The Turnpike Conspiracy; I’m Probably Way Off

There’s a toll road that my wife and I must travel should we ever wish to visit her parents. For some, this would be a sufficient deterrent to skip a trip to the in-laws’. I am blessed with in-laws that are a pleasure to visit and be fed by. We often take to the Turnpike and suffer the inconveniences of pulling over for every brightly lit toll plaza between here and there for the sake of family togetherness.

I’ve had many a choice word to share with my wife about the Turnpike as we drive it. I’ve pointed out every skid mark, rough spot and guardrail dent I can find. If they’re demanding I pay to drive on their road, shouldn’t the road be perfectly kept? Maybe they could get a crew out to mow if they didn’t have to pay the electric bills on those ridiculous plazas. Who knows how much they spend to employ the toll collectors and maintain the toll-taking infrastructure? I’m sure someone does and I’m sure that someone is highly paid to know it.

Despite the fact that they take money meant for road maintenance and spend it on better money-taking, I’ve come to love the Turnpike because I’ve realized what they really are. I know where the thousands of dollars they take in daily is really going, and I fully support it.

I only realized what they’re really up to yesterday morning at the toll plaza. The guy in the little booth had a nametag on and I had never bothered to notice before that they bother to wear those. But they do. The guy who stole my money yesterday was, according to his tag “Gary” (name changed to avoid litigation). And “Gary” was also apparently #1032 (number changed to avoid litigation). I thought benignly about this as we drove on and this was the first time I had ever had a benign thought about the Turnpike. I emotionlessly considered whether or not “Gary” was employee #1032 or whether he was actually “Gary #1032”. I think, for my own well-being, he must’ve been “Gary #1032”, which means that the reason the Turnpike takes so much money yet fails to keep the road in perfect condition is because they are perfecting techniques to clone employees.

Why is this a good thing for me to believe? It comes down to peace of mind. I become inordinately angry when I think about paying to drive on an imperfect road. It drives me bonkers to see that most of the money taken in goes into maintaining the ability to keep taking money rather than maintenance on the road itself. If I can convince myself that the Turnpike is involved in cloning, I can further dream that one day the entire Turnpike system will be maintained by mindless peons who demand no pay or days off because they’ve been programmed by the dude at Turnpike headquarters who makes a lot of money to know where Turnpike money goes to love and cherish and nurture the Turnpike and to serve said Turnpike with their lives.

They may never totally do away with the tolls. After all, they still need to feed, clothe and house their clones. Probably they have to pay some royalty to the original DNA owner. But the tolls should decrease. Even if they don’t, though, it is enough for me to know that I’ll be paying to drive on a road that is meticulously maintained and that my money is going to feed a scientific miracle.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider some sort of medication if you agree with any aspect of this post. I become so irritated by the most mundane inconveniences that I sit in front of a computer for long stretches of time crafting ludicrous posts.

A don’t…enslave clones. Or anyone else. Ever. Even if you did clone them and they could help lower the tolls on the Turnpike, no one deserves to be “owned” by another.

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Prescription Windshields; Exploring an Entertaining Idea for a Very Poor Business

It seems to me that perhaps prescription windshields could be a viable business idea. The positive aspects are many. Firstly, and quite obviously, for example, you won’t have to worry if you forget your glasses or lose a contact lens. Actually, you’ll probably want to remove any ocular assistance device before sitting down behind a prescription windshield. I haven’t studied the effects of being “redundantly-glassesed”, however I suspect the only effects would be ill effects. Secondly, your vehicle would be less likely to be stolen. If it was, and this is the fact that holds the distinction of being the third positive aspect of prescription windshields, recovering your vehicle should be fairly simple. If the thief doesn’t share the need for the exact same eyeglass prescription as you, they’ll either be stopped for suspected commission of the crime of DUI or they’ll develop a severe headache and crash into some ditch or tree in your immediate vicinity. Should the thief be equally ocularly under-developed, the police can simple scour optometrist records and contact everyone in your area that shares your corrective lens needs until they find they culprit.

The negative aspects of prescription windshields are also many. To break the monotony of paragraph style blog reading, I’ll present these factoids in bullet point fashion below:

  • Prescription windshields would be cost prohibitive.
  • Prescription windshields would also indicate the need for prescription mirrors and side windows incurring even more cost.
  • Any passenger in a prescription glassed vehicle would suffer greatly if they didn’t share the driver’s prescription eyeglass needs.
  • Probably no one else in your family would be able to drive your vehicle. This aspect could also be considered positive, dependent upon circumstances.
  • Those who require bi- or tri-focals would, in addition to incurring even further expense, be forced to operate their motor vehicle with their necks alternating between the natural straight up orientation and various absurdly odd orientations depending, of course, upon whether or not they are attempting to read road signs, check for oncoming traffic or simply drive down a well known road.

I recently discussed this idea with my co-workers and one of them pointed out a hard and fast reason why prescription windshields and side windows would be a wonderful thing. He suggested that car doors could be designed to be easily removed so that, in the event the driver forgot/lost/broke their much more plausibly designed portable prescription eyewear, he or she could simply remove their car door and carry it in front of them, peering at whatever requires their peering through their prescription side window.

I originally loved the prescription windshield idea because I found it comical in its base form. My co-worker’s addition of the hilarious visual of someone using a car door as glasses has become my new favorite reason for supporting the prescription car glass proposal.  Hats off to this man, who shall remain nameless unless he reads this and demands credit, who took my already funny (to me, anyway) idea and improved it in such a wonderful way.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…feel free to invest in this idea if you have extra money laying around that you never care to see again. This idea will go precisely nowhere, but I’m not opposed to accepting free money if someone is willing to offer it.

A don’t…forget that many a business plan has been laughed at before becoming a huge success. Keep it in mind. Just a thought.

The Highlander Conundrum; Life’s Little Paradoxes

It seems that another family of the same name has intruded upon the school my children attend. My last name (which is different from the last name I write under) is fairly uncommon. I won’t reveal it here, simply because what I’m about to say may offend this other family of the same name and they have done nothing at all to deserve what I’m about to say but, every time I show up to get my kids and hear a strange first name called along with my last name I imagine my self drawing a huge sword on some craggy peak in Scotland and battling away at the other dad as lightning flashes and we both scream, ala Highlander, “There can be only one!”

Rest assured I have no real desire to attack anyone. I will not sword battle some innocent man simply because we wear identical nametags at work. Assuming, of course, he is employed in a place, as I am, that puts your last name on your shirt instead of your first. He probably doesn’t even own a sword anyway so, even if I did, the battle would be unfair and one sided. And anyway, I don’t own a sword either. All I’m trying to say is that this is all in my imagination. I’m not going to attack anyone. No need to alert any sort of authority.

I’ve simply become accustomed to being the only man of my surname in my area and it feels as if this other family has somehow intruded. Ridiculous, yes, but it feels like fate that we would both live within the same school district.

All of these thoughts about fate and sword battles have sparked a few thoughts about the actual show “Highlander”. I tried and tried to be a fan when I was young. It had Sean Connery, so it couldn’t be less than amazing right?

Wrong.

It was way less than amazing. I could’ve overlooked the poor acting and terrible special effects if it hadn’t been for the awful premise.

Think about all the paradoxes.

Paradox 1: “Immortals” hunt each other down and kill one another. How immortal are you if you can be killed? Not immortal at all. It doesn’t count as immortality if another, even if it’s only if he is also “immortal”, can kill you. Have you ever heard the phrase “mortal wound”? If you are immortal, then by definition mortal wounds don’t exist for you.

Paradox 2: “There can be only one.” If there could be only one, there would be only one. If there can be only one fish in a particular tank because the size of said tank is sufficient only to support one fish, then another fish simply cannot exist within that particular microcosm. And so another fish doesn’t. If another was introduced one fish or the other would waste away, without interference from the healthy fish, and perish naturally due to lack of sustenance and other resources. The same is true for the Highlanders. If the Earth can support only one, why hunt one another. Save your strength. Let the other hunt you, waste his limited energy and wither away in a fashion most uncharacteristic of an immortal. There can obviously be more than one. There are several. And they constantly hunt and kill one another. They should instead scream “There should be only one!”

They need to stop lying to themselves. They are neither immortal nor solely entitled to exist upon the planet. They are selfish, healthy enough to survive anything other than a wound from another “immortal”, idiots.

Thank you for allowing me to rant and rave once again. I hope you can relate.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…adopt “There should be only one!” as your battle cry. Forget “There can be only one!”

A don’t…lie to yourself about the realities of existence. If you happen to be a selfish idiot, don’t bother to try to disguise it. Embrace it. Or, perhaps, change.

 

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.

Mothman: Another Misunderstood Monster

As far as I can tell from all the Mothman stories I’ve read and that one movie I watched, Mothman, although menacing in appearance, was after nothing so substantial as our very souls.

I’ll explain. I read no accounts of disemboweled animals. No eviscerated owls or exsanguinated cattle were ever found that I know of. Simply humans. Frightened horrified humans. And what is one thing that all humans, especially suburbanites in the 50’s, have in common?

They have clothes on. Right? No one that I read about was out for a nude stroll when Mothman confronted them. They were out with their families having completely G-rated (and in the case of the teens that saw him/her/it no more than PG, it was 50’s conservative suburbia, for crying out loud). They were wearing clothes!

Moths eat clothes. Men wear clothes. Mothman was either hungry or ashamed of his nudity. He didn’t want to horrify folks. He wanted to eat their Sunday best. He didn’t want to scare them. He couldn’t help that, by nature, he was scary. He wanted to either eat or wear their clothes and he hesitated. He never killed anyone because he just couldn’t decide which clothes looked tasty and which looked fashionable and I think, deep down, he didn’t want to kill anyone anyway. Otherwise, he would’ve.

Now, about that bridge collapse and the idea that Mothman prophesied it. Perhaps he truly did. But I think, in his innocent monster way, he didn’t show up to warn people about it. I don’t think he truly realized that people were dying. I think he simply thought “CLOTHES BUFFET!” And all the carnage was lost on him because it all had this decadent stagnant water sauce on it and he didn’t even stop to think about the terror that had been wrought on the small community he’d been terrorizing. He was, after all, a monster. A hungry, naked, confused monster.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…wear clothes, even though it might attract mothman.

A don’t…stroll nude to repel him. The police are much more prevalent than mothmen and much more likely to complicate your life should they find you unclothed in public.

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 Unconventional Ideas for the Home; I Bet They Won’t Work

I posted previously about the large pecan tree in my back yard. This tree is close enough to my house to cause some concern on windy days and my wife and I have spent many an afternoon watching the kids play and discussing how much of the house we would lose should the tree topple in the right direction. My dire prediction is that we would lose most of the house. She disagrees, but I think she might be in denial. The tree is huge, the house small. I think she’d compromise and agree that we could lose perhaps 40%. I don’t have a huge problem with it since the majority of our loss would be the kitchen (which I nearly burned down making Halloween decorations. I owe my family a new countertop and some flooring.) and the laundry room. These could stand to be rebuilt and the likelihood of anyone being in these rooms during a massive windstorm is fairly low.

These facts are of no comfort to my wife, however. She prefers that none of our house be demolished by trees. Perhaps she is the sane one. Perhaps…

With her in mind, though, I have begun to design in my head a novel defense. Solar powered roof top wood chippers. Actually, make them wind powered. That way they run without the need to turn them on with very little notice and they won’t be causing a cacophonous crescendo simply because it’s daytime. And trees could fall at night. I’m convinced. Wind is the way to go.

There’s a lot more science to be considered, positioning, weight, strength of roof, attachments, how to get them up there, maintenance, legality of such a device, etc., but I feel the underlying idea is sound.

Again, my wife disagrees, but keep in mind she is also not a fan of my plan to develop miniature smart missile batteries to shoot down stray drones that wander into the restricted airspace around my house. The local airport might not respect the fact that I’ve deemed the air above my property a no fly zone, but at least I could keep some kids’ toy with a streaming hd camera attached from looking through my windows.

Now if only I could convince the woman I love that it is ok to fire tiny warheads within the city limits…and do the science of developing said warheads…and procure the materials…and have nothing to do but sit and wait for someone to fly a drone into my yard which has never, to my knowledge, happened.

Again, perhaps she is the sane one…

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu… think me nuts if you must, but consider this; If my house is destroyed through no fault of my own it is not insane to appreciate the opportunity to rebuild.

A don’t…contact any watchdog organizations. I have no plans to develop tiny warheads. I’m simply a guy with an imagination. I just happen to enjoy imagining mini mushroom clouds and tiny heat seeking missiles zooming around. I’m also not a scientist and couldn’t make this a reality even if I actually wanted to. Also, I’m broke. No worries.