Hellicans, Weird, Annoying Chickens and Flying Dinner Rolls: Strange Children Express Themselves to the Delight of Strange Parents

Over the weekend, we took the kids to the zoo. I posted about this particular zoo previously. My wife and I spent a weekend in Wichita, Kansas for her birthday a couple of years ago and the Sedgewick County Zoo was where we spent most of our time. It is the only zoo in our weekend travel radius that houses gorillas. I love gorillas. I digress in speaking of my love of gorillas.

Ever since my wife and I spent that delightful day there, we have dreamed of taking the kids. Yesterday, that dream came true. Our spring trip was befouled by an earache, but we weren’t about to let the 45 degree temperature and 21 mph winds stop us this time. We stocked up on beanies, long johns and hand warmers and headed out at 7:30 Saturday morning. I usually drive 5 over, unless you’re a law enforcement officer in which case I drive 5 under with my hands at 10 and 2, but yesterday I drove exactly the speed limit as I watched the car thermometer slowly rise from 20 degrees at our departure to 36 by the time we arrived. We crammed hand warmers in every available pocket, pulled our beanies down low, and shivered our way through the gates. After surrendering our $70 (yes, $70 even after a veteran discount, but worth every penny) we proceeded to experience the animals. The flamingos were pretty and the sheep in the petting zoo were skittish. The camel seemed recalcitrant and the giraffes stood in a small indoor pen literally licking the walls with boredom. The elephants pooped at us in their Jurassic Park style indoor pens, but at least the tiger brushed up against the glass in greeting. The gorillas ignored us completely. The baby orangutan was cute but preoccupied with play.

We had fun, and got a lot of exercise, but it wasn’t until we saw the pelicans, near the end of our excursion, that I nearly fell to the ground laughing. As we watched them simply stand, we imparted to the kids some pelican facts. Pelican under-beaks expand to accommodate whole fish. The bird that saved Nemo was a pelican. And other such. The kids soon grew bored and, as we walked away my six-year-old son said, “I like those Hellicans.” As fans of  “The Big Bang Theory”, my wife and I immediately thought of the card games that the guys play in which they throw down cards and enunciate their ridiculous pun names. I pictured a bird with fire streaming from its nostrils as its under-beak expanded to admit the souls of the drowned damned.

After we left, we stopped at a Cajun place so that I could get a fried alligator sandwich to go (which, to my dismay and disbelief, was mostly eaten by my kids on the way to our planned dinner joint) and then proceeded to a 50’s style diner called Spangles. I got some hot sauce to dip my fries in and challenged the kids to drink the (large) remaining amount in exchange for a ridiculous prize. My 8 year old daughter screamed, “I’ll do it if I get a weird chicken!” She then made noises that the English language hasn’t the letters to describe. “I want a weird, annoying chicken!” she screamed to the thankfully empty dining room. When I told her she, herself, is a weird annoying chicken, she emitted the weirdest, most annoying laugh anyone ever heard. I laughed a normal, but no less annoying, laugh in response.

Today, we extended the fun by going to the massive Bass Pro outdoor shop in Springfield. If you’ve never been, it’s free and almost like a museum. If you’re in the Springfield, MO area, its worth a stop just for the visual feast that is Bass Pro. That really isn’t the point I wanted to make. Consider it an honorable mention. Springfield is also home to a place called Lambert’s Café. The food is good, but what really sells it is the “throwed rolls”. This is literally what it sounds like. The dinner rolls are “throwed” across the dining room to desiring patrons. We purposefully neglected to tell the kids that this would happen. That weird, annoying chicken wanting 8 year old was so in awe of the tradition that, when I threw up my hand to request a “throwed roll”, she screamed “WHAT!!” after it nearly hit her in the face. After the first one I caught, every time the roll man came around, three little hands flew up into the air. Halfway through the meal, my Hellican loving son had to use the bathroom. Lambert’s is a very busy place at all hours of operation. As we moved across the massive dining area toward the bathrooms, I focused solely on not tripping the waitresses moving about with the free “pass-arounds” (comfort food side dishes such as fried okra, black eyed peas, fried potatoes and macaroni and tomatoes passed out free of charge by roving wait-staff). While I was trying to make it to the bathroom without tripping them, calculating the optimal, no-food-spillage route in my head, I tripped over my suddenly still-as-a-stone son. I recovered and glared at him before breaking down laughing. The little guy had spotted a roll thrower and stopped in the middle of the walk-way with his hand raised in what he thought was an optimal roll-catching claw, staring intently at the traveling baked-goodsman. “You can’t get a roll on the way to the bathroom!” I exclaimed breathlessly. “Wait until we get back to our table!” When we did, we learned that my oldest, a 9 year old daughter, had caught a roll in the crook of her elbow and it was caught on tape!

I bid you adieu…and a don’t

Adieu…enjoy the weirdnesses of children, despite the annoyance it may cause. Let them be weird. Normal isn’t nearly as fun.

A don’t…be afraid to participate in the strangeness. You only live once. Let the propers proper themselves in the corner.

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Books and Blessings

The ultimate goal of any writer is to be read and appreciated. Accolades are paramount. Money is secondary. If you write for that sake of writing, anyway. I would certainly enjoy a mountain of money. I fantasize about buying houses and donating them to families on the verge of homelessness. I want to spend the Christmas season with my wife and children spending thousands of dollars on Angel Tree kids. No kid deserves a present-less Christmas. I want to open a gourmet breakfast restaurant that cooks and serves the most delectable early morning treats and offers them to the surrounding community free of charge. I want to be a beacon for the homeless and destitute, offering hope on the wings of my writing.

I want to help.

I want my writing to be a catalyst for change.

Please visit the following link  https://www.thebookwalker.com/single-post/2018/09/20/Book-Talk-How-Sir-Donkey-Legs-Became-a-Knight-by-William-Ennis.

Read the article. Buy my book. Support the publication of my 2nd and 3rd books while also helping the community around me. I realize the my community may not be your community, but if this becomes big enough, I will be helping every community I can.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…make your decisions based on the perceived quality of my work.

A don’t…forget how blessed you are if you have a home and a refrigerator with food in it.

Pumpkin Spice Everything: Fall Cliché or Fall Philosophy?

In the interest of the “pumpkin spice everything” I keep hearing about this time of year, I ruined some “rice cereal treats” (as they are benignly called on a certain “fall holiday themed cooking competition show”, that runs rampant across my T.V. screen this time of year, to avoid any sort of product placement) by adding pumpkin spice seasoning to the melted marshmallow mixture and stale rice cereal bits.

Now that that unnecessarily long and tedious paragraph is behind us, I’ll tell you that pumpkin spice is a perfectly wonderful flavor when applied correctly, but when you add it to melted marshmallow and stale rice cereal, you’ve really got something to be ashamed of.

But I am proud of my failure. It would seem that I have undone the “pumpkin spice everything” movement by finding a poor application of the founding principle. I win. Change it to “pumpkin spice select, tried and true applications”.

But…

What if “pumpkin spice everything” isn’t simply a culinary art? What if “pumpkin spice everything” is a philosophical bent adhered to by lovers of autumnal ambience? (I recommend a pronunciation of ambience that sounds overbearingly French. Why? Because words should be fun to say.)

The “pumpkin spice everything” philosophy is deplorably simple, but I’ll lay it out here anyway since I’ve already committed to this post.

Adding the slogan “pumpkin spice everything” to such things as shirts, dish towels and coffee cups, among other items, makes the items “pumpkin spice” by proxy. They are decrying the idea that pumpkin spice should be added to everything by literally adding the words “pumpkin spice” to themselves. Many ideas contain both verbal and edible components. A prayer before a meal, for example. This usually gives comfort through the thanking of a deity for sustenance, imploring, by implication of appreciation, continued sustainment. In the case of “pumpkin spice everything”, most items are decorated in browns and oranges. This indicates death. Dead brown and orange leaves. But browns and oranges are warm colors that are also reminiscent of fire. So the colors of “pumpkin spice everything” evoke feelings of life sustained at the expense of death. Brown dead wood consumed by orange fire that gives light for enjoying the laughing faces of loved ones and heat for survival, cooking and comfort. Whatever is cooked in the heat of the fire can then be flavored with pumpkin spice and fed to people wearing pumpkin spice clothes thereby closing the pumpkin spice circle of life.

Pumpkin spice is, apparently, a life and relationship metaphor as well as a beloved seasonal flavor and aroma.

And so in the life and warmth sense I proudly shout “Pumpkin spice everything!!!” despite my poorly executed rice cereal treats.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…Pumpkin spice your own life however you wish.

A don’t…overdo it. Let it remain special.

The Benefits of Bumism, or, An Alternate Lifestyle Explored

It is an exquisite fact that the social group most suited to surviving some sort of plague or apocalypse is that of the Practicing Bums. Practicing Bums are those who embrace bumism as a way of life. These are not the downtrodden who have, through some misfortune, come face to face with homelessness, abject poverty and destitution. Rather they are those individuals who form communities and live in tents in empty lots in the midst of skyscrapers or congregate in disused train tunnels beneath the feet of those who live lives of decadence in comparison. Practicing Bums choose this lifestyle and the skills needed to survive such are similar to those necessary to survive  mass catastrophes. Contact with those who may become exposed to a super-virus is limited. Antibodies and immunities are higher due to exposure to pollutants and microbes existing within dirt, unprocessed water and garbage. Acquiring food is a way of life and the dangers with which a Practicing Bum deals with on a daily basis provide essential survival skills. Living in the midst of apocalypse is second nature to the Practicing Bum.

It is another exquisite fact that Bum culture closely mirrors that of we who choose to lead lives as professionals and homeowners. There have been Bum presidents, Bum emperors, Bum kings. History bears witness to many Bum scoundrels, villains, vigilantes and heroes. In some communities, Bum gangs harass workaday Bums, bumming things no self respecting Bum would ever dare to bum.

Where we have due process, Bums enforce a special brand of Bum justice and are beholden to rules that would confound us with their subtle complexities.

Bum prophets and oracles, who stand on the street corners of large cities screaming things none but a Bum could understand, have foretold the rise of The Great Bum, who is destined to unite all of Bumdom under one flag. All but the most deranged remain skeptical.

Following is an account of one whom many Bums believed was this Great Bum.

The nation of Bumopolis (an optimistic name and a bit of a cliché, to be sure) was led by Supreme Bum Bob. Bob was elected to office because his promises to jumpstart a Bumopolis nuclear program struck a chord with many a Bum voter. Spies from Bum China (as the conglomeration of bums in China called themselves) had infiltrated Bumopolis many times, leaving anti-Bumopolis graffiti on the homes of many an innocent tent-owner. They spread among the people many pieces of propaganda indicating that Bum China already had a nuclear program and would soon unleash it upon the inferior Bumopolites. Bumopolis quickly became a nation quivering with fear. Until the election of Bob, there was much squabbling over what was to be done.

Bob, through many backroom deals and long nights dumpster diving behind small appliance stores, crack-houses and housing projects, had acquired quite a large pile of microwaves. He unveiled his stockpile on the occasion of his inauguration to the cheers of all present (which was everyone in Bumopolis). When asked by a member of the Bumopolis Press Corps what percentage of the microwaves worked, Bob answered honestly, “zero percent.” Before his statement of fact could be spun, Bob outlined his plan of attack. A member of Bumgeist, Bumopolis’s premiere elite fighting force, would board a canoe loaded with microwaves. He would then paddle to China, bumming fish, water and coins from any fishing or pleasure vessel he passed, and deposit the full contents of Bumopolis’s nuclear arsenal on the beach. The Bum Army would soon follow and, with their arsenal in place, launch an attack on Bum China the likes of which had never before been seen in all of Bum history.

Everything went as planned until the attack commenced. The Bum Army stormed Bum Chinese positions, pelting and bashing the enemy with broken microwaves. Supreme Bum Bob had sent no spies ahead, ordering the attack on the assumption that no Bum nuclear program could possibly be any more advanced than his own.

Supreme Bum Bob was wrong.

The ensuing carnage insured that no Bob would ever again be elected Supreme Bum.

The Bum Chinese not only had working microwaves, they also had power sources. The doors of Bum China’s microwaves had been removed and the fail-safes that prevent doorless operation defeated. As Bum China’s foot soldiers fought hand to hand with the invading army of Bumopolis, Bum Chinese elite fighters crept up behind their enemies, clapped microwaves over their heads like helmets and hit start buttons on timers preset to the baked potato setting. Bumopolis soldiers fell by the tens as their brains cooked inside their heads.

Victorious, the Bum Chinese threw the invaders into the ocean that the tides that brought the enemy might also sweep them away.

A single dead Bum in the tattered camo of Bumopolis with a microwave on his head washed up on the Bumopolis shore with assorted flotsam many months later. Realizing what had happened, the Bums of Bumopolis formed a successful coup against Supreme Bum Bob and the local prophet stripped him of his rights of bumming whether on street corners or Bum to Bum. Bob, obviously not The Great Bum and unable to survive on a non-bumming Bum’s salary, was forced to enter mainstream society. He got a job, bought a house, played the stock market and lived unhappily ever after.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy fiction for fiction. Don’t read into this. It means nothing. I was bored and then this happened.

A don’t…underestimate my respect for Bums. They are urban survivalists, doing what they must to live off the land. I’m a free as I can be with handouts and, when offered the opportunity, giving a hand up.

A Few Questions and a Little Advice: Trivialities, Nonsense and Links to Some Substance

A question inspired by the recent drought: How wilted do the trees have to be before you panic and run for the hills? Or in this case,  for the nearest lake or water bottling plant? Until recently, we had received no rain. The last time we got rain was not so recently ago. My wife has some kind of storm tracker app or capability on her phone. We have watched every storm that had potential to reach us either peter out a few towns over or get to within centimeters of us on her screen and veer completely around us. I knew the situation was bad. I have a single, puny tomato despite my ten plants. My ghost pepper plant has but a single fruit. This is either not haunting due to the lack of ghosts produced, or it is very haunting because the plant itself is near death. It isn’t that I don’t water. Apparently I don’t water enough. I didn’t comprehend how bad the situation actually was. My wife commented on how the limbs of the cedar tree in the back yard were nearly touching the ground. She opined that a good rain would cause them to stand up a little. I agreed vocally, but I had my doubts. This tree is huge. Surely it’s capable of sucking sufficient water from deep in the ground. It isn’t wilted, it just has heavy branches, I thought.  Well it rained recently. The branches now stand well off of the ground, just as my wife said they would. I hadn’t realized the severity of our problem. When humongous trees are wilting, it may be time to prepare for the desertification of the local area and seek some moist oasis elsewhere.

A question inspired by a previous experience: Which side do you take in a crazy fight? Many may argue that you could take no side at all, but occasionally one must reside with one or both of the crazies caught up in the conflict. In such a situation it may seem advisable to take up the side of the one with whom you reside most closely or intimately. I won’t give any advice on the proper way to deal with psychotic lunatics because I am not a trained professional. All I’ll say is that, based on my own experience, it may be a good idea to cut all ties and disappear if your right to have an opinion that may differ is not respected.

A question inspired by my mother’s “wisdom”: Does taste not matter? Mom always said, when we would complain that our mashed potatoes had mixed with our stewed beets (which I don’t believe should make it to anyone’s stomach, anyway), “It all gets mixed up in your stomach anyway. Just eat it.” Dearest Mother, my stomach has no taste buds. Live by your own logic and go ahead and enjoy dessert along with your entrée. How about beef stroganoff a la mode, mom? Maybe some peach cobbler pilaf? Strawberry rhubarb wild rice risotto? Oreo orange chicken? Cheesecake cheese pizza? Ok, so the risotto might be ok, actually, but you get the idea from the rest of them. Its perfectly fine if the stuff gets mixed up after I’m done tasting it separately. C’mon mom.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…check out my mom’s blog on dealing with domestic violence if this is something that interests you. She’s much more technologically adept than I am and her page is actually pretty. There are the electronic equivalent of little doilies all over the place. But it is substance as well as elderly bling. carolynsnotsosecretdiary.wordpress.com. You can also check out my wife’s blog diaryofamadstepmomblog.wordpress.com if you are interested in experiences and insights based on step-parenting.

A don’t…judge me for blogging about trivialities and non-sense when those around me seek to offer useful information.

The Weirdest Alien Abduction Account I’ve Ever Stumbled Across or The Bizzarest of the Bizarre

I often find myself in a semi-dark mood. This is not a depressed mood. Rather it is a state of dissatisfaction with the status quo and the mundane. When I am in such a mood, I generally succumb to it by searching for ghost stories, odd conspiracy theories, strange historical events or coincidences and/or accounts of alien encounters.

During one such semi-dark mood, I decided aliens best fit the ambience my mind had established for itself and I searched for encounters I’d never heard of before. The search was quite extensive, since I’ve brooded over the subject quite often and have read many accounts. As I scrolled through details I’d already read, I stumbled upon something new.

And bizarre.

And that’s saying something because E.T. encounter accounts are bizarre by definition. Strange beings with strange powers from strange worlds possessing a strange interest in ordinary humans and farm animals? What’s not bizarre about that?

But a while back I found an account that really takes the cake. Or perhaps I should say instead, it takes the pancake. More precisely I should say that this particular account gives the pancakes.

Allow me to explain.

According to the account I read, a farmer in Wisconsin was in his field when he noticed a strange shiny craft had landed in his back yard. He approached it and a hatch slid open to reveal three creatures that, according to the source, were wearing some sort of beret-like headgear and resembled Frenchmen. The beings held a shiny metallic container out to the farmer and somehow indicated that they needed, of all things, common water. The farmer obliged as many farmers seem wont to do and the beings, in actions reminiscent of Frenchmen rather than aliens, cooked the man some pancakes. The cooking apparatus described sounded to me like some sort of camp stove and the source mentions that it emitted no flame and no other furniture was visible within the interior of the ship. Or tent. Or whatever it was.

After treating the man to the world’s most curious culinary curiosity, the Frenchmen/Aliens/French campers in the American outdoors/Whatever they were took off into the Wisconsin sky. The farmer allegedly ate one of the pancakes and then gave the other to a judge he knew. The judge sent it to Wright Patterson Air Force Base where it was tested and then placed on display. The pancake was found to contain water (obviously), unknown flour (according to the first source I found) and grease. Disgusting. Un-Frenchman-like. Proof positive that it was indeed aliens, rather than Frenchmen, that cooked for this man.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the original source I got this story from. For some of the details and a picture of the farmer holding one of the pancakes, you can visit http://obscurban-legend.wikia.com/wiki/Pancake_Bakers_from_Space. The name of this source takes away from whatever credibility the story may have had to begin with but, let’s face it, the story was never extremely credible.

It is, however, quite entertaining and certainly bizarre.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…believe the tale if you wish. Such stories add a certain, well, not spice…they add a bit of extraterrestrial grease to life that makes the non-greasy (difficult) aspects of life easier to slide through.

A don’t…eat alien pancakes. The one in the photo looks like a sea sponge. Plus, given the ingredients used by the Faux-French, you never know what’s really in store for you. It’s like taking candy from a stranger who is stranger than any of the very strange people that already reside on planet Earth.

P.S. I finally decided it might be fun to do the Twitter thing. If you are a fellow tweet producer and have absolutely nothing better to do with your time, feel free to look me up: William Ennis @sirdonkeylegs. You may or may not regret it. If you do you can always unfollow me.

Thai Tea, Anxiety and a Brush With Death: An Eye Opening Experience

I suffer from anxiety. I have mentioned this in a few previous posts. It is not something I am proud of, but it happens. My brain always knows that there is no real reason to worry, but my body refuses to believe it. I suffer from nausea and sleeplessness even as my mind goes over all the logical reasons why I should be calm and asleep. It makes no sense and frustrates me to no end. I just want to enjoy my life that presents no reason not to be absolutely ecstatic every single day. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife, three amazing children, a house, a job and more food in the fridge than is really necessary.

I love Thai iced tea. It tastes like a sweet tongue depressor. For some reason, I love this flavor. It even seems to dry my mouth out as I drink it. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do.

Recently I’ve been plagued by severe anxiety. I don’ t know why. I started a college history class, the syllabus of which caused me to not sleep for three nights and break down in tears at work. I work in a jail and broke down in front of my captain. Thankfully, I still have a job. I dropped all my history classes and changed my major. This was right after July 4th and ever since, I’ve experienced nausea every time I’ve signed in to do some work on the English composition class I am taking. My wife thinks that I’m actually suffering from PTSD due to my Army service and the fireworks did something to me. I did dream about my son being blown up in a desert which was quite disturbing, but I still don’t want to believe that I may have some disorder related to the Army.

Until recently I was only able to acquire Thai iced tea at restaurants. Yesterday my family and I found a grocery store that stocks items imported from such places as India, Japan, China and…God be praised…Thailand. I found a bag of Thai iced tea mix and bought it. I restrained myself as long as I could because my wife had company after we got home, but I eventually broke down and brewed a cup as the ladies sat and talked.  The ingredients listed simply “green tea” and I had my doubts as to whether just green tea could taste like a Thai iced tea. After a bit of experimentation, I took a restaurant quality sip. In a fit of carnality, I gulped down the whole glass and sat on the couch, satisfied. As I listened to the world’s most amazing woman chat with her friend about trivialities, I began to feel nauseated. I assumed it was because the children would have to go back to their mom soon and I was missing them before they were gone. As the afternoon wore on, I began to experience what I thought was anxiety and assumed it was related to a rather extensive assignment due that evening. After we dropped the kids off, I was absolutely miserable. We grabbed a burger and I felt a little better after eating.

As I worked on my assignment, my distress continued to worsen. This was despite the fact that the assignment was nowhere near as taxing as I had assumed it would be.

When my throat began to constrict, I became worried for a very real reason. I threw my computer across the bed and bolted for the bathroom.

Long and disgusting story short, I soon felt much better. I finished my assignment and held my wife close as my stomach recovered from its recent severe contractions. At some point she got up and left the room. When she returned she shook me out of my semi-comatose stupor to inform me that the Thai tea mix had a label warning that it could cause cancer and birth defects.

Needless to say, we trashed the crap.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy what you enjoy, but be wary of items that list a single natural ingredient but stain your lips a garish, unnatural shade of orange.

A don’t…drink Thai tea under stressful conditions. Or perhaps any conditions. What a horrid experience.