800px-Guru_rimpoche_at_samdruptse

“Why do you laugh, Guru?” I asked, my voice taking the tone of Grasshopper.

He cocked his head back and roared. “You have not completed your run,” he mocked.

“Yes, yes,” I pleaded. “I have gone six miles.”

“Observe your watch,” He instructed between peals of mirth. “You are precisely 1/10th of a mile short.”

I frantically searched the screen of my GPS watch. “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

He was right. How did he know? I looked up, only to find he was no longer there. His laughter still hung in the air and haunted me – but he was gone. Where he went, I know not. I both hated him and wanted to be his best friend at the same time – I’ve never been so conflicted.

I wonder if I’ll ever see the guru again. I want to, and then again, I don’t.

Next week, I’ll run a tenth over my goal and show him!

 

***************

This was a  little writing exercise I concocted, built around an interesting man I saw on my Sunday run. Can you picture him?


Filed under: From the Writer

0 Comments on Running to the Guru as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
39. Reviews in Tandem: THE SHADOW HERO by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

Welcome to another installment of Reviews in Tandem, where we both have our say about a book we've each read in an informal back-and-forth discussion. This is going to be a shorter review than many, because it's a graphic novel, and it's too easy to... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Reviews in Tandem: THE SHADOW HERO by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew as of 6/30/2014 6:02:00 PM
Add a Comment
40. A Box of Scent

I came home the recently to find this at my doorstep.

 

image

 

I know!  This is an outrage!

It may seem innocuous initially with its flowery packaging and appealing colors, but read between the lines.  Oh, can’t see it clearly? This, my good readers, is a box of scent.  Why is that a big deal, you might ask?  Because, consider the implications of someone giving you a scent meant to cover your current odor. That’s right! Somebody thinks I stink!

Where did this come from? What dastardly knave would leave such a foul gesture on the front step of another?

I know my wife didn’t order something so frivolous when she already has an olfactory sensation in me! I’m like a bed of roses, just ask me.

Did the UPS guy drop it off, and if I so, what does he think of me now?

Is there a scent fairy that didn’t make it into the legend books or that movie where they all teamed up?  A Santa Clause for the nose, as it were.

Why does a box of fragrance smell an awful lot like cardboard? What kind of rip-off is that?

These were the questions I asked myself as I sat beside my box, my anger growing every minute. I began plotting how I would discover the origin of this unwanted gift. I figured it had to be one of my neighbors. We have two that come to mind when anything suspect happens on our street. Two doors down on either side are families that each have their own quirks. We all have those neighbors, so I won’t detail their eccentricities. Suffice it to say that when the media shows up at my door because the police are leading them off in chains, I will NOT say, “Oh, they were normal folks. I can’t believe they found eleven bodies in their yard.”

Since I couldn’t be positive it was either of them, I spent the better part of the afternoon parading up and down the street holding the conspicuous box in my arms so all could see. I watched the eyes of everyone I met – it’s all in the eyes. Each neighbor I encountered looked at the box suspiciously as we engaged in meaningless small-talk, but I never ran across the guilty expression that would pin-point the offender. All-in-all, it was a wasted effort and most likely branded me as neighborhood weirdo number three (if I don’t already wear that label).

When I arrived back at home, I expected the usual June Cleaver welcome. I did not receive anything so grand, my wife was more focused on the box in my arms. For all the attention I got, I may as well have been the UPS delivery guy – whose opinion of me is now as questionable as my odor must be.

“Oh good, the plug-ins are here. Every one in the house has run out,” she said as she took the box and repaired to another room with nary a kind word for me.

What kind of marriage of deception is this? For twenty-two years I lived under the delusion that I was responsible for the lovely smells around here only to discover that in the opinion of my beloved, I stink.

Oh well, even though I now know it isn’t me, I do like the smell of Warm Vanilla Sugar wafting from every outlet in the house…

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on A Box of Scent, last added: 6/27/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
41. Elvis - the Real Story...maybe

A year-long celebration to commemorate Elvis Presley's first professional recording on July 5, 1954, is set to take place on Independence Day weekend in Memphis and Graceland. There are people who believe that "the King" is still alive and that he planned his disappearance. So let's say that this was the case and that a very old Elvis is living in anonymity, somewhere, but makes rare appearances at nondescript venues like gas station diners to relive the good, old days.


Elvis – The Real Story
                                                      By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
TAMMY        40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of Len
LEN                40-something husband of Tammy
"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer

 
THE TIME
The present

 THE PLACE
Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER

 
Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play none-stop. There are a few tables with chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station products and displays of motor oil, etc.

 AT RISE:

 TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room
LEN
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)
Um…who recommended this place?
 
 TAMMY
(reading book)
The restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a difference
 
LEN
Fine dining if you’re a rat! Did you happen to notice that a cockroach just crawled out of our bread basket? Must be one that escaped the Chef’s special catch-of-the-day
 
TAMMY
Stop being so negative and take in the atmosphere
 
LEN
You mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!
 
TAMMY
You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!
 
LEN
More like early condemned. Every square inch of wall space is covered with faded Elvis photos and the man’s been dead for how many years?
 
TAMMY
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderful
 
LEN
Are you saying that this…this gas station and three table diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!
 
TAMMY
For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained diners
 
LEN
If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid up
 
TAMMY
You know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant…
 
LEN
…obviously not long enough…
 
 
TAMMY
…seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here…
 
LEN
…and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoning
 
TAMMY
Get a grip! The waiter is coming so try to act normal, if that’s possible
               the waiter dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit struts over, swinging his hips in a
              typical Elvis-like walk. He smoothes the sides of his hair with his hands,
             frequently
 
WAITER
(swinging his hips between every word)
Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…
 
LEN
No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!
 
TAMMY
Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll choose
 
LEN
So tacky. All the dishes are Elvis songs. 'Be-bop-a-lu-la' chicken wings…' The 'Love Me Tender' t-bone looks questionable and it comes with fries that are probably a couple months old and a 'I Did It My Way' salad. Look at this: says here on the menu that all their steaks are aged to perfection. Yesterday's road-kill most likely
 
TAMMY
Have you considered that your cranial spark plugs have stopped kicking in? I can’t make up my mind – so many choices…
 
               the waiter comes over to take the order
 
LEN
Are all those dishes served a la carte?
 
WAITER
(swinging hips)
No – on a plate. Uh-huh…
 
TAMMY
Just choose something already
 
WAITER
Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…
 
                                                                                                            LIGHTS DIM
 
TAMMY
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna begin
 
                                                                                            SOUND: GUITAR TWANG
 
LEN
I don’t see why we hav’ta be quiet. Cheez – I can hear the sound of someone pumping gas outside, not to mention the smell. Mind you, it's hard to tell the difference between the food and the gas
 
              (The song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is heard and the waiter now dressed
              in a mechanic’s uniform on the other side of the room walks in front of the
             counter holding a hand mic.)
 
VOICE OVER
“For your entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!”
 A very over-weight man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head
(VOICE-OVER)
“Direct from his engagement at the luxurious Pink Flamingo Laundromat and Bank Drive Thru in Tijuana, Mex-i-co, the management of Jackson’s 7/11 and Diner is proud to present, “the” King of Rock’n’Roll himself, the one – the only – El-vis!”
 
A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He stoops  over to kiss Len, who pushes him way
 
ELVIS
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checked
 
he whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket
 
ELVIS
(in weak squeaky voice)
Thank y’all very much! It’s the first time I been back this way goin’ on twenty years…or maybe it’s thirty…could be forty… Anyway… Good t'see y’all ain’t fergetten the King
              whips out his handkerchief again and blows his nose
 
ELVIS
Guess I ain’t the same Elvis you remember a ways back, huh? But then who is?
 
              starts coughing and choking. Scantily dresses nurses rush over to pat him on
             the back
 
ELVIS
See? I still got it but now I don’t know what to do with it! Thank y’all very much… Listen ladies – go see if you can find my extra set of dentures that I left in a steak yesterday.
 
              starts to choke again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting
             clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neck
 
DOCTOR
Now Mr. Elvis – honey – you know y'all gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be
 
 
ELVIS
(laughing and staring at her breasts)
Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine…at least I think it's a favorite...what's the name of the song now...nobody help me - it'll come back ...
 
              Elvis sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key
 
LEN
(starting to get up)
Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this…
 
              Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doors
 
ELVIS
Uh-oh…they’re coming back…I knew they’d find me… Damn aliens!
 
              Two males wearing white outfits move on either side of Elvis and take
              his arms
 
                                                                                                
MALE 1
C’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Home
 
ELVIS
But…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!
 
MALE 1
(shaking his head and winking at Len and Tammy)
You don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.
 
ELVIS
Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it!
 
MALE 1
Here you are…
 
               the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
              couple
ELVIS
Thank you all very much!
 
Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
 
LEN
(addressing waiter)
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!
 
WAITER
The guy is over 80 years old. Whad’ya expect? He’s got two hip replacements, a bad knee and now all that shaking he does is the real thing, poor guy. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?
 
LEN
I really couldn’t care less about the man’s autograph… In fact this is what I think of you AND your Elvis
               LEN rips up the piece of paper into small pieces
 
WAITER
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…
 
LEN
Elvis my a-s-s!
 
WAITER
That piece of paper would’a given you a free tank of gas with your meal. Oh well…uh-huh…
 
Len throws himself down on the floor picking up the pieces of paper trying to put them together
 
LEN
A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…
 
VOICE OVER
“The King has left the building”
 
LEN
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)
Hang on a minute. I can stick these pieces together… Help me Tammy – at the price of gas these days…
 
 ©Eleanor Tylbor, 2009

0 Comments on Elvis - the Real Story...maybe as of 6/25/2014 10:59:00 AM
Add a Comment
42. Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup

Portsong will never host a World Cup. Our only stadium is open air, mowed by livestock, and has no bleachers.  It would take too long to mark Hargit’s Field and we simply aren’t prepared for the crush of humanity that such a tournament would bring. I’m not one of those Americans who hates soccer. I really have no problem with it and would be okay if it took hold. With all of the kids playing and international flavor in the U.S., it really is amazing that professional soccer can’t seem to get off the ground.Leon_Rugilo

So what’s the problem? Why does the average football or baseball fan have such a disregard for the sport? Some say it is too slow. Okay, I get that – we like things fast and instant. But nothing is slower than baseball. When you have the league itself changing rules to speed up the game, you know you are in the paint-drying business.

Last week, I watched a little bit of Ghana vs. Germany and think I stumbled on a few things.

First, what is the deal with the goaltender wearing a different uniform? What makes that guy special – either you are on the team or you’re not! If they do that so the ref can tell who gets to touch the ball with their hands, they need new refs. Can these guys not identify one guy quickly enough to call a handball? They usually wear Mickey Mouse gloves anyway, which kinda stand out. No, the refs aren’t the problem. There is clearly some socialistic motive behind the goalie’s garb.

Second, the flopping. It has become a big topic of conversation around here. I have never seen grown, athletic men act like such drama queens in all my days. It is crazy how when their shin gets touched, their arms fly up wildly before they flop, drop, and roll. Have you further noticed that each victim assumes the same paralyzed position holding their knee until they realize the call didn’t go their way? Then instantly, they pop back up and resume play at full speed as if a good, old-fashion faith healer has smacked them on the forehead and made them well. Hockey and Basketball have instituted rules to punish such behavior. Since they have yellow and red, maybe soccer could give a pink card for flopping.

Lastly, it’s the low scoring and the fact that a game can end in a tie. Nobody likes that. Ties are like whacking off the last five minutes of a movie and saying The End. Somebody has to win!

wcI’ve come to the rescue with a simple idea that kills all three objections. Here is what soccer should do. If a player flops, he has to stay face-down on the ground motionless like a kid playing freeze tag until the guy with the big gloves comes over and tags him. Think about that! Empty nets while the goalies run all over the field bringing players back to life means higher scores. Motionless players make for built-in impediments – therefore, more contact – which leads to additional flopping and more speed bumps. Soccer has just become a high-scoring, contact sport, with frozen men lying face down all over the field! Genius.

And if anyone shows up in a different uniform, they have to lay down in the center of the field and balance the ball on their lips as a tee for kick-off. That’ll teach him teamwork.

If I can get to someone with this idea, we’ll have a thirty team mega-league in the United States by 2016.

 

Photo credit: Leon Rugilo


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on Portsong’s Tribute to the World Cup, last added: 6/24/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
43. L’alphabet/The Alphabet: Letter B

Slowly making way through the alphabet. Below is an illustration for the letter “B”…

alpha-B-3a-sm

 

0 Comments on L’alphabet/The Alphabet: Letter B as of 6/23/2014 11:51:00 AM
Add a Comment
44. Eve’s Leg Hair

“I can only find three leg hairs” observed my youngest from the back seat. The chemotherapy killing her tumors also attacks any fast-moving cells – thus the hair loss, fingernail lines, and white blood cell reduction. She is twelve and had kind of fuzzy, blond legs a couple of months ago. Her smooth legs weren’t troubling to her, just something she noticed.

“Well, that would come in handy if you cared about that stuff yet,” I said, glad she didn’t.

“Why do girls shave their legs anyway?” she wondered. “I mean, who started that whole thing?”

A very interesting question. Who did start that? I assume Eve had leg hair when Adam popped the question. Do you think when they ate from the tree, not only did they figure out they were naked, but Adam also noticed her furry legs for the first time? Did he made a snide remark about Eve being only a slight step up from his former companion, the chimpanzee? Every guy knows the remorse of SCS – Stupid Comment Syndrome. The moment you say something to your wife and immediately wish you could turn back time to retract it. Adam’s comment sent Eve into a tizzy trying to scrape the hair off with a stick while stitching together the fig leaf bikini we see in all the pictures. If God created enmity between woman and serpent, imagine the enmity Adam created with his wisecrack.

image

 

Ah, here is where I began a quest for knowledge. I had no interest in important knowledge, anyone can get that. The learning I sought is practically irrelevant outside of bar bets, board games, and trivia competitions. When did women first start shaving their legs?

Any thoughts?

Where do I turn? My best friends and cohorts in the immaterial: Google and Wikipedia, of course. Google brought me facts that I have to believe. It seems that women were so covered before the turn of the 20th century that it wasn’t necessary for them to shave – their body hair was kind of a honeymoon surprise. But as hemlines raised in the early 1900’s, razor sales increased. I can buy that.

The more compelling facts I found were about why women began shaving their underarm hair. They involve motion pictures, flappers, and old western women of ill repute. I would explain, but everyone likes a cliffhanger. My true audience is only twelve and wanted to know about leg hair anyway.

Besides, while on my search, I found a website called Mental Floss. It is like a Mythbusters of the inane. My evening was shot. I learned why bacon smells so good, 15 reasons we love Mr. Rogers, and why baby names have become increasingly female-sounding. Forget Wikipedia, some of that might actually be true. I have a new homepage!

After about three hours of copious research into absolutely nothing worthwhile, my daughter asked me why women started shaving their legs and I had to admit that I could tell her all why cows moo with accents, but had crammed so much useless knowledge into my finite brain, I had forgotten why women shaved their legs.

She left disappointed. Back to Wikipedia to start over…

But wait – an article titled, Do Racehorses Really Pee All That Much simply has to be read!


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

4 Comments on Eve’s Leg Hair, last added: 6/12/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
45. Friday the 13th - hert are 13 other funny superstitions

Friday the 13th is called  a day of bad luck. 
Friggatriskaidekaphobia is when someone is afraid of Friday the 13th. Evidently this affects almost 20 million Americans. Even though none of them can even say the word. 
Triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number 13. 
I like to at least pronounce the fears I have very clearly.
There is always one Friday the 13th each year and at most, there can be three in one year.
So why worry - it's only 3 days of the year. 
That means you have 362 other good days to worry about  these 13 other funny superstitions we hang onto:
1. Make sure you cover your mouth when you yawn. Um this is just common sense. An open mouth doesn't attract demons, but it is rude AND likely spreads germs.
2. Don't open umbrella in house. Again I think this is just common sense. You'll poke your eye out - or that of someone close by.
3. Get in and out of bed on same side. This is easy when you sleep with someone. But what if your bed is against the wall. I say jump out of bed with a smile and it should offset the omen.
4. Bird poop on your car means you will be rich. Trust me this is not true!
5. Using mirrors makes you soul-less. Gosh we better hope this isn't true! - especially in Hollywood. Well...maybe there it is true :L)
6. Wish on a star. We all do it. Then again, most of us may be silently praying it isn't a huge meteor barreling toward Earth!
7. Don't use new brooms because you can sweep out good luck. I say why not vacuum? It's automated anyway. Then you save yourself the worry.
8 - Crossing fingers was supposed to be in symbol of the cross and bring good luck. Now we just use this to tell a white lie and thin it is OK. :)
9 - Rabbit's foot brings good luck. Yeah, let's ask a rabbit if he thinks this is true. Bet he says no and asks you to let him go.
10 - Knock on wood  because it is thought spirits lived in trees. Since we all knock on our processed wood in our homes, the spirits are either already angry we stole their tree or were killed off anyway. 
11. Break a mirror. Well, you shouldn't be looking in one anyway according to #5 so this may save you.
12. Itchy palms means you are greedy about money? I say if you have any itch for very long, you should go to a Dr.
13. Tossing salt. This just makes a mess and could injure the patrons behind you.
I declare Friday 13th my lucky day - starting today!

0 Comments on Friday the 13th - hert are 13 other funny superstitions as of 6/14/2014 2:09:00 AM
Add a Comment
46. Now Reading: BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs

I haven't done a "Now Reading" post in a while. I was planning to do more of these—blog posts that happen mid-read, just reactions and thoughts and free-form writing about a book I'm currently enjoying. Right now I'm reading Breakfast Served... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Now Reading: BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs as of 6/17/2014 12:15:00 AM
Add a Comment
47. The Light Bulb Thief

I had a dream!

Note my declaration is past tense meaning there is no similarity in weight or profundity to Dr. King’s Dream. No, I had a dream that scared me enough to rouse me from my deep slumber to ensure the security of my homestead. You know, that hazy stumble to check the locks on the doors, ignoring the fact that if someone wanted in badly enough, a locked door wouldn’t stop them.

Because I didn’t fully wake, I don’t recall the entire dream, mostly just the impact it had on me – then later, the impact it had on others. I am a very deep sleeper. For years I have said that comes from having a clean conscience. I’m not sure that is true, I just say it to make myself sound righteous.

imageThis dream involved a thief. But he wasn’t just any thief, he was after one thing: our light bulbs. I have heard of houses being stripped of all their copper tubing, never their bulbs. We switched to compact fluorescent long before the government told us we had to. I wonder if I harbor a subconscious grudge about paying more for light bulbs now and my dream was anti-government.  Or maybe I’m against the technology that takes ten to fifteen seconds to brighten the room whenever I flip a switch.  I’m like everyone else, when I want light, I want it immediately. Who knows, but this thief had the old time black mask. I somehow saw him in my mind before I got up, which should have been my first clue that he didn’t exist.

Retrieving my trusty Louisville Slugger from behind the bed, I slowly walked out to the den and checked one door, club at the ready. (Yes, I am an Army certified expert marksman who doesn’t keep a weapon in the house – unless you are a bad guy, and then I have an arsenal.) Door one, secure. Stumble on to door two – secure. The kitchen is declared safe. Front door, fine. Back door, copacetic. Even in my foggy state, something told me not to try the stairs…I didn’t listen to myself.

I stormed downward, ‘Old Hickory’ at the ready, around the strategically positioned sectionals all facing the TV screen, all the way to the door which was tightly locked. Hmmm, nothing to worry about. A yawn. A scratch. I drag my old bat like the Mighty Casey trudging back to the dugout and went to sleep.

Little did I know that to the television watchers in the basement, I had become the entertainment for the evening. I never realized they were there.

Two things to preface the story:

1 Because I rise so early. I typically fall asleep long before the rest of my family. Often in a chair or on the floor where I pick myself up from a puddle of drool, then wearily migrate to bed…which is a problem because:

2. It’s kind of a nightly crapshoot as to whether I have the acumen to dress properly….

I don’t know who was in my basement, or what stage of dress I was in. I haven’t heard from the sheriff’s office, so I assume I was covered. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the bulb thief himself was down there eating my chips and drinking my Dr. Pepper!image

If I had had one brain synapse firing, I could have just flipped a switch and known if my bulbs were gone.

But I would have had to wait those accursed 10 to 15 seconds!

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on The Light Bulb Thief, last added: 6/17/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
48. Arks to Go II: the Flood - The Plan

SCENE: LIVING ROOM OF AN APARTMENT. LATE EVENING
 
Angie and her male friend, Joe, evening together is interrupted by a knock on the door. Angie attempts to ignore the interruption but it continues, growing in intensity
 
 
JOE
Aren't you going to answer the door
 
ANGIE
Knock? I don't hear a knock. Now where were we...
 
JOE
You're such a joker, Angie. It sounds urgent
 
ANGIE
Probably the neighbor upstairs, complaining again. She is such a pain. Bangs on the ceiling even when I sneeze. 'Get a life, Mrs. Plotnik!'
 
JOE
If you don't answer the door - I will!
 
ANGIE
O-kay...if you insist but I know I'm gonna regret this
 
(Angie opens the door to an elderly man (NOAH) with a very long white beard and hair down to the floor, dressed in army fatigues. He rushes by her)
 
NOAH
Hel-lo! Noah's my name and arks are my fame! A little frivolity always helps to break the ice in a social situation, don't you think? Angie - introduce me to your friend, here
 
ANGIE
Noah - remember I told you my carpets don't need cleaning? Call me in a few years - preferably longer. Now if you'll excuse me...
 
(she tries to lead Noah to the door, unsuccessfully)
 
NOAH
You're just joking, aren't you! We're old friends, remember?
 
ANGIE
How can I forget?
 
                                                                                                         SOUND: ELEPHANTS
 
JOE
What's that? Sounds like elephants
 
ANGIE
He comes with his own sound effects. Um - didn't I mention that Noah here, does sound engineering for movies?
 
NOAH
No I don't! Aw - you're just teasing, right? 'I'll be back soon, guys!' They don't like to be left alone. Elephants are such babies. They're afraid of the jackals and the monkeys love to tease them. You know - when the boss is away... So...Joe - whad'ya think of all the rain we've been having?
 
JOE
Haven't given it a lot of thought, to be honest
 
NOAH
Maybe you should. Could be the beginning of ...
 
ANGIE
...Noah here runs a zoo. Perhaps you should be getting back to your animals, Noah! Nice of you to visit...
 
(Angie attempts to move Noah towards the door but he resists)
 
JOE
You two seem like old friends. How did you meet?
 
NOAH
Well...Angie phoned me about six months ago and asked me about building an ark...
 
ANGIE
...as a gift for my nephew. He's into arks and I wanted to give him something unique
 
NOAH
...and we've been friends on-and-off
 
ANGIE
Good to see you again. Call me sometime
 
NOAH
Somehow we lost touch with each other and I came across her number while cleaning out the parrot cages the other day and here I am! So Joe - do you like to sail boats, perchance, or maybe you build boats?
 
ANGIE
Stop with the questions, already, Noah! See you around....
 
JOE
As a matter of fact, I'm handy with a hammer and nails
 
NOAH
No! What a coincidence. I'm looking for someone to help me with a project I'm working on that involves someone who knows how to put two pieces of wood together
 
JOE
Seriously? Maybe I could help you
 
NOAH
You don't have to be an expert. I have a set of plans laid out by Someone who makes building an ark as easy as 1-2-3
 
ANGIE
Hello? Joe? I'm here. I think I hear the elephants calling you, Noah.
 
JOE
Why don't I give you my cell number? We can discuss this further over lunch
 
NOAH
No need for that. I'll get in touch. Isn't this exciting, Angie? You, Joe...building a new ark together...think of the possibilities
 
ANGIE
My heart beats with eager anticipation at the aspect of spending time with wild animals. Why do I think my life is not my own, anymore...
 
NOAH
I know what you mean. It's going to be such fun. Now Joe - do you get sea sick?
 
TO BE CONTINUED...
 
 




0 Comments on Arks to Go II: the Flood - The Plan as of 6/18/2014 11:13:00 AM
Add a Comment
49. Don’t Miss the Devastator’s Hilarious Story Bundle

devastator-5-cover-web.png
Bundling is now as popular as it was in Colonial times—even if it meant something a bit different then. Anyway, nowadays it means putting together “bundles” of ebooks or videogames and letting you pay one price or even set your own price.*

The Devastator, the sly humorous anthology, has put together a StoryBundle that includes several comics and comics-like elements, including “Fantasy” a Devastator anthology which contains parodies of Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy and more, with contributions from Tony Millionaire, Zach Weiner and a cover by Dan Hipp. On the other side of the flip book is a Dungeons and Dragons take­off, Wizards of C*ckblock Forest.

Other books available in the bundle, which foes for a suggested $20, include Zack Weinersmith’s Trial of the Clone choose-your-own-adventure game and KC Greens’ Anime Club. So NOW what would you pay for all of this?.

But hurry! Because this sat in my tabs for weeks while my computer wrestled with a memory problem, you have only 10 hours to bundle up!

* In the olden days “bundling” meant the practice of two folks of the opposite sex, usually youngish, “bundling up” in a blanket and “spending quality time together” which may have meant talking or courting or something Twitter would be outraged by. It’s actually the basis of the core metaphor in the graphic novel Blankets by Craig Thompson.

0 Comments on Don’t Miss the Devastator’s Hilarious Story Bundle as of 6/18/2014 11:39:00 PM
Add a Comment
50. The Great Search & Rescue

Our cat went missing. Not the new cat, the old cat. She’s a good yet reclusive pet. It took us weeks to integrate the two of them and I’m not just gonna let her go. Besides, can a family of six be complete unless they have at least four pets? Seriously, why would we ever have ten beings who consume and eliminate food living under one roof? Someone should have said no to this ridiculous increase long ago! Don’t ask me who – someone with more backbone than me.

We noticed she was gone Thursday. She has hidden for extended periods of time before, but after a thorough search of the premises, we realized she was not indoors. Thus began our search and rescue.

We started by walking up and down the street calling out her name. Wait, we would have started by doing that, but we never really have given her a name. So we just called Kitty and clicked a lot, completely ignoring the fact that she has never so much as inclined her head toward us when called…or clicked at. The only thing that came at our beckoning was our neighbor’s horse. I sized him up to see if he would be an adequate replacement, but he was completely the wrong color and I worried a little about the size of my litter box.

After the sun set, I posted two guards at the back door and commenced the stake out. The Commandant (me) made his rounds for inspection only to find the two teenage guards sleeping. It seems the batteries to their electronic devices had run out, leaving them nothing to do. I was about to rip into them like a monkey on a cupcake until I saw an eerie set of eyes through the window. The cat!

3773065364_88d03280b8_z

Assuming the cat wanted back in, we all rushed the scene noisily with search lights blazing and promptly scared the crap out of her. She ran away from us and we didn’t see her again that night.

Night #2. I set one guard along with her charger (fool me once) and went to bed. Around 1 am, I was roused and told the cat was back. Using a calmer approach, we slowly walked in her direction and sat down. She recognized us and without the high-beam flashlight blinding her out of her mind, allowed herself to be captured.

Once she realized she was safely inside her familiar home, she laid down in her usual spot and promptly slept for two days. The thrill of it all left me staring at the ceiling for an hour, pondering several things.

1. Does she care about us in more than a “feed me, then subject to me” way?

2. Did she really want to be caught?

3. What made us think that a cat who has never been outside could recognize the exterior of her home?

4. In case of a dystopian apocalypse, I need to trade in my teenagers on someone who will actually guard something sans electronics.

5. Why would anyone name a cat? One might as well name a roll of tape for all the attention paid to it.

Before drifting off to sleep, I recall having the strange sensation that I was being watched by the cat. I would like to think she was pondering her adoration of me, her rescuer. But I am fairly certain that after two days in the wild, the hungry feline was sizing me up for a snack.

 

Photo attribution:  Patrick Feller (Flickr)


Filed under: Dad stuff

5 Comments on The Great Search & Rescue, last added: 6/19/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts