A to Z Challenge – E

April Challenge

Letter E

EGGS – are organic vessels in which embryos first begin to develop.

Egg

Isn’t this egg-citing?

Dr. Seuss’s ‘Green eggs and ham’ is better than eggs and green ham.

Emus lay green eggs, about the size of softballs.

He’s a good egg, even if he’s slightly cracked.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  ‘Cause her friends were egging her on.

Ham and eggs is just a day’s production for a hen, but a life’s commitment for a pig.

Justin Bieber’s a rotten egg because he egged a neighbor’s house.

egg on one’s face, Informal. humiliation or embarrassment resulting from having said or done something foolish or unwise:
They were afraid to back the losing candidate and wind up with egg on their faces.

lay an egg, Informal. to fail wretchedly, especially to be unsuccessful in front of an audience:
He laid an egg as the romantic hero.

put all one’s eggs in one basket, to venture all of something that one possesses in a single enterprise.

walk on eggs, to walk or act very cautiously.

Eggs and oaths are soon broken.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

Don’t rush things.  Eggs can’t be unscrambled.

The same boiling water that softens potatoes, hardens eggs.  It’s all about what you’re made of, not your circumstances.

Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Evil chickens lay deviled eggs.

Why did the egg hide?  Because it was fry-day.

In my youth I was called an egghead.  Today I’d be a geek or a nerd.

The recipe said to separate the eggs – but it didn’t say how far.

I can’t lay an egg, but I’m a good judge of omelets.

Mark Twain said it’s okay to put all your eggs in one basket – if you watch the basket.

Eggs shouldn’t dance with stones.

People judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

That’s enough yolks for now. I’m going to make my eggs-it.

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Flash Fiction #95

Rats

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

RATS! CURSES!

“The moon is made of green cheese. Pass it on.”

What??!”

“Don’t mind me. That’s just something I say, to pass time while I’m stuck in a line.  Sometimes people ‘get it’, and pass it on.  I hate being in long lines.  We’re just like those birds, only without a guiding wire, or a string of elephants, each holding the tail of the one in front.”

“Don’t you touch my tail buddy!”

“Well, the wait is worth it. I look forward to my morning Starbucks latté.”

“Starbucks??! That’s that line mister.  This line is for Justin Bieber concert tickets.”

Aargh!!!

***

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

 

It All Comes Down To The Music

Rock group

The son commented the other day that he was doing some research about The Drowning Pool.

“Oh, I liked that book. I read several of Ross MacDonald’s books when I was young. They were gritty, like Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. I also liked the 1975 movie with Paul Newman, and his wife/actress, Joanne Woodward….”

No, no, he says! I’m talking about a rock group.

Well, of course you are! It all comes down to names for musical groups. (I’d write ‘rock groups’, but there hasn’t been any real ROCK, since about ’85.) Names for groups are like internet domain names. There’s more looking for them, than are available. To get one, especially the one you want, can be difficult – and expensive.

That may explain groups like Finger Eleven, (Is that the one you use to communicate with other drivers?) and Maroon Five. (I can still hear Bugs Bunny cackling, “What a maroon.”, and here’s five of them)

Once upon a time, there was a band called Bush. They went nowhere fast, then quietly disbanded. Many years later, another group of musical young men who had never heard of the original Bush, named their band that. Soon they got a cease and desist order. For over a year they had to operate as Bush-X, till somebody’s palm got greased, or their ego salved.

I suspect the same type of thing is happening with a band named X-Ambassadors, whose tune ‘Renegade’, is being used by Chrysler Motors to promote their Jeep. The band may have to pay Chrysler for promotional consideration, because the commercial has made them nationally famous, and their song is all over every radio station.

Bands are named just about everything you can imagine – and, I imagine, things you can’t imagine. Whenever I check a tag on my WordPress Reader, to ‘see what others are writing’, every one of my usual tags leads to a band. There’s a band called Knives. There’s a band called Sword. There’s also a small city in Ireland called Sword. There’s a band called Handguns. There’s a band called Archon. There’s a band called Kings.

When I was a teenager, there was a group of five young men from the next town over. They had all been friends since before kindergarten. They were all children of merchants, lawyers and real estate agents who could afford to pay for music lessons and new, decent-quality instruments. They studied music, and they practiced, first alone, then together. They garage band-ed for almost ten years.

They would never have made the big time back then, although, nowadays, Justin Bieber proves that anything’s possible. They were good enough to play Thursday nights during the high school summers, at a dance hall on the waterfront in Sauble Beach. They also played Friday and Saturday nights at a smaller dance hall on the Port Elgin beach. It didn’t hurt that the rhythm guitar player’s dad owned it.

Five of my known associates decided that, if the other guys could do it, they could too. Three of them had never taken a lesson. Two of them had never picked up an instrument. Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, trumpet (?), violin (?) and drums – this was before ELO or Chicago. The only song they performed that sounded barely acceptable, was Surfin’ Bird. Check out the original on YouTube.

They practiced/jammed a couple of hours a week for six months. The town paid them ten bucks a head to perform at a summer teen dance in the arena – and they never got another paying gig.

When visions of sugarplums were still dancing through their heads, it was realized that the group would need a name. None of them was creative enough, or egotistical enough to come up with one, so groupies like me were asked for suggestions.

I asked my father, who was just barely into the entertainment industry. Having come through the Big Band Era, he suggested The Kingsmen, or The Coachmen. These weren’t sufficiently ‘with it’ for the swingin’ early ‘60s. The next-town band called themselves “The Comets”, bright, brilliant, showy, unusual, memorable.

Plagiarizing the scientific theme, I never did ask which one of ‘my’ group of geniuses decided to name the band “The Atoms”, tiny, invisible, insignificant, and more common than grass. We’re all lucky that they put their thick glasses, repaired with tape, back on, oiled up their slide rules, and were never heard again.

What are some of the groups, ‘unusually’ named or not, that you    listen(ed) to?

Come Fly With Me

My grandson and his fiancée have gone to the birds – and I drove them.  They had a chance to attend an Introduction to Falconry seminar.  Both interested in exotic pets, she can use it toward a career as a vet’s assistant, or in an animal clinic.

Held in a tiny Ontario village, slightly smaller than Justin Bieber’s washroom, and just back of beyond, I volunteered to drive them.  Based on his original destination, I used MapQuest to give me a map and driving instructions.  It wasn’t there!  He called the night before, to confirm, and give me the correct address.  I beseeched MapQuest again.

It wasn’t till I’d printed the second set, that I noticed a note on the screen stating, “We can’t find the exact address.  This is an approximate location.”  I asked for 2133 Centre Rd.  MapQuest showed 967 to 1003 Centre Rd.  Then why can’t you find 2133?  Hello, Mr. Google.  Can you get me a map?  Sure!  And a street view, and driving instructions shorter by 4 Km. for not having to drive toward town, and then back out.  With the third set, we confidently set off.

They almost didn’t get to go.  With just a week left till the deadline, the group had only three registrations, and thought they’d have to cancel.  Suddenly the floodgates opened, and they ended with over thirty visitors.  The kids spent an enthralling day, getting all kinds of information, and visiting with the likes of a Kestrel, a Tawny Owl, and a Red Tailed Hawk.

I hadn’t even got out of my car before I learned a new word.  The car directly opposite me had custom licence plates that read Perlin.  A quick Smart Phone check, and the grandson informed me that it was a cross between a Peregrine Falcon, and a Merlin.  A car in the row behind me had “Peregrns” custom plates.

Aside from my car, there were four in the parking lot from Kitchener, a 40 minute drive.  Someone used a car-share vehicle to come another half-hour, from Bieber’s hometown of Stratford.  One car was from Coburg, almost 300 Km. to the east.  That was the longest drive.  There was a young woman from Thunder Bay, 1800 Km. north and west, but she flew down (in an airplane, silly) and was ferried by one of the club members.  Apparently interest in Falconry raises some strong determination.

It raises some other feelings too, at least among the females of the club.  One instructress had seven studs/rings in one ear, and five in the other, including lobe danglers with dime-sized discs, etched with her Screech Owl.  One had a Snowy Owl tattooed on the inside of her right bicep, and her Red-Tailed Hawk on the left.  A third had a full-sized tattoo of her Red-Tailed Hawk’s red tail feather from inside her left elbow, to inside her wrist.

This is horse territory, with two Dressage farms, and two ranches raising and training sulky race horses, trotters and pacers.  The property of the 1866 brick school, which is now the community center, backed up to one on the cross-road.  After the kids went in, I spent 45 minutes talking to a local resident who boards his horse there. A year younger than me, he came from up-country, not far from my home town.  We didn’t find anyone we knew in common, but did know villages and streets, shops and schools.

He’s not impressed with our local Mennonites, who often buy failed race horses, to use to pull buggies and wagons. These Children of God are well-known to starve horses, or drive them till they drop, or freeze them in blizzards, just to attend “Holy Services.”  He was complaining to another owner, up from Pennsylvania.  The puzzled visitor wanted to know what “Mennonites” were.  He thought for a second, and said, “Amish.”  The American said, “Oh yeah, ours do that too.”

There’s a lot of money in the area, evidenced by stone gates that probably cost more than my house, and houses that cost more than my entire neighborhood.  One manor house was so far back from the access road, that it couldn’t be seen.

It was a beautiful sunny, warm day.  There must be a bicycle-riding club nearby.  All day, hundreds of motorcycles and bicycles streamed by, up and down the gently rolling hills, including one racer-style tandem bike, being pumped along by a him-and-her team.  I never saw horses anywhere but on their farms, but, when traffic’s light, there was a sign showing that they use the main road for exercise.

The grandson paid for gasoline, and my time, although I donated that for free.  He offered me $10 if I wished to go somewhere to score a lunch.  I declined, having had a solid breakfast.  I needed fresh air to clear my lungs, some sunshine, and exercise to take off some of the excess I’ve already eaten.  While they hung out with some flighty characters, I went for a walk.

When the drivers/trainers take their horses and carts out, they often take along some “liquid refreshment.”  I wonder if you can be charged with DUI in a horse cart?  Not far down the road, I spotted an empty beer can in the ditch.  Worth a 10 cent refund in Ontario, I picked it out, stomped it flat, and jammed it in a back pocket.

I hadn’t gone a quarter-mile before I had to go back to the car for a shopping bag.  The pocket was crammed, and I now had 6 bottles.  I walked a half-mile to the next road, crossed over to the other side, and started back.  Halfway back I had to go to the car again, and dump the stuffed bag, so I could go back and collect a trove.  Later, shorter walks up each of the other three legs of the X gained me lesser amounts.

My “get exercise and clean up the environment” project netted me just over $15.00.  I turned them in at the Beer Store, at my end of the nearby plaza, and walked to the bank at the other end, and bought some more American cash for a hoped-for trip to Ohio in October.

It was a wonderful day for both the kids and I.  After my day-long sojourn in the sun, I returned to the house with face, neck and arms the color of a Coca-Cola can.  Yee-haw, I’m an honorary redneck.  I slathered on the silver-based burn cream the doctor insisted I needed, and woke the next day with no itch or pain, just the beginnings of a great tan, and lots of fond memories.

That’s Liebster, Not Bieber!

Liebster AwardI’m so ancient that some of my oldest friends were introduced to me by Pterodactyls.  Like the Dot.Com meltdowns, this blogosphere thing is relatively new to most of us.  There are a couple, like AFrankAngle, and Jim Wheeler, who have been at it for 4 and 5 years.  Most of the rest of us have only been polluting the interwebz for a couple of years, so it’s hard to have an old blog-friend.

As some of the brighter among you may have guessed, I have received yet another well-earned blog award.  One of my oldest followers gifted me with a Liebster.  This woman is determined.  She signed up to ride on my Tilt-A-Whirl shortly after I fell off the WordPress turnip wagon.  Then, through no fault of her own, she had to go into the Witness Protection Program.

She came roaring back, with a Groucho Marx disguise, a phoney gravatar, and the persona of, Pucker Up Buttercup, which she used to follow me again.  She couldn’t fool me though.  Her writing is too crisp, clear and informative, even when she is reporting from the other side of the battle of the sexes.  I bent over to pick up a nickel, (I’m not saying she threw it there.) and felt something slipping into my back pants pocket.  I was hoping that I was being molested, but the Liebster award is a lovely consolation prize.

As usual, there’s a bunch of silly rules, most, better observed by omission than commission.  There’s not even a rule that you must download and display a copy of the award on your acceptance post, but my ego needed to be shimmed up, so I grabbed one and slipped it in at the top.  I’m supposed to link back to my donor, to give you a chance to visit her site.  Two years of blogging, and I’ve finally figured out how to do that all by myself.  Next week the wife says she’ll teach me to open my own beer.

You must answer the ten Liebster questions put to you by your nominator.  I’ll get around to that, right after I list, and then ignore, the rest of the rules.  You are supposed to pick ten worthy recipients with fewer than 200 followers.  I’m depressed that I qualified.  You gals keep telling us, Size Matters.

I’m supposed to come up with ten new questions for my 10 nominees.  I can’t come up with ten lucid answers to the questions I’ve been asked!  Where am I gonna come up with ten new questions??  Wait!  That’s one – nine more??! Nah!!  So, I can’t think of any questions, and the terms of the day-parole pass don’t allow me on the internet long enough to find ten more gullible victims worthy recipients.  Ergo, I have no-one to notify of my nefarious plans.  Quickly, on to the Q & A.

Questions for my nominees:

1.   What’s the most important quality you look for in a friend?

A strong stomach, and the blind ability to overlook my failures and shortcomings.  My blog-friends see me like a reject Christmas tree, with the poor side turned towards the wall, and only the good part showing.

2.   What would your superhero name be?

Corporal Mediocre, because I’m not powerful enough to be a Captain.  Like Radar, in M.A.S.H., while everyone was oohing and aahing over the guy leaping tall buildings, I’d clean up the mess, and disappear before anyone knew I’d been there.

3.   Have you ever broken someone’s heart? If so, whose?

Not knowingly, or intentionally.  I did break a girl’s nose one time, but she shouldn’t have been standing so close to the door when she knew I was coming to pick her up.

4.   Is the pursuit or the capture better? Why?

Yes, and no….because, it depends on the target.  Sometimes it’s the thrill of the hunt, but, like a dog chasing a car, even if he caught it, he couldn’t drive it.  Other times, the goal is so valuable and worth-while, that the rigors of the chase are ignored in the pursuit of the fixated goal.  Sadly, sometimes we obtain exactly what we need and want, only to find that it isn’t.  Be careful what you wish for.

5.   What do you most wish you could do over?

With a view to “improving or changing” my current life?  Be born rich, instead of so damned handsome!  Actually, at my age, I’d like to do the whole damned thing over again.  I’d even put up with the dorky, slightly bullied childhood, for the chance to meet and get to know more people.  I can think of no specific life occurrence which was bad enough to need doing over.  Even if I could, the butterfly effect might ensure that the changed result would be even worse.  Let sleeping dogs lie, just don’t trip over them.

6.   Is it ever okay to put raisins in cookies? Why or why not?

Better to ask if it’s necessary to put cookie dough around these plump, juicy, tasty little nuggets.  No raisins in Oreos or Lemon Crisps, obviously, but Cowboy cookies, or brown sugar cookies, or oatmeal and raisin cookies (which, properly, should be raisin, and a bit of oatmeal, cookies) – Oh Yeah!  Some wino somewhere is sayin’, “I wish I had a couple of raisin cookies instead.”

7.   What’s the last compliment you were given?

I’m not sure if it was, “For a fat old fart, you don’t sweat much.” or, “You know, you’re not really as dumb as you look.”  At my age, I get complimented just for getting out of bed in the morning – well, afternoon usually.  Though five years younger than me, in the past couple of years, the wife’s physical deterioration has proceeded apace, while I, even pushing 70, remain a spry old guy.  As a way of thanking me for taking care of her, and just doing what needs to be done, the wife often compliments me.

8.   How important is the first kiss?

Oh so important!  It sets a tone.  Was it worth the wait?  Does it promise more, and even better to come?  Will the medication control the herpes?

9.   What’s the best name for a turtle, and why?

Bob – because – Bob!  What do you call a dog with no legs?  It doesn’t matter.  He’s not going to come when you call him.

10.  What do you wish people knew about you?

I’m as transparent as Swarovski crystal, and the Mississippi may have a bigger mouth.  I began this blog two years ago to get to know other bloggers, and for them to get to know me.  Any regular reader knows pretty much everything about me except my shoe size – just large enough to often insert in my mouth.  There was that one, “This has never happened to me before.” episode, but that’s not something I want people to know about.

That’s it folks.  Remember to wash your hands after reading the post, and please return soon, for another exciting episode of The Life and Times of Archon.

In The Dark

On August 14th, Southern Ontario and hunks of Eastern United States, celebrated (?) the tenth anniversary of a giant blackout.  Locally, we did better than many areas; the power was back on in about four hours.  As with so many other things, like jet-stream cold fronts, 9/11 terrorists, and Justin Bieber, Americans blamed Canada.

Local stories range from being five from the front at a giant waterslide, and having to turn around, and follow 150 other disappointed people back down the stairs, because the water pumps shut off, to the canoeist/camper in a National Park, who pulled in the next day, without knowing or noticing that anything had occurred.

I was at work, on a 3 to 11 shift, when we went dark, at about 8:00 PM.  The plant had already started its death spiral.  The General Manager who lied to the Big Three during contract negotiations, had been forced out.  His internal replacement/promotion lasted only six months before getting a good look at the oncoming train, and taking a different track.  The external hire, who thought he was going to helm a healthy company, bailed after only three months.  And so, we got Bill.

Already cynical, I kept an eye on him.  He was touted as the man who would turn things around, but his management style and abilities did not bode well for that.  The first week he was there, he held a town-hall meeting with each of the shifts.  Not in the boardroom – heaven forbid the peons’ sandals leave marks on the carpet, rather, in the Quality Assurance/Packing area.  He looked us all in the eye and said, “My name is Bill Rheem.”  Those first four words were a lie….and it went downhill from there.

He was not a Germanic Rheem (ream), he was a French-Canadian Rheaume (ray ome).  He had worked for Ford in Windsor, but had left to start his own small company.  My suspicious little whiskers were already vibrating.  He might have been an entrepreneur, or maybe, just a guy who did not play well with others.  If he had had his own company, why was he here running ours?  Did his workforce grab torches and pitchforks and riot, or did the company go public and shareholders force him out?

We worked with a cyanide-based isocyanate.  One day a forklift hit a supply pipe, and leaked a couple of gallons on the floor.  Too important to go around, while two hazmat-suited workers cleaned it up, he ripped down the yellow HAZARD tape, and escorted three guys from head-office right through the middle.

We had had a hot, muggy summer, prior to the power outage.  We normally got two air-conditioned breaks in our eight-hour shifts of working with hot vinyl, but every previous manager had agreed to a third, when the weather got bad.  Not Bill!  No F**kin’ way!  A contract’s a contract!  Union executive contacted the Labor Board, who showed up with books of Government regs.  It was so hot and sticky that we had the legal right to a ten-minute break every hour….and Bill had to ensure it was given, and documented.

Eight PM on an August evening is not dark.  When the power died, we did what we could to prevent fires, and other problems, then trickled outside to sit on benches and picnic tables.  We’d been out there for about a half-hour, when our fearless leader showed up.  He checked that protocols had been followed, and gave us what information he had, and a little pep-talk about getting right back to work, as soon as the power came back on.

He took a couple of cell phone calls, and another half-hour later announced, “Well, I guess the power’s not coming back on.  You guys all go home.”  Somebody said, “Well, at least we get paid for the whole shift.” And Grumpy Smurf lashed out again.  “No F**kin’ way!  It’s not my fault the plant can’t run!  You don’t work, you don’t get paid!”

The next day, the union president visited him and showed him a copy of the contract, with a Short Workweek clause, which guaranteed that we would be paid from a special, slowly increasing fund.

I carefully drove 5 Km. home, through a city with neither traffic lights, nor streetlights.  I joined a wife and son in a living room well-stocked with candles, and indulged in more conversation than since the invention of TV.  Well after midnight, just as we were thinking of pulling out a board game, and playing Yahtzee or Monopoly by candlelight, civilization returned in a rush.

When the axe finally fell on me a year later, I tried to access the above fund, to top up my unemployment benefits but, being one of the last to go, I found it empty and plundered by those who had preceded me.  I needed to find a job, fast!

Bill was perhaps, the most ineffectual, adversarial Plant Manager I’d ever worked with.  The Peter Principle had allowed him to bob up to the level of his incompetence several times.  It didn’t take a power stoppage to show that he was uninformed, and poorly trained for his position.  He was in the dark, even before the lights went out, and he kept those around him in the same condition.

Previous corporate decisions and policies had already doomed my plant and my job, but Billy-boy didn’t do them any extra favors.

Where were you when the lights went out?  In a part of the country or the world where you didn’t even notice?  Did you, or someone you know, have a baby nine months later?  A lot of folks did!  No Yahtzee boards or candles, I guess.

Triviana

Damn!  I appear to have invented a neologism, a new word.  Ana is a collection of miscellaneous facts and information about any given subject.  To add it as a suffix to a proper noun identifies what the information is about, like Americana.  Look out folks!  Triviana simply means another serving of Seinfeld, a blog about a bunch of things in general, and nothing in particular.

During the recent American election, I saw several ads on my Detroit-based American TV channels, decrying the intention to build a second bridge to link Canada and the USA there.  The ads said that traffic is down, and so is the economy!  But the economy should rebound, and the time to build a bridge is before you need it, not after it’s too late.

After the elections, it was revealed that the Arab-American who owns the Ambassador Bridge had spent $300 million, to produce and air ads to convince Michigan voters that they couldn’t afford another bridge.  Saner heads prevailed, and they voted to go ahead anyway.  If he could afford to spend $300 million to try to keep a monopoly, imagine how much he must rake in, just from that bridge.

The son now works in the same building that I did, forty years ago.  The company I worked for is long gone, and his company now occupies it.  I had to pick him up after work one Saturday morning, and he convinced the plant manager to give me a short tour.  It’s the same….only different.

The plastics-parts company he works for provides bits and pieces to a company 15 miles away, which produces 4-, 6-, 8-wheeled and tracked, amphibious ATV type vehicles.  They have a contract with the American government to design and build a Lunar Rover, for an upcoming mission.  None of the parts the son produces go toward that vehicle.  Those are one-of-a-kind, specialty parts.  Still, it’s impressive to look up and think, I have a tenuous connection to that thing.

The bitchers try their best to make it simple and straightforward, and it’s never their fault.  Almost inevitably, there is layer after layer of complexity, and usually there’s guilt and responsibility in every direction other than the one the accusing finger points in.

A Toronto couple had their 25-year-old son move back in with them.  They took him to the hospital, and he came out dead.  They want to sue the emergency ward doctor who didn’t get him to ICU quickly enough.  They want to sue the ICU physician who didn’t administer enough of the correct medicine soon enough.  They want to sue the administrator who placed him in the regular ICU, rather than the Cardiac unit.  They say that they want to know why their son died.

Maybe it’s because he was a drug addict.  Maybe it’s because this was the third time this year that he’d been trucked to a hospital with an overdose.  Maybe it’s because his internal organs were so damaged that they were shutting down.  Maybe it’s because they didn’t put him in rehab.  Maybe it’s because they didn’t check on him in time.  Nah!  It must be somebody else’s fault!  Lawyers ho!

The case of the young man who fatally stabbed a gun-toting Negro in the park has finally ground to a halt, and gone away.  It would have been nice if the authorities had declared him innocent, or stated that his self-defence was justified.  Instead, the Crown Attorney’s office released a statement that, “The Crown does not feel, at this time, that they can proceed with a case, with any assurance of a conviction.”  So, it’s not about any real-world justice, it’s all about lawyers’ Win/Loss Ratio.  Thanks for thinking of us.

They let Justin Bieber perform at the half-time show at the Grey Cup football game.  That’s the end of Canadian football for this year.  Even with domed stadiums, we can’t keep playing as long as the American league.  Bieber got thoroughly booed.  To be fair, the booing was more about the choice of entertainment.

They may have been trying to attract a wider viewership, but the mostly over-thirty male audience was not impressed.  Poor Justin.  He was so upset that he had to accept some meansnothing award from the Prime Minister, half-wearing a pair of denim overalls.  You can’t take the yahoo out of the boy, but you can take the yahoo boy and get the Americans to pay him to live there.

Two local families, each with a twelve-year-old female Bieber-maniac, went on-line and spent $450 to get them tickets to a Justin Beiber concert.  They carefully checked everything, and downloaded and printed the bar-code confirmations.  It wasn’t until the two were giddily racing around one’s house, spelling out their hero’s name in song, B I E B E R, that the parents realized they’d been scammed.  The companies each father worked for donated money to get them valid tickets.  Damn!  I’m disappointed that they’re not.

Just when you think that political correctness has reached its peak, or nadir, someone takes it to a new ridiculous level.  A local mother, whose son has a nut allergy, is petitioning the city to cut down the oak trees in front of, and near, her son’s school – with no proof that acorns affect him.  To remove these trees would cost tens of thousands of dollars, and would set a precedent which could force the city to remove all oaks at all city schools and parks, at a cost of millions.  Can you beat the stupid and entitlement off someone??  Where’s that shitty diaper and my ski-mask?