Category Archives: Uncategorized

Totally It

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“If love is a burning thing,” I recommend a visit to the doctor.

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I got excited when I was invited to a photoshoot. Surprise ending: despite the name of the event, guns were NOT welcome.

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I thought he was crazy when he told me that all his bees had individual names. Then I realized that there was absolutely no way to confirm this to be true or not.

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My wife’s lipstick and mascara package stated that the makeup hadn’t been tested on animals. Can you imagine how ridiculous squirrels, monkeys, and rabbits would look with makeup?

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For people with snake phobias, don’t google “python climbing coconut tree” unless you want a fresh level of hell in your life. For people who know people with snake phobias, google it on the big screen in the living room.

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“Do you carry both salted and unsalted crayons?” is just weird enough of a question to confound anyone working retail.

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In a ritual only a cousin would understand, I bought a packet of beet seeds at Lowe’s and threw them in the trash.

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Concrete Wall and Cement Floor for Copy Space

The Procrastination Redux
(Also a good rule of thumb…)

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When someone says, “I’m all ears,” I immediately calculate the fact that they have 5.6 lbs of earwax if that were true.

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I’m stealing one of Linda’s ideas from “Better Off Ted.” I’m going to put a piece of tape on my rear end that reads: “If you’re reading this, you’re NOT being PROFESSIONAL.”

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“Let’s begin the charade!” – Evidently not something management encourages us to say at the beginning of each workday like a chanted mantra.

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It’s time to be insulted when you realize that people yelling at you to put a mask on are motivated by issues of beauty rather than public safety.

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The anger management counselor told me to walk a mile in her shoes. Size 7 didn’t teach me anything except I get blistered easily.

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I wrote a book of a compilation of typos. Now, I can’t read the title.

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I kidnapped Jim Gaffigan. I let him call the police. “Nice try, comedian,” they said, laughed, and hung up.

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When someone says, “I’m all ears,” I immediately calculate the fact that they have 5.6 lbs of earwax if that were true.

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“Sarge, what do we have here? You said it was a hostage situation.” The Lieutenant looked over at him as he spoke, while trying to find her binoculars.

“Yeah, he’s standing next to the window in there with a gun at his head,” Sarge said, as he pointed toward the house as the Lieutenant raised her binoculars.

“I only see one guy. Where are the hostages?”

“It’s just the one guy – but he has multiple personalities – and they didn’t do anything wrong.”

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I’ve always wanted to write a book titled “The Truth About Chickens” and have the marketing team make the book sound really ominous.

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In a peaceful world without violence and war, “Dueling Banjos” would be a song about consensual bro love in the woods.

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“Sling Blade: The Musical” would be awesome – especially if each audience member were given a lawn mower blade upon arrival.

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Worst Disney Movie Ever:

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If you need to subtly reduce the dining visits of your in-laws, one of the best ways is to leave the popular book, “7 Ways To Easily And Inconspicuously Incorporate Insects Into Your Meals” on your coffee table.

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“X, look at this!” My friend Carl was pointing to a turd near the fence. “This is the biggest turd I’ve ever seen! Do you know what this means?”I answered. “Yes, it means that I was wrong. Trump is the SECOND biggest turd in the United States.”

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I took an introductory course for becoming a police sketch artist. We worked with real-life people. I got kicked out because no matter what the victims told me, I drew the Chief of Police.

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Listen folks: if you’re going to kill someone, use a wooden stake. At least your defense attorney can use the “Vampire Defense.”

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I grilled a chicken really hard last night. But it gave me no information.

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I served pork chops and karate chops for supper. It’s a tough crowd at Casa X.

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Denial is the first sign of illness. That, and the fact that the doctor keeps staring at your wallet.

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“Tell me something that is reassuring, X,” he said.”Oh, that’s easy. About 6.5 million people in the United States currently walk around with an unruptured brain aneurysm.””What? That isn’t reassuring at all!” He seemed irritated. “Well, it reassures ME. Also, don’t think of it as 6.5 million people. Think of it as a 1 in 50 chance for you.”

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Fact: Jeffrey Dahmer’s favorite dessert was jerry cobbler.

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Sign Language captioning isn’t what it used to be. I turned it on to watch the news and it consisted only of a small, older lady.giving me the finger.

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Trial By Food Court

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“It’s called a Food “Court,” because if you eat at one, it feels like you’ve been to trial and sentenced to eat prison food.”  – X

It was once a thriving place, one that thousands of people a day visited. It’s heyday arrived before the virus. I rarely go there anymore. Looking at the bricks on the outside evokes a “Walking Dead” vibe that is difficult to shake.

Before entering, I noticed the mask signs everywhere. “We proudly require our employees to appropriately wear their masks at all times for your safety” indicated one such sign. I knew well that this couldn’t possibly be true. Even medical professionals start doing stupid things with their masks and protective gear if given enough time to get sloppy.

Like many places, this place added security to ensure that people coming in would wear their masks. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, such public places provide great and literal ‘security theater’ that you can watch from a casual distance. It always provides something to enjoy.

Before the anecdote to follow, I’d like to mention that I did my double-order maneuver. I chose the eatery at the food court and ordered. I stood to the side. Known for its very rapid service, I waited patiently for about five minutes. People picked up their orders. I began to notice that people who ordered after me were getting served. Still, I waited. After ten minutes, I walked up to the counter again. I ordered the same meal I already purchased and paid for. I paid for the second order, too.

As I finished, the cashier who helped me with my first order said, “Hey, did you get your order?” I leaned in and said, “No, so I gave up and just ordered again.” He looked confused. “And you paid again?” I nodded in affirmation. The other two people in front looked at me and then each other, knowing they’d messed fairly spectacularly. A whirlwind of activity then commenced, with each looking at the order-up screen, previous orders, etc. They decided that they’d given my order to another guest. The other guest had said nothing when given the extra order. All the possible guests guilty of such a thing were seated in the food court. I interceded: “While they should have said something, they are blameless. One of you combined the orders and handed it to them. It’s not their fault. I paid twice because I wasn’t upset. Mistakes happen. I don’t want a refund. Just give me my food. By the way, that’s why I call it the Double-Order-Maneuver.” Because this particular thing had obviously never happened to any of them, they were clueless about how to proceed. A minute later, the cashier handed me my bag. “Thanks, Fred,” he said. “My name isn’t Fred. I used a fake name when I order in these places to cut down on communication problems. Obviously, I need to reconsider that tactic. Y’all have a good day and don’t worry about all this.”

I imagine someone had to figure out a way to explain to the manager that a customer gladly paid for the same meal twice.

I sat at a table for two in the food court, watching. There were more people than one would imagine. Several of the eateries in the food court were closed, with a couple barricades permanently. Covid keeps pounding coffin nails into the ones that attempt to survive there.

The kiosk of gumball machines sat forlornly to one side, it’s inventory inaccessible due to the ropes and tape. The piano, once attended by a cheesy but talented pianist, sat covered and forgotten.

A security guard and cleaning tech walked past me on my right. The cleaning tech was furiously gossiping to the security guard, who walked a foot away from her, leaning toward her to catch each word. The cleaning tech’s mask was already below her nose. As they stopped to wipe a table, the cleaning tech pulled her mask down to her chin. Though it seems like an exaggeration, I could see the spittle from her mouth arcing toward the female security guard.

People walked past. The two moved around, still standing close to one another. Whatever vexed the cleaning tech must have been very important. As I was about to circumspectly snap a picture, they moved to another table. The tech angrily pointed at a dropped straw wrapper as she snatched it. I took a picture anyway.

I took out my marker and wrote on a napkin, “Having a mask below your nose, much less below your mouth, is like having no mask at all.” I laid the napkin in the center of the table as I collected my trash. Doubling back, I walked the long way around the food court. By then, two more security people walked up and joined the two gossipers. Another food service worker joined them. Three of them had their masks on incorrectly. I took a picture of the group as they moved along. I noticed a few people were looking at the group with differing amounts of “What are you doing?” written on their faces.

I stood on the other side of a kiosk in the middle of the indoor hallway, watching. In less than a minute, the original security guard and the cleaning tech made their way back to my table. The security guard leaned over and read what I inscribed on the napkin. Her head snapped immediately back up, scanning around her. She then looked incredulously at the cleaning tech next to her, who still had her mask down. I didn’t need to know what was said. The body language might as well have been expressed using nautical flags.

I burst out laughing at the over-reaction. Instinctively, I moved all the way around the kiosk.

I waited fifteen seconds and when I emerged on the opposite side, the female security guard clutched my napkin. Her frenzied gait communicated that she was about to catch the other loitering security people and show them the napkin.

Her time would have been better served to tell the cleaning tech and her fellow security guards to stop walking around without their masks on their faces. This is especially true since it is the essential function of their presence. Barney Fife could keep the potential mayhem at bay without assistance; no one needs multiple security guards milling around asking for trouble.

The security guard pulled her mask completely down as she aggressively explained that someone had left an unwelcome napkin on the table. Naturally, the other guard pulled his mask down, too, possibly in an effort to hear better. It’s a common and stupid tactic that many of us are guilty of when wearing a mask for long periods. (Like we do when we turn down the radio when we’re driving and looking for something.)

In a move that should be noted for posterity, a man standing with the other two guards leaned over and read the napkin. Although I couldn’t hear what he said, he pointed at each of the guard’s faces, then up, then around. I’m sure he was mentioning cameras and people watching. As if on cue, both guards grabbed their masks and yanked them up above their noses.

The original security guard said something angry and crumpled the napkin in disgust.

I laughed again. She crumpled the napkin so theatrically that I couldn’t help myself.

While no one looked toward me, at that point I didn’t care. What were they going to accuse me of? Writing truths on a napkin?

 

 

How Long Is A Piece Of String?

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A lot of thought and solutions are ridiculous. I sometimes get caught up in either the details or see the issue from too far away, so much so that complexity becomes obvious simplicity. In my case, though, I’m not in charge and not being paid to weigh the complexities of moving social issues.

It’s possible to give a completely accurate answer to a question – and sometimes such an answer follows a logical route. It might still avoid addressing the fundamental question, though.

During this pandemic, I encounter several such scenarios on a daily basis. When well-meaning people are involved, it isn’t difficult to point out that the objective and the solution aren’t compatible. With authoritarian or toxic people, we get bogged down into sublimely ridiculous situations, like a Seinfeld episode written by sociopaths.

This pandemic has consistently beaten into my head that adults are not in charge and the ones who make many of the decisions are winging it, often for personal gain.

Completely random and incompatible directives and rules are issued. We collectively scratch our heads, trying to figure out the objective to determine whether the rule is a 10mph speed limit sign on a 6-lane highway at noon on a summer day. Eventually, someone will insist on clarification. Inevitably, we regret it because we’ll get an inscrutable non-answer that helps no one. This leads many people to choose malicious compliance or to continue to do whatever they want to.

Years ago, someone hit me with the riddle of “How long is a rope?”

Given no more information, I surrendered and said insufficient information was provided.

I knew it was going to be a trick answer. The smug look of victory on the guy’s face asking me was evidence of it.

“It’s twice the length from the middle,” he replied. “Gotcha!” He proclaimed.

“Does a fart smell or stink?” I asked him, as I walked away. Because I gave him the same condescending and smug look as he gave me, the question tortured him for a day.

Which leads me to the look of confusion on an expert’s face today. He gave me a stupid non-answer. I immediately reverted to my tried-and-true, “Does a fart smell or does it stink?” I bowed and walked away.

Nothing New

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*I’m going to name my new insurance business “Asterisks,” because then everyone will read the fine print on my signs, no matter how small.
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Note: this post started with an * because there is a business named Asterisk.

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I decided to do an OnlyFans account which features me wearing a variety of sundresses. So far, 328 people have paid me NOT to do it. For my part-time job, I’m going to be a lounge singer, hopefully with similar results. Lack of talent, ambition, and looks sometimes pays.

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“She said she was going to slip into something more comfortable. Little did I know it was a coma…” – X

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Two things:
First, it’s a sublime thing to go to Tractor Supply to get an ax. Social distancing suddenly isn’t a problem.

Second, I changed my brake light and discovered that my car has an external trunk latch.

Anyone tempted to mock me for admitting my ignorance should review point #1.

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…Wouldn’t it be better if microwaves counted down like a bomb timer on a tv show? And in 1 in 25,000 uses, a huge plume of smoke would emit from a secret slot at the top?

If you stand in the bathroom with the lights off and say “Michael Jackson” eleven times, you have a LOT of patience for delayed results.

Have you ever been in a room with zero doors?
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…A bolt of lightning contains enough energy to toast 100,000 slices of bread, but evidently not enough to give a teenager enough willpower to pick up all his towels.

You can hear a blue whale’s heartbeat from two miles away and smell whether everyone’s bathed from the same distance.

The inventor of the frisbee was turned into a frisbee after he died. As for the inventor of the boomerang, he hasn’t gotten back to us yet.

Instead of saying “cheese” before taking a picture, Victorians said “prunes.” Smiling for photos was frowned upon. Note: that last bit was a joke that you probably missed.

Useful bit: cold water cleans as effectively as hot in the laundry with modern detergent. 75% of the energy used in a modern washer is from the heat of the water rather than the mechanics. Almost no one believes this, even those who attend Bigfoot Is Real conferences and people who think Beth didn’t make a million dollars from the Cadbury Egg marketing.

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“How long are you going to spend NOT making supper?” This seems like it might be something to avoid saying inside the house.
(From the book, “Conway Wisdom”)

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*If you want to feel like life is too short and flying by, go through the Whataburger Drive-Thru while on hold with Walmart Customer Service.

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I watched the most recent remake of “The Invisible Man.” For jumps, it was well worth watching. I couldn’t be an invisible man. At my age and given both my fiber and probiotic intake, they’d hear me from 20 feet.

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34,000,000 Americans smoke. That’s not statistical data. It’s how many people I counted outside the Dollar General today.

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I thought my sister-in-law Darla was outside. My bad. Someone was using a blower on the sidewalk.

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Fall. Boom. Ouch. The new single by Luke Bryan, geared to older fans.

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Weird that people give noise warnings. My Mom could produce 120dB just griping.

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From my book of inscrutable text humor…

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You’re right, he was a real heart-braker.
And no, I didn’t misspell that.

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“Springdale Gives Away 10,000 Masks,” said the headline. The 50 people who wear them in Springdale will be very appreciative.

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I laid awake last night, my mind racing with this question: how many vampires confusedly and excitedly signed up to work for Bite Squad?

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If the United States is the world’s Florida, then Arkansas is Daytona Beach at 1 a.m. – and Springdale is the urinal closest to the men’s room door at Margaritaville Resort.

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I’ve never been in favor of the death penalty – then I found out he was rooting for the preacher in Footloose.

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In my remake of Dirty Dancing, as Baby runs to jump into Johnny Castle’s upraised arms, he’ll bend over to tie his shoe as she crashes over him. It’ll be the romantic comedy all craven-hearted men will applaud.

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Getting old and losing one’s hearing causes awkward situations. When management announced the “New Mascara Policy,” I wore my heaviest shade. Bedroom eyes result in weird meetings. But I got two phone numbers from Steve and Bill.

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I read an amusing thing today. Someone speculated that people living in the “A Quiet Place” universe probably died violently and needlessly while complaining that being quiet violated their rights. I think the fictional invisible killer has a lot in common with our current situation.

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Practical adult wisdom: Don’t swim in a sea of despair; the lake of misery is a shorter drive.

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For reasons I don’t understand, church membership dropped significantly after the installation of the new Baptismal Diving Board.

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From my book of snark. I left the comment up briefly. After investigating the commenter’s social media profile, I felt bad, as he fell somewhere on the preliterate end of the spectrum. I removed the comment due to a suspicion that the person commenting wouldn’t appreciate the barb of humor – and that the person posting might regard it as hostile. What might have been…

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“Noah get the boat” is a phrase that somehow escaped me until today. I’m going to use it often from now on.

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“They were trained to spot stupidity by looking into the mirror.” I scrawled this recently somewhere and I am still amused greatly by my own wit. I probably should not have used my permanent marker to immortalize it, though.

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I thought my sister-in-law Darla was outside. My bad. Someone was using a blower on the sidewalk.

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Premonition

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Earlier, the sky opened momentarily and dropped a few minutes of light rain. Given that the temperature was hovering at ninety, the humidity increased. Despite being fatigued from work, I stopped and picked up a few things at Lowes. Yesterday, the heavy rain prevented me from going outside. The truth is that I could barely move by the time I finished work. As I exited the store on the way home, the rain drenched me with its pendulous drops.

Today, I went out in the backyard, working on my infinite project. I painted a few stepping stones and reseated a few others. While I was on my hands and knees trying to position other heavy stones for the planter, I smelled the intense and overwhelming odor or tires that have skidded on pavement for several seconds. When I looked up at the dark sky, I heard someone shout. In my mind, I saw someone being sideswiped by another driver who had fallen asleep. The smell of burned tires persisted for another couple of seconds.

Whether I experienced a strange and momentary daydream or something else, I’m not sure. I’m not superstitious, though. I finished working outside and came inside and took a shower as cold as the water would go. When I passed through the living room, I saw my copy of the “The Stand” on the little table by the couch. For a brief second, the smell of burning tires hit me again.

Maybe I need to stay out of the heat or perhaps I should stop drinking so much diet tonic water. Whatever the daydream or hallucination was, it is thankfully receding, like a dream that won’t let go.

 

The Never-Ending Yard Project

 

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Using only hand tools, I cut down several trailers of trees, brush, and nonsense the neighbor behind me allowed to encroach. I paid a nice Latinx gentleman I found on social media to haul the mess away. He, among several others, said he’d throw it all over the fence if it was his property. Despite making a living off doing such jobs, he told me he is constantly annoyed by how many people leave it to others to clean up their messes.

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The above two pictures of the back fence ‘before’ actually look better than they should. The condition we received the property was actually much worse. These are after I did a considerable amount of cleaning, cutting, and hauling. That’s a shame, considering none of the mess belonged to me. It’s typical for many areas of Springdale, though.

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The above two accurately represent the way I received the property, despite what the builder promised. The City of Springdale doesn’t really do much to property owners who fail to maintain their lots, even when utility access is involved. That’s a great thing if you’re accustomed to living in an unkempt jungle but not so joyous if you’re trying to enjoy what you have. It was this way at my last house on Cottonwood. We paid several thousand dollars to improve it, especially so for those who don’t maintain their property.

The ax I bought recently at Tractor Supply nearly took my head off. I have one remaining stump along the slovenly neighbor’s back fence. Because I wanted to make a sunflower box in that area, I have been waging war with the stump a little bit each day. It’s winning but I’m incrementally reducing its width, depth, and strength. I was counting down the number of swings I’d give it that afternoon. When I reached the penultimate swing, the ax split and the head surprisingly came up several feet. I’d like to say I dodged it. However, it was over before I realized what happened. (Which is often true in life as well.)

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The next day, I decided to put the sunflower box almost all the way to the left end of the back fence instead of waiting to buy another ax or stick of dynamite to eradicate the stump. I did buy another ax yesterday, though, one that is almost unbreakable. We’ll see if that holds true. I’m still surprised that I was using enough force to break a rugged ax like the one I bought at Tractor Supply.

This morning was cool and windy. Unlike most days, I didn’t go out until after 7. Despite the haze of the Sahara dust, I spent a few hours adding more 12 x 12 painted stepping stones, installing a whiskey barrel planter for daisies, another birdhouse, as well as a couple of other miscellaneous things. I also climbed up to one of the previous birdhouses and stuck a finger inside. The nest therein felt a bit odd to my finger. I didn’t fall off the ladder, though.

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My cat Güino enjoys sitting in the kitchen window, both to watch me as I continue to add things to the back yard, as well as to twitch at the dozens of birds and squirrels that now visit us daily.

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Though the above picture is from a previous stage of my project, the top arrow indicates the picnic table feeder that the squirrels love sitting on. The bottom arrow points to a bird caught in the picture as I snapped it. I’ve discovered that there are unobserved animals in several of my pictures. No Sasquatch or Godzilla appearances yet, though.

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A closer view of the picnic table feeder. I used a horizontal board to allow me to screw the table to the 4 x 4 post in more than one location. I’m not a fan of the ornate birdhouse on top of the blue pole. My wife took this picture this morning and cropped it. We throw a combination of shelled bird peanuts and human peanuts out, as well as putting them in the picnic table feeder.

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The above picture shows the whiskey barrel crate planter on the right, as well as few more stepping stones I placed going left to right. We discovered that a couple of the squirrels sometimes dangle upside down from the upper board to drink from the birdbath.

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Normally, I’d say I’m not a fan of these kinds of planters. My wife got it, so I decided I’d better find a place for it. I put a decent amount of lava rock in the bottom to both reduce the weight and the amount of soil needed to fill it.

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From the back left corner of my yard. I took this picture after a great deal of cleanup on my part, especially removing the horrible barbed wire and chainlink that languished there for a couple of decades.

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Another picture from when I had initially started adding color to the yard.

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Another one from when I barely started.

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This little bird flew into the window one morning. I coaxed him back around the house and finally up to the top of the fence. He finally flew into the safety of the trees, but inexpertly, like an over-sized plane struggling to get aloft.

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I bought an orb for my wife. The cat watched in amazement as it transitioned through the colors.

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The hibiscus has done well. Dawn was reluctant to spend so much on something for a plant. It’s flourished, though, and blossomed at least once a day since we repotted it.

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Coming home this afternoon, I put the components of a gag gift on the bed. He pounced on it, preventing me from assembling the gift box. I could have used the rubber mallet on him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Condition

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Not all my posts make me look good. Here’s one…

I was driving on Crossover, on my way to Lowes to purchase completely pointless items, not too far from the marijuana farm. Some people call it “The Botanical Gardens,” but that is EXACTLY the type of fake name a weed farm would use, isn’t it?

I suddenly had to brake harshly to avoid hitting someone who failed to stop while approaching the main road. Because I was unsure I wouldn’t hit them as they entered the road without stopping, I veered to the left slightly. I don’t always do the ‘veer’ thing if I’m in my Ford Focus. It’s led to meeting some interesting people. It’s hard to say “Hello” when the air is filled with screeching brakes and shouting drivers.

A honk startled me. A white van had swerved to the further left to avoid hitting me from behind. I slowed and pulled over for a second. The white van with an interesting business logo on the side pulled ahead in front of me on the shoulder. I was expecting a giant, angry redneck to emerge. Instead, a woman about my age exited the van and stood about ten feet away from the front of my car. People don’t exit their vehicles unless they are very angry, have bees chasing them, or are in the vehicle with more than one teenager.

“What’s wrong with you?” She asked.

Given that she probably didn’t connect the car running through a stop sign and entering the road in front of me to my swerve, I knew it was pointless. I assumed she was crazy, anyway.

“I have a medical condition! You should be ashamed of yourself” I shouted at her.

“Oh! I’m sorry. What’s wrong with you?”

“Stupidity!” I yelled back at her.

Expecting a tirade or curse, I was surprised when she turned and went back to her van, got in, and drove away. She didn’t even give me a laugh.

I was proud of my impromptu answer.

It is possible to live 20 years without coming up with a rapid-fire quip that both delights and defuses the situation.

PSA For Today, You Say?

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Note: I’m using PSA in this post to indicate “Public Service Announcement,” rather than “Prostate-Specific Antigen.” If you googled that and ended up here accidentally, you are really going to be disappointed.

I have two pieces of actually useful advice today.

First, don’t spit on the carpet, even if it is on fire. And even if you live in a trailer. And it is rented. (Unless you have a double first name.)

Second, almost all Facebook accounts that get cloned are because the victim has his or her friends list visible. There is no viable reason to have your settings permit other people to see your friends list. This is doubly true for women and those who are prone to buying things “As Seen On TV.” If you’re unsure if you are one of those two categories, look at your left foot. Not because it will help resolve your doubt, but because you listen to directions.

Today, I accepted a friend request from just such a cloner/hacker. The person attempted to get me to take the bait regarding the 2020 MUSL grant. I assume that’s something I’m dying to get in on the ground floor. Naturally, I wrote them an increasingly bizarre cascade of replies.

I’m certain that by the time the person read them all, they themselves had become MY victim.

I have two-factor authentication turned on. And I changed my password from ‘password1’ to ‘passwrod1.’ They’ll never figure it out!

This PSA brought to you by Asa Hutchinson’s gardener.

Apple Strudel Monsoon

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I started with the best of intentions: I stopped at Aldi to buy my mother-in-law another loaf of Apple Strudel Breakfast Bread. I first bought it for her as a whim. As such things go, the bread is pretty fabulous. It is with a begrudging spirit that I give any compliments to Aldi. I’m still very cautious about what I buy there. I will admit, however, that they offer a few things that aren’t available in other places. (Other than typhoid and a persistent rash, I mean.) I blame my friend Marjay for reminding me of Aldi. She shared a social media post yesterday about the dynamics of returning one’s cart.

Given that my job has a work limit allegedly due to the COVID crisis, I ran from my job with glee a little while ago. I should have paid more attention to the forecast. If not the forecast, I should have looked behind me as I drove across Springdale. There was a massive dark cell approaching. Had I noticed it, I would have driven directly home. I definitely would not have parked at the furthest part of the lot, either, something I almost always do when the executive committee chairwoman isn’t with me. (That would be my wife.)

I entered Aldi’s to buy three or four things besides the aforementioned delicious Apple Strudel bread. I ended up with a couple of dozen items and had to retrieve a shopping cart to carry them. It was at that point I noted the massive black wall almost on top of the store. Ignoring my instincts, I put my items in the cart and finished shopping. By the time the helpful cashier was throwing my items in my cart like it was an Olympic qualifying event, we could see the sheets of rain, as well as hear them strike the store’s roof.

I bought some bags, piled my stuff in them, and waited by the long window at the front of the store. My three or four items had blossomed into three large bags of food. Anyone looking at me would have thought I might be a huge fan of Aldi. It was a strange coincidence that today was my biggest Aldi haul in years.

There were several customers congregated along the bank of windows, all staring at the massive storm that greeted us. One woman with a full cart didn’t hesitate. She walked into the rain without wincing, unloaded her cart, and walked back to the front to return it to the corral. She resembled an otter that had just emerged from an overflowing creek. I’m assuming she is the mother of several children; only such unavoidable training could result in that kind of resigned demeanor. Additionally, she owned a minivan. It’s common knowledge that driving a minivan is tantamount to tacit approval to get drenched while doing the weekly shopping.

We watched one brave soul exit Aldi with a bag of groceries. In horror, we watched as he ran across 412. Anyone familiar with the danger would understand. Running across through rain so thick we could barely see across the street was an added element of lunacy.

After several minutes, I decided that the storm wasn’t going to abate. Pushing my cart ahead of me, I exited. As I crossed the main door, an unattended cart rolled by at a very fast speed, heading across the lot and destined to crush someone’s car. An employee cursed and then darted to get it. He was drenched by the time he came back. I half-ran, knowing it was futile. The sheets of rain hit me and surprised me by how cold it was.

At this point, I’d like to mention I hadn’t done my work laundry in a few days. As a result, I wore a pair of my old pants, ones with a much larger stretchy waste. I used my belt to tighten it drastically while I worked. Even so, my pants threatened to drop once or twice.

Because of the heavy rain, my pants drooped as I shuffled across the parking lot. As I half-ran, my pants, belt and all, slipped down past my gray underwear. I didn’t hear a round of applause from any of those employees or customers hiding from the rain at the front of the store. I stopped and got my pants to stay more or less and up and continued on to the car.

I crossed a river between the last rows of cars. The water reached my ankles as I crossed. As I opened the rear door of my car, I realized at the last second that the paper bags had become ornamental at that point. By sheer luck, I didn’t drop any of my groceries. I picked the other bags up like cannonballs and dropped them in the back.

Because why not, I walked my cart back up to the store. I told the employee, “My pants fell off on the way. My apologies for the unsolicited reminder to always wear underwear.”

Driving across Springdale on 412 was another adventure. Several vehicles decided to avoid the overflowing storm drains along the edge by driving in both lanes. I didn’t witness any accidents. While driving, I could feel the water puddling in my seat and on the floor.

When I arrived home, my wife had opened the garage door for me. I don’t park in the garage. I had to carry each of the three soaked bags to the inside of the garage one at a time, placing them on the concrete near the inner door. The rain was cascading across the roof of the car and hitting me in the face each time I opened the car door. Afterward, I wasn’t sure the garage door would close against the wind gusts and blowing rain. I had to strip out of my clothes while standing in the garage, surrounded by my valuable groceries.

Note: despite what you’d think, it is not romantic or sexy to watch your drenched husband bring in the groceries. I base this knowledge on the rapidity with which my wife exited the scene.

I could feel the loaf of Apple Strudel bread chuckling at me while I did. “Was I worth all that,” I’m sure it was asking me.

The cat’s been staring at the dryer strangely ever since I put my soaked shoes in there. He was so startled earlier when the shoes knocked the dryer door open that he bolted across the narrow entrance hallway at supersonic speed, smashing directly into the wall. His only comment was a strange, “Meowwwwwww,” even as he weirdly plopped down on the floor.

I can identify with the cat. Whether my greater error was in going to Aldi or doing so during a monsoon is up to you to decide.

 

 

 

Social Media Avatars

*At the risk of being shot, this is tongue-in-cheek.

I woke up this morning to a flood of avatars on Facebook.

Some are great, some are humorous, some are realistic. Some, however, are as far from reality as an alligator playing banjo on Mars.

As someone who has done a lot of photoshop or alternate pictures for years, I knew the day would arrive when Facebook would drop a bomb of avatars to its site. It was inevitable.

We’ve endured the misuse of softening filters for a couple of years. They have their place. Mostly, though, they obscure reality. It can cause grief when people use them and don’t realize they look a bit ‘off’ when using them. We have to pretend their baby isn’t hideous, so to speak, even as we wonder whether they’ll win the Halloween costume contest without the use of a mask.

Maybe I’m being judgmental. I love pictures – and I’ll take them any way I can get them.

The avatar fad that just exploded onto Facebook is a good thing overall. Anything that distracts people with a bit of fun or interest can’t be a bad thing.

It’s just that we all collectively share the same observations when people aren’t being realistic. If my avatar isn’t balding or fails to have a gut, it’s not realistic. It’s true I could simply use a Danny Devito gif to represent me, but that leaves him without a good one to use for himself.

Song: Do You Want To Date My Avatar?

The above song is old by modern standards. It did, however, predict the rise of avatars.

Because I knew she’d like it, I made a png cutout of her avatar so that it would include a bulldog, a symbol that best represents what she’s all about.

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To be an idiot, I made a George Clooney png avatar for myself. When people compare me to others, George Clooney is somewhere around the 5,000,000,000 mark on the list of my possible doppelgangers.

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Now that I’ve contradicted myself, I have to go make a mass of crazy avatars and pictures for other people. Some will challenge their notions of reality.