Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On With the Show!

The other night at Handsome’s Blue and Gold Cub Scout banquet, each scout den was required to put on a skit of some kind. Handsome’s skit went just fine, and I could tell you about it, but not today. Maybe tomorrow. Today I’m going to cheat like mad and tell you about another skit that went on that night.

One of the dens stood all their boys in a row, and they were going to tell us all Astronaut jokes. They each had their own sheet of the jokes, and they were passing the microphone down the line from kid to kid. The first kid in line read a joke:

“How do you get an astronaut baby to sleep?”

Then he read the answer: “Rocket.”

He passed the mic to the next kid in line, who read his joke: “What should an astronaut do when he gets dirty?”

Then he read the answer: “Rocket.”

A beat went by as he replayed what he’d just said in his mind, then pointed to a different part of the paper and cried out “No! Wait! ‘Take a meteor shower’!”

Then he burst out laughing. Well, we all laughed at that, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the skit. Every time one of the jokes was, well, not too funny, someone in the audience would call out “Rocket!” and everyone would laugh, including the Scouts up on stage!

Just for giggles, and to fill up some space on the page (I told you I was going to cheat liker mad!) I’m going to include the rest of their jokes below. If any of them don’t make you at least smile, just say “Rocket” out loud.
Works every time!

The Jokes:
What did the astronaut get when the rocket fell on his foot? Mistletoe

What did the astronaut think of the restaurant on the moon? He thought the food was fine but there wasn't much of an atmosphere

What did the astronaut see on the stove? An unidentified frying object

What is an astronaut's favorite key on a computer keyboard? The space bar

What do you call an astronaut's watch? A lunar-tick

Where do astronauts keep their sandwiches? In their launch boxes

Why don't astronauts relate well to other people? They are not always down-to-earth

Why do astronauts wear bullet-proof vests? To protect themselves against shooting stars

What happens to astronauts who misbehave? They’re grounded

Did you hear the one about the spaceship? It was out of this world

What do you call a space magician? A flying saucerer

What kind of Star Wars toy can you ride? A Toy-Yoda

When is the moon not hungry? When it is full

How did the rocket lose its job? It was fired

How does the astronaut describe his work? Heavenly

And that’s all he wrote.

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, Terrific...

Last night was Handsome's Blue and Gold Banquet, a spaghetti dinner hosted by the Cub Scouts. We all ate while the different dens put on skits on stage and got their Advancement Badges and Achievement Awards from the Scoutmaster. In between all the performances and Awards, there was a screen at the back of the stage as a sort of backdrop, and they had a projector throwing up slides of photos taken at the various events over the past  year or so.

Handsome was in some of them, but most he was not since he is a member in just one of the many dens of Scouts in the area. We watched the slides go by for a while, and I called out "There you are!" whenever I saw him in the frame. Eventually, though, we got a little bored with this and started to talk to the people around us. The man sitting across from me, for instance, had the cutest little dog you'd ever want to see in a sling he wore around his neck. He claimed it was a 'Service Dog", but what this dog could do for you besides laying there quietly looking adorable, I have no idea.

So I really wasn't paying attention to the slides for a while. Until, at least, I heard a quick bark of laughter from a couple of the people around me. Thinking I was missing something good, I looked up at the screen. What I saw did pull a barking noise out of me, but I don't think it was laughter. I only caught a quick flash of the photo up there on the screen before it changed to a shot of a crowd of young scouts in Halloween costumes, but what I saw was this:

Yeah... that's me at the Halloween party after I had slowly been picking up pieces of Handsome's costume that got left behind as he ran about playing with the other kids. The sad part is that I looked more like Freddy Krueger than Handsome did, and he at least had makeup. That's my real face there... sad... so sad... and not what I was expecting to see plastered on a screen eight feet high in front of the entirety of Pack 16!


Well, at least Handsome got a kick out of it. 

After I pointed it out to him, of course.

Talk to you later!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mail Bag! 2-27-2012

It's Mail Bag time again!

So, I'm going to choose a few items that appeared in my Junk Mail Folder in the past 30 days, and give you my 1st response to them. Off the top of my head. Just from looking at the Subject line, not actually opening them. It is all Junk Mail, after all...

  • Digital Deals: "I've got a Sherpa in my Trunk!"
    • Terrific!  The Sherpa people are an ethnic group in eastern Nepal! I'm calling the cops!

  • Independent Publishing: "Reveal your author name!"
    • This is my author name, you doofus!

  • eMusic: "You've been selected - get your first month for 99 cents"
    • You've been rejected! You get nothing, and you get it right now!

  • Digital Deals: "Yes wrinkles will be gone in 60 seconds - watch Tammy and Anisa demonstrate"
    • Really? Because Tammy and Anisa will be gone a hell of a lot quicker than that! See this little "delete" key right here...?

  • Real Writing Jobs: "Rob, You gotta see this!"
    • No, I don't! You're sending me an ad from a writing site, and you're using the technically non-existent contraction 'gotta'? I suppose my answer to you should be "Nope, I ain't gotta see nuthun'!"

  • Disney Destinations: "FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD!"
    • Okay, this one I can work with. Maybe. If what they mean is they want to send me a DVD on howto plan a free vacation to Disney Parks. If they mean it the other way, that they want to send me a free DVD to help me plan a trip to Disney Parks where I'll spend thousands of dollars for the privilege of going to their parks and spending the day standing in their exclusive lines, well, then I have a pretty creative suggestion as to just what they can do with their free DVD! 

  • Digital Deals: "Oreck for 1/2 price - Need I say more?"
    • Nope, Apparently what you said there was exactly how much I needed you to say for me to delete your mail immediately! Excellent work!

  • Infinity Shoes: "Just Reduced: Miz Mooz Boots!"
    • Um... what?

Okay, I'm all junk mailed out for this month. Did anyone else out there get anything in their junk mail folder that made them blink, give a double-take or maybe even giggle? Throw a comment down below and let us know about it. 

I, for one, would love to hear about it!

Talk to you later!                    

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Questions - Part 6 - The Finale!

So, it's been a week of questions (except for yesterday, when that little news report about the weather broke in on our programming). When I started the week, my aim was to cover a few questions each day, and have it take two, possibly three days. That was Monday, and here we are in the middle of Sunday and I've only really handled four questions from my original list. Today, as a kind of 'finale', I'd like to hit you with a few quick questions. Some of them may have answers, some may just make you shake your heads, but some of these had me wondering as I walked around in the wind yesterday.

  • Why is it called a doctor's 'practice'? I mean, by the time they're getting to work on me I'd rather practice were over and it's Game On!

  • Why is that strip of carpet that lies on the floor in the hallway called a 'runner'? It doesn't run anywhere, all it does is lie there!

  • Why do I even know the names Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian?

  • Why is it that whenever I'm in a big, big hurry to get somewhere, everyone in front of me on the road... isn't?

  • Why does the phrase 'to treat' mean to pay for something for someone else, for example, to buy someone dinner "my treat", but the phrase 'to retreat' means to withrdaw, or run away? When you retreat, shouldn't you just be buying dinner... again?

  • Why are there no terrific job titles in America anymore? I mean, I'm a 'Letter Carrier', and I know people who are in 'Data Entry', or work 'in Retail', but wouldn't it be cooler if we could fill out a job application and, in that space where they are asking for 'former job experience' we could write 'Herald to the King'? And returning soldiers wouldn't be soldiers, but "Defenders of the Realm'? Oh! Oh! That would make a retired 4 Star General a 'former Harbinger of Death to Enemies of the Realm'! Now that would make people sit up and take notice!
  • Why can I not remember something that I deemed important that happened less than 60 minutes ago, but I can recall, verbatim, a conversation I had about Goblins while playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1985? (And yes, I am aware that I just whipped open my overcoat and exposed my Nerd Factor to you all. But really... I think we all knew, didn't we?)

  • Why can I run a daily Blog and a Writer's Website, and I once built a computer that works just fine to this day (though it is a little outdated now), but I still can't program the clock on the damn VCR, nor can I figure out how to record one show while watching another without using televisions in separate rooms?

  • Why is the Luge an Olympic event, while 'Shopping Cart Races' is nothing more than a cheap, somewhat dangerous pastime for drunken underage party-goers who find themselves wandering through a Shaw's parking lot after hours?

  • And finally, why in the world did anyone ever let William Shatner have a (so-called) 'musical career'?
    And, once he'd begun, why oh why did they ever let him stop?

Thanks for putting up with me this week.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breaking News

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT (Yes, this is the actual weather advisory for my area today)

...Transmission Begins...

Studio Announcer: "And now, we here at Action Central News bring you on the scene coverage from our part-time reporter in the field, Rob Dumbasapost. Rob? Can you hear me alright from where I sit, here in this wonderfully heated and perfectly comfortable studio? Can you tell us what's going on out there?"

Rob: "Yeah, I can hear you fine, you son of a... I mean, yes, I hear you. I'm just hoping you can hear me above the howl of the wind out here! As you can see, I'm leaning into the wind at quite an extreme angle and it's holding me upright quite easily, that's how strong the wind is! Looks like Marcel Marceau wasted all that schooling and practice, all he had to do was come out into a New England gale, John!"

Studio Announcer: "Yes, I see. Well, can you tell us anything else about the weather, Rob? Something interesting, perhaps?"

Rob: "Interesting? I'll give you interesting, you snooty... I mean, uh, well, if you look behind me here, you can see the tops of the trees really whiping down toward the ground in the force of the winds... Whoa! Did you see that? That one there was just uprooted! Did we get that on camera? (the camera view nods up and down) Yes? Excellent!"

Studio Announcer: "Yeah... that's great, Rob. Now I know you're just a part-time reporter, and you've really only been trained as a letter-carrier, but do you think you could find something interesting for the people at home to see?"

Rob: "Sure, I've got something interesting for you! Why don't you meet me down in the parkin-"

Studio Announcer: "Uh, Rob, is that someone there behind you? Could you do an interview?"

Rob: "Yes! Yes it is! Ladies and gentlemen, we have here a man out here, braving the elements and the power  of the wind to... to... Well, sir, why don't you tell us what brought you out in this terrific wind this afternoon?"

Old Man: "I just came out here to tell you about a guy I saw a little while ago. He was out here in the wind too, but he wasn't like us guys. This guy was a real dumbass."

Rob: "I beg your pardon?"

Old Man "A dumbass. This guy was out here in all this wind, see, and he was holding a bunch of paper on his arm. You know, magazines and big envelopes and stuff, and he had 'em all stacked up on his arm! In this wind! And it wasn't like he could hold 'em with that hand or anything, 'cuz he had a big stack of other paper in that hand too! Letters, and stuff like that, and the wind was whipping it all around, you know, trying to snatch it away from him, and he was all fighting with everything, trying not to drop anything, and I have to say that he looked like a real dumbass!"

Rob: "Okay, I think we're done here-"

Studio Announcer: "Rob? Could you ask him just who he was describing to you? That description just sounded really familiar."

Rob: "Seriously? ...Fine. Fine.  Sir? Can you tell me who you are going to such lengths to describe?"

Old Man: "Why, my mailman, of course!"

Rob: "Um, sir? You know that I'm only a part-time reporter, right? And that in my 'day job' I'm a mailman, sir?"

Old Man: "Sure, I know that."

Rob:  "And, in fact, I'm, uh, I'm your mailman, sir?"

Old Man: "Yup."

Rob: "So what you're saying is... I mean... well, basically, you're standing there and, uh, calling me-"

Old Man: "A dumbass. Yup."

Rob: "Well, I guess that's back to you, John.  ...John? Hello? Uh, I'm turning it back over to you at the station, John. ...(tapping microphone) Is thing thing on?"

Studio Announcer: "I don't think so, Rob."

Rob: "What?"

Studio Announcer: "I'm not taking the show back to the station. This is just too good to miss. Please, go on with the interview."

Rob: "What?"

Old Man: "You dumbass."

Rob: "Okay, that's it! (looking past the camera at the cameraman, making a slashing motion across his throat with one hand) Cut it! Cut the damn feed! (lunging toward the camera) Cut it I said!"

Old Man: "Dumbass!"

(The camera view tips sideways, bounces, and the feed becomes nothing but static and white noise)

...Transmission Ends... We now return you to the Questions Series already in progress...

Talk to you later!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Questions - Part 5 - "Dirt Magnet"

Okay, I know I've mentioned this before, but that was a specific instance of it happening, rather than just asking the broad question: How, and I guess why is dirt so attracted to my son?

Okay, I know it's not just my son that exhibits this phenomenon, but he's the only one I can speak of about it with any kind of assurance. Any time I try to closely observe another child to see how they interact with dirt, say at the park or out on the street, for some reason there's a lot of screaming and the police become involved. I'm 42 years old, and I think my days of blithely vaulting fences just ahead of the police, like some COPS warm-up act are just about over. The only way to get me to vault a fence now would be to set my ass on fire, and this blog doesn't mean that much to me!

So: the phenomenon.
Every time there is the slightest probablilty -- no, make that the slightest possibility of Handsome somehow getting some sort of dirt to stick to him somewhere, it does!

Just got dressed up, on the way somewhere? Mud on the pants.

The floor was just swept but the pile is still on the floor waiting for you to return with the dust pan? He walks by without his shoes on, his new socks, the blindingly white ones I just bought -- suddenly dirty to the knees. To the knees! How in the hell does one suddenly pick up dust all over socks to the knees inside his pants-legs? I mean, the pants-legs get dirty as well, I can almost understand that; they're there, the dust is there, it's like... Fate. But up by his knees on the inside of the pants? Houdini probably couldn't have figured out how my kid's doing it, and he's doing it by accident!

Anyone, upon walking onto the house, can tell at at glance what was the last thing, if not the last few things Handsome has eaten. There's no trick to it, no mumbo-jumbo. All you have to do is look at the front of my son's shirt, and the whole menu is on display!

Food seems to leap upon him! He doesn't even have to eat the food, he can just carry a dish into the other room for me and wham, he's wearing the mark of  the meal. And before anyone out there suggests something so mundane as a bib, I'd like to point out the strange, I guess almost frenzied way Handsome eats. I've seen him eat, and I'm not sure exactly how he does this, because I've never seen him eat at all violently while I've been there, but somehow the food gets everywhere! I mean, on his shirt, his pants, the floor, the furniture, nearby walls... I mean, is it normal for someone to get mashed potato in their eyebrow? It is in Handsome's world. It happens with surprising regularity.

Let me repeat that, just in case you weren't paying attention, and I'll enunciate for those of you sitting way back in the cheap seats: "Mashed potato... in his... eyebrow!"


Now, with all this dirt magnetism going on, you'd think that Handsome could use his powers for Good, right? You'd imagine that he could walk through a room and leave the floor sparkling in his wake. That he could eat a meal and then walk away from the table leaving behind not one crumb or smear of food on the table behind him, much less scattered across the floor about the legs of his chair. That he could, possibly, watch television for a half hour or so, then get up and walk outside on the deck to shake like a dog coming in from the rain, scattering dirt and dust from the TV room about the yard, where it damn well belongs!




Again, I don't know why it works this way, but some dirt, including food, is attracted to the boy, sticking to him no matter what, even finding its way through protective clothing if it must. But other dirt seems to be repelled by him, sloughing off him as he moves about the house like Pig-Pen in that old Charlie Brown comic strip. Unlike Pig Pen, however, my boy doesn't simply spread dirt and dust in his wake.

Oh no.

My boy leaves a trail of dirt, dust, food items, trash items, plates, cups, bottles of water both empty and not, discarded coats, hats, schoolbags, shoes, most of his clothes, and one sock.


That's another question I have... what's the deal with the one sock? I walk in and find the kid sitting at his computer, or in front of the television, and he's wearing one shoe and sock, the other foot bare, toes wiggling in the wind created by the front door he left open... and he can't explain the state of the door, shoe, or sock! How does this... no... no... I can't rant about that, I'm busy ranting about the dirt magnet thing... one moment...

*deep breathing sounds*

Okay, I'm back. And I'm okay. I'm calm. I'm okay.

So what we have here is a boy to whom some dirt sticks no matter what we do, and other dirt comes out of like a grubby Johnny Appleseed leaving a trail of filth behind him. If anyone out there had any idea as to why this happens, please, let me know.

I'm going to go lie down now.

Talk to you later!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Questions - Part 4 - "Does This Smell Bad To You?"

Okay, this one happens way more than I think people even notice, or admit. I could see it happening in a restaurant, where the answer you give might actually make a difference to the bill. I keep seeing it, though, in civililan meals, where no restaurant is involved. I've had it happen at work, at home, and while in the homes of friends.

Here's the set-up:

I'll use work as the example today, alright?

So there I am, working away in the office. I'm sorting my mail, which is a pretty mindless task once you've sorted the same route about a thousand times or so, and I'm wearing my headphones. I'm listening to an audiobook, a story by Stephen King, or Michael Connelly, and I'm all mentally involved in that, not listening at all to what's going on in the office. Thus it comes a bit of a shock when the guy who works next to me suddenly pokes me in the shoulder.

I jump, startled, then pop one of the earbuds out and say “Yeah?”

The guy who works next to me has apparently gotten quite hungry since we clocked in less than an hour ago, and he's broken onto his lunch. He's thrusting a handful of wax paper at me, wax paper he's squeezing tightly to keep what's left of his sandwich from sliding out of. The actual affect of all this squeezing is that the inner workings of the sandwich are oozing out of the center of the mass like toothpaste from the tube. I can see well into the sandwich, by the way, because it's almost half gone, large crescent-shaped hunks missing from the end he's visually assaulting me with.

The mystery as to where the missing sandwich matter has gone to doesn't last very long. As my eyes follow his arm, from the hand holding the savaged mess right in front of my face to the end with the shoulder, I naturally find his face right up there over the shoulder. His face, with lips and part of one cheek smeared with whatever it is that's oozing out of the sandwich.

It's a good look for him. His wife is a lucky, lucky woman.

Did I mention the leaking stuff is brown? Well, brown-ish? I don't know what it is, or if it's supposed to be brown, but for his sake I sure hope so. 'Cuz if I find out that whatever it is it started out as another color and turned brown, like say over the course of time, then I'm going to hurl. I'll throw up right on him. I mean, what the hell, he's already got stuff that now is now brown but once-was-not smeared across his lips. Honestly, after that, do you really think a little thing like a splatter of used peanut-butter sandwich and bottled water is going to make an impression on him?

Yeah. Me neither.

So now, after I've processed all this, he asks his question, and his question begets my question.

“Does this smell bad to you?”

I just stare at him, so he asks again.

“This tastes like it might be bad, and I don't think it smells too good. Does it smell okay to you?”

So now I'm practically forced to ask my question. A series of questions, actually. Asked with both rising pitch and volume.

“Why the hell would I smell that, when you've already told me it smells bad? Why would I possibly want to stick my nose in there and get a good snoot-full of the badness? I don't even like the look of it, I sure don't want to smell it.”

My arms have begun to wave.

"And what the hell do you want me to smell it for? You've already eaten half of it--  if it was going to kill you you'd already be dead! And what difference does it make whether I think it smells good or not? You already said it tastes bad, and I guess you'd know since you already sampled half the sandwich, so what happens if I give it a sniff and say it smells like roses? That's going to make it taste better somehow? That's going to change your mind and you'll finish the thing? Either you like it or you don't, you don't have to drag me into your madness!"

Now it's his turn to stare at me, so he does. 

I wait.

He stares some more.

I wait some more.

He suddenly turns and taps the shoulder of the guy working to the other side of him. The other guy pops off his headphones, and turns to find a wax-wrapped squeezy sandwich oozing in his face.

"Does this smell bad to you?"

Talk to you later!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Questions - Part 3 - Hair Transference

...And today I continue to outline and ask questions that have occurred to me over the course of time. Some may make sense to you, some may not, but they all matter to me somehow!

Okay, anyone who knows me, or has seen my picture anywhere, knows I have about as much hair on my head as a pool-ball. As a matter of fact, I have frequently and accurately described myself as looking quite a bit like the Rollback guy in the Walmart commercials on television. Here, I'll show you; I'll give you two photos to contrast/compare.


My God, it's like we were separated at birth!
Just to be sure, for those who've never actually met me, that's me on the left.

Now I started to lose my hair way, way, way back when I was 19. Or was that just way, way back? Oh, never mind... it was when I was 19.  I started shaving my head when I turned 30 (and that's just way back), and I was tired of worrying about what my hair was doing and where it was going. Now I no longer worry. I know where it was going all that time, since I'm pretty sure it's completed the trip.

My question for today is this:

If I absolutely have to have hair, and it seems that I do, and it's not going to grow where I want it to (and yes, that would be on my head), then why, oh why, does it have to grow out of my ears? And couldn't I have had at least a little warning about this? The first I knew it was going to be a problem was when I started finding it hard to hear people speaking. I went to the ear doctor, afraid I was losing my hearing, and having visions of myself in my 30's being fitted for hearing aids.

Instead of a hearing aid, the doctor handed me a little power tool, somewhat like a little tiny hedge trimmer.
20 minutes later I was ankle-deep in off-cut hair, and the doctor looked like he was going to vomit, but I could hear! It was a miracle! A miracle that runs on two AAA batteries, but a miracle nonetheless! Just to help you all visualize just what this little bit of buzzing magic means to me, I've included an artist's conception of what I'd look like without using this little wonder:

Dammit! I got the wrong photo - so easy to get confused! Hang on a sec...

There we go! Hideous, isn't it? Oh, and just for giggles I'll throw in this artist's conception of me if I ever got an earring and hit the gym:

Okay, I've apparently gone screaming off the rails for this particular post. Sorry, it's been a long day and my head is killing me. I think I'll go lie down for a while. I guess I'll have to trim my ears first though. If I don't then  I have to lie on my back because of the thick bristles sticking out of the sides of my head.

God I hate that!

Talk to you later!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Questions - Part 2 - Smoked Bacon and Eggs

Welcome to the second installment in my little "Questions" series, where I ask questions that have occurred to me. I'm not looking for answers to these questions; I'm just using them as a tool to let you see what goes on in my head. My great big empty head...

If you made it back after yesterday's lengthy post, then I thank and congratulate you. I promise, today's post will be a much quicker read!

  • Bacon, Eggs, and Smoke Detectors
    • Okay, this is actually a question my mom asked me, and for a long time I couldn't get it out of my mind. Then this weekend, as I was cooking breakfast for Handsome I was reminded of it again, so it was right there fresh in my mind when I sat down to think of a few questions to pose to y'all.

      Every morning that Handsome has stayed with me I've made him pancakes. Sometimes they didn't go too well (Please see Breakfast - Gone Horribly Wrong  for that story), but I always make them. It's only sometimes that I make bacon. Now, Handsome loves bacon, as evidenced by his menu choice last Sunday at the Moose Lodge Breakfast (Please see Everything's Better With Bacon). I love bacon too - like I say, everything is better with bacon. The problem is the mess. And the time it takes. And that I'm lazy. Sometimes, however, I manage to overcome all that, and I slap some Hickory Smoked Heaven down on the skillet.

      These are the times Mom was asking me about. When that meat hits the skillet the immediate result is spattering pain for those of us who tend to forget about the grease and cook wearing short sleeves, or worse, no shirt at all. At the very least there is a spattering greasy mess on the stove. As the cooking progresses, however, the second, slightly less immediate result becomes apparent, and I fill the house with a haze of smoke tinged with the delectable odor of bacony goodness. (See? Bacon even makes a house filled with smoke better!)

      I run the vent fan over the stove. I open the back door (occasionally in some very cold weather) to try to ventilate the place, but still the whole house is filled with enough smoke to make Handsome come downstairs with his shirt held over his nose to keep from coughing to ask what the heck is going on. And if it's ready yet.

      Through all this smoke and spatter, and more smoke, not a single smoke detector in the house goes off. Not a whoop, not a whine, not a peep.

      Now you might think that simply means the detectors in the house aren't working, or have been turned off for some reason, but that's not the case. If it were then I would not have the following question, posed to me by my mother a few months ago:

      How is it that I can fill the house with smoke every time I make bacon and not set off a single alarm, yet my dad cooks himself some eggs and every alarm in the house goes off? That I can create an atmosphere where the house occupants need respirators in order to survive, without even a warning beep, but we have to turn off the detectors around the house just so my dad can make an omelet in peace?

      The easy answer, the one that springs to mind is "I don't know, Mom, but it's bacon, so I'm going to keep on doing it!"

Well, that's my question for today, and look! It was much shorter! Maybe that's because it wasn't, strictly speaking my question. Maybe it's because I had to work today, so I didn't have enough time to type as much. Who knows? Maybe that's a question for another day.

Okay... it's time to post this so I have a little time to work on my Flash Fiction for Vamplit this week before the Sandman comes along and lays me out with that lead pipe he's taken to carrying around (apparently the old sprinkle of sand just wasn't doing the trick. Or maybe the pipe's just a lot more fun...).

Talk to you later!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Questions - Part 1 - Lines

Okay, this week I have a few questions. They're little things that have occurred to me over time, and I think I finally have enough of them to make a blog or two. Or more. Some of them you may have heard put forth before, by other people. I probably have too. Just because I'm stealing them doesn't mean they don't hit me where I live! They aren't questions to which one would expect answers; they are more along the lines of Big Questions of the Universe... but they're not really all that big, since some of them only pertain to me.

Of course, if you do have the answers, or even just one, or even just a theory, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section at the bottom of the post. Who knows? Maybe you'll have something there, an answer you didn't know you had. And I'll actually know someone out there is reading this claptrap.

(I'm all aflutter. I believe this is the first time I've ever used the word claptrap in a sentence!)

On to the questions!

  • Supermarket lines
    • Okay, what's the deal with lines at the supermarket. And I guess I don't mean lines only at the Supermarket, I mean lines at the bank, the pharmacist, the toll plaza, just wherever multiple lines can form and I have to choose the one I want. But I'll use the Supermarket as the example, okay?

      Anyway. I approach the lines, and I stand back a bit. You see, I'm trying to choose my line with care. I don't want to be stuck in the slow line. There isalways a slow line, and I never want to be in it. No one does, I know. Which means all the people forming the lines I have to choose from chose carefully as well. What I'm standing there doing is trying to out-think all of them.

      So I check out the lines.
    • This one over here has an obviously new cashier; she's ringing things tentatively, and every time an item won't scan she has to laboriously look up the UPC code in a book that looks a bit like the Encyclopedia Britannica, except it's laminated. Not picking that one.

    • This one over here is a nice short line, but I see that the next person to be rung up is a guy in a wheelchair who seems to be refusing all help. He's sitting in line, slowly moving items from the basket of his cart to the register belt, one at a time, using some sort of mechanical arm he's controlling by blowing into a straw. The other lines are all building up because no one wants to get in line behind this guy, except for one man who's got the twitchy look of the inveterate gambler who just can't help playing the long odds. Good luck, buddy, I think to the gambler, and I move on.
    • Here we have a promising prospect, at least until you look closely. Again, it's a pretty short line, just two people after the one currently checking out, and the two women who are waiting look like they know whet they're doing. The first one has almost all her stuff out of the cart and on the belt already, and she's got a lot of stuff there. The only way she managed to get that much stuff up there at the same time is that she's got it all set together on the belt like a jigsaw puzzle, with not one bit of the actual belt showing anymore.
      She's either an old Master of the computer game Tetris, and her old powers are resurfacing in this strange way, or she's as obsessive-compulsive as Adrian Monk on amphetamines. Either way, her amazing organizational skills look like a plus until you see the massive stack of coupons she's holding in one hand and the small clam shell change purse in the other. The look in her eye says she's ready and willing to argue over every last one of those coupons, including the one that was issued by the Giant Value that closed down in 1978.
      Even this still looks doable, until I see her talking to the woman behind her, who's cart is packed to the brim and beyond with the same amount of insane precision I already noticed up on the belt. The way they're talking leads me to believe they came shopping together, and the only way someone as anal-retentive as the first woman will go shopping, willingly, with another woman, is if they've found someone just as anal-retentive as themselves to go with.
      It's kind of like when one serial killer meets up with another serial killer, and they hit it off and form one of those serial killing partnerships known as "kill-buddies". Things were bad enough when they were working alone, but now that they're together things are about to hit Hollywood proportions.
      All this runs through my head, and I'm still tempted to slide into line behind them... until the second woman starts slapping the sides of the first woman's face, rhythmically whacking her back and forth while chanting "You can do it! Eye of the tiger, Mary! Eye of the tiger!"
      Holy @#&%.!! That cashier's day is about to get very bad, and I want no part of that! I choose the last line.
    • The last line. The one that just happened to open while I was standing there trying to decide. Oh my God, it's perfect! One guy slips in there in front of me, and all he has is a basket over his forearm with maybe a dozen things in there. My cashier looks all competent, she even brings a bagger with her - I actually get pretty excited, thinking I'm going to just breeze right through this and be on my way!

      Then the cashier finds an item she doesn't know the UPC for. She flips expertly through the laminated book, checking section after section, to no avail. Not to worry, though, the just tosses the small jar of powdered snail or whatever it is to the bagboy and tells him to run and check the price. Which he does, taking off like a shot...
      ...and apparently going straight to the airport where he buys a ticket, makes his way through security, gets himself a seat on a 13 hour non-stop flight to Whogivesacrapistan where he's actually checking the price right there at the factory! He flies back (taking the red-eye) and comes straight to the store with the price, not even taking the time to shave his 18 hours of beard growth.
      The cashier, meanwhile, being a bright spot in my day, has gone on to ring up all the other items from the snail connoisseur's basket, so all she has to do is ring up the price brought to her by the Traveling Man, and we're good to go.
      The powdered snail, or whatever, just happens to be a little more than the guy ahead of me thought. He needs to put in item or two back.
      So he pauses to think.
      To consider.
      To ponder.
      That's when I notice that, rather than cash or a credit card in his hand, he's holding a checkbook.
    • Okay, I'm out of there! I turn about, trying to get away from the register, not even pausing long enough to retrieve my items from the register belt. I don't love them, I don't want them, someone else can have them, all I want is my freedom!
      However, while I was dozing and urinating in a bottle for 18 hours while the Price-Check Kid was doing his thing, a family from Whogivesacrapistan has moved into line behind me, and they have three carts, seventeen kids, and one grandparent so ancient and withered I can't tell if it started out as a man or a woman. I'm hemmed in, and no one seems to speak any English, though all the younger women in the crowd pinning me to the register are arguing in Whogivesacrapistanish about one of the articles in Star Magazine, all shouting and gesticulating wildly. I begin to look around for help, and that's when I see what's going on in the store around me.

      The girl who appeared in the beginning to be new has gone home, and her replacement appears to be trying to set some kind of record, ringing things through so fast she has two baggers working for her and they're still falling behind!

      The Obsessive-Compulsive women of GLOW (the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling) are standing by the exit comparing receipts, probably competing to see who actually saved more and arguing about whether they should be looking at total flat savings or taking the greatest percentage saved from the total. They've reduced three cashiers to tears, causing two of them to quit, and the manager who had to deal with the whole scene is currently missing; he will be found later, in his private office, having hung himself with his own belt to escape from their voices in his head. The note, left on his desk, will say "Please, God, grant me peace! And no Specials! Please! No Specials!"

      The Gambler runs past the women of GLOW, shouting something about "It's all in the system! This is a terrific system! Get me to the racetrack!" Behind him, moving at a more leisurely pace, rolls the wheelchair-bound man. He's actually taken the time to swap out the mechanical hand he was using before for another model, apparently using nothing but his lips and tongue. He rolls by slowly, giving me a good chance to observe him as he blows into that straw again and again. With each blow in the straw, the middle finger of the new hand rises and falls, and the man smiles  as he passes, again and again flipping me a mechanical bird.

      And so I sit there, trapped, wishing that instead of magazines covered with photos of celebrities who have gotten way too skinny, or celebrities who have gained too much weight, or headlines claiming they have proof that the bat-boy they found living in a cave in southern Mexico is actually President Obama's abandoned love child (we have pictures!), that those stupid metal racks by the registers held just one copy of an English-Whogivesacrapistanish dictionary.

      The tears well up, and spill over, and I stand there, a grown man crying and cursing his fate.

      I chose the wrong line again.

      Now, after all that, my question is simply this:

      Why the hell does this always happen to me?!

Alright... looking back, that was quite a ride I just took you on. Sorry about that, but once I started I just couldn't seem to stop. Would you believe I sat down with the basic question, and all that just rolled off the top of my big empty head? Did you stay for the whole thing? Are you still here, or did you bail out about half-way through? I wouldn't blame you if you bailed... but I sure hope you didn't. Remember, oh, way back there when I started this post, when I said I had questions?
 As in plural
As in more than one?
I had intended on asking two, three, or maybe even four questions tonight, but the hell with that. My fingers are tired. And you must be exhausted. If you made it through my rollicking rant, congratulations. I just have one more thing to ask of you.
An answer.
A theory.
A thought.
Oh, Hell, just about any kind of comment will do, just as long as I get some notion that someone (anyone?) actually read all this! I need the encouragement because - now get this - I intend on asking another question tomorrow! Hopefully not such a long one. 
Please, God, not such a long one! (There. I said it for you.)

Talk to you later! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Everything's Better With Bacon!

Today the local chapter of the Loyal Order of Moose (of which my father is one of the Mucky-Mucks) ran a pancake breakfast, as they do every 3rd Sunday of the month. Dad reminded me a couple of days ago, as well as mentioning it to Handsome yesterday.

This morning, hungry, I asked Handsome if he wanted to go go the Moose Lodge for breakfast or if he'd rather I just made pancakes. he was watching television at the time, but he threw a thumb sideways at me and said "Your pancakes."

"There's going to be lots of bacon at the Moose..." I hinted.

"Yes!" he said.

"Yes, what?" I said.

"Yes bacon!" he said.

"So, it's breakfast at the Moose?" I said.


It's like I've said before. Everything is better with bacon.

So off to the Moose we went. We were greeted on the way in as my father's son and grandson, I payed my charge at the door (Handsome is still young enough to eat for free - Booya!), and we claimed a table near the door. After working our way through the breakfast line, we sat down to eat.

True to his word, Handsome's plate contained nothing but bacon.

Now, I was seated with my back to the door, but Handsome was sitting across from me facing the door and the line of people waiting to pay and eat. After a minute I noticed that rather than eating Handsome was staring past me toward the door.

People watching, I assumed, and turned mt attention back to my food.

A minute or two, Handsome was still not eating. I realized he was not merely staring past me, but past me and upward, at something behind and above me. I turned to look, following his line of sight to the space above the entry door.  The space that was filled with the huge stuffed moose head mounted on the wall.

"What are you looking at?" I said.

"The moose," he said. "It's big!"

"Yep," I said. "Moose are pretty big animals. Huge, up close."

I kept eating, but Handsome kept staring.

"You going to eat that?" I said, pointing at the bacon still lying on his plate.

"It's looking at me," he replied.


Handsome was rocking in his chair, leaning from side-to-side, staring up at the moose on the wall.

"It's looking at me," he repeated. "The eyes keep following me."

"Yup," I said. "They'll do that."

Now, I could have told him to ignore the moose and finish his breakfast, but there were more and more children showing up as he sat there, and some of them were starting to run about and play. Plus there was that plate of bacon. The allure, I knew, would prove too great; it was only a matter of time.

A minute later Handsome was turned sideways in his chair, eyeballing the running children. Almost of its own volition his hand stole out to the bacon plate to retrieve a crisp, tasty slice.

Then another.

And another.

A minute later he was out there running and playing with the other children, his plate lying on the table where he'd left it covered with nothing but a little bacon grease.

See? I was right.

Everything is better with bacon!

Talk to you later!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Small Fry

So this afternoon I was running a bit late trying to get Handsome somewhere. Handsome said he was hungry, and I realized I had neglected to make the boys lunch. The worst part is that one of the 'boys' in that equation was me! I subsequently pulled a sharp left turn out of traffic and into the McDonald's drive-through.

Now, what I got for myself is pretty much immaterial to this story. This is about what Handsome got when we drove up to the second window, the one where they hand out the hot, mostly edible objects hereafter referred to as 'the food'. When I paused at the ordering speaker, the one where they scream out something unintelligible at you as a signal that you are to then give them your order, and then you bellow your order back at them while silently praying that their microphone system is better than their speaker. You have to keep an eye on the 'Your Order' screen they type on, because McDonald's has become much like the Chinese food restaurant downtown; you say what you want, and they repeat it back to you, and what they say doesn't sound anything like what you just ordered. I just shout out my order and roll up the window, reading the screen through the glass. Listening to them only seems to confuse me anyway.

But on to the 'food'. I ordered Handsome the same thing he always gets - a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, with a side of chicken nuggets and an extra small fries. By that I mean an additional small fries. At least, I thought I did.

We got the food. We drove away. Handsome opened his Happy Meal, complained about the toy (without actually knowing what the heck it was) and pulled out his fries. And stared.

He brought them to my attention. I also stared.

Inside the Happy Meal there is usually a small order of french fries. Apparently, that will no longer be the case. In Handsome's hand was a tiny order of french fries. Rather than the usual small order in a paper bag, there was a cardboard box that looked like a large order of fries, but it was tiny. Minute. Infinitesimal. 

The little tiny box held approximately ten, yes, ten french fries. I saved the box. It looks like this:

And just in case you are thinking I simply have huge hands, here's a regular old pair of sunglasses for scale.

Not much bigger than the lens, is it?

And there you have it. The extra small fries. It's about half the size of an actual small order.

But twice as cute.

My favorite part of all this was Handsome's reaction to it. When I saw the tiny box I opened my mouth to ask a question, the only thing that popped into my mind. I head my question but it was in Handsome's voice, as he'd beaten me to the punch with my own word.


He looked from the fries to me.


Then back to the fries.


Yup. Seriously.

So, if you're looking to simply get the smell and taste of french fries, without the actual fries, head out to McDonald's.

They've got what you're looking for.

Talk to you later!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Do a Little Dance...

We can file this one under 'Weird Things Kids Do.'
We were on the way home tonight (Handsome is staying with me this weekend) and I had to stop at CVS for some milk. And some twine. And a notebook. Then Handsome decided he wanted a notebook, one just like mine but blue, where as mine is green. And a small bag of chips Handsome saw on his way to the register.

It was while I was standing in line that I realized that I had forgotten all about the original reason for stopping there - the milk! So I went to the cooler section to grab me some moo juice, and Handsome vanished. He does that sometimes, and I generally find it quite annoying. I found him pretty quickly, though. Right up one of the aisles, where they keep the Dollar merchandise.

There was music playing on the PA system. I don't even recall what it was, but it was something that one might hear if they put the radio in my Jeep on Handsome's preset. He's been allowed one (actually, he did it without my knowledge, but I didn't reset it once I found out, so I'll claim it was allowed), and you can find any and all new kids hip-hoppy dance beat stuff on it. The kind of stuff I complain about all the time but sing along with it the whole time we are at the Roller Rink on the weekends.

Well, Handsome was singing along with whatever it was. And dancing, something you almost never see him doing in public. Maybe he was all happy and confident about dancing because he was in disguise. You see, he'd grabbed one of the 1$ hats off the shelf and had pulled it down so far over his face it was acting as a mask, though he couldn't see out of it. Singing and dancing to the be-boppy beat, in the middle of the store, was this:
Hi! I'm a Dancing Fool! Squaak!

Okay, I have a beard, but it was pretty much like this. Hopping, shuffling, swinging and dancing. He pulled the 'mask' off and saw I was there, then pulled it back down and went into overdrive. He was leaping about, shaking his butt, high-stepping and kicking. I thought it was hilarious. He knew I though it was hilarious. What he did not know was that a group of teen-agers who were wandering through the store also thought it was funny.

They were walking past the other end of the aisle, and they might have made it all the way past if Handsome hadn't chosen that moment to start saying "Oh-yeah! Uh-huh! Shake it!"


It kind of got their attention, and they all stopped, standing in a gangly knot at the end of the aisle, staring and quietly laughing. Handsome was making too much of his own noise to hear them. At one point they looked across him to me, looking as if they felt a little guilty about laughing so obviously at my son.

I, however, simply smiled and nodded. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen. He's all mine!

I love that boy!

Talk to you later!

P.S. - I told him about the kids on the way home. He laughed about it too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fox In Sox

This afternoon, while I was working on my FridayFlash for Vamplit Publishing, a friend of mine, knowing that I happen to like Dr. Seuss, texted me with  a link to Target Stores about a Dr. Seuss Storytime event that is coming up.

The bad news for her is that sometimes I enjoy writing like Dr. Seuss, and I sort of get on roll.

Thus, the following conversation. Yes, the link is live, please check it out. Maybe you can find out what Dr. Seuss character you are, and post it in the comments! 

* * * * *
  "Dr Seuss Storytime ... At all Target stores ... February 25 ... 9-11am"

    I'll try to make it
    Handsome won't want to go, but I do... lol

  ha haha
    you can 'find' which Seuss character you are at that site


 Fig and zigs and zogberry jam!!  Contratulations!  You're Sam I Am!

    Shall you guess who I am?
    It'll give you whim-whams.
    This magic computhingie
    claims we're both Sams!


    I went back to Target,
    I replayed the game,
    I changed all my answers
    just to get a new name.
    I twiddled the fiddlers,
    (now, hold on to your jocks,)
    after twiddling and fiddling
    I'm now Fox in Socks!

you're typing a lot
    I see

    Just slowly
    1 line, then think
    1  line then think


    My thinker keeps thinking,
    it's thinking a lot
    writing like this is hard,
    you should give it a shot!

 yeah no

 Your thinker starts noodling,
    and noodling is harder.
    You run back and forth
    from your thought-giving larder
    Until it is empty!
    The larder's run dry!
    Then what can you do?
    Should you sit down and cry?

well, just collect all of these, and you have your blog o' th' day

    No! Never just sit there and cry,
    when all you must do
    is to squint up your eye
    and stand up quite tall
    to give one more try!

    ok... I'll admit it gets easier the more you do it...

    you're gonna do that all day now, arn'cha?

    All day? I don't know,
    it might drive Handsome mad
    and to drive Handsome mad
    might just make me quite sad
    (though sometimes I think that it might not be bad...)

    Writing like Seuss 
    one needs terrible rhyming,
    coupled with transitive quintuple timing

    The rhyming I have,
    but the timing I lack,
    so I wind up with words
    in a mishy-mash stack
    From that mishy-mash stack
    I can pick and can choose
    words by the dozen
    and they help me not lose
    the thread of the story
    that I'm telling for yous.

    So I've plenty of words,
    and on timing I'm working,
    but that means 'round the house
    there are things I am shirking.
    I think I'll do them now.
    (While you get back to working)

 uh-huh...  you should post all of that in your blog


* * * * *

So I did!

I'll talk to you later,
yes, that's what I'll do!
So later I'll talk, 
and to who will be you!

You have a nice day now,
or maybe a night.
Tomorrow my thinker 
will help me to write
one more blog you can read,
It'll be quite a sight!
But for now I must say
Tally-ho! Nighty-night!