Another Challenge – No Argument

Another Challenge

#16 – 3 things you are proud of about your personality
Only three??!  They all blend together.  I like to think that I have (almost) no ego, and yet I have a blog-site where I claim to be opinionated.  With the ego comes humility and tact.  I can claim that I’m right, without ever insisting that you are wrong.

A man I worked with suddenly, out of the blue one day, said, “If I don’t like someone, I tell them.” Without much thought, I said, “I do too.”  “No you don’t.” he replied.  “If someone asks you, you’ll admit it.  If someone else is badmouthing them, you’ll agree.  I’ll walk right up to them and tell them I don’t like them.”

And therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the difference between truth and tact. Truth without tact – honesty without compassion – is just cruelty.  There is little to be gained by actively making enemies.  There are too many of them to go around as it is.

The humility helps me accept and deal with reality. Unlike Fundamentalists, I don’t insist that I’m ‘right’, when there is proof that I’m not, or at least reasonable doubt.  I have changed my thinking and opinions on a number of issues, as more evidence becomes available.

#20 – The last argument you had

Here’s another place where the list compiler’s mental problems/viewpoint become apparent. This question shows that he believes that Everybody argues to resolve differences, and they do it on such a regular, continued basis that we each have a mental list of arguments, with the ‘last’ one at the top.  Sadly, that happens all too often –Just Not With Me!

A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Mr. Myagi say, way to avoid punch argument, not be there.
Never argue with an idiot.  People might have trouble telling which one’s which.

I learned very early that arguing wasn’t a good idea, that it didn’t really solve anything, and just caused more problems.

When I was 8, and the neighborhood smart(ass) kid was 9, we got into a real argument about what Tarzan’s victory yell from the movies sounded like. I thought that it was like this – he thought it was like that.  Here were the two of us, nose to nose, noise polluting the neighborhood….when I suddenly realized that we were at odds over a fictitious movie sound, from a fictional character.  The noise level quickly abated.

In my early teens, during the “Beach Boys, Jan and Dean” period of surf and hot-rod music, I came home from high school one day. Since I usually had an hour to myself, I put on a recently purchased 45 RPM record about a ‘Bucket T’, a 1923 T-model Ford hot-rod.  I cranked the volume and played it 5 or 6 times, trying to get the lyrics and musical pacing.

Suddenly my Mother came scowling out of her bedroom. She had felt ill, and came home from work early.  How dare I keep blasting this song about ‘bucket seat, bucket seat, bucket seat?’  I opened my mouth to argue that it was a ‘Bucket-T,’ when I realized that it was not about what it was about.  What it was about, was that my Mother needed quiet and rest.  She got it – no argument.

Where profanity is the last resort of a person with no language skills, so too, arguments are the last resort of those with no tact, communication abilities, or anger management skills. If a discussion/disagreement has deteriorated to the point of arguments, both parties have already lost.  It is often no longer about who is right, or what is best, but rather, WHO WILL WIN.

Even if you prove the other person wrong, especially in public, you have not won the fight, or a follower, but rather, someone who will bear a grudge and backstab and bad-mouth you forever.  I will clearly state my case, but I stay out of arguments.  Too often, they involve third parties – (soon-to-be-ex)bosses, police, attorneys and ambulances.

There’s no argument that I would like to see you all here again in a couple of days, for some more of Archon’s nuggets of wisdom.

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’17 A to Z Challenge – V

Challenge2017

letter-v

 

 

 

 

Rat

Varmint – Vermin – Victor/Victim
VINDICATION –VICTORY!

When we last left our stalwart hero, the Pied Piper, he was valiantly attempting to rid his home of rats….

Back last June, when I chose these ‘V’ words, I wasn’t sure that I could achieve Victory – or who would be the victor, and who the victim.

I checked the air intake tube for the furnace, and found Ping-Pong-ball-sized stones piled above the steel grate, to prevent just this problem. Next, I checked the dryer vent.  This entailed emptying and moving a steel shelving unit in the basement.  Back in the corner was the 4-foot aluminum carpenter’s level.  I stood it against the wall, just outside the utility room door.

The dryer duct is expandable aluminum, hardly stronger than a potato chip bag, against the power of sharp little rats’ teeth. That corner was covered in dryer lint.  I used a shoe-box side and duct tape to close the gaping hole, and folded a small piece of chicken wire double, and screwed it over the outside vent.  That should keep any more from coming in.  Now I just had to deal with any left inside.

I put a trap outside, below the dryer vent, and 2 days later, caught a female, hopefully, trying and failing to get in. A week after, I drowned one in the peanut butter/swimming pool trap that I built from SightsNBytes direction.  Another week, and the Tonka Toy, Hungry, Hungry Hippo trap caught another female.  Just how big is this guy’s harem??

I removed the adhesive trap, because footprints proved it wasn’t sticky enough. One of the traps disappeared, even though I tie them down to prevent that.  I found a Dollar Store that had the old, reliable wooden trap – for $2.  The $12 special, now baited with soft chocolate cookie, nails yet another female.

New plastic and metal containers are bought. The amount of food disappearing goes down – but there’s still that occasional ‘gnaw, gnaw, gnaw’, some nights.  Wile E. Rat is still down there.  One day, an unmoved box of macaroni is emptied, and there, behind it, is the missing trap.  It’s down a shelf, and 6 feet away, on the other arm of an L-shaped shelving unit.

One day I go down to get something from the freezer. Dancer-cat rushes ahead and jumps up on it for his usual ruffling.  As I walk over to him, I ALMOST STEP ON THE RAT, padding across in front.  Later, Mr. 20/20 Hindsight Son asks, “Why didn’t you just stomp on him?”  Uh…. because he startled me, I hadn’t thought of doing that….and because I didn’t have my slippers on.

The next day, we go down again, only this time dancer-cat stands peering over the end of the freezer. Sure enough, there under the bottom shelf is Mr. Rat.  My well-shod feet are just waiting – but he won’t come out.  Would the cat go in??  I place him on the floor, but his way is blocked.  I move a box….and the rat is gone.

Later that evening, I go back downstairs. There’s that carpenter’s level.  I might as well put it on the workbench, because I’m going back in that corner to empty the cats’ litter tray….AND I DAMNED-NEAR STEP ON THE RAT AGAIN.  Here he is, almost in the middle of the floor.  I have the level.  Do I want to risk a $50 tool?  Hell, yes!  But the rat quickly scuttles under the work bench.

While the cats seem to have little or no interest in the rat(s), the dog does. He’s part terrier, and they’re bred to dig out rats.  Only, this one just goes downstairs and barks, usually when someone’s trying to sleep.  He’s deaf as a post, and has cataracts so bad that he bumps into things.  I think he just barks at the odors.

I was working on the computer one day. The wife later said she’d heard the dog in the basement.  I went down to the main floor, just as he jumped up on the couch.  We put a blanket there, and let him, but he acted guilty.  When I looked, he had one of his chewy toys in his mouth, which are not allowed up….but this toy had a tail.  Future evidence showed that he caught a rat in the same place he chased one a month before.  But is it the rat?

Rats piss and shit wherever they go. I can vacuum up the solid – several times Dust-Bustering the shelves, but the urine reeks.  We have a spray bottle of Febreze-like liquid.  It’s supposed to absorb odors.  I sprayed under my workbench.  I sprayed the linty corner – behind the steel shelves – behind the beer fridge and water softener – behind the freezer – under the storage shelves, and on the now-open spaces, avoiding all food….and went upstairs, a couple of weeks later.

The wife had started a load of wash, but with her recent knee operation, it was up to me to move the heavy wet laundry from washer to dryer. I went into the main floor powder/laundry room and flicked on the light.  Dancer-cat Micah jumped up on the dryer.  That’s not normal, but he’d been a bit more sucky than usual.  I flipped up the washer lid, and turned to open the dryer….and the cat is paying no attention to me.

There’s Mr. Rat, sitting on some hand towels, on a 4-foot-high shelf beyond the dryer. He’s always stayed in the basement. Oh yeah, I sprayed the shit outta that.  How did he get up here?  The dryer duct – gotta check that again.  What can I hit him with? What can I hit him with? There’s the wife’s ‘laundry stick’, for dunking or removing clothes from hot water.  It used to be the heavy wooden handle of a barbecue brush.

I can’t get at him because he’s tight to the shelf above, and the cat’s in the way. There I stand, with the raised baton in my hand, like an orchestra conductor.  He‘s not moving, because the cat will chase him (maybe), but the cat is interested.  Bit by bit, the cat oozes forward, until their noses are inches apart – slowly, the cat raises a paw….

Just before contact is made, the rat jumps. We have a sponge/ squeegee with a 3-foot handle for cleaning outside windows, leaning against the wall.  He jumps to that.  Then he lowers his nose to look for a safe landing spot – and I clop him a good one on the back of the head.

Holy shit – rats are tough! I expected death, or at least unconsciousness.  He performed a mid-air 360° tumble, and landed, squealing and thrashing, in a 14-inch-high, narrow, plastic garbage pail.  Can he climb out?  Can he jump out?  I’m not waiting to find out.

Quickly I grab the edge with my left hand and, still holding my Ninja club in my right, I head for the nearby front door. With both hands full, I don’t know how I got it open.  I told myself that I shut it behind me, so that cats couldn’t get out – but how?

I was just going to throw him into the middle of the road, but if he got in once, he might get in again.  This is a fight to the death! I run down the driveway, and set the pail on its side on the sidewalk.  He’s safe in there.  He ain’t comin’ out.

I dumped him out onto the concrete, and immediately administered several blows. I may have broken a front leg or two and/or some ribs, but I slowed him down.  Then I got 5 or 6 to the head. Do. You. Know. How. Many. Nachos. You. Ate? Broke the wife’s stick, and had to glue and tape it back together later.  Went to go back to the house, and here’s two cats leaking out the open door.  The next day, I took a photo in the rain, for proof.

SDC11058

And so, peace has descended upon Casa Archon. No more missing/spoiled food.  No more furtive movement.  No more squealing, rustling or gnawing.  I am the Victor!   😎

 

Flash Fiction #151

Car Accident

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

DRIVING INSTRUCTOR

Well…. The air bags worked!

EVERY! DAMNED! ONE! OF! THEM!

yes dear

That was like the Bouncy Castle at the State Fair. We’re lucky to be alive.

yes dear

Kiss your fishing trip with the boys, to Minnesota, goodbye. We need a new car.

yes dear

Didn’t I tell you not to drive so fast??

yes dear

Didn’t I say that it’s not a go-kart – like when you were a teenager??

yes dear

You’ve driven home this way a thousand times. Didn’t I warn you to slow down for that sharp bend??

yes dear

Hummph, husbands!! Like raising another kid!  🙄

***

Another dose of PURE FICTION marital relationship for the Friday Fictioneers….  Because we all know that there is not a husband alive who would drive too fast or recklessly after being carefully directed by a loving wife – and there is not a wife who would so castigate a husband for a little fender-bender like this.  😳

***

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

 

Where’s Willy

No! That title isn’t for a porno-lite blog post.  There are people and websites that allow you to track the movements of certain currency bills.  I mentioned this a couple of years ago, and it happened again recently.  The son received a 5-dollar bill with whereswilly.com on it.  He graciously donated it to my blog-theme account for the mere fee of….a different 5-dollar bill.

Willy 3

Willy 4

“Willy” is/was Sir Wilfrid (not Wilfred) Laurier, whose stern face graces the Canadian fiver.  The smaller local university began as Waterloo Lutheran University.  As they expanded, and outgrew the religious connection, they took ‘Willy’ as their mascot, and became Wilfrid Laurier University, so that W.L.U. remained W.L.U.  (Saves on paperwork.)

Willy 1

I accessed the website, and entered the bill’s serial number. When I submitted the short report of where I (the son) got it, and its physical condition, I got a webpage which showed where it had originated, and how long/how many miles/kilometers it had been on the road.  If you can read the fine print, Americans are invited to play this game by visiting “Where’s George?”

Willy 2

I was the first one to report this bill since its originator set it loose 174 days, almost six months before. As you can see, (but probably not that map) it began its tattooed journey in a town in Quebec called Listuguj, 1185 KM (750 Mi.) east of here, almost to the end of the Gaspé Peninsula, across the river/bay from New Brunswick.  How and why did it get from there to here?

When I found that it started in a Quebec town, I wondered why it didn’t say, “Ou est Willi?” That was explained when I investigated Listuguj.  I thought that it might have Polish or Czech founders, but it’s actually a treaty M’iq M’aq Indian enclave.

Have any of you got bills like this and/or played this game?

(One-)Liner Notes

Tired

I like a good long cuddle with my girlfriend after sex…….
…….It’s the quickest way to deflate her.

Apparently someone in London gets stabbed every 52 seconds….
…..poor bastard

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach….
….unless he’s a vegetarian, then you can get there through his vagina.

Why was the Pediatrician always losing his temper….
….he had little patients.

One time I forgot how to throw a boomerang….
….but then it came back to me.

What do you call a boring woman with athletes’ foot?….
….anti fun gal.

There’s a new sex position called ‘Delivery Man’….
….You stay in all day, and nobody comes.

How do Flat Earthers travel?….
….on a plane.

I have OCD, which seriously affects my sex life….
….every time a girl gets turned on, I turn them off again

This guy lost his entire left side….
….doctors say he’s alright now

I once got a hand-job from Albert Einstein….
….it was a stroke of genius

Vladimir Putin’s approval rating is 80%….
….the other 20% is missing

There are 10 different kinds of people in the world….
….those who understand binary humor, and those who don’t

How do you stay clean in space?….
….take a meteor shower

Of all my friends….
….I am the most competitive

My wife is always stealing my T-shirts and sweaters….
….but if I take one of her dresses, “We need to talk”

What’s positive about rape?….
….HIV

How did the captain survive the sinking of his ship?….
….He kept a log in his cabin.

What so you call a man with a shovel in his hand?….
….Doug

He digs, she digs, it digs, we dig, you dig, they dig….
….It may not be a beautiful poem, but it’s very deep.

Flash Fiction #150

Twins

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE DESTRUCTION
DOUBLE THE FUN

To have one rambunctious teenage son was….interesting. To have two – and twins – was stressful.  So different, and yet so much the same – and so competitive.  She almost needed a counsellor on speed-dial, and Valium in a Pez dispenser.  One for her; one each for the boys.

The contractor had said that the cost to repair the “Me first! No, Me!” front door would be reasonable, but would take a week.  Their automobile dealer said that the now-air-conditioned car would financially be another matter entirely.

Smart Car???! If they’d been smart, they’d have bought an old Police van with handcuff restraints.

***

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

2017 Books Read

That title is a calendar reference, not mathematical. I did not read two thousand and seventeen books – I’ve probably read twice that many in my lifetime – just not all last year.

With the daughter’s power wheel chair missing, the wife’s two knee replacement surgeries, more visits to more doctors, and the discovery of yet another crossword puzzle site, my book reading fell off significantly. From 51 books in last year’s post, I was down to about 25 in 2017.

I also reread a few old sci-fi books that I didn’t count, and a few on the list are 700/800 page – one even 1200 page – super-books, the equivalent of 2 or 3 books each. Here’s what occupied some of my time

Charles E. Gannon -Commander Cantrell In The West Indies

1636 Commander Cantrell in the West Indies

Another in the ‘1632’ series about a modern Tennessee town transported back in time, and how the inhabitants struggle to survive, both politically and literally.  Sadly, it’s all alternate history, and no real action, just a reason to sell another 800-page blah book.

Mark Greany – The Grey Man – On TargetOn Target

The Gray Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the ghost writers for the now-deceased Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Jr. series, this author has one of his own action series about an ex-CIA assassin, forced to go independent.

Tom Clancy’s – Full Force And Effect – On Target

Full Force And EffectUnder Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Clancy’s name is the one that still attracts readers, but Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood are two of 3 or 4 contract writers who pump them out.

Lee Child – Night School

Night School

After four years, I’m caught up.  It has been a most enjoyable series.  There will be one more Jack Reacher book this year, one more Dan Brown novel, and one more Ilona Andrews ‘Magic’ book in 2018.

Ilona Andrews – Magic Binds

Magic Binds

I got out of ‘Magic’ Sci-Fi about 30 years ago, but this series has lots of diverse character and plot development, thought and planning, and action.

Steve Perry – Patriot Threat

The Patriot Threat

A Dan Brown type of author, with a wide range of plot ideas, very enjoyable, but with just not quite the same OOMPH.

James Rollins – Blood Line – The Eye Of God

Blood Line

The Eye Of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Steve Perry, above, a good, solid action/adventure author.

Clive Cussler – Plague Ship

Plague Ship

While not dead, like Clancy, Cussler is old enough that he is co-writing with his son Dirk, and a couple of other commercial writers, as well as establishing the story arc and parameters, and letting them loose.

Will Adams – The Lost Labyrinth

The Lost Labyrinth

A fresh young writer who isn’t likely to die before I do.  His books (so far) are about action and intrigue around Middle Eastern archeological sites.

E.E. (Doc) Smith – Subspace Encounter

Subspace Encounter

A re-read that I downloaded a cover for.  I also re-read his ‘Skylark’ series, The Skylark of Space, Skylark Three, Skylark of Valeron, and Skylark Duquesne.  This year I hope to re-read all 12 of his ‘Family D’Alembert’ series.  While not as prolific as Isaac Asimov, Doc still pumped out almost 50 novels in four different series.

E.C. Tubb – Earth Is Heaven – Melome – Angado – Symbol Of Terra

Earth Is HeavenMelome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AngadoSymbol of Terra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lost this series about 20 years ago, after reading the first 26 episodes.  I recently thought of it again, and found that there were seven more available on Kindle.  The original author wrote to number 31 before he died.  He left notes for novel number 32, which his estate hired another commercial writer to assemble.  The story arc almost got the hero home to Earth, so he wrote a happily-ever-after finale to this epic tale.  I read four of them in 2017, and plan to finish the other three this year.

James S. A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes

Recommended by BrainRants, this is the first of five books, being made into a television series on SYFY, which I can’t get here in Canada.  The hero ‘acquires’ a slightly outdated destroyer spaceship, and renames it Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse, establishing the whole ’tilting at windmills’ flavor of the story.

Robert Asprin/Linda Evans – Tales Of The Time Scouts II

Tales of the Time Scouts II

Another adventure into the paradoxes of time travel.  This is actually 800 pages of two related stories in one (large) book.

Thomas Cathcart/Daniel Klein – Plato And A Platypus Walk Into A Bar

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar

Another recommended book, although, with apologies, I can’t remember the nice gentleman’s name.  (Stand up Sign in and take a bow.)  This one explores the philosophy and psychology of jokes and humor.  I can’t find its companion, ‘Aristotle And An Aardvark Go To Washington’ in Canada.  I’ll wait till the next time we order something from Amazon, and add it to the order to get free shipping.

Well, that’s (more than) enough about me.  Besides my output, what did you read last year??