Living Jack-O-Lanterns; In Answer to Why I Say Why Not.

The picture above is of a budding pumpkin. It is the first to have appeared in my garden and is of a variety that boasts the ability to grow to upwards of half a ton if properly cultivated. I don’t hold any misconceptions about my first attempt being successful at growing it to maximum size, but my research shows that this variety of pumpkin consistently produces fruits that weigh a few hundred pounds. If I can successfully grow just an average pumpkin of this variety, which I now realize I haven’t mentioned is called Dill’s Atlantic Giant, it should be sufficient to satisfy my goals.

Goal one is to make a living Jack-O-Lantern. I’ll hollow it, carve it, coat the inside with something to control the slime factor, then place my kids inside with flashlights. Not only will I have the first ever (as far as I’m aware, anyway) living Jack-O-Lantern with the potential for responsive lighting, I’ll also have the first Jack-O-Lantern that I know of with intuitive sound effects. I think that the kids will enjoy this greatly. They can pop out and scare people and just have a generally entertaining Halloween experience.

Goal two is to figure out what to do with the pumpkin shell after the holiday. I need an idea that doesn’t involve carrying it anywhere. So far I’ve entertained a few ideas for using it as a planter. I could either coat it with some sort of resin and attempt to make a permanent pot or just fill it with dirt and let it serve as a planter that will also provide some food to the plant I plant in it as it rots away.

Perhaps, if my neighbors don’t begin to complain, I can turn it into some sort of time lapse art project. Or it could serve as a combination bird bath/street side urinal for the homeless. This is the least desirable of all, so I hope one of the other ideas will work.

I likely wont have to worry about any of this at all because my green thumb is more brown with a greenish tinge.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try new things even if you expect only very limited success.

A don’t…pee in my pumpkin if I am somehow successful.

It’s Only August. Let’s Talk About Halloween.

I know it is early, but I went to Big Lots and they already had a whole section of Halloween stuff out. Some of it was pretty neat and we almost bought a few things. But…It’s so early. Still, I feel something creepy stirring in my soul and it is darkly wonderful. So here we go.

My wife showed me a post of a Tombstone pizza truck that crashed and spilled what looked like thousands of pizzas all over the freeway. I laughed about it and commented on how it would’ve been much more ironic had the incident occurred near a cemetery and you’d have graves covered in Tombstone pizzas. It may sound disrespectful, but if I have any sense of the mortal realm after I’ve passed and someone finds a Tombstone pizza on my grave, I’d laugh my dead hindquarters off. I suggested to my wife that our Halloween tradition be that we eat Tombstone pizza on the grave of a loved one on that hallowed eve. She disavows knowledge of our marital vows. As well she should. I didn’t bother to finish my thought by suggesting that we bake the pizzas not on a pizza stone but on a tombstone.

We apparently started decorating for Halloween a bit early. Also quite accidentally. I tried to take a picture but my phone is closer to a dumb phone than a smart one and so it has a poor quality camera. Since I can’t show you, I’ll paint a picture with words. My children were throwing dolls in the front yard as I weeded the flower beds. They were having quite a time laughing and chasing plastic people. On more than one occasion I pulled a doll down from a low-hanging branch. I began to tire of this distraction and advised them that the next doll that got stuck in a tree would become sole property of the tree to have and to hold until the next violent storm shook it loose. As is often the case, they ignored me and before they knew it my seven year old’s favorite Moana doll was hanging by a few strands of hair from a rather high branch of an ugly tree quite close to the street. It looks very Halloweeny. The doll’s legs are raised halfway and it faces the street looking quite like the victim of some ritual murder. Like the leprechauns found out she was a witch or something. Right out there for all the neighbors and passersby to see. I’m disinclined to remove it and not only because of the promise I made to the kids. I’m also entertained by the fact that my neighbors won’t understand. You see, they also don’t understand why I’m perturbed when their dog gets over the fence and bites my dog. Who cares what they think?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate Halloween whenever you feel like it. It is a state of mind as much as it is a holiday.

A don’t…celebrate it enough that it loses its special magic.


Absorbent Robert Quadrilateral Trousers and a Confused Soldier: An Intriguing Tale?

I was in the Army once.  It was a long time ago.  There are very few things about it that I remember purposely.  One of those things is a man who was with me during my initial job training.  I don’t remember his name.  I do remember that he was very large and intimidating. He was very quiet and did not fluster easily. He did not go out to drink or visit the females who denude themselves for money when we had an off-post pass for the weekend.  He just sat in the hotel room and spoke to his family on the phone.  I respected him very much for this.  He was foreign.  I’m not sure from where, but his accent made it nearly impossible to understand him unless you were used to hearing him talk which none of us really were because he so rarely spoke.

Now that I have described him as thoroughly as I care to, I’ll move on to the meat of the story I wish to tell. One afternoon our whole company was outside the barracks. We were sitting on the concrete pad that served as a rally point for formations and floggings.  Not literal floggings, I’m not that old, but floggings of the mind delivered by the tongues of men in camo and campaign hats and ever so shiny boots.  We were attempting to make our boots as shiny as theirs to avoid another “flogging” and had begun to discuss the horrid state of modern cartoons.  Specifically we were bemoaning the fact that there has been nothing recently that could compare with the likes of DuckTales or Darkwing Duck or Scooby Doo.  We reminisced about G.I. Joe and Transformers and Thunder Cats.  There could never be another He-Man, no matter how hard anyone ever tried.  As we discussed these things, our big, hard-to-understand, unflusterable and foreign-accented comrade-in-arms became suddenly quite flustered.  He threw his boot brush to the ground and we all fell silent at his sudden, unprecedented outburst.  Every eye turned to this man, whose voice, accent and build rather remind me of the man who was a Terminator and he said, surprisingly loudly, “What is Sponge Bob?!”

We didn’t respond because, I think, we were scared to.

“I watch the show and I say what?!!?”

No response, so he continues…

…”He is in the ocean!  I thought he was a piece of cheese!!”

Of course, no response now either so he says…

…”But he’s a (expletive deleted) SPONGE!!”

And then he picks up his boot brush and calmly resumes shining his boots.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…read the quotes in Arnold’s voice.  It makes it much better.

A don’t…hold in your frustration.  It could come out in odd ways at odd times.

About Pants; For No Good Reason.

I’ve heard people mention the fact that it is odd to call one item a pair of something.  More than just pants are included in this. Pliers, scissors…perhaps other things.  Anyway, since I’ve heard it mentioned before, I hereby disclaim that this isn’t an idea that originated with me, it is rather an exploration of an idea I’ve heard.  And here it goes:

Logically, if we are going to call one pants a pair the indication is that pants have more than one of whatever it is from which the name is derived.  Therefore, since pants have only one zipper and more than two belt loops (fancy pants excluded, I refer only to simple, frill-free pants) the only truth we may deduce is that each leg of a pants is a pant.  That being apparently true, I wonder why they chose to name them by the pants.  Why not a simpler name such as below-midriff-concealing-device?  Or a maybe there was a more complicated name which has been shortened to “pants”.  Something like a-left-pant-and-a-right-pant-attached-to-a-gluteus-cover-with-built-in-loin-cloth-suspended-by-a-waist-band-with-included-loops-to-aid-in-retention-by-belt.

I think I just seriously digressed.

Have you ever noticed that every name ever applied to pants is plural?  Trousers.  Britches.  Drawers.  All plural.  So pant legs have also been known as a trouse, a britch and a draw.  Its a very bizarre thought to think. I wish I knew who it was that determined that pants are plural.  Some bureaucrat I suppose.  A stone age predecessor of the modern day, well, whoever decides the plurality of things.  Or maybe there is no such person.  Maybe it has already all been decided.

I bid you Adieu and A don’t.

Adieu…take the time to consider things not worthy of consideration. Sometimes it’s fun.

A don’t…judge me.  I’m not as strange as I sound.

Voted or Vetoed, Wear it Proudly

If we, as responsible citizens, are proud to share our participation in the democratic process by wearing a sticker proclaiming “I voted” after committing the patriotic act, shouldn’t the President, ideally America’s most responsible citizen, be afforded the same opportunity to display his pride in his participation in the process that makes our nation work?

I think the answer is obviously yes. But how can he do this in a manner that is noticeable without being obscenely obvious? He makes speeches on policy and the state of the union. He presses flesh and at least pretends to be interested in the will of the American people. News programs tell us of his trips to visit foreign dignitaries and of their visits with him. There is coverage of White House dinners and even his personal life is the subject of public scrutiny, but all these are to be expected. These are very visible bits of his job and they are the Presidential norm. We are not at all surprised to see such things from our Commander in Chief. In fact, if we were to be deprived coverage of these activities perhaps we’d be a bit concerned that the man in the Oval Office wasn’t up to the task. I’m sure he enjoys his privacy but this is one of the sacrifices he must make and one we all expect from the highest of public servants.

So, what can he do? What is that extra little bit of outside-the-box thinking that could reassure us that our President is, in fact, working hard behind the scenes to make our country a better place to live and work and raise our children? The answer is quite simple and would resound nicely with the American people. He just needs to be given an “I vetoed” sticker to wear upon his lapel every time he exercises his patriotic right. Not only would this help him appear as nothing more than a normal citizen of the United States doing his duty it would also reassure his countrymen (and women) that there is someone behind the wheel tending to the minor corrections needed to keep the country on course that we don’t often see.

Anyway, just a thought. I might even order a roll printed and send it on up to His Electedness.

I bid you adieu and a don’t.

Adieu…keep an eye on the President’s lapel. One of these days, my little idea could be as big as cardboard coffee sleeves.

A don’t…forget that, sticker or not, there is someone in a mildly oblong office striking down, well, whatever it happens to be. Just remember, if the President won’t let it past his desk, it probably wasn’t in anyone’s best interest anyway…or at least we all hope that’s how it works.

Mean Yogurt

I think I can finally express the thought I’ve been talking about. It’s about Mean Yogurt.

DISCLAIMER: Due to the existence of the possibility that Mean Yogurt may read this, I wish to assure him this is shared in a light-hearted manner and is not intended to ridicule or belittle.

You may be curious about Mean Yogurt. You might be asking yourself Who or what is Mean Yogurt? Or, Am I really about to read this to find out? For my sake I hope the answer is yes! The tale is best told in the form you will see below.

There lives a man who fancies himself wise. He’s dubbed himself, however accidentally, Mean Yogurt. He doesn’t enjoy or even remember the title he gave himself. He pronounced it in a fit of anger. He sometimes did things that weren’t what most people would consider pleasant or civilized. His wife once tattled on him to those he considered friends and then, for some reason, tattled on herself for tattling. His face reddened, his arms flew up to hover about in the air above his head. A vein in his forehead threatened aneurysm. He screamed “Now they think I’m a meeeaaannn YOGURT!”

I use his pseudonym to protect his identity. He’s not actually a mean yogurt, but he has entertained many ideas that others may find strange. His ideas ranged from businesses to child rearing philosophies to the validity of conspiracy theories and unique housing ideas. This post will focus on the businesses. If you wish you may look forward to future posts which shall address the other aspects of his thought processes.

The first business I recall him proposing was an expired sandwich meat auctioning venture. I owned a small pickup. It was my first vehicle and I love it to this day, though it has long since been crushed into a cubeish shape. Mean Yogurt asked if I would be opposed to putting a deep freeze in the bed of the truck and wiring it to run off the battery. I expressed misgivings and hesitancy. He continued. “We’ll drive four hours to a warehouse where expired sandwich meat is stored. We have to invest enough money to purchase as much meat as will fit in the freezer. Then we’ll drive back and separate it into boxes and sell it at auction.” I made him aware that I wasn’t fond of the idea of taxing my truck’s battery so. I also postulated that, if anyone bid on our sandwich meat at all, they’d perhaps be enraged when they discovered that it was past its expiration date. He maintained that the people who would bid on sandwich meat at auctions wouldn’t care that it was expired. I found myself at a loss to do anything other than concur.

Mean Yogurt decided once that stealing telephone poles was good honest work. His business proposal included cutting the frame of an inner spring mattress in half, welding one half to the cab of his pickup to act as a shock absorber, then following the people that replace the old poles and, along with three young boys, absconding with the monstrously heavy logs. I continued to break hacksaw blades on the mattress frame until the thought passed from his head and another more noble get rich quick method took its place.

He once held a job at a factory of some sort. He didn’t involve me in this one, happily enough, because it would’ve been illegal. He quit because the getting rich wasn’t happening very quickly at all.

Mean Yogurt once attempted to purchase a golf course at a delinquent tax auction. He assigned me the task of ascertaining the cost of building a satellite and launching it into orbit. He also desired that I find a non-operational off shore oil rig. The rig, he very necessarily explained, was to keep ships from sailing through the beam his satellite would emit into the ocean water turning it into steam. He would then – through some as yet unexplained method-pipe the steam from the ocean to his golf course in Arizona, cool it to return it to its liquid state, and harvest the “ocean minerals” to sell to whomever on Earth is in the market for “ocean minerals.” The problems with this one are many, however, Mean Yogurt was oblivious. For one, I doubt ocean minerals, which I believe are mainly salts, are valuable enough to offset the cost of building and launching a satellite. Then there are the problems that arise when one considers one must keep his egregiously long pipe heated to the point that it will keep water in its vapor state from the ocean to Arizona. Perhaps he learned geography from George Strait. I didn’t bother to tell him that, as far as I know, when the water evaporates the minerals do not go with it. By way of evidence I submit the process in which rock candy is made. I do admit I could be wrong about this one, but I know I’m spot on with the other problems I’ve mentioned.

The great thinker also planned to hollow out what he termed a mountain that resided on his golf course. He wished to ranch on his golf course. He surmised that the size of his ranch would necessitate the slaughter of a cow a day just to feed the ranch hands he hired to run the place. In the event of some sort of government oppression, he and his hired men would shelter safely out of view in the hollow mountain.

Mean Yogurt proposed that if the economy collapsed, the rich would need wine. He intended to provide it for them. The fruit of choice for his libation? Banana. Apparently ‘tis a gaseous fruit. As it fermented it overwhelmed the pressure relieving measures he’d taken. Rotten banana dripped from the ceiling for days. I found it pointless to bother telling him that if the economy collapsed money would be worthless and the rich would be rendered poor. Perhaps I should tell him to befriend some farmers for the sake of his future.

I bid you adieu and a don’t.

Adieu…know that I understand how crazy this all sounds.

A don’t…for a minute believe I made up a bit of it. Disturbingly, every word is true.