’21 A To Z Challenge – N

I AM THE LORD OF DARKNESS!

I COMMAND YOU TO READ AND HEED!

A scientific psychological study that I read on the Internet (So it must be true) says that people who stay up late are more creative, intelligent, and better at making decisions.

HOO – Doesn’t go to bed when the sun does??

HOO – Stays up all night, to greet it when it rises in the morning??

Ooh!  Ooh! Pick me!  Pick me!

The once, and future, perpetual

NIGHT-OWL

My night-owl sister and I were born to a pair of Protestant-work-ethic parents who rose each day before the dawn even cracked, like Medieval serfs.  My Mother would put my brother and me to bed at 8 PM, and wonder why I was still keeping him awake, telling stories and jokes, when they were ready to retire at 11.

As a teen, I often watched Friday- and Saturday-night movies on TV (with the volume down) from 11:30 till 1:00 AM.  In the summer, when the beach bowling alley closed at 1 AM, I often drifted home – quietly – after 2.

When I was sixteen, instead of going home one Friday night, a bunch of us rowdies hiked a couple of miles up the riverbank, into the woods, made a campfire and some noise no-one could hear, cooked some hotdogs and soup made with river water.

I trekked back to the beach to have a swim as the sun came up, got home about 7 AM, and was frying some bacon and eggs when my Father got up.  7 AM??  He’d slept in!  He was so happy that I’d got up ‘at a reasonable hour, for once.’  He was a little shocked/perplexed when I told him that I just got home and was having a late snack.  I told him that I was going to bed, and for him to call me about 2 PM, and I would get up and mow the lawn.

I sometimes wonder if I was just born on the wrong side of the planet, but I think that, even if I lived in Japan or Malaysia, I’d still wind up haunting the dark shift.  It probably made it easier for me to work 3 to 11, and especially the 11 to 7 shifts that others had trouble with.  One young co-worker came in for each midnight shift with three king-cans of high-caffeine Jolt Cola to get him through the night.

I could get up early for the day-shifts, but it was the ‘not all cylinders firing yet’ early-morning inattention that caused me to nudge the rear bumper of a bus that was slowing, as I tried to pull in behind it on my motorcycle, to make a turn.  I broke my bike, my left shoulder, and my wallet.

I know that many of you are happy, breezy morning people.  (Curse your bright-eyed and bushy-tailed diurnal cycle.)   The son is following in my nocturnal, but low-traffic level, footsteps.  He is approaching twenty years straight, on the midnight shift.  Another generation of Dark Lords – I’m proud of him…. or I would be, if I could just find him in the darkness.

I have a sweet post scheduled for Wednesday.  I’ll have it published and ready to read, yesterday, before you get out of bed today.  I’ll see you (later in the day) then.   😎

I Was Mesmerized

Better I say that I was hypnotised.

Franz Anton Mesmer, who discovered the phenomenon in the late 1700s, believed that it worked through ‘animal magnetism,’ and treated it like a parlor trick, entertaining the social elite in their homes or small halls.  A hypnotised person is not supposed to do anything beyond their moral limits.  It was revealing and disturbing, the limits that the minor aristocracy would go to.  Eventually, he was booed off his entertainment stage, and the term mesmerism took on a negative connotation.

In the summer of 1958, when I was 14, an entertainer booked the auditorium of the Town Hall for five evenings – Monday to Friday.  He put up posters on lamp posts and handed out small flyers.  He was a stage hypnotist, who promised an interesting and amusing show that included people clucking like chickens.  I HAD to see this.

I attended the Monday show.  I never thought about where he would get willing subjects until he asked for audience volunteers.  I was the first on my feet.  I didn’t feel hypnotized – whatever that was.  I was awake and aware, but felt no drive to do anything but just stand there.  My part came toward the end of the act.  He had me and a girl about my age hold our right arms out.  He lit a candle and passed it beneath her fingers.

She never moved a muscle, while I waggled my hand and acted disturbed.  When he asked me why I was upset, I told the audience that my fingers were hot.  I don’t remember them actually feeling hot, but I remembered that his flyer said that someone would experience it, so I gave him what the crowd expected.

All the volunteers got a pass for a later show.  I was busy Tuesday and Wednesday, but went to the Thursday show.  A University Professor used to give lectures, and when he was done, would tell his classes that psychology inhibited people from being the first to respond, so he always offered to take the Second question.  Thursday night, when he asked for audience participation…. crickets, nobody moved.  I again stood up, and there were five more behind me when I reached the stage.

Some people claim that, “I’m too intelligent to be hypnotised,” but practitioners say that more intelligent people are better subjects, because they are able to focus, and accept the required control.  This night, he saved me for the final part of the act – the piéce de résistance.

He had two of those uncomfortable, tubular steel and formed plywood, chairs placed about four feet apart, and had two of the other subjects sit in them.  He told me, Stand up straight.  You are firm.  You are hard.  You are strong.  You are rigid.  You are like a tree.  You are powerful.  You are as stiff as a lamp-post.  Then he poked me in the chest, and I fell over backward.  Two of the other enchanted assistants caught me, lifted me horizontally, and placed me across the backs of the two chairs.

The one contacted me just below the collarbone and above the shoulder blades.  The other met the back of my calf muscles.  There I hung, suspended in midair, planking, long before it became trendy.  But the show isn’t over, ladies and gentlemen.  Watch this.  He placed another chair in front of me, climbed up onto it, slowly turned to face the audience…. and carefully sat down on my stomach.

Even I was amazed, a scrawny little stick of a kid like me, holding up a 160 pound man.  I was completely aware of what was happening.  I wondered if I had any control over my body.  I allowed my abdominal muscles to relax about a quarter or half an inch.  He felt it, and intoned, Steady!  Steady!  Rigid!  Rigid!

He climbed down to thunderous applause, and turned back to his onstage rogues’ gallery, to begin un-hypnotizing all six of us – and there were only five.  Who was missing?  Where?  When?  How??!  This had never happened to him.  Hypnosis will eventually wear off, but he worried about a suggestible victim being given a direct command in public.

The one missing was a lad, two years older than me.  The hypnotist enjoined us to go looking for him, and take care of him if need be.  I went to his house, and told his father what had happened.  He just laughed, and went back to watching The Honeymooners.  With a 90/95 IQ level, between stupid and stubborn, the boy apparently did not go into a hypnotic trance.

I met him the next day, and he explained.  Nothing exciting happened to him during the show, and he was bored, and felt like a fool, just standing there.  While I was doing my levitation act, he drifted into the wings, down the back stairs, and off to the bowling alley in search of French fries and tourist girls.

I guess that shows like this may still exist in Las Vegas or Atlantic City lounges, but hypnosis has come to be used much more professionally and effectively to aid in combating drug or tobacco use, stress, depression, psychiatric and relationship problems.  My two experiences were all in fun, but it can be quite serious.  Have any of you had hypnosis therapy?

’21 A To Z Challenge – J

If somebody TPed your house – it wasn’t me!
If somebody in a gorilla mask, jumped out and growled when you got back to the office after COVID shutdown – it wasn’t me!
It was some other…

JOKER

a person who is fond of joking
a foolish or inept person.
especially: an insignificant, obnoxious, or incompetent person 

I have long been a fan of the psychological value of humor and comedy.  It can calm the mind, and cause endorphins to be released into the bloodstream that make people feel good.  I don’t like to be called a Joker, like the Steve Miller Band song.

I’m a Joker
I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker

I gave that shit up a long time ago.  I have enough trouble keeping my mind running smoothly.  I don’t need any chemical enhancement.

I also don’t like the Jokester label.  Like “Joker,” it carries too much hint of smart-ass pranks and practical jokes, which are only funny to the bullies who play them on innocent victims.

I much prefer to accept the label of Gagster, from the Lonnie Donegan song, Lively.  (Oh what a gagster!)
a person who writes comic material for public performers.
a comedian who uses a patter of jokes and funny remarks
.

So, you can rest assured that I am serious about being funny and looking after your mental and physical health, by posting lots of jokes.  The next batch will be hot off the griddle next Monday.  😆

Flash Fiction #261

PHOTO PROMPT© Roger Bultot

WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR?

I took Psychology as a major, and got a job as an Uber-Eats driver.  The two fit like pliers handles.  The most intriguing are hotels/motels.  I knock on the door and often get, Who is it?  I wanna say, it’s your damned pizza.  Who were you expecting?

With a glimpse inside some rooms, the answer might be – a hooker, Border Patrol, irate management, FBI, an exorcist priest, or all of the above.  Many of the paranoid use the peephole.  Sometimes I put my eye about an inch from the lens.  Once, I had to slide the pizza in vertically.

***

I’m keeping notes.  I’m pretty sure there’s a bestseller in there somewhere.  😉  😯

***

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

Click the title to hear The Genies do another oldie but moldy goldie.

Pissing One-liners Away

Did you hear my new joke about pee?….
….Thank God no-one leaked it

I wanted to tell a joke about Amazon….
….But I’d probably fuck up the delivery

I just found out that I have Multiple Personality Disorder….
….I gotta tell the other guys

Why do women hate sexist jokes?….
….Because they only get 77% of them.

Freud was such an incesting man….
….Interesting!  I meant Interesting.

There is no lifeguard….
….In the gene pool

Did you know that protons have mass?….
….I didn’t even know they were Catholic.

I called a discount exterminator….
….A guy came by with a rolled-up newspaper.

When my wife was in labor I told her jokes to ease the pain….
….She wasn’t amused, it must have been the delivery.

I would love to tell a chemistry joke….
….But all the good ones Argon.

I have one Islam joke….
….But I’m afraid I also only have one head.

Sometimes I wrestle with my Demons….
….Sometimes we just snuggle

Honk!!….
….If you like noise.

Marriage is grand….
….Divorce is a hundred grand

I had a life….
….But my job ate it.

What do you call a cow with two legs?….
….Lean beef

You tell an actor to ‘break a leg’….
….because every show has a cast.

What do you call birds of a feather, who stick together?….
….Vel-crows

I just wrote a book on reverse psychology….
….Do not read it!

If Americans switched from pounds to kilos overnight….
….there would be mass confusion.

Don’t tell a ‘dad joke’ if you are not a father….
….It’s a faux pa

I have an addiction to cheddar cheese….
….But it’s only mild

I’ve just written a song about tortillas….
….Actually, it’s more of a rap.

My wife told me that sex is better on vacation….
….Not the best postcard I’ve received.

Nouns piss grumpy old Archon off….
….You know, people, places, and things.

I dressed my dog up as a cat for Halloween….
….Now he won’t come when I call him.

An unemployed jester….
….is nobody’s fool.

No matter how hard I try, I always seem to be going round in circles….
….Having a broken arm while in a wheelchair isn’t ideal.

I won’t go near trees….
….There’s something shady about them.

You have to hand it to short people….
….Because they can’t reach it.

Book Review #19

The Psychology Of Time Travel

The Book – The Psychology of Time Travel

The Author– Kate Mascarhenas (?)

The Review – Let’s start with the author’s name. It’s really Kate Flynn, but the name on the cover is Mascarhenas. That comes from the same base as ‘mask’, and ‘mascara.’ It’s a Portuguese-language nom de plume, which means “nom de plume.”

In the book, she includes the words ‘quango’ and ‘lanugo,’ neither common, even in Britain. They are valid English words, but seem as if they should be peeking out of a Romance language, like Spanish, or Italian. I’ll properly introduce you to them later.

This is a book – by a woman – for women – about women. It includes the description of an 8-year-old girl’s birthday party, where, “Her blonde ringlets hung down to the tops of her puffed sleeves, and her lacy skirt stood out straight to the side whenever she twirled around, which she did, a lot.”

The story is inhabited almost entirely by females. The only men who show up, are a male police detective and a journalist, who provide information and clues to the young woman investigating a locked-door murder.

The British authoress works in a commentary on racist attitudes in England. Our hardy, mixed-race investigator came to England as a child, from the Seychelles Islands, where she viewed herself as white. Having recently graduated University as an Engineer, she is working for the time-travel Conclave as a volunteer, but the female police constable who interviews her, regards her as colored, and assumes that she is the cleaning woman.

As usual, I was hoping for some temporal paradoxes to be solved, or some Back To The Future III suspense and manoeuvring, to prevent them. Didn’t happen! I was not surprised to not be given, even a vague hint, at how the time-travel process was accomplished, but it was invented by four women.

As a linguist, I was pleased to read that the process was powered by a newly-discovered, transuranic element called Atroposium, aptly-named after Atropos, the Greek Goddess who cut the thread of fate of mortals’ lives. Apparently the stuff was so safe and stable that it could be carried around in charcoal briquette-sized lumps, wrapped in lead foil.

While not described or explained, the time-travel process is so simple that it is used to produce a child’s toy, a Rubik’s-cube-sized box with a hole in the top. Children put candy in, and it disappears, only to return a minute later. What would happen if they stuck their finger in?

The “psychology” of the title is really just the mental stress felt by (female) time-travellers, caused by experiencing history in a non-linear way. Travelling to the past, they meet people that they know are dead. Travelling to the future, the see death certificates and gravestones for people they know are alive.

The detective/heroine goes back several times, to visit her father, who died when she was young. To her, the visits are weeks, or months, apart. I see, from his perspective, that she shows up twice the same afternoon, or on successive days. This grown woman is not his 8-year-old daughter. ‘Go away lady, you’re bothering me.’

I was expecting nothing when I ordered this book, and that’s what I got. No real time travel. No real psychology. It’s a good thing that I got it for free from the library. It had all the panache of a ‘Nurse Jane’ romance novel, full of ‘feelings.’ I feel disappointed and let down. I feel that I’ll need to read and review something with a little more OOMPH. Stay tuned; I’ll see you later.  🙂

Book Review #18

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & The Madness Of Crowds

I am ticked off…. or rather, this book is ticked off the reading list challenge that I don’t follow.

It was originally published before I was born – more than a century before. It was first printed in 1841. The copy that I got on an inter-library loan was reprinted in 1980. It had 3 prefaces – the original, a slightly revised version when the author had it reprinted 30 years later, and yet another from the 1980 re-release.

The 1980 instigator was taking a University Psychology course, when he thought he heard the instructor speaking of an old book about The Madness Of Krauts. He didn’t realize that Germans were called Krauts, that far back. A check of the University library showed him his mistake, but since the copyright had long expired, he felt that he could make a little money by having it reprinted.

This book was a disappointment, yet also a delight to me. Even since the ‘70s, there have been great changes and improvements in psychiatry and psychology, but since I only knew of the 1980 publish date, I hoped to get some fairly up-to-date insights into mob behavior. The 1841 composer rendered none of that. He only provided recountings of historical events which were notable for mass delusion.

These included the likes of the monetary bubble, collapse of the Louisiana Investment scam/scandal, the sad failure of the earliest attempt at a German Crusade, and the ongoing hysteria of the witch hunts. While the historical details were interesting enough, he delivered them all with the long-winded panache of someone reciting a Life Insurance actuarial table.

With the German Crusade, 100,000 young men were said to have started out, but only a handful survived, even to reach Constantinople, because of fighting among themselves, and with the armies of states and countries they marched through and denuded for food and drink.

As usual, the section on the witch hunts provided the worst atrocities. It was both a Church and State viewpoint that, “Because of the seriousness of this offence, none who are accused of this horrid crime shall escape torture to make them confess their sins. It is better that a million shall die, than that one witch shall be allowed to escape.”

Even while trying to do good, the well-intentioned did bad. As the witch-hunt frenzy was ebbing, a minor member of British Nobility tried an experiment. He was unconvinced that torture-induced confessions, and especially the naming of other witches, was valid.

He was acquainted and friends with, two Jesuit priests who acted as judges at the torture trials. To convince them of his viewpoint, he used a woman accused and imprisoned as a witch. They all attended the torture chamber, and he acted as interrogator. He had the woman stretched on the rack, and afflicted with the gamut of horrible tortures. Within a day, she admitted that she was a witch. Skillfully using leading questions, he also had her claim that the two Jesuits were wizards, calling them by name.

As they left the building, leaving the poor woman to her undeserved fate, the senior priest said, “It is well that this was done by a friend, rather than by an enemy.” And so, the witch-hunt frenzy slowly died, but not before thousands of innocent people also suffered and died.

This book is old enough to display some of the some of the English language’s spelling shifts. Words like ‘showed’, and ‘shown’ were printed as shewed, and shewn. While it was not what I thought I was getting, still it was an interesting read.

WOW #7

Dictionary

The Word Of the Week is a totally new one to me, and quite useful, psychologically.  It is

PARALOGIZE

To draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.

Paralogize entered English from Medieval Latin paralogizāre, from Greek paralogízesthai meaning “to reason falsely.” It’s been used in English since the late 1500s.

I’ve mentioned that the examples given, often do not relate well to the chosen word. One example for this word is;

“A brick,” he retorted, “is a parallelogram; I am not a parallelogram, and therefore not a brick …” “Charley Lightheart, you paralogize.” Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams, The Mystery, 1907

I would like to object that the conclusion drawn is valid, but must admit that the authors are British, and members of a group which uses the word ‘brick’ in a very different sense.

Brick – a decent, generous, reliable person (1830s+ British students)

So it is the assumption which is at fault here, although I can’t imagine why Charlie would object to being called one.

Like the ‘No True Scotsman Theorem’, this is a term that I can use to label the Religiously Restrictive, when they play the ‘Who’s Going To Be Saved’ game. They claim, “I’m Christian, and I’m good! You’re not Christian, therefore you are evil!

This is like Super-paralogizing.  Neither any of the assumptions, nor the conclusions, are valid.

This week’s candidate was caught associating with the likes of; whiffler, muckrake, bonzer, juggernaut, and troglodyte.

Show Me The Money

American money

A student’s request for extra money

A student called up his Mom one evening from his college and asked her for some money, because he was broke.

His Mother said, “Sure, sweetie. I will send you some money. You also left your economics book here when you visited two weeks ago. Do you want me to send that up too?”

“Uhh, oh yeah, O.K.” responded the kid.

So his Mom wrapped the book along with the checks up in a package, kissed Dad goodbye, and went to the post office to mail the money and the book.

When she gets back, Dad asked, “Well how much did you give the boy this time?”

“Oh, I wrote two checks, one for $20, and the other for $1,000.”

“That’s $1020!!!” yelled Dad, “Are you going crazy???”

“Don’t worry hon,” Mom said, kissed Dad on the on top of his bald head, “I taped the $20 check to the cover of his book, but I put the $1,000 one somewhere among the pages in chapter 15!”

***

Who is the Winner?

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present. “Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to mother? and “Who does everything mother says?”
Five small voices replied in unison. “Okay daddy! You get the toy.”

***

The Joy Ride

Bob was 16 and finally got hold of his driver’s license. In order to celebrate the special day, the whole family went out to the driveway and climbed into the car to enjoy his first official drive. However, dad went to the back seat, where he sat right behind his boy.

When Bob saw his dad he said “Dad, you must be fed up of the front seat after teaching me how to drive all these days Right?”

“Nope!” came the quick reply from the dad. “I’m going to sit back here and kick the back of your seat while you drive, just like you’ve been doing to me for the last sixteen years!”

***

Magic Penny

After putting their three-year-old child Brian in bed, his parents heard muffled sobs coming from his room one night. Rushing back in, they found that the child was crying hysterically when he saw them. He told his parents that he had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure that he would die now. The father, in an attempt to sober him down, took out a penny from his pocket and pretended to pull it out from Brian’s ear. The child was really thrilled and stopped crying at once.

In a flash, he snatched the penny from his dad’s hand, swallowed it, and then cheerfully demanded, “Do it again, Dad!”

***

CLINIC’S NAME

Two elderly couples, (I’m not saying that one of them wasn’t The Archon and Mrs G.O.D.) were enjoying friendly conversation, when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was that memory clinic you went to last month?”

“Outstanding!” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques – visualization, association – it made a big difference for me.”

“That’s great. What was the name of the clinic?”

Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn’t remember.  Then a smile broke across his face, and he asked, “What do you call that red flower with the long stem and thorns?”

“You mean a rose?”

“Yeah, that’s it!” He turned to his wife and said….”Rose, what was the name of that clinic???”

***

BTW!
This is the second time I’ve used this picture of American money, but the first time I’ve noticed that the photo includes a $2 bill in the lower left.  The featured President is Thomas Jefferson.

 

Adaptability (Humor In Business)

SITUATION ADAPTABILITY EVALUATION
FOR MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL

This test has been designed to evaluate reactions of management personnel to various situations.  The situations are based on actual case studies from a well-known educational institution, and represent a cross-section of test data, correlated to evaluate both reaction time to difficult situations, as well as the soundness of each decision selected.

There are 8 multiple choice questions.  Read each question thoroughly.  Place an X by the answer you feel is most correctly justified by the circumstances given.  Be prepared to justify your decision.

You have 4 minutes.

Do not begin answering the questions until you are told to do so.

1.  You have prepared a proposal for the Regional Director of Purchasing for your largest customer.  The success of this presentation will mean increasing your sales to his company by 200%.  In the middle of your proposal, the customer leans over to look at your report, and spits into your coffee. You:

(a) Tell him you prefer you coffee black.
(b)  Ask to have him checked for communicable diseases.
(c)  Take a leak in his ‘OUT’ basket.

2. You are having lunch with a prospective customer, talking about what could be your biggest sale of the year. During the conversation, a blonde walks into the restaurant, and she is so stunning that you draw your companion’s attention to her, and give a vivid description of what you would do if you had her alone in your motel room. She walks over to your table and introduces herself as your client’s daughter. Your next move is to:

(a) Ask for her hand in marriage.
(b) Pretend you’ve forgotten how to speak English.
(c) Repeat the conversation to the daughter, and just hope for the best.

3.  You are making a sales presentation to a group of corporate executives in the plushest office you’ve ever seen. The hot enchilada casserole and egg salad sandwich you had for lunch react, creating a severe pressure. Your sphincter loses its control, and you break wind in a most convincing manner, causing three tumblers to shatter, and a secretary to pass out. What you should do next is:

(a) Offer to come back next week, when the smell has gone away.
(b) Point to their CEO, and accuse him of the offense.
(c) Challenge anyone in the room to do better.

4.  You are at a business lunch, when you are suddenly overcome with an uncontrollable need to pick your nose. Remembering that this is definitely a NO-NO. You:

(a) Pretend to wave to somebody across the room and, with one fluid motion, bury your forefinger in your nose up to the 4th joint.
(b) Get everyone drunk, and organize a nose-picking contest with a prize to the one who make his nose bleed first.
(c) Drop your napkin on the floor, and when you bend over to pick it up, blow your nose on your sock.

5. You’ve just spent the evening with a supplier who invited you to an all-night boiler-maker drinking party. You get home just in time to go to work. You stagger to the men’s room and spend a half-hour vomiting. As you’re washing up, the Sales Training Manager walks in, blows cigar smoke in your face, and asks you to join him for drinks after work. You:

(a) Look him straight in the eye, and launch one last convulsive torrent at the front of his Hart Shaffner & Marx suit.
(b) Nail him right in the crotch, banking on the fact that he’ll never recognize your green face.
(c) Grasp his hand and pump it till he pees his pants.

6.  You are at a dinner with a customer and his wife, who looks like the regional winner of the Marjorie Main lookalike contest. Halfway through dinner you feel a hand on your lap. If you are resourceful, you will:

(a) ‘Accidently ‘ spill hot coffee in your lap.
(b) Slip a note to you server to have your customer paged, and see if the hand disappears.
(c) Excuse yourself and go to the men’s room. If he follows, don’t come out till you have a signed order.

7.  You’re on your way in to see your best account, when your zipper breaks, and you remember that you forgot to put on your underpants this morning. You decide to:

(a) Call on the customer’s secretary instead.
(b) Explain that you were trolling for queers.
(c) Buy a baggy raincoat and head for the school playground.

8.  You’ve just returned from Green Bay, Wisconsin, in January, and tell your boss that nobody but whores and football players live there. He mentions that his wife is from Green Bay. You:

(a) Ask what position she played.
(b) Ask if she’s still working the streets.
(c) Pretend you’re suffering from amnesia, and don’t remember your name.

Remember, there are no “correct” answers, except perhaps to take up Yoga so that you can practice bending over and kissing it goodbye.