Sweet and Then Sour; A Five Year Old Imitates a Popular Gummy Candy Although the Order is Reversed

I habitually call home as I leave work. I do this because I love my family and I can spend a few extra minutes interacting with their minds, even though we aren’t physically together.

A couple of days ago my wife was busy straightening up our board game cabinet. (We are huge board game people. Our Christmas tradition is to buy a game for the family. This year is going to be Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and I couldn’t be more excited.) She was a little stressed so she handed the phone off to the five year old boy we love so much.  I asked him how his day went and shortly after this conversation petered out he said “You’re my favorite sweet-pea.”

I responded with similarly sappy drivel and said “Thank you, buddy! You’re my favorite sweet-pea too!”

I drove on for a few seconds reveling in the pure love my son had just expressed. My son was silent also and I could hear muted conversations in the background over my son as he breathed right into the phone.

I was nearly startled off the road when he snarled “I’m going to fight you.” It sounded as if a demon had stolen the phone and spoken to me from the depths of the appalling Inferno envisioned by Dante. I was understandably taken aback and remained silent for a moment before uttering a tentative “What?”

“I’m going to fight you!”

“You’re going to bite me?”

He wasn’t speaking clearly and my brain was busy composing a “The power of Christ compels you!” type of speech.

“No. I’m going to fight you!”

“But…wh…wh…wh…wh…why?” I stammered, confused.

And then, in a sweet, nearly sing-song voice he said “Because you’re my favorite sweet-pea!”

“Why would you fight your favorite sweet-pea, buddy?”

“Because,” he said, “you’re my favorite sweet-pea!”

I’m still pondering whether or not to contact some Catholic authority.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy your family despite their occasional demonic quirks.

A don’t…forget the look up the Pope’s address. You know. Just in case.

P.S. Here’s a demonic quote from my seven year old daughter, just so you understand my concern: “I’m thankful for the dead people because they died.”

Sweet dreams fellow bloggers and blog readers. I hope your family is much less demented than mine apparently is.

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The Prophet in the Pit; A New, Non-Threatening Cult for the Cultist in All of Us.

I’ve been thinking of starting a cult.

I know what you may be thinking. If you follow my blog it’s “Holy crow, why am I following this blog?” If you’re simply reading this post it’s “Whaaaaatt!!!??!!! I’m not going to read this! Cults aren’t good at all!”

Before you judge me, though, allow me, as a potential cult leader, to draw you in. I’ll start by assuring you that my cult is completely safe. The word “cult” is built right into the name. “The Cult of the Prophet in the Pit.” This should comfort you greatly.

The idea is simple. A man (most likely me) sits in a pit. Surrounding the pit is a gothic stone wall. I imagine it will look like a castle or manor house. There will be a heavy portcullis. Outside the portcullis will stand an acolyte who will instruct you, upon your approach, to hold your offering in your outstretched hand. He will then await a command from the usher. Upon hearing the command, simply the word “Next!”, the Outer Acolyte will raise the portcullis. The faithful will then be bid enter and the usher will accompany the parishioner to the pit, insuring that, in these dark times, he or she places not his or her hands into his or her pockets. Upon reaching the pit, the parishioner will toss his/her offering in and the reward reaped will be a prophecy from the depths of the pit.

Most likely the prophecy will be nothing more than what you’d expect from a fortune cookie. In some cases it will simply be my patented raptor noise. A scribe will sit in an ornate chair outside the pit and record the prophecy for posterity.

Should the prophecy so move you, you will be offered (but not pressured into) the chance to by a book of all the prophecies given so far or a verbal recording of your own personal prophecy. The Scribe will mildly suggest that you post your prophecy on Facebook and encourage your friends to pay a visit to the pitted prophet.

Your personal information will not be collected. The only collection is your offering and it doesn’t even have to be monetary. Books, DVD’s (or as my daughter says “Diva D’s) and candy are all acceptable to The Prophet in the Pit. You will never be pressured to be faithful or to return at the next appointed time because there is no appointed time. I’ll post my pit times on social media and you simply show up if you’d like.

Finally!  A safe, non-threatening cult for those of us who yearn for a cult lifestyle but want to continue living as a normal person! I can also assure you that my cult will not contradict any religious beliefs you may have. You can count yourself among my followers without betraying whichever God you happen to worship. No religion I’m aware of forbids you from paying for a small bit of entertainment. All proceeds collected will be promptly donated to the “Fill My Wallet Fund”. And if you don’t believe in a Deity of any sort, you’ll certainly have no qualms about visiting The Prophet in the Pit.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…comment if you’d like to see this become a reality. I can certainly offer franchise opportunities in your area.

A don’t…take it too seriously. It’s a joke, even if I truly would like to see it become a reality.

Orion: A Constellation; A Memory Made; A Celestial Wonder With a Message for a Defective Man

When I woke up this morning it was still dark. I got the coffee going and woke up my kids. I stepped out the back door with my son with the dual intentions of feeding the dog and figuring out whether or not today was a short or long pants day (short pants were fine) and noticed that Orion was visible right over my garage.

I called for my daughters and, when they had stepped out and shut the back door (it was nearly dawn and the light from the laundry room was enough to blind us to the stars) I pointed out his belt and the four stars that insinuate his feet and hands. They couldn’t see it in its entirety. My middle child only saw his belt. I think they might have been having trouble connecting such unreachable dots. Either way, though, I was proud. It felt good to share something like that with them. I stood there staring at Orion long after they’d lost interest and I suddenly remembered that the North Star is part of one of the constellations. But which one? I simply cannot remember. Is it the bright star at the bottom of Orion that denotes his left foot? Or is it part of the Big Dipper?

Thinking about this took me back to basic training and all the times during our land navigation courses that I disappointed my Drill Sergeants (not to mention my Battle Buddies who trudged through the woods behind me in the exact wrong direction) to the point of nearly giving up on me. They never actually quit trying to teach me, but they were certainly frustrated that, hundreds of push-ups later, I still couldn’t sufficiently navigate my way out of an MRE bag when given a map, a compass and a block of instruction.

Then I thought about all the times in my civilian life when, trying to back-track some road-trip route, I swore up and down that I needed to go left when I actually should’ve gone right.  I don’t tend to give in to the fact that I’ve taken wrong turns, and, though suspicions are sneaking up on me, I continue making wrong turns until the web of wrong turns is so convoluted that I can’t even reverse the wrong turn route to get back to the first wrong turn I took. I’ve ended up turning around in so many private drives with no trespassing signs posted that I’m surprised my back bumper isn’t riddled with bird shot. I’m also surprised my wife has never actually thrown up all over the car. She gets car sick, especially when a twisty-turny route is combined with the stress of knowing she’s lost with an idiot who won’t admit he’s lost. She’s a real trooper. Thank God she didn’t know me in my Army days when my poor direction finding could’ve landed our necks under the blade of some radical’s machete. (They never gave me the map in a combat zone, by the way. I made it perfectly clear that doing so would mean certain death.)

As I thought about all these things this morning, staring up at the sky with my children chirping at the periphery of my hearing that we needed to go inside and eat breakfast, I realized I’m a defective man. I don’t have whatever it is they say men have that help them find directions. I don’t have a genetic compass, and for a moment I felt cheated. I mentally shook my fist at Orion for bringing on this realization.

We finally went inside to get ready for school and as my daughters ate granola bars and my son dumped peanuts from the jar to a bowl and back again for some reason, I realized, no matter what I may be missing in my own genes, I have my children. I have my wife. We have a house and food, jobs, cars, our vision and hearing and health. We have hope for the future and a contented complacency in the present.

I may be a defective man, I realized, but I’m perfectly OK with that. Thank you, Orion. Thank you for speaking to me simply by sitting in the morning sky. I mentally unshake my fist at you, you big celestial dude, you.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…step outside in the dark now and then and let the stars speak to you. You never know what they might say.

A don’t…forget what you do have when you’re bummed out by what you don’t have. What you do have is probably pretty great. You might just need to take a few quiet minutes to realize it.

The Venting: Some Illogical Ranting and Raving Inspired by Inconsequential Inconveniences

If you’d care to read on, I’d like to rant and rave wildly about a few things I find mildly irritating.

Let’s start with the two lane drive-thru and the myth that it is faster. The speed of this is a mere illusion. Yes, the lines seem shorter because they bifurcate but there is still only one window. Therefore, even though you may get to place your order faster you’ll still be stuck in the “it’s my turn why are they cutting me off I’m gonna nose in front of them and hope I don’t mash my car I know I finished ordering before them why are they so rude?” bottleneck. And then there’s the “cars are moving through faster than usual because we have two lines converging into one meaning double the orders in the same amount of time so most people are going to have to park and wait anyway” bottleneck. I just don’t get it. One line is just as slow. Two lines need two windows. Just a thought. It really doesn’t matter.

Next, how about the fact that Halloween is still nearly a month out and yet most stores have given valuable seasonal shelf space away to Christmas already? I wasn’t done shopping for Halloween. It isn’t selfish to demand that we finish one season before proceeding to the next is it? I don’t want to feel haunty and cheery at the same time. It ruins both seasons for me. I suppose I could just do a mash-up and craft some rabid reindeer pulling a zombie Santa in a coffin sleigh with fake-blood fountains spewing from the exhaust pipes. But then I’d feel I was ripping off a popular Halloween-Christmas movie mash-up I’m sure you’re familiar with. Oh well. So much for originality. Boo to early Christmas. If you love Christmas (I do too, but not when it detracts from Halloween) thanks for reading on anyway.

Finally, silly texting while driving deterrents. The science behind the danger involves driver distraction. I guess, then, it only makes sense to distract people from texting and driving by littering the highways with flashing billboards shining quirky mantras about the dangers of distracted driving straight into the “let’s forget what we’re doing and look at the shiny thing” centers of drivers’ brains. Granted, it is a momentary distraction and not a “Gotta-let-the-significant-other-know-about-that funny-slogan-I just-read-right-this-instant” temptation sitting right in the lap or center console. But have you ever been behind someone who suddenly screeched to a near stop to get a better look at something? I think those signs are just as dangerous as the act of texting while driving. Ultimately it comes down to personal responsibility and consideration for the safety of others.  No flashing, distractive sign can instill that. If it wouldn’t further contribute to the problem I’m ranting against I’d print and sell a bunch of bumper stickers that say things like “Quit reading my bumper sticker and drive!” or “I was involved in a near fatal accident because I was paying attention to the humorous slogan plastered on another drivers car instead of the road.”  That’s a good one because the print would have to be really small and drivers would have to get dangerously close  to read it. I sarcastically proclaim that we can only fix the problem by first making it worse. Envision a man shaking his fist at the sky as he stands on a hill overlooking a highway awash in the glow of flashy signs begging people to watch the road and not the signs. And then, as the crashes pile up, clogging the roadway and causing further collisions, picture him laughing maniacally as lightning flashes around him. Probably he drools a little bit. Perhaps he falls to his knees at some point.

I now concede my soap box. Feel free to climb on up and shake your own fist if you’d like.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…forgive my sarcasm and negativity. Ranting and raving is a hobby of mine and I enjoy doing it at the slightest provocation.

A don’t…text and drive, drink and drive, read bumper stickers and drive, read billboards and road signs (other than the ones that advise you of road conditions and traffic rules, of course) and drive, or read this blog post and drive. Just drive. If not for your own safety, do it for the safety of your fellow man

 

A Few Short Video Ideas; Cameras, Actors and Post Production Needed: Part 2

I posted a while ago about some ideas I had for some videos that I cannot produce due to my lack of interested friends, cameras, post production wizards, software…the list goes on. Here are a few that I forgot.

The scene opens on a street packed with limos and lamborghinis (I don’t have any of these either). The camera pans as exquisitely dressed people are helped out of the cars by…whoever helps rich people out of their cars. There are several cuts to showcase the class of individuals arriving, highlighting the fact that the women are dripping diamonds and the men are so well shaven that they look as if a whisker has never dared grow upon their distinguished faces. The camera follows the people into a beautiful opera house or theater (whatever I can afford to rent, so probably nothing more than a cardboard room painted real nice). They are ushered to plush chairs surrounding tables that are extravagantly dressed where they are served foods so fancy I can’t even pronounce the names of the dishes. There is much snobbish chatter. A decadent dessert is served and, as the people begin to eat it, the lights dim and a hush falls over the room. A conductor in tails and bow tie steps to the center of the stage and bows. He turns his back to the crowd and the lights on the stage rise with the curtain to reveal an impeccably dressed orchestra with Strad violins and the other instruments’ Strad equivalents. The conductor raises his baton and as he drops his arm the silence is filled with the worst music anyone has ever heard. A few shots of rich folk dropping their champagne glasses and other such whatnot and fade to black.

The next is similar. The scene is some sort of talent show. I ascend the stage, lean in to the microphone and say something like “I’d like to play you a song I wrote. It’s very special to me and I hope you like it.” I close my eyes and play some beautiful guitar riff. Let’s pause for a second. I need to explain something. I make a noise that has been compared to the noise people think a pterodactyl would make. It once reduced a high strung manager of mine to a near seizure. Back to the video. As I lean in to the microphone to start singing, I simply open my throat and screech right into the mike. Cut to the audience as they wince and seize and run away.

Next, a non-offensive-noise based video. I saw a video once of an old lady skydiving and her dentures fly out of her mouth. I acquire the rights to use that video. Then I add it to a video of my own making. We open with the first few seconds of the skydiver. We cut to a toothless person in front of the mirror. A tear rolls down the cheek of the toothless person. He or she (to be determined) runs to their front yard. Cut back to the skydiver’s dentures flying out of her mouth. Cut back to the toothless person who falls to their knees and raise their hands and face to the heavens screaming “Dear God, when will I ever have teeth again?”  As the sentence is completed, the skydiver’s dentures fall perfectly into the mouth of the supplicant and he or she chomps a couple times and falls prostrate. This one has an alternate ending. Instead of falling perfectly into the mouth the dentures embed themselves into the cheek of the supplicant before the screen fades to black.

Finally, a religious play on Star Wars. Or a Star Wars play on religion. We open on a scene depicting Jesus and Judas Iscariot at the last supper. Jesus waves his hand at Judas and says “You will not betray me.” Judas says “What do you think you are, some kind of Messiah, waving your hand around like that? I’m an Iscariot! Miracles do not work on me. Only Silver.” Fade to black.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…feel free to contact me if you’d like to help me produce these.

A don’t…feel offended if you are a Christian or a Star Wars fan. I don’t mean to demean either Christianity or those obsessed with Star Wars. I find both to be wonderful ways to live, and merely think the Star Wars and religion crossover is funny.

If you like my blog feel free to visit my facebook page @williamennisauthor. My philosophy on writing is available there. Likes, follows and, of course, book purchases are always greatly appreciated. A portion of all royalties I receive will go to programs that strengthen and enrich families.

Skeleton Dinosaurs, Sloths, Holsters and a Dead Doll; Deciphering the Ramblings of Youngsters.

A few months ago my son asserted, quite strongly, that he wished to “pout the skeleton dinosaur”. As one might expect I had no idea what this meant. I asked if he wanted to go to a museum? Perhaps he wanted a model dinosaur to put together or a new toy dinosaur? The answer to each of my queries was an increasingly frustrated “No, pout the skeleton dinosaur!” 

I’ll leave it at that for now. Let me know if you figure it out before I reveal the answer in the final paragraph, but for now I’ll move on to some things my daughters have said.

My oldest is nearly nine and is fairly eloquent in her pronunciations. This was not the case when I asked her about her favorite animal when she was three. Her answer was “I really like the slocks.” Looking back it shouldn’t have been that difficult for me to determine what this was. It is fairly similar phonetically to the actual word. We played the question and answer game for many minutes and I had exhausted nearly every line of inquiry I could think to devise without the emergence of any clarity. I nearly gave up but it was driving me crazy. Slocks? I had no clue. I knew it lived in the jungle. I knew it had, according to her, two legs and two arms. I knew it lived in trees. I was beginning to consider some sort of cryptid. A sasquatch variant I hadn’t heard of before or something. I still don’t know why, perhaps my subconscious had already worked it out, but I asked how many toes it had.

“Three, daddy. Three toes. I like the three toed slocks.”

“Oh, a sloth!” I was so relieved to have worked it out that I felt an unexpected relation as my brain began to relax.

“Yes, a three toed slocks is my favorite animal.”

My middle child, now seven, hasn’t been so hard to decipher, really, she just has unique ways of putting things. Until recently a trip to the bathroom was preceded by “Oh, I need ta ha’ ta go potty.” Stocking is stonking. Actually is actualty. I’ve daydreamed of hearing her say “Actualty, I need ta ha’ ta go potty before I hang my Christmas stonking.” But no such luck. She’s outgrown everything but the actualty.

A few years ago, though, she horrified me by running into the kitchen screaming “Can you help me? It’s killed!”

Obviously, I made haste to accompany her to the scene of the crime. She stood in her bedroom doorway and pointed across the room. “Can you fix it? It’s killed.”

“What’s killed? I probably can’t fix it if it’s killed.” I was calming down a little, having expected some horrific scene and finding nothing really but a few toys on the floor. No blood, thankfully. No dead mouse. A much less dramatic scene than her hysteria had indicated.

My daughter, very carefully, crept into her bedroom, crossed to the corner and gingerly scooped something up. She tiptoed back to me and dumped into my outstretched hands a headless doll and a doll head. “It’s killed, daddy. Can you please fix it? It’s gots killed.”

I fixed the doll but I still have no idea how she had a concept of removal of head equaling death or killing in general.

One last example before I reveal pout the skeleton dinosaur. Once when the kids’ great grandparents came to visit they began asking my oldest about a cowboy doll she had. She was probably almost five at the time. They would point to various components of the doll’s mode of dress and ask what they were. She knew hat and boots and belt. She didn’t know holster. But, somehow, she did know what a holster was. The doll didn’t have a gun, just an empty holster. My daughter named it “shoot pocket”. We had a good laugh and I worried myself sick wondering how my nearly five year old already knew what guns do and how they’re carried. As far as I knew, she hadn’t ever even seen a gun on t.v. or otherwise.

And now, the big reveal. Not long after my son wanted to “pout the skeleton dinosaur” we watched Jurassic World. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the movie and my son suddenly screamed “That’s pout the skeleton dinosaur!” He waggled his finger at the screen which showed some kids brushing dust from dinosaur bones in a simulated dig site. How or why he came to call that pout the skeleton dinosaur I’ll never know. I just devised theories and bought him one of those little kits where you can dig a plastic skeleton out of soft rock with a plastic scalpel.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…ask your kids any questions you can think of. Their answers might be surprising and fun to decipher.

A don’t…correct their pronunciation too soon. Some people will disagree with this but think of how many words we have that can be pronounced in multiple ways and still understood. This can only happen because it was allowed to. Perhaps your child is some syntax pioneer and it’s very cute while it lasts.

If you like my blog, feel free to visit my facebook page, @williamennisauthor. Likes, follows and of course book purchases are encouraged and greatly appreciated.