On Used Books and the Significance of Is

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not Bill Clinton. I’m not even sure I approve or disapprove of his governing style. I was too young during his presidency to have any sort of intelligent opinion whatsoever. I don’t care enough now to dig deep and discern my current opinion. What I do know, however, is that he was confused about the use of the word “is” and so am I.

Last night, my wife and I watched “The Night Before Last”. No, it was “The Day After Tomorrow”. Anyway, at one point, Dennis Quaid’s character says something to the effect that Sam is in New York. The word “is” is quite easy to arbitrarily assign a certain insignificance to. But the word is far from inadequate. Is means more than it seems to. Is signifies the very existence of the character. He is not simply physically present in a city afflicted by an egregious winter storm, his entire being IS…exists…performs its essential functions…has thoughts and feelings unique to itself…in New York. He is in New York. Is the importance of this tiny word lost on any of you? Perhaps I’m crazy.

Perhaps I’m crazy.

My wife and I visited a used bookstore today. I thought later that it is an interesting trend that many bookstores, mainly those that peddle previously unread tomes, also feature an integrated coffee shop. The pre-read stores not so much. I want to open a used bookstore complete with a used coffee shop. Those who have had nothing to drink but coffee in a certain (as yet undefined due to lack of scientific investigation) period may urinate in a foam cup. These “used coffees” will then be sold to patrons who desire an inexpensive beverage while they browse inexpensive titles.

Too much?

Perhaps. But perhaps it is simply not too much enough.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…buy used books. They are just as good as new and the stories contained within do not diminish with use. Support an intellectual entrepreneur.

A don’t…drink used coffee. I’m a certifiable idiot. My greatest idea is naught but the dregs of human thought.

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A Paraphrase From an Uncommon Eight Year Old

“Actualty, I need ta ha’ ta go potty. I’ll read a mazagine in there, then I wanna watch a Diva D while I wait for Santa to fill my stonking. I hope he brings me a weird, annoying chicken.”

My daughter doesn’t have a speech impediment. She speaks just fine. She has an alternate pronunciation preference. And she truly did ask Santa for a weird, annoying chicken.

She came by it honestly. I strive to pronounce every vowel as a long vowel. Based on the bewildered looks I receive from Wal-Mart cashiers, wait staff and co-workers, it would’ve been a great code to use during World Wars I and II.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy your child’s (or children’s) quirks. Before long they’ll be proper adults speaking properly. How boring.

A don’t…take it so far as to not be certain that they can speak properly when necessary. No one’s going to hire someone who “actualty” really needs a job in the “mazagine” or “stonking” industries, respectively.

Backyard Sovereignty or Nuclear Neighbors: Why am I Considering This?

This post is going to be a mix of  several things that are generally useless and detrimental. For example, famous last words, wishful thinking and the realization that one should be careful for what one wishes. I think I deserve it though. In the past few weeks I found out that my ex spanked my eight year old with a wooden spoon until it broke and then a spatula after because she wouldn’t go to bed. I was granted holidays from work, made plans with and appointments for my children, then had my holidays taken away. (I got them back, but it cost me. I now feel guilty, even though I shouldn’t) I bombed an assignment in a 100 level history class. (This after a year and a half of college and a few higher level classes. Shame on me.) I still have an A in the class, but barely. I haven’t done any creative writing in a while and I feel as if my soul has withered as a result and, last but most certainly not least, a very good friend of mine died on Dec. 18th. He left behind a 9 year old son, an older stepson and a wife. He had been living on a kidney donated by his sister for several years. That kidney began to fail. A willing donor with a compatible kidney was found. This donor backed out after agreeing to donate. There are, of course, two sides to every story. I don’t know the suddenly reluctant donor’s side. I just know it resulted in the death of my friend and, more importantly, the making of a widow and a half-orphan. At a young age. At Christmas. The other side of this story better be good.

Anyway, the point of all this is, if you’re still reading, please indulge the following ridiculousness. It is necessary for my mental health.

I wish that all land-owners were immediately sovereign. Although impractical, the idea makes sufficient fodder for volumes of humorous digression. For example, one could pit nuclear families against one another. Of course, many years would have to pass under such a system for a family to obtain the resources to develop small-scale nuclear technology that could be used against the neighbors, but there are more immediate options available as well.

I have already determined a hierarchy, should this eventuality ever come to pass. I don’t own much land. And I have but sparing resources. I, as the imaginary patriarch of a sovereign family, must be creative. I, of course, would be exalted as He Who ( in this sovereign household at least) is as Powerful as One Can Be With the Authority to Decide Things With Autonomous Disregard (so long, of course, as my wife says its OK.) Coincidentally, my wife will be known as She Who is (actually) in Charge.

My son, now 6 going on 7, would be Secretary of Blowing Things Up. Despite the danger, I would give him all authority in such matters. I would secretly funnel supplies and funding to him. And, of course, I would insure his safety during development. My 10 year old daughter would be Minister of Slime. She already produces it in copious amounts. Her Christmas and birthday lists are inundated with requests for slime supplies. The uses are numerous. Disguised slime pits in front of entrances. Slime buckets above doors. Slime-a-pults that threaten to put out bar-b-q’s and deny sunlight to patches of grass. Also, if it lands on a head, the slime could necessitate the shaving of heads, much to the humiliation of neighboring enemies. My middle daughter, aged 8 years, would be Queen of Entertainment. Her ridiculous sense of humor serves, even in times of peace, to lighten any mood. She just this year asked Santa for a “weird, annoying chicken”. The simple implications of this juvenile request are staggeringly hilarious.

Less practical, yet somehow more plausible than tiny bombs, slime warfare and the chickens that are a (however implausibly) deadly annoyance, is the idea of drone/anti-drone technology. Certainly, the common civilian drone is readily available, having been prolifically produced in many iterations in the name of blind commercialism. These contraptions provide the possibility to spy on one’s (sovereign) neighbors, but not much else. Still, who wants to be spied on? My specialty will be defeating these. I will export such things as electro-magnetic perimeter generators or, for the more fun-loving sovereign land owner, mini computer controlled missile batteries. At first, they’ll simply be projectiles that work on the principle of aerodynamics. A rotor-based propulsion system fails catastrophically when one of the rotors is compromised by a ballistic strike. Eventually, I’ll develop the technology for rounds that emit electromagnetism in the vicinity of a drone or even tiny nuclear missiles that will render my (sovereign) neighbor’s land unenjoyable for years to come. I’ll need a lead fence. That could be difficult to procure.

Of course, there are problems with the sovereign land-owner system. Are roads public, or can I set up a checkpoint and require a passport for passage in front of my house? All land, obviously, must be bought from someone. It will likely be from the country in which the sovereign lawn-owner lives. There must still be over-arching federal laws in place. No fun. Sovereign shouldn’t be subject to Federal, but it likely would be. Unjust.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider the benefits of the sovereign homeowner. It could be a lot of fun declaring war on the Jones’s rather than just trying to keep up with their backyard nuclear technology.

A don’t…consider this serious if you’re a Fed. It’s just a fun idea. All hail the government of the United States of America. I humbly submit to your precepts and obey all laws ad nauseum. Amen.

Dry Humor, Neither Shaken Nor Stirred

It is common for me to make jokes that fall dead in the middle of a room.  I find myself quite entertained, however, those around me must awkwardly start new conversations in hushed tones, slowly gaining confidence as their topics take off where mine simply expired.

Here are a few examples gleaned from my penchant for switching the first letters of two words. (Th’s, Sh’s and Ph’s count as a single letter)

When you go shopping, you generally utilize a shopping cart. However, if you were a police officer on a traffic stop and the suspect began shooting at you, what is the first thing you would experience?

Answer: A copping shart.

If you are shopping and don’t have all of the items you intend to buy, you keep shopping. However, if you are a police officer who receives a call about some sheep blocking the roadway, once you respond you are sheep copping.

And now, another sort of example:

Imagine you are a foreigner visiting America. You don’t completely understand the language or culture, so, as you pass a racist sitting on his porch and he/she utters a slur and you become offended. Unsure of how to respond, you scream “I take of fence!” You then remove a section of the racist’s fence and storm off, indignant.

Perhaps you are an American visiting Scotland. On a long walk in the countryside, you pass a shepherd in his…sheep field? You ask him how many sheep he has and he replies “A few.” His accent causes your American ears grief and you misinterpret his answer. “That’s rude!” You reply. “I was just curious about the size of your flock.”

“And I said a few!” replies the Scotsman.

“Oh yeah?”, you scream. “F you too, sir! F you too!”

And you storm off, indignant.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…find humor in what’s funny, whether others appreciate it or not.

A don’t…do as I’ve done and attempt humor when you are less than masterful. You might offend someone.

 

 

 

A Non-Christian Christian Church

Hello, folks. If you’re offended by the mere mention of Christianity, close your browser or navigate to another page now. If you’re still here, let me assure you that this post is not preachy and will in no way attempt to sway you from one religious belief to another. If you are a follower of Christ, let me assure you that this post is in no way meant to denigrate or demean the Christian religion.

This is simply a post about an idea that I find funny, hilarious and otherwise entertaining.

And now, on with it.

I want to found a church that is not so much pro-Christ as it is anti-satan. Instead of preaching the values taught by Christ, this church will demean the immoralities of satan.

Cherished hymns that glorify God will be altered to denounce satan.

For example, the beloved “How Great Thou Art” would become “How Great Thou Aren’t”.  “Shall We Gather by the River” becomes “Shall We Gather by the River of fire to Curse the Name of satan”.  “The Old Rugged Cross” become “The Old Rugged Hateful Hoss”. “Holy Holy Holy” obviously becomes “Unholy Unholy Unholy” “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” is “No One Hail the Power of satan’s Name”. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is, of course, “What an Enemy We Have in satan”.

And so on and so on, ad nauseum. I think this method would be effective in today’s society. Many of us focus on the negative and find satisfaction in practicing hatred. Instead of hating our fellow man, why can’t we all hate the archdemon together?

Mutual hatred of an evil entity could be the key to human unification. If we can’t get behind love, let’s hate together. Our problem seems to be that we hate each other. Let’s knock that off and bind together through our hatred of a mutual, non-human evil entity.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…find some reason to bond with your neighbor. We need strong communities.

A don’t…hate anything that shouldn’t be hated. Or any person. We might have differing ideas, and the ideas could be hate-worthy, but the people behind them would likely benefit from unconditional love. Forgive the smarm.

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.

A Limerick

There was a birdwatcher from the ‘burbs,
Who had unusually long optic nerves.
When his eyeballs popped out,
They hung down by his snout;
Now instead of his birds he sees turds.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…share any limericks you may have written. I can’t get enough of limericks.

A don’t…judge mine too harshly. All the good ones are already taken.