A List Of Pet Peeves Whose Existence Will Likely End Up On The Pet Peeves Lists Of Others

Following are some of my most incredulous pet peeves. Though they sound silly, they irritate me greatly. Enjoy.

  • Cling wrap that doesn’t cling
  • Coffee that doesn’t cough
  • A banana that refuses to vociferously promote banning Ana
  • Hitting a knot in a piece of wood with screw
  • Wondering whether the plural of Bigfoot is Bigfoots or Bigfeet
  • Children that refuse to listen
  • The misuse of there, they’re, their or then, than
  • The phrase “I could care less.” to describe a situation about which one fails to care. If you could care less, it means you care and are not interested in lowering your level of caring. The proper phrase is “I couldn’t care less.” in these situations.
  • The process by which cheese is made; cheese itself is on my favorites list
  • The sticky feeling left in my mouth following the consumption of Skittles
  • Cat food that doesn’t taste like cats
  • The fable that walking under a ladder is bad luck. It isn’t bad luck. It’s simply unsafe.
  • Poor attempts to redesign the classic comedy sketch “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello
  • Wearing wet socks
  • The number 11

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate your pet peeves. Nurture your hatred of the ridiculous. It could keep you from hating other people by giving you a venue through which to vent.

A don’t…hate people.



Winter, Dogs and Writing: A Disjointed Rambling From a Man Who Felt the Urge to Write but Couldn’t Settle on a Topic

We all know the virtues of a good dog. Except for cat people, that is. They know the…whatever….that a good cat has.

I’m not quite sure exactly where this post is going. I think families and dogs go hand in hand. As I write this now, the snow is falling outside. The faucets are dripping. I’m sitting in bed as winter wears on outside my windows. My wife’s Schnauzer-Chihuahua mix is gnawing on his leg a scant few inches from my leg and my Mastiff is laying just outside the open bedroom door on a Disney princess carpet my daughters stained with so much mermaid slime they don’t want it anymore.

Mermaid slime is not a euphemism. Mermaid slime is pink glittery slime we got them for Christmas. In case anyone was confused.

Dogs and winter go together as much as dogs and families do, I think. There’s something comforting about a sleeping dog when winter rages mere inches away.

I think this post may be more about winter than anything else. It is a strange idea to me that a foot or two of sheet rock and insulation are all that separate us from frostbite. I like that idea. The wind howls and I can hear it. I can see the trees bend and sway. But I am warm. I can see the snow falling. I can watch it pile up in drifts in the corners of the yard. I can’t catch it on my tongue of touch it and loose feeling in my fingertips. I am in the midst of the storm, untouched by it. This feeling intrigues me. It reminds me of how I felt in a tent or fort when I was a kid. I was outdoors, yet separated from the outdoors. I like to picture in my mind a nearly blinding snowstorm in the midst of which we see a faint glow. As we sweep in closer and the glow grows brighter, warmer, we see that it is a single bulb in a single window of a small house. As we peek in the window we see perhaps a family playing a board game. Of course, in my fantasy, a large dog lays beside the couch, passively spending time with the family. Or perhaps we see someone at a typewriter. Sitting at it, tapping away on a novel, is a stereo-typical novelist. If it is a man, perhaps there is a glass of brandy on a coaster and a cigar fuming in an ashtray. If it is a woman, the brandy is wine and the cigar is, well, whatever the feminine version of that is. Chocolate, maybe. And in my fantasy, a dog is present. Perhaps he is sitting on his haunches, panting despite the blaring cold outside the window, thumping his tail lazily on the floor. Maybe she lays curled around her person’s feet, warming them, inspiring the writer to pen (or tap out, in these modern times) a story of charity, love and warmth.

I went skiing once and fell so many times that at the end, my eyelids were weighted down by little balls of ice on my lashes. I had to stumble into the lodge and let my lashes thaw so I could see. A fire roared and a large dog lay in front of it. The sight of the dog (once I could see again) comforted me more than the fire did.

To sum all this up, I’ll say this. The cold loneliness of winter can be offset by a good dog. The snoring of my English Mastiff lulls me to sleep when it is cold out. I cannot feel it, but I know it is there and her normally irritating attempts to breathe comfort me. When family is absent or bitter cold lays upon the land, inches away, trying its hardest to get to you despite your electric blankets, space heaters, or cherished significant other laying next to you, a dog is necessary.

A dog is family when no family can be found. A dog is warmth when the world seeks to place you into cryogenic storage.

A dog is necessary.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider befriending a dog. ‘Tis a wondrous thing.

A don’t…give up cats if they are your preference. Unconditional love is great wherever you find it.


Jerkology 101: An Introduction

I, being a reluctant people pleaser and fantasizing unsung hero, have thought a lot about jerks. My distaste with verbal confrontation has inspired me to think deeply about the nature of jerks. I have been writing a field guide to common jerks.

Among my many eccentricities is an obsession with field guides. I have a field guide to fish. A field guide to birds. I have field guides to edible plants, poisonous plants, varmints, pests and survival techniques. If  “field guide” is in the title, I’ll find the money to buy it.

As I live with this obsession, combined with my fear of being verbally harangued by negative entities, it is only logical that I should create a field guide of my own. This field guide is entitled thusly: “Field Guide to Common Jerks”. It used to be “Field Guide to Common North American Jerks” until I realized that the types of jerks are universal. Versions of each jerk can be naturally found on every continent and in every city, town, settlement and village the world ’round.

I have written the field guide almost in its entirety. I had planned to publish it, but I decided that the stories of Sir Donkey Legs would be more marketable due to the originality of the characters (most of the credit is due to my children on that front). I still plan to publish the field guide, as soon I finish publishing my Sir Donkey Legs stories. So far there are two more ready to go, I’m  just waiting on funding.  The field guide will be given to the world. Until then, I offer it, for better or for worse, to my fellow bloggers.

I’ll begin by introducing you to Jerk philosophy. I have found that there are two basic types of Jerks. All of the Sub-Jerks fall under one of the following two categories: Active Jerk and Passive Jerk.

Active Jerks are those who actively try to physically hurt you. In this category you’ll find murderers, Satan himself and rapists. The Passive Jerk category includes such Jerks as those who insult you out of jealousy; cheaters and thieves.(Speaking of thieves, I used to work in a jail with a gentleman who would sing his own version of the classic hymn “Bringing In The Sheaves” which he called “Bringing In The Thieves” any time a new inmate arrived in our facility. If you’ve ever heard the original, you can imagine how humorous his version is in an incarceratory setting.)

This post is simply to introduce you to the idea of the philosophy of Jerkology. When you’re too afraid to confront others, you spend a lot of time thinking horribly of those who’ve insulted or mistreated you. The field guide is my way of passively dealing with that issue. I guess I myself am a form of passive jerk. Future posts will introduce you to the multiple different jerks contained within the guide. Be on the lookout for a book version, complete with illustrations, within the next few years.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep up to date on my Jerkology posts to determine whether or not you yourself are some sort of jerk.

A don’t…be a jerk if you can help it. At least not in public. Everyone deserves not to have been a jerk to. If that makes any sense at all.

Indicting Squirrel Boy: Evidence That My Son is A Woodland Creature

I mentioned in a recent post that my son is basically a hairless squirrel. I’d like to present some evidence to support this.

A couple of weeks ago we were outside playing in what was left of a recent snow. It was bitterly cold and I told my son to come inside before his fingers fell off.

Exhibit A: My son acted as if he doesn’t speak English.

He began to dance in the snow and chitter. I stated more loudly, “Time to go inside!” My son ran to the other side of the yard and disappeared between some evergreen shrubs that grow along our fence.

Exhibit B: My son startles at loud noises and disappears into foliage.

I began walking toward my son stealthily. As I approached I heard him scream “What!?” He burst out of the trees and ran to us screaming, “There’s a Christmas tree in there!” I said, “Those have been growing there since we moved in. They aren’t Christmas trees. Go inside!” My son again ran into the shrubs.

Exhibit C: My son has no grasp of logic. Specifically, he doesn’t seem to recognize me as an authority figure concerned with his safety.

When my son again emerged, he was indeed dragging an artificial Christmas tree behind him, stand and all. He placed it in the middle of the flower bed and stated, “This is MY Christmas tree. Finders keepers, losers leapers.” I explained to him that it is actually finders keepers, losers weepers, and despite his now knowing the proper phrase he should never use it because it seems to be a mean-spirited phrase designed to deny losers the right to reclaim their lost property.

Exhibit D: My son was extremely excited to own a tree. When his mom arrived to pick him up he implored her to let him take it to her house. When she said it wouldn’t fit in the car, he pulled off the top portion of the tree and begged to take that. He would be happy to own just half a tree.

We brought the tree inside and placed it in his room. When he came home from his mom’s he decorated it with underwear and scraps of paper.

Exhibit E: My son has a tree as a permanent fixture in his living space. It holds his clothes and creations. It could be called his home.

The prosecution rests.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…allow your children their eccentricities. So long as they aren’t dangerous of course.

A don’t…let them carry it too far. They are still human children despite their feral tendencies.

A Spider, A Bag of Oranges, Two Strange Kids; Fighting Nature With Nature and The Birth of A Champion for Mother Earth: A Super Hero Origin Story

My son hurt nature. My daughter said so.

We had an unseasonably warm afternoon a few days ago and let the kids out to burn off some “winter wiggles” while they had the chance. My wife and I watched from the window as we cleaned the kitchen and prepared lunch. After a while, the kids moved past the portion of yard we could see from the window (our yard is fairly large and fully fenced. Also, our Mastiff stays close to them and could easily pin a grown man. As long as we can hear them, we don’t worry too much about their safety, but we do poke our heads out the back door every few minutes if we aren’t out with them for some reason. Rest assured, they are not neglected or ignored.) and we suddenly heard the seven year old girl scream “YOU’RE HURTING NAAAAAAAATUUUUUUUUURRRE!”

As she was screaming she was running toward the house. We met her at the back door and, red-faced and out of breath she reiterated “Brother hurt nature!”

After we finished giggling and trying not to look like we were laughing at a little girl, we got the full story. My son, who is five, had somehow come into possession of a bag of oranges. I didn’t know we owned a bag of oranges. My son is basically a hairless squirrel so it is likely the oranges had been under his bed or in his closet long enough that I’d forgotten we’d even bought any.

He used said bag of oranges to beat a small spider to death. It is highly likely the spider came out of the bag of oranges. Still, if you ask me he was simply fighting nature with nature. However you define it, his dispatching of the potential threat with a potential food source severely traumatized his sister. She is a tree hugger. I used to think she was only literally a tree hugger. She wanders around the yard by herself, dancing, singing, talking to invisible entities and hugging trees. She actually wraps her arms around them and squeezes them. I now know that she is also figuratively a hugger of trees. She’ll grow up to delight in cleaning the ocean, sweeping rocks and searching knot holes in trees for fairies. She’s basically a fairy herself. Freckles across the nose and she’s lucky if she weighs 15 pounds.

Look out nature hurters. There’s a new super hero in town.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…encourage your children whatever their interests. Unless they take their bag of oranges after innocent creatures that couldn’t hurt anybody anyway.

A don’t…Step on their sensibilities. They are who they are. Guide them, teach them, let their true selves develop.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Rudeness -or- Jerks in Film; Is This What the Director Intended?

My wife and I were recently on a Star Wars jag. We watched all the movies in the order of story line chronology. This has nothing to do with this post other than as a weak segue into our more recent Tolkien jag. We’ve only made through one and a half of the Hobbit movies, but a scene near the end of the first brought to mind something I’d thought about before and since forgotten. There may be spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen the movies yet you might at least watch the first one before reading on.

The scene I reference comes as the party of dwarves (plus one Hobbit and one Wizard) finds itself hanging from a tree whose roots are tearing from the ground, about to dump them all off a cliff. Gandalf summons some giant birds that swoop in at the last minute to save everyone. As we are treated to scenes of birds gently picking people up with their talons and catching those plunging to bloody demise upon their backs, we may expectedly think that, perhaps, these birds are friendly to those they’ve just rescued.

I find that the truth couldn’t be further from what I asserted in the previous sentence. These birds were obviously mind-controlled by Gandalf. He selfishly yanked them away from whatever they were doing and forced them into a danger-fraught servitude. And the birds were none too grateful about it. You may think I’m reading too much into this, but after the birds drop their loads and retreat, the camera pulls back and we see the fabled Misty Mountain on the horizon. It is still a distance away, but nothing a giant bird couldn’t easily handle, even encumbered. To quote Dr. Seuss, “And that is not all, oh no, that is not all.”.  As the camera continues to pull back from the party, their hope refreshed upon glimpsing their destination and blinding them to the fact that the birds might as well have left them to die on that precarious tree, we see that the birds have not only dumped them many miles from their destination, but on the top of a very high bare knob of rock with fairly sheer sides. If scaling down the sides of that and then realizing they still have days and days of travel ahead isn’t enough to squash their hope again, nothing is. How mad were these birds at having been duped? And why wouldn’t Gandalf use his bird-duping ability to make the birds take them the rest of the way? Granted, no story, no movie, but still. Why the birds? Why the cliff?  I suppose they are simply happy to be alive at this point, but Gandalf should be mindful of the creatures he misuses and the rest of the party should be mindful of Gandalf from here on out.

In a similar reminisce, I’m reminded of the scene in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” right after Jack disappears and the mayor is knocking on his door, screaming his name, getting frustrated and finally falling down the stairs while those homeless guys sit in the street watching. They watch until the mayor rolls into the gate before telling him that Jack isn’t home and hasn’t been all night. And those guys weren’t even mind-controlled by a wizard into doing something dangerous and against their will. I suppose their actions were due to their status as “low-class” and they were passive-aggressively lashing out at the higher class.

Or, they could just be movies and it all means nothing. Who knows.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…Look out for the jerks in movies. They’re usually rather entertaining and if the movie begins to drag you can root for the jerks and take pleasure in the misery of the main character for a while.

A don’t…be a jerk yourself. If a wizard takes over your mind and pulls you away from building your house or feeding your kids to save his hide, do it with a smile. Be the bigger bird.

An Antique Man and His Anachronistic Existence, Part Two; In Case There Isn’t an Apocalypse

I posted last night about how I’d love to travel dusty roads in a donkey-drawn wagon full of my experiences recorded in journals, books on edible forage, a guitar and my wife. In this day and age, this isn’t a very realistic dream. Folks would think me nigh on to outright looney. Oh well. A man can dream.

I have a backup plan though. This one is a bit more realistic in that it doesn’t require some sort of apocalypse to befall us. I’d love to buy as many acres as I can get my hands on (and afford) and build a field stone windmill to grind my own flour. I’d only use ancient grains. Not because of their health benefits so much as because it would make me feel as though I was truly in an earlier period in time. I would have a bakery from which I’d sell artisan breads baked using my own flour. I’d even sell my flour; and for a reasonable price, no less. I don’t think people should have to pay a lot of money to experience history.

I could even make it into some kind of immersion bed and breakfast type thing for others who share my desire to do seemingly simple things with their own hands. They could pay me to stay in a cabin and work my wheat field. Then I could teach them about milling flour and baking bread and the health benefits of eating bread made from non-over-processed grains. Did you know that there are healthful oils in bread that are removed from commercial flours and breads to extend the shelf life? These oils supposedly strengthen your heart, but also make bread go bad more quickly. I will leave those oils in and see if it’s true. Perhaps, if we all just lived like antique people we’d be much more healthy and happy.

But it would be hard to accomplish. I feel that the “antique” people would be shunned at best. At worst they could become a society of pariahs.

But is that really such a horrible thing?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…embrace your dreams and ideals, even if they aren’t mainstream.

A don’t…judge others who wish for a simpler life. After all, does all the modern technology benefit us that much? Sure, it’s fun and we feel more connected, but modern technology has reduced us to a society who can’t, without extreme effort, even get all the nutrition needed without some sort of supplement. Our sustenance fails to sustain us. How odd.