Dear Abby

Dear Abby, and her twin sister Ann Landers have both retired, and later died.  Abby’s daughter, Jeanne, was (is?) carrying on the advice column her mother penned.  Other yentas, both Jewish and not, have come, and some have rapidly gone.  From one of them, I give you the following question and answer.

Dear Abby; I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual.  We are part of a church group, and I fear that, if people in that group find out, they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay.  I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years.  I have a very busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay.  He won’t listen to me, so maybe he’ll listen to you.

Feeling Betrayed

 

Dear Betrayed; You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality, to show him how easy it is.  Try it for the next year or so.

Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexual orientation is a matter of choice – to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church, and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are.  The same is true for your son.  He has the right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you “forget” a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person.  It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world.  How very sad for him.

Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong.  If you cannot accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is pflag.org (In Canada, see pflagcanada.ca.)  This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge.  Please research and connect with a local chapter.

***

Advice columnists have to be well-mannered and respectful.  Me??  My reply would probably started with, “Really, Bob??!  Do you think you could possibly make this any more about you?”  In this day and age, it still amazes me how powerful the religiously-driven willfully-blind syndrome can be.  Bad enough that he still thinks that being gay is a choice, and one made just to spite him and his ego, but even worse, that he thinks some advice columnist can, or will, do, what he as a parent, cannot.  There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

***

A man walks into a bookstore….

Sadly, this is not the opening line to a joke – at least not intentionally.  The “man” is the well-known, powerfully connected pastor of a large Protestant New York church.  After thundering from the pulpit about an attack on the Christian faith, he calls all his political buddies and complains to them, to the point that he is contacted by the TV show, The View, where he gets to complain an national television about how Christianity don’t get no  respect.

What was the trigger for all this, “Alas, woe is us?”  While he was in the bookstore, he saw some Bibles which were on sale.  That would seem to be a good thing for Christians….except, the shelf tag, advertising the sale, also listed them under “Fiction.”

As a minor addendum, after he finished whining to Elizabeth Hasselback, he finally admitted that it might have merely been an inattentive clerical oversight.  I think that, like above, the It’s All About Us button was pushed too soon and too hard, but, if it’s good enough for Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga, it’s good enough for the Bishop of New York.  I say, only change the tag when he can prove they’re not.

***

The pastor of a fairly large suburban Philadelphia Methodist church has been suspended for 30 days, to reflect on his actions and attitudes.  It was not said that he was suspended without pay, merely that his pastoral powers were temporarily removed.  He cannot perform weddings, or offer Holy Sacrament.

What was his crime, you ask?  He married his son, two years ago.  No, no!  Not like that!  He officiated at his son’s wedding.  I still see some confused faces, although that’s common on this site.  I’ll give you a hint.  Psst, his son is gay, and the Methodist Church don’t allow no equal rights, gay marriage ‘round here!

He was invited to a private little Star Chamber meeting by the ruling synod, who chastised him for marrying gays, in defiance of Church doctrine.  He fired back, rebuking them and the Methodist Church for not being more loving, acceptant, and inclusive.  That, at this late date, is what actually got him censured, this lack of blind faith and obedience, and of course, a tendency to think for himself.

This man has not been afflicted with the trials of Job himself, but I find it ironic, that, in a Denomination which does not believe in gays, three of the four children of this pastor, are gay.  It’s no wonder he’s fighting for their equality.

I love Jesus; it’s just many of his followers that I hate!

Flash Fiction #10

 

VISTA

tree2bcrook

 

It’s tough, being only nine years old.  He finally reached the broken branch, lodged in the crotch.

Quickly climbing, he made it to the topmost branches of the tallest tree in town, situated atop the highest hill.  From here, he could see his entire little town.  He could see the tiny cars, and the miniature people walking.

He could see the lake, and the lighthouse on the dock.  He could see the town hall clock, which said 11:55 AM.  Turning in the other direction, he could see his mother at his front door.  Better get down, it’s time for lunch.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site.  Use her Wednesday picture as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Old Stuff I Own – Part Deux

 

Deux means 2 – or II.  I used a little French there, because we Anglophones marinate in it up here in Canada, and to attract a higher class of reader – not that there’s anything wrong with the ones I already have.

My first “old stuff” post was about knives.  This one is about food.  It’s not difficult to see where my interests lie, although I would never lie to you.

 

SDC10543

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure how to identify this apparatus.  If I say “food processor” people think, electrified gadget.  This is a food processor, only, people-powered.  My Mom just called it a grinder, and I was the teen-aged, or younger, people who used to power it.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

SDC10541

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDC10544

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like, you should start assembling it today, to have it ready for tomorrow.  The main body used to screw to the simple, plank counter-tops, back before every home got patterned, arborite counters with big, rounded, no-drip edges.  I have a large cutting board, or the cut-out from the double sink, which I screw this to.

Once the main body is secured, the large central feed-screw is inserted, then the slotted disc is placed over the end, with the wing tab in a small slot, to keep it from rotating.  Then the perforated disc with the ovate center is placed over the screw’s protruding end, which forces it to turn.  The long rod, with the threaded end is pushed through, toward the operator; the handle is fitted over the triangular end, and held in place with the wing-nut.  (No, not me!)

This thing was manufactured about a century ago.  It is cast from “white metal”, a zinc/tin alloy.  This is not the specific one that my Mom owned and I ran.  This is a substitute that we managed to find at a yard sale, shortly after we were married.  We’ve owned it for 45 years, and it was an old bugger when we bought it.

When my Dad decided that he wanted to put himself in a retirement home, he sold his house off, as-is, with everything inside.  Many little mementos and knick-knacks were lost, including Mom’s grinder, and his Second World War Armed Service knife, although I did find and rescue Mom’s stash of dollar coins, and discontinued two-dollar bills.

All kinds of stuff can be run through this old baby.  Ring, or slab bologna (baloney), or even wieners can be ground.  Add salt and pepper, sweet relish and mayo (We use Miracle Whip.), and mix, to make a low-cost meat-salad, sandwich filling or cracker topper.

After dicing up some of the left-over Easter ham, for an Austrian ham and noodle casserole, I later ground the balance to make a similar ham salad, and have ground leftover beef roast, to make hash with.

Mom and I ran a lot of vegetables through ours, to make relish and chili-sauce, six-quart baskets – bushels – of cucumbers, onions, peppers and tomatoes.  The biggest problem was the liquid that gets forced from the veggies.  I worked with a galvanized pail, sitting on a large towel, beneath the dripping handle.

All food must be firmly pressed down into the feed auger, taking great care that finger tips are not added to canapés.  That would make for very unappetising appetisers.

It must be carefully cleaned after use, because there are lots of little nooks and crannies where bits of food can lodge, rot, and later cause sickness. It must also be carefully dried.  Parts like the cutter discs are not zinc alloy, nor are they modern stainless steel.  They are merely old mild steel, much subject to rusting.

While they are handy, there are many jobs that this old baby can do, that modern “food processors” can’t.  After many years, Kitchen Aid added a power takeoff at the front end of their big mixer, much like farm tractors, and began selling meat-grinder attachments.  They are all-stainless, and retail for about $100.  They take almost as long to assemble and clean, but are smaller, and don’t process as quickly.  They do though, sit higher off the counter so that a larger collector bowl can be used.

We bought one, but eventually the daughter “permanently borrowed” it.  I can have it back in the time it takes to drive to her place, but, as long as I have the patience and arm-strength, I still prefer to do things the old-fart way.

Cowboy Wisdom

1  Never squat with your spurs on.

2  Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none.

3  Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

4  The easiest way to eat crow is while it’s still warm.  The colder it gets, the harder it is to swallow.

5  The biggest troublemaker you’ll ever have to deal with watches you shave his face every morning.

6  A woman marries a man thinking she can change him, but she can’t.  A man marries a woman thinking she’ll never change, but she does.

7  Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

8  Never miss a good chance to keep your mouth shut.

 

Artistic Putdowns

  1. The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.
  2. I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.
  3. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.
  4. I have plenty of talent and vision, I just don’t give a damn.
  5. I like you. You remind me of me, when I was young and stupid.
  6. What am I?? Flypaper for freaks?
  7. I’m not being rude. You’re just insignificant.
  8. I’m already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
  9. Ahhh, I see the fuck-up fairy has visited us again.
  10. It’s a thankless job, but I have a lot of Karma to burn off.
  11. Yes, I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.
  12. No! My powers can only be used for good.
  13. How about never? Is that good for you?
  14. I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.
  15. You sound reasonable….time for my medication.
  16. Are you a little ray of sunshine every day?
  17. I’ll try being nicer, if you’ll try being smarter.
  18. I’m out of my mind – but feel free to leave a message
  19. I don’t work here. I’m a consultant.
  20. Who me?? I just wander from room to room.
  21. My toys! My toys! I can’t do this job without my toys.
  22. I may look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level, I’m quite busy.
  23. At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.
  24. You are validating my inherent distrust of strangers.
  25. I see you’ve set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.
  26. Someday, we’ll all look back on this, laugh nervously, and change the subject.
  27. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

 

The Process

I’m, as you imagine, as plain as plain can be.
The place is Piccadilly, the players, he and she.
She whimpers, Will it hurt?  Of course not whispers he,
It’s a very simple process, you can rely on me.

I’m really rather scared said she,
I haven’t had this before.
My friend has had it seven times.
She said it can be sore.

Then finally she consented
To lie back and relax a bit,
And quickly he bent over her,
And then he started it.

It was getting rather painful,
And tears flowed from her eyes.
It was really hurting now,
It must be quite a size.

Just try to be calm, he said,
His face filled with a grin.
Try and open a little wider,
So I can get in.

It’s coming now he said.
I know, she said with bliss.
Feeling deep within me
She said, I’m glad I’m having this.

And with a final effort,
She gave a final shout.
She grinned at him in anguish,
And he finally pulled it out.

She lay back, quite contented.
She sighed, and gave a smile
And said, I’m glad I came now,
You’ve made it worth my while.

Now if you read this carefully,
A dentist you will find.
It’s not what you imagine,
It’s just your dirty mind.

 

Flash Fiction #9

S.P.C.A.?

old-wallpaper-mary-shipman

 

 

 

 

 

I told the kids I didn’t want them to get a hamster, but they just thought I was being grumpy old dad, again.

“We’ll feed it, and water it, and make sure it stays in its cage, ALL the time.”  Yeah, right!

So, here I am, with half this wall ripped down, and still no hamster.  We can hear it, but we still can’t see it.  If it dies in there, I don’t know which will be worse, the stench, or the kids’ wails.

I’ll need to use their college fund to hire a drywaller.  Shoulda got them a turtle!

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site.  Use the weekly Wednesday photo as a prompt, and write a complete 100 word story.

And a shout-out to my chiropractor, who now reads my drivel, and without whom, I could not sit comfortably and compose it – straighten the kid out today!

 

Minutia III

Another self-guided tour through my convoluted thought processes and observations.  Please wipe your feet before entering.  You wouldn’t want to be responsible for me having a dirty mind.

Because of the *let-us-help-one-another* Mennonite mindset, this area has been the birthplace of several, large, well-known insurance companies.  In keeping with my mission of being older than everything except the local rocks, I received a renewal notice for my home insurance.  My provider included a note which bragged that they have been in business for 175 years.

I have Googled myself.  Oh, the Ego of it all. (But it felt good.)  The only person with the same name and middle initial who comes up, is a retired US Air Force colonel, who went on to become a motivational speaker.  He’s appeared locally a couple of times, a few years ago, though I didn’t know it.

Recently, I thought of a friend I had for a couple of years during my teens.  While he was a couple of years younger than me, we were both over-average nerdy, and loners, therefore, we hung out and fit together nicely.  Named for his uncle Elmer, his first name was actually Delmer (D’Elmer).  There not being a lot of Delmers in the world, I tried to look him up, and was sadly surprised to find that he had died two years ago.

He was one of the guys who helped me *adopt* the naïve young tourist in my Unreasonable Expectations  post.  He was 50 pounds heavier than skinny me, and the cool kids razzed him about being fat, but most of it was muscle.  He would dive from as high as I would, and sneak into the water like a greased seal, raising less of a splash than anyone else.

Also dead, from that same crew, was an Indian from the res.  While he was a year older than me, these two both died two years ago.  Not as surprising, but still disappointing, was a notice of the recent death of the wife of the couple who owned and ran the beach bowling alley from my Bowling For Summer  post.  She was the one who served us crisp, golden French fries when we were done swimming.  In her thirties when I was a teen, she must have been like my mother, into her nineties when she passed.  Tempus fugit!

John Wayne made a hockey movie….Whaa??  Never east of the Mississippi until 1930, he was the lead in a 1937 sixty-minute flick about the non-existent, New York Panthers, called Idol of the Crowds, two years before his break-out role in Stagecoach.  He valiantly laced up, and could skate fairly well in a straight line, but any *hockey moves* had to come from camera angles.  Usually clean-spoken, he was quoted as saying he spent two days in a hospital, probably with a sprained ankle, because, “I’m from California.  I’ve never been on (expletive) skates before!”

If time is money, does that make ATMs time machines??

I exercised my franchise and voted in the recent Provincial election.  Despite having let them waste $4/5 billion dollars, the mindless, entitled yobs in the big city voted the same rogues’-gallery back into power.  Please, Nanny-State, we’re too stupid and lazy, waste another billion or two – but take care of us.  My grandson was going to have to pay off the already existing debt.  Now I just hope that he never has kids.

Since the road which runs behind my house was the electoral boundary line, on my side were election signs for four or five different parties, while on the other side of the road were the same parties, but with different candidates.  Always interested in the word-value of names, I looked a couple up.

A candidate on my side was named Weiler.  Her name, in German, has the nice meaning of hamlet, or small village.  Her compatriot across the line was Wettlaufer.  I don’t imagine he discusses it much.  It translates to *bookie*, one who bets on races.

I took the wife and daughter to a plant nursery recently.  Patiently wandering around, waiting, (yeah, right) I ran into the Bidens.  They are small, pretty flowers with two little rabbit-ears on top.  The person/people who discovered and named them felt these little protrusions looked like teeth.  Biden = bi-den = two-toothed.  So Joe Biden is related to plants, although I suspect he was adopted.  He’s not as good-looking, and nowhere near as smart.

There’s a small hotel in the neighboring city.  It began as the manor house of the local brewing family.  It has a strip bar in it, which….I might have gone into – once – just to ask for directions.  It has become the House of God on Sundays. Some time between last call Saturday night, and two-for-one lap dances Sunday evening, a team of volunteers cover the nudie posters, and $4-a-beer signs, and turn the bar into a church.

For a few hours on Sunday afternoons, the gentlemen’s club becomes a Holy place, a social place, and a place where people in need can find safety, and trust, and food.  They may also find God, but that’s not the main goal. This is a place of Christ-like support and acceptance for strippers and druggies and drunks who, too often, find themselves excluded and unwanted in mainstream churches.  Good on ya all!

Walking past the coin-counting machine at the grocery store recently, I spotted and grabbed four discontinued pennies from the overflow tray.  When I got them home, I found that three of them were 25 Ore coins from Denmark.  I have several Danish coins, but not that denomination, so I added the newest, cleanest one to my collection.

Lost And Found – In Translation

“WARNING; the following publication contains opinions and statements, disparaging to the French language and culture, which visitors of Gallic ancestry may find disturbing.  Reader discretion is strongly advised.”

Non-Spanish-speaking Americans, especially in southern areas, are being forced to acquire a working knowledge of that language because of a continuing influx of immigrants – some of them even legal – from Mexico and points south.

Mexico recently observed Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of the defeat of politically interfering French forces.  Of course, if we celebrated for every time French forces were defeated, we’d probably all die of liver failure by the first of August.

Up here in the Great White North, the little cultural terrorists are constantly pushing the rest of Canada to revere the version of French (?) they speak which confuses both Anglophones and Parisian-French speakers alike.  They insist that they are “pur laine” (pure wool) French Catholics, ignoring the fact that even the king of 250 years ago, thought so little of them, that he shipped them boatloads of Protestants and prostitutes.

I know of no other language whose spelling and pronunciation have been so totally changed because of the stupidity, laziness and incompetence of engravers, who could not create the letter S, when movable type became common.  These were replaced by accents, and French words like scole (school), became école (eh coal), and beste (beast/animal) became bête (bet).

Things in Canada, like signs, notices, Government documents, and especially packaging, must be bilingual English/French, everywhere except Quebec, where French-only is the firmly enforced rule.  Many packages – boxes, jars and cans – have a French side, and an English side.  Hormonal, pubescent grocery clerks just pile them on the shelves, willy-nilly.

Armed with the Maximum Daily Allowance of linguistic intolerance and OCD, I can often be seen wandering store aisles, turning the English sides out.  I want peanut butter and oatmeal.  If some Frog wants beurre d’arachides or farine d’avoine, let him look through the clear packaging, or turn the French side out.

When I first began studying French in high school, the instructor proudly declared that “French is the language of diplomats.”  It wasn’t till later that I realized that diplomats are highly skilled at speaking incessantly, for days, weeks, months, even years, without actually saying anything.  It’s a great language for doing that.

French is a language created by morons, to be spoken by morons.  Every word is modified, and then the modifiers are modified, yay, verily, unto the third and fourth level.  French labels take twice or three times the space to say what English says.  French coconut milk is lait de noix de coco – (the) milk, of (the) nuts, of (the) coco (tree).

When a Francophone drinks water, he drinks “de l’eau” (of the water), because he’s dumb enough to believe that, when he starts, he might drink all the water in the world.  French insists that things which aren’t even alive, have gender, usually with no justification.  A pencil (le crayon) is masculine, but a pen (la plume) is feminine.

If BrainRants is leading a squad of recruits, and they meet a French general and his wife, “les hommes levent le chapeau”, 17 guys raise one hat in respect.  French insists that each man has only one hat.  I think they’re building a float for Mardi Gras.

If you’re smart enough to speak English, you’re expected to be smart enough to understand things from context.  French gives you a walker and a white cane.  If you buy Baby Powder, you know that it’s a type or quality suitable for use on babies.  Ignoring Johnson and Johnson’s survey, which reveals that 74% of talcum powder is used by/on adults, French insists that it’s “poudre pour bébés”, powder for babies.  Apparently that distinguishes it from “poudre de bébés,” perhaps made of freeze-dried and ground, aborted French fetuses.

My manly bath gel is Ocean Fresh, an already questionable English marketing claim.  French describes “le fraicheur de la mer” (the freshness of the sea.)  I try not to think of the French product containing whale snot, seal semen, seagull shit, dead fish and rotted kelp.

People who don’t speak English too well (too damned many), have trouble translating into French.  The makers of ketchup directed the guy in their graphics department to put a warning on the plastic bottle, that it needed to be refrigerated after it was opened.

He spoke that it should happen “once” the bottle was opened, not bothering to think that that referred to the (once) first time it occurred.  He looked up “once” in the English/French translation dictionary, and printed “refrigerer une fois ouvert,” (refrigerate one time opened.)

An American goes into a French bistro in Paris and asks the smarmy waiter, “Do you have frogs’ legs?”  “Oui, oui, m’sieur!”  “Well then, hop in the back and get me a real steak!”

No Francophones were injured or killed during the construction of this post.    DAMN!