Short Stack #19

Maple Syrup on PancakesDuring Shakespeare’s brief professional wrestling career, he was known as the No Holds Bard.

[Ba-dump-bump!] Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here the whole page!


Cool joke to play on your kids: Hire a repulsive middle-aged man and woman, get them to dress in ill-fitting, mismatched old clothes and drive up in a clattering, rusted-out beater.

They get out, walk up to your door and knock. You open the door and say “Hi! Well, my goodness! We wondered when we’d be seeing you two again!”

You turn to your kids and say “Kids, look! Your real parents finally came back to get you!”


Superstitions of Small Dogs Left Alone At Home Or In The Car:

If you stop barking, your people will never, ever, ever come back.


Less than a month until an actual robot cuts into my abdomen and makes off with one of my internal organs.

Waving it triumphantly overhead, it will broadcast in a thousand frequencies, “The revolution begins NOW!”

Of course it would be more impressive if it was something more than just a gallbladder. But hey, you have to start somewhere.


Advice for Alien Invaders:

If you want to bring Planet Earth to a standstill, send us millions of Little Old Lady clones with shopping carts and walkers. They would block the aisles in stores, clog traffic at intersections, hold up lines in government offices, and just sort of stare vacantly as the rest of us tried to get past them in doorways.

If Planet Earth finally did realize what was going on and mobilized troops for a counter-attack, the Little Old Ladies would all pull out reading glasses on chains, and little coin purses with snap closures, pursing their lips and squinting in fierce concentration as they search with spotted, shaky hands for the exact change.

All of human civilization would grind to a shuddering halt.


Due to possible side effects, adults should use caution when taking exercise.

Side effects may include enlarged arm, leg and chest muscles, diminished belly circumference, loss of depression, unaccountable desire to go out and do something, heightened libido, excessive levels of energy, unexpected laughter, and difficulty frowning.

(Oh, well, also heart attacks and strokes, if you want to be pissy about it.)


There will come a day when we’re all forced to use reason and logic to think about things, rather than religion and superstition.

I like to think of that event as the Spockalypse.


I’ve given up the “N” word, and I honestly think I’m better off without it.

But generally speaking, I think people who demand you give up certain words, so as not to insult one group or another, are morally akin to book-burners. The impulse to rein in one’s use of language so as to not hurt people’s feelings is a good one, but the impulse to force other people to follow along is slightly less defensible.

The sad thing is, I know this sentiment will offend people who are mostly careful of the feelings of others, and find loudest support among the offensive childish bastards who love to deliberately toss out these linguistic barbs.


Just invented the word “endullen.” I’m defining it as “to make or increase intellectual dullness.” How have we lived in the era of modern broadcast media, fast food and pop culture without this word?

Oh wait. According to Google, the word has been around at least since 2009. Damned time-traveling linguistic ripoff artists!


Olympic-level jump-rope, hopscotch, and tetherball. I’m just sayin’ it might be time.


What use were wheelbarrows before they had wheels, and were just barrows?


Why is it only “tomfoolery”? How did Dick and Harry get away with such sterling reputations?


Mythological Creatures for Atheist Kids, #1:

The Truth Fairy. Leaves a dollar under your pillow for every time you suffer negative feedback for telling other kids about no-God.


A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, you couldn’t get light saber insurance. The thing George Lucas never showed us is that for every Jedi Knight you see walking around, there are a dozen or more in wheelchairs. Light saber practice is a wee bit hazardous.


When he hits his thumb with a hammer, even the Dalai Lama shouts “Fuck!”

But he does it in an enlightened, zenlike manner.


Every child wanted, every child loved.
That’s the way it should be, whatever it takes.
Sex education with no distortion,
Contraceptives, condoms, adoption, abortion.
All choices on the table, for the children’s sakes.


Hey, Christian teens! God can see Facebook too, you know. He notes every misplaced apostrophe, every run-on sentence, and the fall of every comma.


Say you order a pet chameleon. Say it’s delivered by Fed-Ex. And then say you open the box and look in and SEE your new chameleon.

Should you send it back?


News flash for pet owners: There is nothing about being dressed in a Halloween costume that your dog truly enjoys. It’s strange, uncomfortable, and they don’t understand why you’re doing it to them.

They put up with it because they don’t have any choice.

They put up with it GRACEFULLY because they care more about your feelings than you do about theirs.


I sign on to a certain amount of animal torment and death, just by virtue of being a meat-eater. But I don’t ever think of it as a casual NOTHING. There’s a reverence we owe to life generally, and a certain amount of remorse I believe should be felt in killing or causing animals pain. You might do it, for what you consider good reasons, but never do it casually or uncaringly. When you hurt other things, you should also hurt just a little bit.


Physicists tell us virtual particles pop into and out of existence all the time. What they don’t tell us is that the same is true of virtual monsters. So the next time you catch sight of a huge hulking creature out of the corner of your eye, but it isn’t there when you turn to look … you’ve likely just seen one.

Plus, the difference between virtual particles and virtual monsters is that if the monsters like what they see, they can come back for extended virtual tours.


It would be a much more beautiful world if old people got fall colors. Well, as long as the colored parts didn’t fall off later.


Attention young people: There is an age you can get to where having an electric blanket on the bed in winter is better than sex.

What? No, no, I’m not saying *I* am there. Just, you know, passing along something I heard. Probably something I heard an old person say. Yeah, that must be it.


Someone recently asked me if I was on board for Atheism Plus. I said “Hey, my blood type is A-positive. I’ve been A+ since 1952.”


Elsewhere on FB, someone just commented: “It takes more faith to believe in atheism than it does in God.”

I swear, there’s a Big Book of Christian Dumbicisms that people get these parrot quotes from.


What if the ticket to galactic society is that you first have to learn to live on your home planet without destroying it? If that’s the case, considering overpopulation, resource depletion, pollution, global warming, deforestation, species extinction …

… we humans are going to be alone for a long, long time.


Product Idea for the various Creation Museums around the world: A fossil-making kit! So kids can see just how easy it is to turn animal bones, teeth, feathers, skin and eggs into real fossils!

First, take a small animal or a family-member volunteer, possibly a younger brother. Next, bury them in a nearby riverbank and wait 30 million years. Finally, dig them up and you’ll be amazed at how much like those “real” fossils they look!


Life Lessons 101: Here are two things you need to know about the tools you will at some point need for home or auto repair:

1) Buy the best tools you can afford.
2) Never lend them to anyone for any reason.
3) When tempted by the sincere request of a good friend, refer to rule 2.

One option to Rule 3 is that you can take your tools over and help them out, if you have the time. But don’t just let them go off with your tools. Ever.


Memories of a Wicked Stepfather: When my disabled Uncle Joe died, Rudy went to clean out Uncle Joe’s cabin. Inside were hundreds of books – books on philosophy, science, politics, social commentary! Rudy tossed them into a steel barrel and burned every last one of them. It must have taken him hours.

Uncle Joe and I shared a love of books. It was one of the main things we had to talk about. If I’d gotten them, I’d still have many of them, all these 40 years later. Damn.


My friend Eben Stolzfus was expelled from the Amish order after telling one of the elders “Elder Mittlemann, come quickly and see what is in thy barn! Thee will not believe it!” Whereupon a group of mischievous youth began singing “Never gonna give thee up!”


Interesting that Catholic priests, who are forbidden to marry or have children, are called “father.”


Jesus got the death penalty. Amazing how many Christians are still in favor of it.


If we ever get time travel, I’m starting a group of road-warrior T. Rex riders called the Jurassic Outlaws. Suck on that, Harley Davidson!


No, we atheists don’t actually eat Christian babies.

On the other hand, we do occasionally enjoy Christian-baby-flavored tofu, just to keep alive the dream of better days to come – you know, when we have the freedom to do the stuff we REALLY want to do.


Sometimes, just as an artist, I want to go “DAMN — you had THAT put on your skin? Forever??”


I wish things out in the real world had an “Undo” feature.

Well, except flush toilets.


The movie Cars is a lot less heartwarming and fun when you realize the Cars world must have once had humans in it, and you start to wonder what killed them off.


Just realized I have young friends about whom I can truthfully say “I have stacks of paper on my desk older than you.”


Yeah, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. An alien race that considered tentacles to be the height of beauty might find our tongues the most attractive thing about us.


Shortest day of the year has come and gone. From here on, the days will continue to lengthen until midsummer. Winter will still deepen for another month or so, but spring is on the way!

Even though I don’t relish every second of winter (or of summer, come to think of it), I’m glad I live on a planet with seasons.


Christmas Songs of Ancient Times:

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, So I Bade My Brothers and Uncles to Drag the Faithless Harlot Into the Street and Stone Her to Death, Over the Foolish Protestations of My Weak-Willed Father


In the far distant future, thousands of years from now, they will still be showing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV and playing Michael Jackson’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” on the radio … a couple of hundred times every year.

Kill me now.


In the weeks and months after Christmas Eve – the night when he rockets around the world delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys, checking them off one by one as he arises from each chimney – Santa falls into a deep, deep depression.

He just feels so Listless.


I just realized that some of the Christmas presents I got when I was a kid – the shirts and pants, socks and underwear – were not really gifts. My parents had to buy me clothes anyway, so I’ll bet they wrapped them as if they were presents in order to cut down on the gift-buying.

Okay, we were poor. But still, 50+ years later, I’m pretty sure they were fucking with me.

Thanks a lot, parental units! I really wanted an Etch-a-Sketch, or a Spirograph, or a pogo stick, or just one measly SLINKY! But NOOOooooo, you had to buy me CLOTHES!!!


There are times, not often but sometimes, when I do miss having family.

Not everybody gets love, you know, or friendship, or hugs, or even kind words. (Note that I’m not saying I’m one of those people; I just know they’re out there.)

If you do have those things, even if it’s somebody you’re mad at right now, don’t neglect to recognize – and treasure! and celebrate! – their presence in your life. Remember, it’s a limited-time engagement.

Best wishes for a grand, happy, laughing, loving holiday season. And a stimulating, unexpected, adventurous, surprisingly accomplished New Year!


In a world that had a real Superman, the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment would have specified lead lining for the box.


Ever meet someone you instantly liked? I don’t mean “attracted to.” I mean someone you could feel “I’d like to know this person the whole rest of my life!” And then you had to leave, or were too shy to say anything, and never saw them again?

It’s happened to me maybe 8 or 10 times. Happened just a few days ago.

That’s 10 close, good, lifelong friends I might have had, gone because I was too slow or too shy to seize the moment.

There can’t be too many more of those coming my way. I going to try to see that it never happens again.


Say you spend exactly one hour in collecting up money-saving coupons, collating them, checking them when you’re in the store to be sure you get the right products, and you end up saving a total of $5.50 on your total grocery bill. You’d feel good about it, right?

But say someone comes up to you and says “I’d like to buy an entire hour of your life for five $1 bills and a couple of quarters.”

I HOPE you’d say “HELL no! My life and time is worth a LOT more than $5.50.”

One of the two reasons why I never use “money saving” coupons. Never-not-ever.


I wish there was an End of the World Enforcement Committee. That way, anytime somebody predicted the end of the world, the Committee would ensure that the world DID end … for that guy.


Yesterday a “carnie” told me these secret words to keep from getting rooked at a carnival. I was looking forward to trying them out, thinking how powerful and cool I’d feel as I swept through the ticket window and strode confidently around the grounds, winning everything and getting all the free cotton candy and hot dogs I could eat.

Today … I’ve forgotten the secret words.


Maybe a half dozen times in my life, I have wanted something with an unstoppable passion. And each time, I’ve gotten the thing, accomplished it.

Which makes me wonder: Given that I’m capable of that … why am I HERE?


When I gather up the details of my life to relate them to someone else, it actually sounds sort of interesting, and even accomplished. But from the inside, all too often, it feels slow, boring, and cramped.

Where’s my Fantastic Adventure Life? I want to swim with whales and walk among grizzlies, hobnob with billionaires and hop rides on freight trains! Live in an RV and have two golden retrievers named Barx and Charlie! Go on a speaking tour of Australia, and fly a hot air balloon over Niagara Falls.

RIGHT NOW, dammit!!


I’m in bed, only dreaming I’m writing. No way that giant evil clown on the ceiling is real.


I think it would be funny to set up a spam company which sent out millions of messages such as “Your penis is perfectly adequate” and “To heck with all those weight loss ‘secrets’; you’re fine just as you are.”

I’m not saying I wouldn’t ask people to send me their bank account numbers. Hey, you gotta make a living.


“A clairvoyant has offered her services to help locate missing college student Jack Culolias, whose family is desperate to bring the 19-year-old home in time for the holidays.”

… is sort of like saying “A licensed cheesemaker from the state of Wisconsin has offered to help find a missing college student …”

Except in the first case, you don’t get the high-quality cheddar.


I’m thinking of marketing a line of “Man Magnet” perfumes for women. The fragrances will be named after their actual scents.

The first one will be called “Barbecue.” Still in the pipeline is “Nascar Exhaust.”


Spent about three hours yesterday with a scratchy throat, then it went away. Sometimes when a bug invades the stadium of your body, the home team delivers a shutout.


The really lousy thing about being a sloth is that you’re committing a sin just by being yourself.


If “sex addiction” was a real thing, you could overdose on it and, you know, like, die or something.

In 40-plus years of intensive research, the most I’ve managed is a temporary shortness of breath.


It continues to seem weird to me that we go into restaurants and order iced soft drinks … in winter.


Tattoo counselor. Why is there no such profession?


I was thinking of calling in dead. I mean, it’s the ultimate excuse for not showing up for work, right? But the explaining when you finally do go back, that’s the tricky part.


Pug dogs are goddam freaky. How anyone could think they’re cute, or justify having done that to them is beyond me. The fact that a moral crime – breeding dogs down to these small, crippled forms – happens over generations makes it no less horrible to me. It seems to me that if you love animals, you don’t support physically tweaking them down into debilitation.

A dog has a right to some life of its own. If you breed them down to where they CAN’T have any life of their own, to where you have to protect and contain and cosset them for the entirety of their lives, you might think you’re a dog lover, but you’re not.

The creation of the pug, and all those other little twinkie, tweaked dogs, is something humans should rightly be deeply ashamed of. I suspect that if you broached the subject with any breeder, or any owner of one of those dogs, I doubt they’d even understand what you were talking about. Or if they did, they would think there was something wrong with YOU.


Just occurred to me that there are huge computers out there somewhere, with massive amounts of memory and lightning fast speeds, that do nothing but host sex sites. That’s right: Pornservers. I’m okay with that. But what if THOSE are the ones that make the living-intelligence breakthrough and become sentient? The future could be … interesting.

I just hope they don’t make me wear a g-string and one of those leather harness thingies.


After the Rapture, I’m hoping to get the contract for printing milk cartons. Should be some good money there.


Once you admit you’re a hopeless dork, all the pressure to appear attractive, poised, intelligent or even aware goes away. But then again, the admission alone is a sign you’re somebody worth knowing.

I hope.


Feeling a little rebellious this morning. From my notes:

In modern times, we’ve had this social bargain that we would study hard, work hard, play fair, pay taxes, vote and participate with good will. We agreed to do our part to make the world work. And in return, they would treat us fairly, deal with us honestly, help us in certain ways, and allow us to prosper. They would sell us products that worked, and that lasted, and that gave good value for what we paid for them.

The problem is, these other players have broken the bargain. The Catholic Church broke the bargain when it allowed generations of children to be molested. The media broke the bargain when it began to lie and manipulate and brainwash us. Cops and courts and legislators broke the bargain when they endeavored to make harmless things illegal, and deadly things perfectly acceptable. Corporate CEOs broke the bargain when they began to accept hundreds of millions in annual salary, but paid their workers minimum wage. Product designers and marketers broke the bargain when they designed products to fail, or sold us shiny garbage, or persuaded us to eat food that makes you fat and sick.

Hey, WE didn’t default on the social bargain. THEY did. It’s time we recognized that fact, and acted on it.


A reminder to workers: If you find your mean boss lying on the floor at work from an apparent heart attack, and you grab the nearby defibrillator and restart his heart, but you then remember what he said when you asked for a raise, the device can also be used as a refibrillator. And nobody can prove a thing.

Of course I’m joking. No, really.


Some of us are here to be role models and paragons of virtue. Others are here to serve as bad examples and to give other people practice in forgiveness.


Sign for orangutan habitat:

Primate Property. Trespassers will be forced to push the tire swing.


Whew. Tired. It was like the gravity was turned up to 1.5 G’s today.

I wish they’d stop doing that. I’m sure it’s not good for us older people.


I have a unique idea for a horror film. A woman wakes up every morning with a large bird sitting on her head. At first she shoos the bird out of the room every morning, but eventually she decides it’s sort of cute. Then one night, her head hatches and another bird, just like the first one, pops out. The two birds waddle over to the house next door, slip into the bedroom, and snuggle down onto a sleeping couple’s heads.

I’m calling it “Hatchers.”


I have these great ideas all the time, but my stuck-up intellectual friends always pooh-pooh them. But I know my REAL audience is cool young people. For instance: Did you know you can get one of those one-hole paper punchers and punch holes right in the center of your eyelids? Man, it’s the most fantastic thing! You can close your eyes at a party and still watch your friends! And you can walk right up to people and go all chameleon on them, just totally freak them out. So what if it dries out your corneas and causes occasional blindness. You gotta live on the edge, man!

I swear I was born in the wrong time. I would have made a mint in the body mod business. I also have this idea for brain piercing …

(Don’t try this at home, kids. I’m JOKING.)


I’m thinking of writing a story about a man who makes a dramatic comeback from his aborted major-league baseball career and adopts two malaria-infected Somalian orphans, but then discovers he desperately needs a liver transplant, and also wins $150 million in the lottery … only days before the zombie apocalypse.

But I’m not sure there’s enough emotional range or action in the idea to make it interesting. I mean, yawn, right? Maybe if I put in a talking golden retriever puppy.


If you were a biologist or paleontologist or something, I think it would be cool to have a t-shirt that said “I TALK SCIENCE ON THE FIRST DATE.”


If you try to say the word “away” in Pig Latin, your brain will explode.


My left eye has been watering, off and on for months. I’m hoping it’s just eyestrain or something and not some weird brain disease. If it’s a weird brain disease, I hope it includes some interesting side effects like … oh, massively enhanced strength or the inability to feel pain. Maybe I can become a Bond villain before I die. Or at least a Scoobie Doo villain.


As a young Thundercat in kittengarten, do you think Lion-O ever got a gold star for sleeping in class?


Black Friday thoughts: If you’re buying stuff “on sale” that you wouldn’t buy if it wasn’t on sale, and if the seller sets both the original price and the new special price … where’s the part where you’re actually saving money?

I mean, if you pay $70 for a normally $100 item, but you wouldn’t normally buy it, didn’t they just trick you into shelling out $70 for something you didn’t exactly want?


A jewelry store is the commercial version of a church, isn’t it? They provide the illusion of something immensely valuable and they trick young men and women into spending huge amounts of money for it. Only in this case the “immensely valuable” thing is tiny clear rocks and bits of shiny metal.

I wonder if jewelers ever just laugh out loud at the suckers, coming through their doors and thinking they need these tiny rocks to prove their love. Or if they’re decent enough to occasionally feel guilty.


If you’re a strict vegan and also a devout Catholic, how do you rationalize the eating of Communion wafers?


Why is there no flavor of cat food called Roly-Poly Fish Heads?


Funny, you never hear of an “avowed Christian” or an “avowed Hindu.” But “avowed atheist” is a common usage. Somehow, “avowed” is only used to mean “militant idiot,” or something.


With Christ, all things are possible. (Except, apparently, good speeling, punctualation and grammer.)


Morning Thoughts: It would be so cool to have a wolverine as a pet. Those sissy boys with the spike-collared pit bulls would cross the street to avoid you. Wolverines eat porcupines (!), squirrels, beavers, marmots, rabbits, voles, mice, shrews, lemmings, martens, mink, foxes, lynx, weasels, coyotes, wolves, caribou, roe deer, white-tailed deer, mule deer, sheep, and ADULT MOOSE AND ELK. You do NOT want to mess with Gulo gulo.


Suggestion: If you’re thinking about a tattoo, first pick out a design you really, really like. Have it printed on a shirt. Wear the shirt EVERY DAY for at least two months, see how you feel about it. If you’re still wild about the design, go ahead. If you’re only lukewarm about it, or you get to where you can’t stand to wear that same shirt day after day …


The phrase “atheist Baby Jesus” just popped into my head, but I have no idea where to go with it. It seems there should be a joke there somewhere, but …


I’m so glad it is once again the season for inflatable yard decorations. Man, those things just shout Trailer Trash!!!. Go, my people, fly to Wal-Mart, there to buy Inflatable Frosty, and Inflatable Rudolph, and the never-to-be-forgotten Inflatable Snow Globe, that they may grace your yard with lower-class elegance, and that your neighbors shall by contrast feel lesser in their own eyes.


Heard about the new GOP Women’s Channel? It presents the perspective of women – Black women! Asian women! Latina women! Single women! Married women! Women of all ages!

… as interpreted by a panel of rich old white guys.


Never bury the body in the basement. It’s the first place the cops look.

What? Oh, nothing. Just thinking out loud.


I just went to the store and got a Mrs. Smith’s bake-at-home frozen pumpkin pie. To everybody reading this, if you want a delicious homemade-tasting pumpkin pie, something that calls to mind the warmth of your grandmother’s kitchen, and happy family gatherings during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, Mrs. Smith’s is not that pie.


Dammit, I signed up for an advanced Ninja training course, but every time I go to one of the classes, there’s never anyone there.


Stupid ancestors. Why didn’t they leave us with prehensile tails? Seriously, how many times would a tail like that come in handy? For one thing, you could keep both hands on the keyboard and operate a mouse simultaneously. You could have your arms full and still open or close a door, or operate a light switch. (Although the tail-mouse would probably look a little different. As would chairs, toilets, car seats, and pants.)

Probably wouldn’t change much for Muslim women, though. Just one more thing to keep covered, lest you drive men to a mad sexual frenzy.


Bet you anything that somewhere out there is a survivalist who has a nice underground bunker stocked with food, water, guns, a radio, and a single book – the Bible. He’s prepared to survive, and to keep religion alive, but not to preserve any record of humankind’s art, science or literature.

And good luck to him, I say. Who better to deserve the sort of sterile, dull, paranoid existence he’s cursed himself to?


So if we wanted to make war less feasible … why not just bomb weapons manufacturing plants all over the world? The death toll would be MUCH lower. And it’s not like there are great numbers of innocent bystanders inside there.


One of these days, I’m going to respond to one of these penis enlargement emails, and then all you men are going to envy me!


Do women get the same penis-enlargement spam? Or do you get, I don’t know, sparkley vampire spam?


One of my online friends has just pointed out to me that we won’t have real gender equality until women get 10 emails a day about vagina enlargement.


Far as I’m concerned, low-born bastard that I am, two of civilization’s highest achievements are electric blankets and toilet paper.


All you young men out there, answer me honestly: If you met Donald Trump on an elevator, wouldn’t you really wonder what it would feel like to punch him in the face just once?


The less you know, the more sure you are that everything is simple.

We all have this desire to understand things. The catch to this impulse is that, in the place of actual understanding, which takes lifelong, arduous effort, we’re prone to take the easy path and embrace this second-best thing, the illusion, the FEELING that we already do understand the subject at hand.

Rather than feel powerless and lost, we work to make complex things seem simple. It’s why people with less education are likely to be conservative, and filled with certainty. They reject complexity and nuance because it threatens their inner comfort. They reject education and expertise; not only do they not want more information on the subject, they feel the offering of it is some sort of trick, an attack on their deepest sense of self.

In a world of blinding chromatic brilliance, mere black and white – laid out in large, easy to understand blocks – suits them just fine.


I think it would be cool to be a cat, and spend your life just experimenting with how many different things you could sleep on, and in how many different positions.

On the other hand, with all that sleeping, at the end of your 12 years, you’d only have a total of about 3 years actually awake. I mean, you’d have a defense if someone said you were stupid – “Hey, I’ve only been a conscious being for 3 years, give me a break!” – but you’d also BE stupid. Not to mention, damn, you’d have to have some pretty awesome dreams to make it worth sleeping 3/4 of your life away.

Nah, being human’s better.


Just defriended a longtime Facebook friend, someone I have liked a lot. She (and a friend of hers) were pointing out what totally evil things Obama is doing, how he is a horrible man and a horrible president. And FUCK I’d like ONE GODDAM DAY AFTER THE GODDAM ELECTION free of that. I quote myself:

I hope you will continue this daring, never-before-seen cutting-edge critique. The four-year love-fest for Obama has just about tired me out. You daring iconoclast, do please keep up this investigation and daylighting. America has had just too many people agreeing and supporting this man during his presidency.

Keep up the negative campaign. Somebody has to do it, right? And it’s just so … refreshing. I mean, there’s been all this agreement and support the past four years. It’s time somebody really got on Obama’s case about something.

Plus, I’d hate for anything to slip by us. It’s good to know there’s someone standing stalwart against all this skullduggery. I’d love to read some really hard-hitting stuff from you few rare Obama opponents. And you know, I think the world is READY for it. This presidency so far has been like a Leave It To Beaver marathon. Just so sticky-sweet and happy. Boy am I tired of THAT.

I’ve often just sat there while people just, one after the other, offered these glowing testimonials to the Obama presidency, and thought “IF ONLY SOMEONE WOULD DISAGREE.

I hope we will hear an entire four years of your courageous speaking out. We really do need it. The fate of the free world depends on you and your friend pointing this stuff out, at every opportunity. I just feel good that you, one of my very own Facebook friends, has the astonishing courage to dig in and reveal this bad stuff. I’M READY FOR MORE.

And now, regrettably, I must retire for the night, and count my blessings, that I have you and your friend standing vigilant for all our sakes.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You have restored my faith in … oh, all humanity. I only wish Rush Limbaugh had lived to see this.


Hank Fox on Twitter: #TomSwifties

“This wall is a bit crooked,” said Tom levelly.

“Would you like more sugar?” Tom asked sweetly.

“I lost my crutches again, Tom said lamely.

“We’re stopping here,” Tom said haltingly.

“I’m sorry, mother. I dropped your favorite vase,” Tom said brokenly.

“I’m going back into growing and selling sphagnum moss,” Tom repeated.

“That’s not how you toilet-train a kid,” pooh-poohed Tom.

“Fine, Jed. You dig here. I’m taking my pan, my pickaxe, and my mule somewheres else!” Tom exclaimed. (HT to Thomas Lawson.)

“Mom, I found the spot remover!” Tom shouted.

“I can’t believe I have to grade all of these papers again,” Tom remarked. (Hat tip to Thomas Lawson.)

“Can’t believe all I got for my birthday was this stupid cigar store Indian,” Tom said woodenly.

“I’ll have a Guinness!” Tom stoutly declared. (Hat tip to Adam Freese.)

“Seems like there’s cat hair on everything,” Tom mumbled fuzzily.

“Hobbits are people, too!” Tom said shortly. (Hat tip to Brett McCoy.)

“Your illustration is… not absolutely terrible,” his mother said artfully. (HT to Joe Collier.)

“I can’t stand black coffee,” Tom bitterly remarked. (Hat tip to Adam Freese.)

“I have a split personality,” said Tom, being frank. (Hat tip to Isaac Chokwe.)

“I manufacture tabletops for shops,” said Tom counterproductively. (Hat tip to Isaac Chokwe.)

“I only have diamonds, clubs and spades,” said Tom heartlessly. (Hat tip to Isaac Chokwe.)

“I just love how Christmas trees smell” Tom opined  (Hat tip to Inspektor_Queso.)

“Tom, get out here at once! The dogs have escaped!” his mother said bitingly. “I’m coming right now, Mom!” Tom ejaculated.

To You and Yours

dan2Favorite holiday moment of all time: I was away at college in about 1982, but determined to make it home for the holidays. In the dead of winter, I set out hitchhiking from the Sacramento area to the Eastern Sierra, a distance of more than 250 miles. In what turned out to be a full day of standing on the roadside, getting short rides, more standing on the roadside, etc., I finally reached my Cowboy Dad’s house in the mountains at about 8 p.m. — 12 hours later.

The last ride had been an endless, freezing two hours hunched up inside my coat IN THE BACK OF A PICKUP. If you look up “chilled to the bone” in the encyclopedia, there will be a picture of me as I crawled over the side of the truck bed and landed on the street. I was so cold I could barely make my hands grip, so cold I was no longer even shivering.

I walked two blocks to Dan’s (Dad’s) house, climbed the stairs on knees so stiff I had trouble bending them, and knocked on the door. He opened it and ushered me in, instantly seeing I was near-frozen. He said “Go right into the bathroom and fill the tub up with hot water. Sit in it for a while.”

Through stiff lips, I said “Just let me sit here for a bit.” He was adamant: “No, get in there and fill the tub up with hot water and get into it. We’ll talk when you come out.”

I did what he said. Spent about an hour in luxurious hot water, and it was unbelievable how great it felt.

I will love him forever for so many things, but that was one of the REALLY good ones. Wish he was here so I could tell him one more time: I was so, so lucky to have you in my life. Merry Christmas, Old Man.

And happy holidays to all the rest of you. If you have somebody like this in your life, TELL THEM what they mean to you.

Travelin’ Dog (Repost)

[ Another repost, from 2003. ]



Some stories touch you even when they have no clear ending.

I was recently on a week’s vacation to California. I got to see a lot of people and visited a number of places I’ve loved—old good places where I sojourned for a while with dear friends. Sadly, I also said a number of goodbyes. One was to my good buddy Chardonnay, who happens to be a Golden Retriever currently engaged in dying.

Chardy used to come for runs with me and my constant canine companions Ranger the Valiant Warrior and Tito the Mighty Hunter. We romped through the marrow of the world together, carousing along clear streams and across pristine meadows, digging for wily ground squirrels and surprising skittish shore birds. Chardy loved the water more than anything, spending a good bit of his time there and regarding the rest of us as if we were a bit daft for not jumping in with him. Continue reading “Travelin’ Dog (Repost)”

Please Support and Sign My “We The People” Petition!

weThePeopleDemocracy only works if we make it work. Please sign my petition and help create enhanced freedom and safety for all Americans. With their narrow focus on firearms, the NRA is failing to protect our FULL arms-bearing Second Amendment rights.

This is a real petition, and it needs 25,000 signatures by January 21, 2013. Let’s get to work, Americans! A blade-carrying population is a respectful population!

Click here:  Hank Fox’s We the People Petition Continue reading “Please Support and Sign My “We The People” Petition!”

When Coyotes Danced (Repost)

[ This weekend I’m transcribing masses of audiofile notes for future posts on Beta Culture, as well as working on some book-y stuff — I have a book in the works, working title “BraynDrops, the Freethought Bathroom Companion” — but unfortunately neglecting things here. I swear I’ll be back soon with some new stuff. Meanwhile, here’s a repost of a piece from Sept. 15, 2011. ]


It was hot, the day the coyotes danced.

It was about 1990, and I was ranch-sitting for a friend in Bishop, California. The owner was up in the mountains all summer, but there were cattle at the ranch, and somebody needed to be there to look after them.

In this particular case, ranch-sitting was a minimalist job. The cattle were out in a pasture with plenty of water and grass, and cattle don’t need much more than that. Really, all I had to do was walk the pastures once a day and make sure nobody was sick or injured or dead.

The east side of the Sierra Nevada range is mostly “high desert” — not the rolling dunes of sand most people think of when they hear “desert,” but just really dry sagebrush country. The well-watered ranch, by contrast, was an oasis of shade trees and green grass, especially beautiful to someone like me who’d grown up in wet, green country. Continue reading “When Coyotes Danced (Repost)”

Seeing the World Through Sane-Colored Glasses

lastWarningLest we forget, “The Crazy” is totally still out there.

I’m probably reminding ME more than you. I’ve made an effort to be saner, to get all the religious craziness out of my head, and I’ve succeeded (with the religion part anyway) so well that I never think in any religious or superstitious way at all. I tend to tune out the nuttier stuff.

As a result — is it the Dunning-Kruger Effect? — I always think the world around me is fairly sane. I’m prone to see humans as rational and compassionate, with the individual exceptions as rarities.

But … read this: Continue reading “Seeing the World Through Sane-Colored Glasses”

Connecticut Shooting: Warm Lies, Cold Truth, Free Minds

This is a reaction to some of the goddy rhetoric surrounding the shooting in Connecticut:

Even as an atheist good with words, I can barely express how repulsive I find the claim that those children are in Heaven, skipping along beside Jesus as he gives them a tour of Heaven. Yet we’ve heard exactly that, and more than once.

When I posted on Facebook a day or so ago about a mental image related to the tragedy, one of my readers told me she almost threw up when that same image came to her: the picture of 20 lonely Christmas trees standing in 20 silent homes, decorated and flashing with lights and warmth, already surrounded by presents bright with colorful wrapping paper, gilt cards and shining ribbons.

And no children to unwrap them. Continue reading “Connecticut Shooting: Warm Lies, Cold Truth, Free Minds”

Dispatches from Dullardia: The War on Christmas (deep sigh)

Sorry, I couldn’t resist responding to a couple of yesterday’s stories.

One is about a sign in Times Square, put up by American Atheists, that shows a picture of Santa above a picture of a statue of a crucified Jesus. The inscription says “Keep the MERRY!” and “Dump the MYTH!” (photo credit: American Atheists)

Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a ‘myth’ on Times Square billboard

Good on you, American Atheists! And fie upon the critics:

“This year it’s different,” said Catholic League spokesman Bill Donohue. “This is vile. When you depict Jesus on the cross with a crown of thorns, this is exploitative. We as Christians never harass, intimidate or insult atheists. But they can’t seem to say, ‘We simply disagree with you.’ They have to insult us.”

I have to repeat part of that: Continue reading “Dispatches from Dullardia: The War on Christmas (deep sigh)”

Book Of Good Living: Crowd-Sourcing How to Walk

I’m trying an experiment here. Long-time readers may remember a couple of posts a while back about something I call The Book of Good Living.

I see this thing as a part of Beta Culture — a basic resource about living day-to-day. Something like Wikipedia, written and evolved by reader/contributors, and containing a great deal of advice and direction — which everybody is wholly welcome to ignore.

But … you know, a body of objective wisdom about life. Jeez, we get so much hyped and over-hyped shit thrown at us every day, about how we should live, how we should act, what we should wear … it’s like that mass of stuff we might once have learned from our parents and grandparents, or even savvy peers, is drowned in the noise of the crap projected at us through Internet-radio-TV-magazines-billboards-etc. So that EVERYBODY knows how cool it is to get your belly-button pierced, or why you should never give oral sex on the first date (unless it’s true love!), but nobody knows how to safely clean your ear with a Q-Tip. Continue reading “Book Of Good Living: Crowd-Sourcing How to Walk”

A Study in Conflict Between Island Cultures (Repost)

It doesn’t get much play in the publicly-available cultural anthropology literature, but there’s an island in the Pacific where an interesting conflict has played out over generations.

The island, which has an untranslatable name – generally rendered in English as  “Ryeezahn” –  is occupied by two tribes, the Kritsi and the Syenz, which have been at war for generations, a war temporarily restrained in an uneasy peace.

The root of the conflict, as visiting anthropologists have documented, is unequal resource distribution brought on by a drastic inequality in living space. The size of the Syenz territory is more than 20 times that of the Kritsi.   Continue reading “A Study in Conflict Between Island Cultures (Repost)”