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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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.

 

End of the World Prophecies End, The World Survives; A Possible Solution to the Age-old Conundrum

Perhaps you’ve heard the most recent Doomsday report that claims the world will end Saturday. If you haven’t, the end of the world has been predicted for Saturday, September 23, 2017. Get ready.

Or don’t bother. We all know that it won’t happen (not all of us, I guess. Most of us). The Mayans were wrong. Perhaps more fairly put, the people who “interpreted” an ancient calendar with no surviving users were wrong. Nostradamus was wrong, (I’m no expert on Nostradamus but surely he’s prophesied on this) web bots were wrong. Biblical scholars, Jewish scholars and crack-pot prognosticators have all been wrong. It isn’t because they are stupid or uneducated. Perhaps it is simply because the world has already ended and we are already in some sort of after-life.

It’s very simple to throw out theories like this. Rest assured, I have substantial evidence to back my claim.

Let’s consider technology. High-end tech labs continue to churn out products at a pace that is nearly as unbelievable as the products themselves. I heard on the radio the other day about a phone security app that gives access to you only after scanning your face to be sure you are an authorized user. Apparently this even adjusts itself over time so that it continues to recognize you even as your face droops with age. Amazing! Slightly scary. Fraught with bugs? We should know the answer to that in about ten or twenty years. I also heard about a pair of pants that will vibrate one leg or the other to notify you that you need make a turn as you progress toward your destination. That’ll be off the market as soon as someone allows their pants to lead them into the path on an oncoming train. Maybe the pants are smart enough to detect trains. At the very least you could call someone smarty pants and literally be correct. It’s about time. Thank you, techno geeks. But I digress.

The unbelievable nature of these products and the speedy  jumps of technological history could be attributed to the fact that the world has already ended. This would go a long way to explaining why these unrealities are realities. They could simply be mass hallucinations inspired by something in the atmosphere we believe we are breathing in.

If we were already in an after-life setting this would also explain Bigfoot, UFOS, ghosts, ESP and every other new-age idea and supernatural experience. People don’t die, they just leave behind their “body” and become invisible.( Or maybe there’s some after- life after the after-life. I hadn’t considered that until just now.) Some people have really seen Bigfoot. Some people have actually been abducted by aliens. People can really read minds and make the Statue of Liberty disappear and keep their teeth white and do any other unbelievable thing because the science we profess to understand doesn’t apply here like it did before the world ended.

Anyway, just food for thought.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…think about it.

A don’t…overthink it.

Halloween Book Reviews: It’s Not Too Early to be Halloweeny

It has been a tradition of mine for the past few years to find some new horror novel, preferably from an author I’ve never read before, and start reading about mid September. Ideally, I like to finish it on Halloween although this doesn’t always happen.

I read two a couple of years ago. The first was so engrossing I finished it before October, the second so chilling and wonderful that I read it twice before Halloween arrived. Following are reviews of these two books.

“Harvest Home” by Thomas Tryon was a book I purchased and hadn’t really planned to read. I bought it at an antique store my wife and I went to on our first date. It looked old. That was what first drew me to it. The dust cover was tattered and the art work wrought upon it was simple. A quaint town set amidst rolling hills in colors that, though less than garish, stand out well against the pen and ink, or perhaps charcoal, tree of faces and scythes hashed in on the side. The hashing continues around the spine and becomes fairly dramatic on the back cover. I bought it for that. I put it on a bookshelf and forgot it. Somehow it happened to catch my eye around the right time of year and as soon as I picked it up I was loathe to put it back down, even after finishing it.

It is a horror novel, but it is more than that. It isn’t guts and gore and beings from other realms stalking people or causing nightmares. It’s much more subtle than that and somehow more ferocious for its subtlety. It is a mix of small town traditions and innocent seeming yet ultimately deadly folklore. I don’t want to go into too much detail, in case you decide you’d like to read it for yourself, but the way the author weaves in the nightmarish bits without giving away their true role in the storyline is masterful. He evokes a charm and small-town homey feeling while at the same time tickling the imagination with details that could be perceived as innocent but are tinged with a certain insidiousness. Certainly a wonderful read and one that fits the feelings of the fall/harvest season as well as Halloween. I highly recommend it.

Second is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury. This one is about creatures from another realm stalking people and causing nightmares. It has an extremely Halloween tone to it and is just pure fun if you enjoy the scary season. It is dark and disturbing without being overly vulgar. It is deeper than a book of nightmarish things though. Mr. Bradbury is a master at channeling the child within. He has a way with descriptive words and his works are unlike those of any other author I’ve read. If you’ve never read any of his books or short stories, treat yourself to this one. It is likely you’ll become obsessed and strive to devour every word he’s written. That’s what happened to me anyway. In fact, remembering this book has inspired me to write about another of his. Yay. Bonus paragraph.

“The Halloween Tree” is just as good and Halloweeny as “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. It has a similar dark tone and is also romantically reminiscent of childhood. It was made into an animated T.V. special and this is just as good as the book itself. It follows a group of kids on Halloween as they pursue the spirit of their coolest friend through the historic origins and evolutions of Halloween traditions. As I’ve found to be the case with all of Ray Bradbury’s works, it is masterfully written and uniquely descriptive. The book and animated special both put me in a delightfully somber yet somehow still light-hearted spooking mood. Another must if you love Halloween or reading in general.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…read as many books as you can get your hands on. There are unexpected treasures everywhere.

A don’t…pass up the three I’ve mentioned here. If you’re a Halloween junkie like me they’ll certainly get you into the spirit of the season.

 

 

An Innovation in Personal Workplace Insurance

It occurred to me yesterday that there’s an untapped niche within the insurance world. Despite my best efforts and valiant (pushy) sales techniques I was unsuccessful in selling even a single policy. Perhaps this was because the idea is brand new and a little scary in its novelty. Or perhaps it is simply a horrible idea presented by someone who isn’t licensed to sell insurance in any form. I’ll let you be the judge. Whatever the cause of my failure, I’ll continue to push my idea and one step in that process is to make it known outside of my own little circle. To that end I present to you “Workplace Serenity Insurance” soon to be “Workplace Serenity Insurance Inc.” If I ever sell any policies, that is.

Here’s how it works: Simply print several copies of a resignation letter. Leave the effective date blank.  Upon selling a policy, (I offered my policy at $50, you are free, as a freelance agent, to set your own price) affix your signature to the page and hand it to the proud new policy holder. Advise them that, should you ever irritate, anger or offend them they now have the capability to terminate your employment on good terms with your employer by filling in the effective date and submitting the form to HR. This eliminates the need for pesky HR complaints and the humiliation that comes from being fired for being some sort of inappropriate jerk. You should also print some claims forms. This could simply be a slip of paper stating that they turned in the notice. It should include a blank for the date of your last day to be filled in.

The system is quite simple yet riddled with stupidity. Despite this, it opens the door for another form of insurance that could be sold to agents selling “Workplace Serenity”. I call it “Workplace Serenity Aftermath”. This policy would insure the policy holder’s income after having a claim filed against one of their “Workplace Serenity” policies. I haven’t begun selling this yet, so if you decide the sell “Workplace Serenity” you do so at your own risk.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…not sell “Workplace Serenity”. It’s a joke. I hereby disclaim that it is NOT a real thing. I don’t own an insurance company.

A don’t…sell “Workplace Serenity”. I reiterate DO NOT SELL IT. There is no “Workplace Serenity Aftermath” It isn’t real. Seriously, don’t.

I’d like to thank the War of the Worlds radio broadcast for the knowledge that adamantly assuring people of the fictitious nature of bad ideas is of the utmost importance.

If you enjoy my blog, feel free to visit my facebook page @williamennisauthor. There you can find my philosophy on writing. Likes, follows and book purchases are greatly appreciated. A portion of all royalties I receive will go to foundations that promote the strengthening and enrichment of families.

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.

A Few Film Ideas; Actors and Film Equipment Needed…A Cry For Help

I have a few ideas for parody videos. I had planned to produce them and post them to youtube but I suffer from a lack of cameras, camera operators, actors, props and the ability to do any post-production fine tuning. So I’ll live vicariously through verbal explanations.

My first is a parody of The Terminator. In my version Terminator comes back, in nude style as always, feeling bad for all the damage and death he has contributed to. He has a one track mind and, without even stopping to steal any clothes, approaches the first house he finds and knocks on the door. A man answers and shows surprise at being visited by a naked muscle man.

“What do you want?” He asks, quizzically and a bit alarmed.

The Terminator, hoping to avoid any confusion, states “I am the Ex-Terminator.”

“I didn’t call any exterminator.” The homeowner says, annoyed.

“Not the exterminator the Ex-Terminator.” Ex-Terminator says, again trying to convey that he means no harm.

“But I don’t need an exterminator. I don’t have any bugs!” the homeowner asserts.

“Neither do I, my programming is perfect.” The Terminator says in a proud dead-pan.

Fade to black.

Imagine a foreign visitor passing a nice suburban home with a small fence around the front yard. As he passes he waves at one of the home’s occupants who is sitting on the porch. The person on the porch utters some slur against foreigners. The foreigner, just familiar enough with our language and customs, realizes he’s been insulted. He screams “I take of fence!” And then pulls out some wire cutters, snips off a small section of fence and runs away with it. On his face is a look suggesting he feels he’s followed proper protocols. Cut to the person on the porch, zoom in on their confused expression, fade to black.

A fireworks stand stands in a parking lot. Above the stand is a sign that says used fireworks. We take a tour through the stand from a customer’s viewpoint. This provides opportunities for sign gags such as a sign stating “only used once” on a box of already exploded firecrackers or “nearly new” on the sticks that bottle rockets come on. We’ll see boxes of parachute men and already spun spinners and whistled whistlers, charred at the ends and sad looking. By the register is a box of charred nubs that used to be punks. All through the video we will hear the proprietor making poor sales pitches in the background. I haven’t written those jokes yet. The customer exits and we fade to black.

It’s quite likely I’ll never be able to produce these. If you’d like I give you permission to make them as long as I get writing credit and the opportunity to place an ad for my books in the video. As long as we’re on the subject of my book you’ll forgive me for saying that you might as well buy one for your children, future children, grand children, friend’s children (any children, really) or yourself. “How Sir Donkey Legs Became a Knight” is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or xlibris.com. Remember that a portion of all royalties I receive will go to programs that enrich and strengthen families.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…feel free to contact me if you’d like to produce youtube videos with me.

A don’t…forget to imagine whenever possible.