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.


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.

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.

Oh the Humanity of the Humanities: A Terrible Title for a Touching Post

Oh irony of ironies. As I opened what I thought was a new notebook to take notes on the Humanities class I just started (a class that studies the intricacies of human expression, I must add) I was greeted by a very simple, and yet sublime, human expression.

“Princess Sparklel (*sparkle) Farts”.

I haven’t laughed as hard as I did in quite a while. My wife laughed also. This one won’t go on the refrigerator though.

Her Majesty deserves a place of honor. She shall be framed in the finest dollar store frame and hung prominently upon our living room wall.

Although I don’t know the period during which the piece was produced, I can comment on the context.

Recently, my son ran up to me as I sat in the bleachers watching my daughters cheer a football game. He said, in front of God and everybody, “Let’s have a farting party!” I expressed extreme distaste in regards to my participating in such an event. My son promptly jammed his hand up his shirt and produced several armpit farts. As my son continued to squelch and giggle, I adopted a somber expression and sternly spoke his name. His farting party came to a screeching halt as he prepared to receive a reprimand. “Do you know what happens after a farting party?” He slowly shook his head. “People have been farting all night and, as they begin to leave, they find themselves parting farty.” A strange smile lay upon his lips and he uttered a half-hearted final giggle before running off to find his mother.

I had hoped to raise a family of nerds. Instead, it seems I’m raising a family of bodily function aficionados. They art about farts, for crying out loud.

I guess it’s ok. Their passion inspires in me an emotion that results in one of the more pleasant bodily functions: laughter.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…engage in farting parties. Not literally, though. Use it as a metaphor for whatever strange, and less disgusting, activity your children may wish to engage in.

A don’t…part farty. Just don’t.

Lava Lamps and Life: A Vague Philosophical Comparison Likely Worthy of Ridicule Yet Somehow Relevant

Just a short post tonight in which I shall wax philosophical about the wax in a Lava Lamp. Currently, my lava lamp (a genuine relic from the 1990’s, picked up by my in-laws and appreciated by all) is in the process of warming up. The gunk inside has formed a conglomeration of tiny glowing balls. They form a small mountain and as I watch, they break free from the cluster, one by one, to float to the top, undulating as they ascend, only to fall even faster than they rose. They crash silently back into the cluster and wait patiently to rise again.

Of course, their release represents birth. They rise from the cluster, a slimy and constantly thinning umbilicus connecting their posterior to the heart of the cluster, stretching until it snaps. The silent snap releases the ball to rise on its own, representing growth and advancement. The undulations of the rising ball inspired by the violence of their release represent the struggle to rise free. The rise, of course, represents aging. The rise is quick, the descent slow. This represents the speed at which youth disappears and the apparent slowing of time as we age due to the pain of corporeal deterioration. The reincorporation into the cluster represents the memories loved ones hold of us after we are “gone”. And the process starts again.

My wife wonders why I can stare silently at a Lava Lamp until she forces me to stop, demanding interaction.

Although none may completely understand it, at least now you know.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider the fact that your life is very similar to the reactions present in a Lava Lamp. Although your undulations may seem significant as you experience them, in the long run they are naught but simple tremors, insignificant to outside observers.

A don’t…think that I discount your problems. We have something a wax ball in a heated liquid medium lacks. It is called consciousness and it gives our undulations validation.

Life Hacks: A Zombie Like Solution to a Common Problem

Do you have children? Are you middle-aged and mildly out of shape? Do you have young children who fail to understand your lack of energy and motivation?

I have a solution to offer.

It is common for young children to be born to middle-aged people. It is common for middle-aged people to suffer from lack of energy. This is likely due to our lack of exercise and good nutrition due to America’s obsession with science, technology and reliance on others to complete mundane tasks for us.

My kids love to play tag. This involves running. I haven’t been good at that since I didn’t re-enlist in the Army. I was barely good at it when I was enlisted. I’ve always hated it. I puked and whined and hoped no one would notice. I was anti-addicted to “runner’s high”.

I realized tonight that there is a way to play tag with your children without running.

I am proud of this “life hack” I have discovered.

When your children tire you out with a game of tag, simply change the game…

…to zombie tag.

All you have to do is extend your arms, shuffle your feet and moan disturbingly.

Not only does the moaning and slow movement help you regain your ability to breathe efficiently, your odd noises and movements will inspire laughter in your children, creating the illusion of fun.

Life hack win!

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…find lazy ways to interact with your children. They’ll appreciate your effort.

A don’t…eat their innocent flesh like a zombie would. Such would constitute child abuse.

Defeating Defeatism: Defeatist Attitudes and The Defeatist Attitudes Required to Defeat Them

I’ve often been guilty of courting a defeatist attitude. At times I take pleasure in shooting down every suggesting I’m given that may solve my problems. Ask my poor, frustrated mother. I’m likely the reason her esophagus has stopped working. Either she’s spent too much time trying to talk sense into me or she’s swallowed back so much irritation at my defeatism that it’s killed her throat’s will to help her stay alive by allowing her to efficiently swallow food. Sorry mom.

Anyway, I just realized that everything my mom told me is a lie. Perhaps this is the real reason for her esophageal failure. Her throat just couldn’t stand to pronounce anymore falsehoods. She has uttered such gems as “Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die.” Great mom! Let’s all be blind sheep, following a shepherd whether or not he or she has our own best interests at heart! Let’s jump off a cliff with all the rest of the bison. Let’s follow the rest of the cattle docilely into the slaughter house. Let’s question nothing and do as we’ve been instructed. Or how about, “Just eat those mashed potatoes that I spilled beet juice in. It all gets mixed up in your stomach anyway.” My stomach has no taste buds. Plus if it tastes bad going down, my stomach is less likely to digest it peacefully.

I’ve known these were lies for a while. Now I realize that her derision of defeatist attitudes is also founded on a falsehood. Of course, a defeatist attitude can be detrimental. I know firsthand how many opportunities can be missed if you refuse to take advantage of them out of fear or doubt. But without a defeatist attitude, how can you hope to defeat a defeatist attitude? You must have it in your mind to defeat your attitude if you wish to defeat it. This is by definition a defeatist attitude. So, if you can’t defeat defeatism without defeating it, isn’t there something to be said for defeatism?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…defeat your defeatism. With a defeatist attitude. I suppose once you’ve defeated it, you’ll have the practice you need to defeat other negative things. All thanks to a defeatist attitude.

A don’t…defeat your defeatism too soon. Without defeatism, we might as well be like my mother’s bison who fail to question why yet still do and, usually, still die.