Flash Fiction #159

Mammon

PHOTO PROMPT ©Jill Wisoff

 

MAMMON INC.

Buddy Bob was railing about politicians, and how they interfere with our lives, especially financially – laws, rulings, regulations, taxes, duties, levies, tariffs – control our every move, and milk us dry.

I told him that he was right – in a way – but it all started here.  Politicians are just the mouthpiece, the head of the ventriloquist’s dummy.  This is corporate America, the center of the real power behind the throne.

You don’t think Donald Trump got elected on his intellect and wit.  Those aren’t telephone lines coming from those castles; they’re marionette strings, pulled by the puppet-masters.  Speak Donald!  Dance Donald!

***

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

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I Have Poor Relatives

Shabby Man

Once upon a time there was a poor little boy from a poor family. His Father was poor.  His Mother was poor.  The maid was poor.  The cook was poor.  The butler was poor.  Even the chauffeur was poor. One day, he went to his father and asked if he could have a pony.  His Father said no, because they were too poor to afford a pony.  The poor little boy went to his piggy-bank, took out enough money to buy himself the pony, and put the rest back….

We are often so busy with our own lives, that without really obvious clues, we think that everyone is pretty much like ourselves. It takes an observant and analytical mind to notice the struggles of those at the bottom of the financial, pissed-on trickle down ladder.  I am distressed that a $180 pair of distressed designer jeans looks just like my four-years-old $24.95 Wal-Mart pair.

This is why politicians, who are already being paid far too much to do a job that their predecessors did without pay, as a Public Service, feel free to waste millions – Billions – of our dollars, and still fraudulently pad their office budgets and expense accounts.  They have no idea, and don’t care, what it’s like at the bottom of the pile, and it’s been this way since long before Marie Antoinette offered to “let them eat cake.”

It is just as illegal for a millionaire to sleep under a bridge, as it is for a homeless man to do so.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. It seemed that both of us were keeping an eye on family finances – total income vs. expenses – only I think that he was doing it at a much higher level than I was.  I’ve never asked how much he makes.  It’s none of my business, and doesn’t affect our friendship.

With his experience, training, intelligence and education, I suspect his annual salary is somewhere north of $100,000/year. His talented wife probably makes half of that.

With my learning disabilities, and poor short-term memory adding to my tendency for procrastination, I’m lucky to have accomplished what I have during my life. About 15 years ago, before I retired to live on Government and company pensions – with a bunch of overtime, I grossed $44,000, but the wife had been ‘downsized.’  Earlier, when I made $38,000, she added $19,000.

This is not a whine! I’m still doing better than a lot of people, including the little guy who busks in the cold, outside the local grocery store.  As an engineer, Jim Wheeler says that it is not worth his while to stop and pick up a penny.  I still grab the occasional one or two from the ‘Need A Penny/ Leave A Penny’ tray at the corner store.  People abandon them because the Mint has stopped making them.

I always check the reject chutes of the coin-counting machines in stores. Sometimes I find Canadian coins, as well as foreign ones which I add to my collection.  It’s quick and easy to eyeball the change chutes of vending machines.  I’m not too proud to (discreetly) stick my finger in the few payphone chutes that still exist.  The last time I did, I found $2.  It’s all relative.  $2 to a millionaire is nothing, although Bill Gates (or his minions) cashed a check for 39 cents.  $2 to someone who is eating cat food (We don’t.) means a lot.

Having pets is a wonderful experience. I would not want to get rid of any that we have, but the wife wants even more.  I cannot convince her that, between food, treats, litter, and vet bills, each animal costs us about $1000 a year.  I would sooner have that money to pay down our still-existing mortgage, or use it to take enjoyable trips, while we are still physically capable of doing so.

Some people waste money, too often MY money!  Some people scrimp and save, show restraint and fiscal control, and budget their money to get them the most they can.  I’d be patting myself on the back, but I’m busy crawling around on the floor, trying to find that quarter I dropped.  I’ll be back up at the computer in a couple of days.  Please come back again then.   😉

Keeping My Hand In

Extra Extra

Keeping my hand in – one middle finger at a time.

Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced

Re; Politicians should leave religious beliefs at home

Letter writer Larry Lootsteen’s arguments are somewhat illogical and prejudiced by his own beliefs about religion. To suggest that politicians should leave any of their beliefs, principals (sic), values, and education or life experiences at home is equivalent to arguing they should leave their gender at home, or part of their brain at home.

And why center out only people who believe in the God of the Bible? Why be intolerant and non-inclusive of only one particular religious view?  Everyone has some religious belief; an agnostic claims not to know if there is a God, and atheist denies that there is a God.  Would Mr. Lootsteen be as keen to force those individuals to deny or suspend their particular religious beliefs on being elected?

Would he impose the same restrictions on other faiths; Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and devil worshippers, etc., as well as screen all new immigrants to Canada and insist that they promise to deny their faith and convert to his particular religious beliefs before they become Canadian citizens or run for elected office? Of course not.  Mr Lootsteen appears to have a narrowly focused resentment and prejudice of Christian believers who run for office because he does not think they will vote the way he wants them to vote.

Finally, to label everyone of faith as “right-wing” and not sensitive to the democratic and civil rights of Canadians is to ignore the Judeo-Christian foundations of all Western civilization.  It was our Jewish and Christian values and principals (sic) that precipitated our democratic institutions, hospitals and schools, freed the slaves and were the first to recognize the rights of women.  Has Mr. Lootsteen forgotten that?

Ed Jacob – from the Mennonite stronghold village of Wellesley

Pro-Christian Paranoia

He who takes offense when none is offered, is a fool.

In his letter, Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced, Ed Jacob not only takes offense, but he takes considerable licence to do so.

It would, indeed, be foolish to expect a politician to leave all their principles, values, education or life experience at home.  All Ed Lootsteen suggested was that a local politician leave some of his specific, unproven moral opinions at home or church, while he is serving his constituents, which a majority of whom, including many good Christians, do not agree with.  His government job is administration, not Evangelization.

It would be arrogant to expect anyone, including immigrants, to be forced to accept anyone else’s religious practices, though many of them are forced to convert to Christianity if they want to be sponsored and supported by various Christian Churches. But neither should newcomers be allowed to demand that the rest of us wear yarmulkes, turbans or hijabs, bow to Mecca or mutilate our females’ genitals.  Not all religious morals and practices are acceptable.

(No wonder I’m) Grumpy Old Archon

Forgive me (insert name of your higher power here), for I have ranted. My tolerance cup has runneth over and I must empty it in order to move on. It has been too long since my last ranting (if that’s even a word).

Gad (not God), this guy is so verbose that he makes Archon look concise, and what he passes off as logic, and his straw-man arguments, could do a seven minute set at Yuk Yuk’s.  Once one of these Bible-thumpers gets up a good head of steam, you never know where the train’s going to end up.

The reason that the original letter attacked ‘The God of The Bible’, is that the local Federal politician is a ‘good Catholic’; at least his NINE kids think so.  There’s no sense complaining about the Sikh 75 miles away, because he intentionally, politely, leaves his religion at home.  BTW; Mr Lootsteen IS a ‘Christian believer.’

His Good News/Bad News list of “Christian” accomplishments is more a ‘Laugh?/Cry?’ list. Most of them were not ‘because of’ Christianity, but ‘in spite of’ it.  Democracy was given to us by the heathen Greeks, and Christian Europe refused to institute it for over two millennia, until we held a party at Madame Guillotine’s place in Paris.

Good Christians owned slaves for centuries. They only recently let women own property, sign legal documents, be ‘a person’ under law, allowed women to vote less than 100 years ago, and they still want to control and restrict their reproductive rights.  Mr. Lootsteen, and many of the rest of us, have not forgotten that.  😯

***

BTW; sic, sic, sic.  For the non-linguistic nit-pickers – He’s talking about ‘principles’, not the head of his kids’ school.

 

 

Dead On

Coroner

Three dead bodies turn up at the mortuary, all with very big smiles on their faces. The coroner calls the police to tell them what has happened.

“First body: Frenchman, 60, died of heart failure while making love to his mistress. Hence the enormous smile, Inspector”, says the Coroner.

“Second body: “Scotsman, 25, won a thousand dollars on the lottery, spent it all on whisky. Died of alcohol poisoning, hence the smile.”

The Inspector asked, “What of the third body?”

“Ah,” says the coroner, “this is the most unusual one. Billy-Bob the redneck from Oklahoma, 30, struck by lightning.”

“Why is he smiling then?” inquires the Inspector.

“Thought he was having his picture taken.”

***

A little Jewish boy in New York lives with/near his extended family. Along with his Mom and Dad, his Grandma lives in their apartment, and various aunts and uncles live in the same tenement. Finally, he is old enough to go to school.

When he returns home after the first day, his ‘Moma’ gives his cheek the usual Grandma pinch, and says, “So, bubeleh, and vhat did you learn in school the first day?”

He looked her in the eye and replied, “The first thing I learned is that I am not ‘bubeleh’! My name is Lennie!

***

Speaking of politicians….
A tourist on the East Coast noticed a lobster fisherman with two pails of lobsters. One was covered with a cloth, but the other wasn’t. When he asked why the one was covered, he was told that it contained American lobsters. They would help each other escape.

The other pail was full of Canadian lobsters. Whenever one of them got close to the top, the others would pull him back down.

***

I’m going to open a restaurant named “Peace And Quiet”, where the kids’ meals are $250.00

***

A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died.
After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly.
She says, “What’s the story?”
He replies, “Just crap in the carburetor.”
She asks, “How often do I have to do that?

=====*=====
A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license. She replied in a huff, “I wish you guys would get your act together.  Yesterday you took my license away, and today you expect me to show it to you!”
=====*=====

A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was her turn.  She rolled the dice and landed on Science & Nature. Her question was, “If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?”   She thought for a time and then asked,
“Is the vacuum on or off?”
=====*=====

The blonde reports for her university final examination that consists of yes/no type questions.  She takes her seat in the examination hall, stares at the question paper for five minutes and then, in a fit of inspiration, takes out her purse, removes a coin and starts tossing the coin, marking the answer sheet: Yes, for Heads, and No, for Tails.

Within half an hour she is all done, whereas the rest of the class is still sweating it out.  During the last few minute s she is seen desperately throwing the coin, muttering and sweating.

The moderator, alarmed, approaches her and asks what is going on.  “I finished the exam in half an hour, but now I’m rechecking my answers.”
=====*=====
Blonde, it’s not just a hair color, it’s an adventure!
=====*=====

A brunette told her blonde sister that she slept with a Brazilian.

The blonde sister exclaimed, “You slut! How many is a brazilian?”

=====*=====

 

WOW #19

Icon

Iconoclastic

Definitions for iconoclastic
attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity:
an iconoclastic architect whose buildings are like monumental sculptures.
breaking or destroying images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Origin of iconoclastic

Iconoclastic is an adjective derived from the nouns iconoclasm “image smashing” and iconoclast “image smasher.” The Greek noun eikn means “image, likeness,” whether a painting or a statue; -clast and -clastic- derive from the Greek adjective klastós “broken in pieces.” The most famous instance of iconoclasm began under the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian (c680–741). It lasted from about 726 to 787 and was partly based on the injunction against graven images in the Hebrew Bible (the second of the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy). A second period of iconoclasm occurred in Switzerland, the Holy Roman Empire, France, and elsewhere in Western Europe in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. Iconoclastic entered English in the 17th century. The modern nonreligious, secular sense arose in the 19th century.

I’ve never really been one to follow the rank and file; especially when I found that ‘rank’ means having a foul, offensive odor, and ‘file’ is an abrasive tool.  To the Brits, a ‘file’ can be a sly, cunning, or artful person, like Oliver Twist’s Artful Dodger pickpocket.  I’ve known a lot of foul-smelling, abrasive, dodgy tools in my time.  I did it my way, long before Frank Sinatra sang about it.

I tried to be part of the sheep herd, but, even before I was out of short pants, I realized that their baa-ing didn’t describe reality. I was a goat among the sheep, and I was often made the goat, when I pointed that out.

Respect politicians??! They put on their bullied, bought, coerced and cozened pants, one nepotistic leg at a time, the same as honest people.  Even the few who start out with the best of intentions, soon are turned rotten or disillusioned.

Respect police??! The people whose enforcement of the laws tends to make them believe that there are two sets of laws, one for you and me, and another (complete with free passes) for them?  I respect the work they do and the Police Forces, but it’s hard to respect a group of folks which include testosterone-soaked alpha-males who severely beat citizens – not criminals, not even suspects, but innocent civilians – simply because they do not immediately, and unquestioningly, obey illegal commands.

I have unkind thoughts and words for officers who take a 6-pack of beer along on a midnight patrol. I regard as unsafe, but typically entitled, an officer who flicks on his cruiser’s lights and siren to skate through a red light, and turns them off again a block later, to turn into a coffee/donut shop.

Save the best for last, because, even the definition emphasises it – RELIGION – which, in this area, means all the many different, mutually incorrect branches of Christianity.   Whether by Atheists, Jews, Muslims, or just another Christian sect, any time the particular and peculiar aspects of any given denomination are questioned or contradicted, there is always the outcry that, “You have to respect religious practices.” Why?  You don’t!  What you really mean is that your religious practices should be respected.  The only reason that the assertion is broadly stated, is so that your group is included.

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. So also, your faith and reverence does not mean that I must show reverence, when I find your beliefs and ceremonies, rites and rituals to be superstitious, foolish and misguided.  Screw you and your commandment-violating icons and paintings and statues, as you worship and show reverence on the commandment-violating wrong day of the week.

I’m not usually enough of an asshole to go out and actively be Iconoclastic, but when some other asshole proudly shows me “To Serve And Protect”, and I know it’s only to serve his/her own best interests and protect his ass; when someone boasts of their ‘inerrant Bible, or Koran’, or their ‘infallible Pope, or Imam’, then my ‘private opinions’ become a little more public.

A lot of people don’t even form opinions about things that they really should. Many of them hesitate to ‘rock the boat’ by disagreeing.  I’ve never had that problem.  I will call a spade a fucking shovel, and then use it to dig out of the bullshit being spread.   😯

WOW #10

Drake

The Word Of the Week for this week will be;

CANARD

Definitions for canard
a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor.
Cookery. A duck intended or used for food.

Origin of canard 1840-1850 Canard is from Old French quanart “drake,” literally “cackler,” from the onomatopoeic caner “to cackle” and the suffix -art, a variant of -ard, as in mallard or braggart. Canard is all that is left of the Middle French idiom vendre un canard à moitié “to sell half a duck,” i.e., “to take in, swindle, cheat.” Canard entered English in the 19th century.

I don’t really know why I chose Canard as the Word Of the Week.  It’s not all that old, and it’s not cute and cuddly.  It is interesting that, in both English, and French where it came from, it has the word value of ‘lying, cheating and swindling.’

It wandered over and got used in Jules Verne’s The War of the Worlds, when it was only 50 years old.  Never a common word, it is still used occasionally to reference American politics, where lying, cheating and swindling are competitive sports.

This week, Lewandowski distinguished himself by reviving the birther canard—the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Margaret Talbot, “The Trouble with Corey Lewandowski on CNN,” The New Yorker, August 6, 2016

I started out researching pollard(ing), which is trimming a tree back severely, to produce a ball-shape, and more, leafier, shorter branches. I was soon at bollard, which is a short, thick iron or steel post used to tie ships to; from the bole, or trunk of a tree, and found that the meaning of the surname Bullard is, “son of a monk or priest.” I was in the –ard neighborhood anyway.

There is a Random House Dictionary. I sometimes feel that I should be using it. That’s what my research often feels like. I hope to see you here again, the next time I fail to be inspired for a Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction #128

Paul Bunyan

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

MINE’S BIGGER THAN YOURS

Texans bragged for years about being, and having, the biggest everything in the country – if you like dust storms and cactus.

Then they let Alaska join the union, and Texas was like Avis, “We’re number 2, but we try harder.” The biggest things about Alaska are the oil spills and Sarah Palin’s imagination that she’s a real politician.

Welcome to beautiful, green, open Minnesota, where we have room to be big.  This here’s a wheel off Paul Bunyan’s baby carriage, that Babe the ox pulled….

Wait…. Don’cha want to hear about the giant eagle dropping big fish to make thunder??!

***

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