Flash Fiction #200

Jokes

PHOTO PROMPT © Linda Kreger 

THAT’S FUNNY

I’ve never heard of a scavenger hunt for jokes.

There’s a couple! Scoop them up.

What’s the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche?….
….The porcupine has the pricks on the outside

My doctor told me that I have insomnia….
….but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it

You find them everywhere. Grab that pair!

What did the fish say when he swam into the wall?….
….Dam

My girlfriend hates it when I joke about her weight….
….She should lighten up.

One more, then home.

What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?….
….A politician

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use here Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Milestone

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve been at this long enough to have reached the FF #200 milestone. Thank you Rochelle for having the patience to herd all these cats, and thanx to all the rest of you who come to read my silly stories.

Friday Fictioneers

IS ATHEISM A RELIGION?

Religions

‘Theism’ means ‘belief in a god or gods’. Believers usually sign up to the values and principles of a godly belief system: it’s an ideology. Theistic ideologies are commonly known as faiths or religions. Many ideologies have the suffix ‘ism’; for example, liberalism, socialism, and communism but, in the case of ‘atheism’, the ‘ism’ ending has merely been inherited from its root: ‘theism’. The prefix ‘a’ turns the meaning around to the negative, that is, ‘not a belief in a god’, so ‘atheism’ is as far from a faith or religion as it’s possible to get.

Atheism is not a belief system, so that should end this article right here, but theists will likely not be satisfied. They might point to the things atheists and religions have in common: religions form churches, atheists form associations; churches and atheist associations appoint members to formal roles such as bishop and president; church members give offerings, atheists pay subscriptions; churches hold services, atheist hold meetings. Churches and Atheists both have literature they value and people they admire.

The problem is, these are superficial similarities and if they make Atheism a religion, they make political parties and table tennis clubs religions too. That is obviously absurd.

There is one organization in the United States which makes it their job to decide which group is a religion and which is not, and that’s The Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Religions receive highly favorable treatment in the USA and the IRS wants to avoid giving these advantages to organizations that are not genuine religions. So the IRS has a set of criteria they apply to any group claiming to be a religion. The primary criteria are listed below with how Atheist groups qualify [shown in parenthesis].

  1. Distinct legal existence [Some Atheist groups are legal entities.]
  2. Recognized creed and form of worship [No creed or forms of worship.]
  3. Definite and distinct ecclesiastical government [No ecclesiastical governance.]
  4. Formal code of doctrine and discipline [No doctrine.]
  5. Distinct religious history [No religious history.]
  6. Membership not associated with any other church or denomination [Atheists may join any number of atheist groups.]
  7. Organization of ordained ministers [No ministers of any kind.]
  8. Ordained ministers selected after completing prescribed courses of study [No courses of study.]
  9. Literature of its own [No literature reserved for one group.]
  10. Established places of worship [No worship.]
  11. Regular religious services [No religious services.]
  12. Sunday schools for the religious instruction of the young [No instructing the young.]
  13. Schools for the preparation of its members [No atheist schools.]

With only one criterion applicable to Atheists (and that one all political parties and many clubs share), the IRS won’t be granting religious tax exemptions to Atheist groups any time soon.

Theists might follow-up by asking why Atheists bother to meet to talk about gods they do not believe in. There are several reasons atheists meet but none of them are to talk about gods they don’t believe in. A common reason, especially in very religious countries, is to find some time to socialize with like-minded people who are not preoccupied with religious beliefs.

In many cases, atheists meet as a reaction against religious intolerance, the infiltration of religious dogma into schools and legislation, or the entanglement of church and state. They meet to get organized in an attempt to combat these religious excesses.

Let’s spell this out; Atheists have no beliefs in common, no gods of any kind, nothing they worship, no scripture, no shared values, and no dogma. They have no clergy, no schools, and no sacred buildings. The only thing all Atheists share is a lack of belief in gods.

Why then do the religious so often claim that Atheism is a religion? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask religious people that question. Perhaps it is to try to establish a false equivalency, an attempt to drag Atheism down to the level of a religion—a set of unsubstantiated beliefs, in a landscape where beliefs are held only on faith. If so, they would be completely wrong about that too. 😯

 

One-Lines Of Wisdom

Billy Crystal

A potpourri of thoughts on life from various comics and entertainers – some wise – some otherwise. See if you can identify any of the submitters.

“By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.”

“I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.”

“Proof that we don’t understand death is that we give dead people a pillow.”

“Don’t talk to me about Valentine’s Day. At my age, an affair of the heart is a bypass.”

“I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? ‘Hey, if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.'”

“If God had really intended man to fly, He’d make it easier to get to the airport.”

“Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?”

I’m dating a homeless woman. It was easier talking her into staying over.”

“I can’t wait till Sunday, I’m gonna see my favorite niece. And my other niece.”

“Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings … and lawyers.”

“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, ‘denigrate’ means ‘put down.'”

“My wife, we get along good ’cause we have our own arrangement. One night a week I go out with the boys, and one night a week she goes out with the boys.”

“I think if I took therapy, the doctor would quit. He’d just pick up the couch and walk out of the room.”

“Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.”

“Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”

“I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.”

“My father never lived to see his dream come true of an all-Yiddish-speaking Canada.”

“Let me ask you a question, who do you think has more freedom—the married man in America or the single man in communist China?”

“Housework won’t kill you. But then again, why take the chance?”

“I was on a date with this really hot model. Well, it wasn’t really a date-date. We just ate dinner and saw a movie. Then the plane landed.”

“Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps. End of list.”

When you are eight years old, nothing is any of your business.”

“I’m a godfather. That’s a great thing to be, a godfather. He calls me ‘god’ for short. That’s cute. I taught him that.”

“Misers aren’t fun to live with, but they make wonderful ancestors.”

“I wish people would stop making fun of fat people. They have enough on their plates.”

“To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click ‘I Agree’.”

“Shirley Temple had charisma as a child. But it cleared up as an adult.”

“Nobody is worried about a government shutdown. They’re worried about it starting back up.”

“I was having a great day until I woke up.”

“Eternal nothingness is fine if you happen to be dressed for it.”

“Now all of us can talk to the NSA—just by dialing any number.”

“My favorite kind of humor is basically, if it was happening to you, it wouldn’t be funny, but to observe it, it’s hilarious.”

“I’m a gentleman and I was always taught it’s rude to talk about a woman’s age or weight unless you are breaking up with her.”

“I look at wives the same way I look at tattoos. I want one, but I can’t decide what I want and I don’t want to be stuck with one I’m just going to grow to hate and have to have surgically removed later.”

“Get-well cards have become so humorous that if you don’t get sick, you’re missing half the fun.”

“Eighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.”

“If you don’t do any self-examinations or see a doctor ever, you’ll live forever. The diagnosis is what gets you. You just have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with any and all bodily functions.”

“I didn’t wake up in a new Bugatti this morning…. I’ll try again tomorrow.”

“The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day, you’re off it.”

WOW #49

Dandle

I’ve got another old-fashion-y word, as this week’s Word Of the Week. It’s

DANDLE

verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.

to pet; pamper.

Isn’t that a lovely old word, as warm and nutritious as Scottish oatmeal; as enfolding and supportive as a flannelette blanket? It’s not officially extinct, but it went on the endangered species list in the 60s or 70s.

Nobody dandles babies anymore! There’s no time! Instead, fit, young, Spanx-clad, Bluetooth-sprouting mothers race past, with bewildered, wind-burned children in $4000 Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber walkers, on their way to enrol the kid in pre-pre-pre-kindergarten, or snaffle the last spot in some preppy Day-Care.

I believe that I may have found a preventive for, at least some of, the multiple-killing gun violence. Perhaps if Mom (Or grandma – she remembers how) dandled her child more, he would be more likely to grow up to return love for love, instead of being estranged from society.

Please note that the word is dandle, not diddle. 😯 The Catholic Church seems to finally be getting the word, and that pedophile, Epstein has taken himself out of the game.

Stop back in a couple of days for some more comedy, and the beginning of my (hopefully) final dash for the 200th Flash Fiction milestone.

Involuntary Loner

Grumpy

I lost my brother recently. Thanx for the condolences, but he’s still alive. I just don’t know where the Hell he is.

I am content to be surrounded only by immediate family, and a tiny group of online friends. This is a cautionary tale about seniors growing older, isolated and alienated from society. (Visit your Grandma in the home!)

My grandson is getting married, and we tried to invite my brother to the wedding. His landline number had been disconnected, and his cell phone number had been assigned to someone else.

My daughter contacted his daughter through Facebook, and a sad, protracted tale of woe came to light. He had turned into a grumpy old man with no friends, although it wasn’t clear whether he was grumpy because he had no friends, or had no friends because he was so grumpy – perhaps a bit of both.

His wife left him and divorced him some years ago. He moved 25 miles, to a small village, to be near his older daughter. Within a year, she disappeared, moving out without telling anyone where she went.

The younger daughter admitted that she had been preoccupied with kids going into teenage-hood, and a small, retail business that she runs. His old buddy, “24 beers in a case/24 hours in a day” Norm, hadn’t stopped in to see him in over 5 years. We didn’t improve things, because, despite the wife’s nagging gentle reminders, I hadn’t phoned him in almost 3 years.

He had a lady friend-with-benefits for several years, but he was retired, with time to drive to Florida, and spend some time there in the winter. She had just started a home-cleaning business, with a growing list of clients, who she couldn’t leave hanging, so she also left him.

He had a guy that he’d gone to school and worked with, who would split on gas and motel rooms to attend curling bonspiels in Ottawa, and North Bay. But he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and brother finally called him a God-damn asshole, and dumped him.

There was a pair of male twins his age who used to give him some time, but neither one was interested in curling, and no longer wanted to car-pool and drive 500 miles to watch a NASCAR race. He never read, and he didn’t own a computer.

There was mention of “some trouble with a neighbor” (or neighbors), and apparently what passed for a village council, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, solve his problem. Suddenly, one day, he put his house on the market, sold it and just moved away.

His younger daughter says that she knows physically where he is, and has a telephone number. When she found out about his decision, she tried to contact him. He felt betrayed and abandoned. He said, “Screw all of you! If you weren’t there for me when I needed you, I’m not going to be there for you. The Government knows where I am. The rest of you can go to Hell. I don’t want to be bothered. Don’t give my contact information to anyone.”

My Mother used to say, about his sulking moods, “He just wants to go out in the garden and eat worms.” I am sorry that he feels betrayed and abandoned, and the situation that he’s in. He and I have led very different lives. For obvious reasons, we were never close, but I’ll still miss him.

’19 A To Z Challenge – Kludge

Calipers

Three Laws Of Practical Engineering
Force to fit
File to hide
Paint to cover

At the steel fabricating plant where I once worked, the difference between a welder, and a welder/fitter, was a ten-pound sledgehammer. Those storage tanks always fit.

Kludge

Noun – a software or hardware configuration that, while inelegant, inefficient, clumsy, or patched together, succeeds in solving a specific problem or performing a particular task.

Verb – the atypical act or action of achieving such a goal

Coined 1960/65 by American author Jackson W. Granholm.

Too often, ivory-tower engineers design things for the perfect, optimum conditions, and ignore reality. If you design something to be foolproof, someone will design a bigger fool. As James Bond said to Q, in one of the movies, “There’s a lot of wear and tear goes on out in the field.”

The concept of ‘Kludge’ indicates an open and adaptive mind, instead of one bounded by unchanging rules and regulations. Larry the Cable Guy may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you have to admire his Git ’er done philosophy.

I got this challenge done, and I’ve got a couple more, ready to post soon. Y’all come back now, y’hear?

Flash Fiction #199

Gazebo

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

I’LL HUFF AND I’LL PUFF

What’s this thing supposed to be, IF, and when we get it finished – a Gaze-Bow?? …. gah-zee-boe?

Easy to assemble. Up in minutes. Right!! Like the minutes of the last sales meeting – they weren’t finished till a week later.

Insert strut A into cavity 7. Where’s you get this thing – IKEA??

Aargh! I’ll hold that side down. Do you have any bricks for ballast?

We should have assembled this in the garage, and then just dragged it out.

It’s all your fault. You should have known better than to buy something made by the Big Bad Wolf Tent and Awning Company.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers