Category Archives: Whimsical

Because You Needed 16 of Them

Idle pondering…

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Here at “You’re Wrong, Inc.” we value your opinion, no matter stupidly misguided it is. We say this because you’re wrong. Don’t take it personally. It’s okay to be wrong. (PS: I’m the president of the company, given my long history with the product we sell. 🙂 )

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“You know you’re too big when you’re the only one in the picture and the newspaper labels it as a group photo.” – X

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Get out and talk a walk. It’s psycho-logical for you to do so.

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Of all the things, all were actually just moments, noticed or ignored.

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A llama appears at a microphone in the middle of the street. What song might it sing – if it could? If you can’t imagine such a scenario, please call 1-800-LLAMAME.

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Love isn’t a clean white t-shirt and chiseled chin; it’s laundry when you would rather pull your own teeth with a broken corkscrew.

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I knew he was mean but was uncertain as to what degree until he insisted on volunteering exclusively at Habitat For Inhumanity.

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English: learn these 743 rules. Spanish: learn these 75 rules, all without losing any of the majesty of language.

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I couldn’t quite get a grip on it, either.

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Local police departments post crazy photos of blurry perpetrators, asking for tips. Tip #1: Impressionist art is for the wall at the gallery.

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For anyone who enjoys a glass of water, half-full. 🙂

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Wrinkled Plans

I continue to be surprised at my connection to pictures, even if they were taken 50 or 100 years ago. Looking at this happy baby, knowing that these same eyes have now witnessed almost 80 years in this fascinating world, somehow still convinces me that it’s all an illusion. (PS: It’s always an honor to be trusted to preserve a family’s pictures.)

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“I ain’t saying he’s an ass, but instead of wearing underwear he wears toilet seat covers.” -X

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The photo below is photoshopped, but it served its purpose: to confuse people and convince them that the entire picture on the left was real.

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It doesn’t matter if I get credit for an idea: people remember the bumper sticker – not the driver.

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Pessimist or realist: “Money and a stronger economy weaken racism. Take away the smooth sailing, though, and the people who were in the boat first start looking sideways at your skin color. Even if they stole the boat, you’re going to find yourself in the water.”

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A message in Spanish…

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A is for apple, J is for Jack, cinnamon-toasty kiss my ass.

(The first line of a soon-to-be-released hit song OR a breakfast cereal for the older folks.) – X

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“I loved not seeing you yesterday,” she said.

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A picture from when I stayed at the White House and met tiny Mike Pence. (This picture has a couple of dozen hidden modifications.) I really was wearing that flowery bathrobe back in the day – it was my favorite.

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Sylvester Stallone has agreed to another”Rocky” sequel. Given his age he’s to play an aging philosophy professor fighting misconceptions about life. Working title: “The Why Of The Tiger. ”

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I had just fed the birds and sat down across from my meanest, ugliest co-worker. 🙂 From nowhere we hear a crescendo of chirping. A little fat baby bird was hopping toward us. Steve reached down and the bird hopped to his hand and sat, chirping. Steve fed him bread morsels for several minutes. What an unusual and satisfying experience.

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Leave Souvenirs At Your Friend’s House…

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It’s what friends do…

Quite a while ago, I survived an experience at Whataburger. As a gift, I got this table service # sign card, one with the #13 on it. It has impatiently witnessed my living room ever since, waiting for the perfect home to live out its life, its orangeness daring me to find a better home.

Today, Dawn and I went to visit some friends, people who have a more traditional taste in décor. While no one was looking, I furtively placed the table card in their great room, on the mantle. It might as well have been a headless giraffe, given how incongruous it is against the backdrop of their house.

I almost shed a tear as I departed without my invaluable Whataburger table sign…

Until I laughed, thinking about the confusion this thing will occasion once my friends notice the craziness in their great room. I’m hoping they don’t notice for a week or two – or that someone else sees it before they do.

The Whataburger Bandit strikes again. You’re welcome, world.

This Post is Good Enough

It doesn’t matter if I get credit for an idea: people remember the bumper sticker – not the driver.

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If I take up cattle farming I will not allow books in the fields. Doctors tell us to avoid read meat.

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I made the above picture for a friend for amusement. He wasn’t naked in the original picture, of course. 🙂

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Technology is everywhere – but not always the best option. Just the other day I saw an assassin trying to use a wireless garrote.

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I finally snapped a picture of the never-before-seen “Holy Cow!”

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There’s nothing better than an early Saturday stroll, accompanied by the sounds of chirping birds and Godzilla, out for vengeance.

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I wrote a hit song. The more it’s played, the more I get hit.

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I saw an ad on Facebook for “Maternity Pictures” and was confused until I realized that the photographer only does them postpartum.

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“I saw that Florida passed an anti-science bill but noted that none of the lawmakers were standing on an anti-gravity floor”

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Jason Rapert is now trying to outlaw certain punctuation marks, saying, “Even the period is an assault on our decency.”

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The entire day needs more cowbell.

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As many of you know, I’ve been making cards for Hallmark’s new division of occasion cards. If you use one of these new cards and wait long enough, the recipient will never guess who sent it. Additionally, it is also fun to send two friends or family the same card, using each other’s return address. They’ll think they are thanking one another – and if they are old enough, they’ll be in perpetual doubt. You’ll thank me, later, even if you don’t remember what for.

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For Sale By Groaner.

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Wistful List

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Listen, I don’t know why they call them ‘flights’ of stairs because I sure as heck am not doing any flying as I go up.

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If I had to describe that guy’s face in 4 words, it would be, “It’s a publicity stunt.”

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From the book of quotes, “Said No One Ever…”

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Instead of a driving test, I wish we could make everyone write an essay, using complete sentences and basic logic, about any topic of their choosing.

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Honestly, I think kids are more afraid of being sent to Mathghanistan.

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Even more important than ‘Dry Counties,’ Arkansas definitely needs some ‘Silent Counties,’ too.

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The problem with “Shark Tank” and things like it is the presumption that prevailing wisdom has much to do with future trends. Most shocking innovations came from the ether, usually at the expense of the inventor’s sanity or financial safety. It’s why I don’t listen too much to the white-haired folk as they predict what’s to come. The truly inspirational will arise from the minds of the young people, the ones so often mocked for their alleged lack of ingenuity. Throughout history, most of the triumphant discoveries have been made by those without lengthy credentials, as their predecessors scoff and hover over their shoulders.

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It’s amazing how a day can go from “incredible” to “Jason Rapert” in the blink of an eye.

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For the discerning country boy, the one who needs a quality imaging device for his workstation…

Introducing, the Lynyrd Scannyr.

Soon to be featured on “Amazon’s Most Amazing Products,” assuming you’re done groaning by then.

(Aside from my awesome invention, above, a fact that is 100% true: one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original names was “The 1%,” a name which would be the curse of death for any group attempting popularity with its target audience today.)

 

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“The shadow knows…”

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“For 8 years a black man endured scrutiny without scandal. Now it’s time for an orange one to tweet himself into retirement.” -x

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“The failure of exhorting people to do good is that almost no one recognizes fully their own capacity to do harm.” – X

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I heard Tom Cotton got to write a Foreword for Jane Chancy’s new book, “The Easy Path To Living Compassion.” It seemed like a great idea until I read what he wrote for the author: “Your problems aren’t real.” I give him points for clarity, at least.

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I don’t have the original version of this story. I once told it as part of a class and I half-expected tomatoes to pummel me. Luckily for me, no one knew for certain what “pummel” meant anymore. (Or carry whole tomatoes with them, either.)

As with the TV show “Fargo,” this story is true, with the names of the guilty changed. Let this story serve as a warning to those who feel like they should do exactly as they are told and to those in charge who limit critical thinking in service to fearful obedience.

A middle-aged man fell to his death from the 5th floor suite at a local tourist hotel. Whether he had been thrown in a fit of passionate rage or had jumped due to a lack of clean towels in his room was yet to be determined. Gravity wasn’t to blame, which meant that most likely a person was.

Captain Morelli got the supervisory call, as he was assigned the next reported death. He was known as a spit-and-polish stickler for detail, demanding that not only should every “t” be crossed, but that it be done left-to-right every time. He had been known to pull his revolver even while swearing an oath, just to be sure that everyone knew they were dealing with a serious officer.

As soon as Captain Morelli arrived on scene, he demanded that Officer Thomas and Officer Smith, the 2 patrol policemen who had answered the 911 call and arrived first, figure out exactly how the deceased fell into that position.

Just as Morelli began to shout additional directions, there was another reported death, so he had to leave the officers to do their work until the rest of the forensic team followed up.

“Figure out exactly how he fell like that!” Morelli shouted to the two cowering officers before he departed the scene, pointing in the direction of the now-outlined body on the pavement.

About 20 minutes later, Captain Morelli’s walkie-talkie began crackling: “Sir, you need to get back here to the falling death scene.”

“What now?” Morelli cursed as he jumped into his car to drive back to the hotel.

Just as he pulled up, he could see what the problem was. Officers Thomas and Smith were swinging the victim’s body back and forth up on the 5th floor. Before he had time to scream “STOP!” the officers had hurled the body across the low railing and onto the parking lot several stories below, missing the original body outline by several feet.

“What the F are you two idiots doing!” Captain Morelli screamed upward, startling the two officers who were watching the body plummet from the upper balcony.

Scared, yet knowing Morelli was going to demand answers, Officer Smith leaned over and hollered, “We couldn’t get the body to fall into position the first 3 times we did it.”

Mismatched Fingers of Color and Delight

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People are craving the weird and eccentric, even when they may not even know it. Sure, we like pants whose legs are both the same length and houses painted more or less one color – and even food that bears some resemblance to its assigned name. As for me, I’d prefer to live in a world of spilled paint, one adorned with mismatched clothing and polychromatic houses spelling doom for a bored eye. It would be a carpenter’s dream to build in such a world. (But a carpet installer’s nightmare.)

Being around people, though, demonstrates that their eyes are drawn to those things less expected and strange. They may behave differently about it if they feel they are being observed, but the fascination with the novel is undeniable. Given a way to stop and look at something, they usually will, provided life gives them a moment to do so. Too much of our daily life is devoted to cursory swipe-left or swipe-right stimulus, rapid judgments without careful insight. It’s true that we tend to enjoy the feeling or familiarity. I’m not arguing specifically against that tendency, but instead am pointing out that if given a chance, people will frequently step off the known path for a weird stroll. The more they choose to do so, the less appeal the black and white world holds for them.

This week, I had the opportunity to watch and listen to a multitude of voices. When given the chance, I would sit and draw strange things. Some years, I’ve done 20+ feet of artwork along the paper-laden tables in the common areas where people congregate. All of the writing and drawing occurs where people constantly pass by, most taking at least a stolen look at whatever I’m doing. Some projects go quickly, whereas others take hours.

People stop and comment, most of them engaging with humor and relatively striking admissions about art, their lives, or how they wish they were more creative or able to do whimsical things. This week, several asked me if I were an art teacher, a writer, or something impossible to guess; I take these wrong guesses as high praise. We all need a plumber when the tides rise, so to speak, but it is the unseen and shared je ne sais quoi underlying our motivations that truly make the extra step worthwhile.

The passersby perhaps think they are observing me; however, I’m certain I’m getting more from the interaction than they are. The “What in the heck….?” type of reaction never fails to amuse me. I suppose that some expect me to be engrossed in drawing something pragmatic, such as a large intestine with vascular indicators – or a boat sailing along a riverbank filled with somersaulting otters.

One of the teachers who expressed interest in what I was doing asked me, “How do you get the detail so exact?” Her question puzzled me, so I asked in return, “Why do you think I had a vision in mind? Life doesn’t work that way – and even when it does, everything changes once we’re halfway through.” She laughed, “It seems like you were just waiting for me to ask something like that.”

Several people shared their stories with me, while others told me about things which sprang to their minds when watching me draw. All of them had something interesting to say, something which was already perched inside of them, waiting to stretch out into the world.

For those trying to make sense of what I was drawing, I would offer a spontaneous interpretation for each, with my goal being to devise a new explanation for each person asking.

The scale of the picture is much larger than you would imagine: the paper stretched across a full-size cafeteria table. I couldn’t take a picture of it unless I had dangled by a harness from the ceiling. Given that I’m three times the girth of Tom Cruise, I opted to avoid buying the school a new ceiling. This time, instead of leaving all of my work for the puzzled maintenance staff, I cut one piece of it off and brought it home. One person insisted on writing a compliment to the artist, so I brought that, too.

Most years, I leave the tables intact, with whatever I’ve created upon them. No matter how diligently you work, even on a whim, you simply are going to get up from the table one day, without even a glance behind you, and leave this world. Some of us will lament, “Not enough time!” while others will just shrug their shoulders and admit, “I didn’t make enough time.”

I’m hoping that you have color-stained fingers and a mind stuffed to the rafters with strange ideas when it’s your turn to go. You have permission to lead a normal, unflinching life, but it’s possible to lead a normal life and still have your hair full of crazy straws and pockets filled with half-scribbled notes to yourself.

I learned a lot this week, as I always do. I met new friends and shared outrageous jokes. However life is measured, my mind grew a bit, which is more than many days offer.

 

 

Ponder That Day

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Each of you should imagine stepping back in time tonight, no matter how long the leap you contemplate. Before you pause to consider the illogical impossibility of such an act, I’d ask you to struggle to remember a long forgotten voice, a familiar dish being prepared in the kitchen, just as you can almost hear the impatient clang of pans in difficult to reach cabinets or the rough embrace of someone who rarely hugged without the accompaniment of a joyous incantation of your own name from their lips. It could be the sound of an old 45 record as the needle drops unceremoniously and as the music eerily resonates over magnetic speakers, the image of a stretched green or yellow phone cord coming from the dining room – or it could be the hot feel of the seat of an old car as you jumped inside on a summer day, the idea of a seat belt a laughable imposition. All that seemed to matter was the eternal question of “What next?”
 
It is the month of June and regardless of your road to adulthood, most of us shared moments forged in detachment from the pressures of an adult world. If we were lucky, we piled into cars with our own families; if we were not, we joyfully did so with surrogates who gladly served in their absence.
 
Who among us would not leap without question if only to test our memories against those recollected moments? Anyone who would not deserves our envy because their life now exceeds the promise of a remembered life.
 
The advantage of age is that we seem to realize that we will never pause with enough force to appreciate the burn of a summer car seat or to impatiently wait for the break of a new day the next morning when sleep seemed to be an admission of loss.