Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the tag “humor”

Why The Platypus Can’t Make Up Its Mind

What do you call a duck-billed platypus, if not confused? I often have difficulty making up my mind. But the platypus…they simply refused to.

It get’s its names, platypuswhich means ‘flat foot‘, aptly. It’s scientific name, Ornithorhynchus, means ‘bird snout’. If you’re looking at a platypus and you’re wondering what happened, so are the rest of us.

This creature is so weird, European naturalists decided it had to be a fake, stitched together from various other animals. In 1799, after examining the body of a platypus, they just knew somebody had to be yanking their chain! I can just see it, all those stuffy professors in their goatees, and all of a sudden one of them snorts Kool-aid through his nose!

OK, What is that? That is not funny!”

It looks like something your eccentric aunt might have knitted, the one that still sends you fruitcakes in the mail?

The platypus, if nothing else, is a collection of conttadictions.

Who else but the platypus?

So what do you call a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal with a bill like a duck, webbed feet, and a broad flat tail like a beaver?

We’re talking about the only venomous mammal on the planet, injecting it’s poison from a spur on the hind leg. An animal so bizarre it has a bill is like a giant electroreceptor, covered with thousands of cells that are able to detect minute electrical fields. The platypus’ snout is so sensitive, it’s able to hunt its food and navigate even in brackish waters by electrolocation, a trait it shares only with the dolphin.

Give up? So do I.

“So much for that theory.” No one ever heard of Darwin after that.

What happened?

Did evolution come unraveled suddenly? I can’t help but think, what would have happened to his theory, had Darwin wound up in Australia, instead of the Galapagos Islands? I think by the time he got to the platypus, he’d have thrown up his hands in frustration.

Everything is going fine. “OK, those are reptiles…birds…mammals…oh? Hey! What the?! Those guys back home are never going to believe this. So much for my theory.”

He just tossed that notebook into the trash. “No one will ever believe this now.”

“What else can I become famous for?”

Afterward, Darwin could only find work in a 7-11 making ‘slurpees’. No one ever heard of him after that.

I have this theory. Bear with me, it is still a theory.

The only obvious explanation for the platypus is that it was actually designed by Congress. This explains much. After billions of dollars of taxpayer money and cost overruns, this was the best we could get because no one could agree. Finally, a strange sort of compromise was reached between the union and the non-union workers.

“What do we do now?” The guys at the office threw up their hands in angst. “These parts don’t even match and we’re out of money again?”

So they just threw some parts together on the assembly line and this is what we wound up with, a chimera of dissimilar pieces.

The project came in behind schedule, and, several politicians are still under investigation.

The Democrats still blame the Republicans for this fiasco, and the Republicans…well, you know how that goes.

It was like a split in the family tree!

It’s like nature got bored all of a sudden and decided to play Mad Libs with the species. The monotremes split from the rest of the mammal family about 166 million years ago. Apparently they were so indecisive, the rest of the animals couldn’t get along with them.

An obvious clue to its bizarre appearance is that it comes from Australia, a continent that insists on its own collection of unique critters found no where else in the world. Where else but Australia?

You’d think, after a few million years, the platypus could finally make up their minds “….bird? …mammal?” So they just made up their own phylum.

I can just imagine standing at the evolution check out line, the dinosaurs are standing in line behind the platypus’. Everyone is in a big hurry to evolve. Two platypi are having a debate –why not platypi? Everyone else is making up their own words.

Listen in on the conversation.

“Oh, I don’t know …bird? mammal? I can’t make up my mind. OK, mammal, definitely a mammal…no. um, bird. no, mammal…wait a minute? live birth?”

“No, too messy!”

“So what is it?”

“No live birth. That’s just too painful. Stretch marks? Nope! Not for me. Birds lay eggs. Why can’t I lay eggs?”

The T-rexes were the first to complain. That’s just how carnivores are!

“Hey, up there! Can you hurry it up? We only have a few million years left and then we go extinct, you know!”

The platypi ignore them.

“Do these webbed feet come in my size, Gertrude?”

“Oh, those are just adorable, Margaret!”

“So what is it, Gertrude? Are we mammals or birds or…what?”

“I’m just not sure”, she frets.

Next thing you know, the plant-eaters are griping.

“Any epoch now!”

Another platypus in line pokes her husband in the ribs. “Harold! Does my tail make my butt look fat?

Harold, being a wise husband is thumbing through a copy of Marsupials Unlimited, the Sports Edition, pretending not to hear…

“My geologic clock is ticking,” bellows another. This time the pterodactyls are complaining.

The impatient clerk at the check out is fuming. Will that be mammal …or birds?”

“Oh for petes’ sake,” a frustrated diplodocus fumes. “Just make up your own phylum so the rest of us can get out of here!”

And that’s how the problem was solved.

Unfortunately, by this time the dinosaurs had already gone extinct….and now we know what really happened! I just solved two geologic mysteries in one theory!

Let’s see them do that on The Discovery Channel!

Things get out of hand quickly in the Jurassic period. I suppose they could have just changed lines at the check out. Easier said, than done.

Every time the long-tailed dinosaurs tried to change to another check out, they knocked over the canned goods display and, …what a mess! Meanwhile the carnivores had such little forelimbs they couldn’t dial customer service for help

Tempers begin to flare!

It’s the T-rexes again.

“Melvin!” -it’s Mrs. T, his wife. A hungry T-rex gets grumpy when it has to wait in line.


“Quit snacking on the stegosaurs. You know you always get those plates stuck between your teeth.”

Pretty soon a brawl breaks out. That’s what happens when you put the meat-eaters and the plant-eaters in the same checkout line

If you thought the Jurassic Period was a mess, wait until the humans show up.

And now you know…

So that’s it. That’s how it all happened and why no one can tell what it’s supposed to be. Not even the platypus!

Until someone comes up with a better theory, I’m sticking with this one.

And now you know how the platypus couldn’t make up his mind.

Meanwhile, Back at the Dungeon

The door swings open, a shaft of light briefly illuminates the dark confines of a dreary place.

“Good morning,” the dungeon-master exudes cheerfully. “I just love this place!”

“Morning.” -glum.

“Morning.” -depressed.


“Morning.” -despondent.

A chorus of less than enthusiastic greetings is exchanged. One by one they repeat the obligatory greeting.

“Good morning everyone,” exclaims one cheery fellow!

Everybody groans at the same time ..it’s that cheerful guy in the back of the dungeon.


One by one they report various complaints.

“My gruel is mushy,” one gripes.

“You pulled all my teeth,” another complained.

“I can’t feel my legs,” intones another with a low moan.

A female voice mutters, “I gained five pounds last week.”

“Guys,” he chides the group, “we can’t all be doom & gloom. I knock myself out every day trying to do my job as well as I can and this is the thanks I get?” – brief pause before he continues.

“Plagues, pestilence, wars, rampant disease, and more pestilence …forgive me if I try to bring a little ray of sunshine into the world.” His ploy for pity fell flat. It’s a tough crowd of grim faces, staring blankly back at him.

“So …to improve morale I’ve decided to read some things I’ve penned.” He takes out a quill and some scrolls. “Now, Don’t be bashful. Tell me what you think?! I can take it.”

“You’ll like this,” he grins. The protagonist begins to read and is immediately met with a chorus of groans and moans.

“That doesn’t do it for me,” says the guy in the stocks.

“Hmm? OK, You’ll like this one.” One by one the dungeon-master reaches into his ‘toolbox’ to pull out another painful instrument of cruelty.

“How about some insightful commentary? I wrote this last week end…”

They all shriek in unison.

“I know what will get you guys going? A little humor, huh? I think you guys will like this one. It had me rolling…”

More groans and moans.

“Hey. This piece is filled with whimsical observations from life.”

“Stop it,” they plead.

“Oh, …oh! I wrote this really great satire piece…”

“Not again.” cries the poor soul overhead in the iron cage.

“OK, OK. I get it. How about some gleanings from life to brighten the drudgery of…”

Shrieks and howls fill the room. The rat stops chewing long enough to stop up his ears with cloth fragments…

“Raphael?! You too?!!”

“Somebody call PETA,” a female voice protests.

The dungeon-master continues despite the objections of his audience. A little later the entire dungeon is clamoring, “No more. Stop!”

“Come on,” the dungeon-master complains. “How bad can it be?”

The listeners cringe as he continues to read. Their ears huddled like frightened rabbits against their heads …frightened with no where to run.

“Please! No more,” they beg. “Can’t you just stretch us on the rack until our bones come out of joint or maybe pull out our fingernails …like other dungeons do?”

“Yeah,” another agrees. “My neighbor says the dungeon he goes to, they just tie you to the wheel and bludgeon you.”

“The dunking booth! The guy across the street, that’s what his dungeon is doing”

“Well,” the offended jailer protests. “I’m sorry if I’m not like all the other dungeons! Besides, that’s not very creative, if you ask me.”

“So what’s it going to be today? Flogging or blogging, You pick?”

“Flogging” One by one they all choose the same form of punishment.

“Guys,” he exclaims, “Aren’t we exaggerating a bit much?

“No, no. We want flogging,” the dejected group insist!

The dungeon-master breathes a heavy sigh, “Look, I know I’m no Shakespeare but give me a chance. Even the Bard had to start somewhere.”

The guy in the stocks interjects, “You’re a monster!”

“Now Bob,” the optimist lectures “…it’s not going to hurt you to be supportive. Can’t you think of anything positive to say?”

“It meant it as constructive criticism,” his voice dropped off apologetically.

Another pitiful fellow added, “I know we’re a captive audience but couldn’t you try your material out on someone else for a change?”

“So that’s how it is? All this time I felt we had some sort of connection between us?”

The guys in the dungeon avert their eyes, looking around sheepishly. The Raphael gets up to leave. It seems like the rats are always the first to leave…

Someone bangs on the heavy wooden door to interrupt. “You’ve got mail!”

“Mail? For me?” The jailer’s face brightens. He reads a moment, lips moving excitedly before his face suddenly turns pale. Angrily, his countenance changes. He wads up the letter and chunks it down in anger. “What does he know,” he cries in anguish!

“Another rejection letter,” they whisper.

Several let out loud sighs. “Its going to be a long day, isn’t it?”

After a pause, one of the group asks, “How can you be so …cruel?”

“That’s a fair question,” he replies. He pauses to reflect before adding, “I was a writer once.”

“Ohhh,” says the guy in the cage swinging overhead.

The guy chained to the wall adds, “A writer? Yeah …I can see that.”

So much for my Creative Writing class!

The picture suddenly transitions from a dingy dungeon torture scene to a writing class. The unhappy gaggle in the dungeon turn out to be fellow classmates. I’m reading my assignment as the others comment. Out of the corner of my eye I see one guy that was chewing on his pencil, make his way to the door.

“Raphael! Where are you going?”

“Um, to the bathroom…” he alleges.

Deserter,” I mutter under my breath. “The rats …they’re always the first to leave.”

The cheerful one in the back of the room? It turns out he’s the instructor, trying to blunt the criticism of fellow classmates. After several torturous attempts at creative writing, a general groan of discontent is wafting overhead.

“What? What is it now, I cry?”

“You changed your POV again. You were in the first person and you change mid-paragraph and now you’re all over the place. I’m getting all bent out of shape here!”

“Yeah,” the other’s agree. “It’s torture!”

A female adds, “The plot is convoluted. I feel like I’m on some medieval rack!”

– awkward pause.

“Well, OK. It’s a …work in progress,” the cheerful guy in the back points out. No one takes him seriously anymore because he’s always so …constructive.

“I think you’re trying too hard on your dialogue,” says another.

“The punctuation is brutal,” says the guy sitting against the wall. “Excess exclamation marks …I’m tripping over the commas. Was that apostrophe really necessary?”

“No offense,” another voice adds. “Your humor …I’m just not getting it.”

– another awkward pause.

“Well, that’s …all for today,” pipes up the cheerful guy in the back, shoving his papers into a briefcase as he hastens toward the door. “Assignment due on Wednesday. Don’t forget to read chapter 5. See you all next week!”

So much for my creative writing class.


How to Write Blogs That No One Reads!

Over the course of the past two years I have managed to distinguish myself with an impressive portfolio of mediocre blogs that have been largely ignored. To the untrained amateur, it would appear to be largely due to my complete lack of literary ability to string together a few coherent sentences but my wife assures me it’s only because I suck at writing. While other bloggers routinely produce quality efforts that attract a large segment of the readership, my posts have mostly floundered in anonymity and neglect.

I however refuse to indulge in excessive self-pity but rather have resigned myself with a certain savoir faire to my marginal place in the literary universe. It is my karma! And so now I seek to attain a Zen state of mediocrity which I would be content to occupy. That is, as long as I don’t think about all my unread posts languishing in cyberspace.

Part of the problem I face is that I have been forced to compete with impressive titles like, “Laundry Lists of Former Celebrities” or eye-grabbing articles that would make the National Enquirer blush. Then there are those scintillating topics, such as how to create artful crafts woven from excess nasal hair. I frequently find myself repeatedly smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand and asking myself why didn’t I think of that first?

Oh, I admit at first I was really miffed! I confess I too wanted to be popular and attract large numbers of readers who would deluge me with gushing reviews of my work until I blushed. I admit I was jealous of the other writers; the ones not like me who actually didn’t suck at writing. All of which left me to sulk from my petty perch of petulant self-pity as their blogs attracted significant number of readers who actually READ them.

There is however several advantages when it comes to being an anonymous writer that no one wants to read. For instance, I frequently make up completely bizarre and unfactual facts without fear of slander because no one will ever know.

I Love Conspiracy Theories!

I was desperately in need of something to write so I concocted an act of literary sabotage with complete impunity by reinventing history. Journalism, as a writing endeavor, is just a little too constricted for me since they expect you to maintain a semblance of integrity and at least appear objective. They actually frown on reporting events without actual evidence unless you happen to be Dan Rather or a Jayson Blair. All this means you are required to do painstaking research and cite your sources. This is why I prefer to hatch up kooky conspiracy theories so bizarre that only an idiot would believe. And so I surmise that my writings are largely ignored due to some obscure conspiracy theory based on some arrangement between Hubpages and the…um…the Illuminati. Yes that’s it! That must be why no one reads my Hubs. Darn those secret societies!

And then there was the blog I wrote about my most recent alien abduction which only appeared to be similar to the one I wrote about a recent UFO sighting. Fortunately I was able to write about these incidents in complete anonymity without all those annoying media satellite trucks parked in my front yard. Not to mention the incessant demands for interviews! Alien abduction stories are not considered the forte’ of intelligent readers but again, no one will ever know I wrote them.

I once hid out in the woods after dark in a desperate attempt to garner material for a Sasquatch sighting. Oh sure, you say. Another Sasquatch sighting? Ho, hum! This may not seem significant until you consider all the other fakers in the big fuzzy gorilla costumes you see in those badly blurred photographs are in on the conspiracy to discredit true Bigfoot sightings like mine. Actually there is no conspiracy which I surmise may be part of a larger conspiracy itself. No, wait! I remember now. It was Sasquatch and he was spotted…in a UFO and he’s engaged in some apocalyptic war with the Yetis . . .Yetis with light sabers!! Ok. I admit that was not one of my better efforts! I’d be really embarrassed about that one but since no one ever read it, I have not been banned by the Writer’s Guild. If I had really seen Bigfoot, I would have asked him to write my Hub for me. How about that, all you talented overachievers! Ha!

Oh, wait. Don’t tell me, you never read that one either!

Napoleon Flunked Geography!

And then there was the time I wrote about dating Brittany Spears…once. True story! I haven’t told any because after I broke up with her she was so despondent she shaved her head. Don’t go ask her about it; she can’t remember a thing since she was still in rehab at the time. But we had a great time together. In retrospect it may have just been a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Brittany but that’s beside the point.

I won’t stoop to the level of those who would insult your intelligence with worn out recounts of time-travel or the same old boring reincarnation drivel. Even I have a semblance of scruples as a writer however in a completely unrelated incident from my former life; I did know Napoleon in the third grade. That at least seemed like good material for another Hub. Back in the 17th century we used to hang out. After class we dusted erasers and talked about girls. Napoleon was actually a little dweeb which is why the other kids refused to sit with him during lunch, mostly because he insisted on wearing that funny sideways hat. So he resorted to organizing full scale armed revolts during recess when he should have been doing his book report. This made things difficult for the Principal since he often had to thwart his mad maniacal plots to take over grammar school and declare himself dictator. Once because he got a D-minus in geography – -he thought Russia was supposed to be a part of France- – he was so livid. Years later he invaded Russia just because he couldn’t admit he was wrong. This, even after two decades of therapy!!

And the famous pictures of old Bonaparte with his hand inside his jacket? I refuse to tell why . . .OK, OK. You made me blurt out the tawdry little secret. He was adjusting his brazier…or maybe his hand was cold. I can’t remember. My memory gets a little fuzzy after several centuries have passed. Secretly he did suffer from hot flashes and severe mood swings which is why he was so hostile and occasionally felt the need to invade other countries. Now I regret telling you this since he made me pinky promise not to tell anyone.

Most writers would have already received an angry letter of protest from the French Consulate for what could be construed as blatant lies which under normal circumstances would have created an embarrassing international incident. But since no one reads what I write, they never found out. Crisis averted. Otherwise I would have had to enlist the expertise of Susan Rice to cover up the whole mess. If only I can get the media to look the other way until after the election

Since I have nothing else intelligent to say, now would be a great time to insert a pointless bullet list; This si supposed to help you gain more notorerity as a blogger but it hasn’t worked for me…and I tried everyone of the tips below.

How to Bolster Sagging Readership

  • Change your name.

No one reads anything written by Sam or Bob… You must have a fancy moniker. I prefer an unspoken name or you may refer to me as, ‘The Writer formally Known as Jimagain’.

  • Be a deviant. Any kind will do.

Develop some kind of lurid, crippling psychosis. Normal is so blasé’. Psychopaths and sexual deviants have the inside track when it comes to notoriety. Attention, please. Morally upstanding writers with talent, please step to the back of the line.

  • Be declared mentally insane.

Writer’s have the inside track on the insanity plea. Just try it with the judge the next time you appear in court. This used to a lot harder back when they made you undergo psychiatric evaluation or endure endless sanity hearings. Now you have no excuse.

  • Go on a few well reported drunken or drug induced binges.

It helps to have at least one really bad celebrity mug shot splashed across the five O’ clock news to keep up your public image.

  • Angry or dysfunctional relatives or spouses are a huge plus!

This reminds me how my wife frequently beats me about the head & neck with a cast iron skillet. My psychiatrist didn’t believe me either until after she called him a ‘nutty old fruit cake’ and ‘bonked’ him on his bald goateed head.

My latest project…

I probably shouldn’t divulge sensitive information like this about my many aberrations of good judgment and the numerous death threats I have received from the Writer’s Guild not to mention the injunction they filed against me for defamation on behalf of all the legitimate writers. This is why the judge signed that stupid restraining order forbidding me within 500 feet of a word processor. But of course, no one reads what I write so the world will never know!

Because frankly, as I have discovered, no one is even remotely interested in reading anything I wrote. And if you don’t believe that just ask my wife and she will tell you as much.

And now if you will excuse me, I must return to my latest really big project destined to propel me into fame entitled,”Artful Crafts Woven from Excess Celebrity Nasal Hair.”

Betcha’ wish you’d thought of that one!

Kaopectate for the Brain: stool softener for the narrow-minded

I love great quotes.  And here for your entertainment and edification are a series of random quotes from some great minds. And what list of great thinkers would be complete without Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Soren Kierkegaard, Isaac Asiminov, Albert Einstein, and, yes, Winnie the Pooh.

I must however exclude myself from the list of great minds, but hey…where else can you get blogs with great titles like this?!!

 I’ve found that often quotes made from those who entertain views with whom I would most vehemently disagree are by no small irony the most provocative and invigorating. The ones that sting the cerebrum like a slap in the face with a wet salmon are more likely to jolt the forebrain out of its mental stupor and stimulate neural activity. You may conjecture there to be an amusing anecdote about an alleged incident involving myself and a cold, wet salmon however I will leave you to the amusement of your own imagination.  Even if diametrically opposed to opposing views, the discomfort they bring may force you to re-examine or at least clarify your own.

I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes that said something to the effect that every now and then a man’s mind is stretched by some new thought or idea and never shrinks back to its original dimensions.

In this vein, I put forth a bold proposition; thinking that stimulates the mind should create some discomfort. Think of it as intentionally giving yourself a mental wedgie!  Opposing points of view lessen the painful condition of bloating and pretentiousness that results from only entertaining points of view compatible with your own. This is Kaopectate for the brain. If you haven’t done any push-ups recently, do a few more than you know you should. The next morning when you wake up with aching muscles you forgot you had; this is how your brain should feel afterward.  And who wants flabby brain cells?

Here are some great quotes on the subject of thinking and writing that I culled from a few sites, arranged in no particular order.

  “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” — William James

“A good listener is usually thinking about something else.” — Kin Hubbard

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.” — Thomas Paine

“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” — Oscar Wilde

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” — Buckminster Fuller

“Believing is easier than thinking.  Hence so many more believers than thinkers.” — Bruce Calvert

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.” — Niels Bohr

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” — Rick Warren

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”– George S. Patton

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth; only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” –  C.S. Lewis

“Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.” — Anonymous

“Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.” — Howard Mumford Jones

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” — Soren Kierkegaard

“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” –  Anthony de Mello

“Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference.” — Karl Von Clausewitz

“Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.” — James Thurber

“The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it.” — H.G. Wells

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” — John F. Kennedy

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

“Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.” — William Zinsser

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” — Isaac Asimov


The last quote I leave you with should be mandatory reading for all ideologues; “Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” — Winnie the Pooh

Quick. Somebody get the jumper cables!

My Boring Life: a prelude to insanity

The reason why I normally don’t post a journal of my day-to-day affairs is simple; my life is boring. Basically, I’m a boring person. And pretty much, everything I do is, well, boring. And since I don’t jump out of planes with a parachute or scuba dive in shark-infested waters or engage in any other pulse-pounding, on-the-edge-of-your-seat ventures, you the reader would be predictably bored. The closest I come to death-defying is forgetting to remember her birthday or our anniversary but that’s a harrowing experience in of  itself which I will save for another blog.

I have nothing to tell unless I make something up or exaggerate reality beyond the point of absurdity. Since I am not a journalist, I am therefore bound by the constraints of integrity and am subsequently not allowed to arbitrarily invent or exaggerate events in a mere ploy to increase readership. But on the downside, how can I win a Pulitzer if I don’t prevaricate or engage in predatory journalism that feeds on salacious minutia? So if along the way say we are attacked by a rogue dinosaur or maybe followed by aliens or perhaps discover our cabin is an inter-dimensional portal; I am merely exercising journalistic integrity.

Tomorrow after the morning service 3 vans full of noisy teenagers will load up and head to Gatlinburg for a week-long endurance test consisting of a seven-day, six night marathon of survival skills. Being a homebody (boring Exhibit A) my enthusiasm for packing up and leaving the comforts of home is blunted at best. These ladies have meticulously been plotting this out for some time so there is no escape for me short of throwing myself at the mercy of a foreign embassy and declaring asylum. Plus, I would hate to disappoint the kids who have been eagerly awaiting the trip and honing their skills to annoy, agitate, and push adults over the brink of insanity by practicing all summer long on their parents. Traveling with teenagers for an entire week will be similar to an episode somewhere between The X-Files and an Orson Welles movie. Seriously though, all kidding aside; who says I was kidding?

My role in this affair is to show up on time and attempt to not totally botch things up for everyone else. This is facilitated by me keeping my mouth shut as much as possible which is nothing short of an unrealistic expectation. This is also why I will be accompanied by my personal 24 hour, seven-day a week censor. I have been given explicit instructions to speak only when spoken to, occasionally interject a disinterested but polite greeting such as, “how are you doing”, and above all not to share my opinion on anything. A veritable gag order has been declared. Our kids are remarkably tolerant of my ability for making utterly stupid and random retorts since I practice on them all year-long.

In retrospect, when I contemplate the ladies pre-trip planning process to that of the guys I suddenly realized that Lewis & Clark would never have successfully completed their transcontinental expedition to the Pacific coast without Sacagawea.

The reason I’m not in charge of the planning is I tend to procrastinate. My pre-trip execution list consists of jump in the van on the day of the trip  and as we pull out of the drive ask where it is we’re going. Worrying about the rest of what could possibly go wrong just lends itself to the romance and chaos. It’s a process not unlike reconstructing a crime scene.

In my repertoire of quirkiness, procrastination is a finely honed skill I deftly wield with as much reckless relish as a maniacal sociopath. Sadly, spontaneity is becoming a lost art. If you really want a once-in-a-lifetime adventure instead of a foregone conclusion, I’m your guy. I’m basically a ‘wing-it’ kind of guy, making stuff up as I go. But to ladies, this may as well have been a precision planned military operation, no less  than the invasion of Grenada. The girls take this seriously. Vacation is not for fun.

We leave tomorrow which means today we took  our aptly named Great Dane, Cletus, to the kennel to board for a week. When my wife found out how cheap it was to board him, I saw a suspicious gleam in her eye. But when she asked about the group rate and I heard whispering, I knew something was up. Fortunately one of us managed to slip the collar. Since my dog doesn’t have internet access you can probably guess which one of us escaped.

When we got home something seemed conspicuously missing. When a hundred and twenty pound dog is not hovering around, it’s hard not to notice. The rest of the afternoon I  was cautiously unshackling myself from the vestiges of pet ownership. I began a slow descent into reckless and irresponsible behavior even to the point of leaving the door open to that carefully guarded private repository of hapless rolls of toilet paper we call the bathroom. A few hours earlier tis would have been an impending disaster for innocent rolls that would otherwise be shredded by that malicious, miscreant mongrel of mangled paper products.

To start with, there is nothing about living with a Great Dane falls under the category of normalcy. First there is the nose; when you wake up in the morning it is hovering over head as you lay there in semi-comatose state on the bed. I think he is intuitively acting as a cadaver dog checking to see if I’m still alive. When I come home, I’m greeted by a dog standing on its back legs with his paws on my shoulders and his head above mine. I get an obligatory hug. Then I get frisked with the nose.  When you fix a sandwich for yourself, expect to see the nose circling the counter like a shark. I’m not talking about a nose ‘snorkeling’ along below normal counter height; I’m talking about the nose surfing above the counter. The sandwich, at any point, is only a sniff and a gulp away from being devoured.

We don’t leave until tomorrow and I’m already experiencing withdrawal symptoms however my wife who randomly announces she hates my dog, hasn’t stopped celebrating yet.  When I came home to an empty house later this day, I was not greeted with a hug from Cletus.

Back to the impending trek. Somewhere in the critical thinking process, a rational person would question themself; what was I thinking??? Am I not too old for this kind of abuse? And, is waterboarding considered an acceptable means of interrogating teenagers when they refuse to go to bed at normal hours of the night? I’m still waiting to hear from legal counsel on that. The thing about growing old is it sneaks up on you. My wife and I are much too old to be trapped inside of what amounts to be a padded cell on wheels with unfettered wall-to-wall teenaged adolescence running amok.

About this growing old thing; not only did I wake up one day to discover that I was now ‘old’, suddenly I too was married to – gasp – an ‘old’ woman. I confess I did not see that coming when we married twenty-nine years ago. After age forty she began the process of transcending from a middle-aged plauged Thelma from ‘Thelma and Louise’ fame to Thelma Harper of Mamma’s Family;  support hose and all the geriatric baggage.  I have since then discovered that I am now married to a mutated form of Lucy Ricardo on Geritol.

What’s that? Wait a moment folks. I’ve just been handed a news bulletin from the producer. We now interrupt this blog with a late-breaking news release. I have now been informed by certain sources that the party of the second part has notified the party of the first part, otherwise known as myself, that he does not have to remain in said state of matrimonial bliss with said ‘old’ woman. Well, folks. You heard it here. Another blogging first; late breaking news bulletins have now been added to our bold new blogging frontiers. Stay tuned for further details.

Fortunately for me, my wife has no interest in my blogging so I am pretty much free to write whatever I please with no fear of repercussion thanks to the complete anonymity I enjoy as a blogger.

Tomorrow my boring life is about to be interrupted.  I sure could use a hug from Cletus about now.

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Why The Dinosaurs Really Became Extinct

There are a lot of theories about how dinosaurs became extinct. Since no one really knows what happened, you can pick your favorite one. If you’re a scientist and you don’t know, you can guess as long as you call it a theory.  This does not work in third grade math because I’ve already tried to make up my own theories. Apparently our teacher is not a scientist because she’s not buying any of my theories in math.

So what happened? Asteroids, say some! Others blame changes in the climate or a lack of food. Some say that evolution just deleted them and started all over with small mammals. Whether it took place in one cataclysmic destruction or due to small changes over a long period of time by less dramatic events, one fact is without dispute. They’re gone!

It’s not ‘scientific’ to blame ‘asteroids’ for their demise because I don’t think that video games had been invented back then. And have you ever noticed their scrawny little arms? They couldn’t have operated the game controllers, anyway!

I think that they became extinct because their names were too complicated. Think about it! We know they had extremely small brains despite their huge size. Some of them even had brains as small as a grapefruit. Now, can you imagine it? Two big dinosaurs are munching down on a clump of ferns when one is about to step into a tar pit. Before the other can even pronounce his name, it’s too late. If they had smaller names it would have made all the difference. “Hey, Earl”, say one, “don’t step in those tar pits!” “Whew! Close call there. Thanks Bob.”

See how that worked?

Because dinosaurs are now extinct, every thing we know about them are from books written by people who have never seen one. The problem with that is obvious to me; if dinosaurs couldn’t read, how would they know they’re supposed to be extinct? Since they don’t really know what happened to the dinosaurs so we have to call them experts!

There are something’s that you can’t learn from books. For example, all the books tell us that they had small brains but none of them tell us why. So I’ve got a few ideas of my own. Who knows, some day I may even write my own book?

So why were dinosaurs so dumb? It’s really very simple. I think it’s because they could never pass third grade at dinosaur school. And probably because they had a third grade teacher like mine, Mrs. Bloat. She is tough and old, too. If anyone could have known the dinosaurs firsthand, it would have been Mrs. Bloat. Now I like to learn but at school we don’t learn anything important like dinosaurs. It’s all boring stuff like history, mathematics, and science. None of that is anything practical that we could actually use in life.

My theory is that all the dinosaurs tried to learn about fractions and ancient civilizations in places with funny names like Mesopotamia, but with their grapefruit-sized brains, they all failed to pass. When their moms found out, they soon became extinct. “Another ‘F’ on your report card,” she would have cried, “You’re grounded. Go to your room for a million years!”

Let’s face it, school was a bad idea for dinosaurs. For one thing, all the desks and chairs were just too small. And if the tyrannosaurus sat too close to the stegosaurus, all they did was fight. Beside, their forearms were just too small. They were always late because they couldn’t tie their shoes or carry their books to school. Imagine them trying to hold a pencil to write with or to raise their hand to ask a question, like, “May I be excused to go to the restroom?” One hundred and fifty millions years is a long time for even a dinosaur to ‘hold it’.

Make sure that you read my book about dinosaurs when it comes out, That is, if I can pass Mrs. Bloat’s third grade class. If I don’t, I too may become extinct.

And now you know why the dinosaurs became extinct, which makes perfect sense to me. Mrs. Bloat gave me an ‘F’ on my book report.. She must not be a scientist.

I UNDO: Love & Second Thoughts

Since this was about time travel, why not travel back in time to read it? NO? Then, whatever you do…don’t push that button. NO! Not that button!!! Oh great. Fasten your seat belts, you just sent us back in time.


Have you ever wondered, knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again? …or would you run?! What if you could go back in time, what, if anything, would you change? What if you could press the UNDO button on your marriage?

After twenty years of an unhappy marriage, a disgruntled husband goes back in time to undo their relationship…and despite his best efforts and against his best judgement, finds himself falling in love all over again with his contentious spouse-to-be.

“I guess it’s her disposition that I find most irritable about her. I can’t find fault with her looks. But if beauty is skin deep, ‘grouchy’ goes all the way to the bone. We used to be close, be affectionate, now it seems we just drift farther apart. The only spark that remains in our marriage is the friction when we’re together.”

Fast forward to the…

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Bad Parenting Skills Workshop

Our kids are having to undo twenty years of bad-parenting so we decided to get a dog to see if our parenting skills had improved. When pets misbehave, you can legitimately threaten them with being spayed or neutered however I have been told by numerous bystanders and intrusive officials that this is not a valid threat you are allowed to use…with children. We are then prompted to employ those tried and true methods of pacification that pass for parenting today.

Like the educational system, the goal of parenting has been redefined to accommodate lowered expectations. No longer should you attempt to correct misbehavior but instead resort to tactics to placate, mitigate or defer the actual causes of bad behavior.

Rather than raise your children to cohabit without violence, we have now collectively decided to pass their behavioral problems on to their future spouses or law enforcement, as the case may be. This is why I often advise parents to move to another state with no forwarding address when their kids leave home. Otherwise they will move back in, thirty days later when they discover to their surprise their landlords will not gladly advance them large sums of cash to pay their own rent; then summarily forgive them of their debts when they can’t.

Parenting skills today rely on tactics to pacify, pamper, defer, bribe, or otherwise manipulate children. With any luck, society will surround the next generation with unrealistic expectations and produce large numbers of dysfunctional misfits in the process.

My belief is that having your kids spayed or neutered may be preferrable to having to raise your kid’s kids. This is of course to be done while  their parents are left free to pursue the mythological beast of personal happiness or other gratuitous forms of narcissist self-expression.

Dysfunctional behavior is now an institution. Responsible mass media will inundate their viewers with the latest antics of Celebrity Rehab with positive role models like Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and Madonna, who still can’t tell the difference between a brazier and traffic pylons. And what A-list offenders would be complete without Charlie Sheen?

What boy wouldn’t want to live like Charlie Sheen? Not only do you get your own sit-com but your detrimental behavior is rewarded with commercials that glamorize your misconduct; plus you get to actually drive your sports car recklessly inside your mansion while hosts of adoring pretty girls applaud you for being a rebel. What’s not realistic about that?

Bad parenting skills take time to acquire so don’t be discouraged if your kids are generally polite or industrious and interact well with others.

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RV Shopping Again?

Me and my buddy got to talkin’ the other day between shifts at the fertilizer plant.
Me: “I’m beginning to wonder what my wife is up to?”

My buddy scratched his head. “What’cha mean? You think she’s been cheating on you?”

“No, worse!” He leaned forward to whisper, “My wife’s been RV shopping again, I found sales brochures and. . .the salesman called the second time this week. I’m starting to get suspicious. I’m gonna’ reduce my death benefit just in case she’s thinking about knocking me off for the money.”

You might ought to cancel your policy. Now that you mention it, the girls have been acting a mite suspicious. My wife’s picking out flowers and a suit for my funeral. Can you believe it? Me? In a suit?!! I wouldn’t be caught dead in a suit. Well, I guess if I was already dead…but you know what I meant.” He was more upset at the prospect of being laid to rest in a suit than the fact that his wife may have been scheming on collecting on his insurance money.

“So…are we overreacting?”

“Surely they wouldn’t be plotting to bump us off for the insurance money just to have a good time and travel?”

“Nah!” – chuckle.

“Not the girls!” – nervous laughs.

Awkward pause…

The other day at the house, she asked me. What you up to now on your life insurance,  honey?”

“Oh, I’m worth about $200 now,” I say.

That’s still more than I can  get for you at the stock yard,” she retorted smart-like back at me.

“Hah,” I told her! “What you gonna get for $200 dollars.”

My buddy dug his elbow into my rib cage. “You outta’ your head?!! Dresses go half-price at Wal-mart this week. Heard ’em talking about it earlier.”

It’s comments like that makes me suspicious ’bout my wife?

I heard she’d already picking out your pall bearers?”

“That doesn’t bother me. My wife plans everything. She even plans when she gonna get sick, based no small part on the disease-of-the-week movie.”

Silent pause…

“Men…we dont plan nothing, do we? We just show up and wing it. That’s how we roll.”

Like last week…fade to a prior conversation;

“D’joo hear? Old Burt kicked the bucket at the feed store this morning. Some pretty young thing walked by and his wore-out old ticker couldn’t keep up with his pacemaker.”

We remove our hats and pause in a moment of silence.

“Burt don’t have no burial insurance?”


“What happened to all that alimony money his ex-wife got?”

“I think she spent it all on liposuction…and that plastic surgeon she ran off with on that cruise.”

“That don’t surprise me none. Not saying she’s a floosie but her dress was as high as the price of gas.”

“We can’t just leave ol’ Burt laying out on the dock like that.”

I scratch my chin. “S’pose your right. Reckon they got an old feed sack or a cardboard box in the back they’d let us have?”

“Could be. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“I got a roll of duct tape and a shovel in the truck.”

“Then it’s all settled. All that’s left to figure out is where we gonna eat afterward?”

“Dunno? I got a hankering for some catfish.”

“We ate catfish yesterday.”


“Catfish  it is.”

So we were just minding our own business, ‘conversating’ in the truck going through the drive-thru: “Can you believe what them guys at the funeral home wanted to charge us for Burt’s final expenses?” The girl at the drive-thru window perked up at our conversation.

“I hear ya. Burt didn’t make that much in a month. Burying him at his favorite food plot was a way better idea, plus we get to pay our respects twice a week.” Neither one of noticed her roll her eyes as she handed us our hushpuppies and coleslaw.

“Alright! High fives.”

Her mouth dropped wide open, her eyes got huge!

Later. “Can you believe that lady in the drive thru?”

“I hear ya’. All that hollering and making a commotion wasn’t necessary.”

He whacked his buddy with his hat! “No wonder, ya idiot! She saw old Burt stretched out in the back of your pick up truck and she freaked out. I told ya’ we should have buried him before we went through the drive-thru.”

“It was on the way,” he defended himself. “She shoulda’ minded her own business instead of calling the law.”

“It coulda’ been worse. We got off lucky; talked the deputy down to a ticket for ol’ Burt not being in a seat belt.”

He guffawed and snorted. “I know! That made about as much sense as taking your mother-in-law on your honeymoon.” Bud got real quiet. Awkward pause. Things suddenly got as tense as the last chicken leg at the buffet. He glances over at Bud, looking sullen, who shoots him back an accusing look.

“Oh, sorry Bud. I wasnt makin’ fun of you.”

“Wasnt my idea,” He said testily. “My old lady made me bring her along.”

Back to the present.

“What you reckon your wife is holding against you?”

“I dunno.” Pause…

“Well, I did made her mother ride in the back of my truck once.” pause…

“What’s so bad about that?” Another awkward pause. “Tell me you didn’t…not in the dog box? You made you mother-in-law ride in the dog box?!!”

“What was I supposed to do. She was barking and howling and acting all crazy…nearly bit old man Preston on the leg.”

“That woman does go off her rocker when she forgets to take her meds.” Pause…

“What else you aint telling me?”

“The bad part was…my wife found her still there the next morning.”

Is that’s all?!!”

Shrugged. “Who knows. Just like a woman to hold a grudge over nothing.

“What’choo reckon they’d do if’n we both bought the big one?”

“You mean, if we both kicked the bucket…at the same time?!! Wouldn’t that be a coincidence? Ha! I figure the first thing would be they’d get some major body work done then they’d both be off on a year-long cross-country trek. Sort of like Thelma and Louise, only in an RV.”

“Body work? What for? Why don’t they just buy a brand new RV with the insurance money?”

“Not for the RV, ya dolt. I’m talking about the girls getting body work done on themselves.”

“I don’t know so much if I like the idea of them having all that fun after we’re gone?”

“Probably sell your guns after you’re gone,” he paused, “and give your old dog away, too.”

“That brazen little hussy!”

“Better get a will.”

“A will?!! What for? My old hound dog can’t read?”

“They’re up to something. I can feel it.”

“I got a nervous chill…like somebody just walked over my grave.”

“Hey Bud? Reckon we both gonna’ make it through to hunting season?”

A Guide To The Perils Of The Multiverse

Beneath the cloak of the mundane and the routine, I have discovered a multiverse of incomprehensible multiplicity filled with the arcane and the obscure, inhabited by aberrant and anomalous phenomenon. What I have stumbled upon is no less than a bizarre underworld beneath our very noses lurking inside our own homes. Some will no doubt call me crazy, others will scoff, and a select enlightened few will grasp the significance of what I’m about to tell.

Read at your own risk. I fear you may never be the same. This is not for the squeamish; go and never return! Do your laundry, mow your grass, watch re-runs of Family Feud; go back to the comfort of your boring and mundane lives while you still can!

Not since the days when ships routinely sailed off the edge of a flat earth has something so ominous, so nefarious been revealed. In a time before recorded history, when ancient aliens visited our suspicious prehistoric progenitors, when knights fought off fire-breathing dragons indiscriminately ravaging entire villages, these tales all pale in comparison.

Malicious, foreboding, menacing…

Brace yourself!

Many bizarre discoveries have been discovered at great peril to the intrepid or the inadvertent…journey to the center of the earth, lost in space, becoming stranded in a parallel earth frequented by giant insects and voracious dinosaurs roaming vast unexplored jungles locked inside a hidden valley – in most cases I would be the guy that gets chased by the tyrannosaurus and eaten.

How can this be? The typical home contains a multiverse of the irrational and the inexplicable. Anomalies abound, such as hauntings, the lone missing sock, the empty sink mysteriously filled with dirty dishes, the un-ending laundry basket, the car keys that are never where you left them, children mysteriously teleporting in and out of your home…how else can you explain your children’s behavior when they suddenly turn into – gasp – teenagers…need I go on?!!

I speak of a dark and sinister place, an alternate reality, a parallel universe that exists inside my own house…and perhaps yours as well.

Dread discoveries, inconspicuous phenomenon occur routinely around us . . .you may not be aware your attic might be occupied with goonies – did I just hear a thud in the attic followed by giggling??? Maybe aliens have burnt yet another crop circle in your unmown lawn . . .perhaps a grotesque wrinkled old troll lives under your footbridge…excuse me. Honey?!! I found your Aunt Ethylene – pause – under the bridge in the backyard on her walker. Sorry for the interruption. Now where was I? Oh yes! It all happened innocently enough, going about the mundane affairs of life when….wait! Is that Twilight Zone theme music I hear in the background???

Under the bed is a parallel universe…

It’s a dark place, where ‘dark matter’ of the universe fills, a veritable black hole that sucks objects and small pets into its clutches, never to be seen again.

“My sandals are under there,” she tells me.

And she expects me to reach my hand under the bed? Fear of being pulled under never to be seen crosses my mind or – gasp – draw back a nub of once what used to be my arm. Is that the theme music from Jaws I hear???

“Oh, sure,” I say “let me be the sacrificial offering.” Suddenly I feel so…expendable. not only can she survive without me, she would be much happier than she is…and I’m not sure I like the prospect of her being so happy after my terrible and gory demise.

“Wuss,” she calls me.

Nope. I’m not falling for that one either. They always resort to tactics of coercion to overrule your common sense. That’s how they prod the curious but reluctant kid to stick his head inside a crashed alien space ship, right before the aliens snatch him. Not me.

Suddenly I remember all those irrational fears of monsters lurking beneath my bed, the ones that came out at night, when the lights were turned off which is why for many years I refused to sleep without a night-light or my stuffed monkey to protect me. Finally my wife scolded me for being an overgrown ninny.

Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed!

“Uh, uh,” I say. I’ve seen this before in most intros into horror movies; they start off with innocent endeavors by unsuspecting persons in peril unknown to them while the rest of the movie audience screams & squirms in their seats, hoping to catch grody scenes of gory dismemberment between tightly clutched eyelids.

“Oh, sure! Something horrible happens to me and you collect the life insurance. You stick your arm under there.”

Anybody got a broom handle?

Still don’t take me seriously? You’re talking to a budding astrophysicist here. I watched too many episodes of Star Trek to be unaware of the perils. Thanks to great scientific minds like Spock, Data,, and the grand guru of future knowledge, Gene Roddenberry. “What?!! You were thinking Carl Sagan? Isaac Asimov?!! How many episodes of Star trek did they write? See my point?”

Have you noticed that Kirk, Mc Coy, Spock…never get vaporized by the alien. It’s always those unnamed security guys they beam down with them. They must have worn the shirts that said, “Disintegrate me, I’m the underling!” In every episode, when they beamed down a couple of security guys on some alien planet, I immediately knew some terrible thing would happen to them and they wouldn’t be returning to the Enterprise. It was some immutable law of sci-fi plot writing.

I was not a wuss. I’m wary.

Once a crazy unsubstantiated theory that rapidly gained credibility after initially being rejected by disbelieving scientists; dark matter is now an accepted fact despite that it sounds like some ‘corny’ phrase invented from the fertile imagination of a 1920’s sci-fi comic book writer.

Dark matter exists in the universe. We know this because it neither absorbs nor emits light and therefore is not detectable by normal scientific means available. The inescapable evidence is that there is no evidence to explain the discrepancy, when the relationship between the mass versus the rotational speeds from galaxies light years away is calculated. Theories make convenient bridges to gap the unknown with plausible speculation. If this makes absolutely no sense to you, it’s because you aren’t intelligent enough to believe in something you can’t prove, therefore you can’t be an astrophysicist.

Everybody knows that black holes suck light in, never to escape, which explains why my flashlight never works. Think about it. The batteries are always dead because the black hole sucks the light right out of it as soon as I turn it on. Battery manufacturers know this but don’t tell you so you will keep buying their products.

And what about black holes? Rotating gravitational vortexes of indescribable density, compressed elements so heavy they implode upon themselves until all the normal empty space in atoms has been expelled, leaving incredibly dense matter with exponentially strong gravitational forces to suck you in…and you want me to stick my hand under there?

If the 83 per cent of the universe is filled with dark matter, you can’t tell me there’s not some of it lurking under my bed!

“There is nothing you can say that will make me do it.”

“Fine.” She threatens. “I’ll go buy me a new pair at the…” I interrupt. “Grab me by my feet,” I tell her. “I’m going in.”

Shoe stores are another black hole of the universe, sucking all the money out of my wallet She goes just to look and returns with twelve more pair of shoes that don’t fit. And every time women go there, something happens. The same person never comes back from those places; they exchange personalities with a myriad of denizens of feminine persona that inhabit those places. Think of it like an ectoplasmic bus stop, a busy terminal for incorporeal  passengers in transit. It’s an alien body snatching, murrain-seizing portal where roaming spirits randomly quantum leap from one estrogen inhabited corporeal habitat to another…which explains why you end up with a different wife every time she returns from shoe shopping. I’ve been married twenty-eight years to the same woman, whom I barely know. Her identity has quantum-leaped into so many alternate personas, every time I think I know her, she changes.

So what is a woman’s fascination with new shoes? Allow me to explain. Remember the cartoon where Elmer Fudd’s personality changed whenever his hat changed? That’s what happens when women change shoes. Don’t laugh. Those Looney Tunes cartoons were a carefully encrypted encyclopedia of female psychology delivered to mankind by a sympathetic alien culture that visited us in eons past. Left to mankind to help us decode the enigma of the estrogen-impaired gender. Watch these episodes often, let its wisdom sink into your soul. As you observe how the other side of the gene pool think and behave, you too may become enlightened.

Don’t call me a coward. Call me wary! The multiverse is no place for the squeamish or the naive.

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