Great Comedy – No Lie

The school called today to tell me that my son has been telling lies.
I told them to congratulate him on how well he tells them.  I don’t have a son.

***

Dear Lord, all I want is a chance to prove that winning the lottery won’t make me a bad person.

***

“While walking along the edge of a pond just outside my house in Florida, discussing a property settlement with my soon-to-be ex-wife, and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft alligator which suddenly emerged from the murky water.    It began charging us with its large jaws wide open.   She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive.

“If I had not had my little Ruger .22 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today.  Just one shot to my estranged wife’s knee cap was all it took.  The alligator got her easily, and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.  The amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was truly incredible and her life insurance was also a big bonus.”

***

The new vicar at a city centre church was delighted when he received a large anonymous cash gift. When he told the church council about it, he proposed it should be used to buy a new chandelier for the body of the church.

However, it was put to a vote and the vicar was disappointed when his proposal was narrowly defeated. The vicar noted that the church council secretary had voted against the proposal and when the meeting was over, he asked the secretary why he had not supported it.

The secretary said he had three reasons: “First, I have to write the minutes of the meeting and I can’t spell the word; second, there is sure to be an argument over who should play it; and finally, if we are going to spend money in the Church what we really need is some good lighting.”

***

The cashier at Wal-Mart said, “Strip down in front of me.” so I did as she told me.
When the hysteria died down, I found that she was instructing me on how to use the credit card reader.

***

My High School was so poor, that they taught sex education and driver’s-ed in the same car.

***

I tried to donate blood today.  Never again!  Too damned many questions!
Whose blood is it?  Where did you get it?  Why is it in a bucket??

***

A police officer pulled over a driver and informed him that, because he was wearing a seatbelt, he had won $1000 in a safety contest.  “What are you going to do with the prize money?” the officer asked.  The man responded, “Well, I guess I’ll go to driving school and get my driver’s licence.”  At that point, the man’s wife chimed in, “Officer, don’t listen to him.  He’s a smart-ass when he’s drunk.”

This woke up the guy in the back seat who, when he saw the cop, blurted, “I told you we wouldn’t get very far in this stolen car.”  Just then there was a knocking from the trunk, and a voice asked, “Are we across the border yet?”

’21 A To Z Challenge – R

I childproofed the house, but the kids still get in.

My GREAT-grandson is the world’s GREATest  great-grandson, in my own humble opinion.  The wife and daughter both assure me that he is well within the normal bell-curve of infant development.  It may be that, because of COVID visitation restrictions, I get to see him so seldom, and normal incremental changes seem to me to be great leaps of progress.

Intelligence, curiosity, and force of character just seem to exude from him.  We six living ancestors plan to stimulate his mind.  Intelligence is greatly affected by the number of mental occurrences.  His mother is already reading to him, and he responds to the attention.

We will have to soon childproof the house, both for his safety, and the wellbeing of our few more-expensive/delicate belongings – but I actually look forward to the rapidly-approaching time when he will be

RAMBUNCTIOUS

AND

ROWDY

Investigating, experimenting, learning about his world – growing smarter, stronger, and wiser.  For the third of his THREE R’s, his name is

ROWAN

One that he shares with the strong, tall, Rowan, or Mountain Ash tree, revered and respected by my Celtic Scottish forebears.  The name Rowan means “little red one.”  This is not evident yet.  Where the son was born with a reservation with a barber, this is one area where he does not excel.  He is just now growing some peach fuzz on his head.  In a family where about every third child is born a redhead, there seems no indication that he will be one.

It was all I could do to stay intellectually ahead of my son, and grandson.  I am hoping that this wee lad challenges me enough to keep a few mental cylinders firing.  Already there’s been a big increase in sentimental.

***

Some damned fool just informed me that I used the word rambunctious a year ago, in my post for R, and forgot to remove it from the ‘available’ file.  Pay no attention to that man behind the blog-screen.
Get down, you mangy mutt!  Quit pissin’ on my leg.   😯  😳

IN HONOR – IN MEMORIAM – REDUX

The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things, the most important of which is the impending arrival of November 11!

Call it Remembrance Day, as I do.  Call it Memorial Day.  Call it what you will, but Remember to honor those in uniform, past, present, and sadly, probably future, who unstintingly give whatever it takes to keep us and our society safe.

It has been 100 years since Canadian, John McCrae, in the middle of The War to End All Wars, composed the poem, In Flanders Fields.

Wear a poppy.  Honor the living.  Mourn the fallen.  Remember all you have, and who keeps it safe.

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.

Piss-offily

If you are looking for a good chuckle, here are a few of the funniest quotes ever.

Crossing the road

“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” —Stephen Hawking, physicist

Insurance gods

“The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist.

Open-minded

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” —Richard Dawkins, scientist

Narrow-minded

“He was so narrow-minded, he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.” —Molly Ivins, author

Family debate

“I’ve come to learn that the best time to debate family members is when they have food in their mouths.” —Kenneth Cole, fashion designer

Marriage from heaven

“They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.” —Clint Eastwood

Get married

“My advice to you is get married: If you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” —Socrates

Slow computer test

“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” —Will Ferrell

Someone you love

“Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth, and you should save it for someone you love.” —Butch Hancock, country musician

Marriage gift

“Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.” —Rod Stewart, rock star

Everything has a consequence

“All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.” —Alexander Woollcott, actor

Bacon is everything

“When you have bacon in your mouth, it doesn’t matter who’s president.” —Louis CK

Spending foolishly

“Part of [the $10 million] went for gambling, horses, and women. The rest I spent foolishly.” —George Raft, film star

No character

“I was going to sue for defamation of character, but then I realized I have no character.” —Charles Barkley, TV basketball analyst

WOW #63

Someone is always trying to control you.  It has been going on for millennia.  I recently came upon an even-rarer-than-usual word which proves it.

ATHANATICS

The use of the word is so uncommon, that it is almost impossible to find in a dictionary or search engine.  The concept has been around for as long as there have been alpha-males who want to inflict their views on others.  The term seems to have arisen about 400 AD, based on Athanasius of Alexandria.

As the Bishop of Alexandria, he used social, political, and religious power to eliminate heresy, and enforce his beliefs about Christian Orthodoxy.  The definitional value is to create an ideal world, although your definition of “ideal” probably greatly differs from whoever seizes the right to impose theirs.  Athanasius’ idea of ideal, was blind obedience, uniformity and conformity – no free thinking allowed.

In Poul Anderson’s World Without Stars, the antithantic prevents age and disease but memories must be artificially edited. In Anderson’s The Boat Of A Million Years, eight mutant immortals survive through history until the athanatics are developed.

In Larry Niven’s Known Space future history, ‘Boosterspice’ extends life indefinitely, and protectors, who have eaten “tree of life,” live until killed.

1970Nigel CalderTechnopolis: Social Control of the Uses of ScienceSimon and Schuster

If only a minority of the athanatic technologies summarized in this book comes to practical fruition in humans — and some of them are mutually contradictory — there will be plenty of moral, legal and political issues to perplex us.

England is perhaps the most athanatic country in the world.  “The Wild” has almost completely been eliminated.  There are still stands of (hardwood) forests, but they are open and welcoming, with paths, trails, tiny roads, and bridges over streams.  It is almost impossible to get lost, in any dangerous sense.

In the developed world, science and technology have done much to make life ideal, but the more we are protected from harm, the more freedom and control of our lives, we lose.  When motorized vehicles were new, they were cumbersome things that required training and knowledge, care and control, to safely operate.  Many attained all of these, but quick and handy transportation meant that far more did not.

In 1906, there were only 8 motor-cars in the entire city of Cincinnati, yet somehow, two of them managed to crash, head-on, into each other.  Soon came control – the requirement for driving licenses, speed limits, stop signs and traffic lights.

Early cars had manual transmissions.  Drivers had to understand gears and clutches.  I very much liked the feel of controlling a ‘standard’.  I did so until cars with gearshifts became so rare that buyers had to pay a premium for them.  All of my motorcycles had gearshifts.  Now, even many motorcycles are equipped with automatic transmissions.  It just takes away the fun, the thrill, of doing it yourself.  I was recently passed by a large motorcycle with its radio blaring, so that the rider could hear it over the wind noise.  I was almost surprised that the rider didn’t have Wi-Fi direct to built-in earphones in his helmet.

The flying cars that we have been promised for almost a century have failed to emerge, because technology has not advanced far enough.  We’ve seen what destruction and chaos inattentive fools can create in two dimensions.  I hate to imagine what they might accomplish in three dimensions.

AI, and self-driving cars are almost perfected.  When that is accomplished, we might move on to individual, self-flying cars.  They might satisfy the general population, who just want to get from place to place.  For archaic fools like me, who still want the feel of doing something, AI is a smothering pillow.  I want to control what my vehicle is doing.  With self-drivers, I can’t start, stop or steer.  I can’t drive 10 MPH over the speed limit if I’m foolishly late.  Even if I could override the controls, the manufacturer put in a black box that will tell Big Brother, and my insurance company, if I did.

The world continues to be safer, tamer, more ‘ideal,’ but, more and more, we end up swaddled in Amazon bubble wrap, protected, but divorced from reality and any chance of adventure.  This may be acceptable to a large percentage of the population, but we still need some who dare, who search, who triumph.  The New World was not discovered or conquered by a boatload of chartered accountants.

Flash Fiction #219

High

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

IT’S HIGH TIME

So, Canada had legalized marijuana, and he had wound up getting a job with one of the legal grow-ops after graduating from Agricultural College. Given the ‘entertainment’ habits of some of his dorm-mates, it was a surprise that it was him, rather than one of the 4:20 cadre.

He was pleased with the safety equipment his employer provided – gloves, coveralls, respirator masks. His hometown had once been the center of a tobacco-growing area. Each year there had been at least one case of death from nicotine poisoning. Here, about the worst thing that happened, was a nice contact high buzz.

***

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

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

It’s a good thing that I went back to proof-read one more time. Spell-Check didn’t catch that I had titled this Flesh” Fiction. That’s a whole different genre!   😳 🙄

Flash Fiction #206

Angels

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

WE STAND ON GUARD

Okay, gentlemen – and ladies, Mardi Gras is still a couple of months away, so this will be our first, get-to-know New Orleans tour. We will be focussing on safety – ways that people can hurt themselves.

Are there potholes where someone might trip and fall in front of a float? Is there a loose power pole, or low-hanging wires? Are there steep brick steps leading to the street, from a bar that’s overstocked with liquor? Is there a tree that some drunken moron might climb to view the parade?

Stay sharp! It will be a busy week for us Guardian angels.

***

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

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

The Day I Almost Went Over Niagara Falls

Niagara

Dear (un-named deity), how did I ever survive childhood, to become the Grumpy Old Dude that I am today??

Early in the 1960s, my Father took our family to Niagara Falls. We rented a little cabin in the village of Chippewa, 5 miles above the Falls. I don’t know what it’s like there now, but back then you could stroll along the Canadian-side bank of the river, like a continuous park. Having been told of a picturesque picnic area, one day we set off downstream to take advantage of it.

If I was 6 or 7 years old, my brother was 3 or 4, and my Mother was busy holding or carrying him. Dad was laden with a box, full of food and drink, and I wandered along behind them. About halfway to our destination, there was a gnarly tree, growing out of the bank at a 45 degree angle, out over the river.

Someone had tied a rope to a branch, and a group of 13/14 year old boys were using it to swing out, and splash into the river. One lad would climb/walk up into the tree, and flick the end of the rope up to his compatriots. One by one they’d launch themselves, swim back, and one of them would take the spot in the tree.

I had a tree at home. It had a rope in it. I liked trees. I liked ropes. I liked swinging. 😯 When all had plunged into the river, I asked the kid in the tree if I could swing from the rope. Sure! And he flicked the end up to me.

I launched myself off the 8-foot high bank, and enjoyed a magnificent swing. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14. When I reached the extent of the outward swing, I realized that I couldn’t let go – a little late! Holding on for dear life I swung back in, but the arc of the inward swing is never as long as the outward one, and it was nowhere near long enough to put me back up on that bank.

Actually, the point nearest the bank would have been the best time to let go. I’d have smacked into the clay and rock, and would have been able to scramble up the bank, dry and safe, but my Grade 1 brain was busy trying to figure out the physics of this whole thing.

Back out I swung. These guys wanted their rope back, and were shouting, “Let go! Let go!” Once more I swung back inward, this time again the arc becoming much shorter. As I reached the inner apogee – right or wrong – I let go…. and splashed down three feet from dry land.

I was used to a well-mannered Lake Huron, where you could walk out 100 feet before it got chest deep. In this river, three feet out put me in chin-deep water. Still, I scrambled out, and rejoined my family. If either parent noticed that my shoes, shorts and tee-shirt were drenched, neither of them mentioned it. Only later did I realize that I could have climbed up the rope, and down the tree, safely. At the time, I was a bit too busy to think of that. What do you think?? A young fool became an old one??  😕

’19 A To Z Challenge – J

330px-Queen_Victoria_by_Bassano

My little home town was dying, as I was born.

The word that I want to discuss, is

Jubilee

the celebration of any of certain anniversaries, as the twenty-fifth (silver jubilee), fiftieth (golden jubilee), or sixtieth or seventy-fifth (diamond jubilee).

the completion of 50 years of existence, activity, or the like, or its celebration:

Lighthouse

IN THE BEGINNING,
among other things, my home-town was a Great Lake port. A dock was built, almost a mile out into Lake Huron, to an island, to provide calm moorage. Small, sail-powered lake freighters brought wheat from the prairies, iron ore and timber from Northern Ontario. Before the existence of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, these goods were shipped by train to the Toronto area, below Niagara Falls.

The availability of cheap lumber encouraged the establishment of three furniture factories, and later, a plywood plant. There was money to be made – money to be had, and local tax revenues allowed the town to pay for many civic projects. Even today, it is the smallest town in Ontario, with a hospital.

In 1897, Queen Victoria celebrated her 60th anniversary as ruler of the Empire – her Diamond Jubilee. The town had recently foreclosed and seized the property of a sulkie racetrack, half a block wide, and two blocks long, just above the downtown area. Some namby-pamby toph who had not done market research, found that he couldn’t get enough paying customers from dock-wallopers, train crews, and factory workers. They might have watched horses that actually ran, but not swishy ones that only trotted, and dragged a cute little cart behind them.

The town filled in the track and manicured a baseball diamond and outfield. They put up a safety screen behind home plate and built a set of wooden stands. The 8-foot whitewashed wooden fence and ticket gates from the racetrack remained. To honor Victoria, and her achievement, they named it

Jubilee Park.

Then, times and technology changed. Lake freighters became larger, built of steel, and motor-powered. They could steam all the way to the mouth of the Niagara River, and the now-common trucks could move freight faster and cheaper. It is well for the town that, as its freight industry died, the tourist industry burgeoned. There are more summer cottages, paying year-round taxes, than there are residents’ homes. Still, the bloom was off the rose.

By the time I was born in 1944, the plank seats of the bleachers had become wowed, dried and splitting. As a child, for years, I wondered about the purpose of a decrepit, cabin-like construction beneath one end of the bleachers. When I finally thought to ask, I was told that it was a long-extinct concession booth.

Later, smaller, steel-framed stands were built down the first- and third-base lines. Perhaps being too lazy to walk any distance, many men parked right behind these stands. Many a pop foul sailed over the bleachers, to dent fenders and break mirrors and windshields. The attraction of small-town softball is long gone. The town has built a children’s playground in what used to be the parking area. I have not been back in years, but it would not surprise me to find that USB ports have been added, to recharge kids’ electronic devices.

Time relentlessly marches on, but us old-timers can only shuffle along, muttering, Remember when?”