36-24-36 Fibbing Friday

Pennsitivity101 is going with Alter Egos this week.
Prominent figures, but who would you match as their alter ego?

  1. Boris Johnson

Bozo the Clown.  No-one would suspect that one orange-haired, goofy-talking fool was really a different orange-haired, goofy-talking fool.  The only danger might be that there would accumulate a critical mass of inane silliness, and we could have a political and philosophical meltdown, and a severe case of Estonia Syndrome – because China wouldn’t want anything to do with it.
2.  Madonna

Mae West.  The bloom is off Madonna’s rose.  The line, ‘Come up and see me sometime.’ is beginning to sound a little desperate.
3.  Victoria Beckham

The Wicked Witch of the West.  Don’t tell me that you haven’t thought that too!  😳  “Fly, my pretties – and bring me back all the profits that my Nigerian Prince scams legitimate businesses earn.”
4.  Roger Federer.

John McEnroe.  Finally, Roger the quiet, Roger the stoic, Roger the well-mannered, could let his internal Dennis the Menace loose once in a while.
5.  James Bond

Thomas Stewart, owner/proprietor of the finest artisanal oat-based vodka distillery in all of Scotland.  ‘Tell the Sassenachs that it’s exclusive and eco-friendly, with a low carbon footprint, and soon they’ll be at Hadrian’s Wall, throwing Pounds and Euros at Glencoe, to purchase it.  They will be shaken – and stirred.
6.  Ebenezer Scrooge

Stay-Puft, the Marshmallow Man.  Give him a little scare three times in one night and he goes all soft and mushy and sweet.  If this keeps up, soon I’ll be the only grumpy old dude left.  😉
7.  H.G. Wells

Project manager for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space project.  He could show them how to actually get off their butts, and off the surface of the planet.
8.  Agatha Christie

Madame DeFarge.  Actually, Agatha Christie has caused more deaths, as she sat knitting, knitting, knitting her devious murder plots together.
9.  Liberace

A bank manager.  A critic once savaged one of Lee’s programs in a newspaper review.  An assistant told him of the pan, and asked if it upset him.  Liberace replied, “I cried all the way to the bank.”
10. Winston Churchill

A Cuban cigar-maker with a pet bulldog.

Flash Fiction #284

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

SPIN SPIN SPIN

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.
I have to run faster and faster, just to stay in the same place.

It is pleasant to recline in the lap of technology – so many things to make our lives quicker and easier – but, there is a cost to pay.  Change has been thrust upon us, occurring more and more often.

Studies show if the maze is constantly altered, the lab rat eventually goes insane – which brings us to cops killing innocent people, and schoolboys committing mass murders.  It’s not the testosterone or guns. Our easy, effortless lives are killing us.

***

If you’d like to join the fun with the Friday Fictioneers, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Musical Philosophy

I’ve heard that music has things to say.  Sometimes though, what it has to say is not all that nice.  I’ve recently paid attention to a couple of songs, and been disturbed.

Vocal group Home Free has redone Kenny Rogers’, The GamblerOn a warm summer’s evening, on a train bound for nowhere.  So, the gambler has no goal, no destination.  It seems like he left the last town one step ahead of ‘Resign or be prosecuted,’ or being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.  He has no home, no family, and no friends.

He relies on the goodness of strangers.  He is so broke that he has no whiskey for anesthetic against the physical and psychological aches and pains.  He has to cadge cigarettes and doesn’t even have a 1¢ pack of paper matches to light them.  He manages to die alone, un-noticed, unloved, unmourned, yet the song holds him up as the epitome of a compelling source of life-style advice.

Even worse, Home Free does a cover of Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road.  Their arrangement and delivery make it sound great, until you actually listen to the lyrics.

Come to the end of the road
Still I can’t let go
It’s unnatural
You belong to me
I belong to you

Girl, I know you really love me
You just don’t realize
You’ve never been there before
It’s only your first time

Maybe I’ll forgive you
Maybe you’ll try
We should be happy together
Forever, you and I

The ‘she’ of this couple wisely wants the relationship to be over.  The obsessive, abuser boyfriend/husband is creepy and scary.  END OF THE ROAD I CAN’T LET GO – YOU BELONG TO ME – I BELONG TO YOU – MAYBE I’LL FORGIVE YOU – WE SHOULD BE HAPPY TOGETHER – FOREVER!   😯   👿

This isn’t a ‘Happy Ever After’ love song.  This is a murder/suicide plot – a prelude to stalking charges, restraining orders, and an application for a handgun permit.  Paul Anka never wrote shit like this, maybe because it’s hard to rhyme Psychotherapy.  😳

Then there’s their version of Travelling Soldier, where a young soldier, about to be shipped overseas, puts the moves on an adolescent, local girl before he leaves.  It says, So they went down, and they sat on the pier.  He said, “I bet you got a boyfriend, but I don’t care.”

This song was previously done by the all-female group, The Dixie Chicks, until Dixie got an injunction, preventing them from using that name.  Now they’re just The Chicks, like the Peeps.  I’ve seen a YouTube video of their concert presentation.   If you’re gonna play in Texas, Ya gotta have a fiddle in the band.  They got a fiddle, alright.  The catgut for the strings sounds like it’s still being pulled out of the cat.

Home Free do a cover of God Bless Texas, with the line – God blessed Texas with His own hand – and all proceeds from the performance of this song will go to aid the Billions of dollars of damage caused by hurricanes and floods, which they show in the video.  Couldn’t take much more of that blessing.

Stop back for some better music soon.  😀

The Origin Of Woke

How do you get a guy to stand in a closet, while you seal him in by bricking up the door??

Strictly a hypothetical question!  That odd-shaped portion on my basement wall is where the electrical panel used to be…. and I have no idea where that irritating neighbor got to.

And Google is no damned help.  I hate that auto-complete!  I type in How do you…. and I get back
….do the Hokey-Pokey?
….get picked up at a gay bar?
….serve curried Iguana?

I believe I found the birth of Woke, and it’s further back than you might think.  I woke from a refreshing afternoon nap, wondering how the narrator in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, kept his victim from just breaking out.  It turns out that he chained the loathed sot to the back wall, tightly enough so that he could not get loose.

I studied the tale in Grade 12 English – old enough to deal with some of the darker themes.  Living out in the boondocks, the teacher only explained a bit of the story motivation, and being an Anglophone-Canadian, managed to mispronounce the Spanish name.  He spoke ah-mon-tee-yad-oh like ah-mon-till-lay-doh.

I re-read the tale on the Internet recently, and was discussing it with the son.  Poe’s works have always been classified as horror.  That’s how my teacher presented it.  Like Romeo and Juliet, this was a valid story of Renaissance, upper-class hatred and competition between families and commercial groups – possible, even likely to happen, given the opportunity.

The son said that, when he studied it, approximately 1988, his (female) English teacher explained that it was all allegory.  The story-teller was just an alcoholic, who was symbolically imprisoning his weakness, and getting sober.  So I guess, no AA back then??!  The dark horror story had been changed into a bright, kind, redemptive one of rehabilitation and personal triumph.

Personally, I find that interpretation to be ridiculous, but I wonder if any of you were presented with it.  😕   😳

There’s always tomorrow.  CU then.

Flash Fiction #266

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

THE WILD WEST

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes today’s Tourist Tram Trip to the Potsdam Paintball Palace.  Please follow the umpire to your left.  He is not a forensic technician, investigating a murder.  Please turn in the protective eye wear that you were issued.  You may keep your paper safeguard suits.  Any bruises incurred, should fade in about a week.  Tomorrow, they will be colors that match your suits.

For those of you not already sufficiently spun, you may take a complementary ride on our Pinwheel Carousel.

(Crazy Americans!  We have restaurants, history and art museums.  They come here to shoot guns??!)  🙄

***

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

More Thoughts On Gun Control

Colt 1911

GUN CONTROL?? WHAT ABOUT ABSENT FATHERS?

Do we want to solve gun violence, or do we just want to engage in useless bluster?

Whenever a terrible shooting takes place, in Toronto, or an American city, the gun control enthusiasts rush to the podium to bang their fist and display their anger.

Recently, US President, Barack Obama reacting to the mass shooting in Oregon that left nine people dead, said: “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.

He meant gun laws.

But another display of emotion won’t make gun control work.

The guns are not the problem, but they are an easy target, and politicians, like water, seek the easy course.

If gun control worked, Chicago would not experience the violence that it does. If gun control worked, the Toronto Sun would not have reported, in mid-July, that “The 227 shooting victims so far this year are 31 more than the total for all of 2014.””

Toronto and Chicago have gun control. Murder is also ‘controlled’.  It is illegal!  The problem is deeper and more complicated than the tool that is used.  But it is politically correct to blame the gun.  It is less so, and therefore fraught with political danger, to talk about family breakdown.

An article in The Federalist by Peter Hasson notes: “Violence?  There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence.  Suicide?  Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide.  Dropping out of school?  71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless families.  Drug use?  According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are, growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which is itself directly related to lack of an active or present father.

So what can we do to encourage young people to avoid single parenthood and to encourage responsible fatherhood? How do we keep young men from having to search for belonging and acceptance from other young men in a gang?

We should be as critical of the choices that lead to kids having babies as we are of guns, but politicians mostly recoil in horror when anyone suggests that they try this approach.

What about mental health? Are we willing to address that issue?  In theory the people are, but are politicians willing to make the necessary choices in priorities, and are we willing to stop putting money into parties like the Pan Am Games, and instead, adequately fund mental health programs?

Apparently not!

Too many things have already gone wrong before a young man picks up a gun and attacks his fellow human beings with the intent to kill. It’s a good thing to talk about fathers, mental health, conflict resolution, employment, mentoring, or whatever anyone can come up with towards achieving the common goal of ending gun violence.

The people whose first, and often only ‘solution’, is more gun control, when it clearly doesn’t work, are not to be taken seriously. Murder is illegal, and most guns used in shootings are illegally held under present gun laws.  We want young people to grow up, so let’s be grown-up about real solutions.

***

With many thanks to Gerry Agar, a Toronto Sun columnist and radio talk-show host, for some interesting and lucid thoughts about guns and social violence.

Flash Fiction #33

Rt. 66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Get My Kix

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and he was glad that his first step had been where the signs were clear and not vandalized, or he’d have never found Chicago.

“Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted.”
Leave Bill Posters alone, he’s a nice guy.

Dial 312-555-7890 – Ext. 257.  When prompted, enter #M for Murder.
PayPal and MasterCard accepted.  Please have valid card with account numbers handy.

You’re not in Kansas anymore RoFo.  The cold rushing winds in the skyscraper canyons swirled his mind worse than any tornado.  How would the small-town boy survive in the big city?

 

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

 

Two Funny Bones

Speaking of which, did you hear about the guy who swallowed his Viagra too slowly?

He got a stiff neck!

What did the baby digital watch say to his mother analog watch?

Look Ma, no hands!

Poor Diet

A man visits his doctor with celery stalks stuck in both ears and a carrot stick up each nostril.  He mumbles, “Doc, I’m just not feeling well.”

The doctor replies, “Maybe you’re not eating right!”

Well, Honestly

A policeman pulls a driver over for swerving in and out of lanes on the highway.  He tells the guy to blow into the breathalyser.

“I can’t do that, officer, I’m an asthmatic, and I could have an asthma attack if I blow into that tube.”

“Okay, we’ll just get a urine sample down at the station.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.  I’m a diabetic. I could get low blood sugar if I pee in a cup.”

“Alright, we’ll just take a blood sample then.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.  I’m a hemophiliac.  If I give blood, I could bleed to death.”

“Fine then, just walk this white line.”

“Can’t do that either, officer.”

“Why not?!”

“Because I’m drunk!”

 

Old Age and Treachery will overcome Youth and Skill every time.

 

Poll Dancing

A young man was hired to make a door-to-door survey for the Vaseline Company.  He rang a bell, and announced his business to the lady of the house, who said she would be happy to answer any questions he had.

“Tell me,” he queried, “do you have any children?”

“Oh yes,” she replied, “I have five.”

“Fine,” he beamed, “and do you use Vaseline?”

“Often!” she stated.  “When one of the kids gets a cut, or a bruise, or a rash.”

“Wonderful,” the young man replied, “Do you ever use it for sexual purposes?”

“Very often.” she smiled.

“Ah….internally or externally?” he continued.

“Externally.” she replied.

“Could you tell me where you apply it?” he asked.

“To the outside of the bedroom door knob, to keep the kids from barging in!”

Gallic Logic

A rural Frenchman was on trial for killing his wife, for having an affair with a neighbor.  Upon being asked why he shot the wife instead of the lover, he replied, “Ah m’sieur, is it not better to shoot a woman once, than a different man every week?”

White Lady Special

One of those do-gooder, lady, settlement workers stopped a hard-looking youngster, and asked where his father was.

“Ain’t got no father.” the kid said.

“And your mother?”

“Ain’t got no mother.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.  When did she pass away?”

“I never had no mother.”

“Then how were you born?” the lady settlement worker asked in dulcet tones.

“Some bum played a dirty trick on my aunt!”

The Golfing Preacher

There was this preacher who was an avid golfer.  Every chance he could get, he could be found on the golf course, swinging away.  It was an obsession.

One Sunday was a picture-perfect day for golfing.  The sun was out, no clouds in the sky, and the temperature was just right.  The preacher was in a quandary as to what to do, and shortly the urge to play golf overcame him.

He called the assistant pastor and told him he was sick and could not do church.  Then he packed his car, and drove for two hours, to a golf course where no-one would recognize him.  He happily began to play the course.  An angel up above was watching the preacher, and was quite perturbed.  He went to The Lord, and said, “Look at the preacher.  He should be punished for what he is doing.”  The Lord nodded in agreement.

The preacher teed up on the first hole.  He swung at the ball, and it sailed effortlessly through the air, and landed on the green and rolled into the cup, three-hundred and fifty yards (meters) away.  A perfect hole-in-one!  He was amazed and excited.

The angel was a little shocked.  He turned to The Lord and said, “Begging Your pardon, but I thought you were going to punish him.”

The Lord smiled.  “Think about it – who can he tell?”

I’ll leave you with a little do-it-yourself humor.  “Michael Jackson!”  He’s the punch line to any joke.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  Michael Jackson!  How is Michael Jackson similar to a grocery bag?  They’re both made of plastic, and dangerous for children to play with.

 

My Sauce Got Goosed

Here in Southern Ontario, we recently had two men charged with terrorism.  They were Muslims who had immigrated here, gone to the trouble to become citizens, and then allegedly plotted to load a train passenger car with explosives.  The Big Bang was to occur when the train was half-way across a railroad bridge above the Niagara River, on its way to the United States.  The loss of life and property damage would have been horrendous.

Fortunately, police got wind of the plot, and arrested the two before they could proceed.  One of the pair immediately lawyered up, and denied the whole thing.  The other genius is demanding a lawyer who will argue that he should be tried under Sharia law.  He claims that the laws of the country should not apply to him, and that the Koran should be the only book to judge his actions.  Good luck with that!  Even Muslim lawyers are backing away, because they know that the Canadian Penal Code must be the one to apply.

Opinions online, and in op-ed letters are unanimous.  How dare you think that you can use your religious beliefs and your holy book to justify illegal activity!  You live here in Canada.  You have to obey the laws of Canada!  Okay now, come along with me.  We’re going to take a little trip to visit KayJai, in Newfoundland, for another lesson in religious entitlement and intolerance.

Several years ago, the Province of Newfoundland did away with Catholic separate schools.  They were rolled into an all-encompassing Provincial school system, and the pertinent laws stated that no religion would be allowed to display any religious symbols in the now-secular schools.

Recently, a parent filed a request to the Provincial School Board, to have a Christian cross removed from above the door of a previously Catholic school in St. John’s.  Saint Matthew’s School, if you care.  The school board has acceded to the legal request, but, oh, the howls of Christian anguish.

In an attempt to stick a finger in the dike, to keep special religious treatment and benefits from leaking away, the female spokesman       (-woman?, -person?) for the parents association has started asking stupid questions.  “What harm is a cross doing to the student, or the complaining parent?”  The same, but opposite harm that taking it down would do to you.  The complainant does not have to give a reason, but you must obey the law.

“Why do we have to take down our cross, when only one person has complained?”  For the same reason that I have to stop robbing banks, even if only one bank manager has complained.  It’s against the law, and you don’t get to obey just the laws that you like.  “What’s next?  Will we have to take down our Saint Matthew’s name, too?”  Well, if you keep bitching and dragging your feet on this request, that might indeed be next.  Cut your losses and play nice with others.

I’m not saying that hanging a cross and blowing up a bridge are equally serious offenses, but they’re both firmly planted on the Yellow Brick Road of religious intolerance and social disobedience.  If attitudes and actions are not modified, it doesn’t take much to proceed from one to the other.  I am reminded of the book-burning scene in the movie, Footloose.

I am both amazed and disgusted that Good Christians will decry and deny application of Muslim sharia law, and the validation of the Muslim holy book, but will haul out Catholic benefits and the Bible to justify their own selfish and illegal behavior.  They both equally feel that the laws of the country should not apply to them, and their holy book should supersede Provincial legislation.

The Bible may be a great book, and Christian principles may be grand, but, they don’t hold a monopoly.  They should not be shoved down others’ throats, just because they’re nice.  Everyone has the right to go to Hell in his own way.  In the Bible, Jesus ordered that we are to “Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.”  Cast off your feelings of inferiority and insecurity!  Live, and let live!

End of yet another anti-bureaucratic religious rant!  We will return you to your regularly scheduled program of fun and foolishness in a couple of days.

In a sad post script, a Good Christian couple in Pennsylvania believe in “Divine Healing”, but not in obeying Man’s laws.  They have caused the death of a second son in three years from pneumonia, by not taking them to a doctor or hospital.  Accommodation of religious beliefs does not extend to allowing the death of children, even your own.  They have been charged with third degree murder, for failing to provide the necessities of life.