Prank / Fun Decoration Ideas

While it might not be traditional, one of the many things on my list of “what I would love to do” where I live is to use my “body outline” and “blood splatter” ideas to decorate my house.

If I had a large wooden plank porch, nothing would stop me from having a very well-drawn crime scene body outline on painted on the porch near the main entrance to the house. For visitors, it would be a warning to not expect normalcy from the residents inside. It certainly would be a great talking point, too. (By the way, I think a nice added touch would be to have the outline of the head a couple of feet away from the main torso, to evoke a beheaded crime scene.)

The blood splatter idea would incorporate exactly what it sounds like it would: red paint. I think the biggest impact for the blood splatter pattern would be to done in a white or lighter-colored room. You could get people you know to come help “spray and splatter” the room with the red paint, too. It would be a fun thing to do. Thinking about it, it would be another opportunity to use a crime scene body outline, too.

Finally, I would love to have a fake mouse hole either on the outside wall near the main door or in the living room. It of course would have the fictional mouse’s name on the door with other little details to make the effect realistic. Imagine how that would delight kids visiting your house. 
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01292013 Polygamy

While polygamy is not something I would every personally endorse or participate in, I don’t see how it is our business if everyone involved is consenting. Likewise, if a woman wishes to have more than one husband, it is not my business to dictate to the consenting parties that it not happen. Except for a marriage license, multiple people can already live as man and wives or wife and husbands – by cohabitation, pooling resources and living together. And it’s legal, except for the “license.”

Again, going to the most-cited moral authority, polygamy was favored in the bible and still practiced when the new testament was written. I won’t bore you with the countless citations. If you disagree that the bible did condone it, stop reading – there’s no point trying to get into your head.

Are there legal issues with having more than one spouse? Yes. Does it make it difficult to navigate with multiple spouses? Yes, of course. Given that our society is rife with failed marriages, open marriages, etc, how is it more reprehensible to have multiple spouses than to have an open marriage when 1 or both parties have active sex lives outside of the marriage. There are already people in your community with a wife and husband and mistresses. There are plural marriages, even if they are so defined in the spirit of the word rather than the legality of its implication.

Why do Americans think that we have the ability to allow or regulate polygamy when it is between consenting adults? Because that is what is beaten into our heads. We didn’t reach this state through logic and understanding.

We reached it because it is too different from the expected norm of society.

We routinely tolerate or idolize those who have multiple partners, whether through marriage or mistress, as the saying goes.

The hypocrisy is on our part for condemning it, especially those whose roots branch from traditional Christianity.

08052012 The Drug War

In case I skip this topic, I am almost entirely against “the drug war,” as understood generally.

Before further comment, I’d like to point out that I have never even smoked marijuana, much less injected anything or snorted. I don’t have to worry about someone coming out of the woodwork alleging that I secretly used drugs – it’s never happened. In the interest of fairness, I had wanted to try marijuana, but couldn’t find the right circumstances. The potential risk of being tested after trying it were too great for me. I doubt that my employer would believe that I had done it just once to see what all the fuss was about. While it would be true, people who use drugs once are lumped together with hardcore users.

Many of our freedoms have been eroded by pushing them under the banner of drug eradication. Asset forfeiture is a great example of this type of lunacy. Imprisoning such a large potion of our population is another.

For addicts, focus and money should be on treatment, not punitive consequences, including jail.

Jailing someone for no “crime” other than using a banned substance serves no societal good, other than to condition the criminal mindset, build more jails, etc. Again, I am NOT advocating no consequences for drug-related crimes, just not for the drugs themselves. I’ve got the same mentality for gun-related crime, terror-related crime, etc – they are all crimes, regardless of their associations. Crimes should be judged based on their harm to other people.

Yes, we should pay for the treatment. All of it. To argue that we can’t or shouldn’t denies the cost we are supporting now. It’s ridiculous.

If a person is using an illegal substance (whatever that is) and there are no substantial consequences to other people, we need to stay out of their business. However, if you are driving and impaired, the legal consequences should be equal to those of alcohol, which I’m not too sympathetic toward.

I can understand the need for many people to want to punish drug users. But it serves no greater good. Not everyone who wants punishment for drug users is motivated out of self-righteous – but some are.

If your drug habit is leading you to further crime, yes you should be held accountable for the crime independently of the drugs. And treated. But drug use shouldn’t be permitted as a method to reduce your accountability.

And I can be quite often wrong.

 

04012014 People Who Make Opinion Certainty

In the Aug 13th, 2011 Scott Adams blog (Dilbert), Scott asks the following:
“…When you hear an argument about a complex issue presented as a certainty, do you reflexively downgrade its value? Or does the certainty mixed with a credible source make it more persuasive to you?…”

To answer the first part, I HATE when someone presents an idea, especially one not demonstrated, as certainty. I can’t stand the type of person who presents the world as a cut-and-dry interpretation. It tends to be about a subject that largely subjective to begin with. Politics, religions, sports – all of these tend to be the largest offenders.

As for the “credible” source part, it does make a difference. I will at least THINK about the idea or opinion if it is from someone who normally seems to be rational and responsible. But if Brad Pitt spouts off about the efficiency of a supply-side economic principle, I’m not listening.

Or if a friend/family member who has never been able to balance a checkbook starts pontificating about what’s wrong with the economy… Of if someone I know who is kind of an ass and preaches anything religious, my eyes roll over.

As I like to remind myself, on any given subject…If countless people smarter than me, some of who have spent their entire lives studying a subject, can’t agree, chances are great that no one can be sure and that it’s mostly opinion.

Discovering Beliefs


“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”
Gustave Flaubert

I can’t testify about other people in this regard. However, I personally sit at idle in regards to many ideas. If something isn’t in my field of vision or life, it either lingers in the background or never penetrates my consciousness. That’s a good thing. Having a selective filter keeps me happier.

When I sit down to attempt to discuss or elaborate on my opinions, I find myself going down blind alleys and considering strange alternatives to what I had previously thought. I enjoy that feeling, even if it makes me think that perhaps I’m not as logical as I would have hoped.

Every once and a while, I find myself changing what I believe based on my attempt to write about it. I wonder how often this occurs with other writers.

11252014 Likes and Dislikes

It is tough to admit to a “dislike.” especially when it’s something you once “liked.” It’s like character assassination upon yourself. All your friends and family know you by your likes and dislikes. By changing them, you’ve changed who you are. People don’t respond well to change, especially when you’ve pulled the rug out from under their understanding of the world. It’s one of the reason people get antsy when you lose a lot of weight, stop drinking, start going to church, or just do anything differently.

Try giving up on a TV show! Whether you’ve watched 2 shows or 2 seasons, it is almost impossible to stop watching. More accurately, it’s impossible to ADMIT you’ve stopped. If you’ve seen the first 3 installments of the horrible Harry Potter movies, it is basically a federal law that you must watch all of them into infinity. Are you tired to the same stupid plot and antics in “Warehouse 13?” Too bad – you are doomed to watch every single barking episode or until the planet explodes.

Are you tired of eating your “favorite” pizza? Does the idea of eating another slice make you look around for shards of glass with which to exsanguinate yourself? Better start grabbing the broken glass, as suicide would be easier to explain than detailing WHY you dislike your once-favorite food.

In a similar vein, do you find yourself enjoying things you once didn’t? For example, you might have thought that country music or opera was akin to listening to retarded cats fight. Now, without even a head injury to explain your sudden bad taste, you would rather listen to opera or Brad Paisley butcher otherwise good melodies. Where looking at horseradish once evoked an intense physical need to vomit, now you feel euphoric and joyous and the chance to eat yet more of this stuff.

Advice: if you don’t like something anymore, stop: stop eating it, watching it, doing it. Like a band-aid, rip it off, so to speak. Be honest, the sooner the better. If your tastes have changed and you like something that was previously hideous, start eating it, watching it, doing it. Without apology – unless it’s illegal or stupid. If unsure, you can ask me. : )

If your wife likes opera and you honestly hate it, go every great once in a while to show your wife that you love her – but don’t pretend to like any aspect of opera just because your wife does. If Seinfeld is like a show about vomit to you, don’t pretend it’s funny. Your friends will be buying you boxed sets for Xmas. Don’t like family members buying you clothes? Tell them nicely to stop. If they persist, set them on fire – the clothes, not the family members – unless they don’t understand the subtle hint of burning clothes.

So, pay attention to your real likes and dislikes. And be prepared to change them as your tastes do.

05212014 Car Conceitedness

Faith In Humanity:   1 point
Car Conceitedness:   0 point

Two or three mornings ago, I was exiting the grocery store. Evidently, I had just missed witnessing an accident in the parking lot. A younger female employee from the store had backed into the side and rear end of an elderly gentleman’s car as he drove through.

Although the gentleman’s car was already scratched and dented some, the woman’s car was less damaged. There was slight damage to both cars from bumping. Both drivers exited their vehicles. Much to my pleasure and hopes, after a few exchanged pleasantries, both got back into their respective vehicles and went about their business. 

This is exactly how many of these encounters should end – but we’ve seen most of them morph into tedious bureaucratic wastes of time.

I wish that we weren’t so focused on the small stuff about our vehicles. They should be primarily to transport us safely and comfortably from place to place, rather than be worried about so much. A few dents and scratches are normal for a car well used.

Not only would our insurance be lower if more people stopped worrying about the lesser cosmetic defects on their vehicles, but it might make some people happier.

04042014 Reusing Greeting Cards / Using the “Wrong” Card on Purpose

For this card, I bought a random category and then put my cousin’s picture on the front, drawing a low-tech beard, then scribbling out the words as needed on the inside.

For most of my adult life, I have tried to be goofy with greeting cards. Sometimes, I have inadvertently shown bad taste doing this but since I’ve never been known as someone with great taste, I don’t think I’ve damaged my reputation too much.

First, if you want to have a little fun, you should deliberately buy the wrong occasion card for someone. For instance, instead of a birthday card, send a sympathy card. Instead of a graduation card, send a bar mitzvah card. After a couple of times doing this, people will either laugh at your efforts or start expecting it. Many times, the crazy card that doesn’t conform will be the one remembered. Cards are usually so quickly forgotten that anything memorable about them is quite a feat.

Fifth, you should consider changing the words already written inside or on the card. Subtle changes can have a huge, humorous impact on the card’s intended meaning.

Second, if you are going to write a message, write it on the front of the card where people are reluctant to write – or on the back. Even better, write your message upside or wrapped around the edge between front and back – or any combination thereof for maximum effect.

First, write a totally wrong name on the card and/or envelope.

Third, write messages from people who don’t exist. Sign their name, too, make up fake shared experiences, or write a message as if you are a famous historical person. Write the message as if you are either totally serious or mentally deranged.

Another easy and creative way to personalize a boring card is to print a picture of the person and tape, glue or include it in or on the card. People get caught off guard when this happens and usually appreciate the little touch. If it is someone’s birthday, put a picture of them when they were very young. On the other hand, put someone a picture of a total stranger in the card to bewilder both the recipient and anyone else looking at the card.

While it is true that greeting cards can be quite boring, the reality is that is our own fault that they lack any spark or zest. With just a little creativity, greeting cards can be fun and interesting.

(I know I didn’t enumerate the points correctly, in order, or well. Gotcha! )

Let’s Obsess Over Our Vehicles, Shall We?

I’ve written before the issue of acceptance of the deterioration of ‘things.’ No matter how cool and interesting your new thing is, time and entropy rules over it.

You’ve also been subjected to my dumb personal opinion about the obsession with personal vehicles. I don’t understand the “pride in ownership” argument in regards to cars. All I want is something that is reliable and comfortable. If it were zero emissions and sustainable, that would be pretty nifty, too. If someone offered to sell me a perfectly reliable car at 1/2 price, yet insist on spray painting it 16 crazy colors, I would not care. Wheel covers don’t match? Don’t care. Seats are all different? Doesn’t bother me. Not only would it be easier to locate in the parking lot amidst all the pristine, over-priced cars, but I could paint over a scratch at almost zero cost, put any part on it yet still claim that it matches, and have something interesting to look at.

Most people who seem to love their cars don’t take a  minute to think about the fact that a million other people have cars exactly like theirs, down to the leather seats, alloy wheels, and sunroof. Exact matches. Yet their specific car, the one which looks like most other cars on the road, somehow adds a special zest to their life? Hmmm… People get mad at me when I talk this to. If I ever thought to myself “Man, I need to go wax my car,” I might decide instead to drive it into the river.

I don’t care if it hails or storms unexpectedly, especially since my ability to control the weather is not one of my skills. I’d prefer to not have windows shattered or get hurt when it hails. But I would never lose my mental stability simply because ice falls from the sky and damages my personal vehicle. For all of you who are normal and disagree with me, come walk on the dark side with me.  Your day can be ruined without notice. You can worry about going on with your life for fear of your car being damaged by something totally out of your control. A stray shopping cart can roll across the parking lot and mar your immaculate baby blue paint job or scratch the trunk of your vehicle. You drive around, searching for at least minimal coverage for your car, instead of hopping out and getting to your destination. You move your vehicle four times to gain optimal protection from the potential of damage.

And then a tornado, flood, fire, thief, careless driver, or falling tree reminds you that your vehicle is just a thing, designed for a specific purpose. All your obsession has done is expose you to loss. Yes, a car can be interesting to look at. But I think our world will be a better place when people stop concerning themselves with their personal vehicles. We’ll be able to live more cheaply, pay less insurance, and focus on living and doing, rather than protecting stuff.

Before the crazies stretch my argument, I’m not advocating letting everything look like garbage. Quite the contrary. Nor do I want people to be slovenly. But when I see or hear someone obsessing over physical details of their personal vehicles, I wonder to myself if they know there is another way to look at it. Usually, the answer is “no.”

I know I probably bug people with my contrary attitude. All I see if a means of transportation. I don’t think my car reflects on me as a person, whether it is a BMW or ’76 Pinto.

 

A Car is Just a Better Way to Travel

I still am missing the male gene that requires any member of the human race who also has facial hair to be concerned about his vehicle. (Which might include the occasional female or flannel-wearing member of our species.) This includes the size of the engine, whether it can traverse a 20-foot deep water-filled ravine in mid-December, and how new the model is. I don’t care. Does it accelerate decently without using more gasoline than a 20 year-old arsonist? If so, I’m fine. If it has good air conditioning and a radio, even better.

I would give up ALL aesthetics of my automobiles in exchange for reliability. All of it. It could be the ugliest monstrosity this side of Wyoming and as long as it afforded better mechanical reliability, I would welcome it. Being able to easily find parts and mechanics is of greater practicality to me.

I’ve never been one to care much about cars, nor about upgrading and tricking them out. If it has the modern conveniences and decent gas mileage, all else is irrelevant. I had thought that aging might perhaps bring out the macho concern in me, but it hasn’t. When I’m working around younger men, it still amuses me to hear them talk about variations on their self worth being tied to the desirability of their vehicles.

Imagine if we had 5 or 6 varieties of vehicles. Not based on model or brand; rather, based on utility. Most of us simply need an affordable sedan with good gas mileage. All else is secondary and drives up the cost. The super rich could then just have their vehicles specifically made, leaving us boring folk to take advantage of the reduced costs associated with having fewer vehicles.

As for vanity modifications such as pin stripes, wheels larger than a small house, chrome bumpers, or canopy running lights, just tax those. I can see my plan being very popular with those who enjoy flying a rebel flag on the front porch.

While I can appreciate a nice vehicle, our obsession with cars is one of the reasons our society is so complicated and expensive. Yes, I’m trying to make a minimalism point here. My car doesn’t reflect on who I am. It doesn’t “give me pride,” a phrase I loathe hearing about vehicles.

But if you have 24″ tires or more than 2 square feet of chrome in unusual places on your mode of transportation, you probably disagree with me.