He never could find a reasonable explanation for why the wax fruit suddenly appeared on his table that Sunday morning, yet there it was.
All the doors were locked. The windows were closed. There were no signs of forced entry. Yet when he awoke, there in the center of his kitchen table, was a bowl of wax fruit.
Odder still, whoever had left the fruit had used one of his bowls. Not a fancy, for-decoration-only bowl. Not a family heirloom. Just a regular mixing bowl from the cupboard.
He wondered if he should notify the police, but considered how ridiculous it would sound. They'd likely dismiss it as some sort of prank. After all, wasn't that how he himself was considering the act? Yet it still troubled him that someone, somehow, had infiltrated both his building's security system and his apartment door to leave a gift of dubious value and even more dubious meaning.
Did the colors impart some sort of clue? Was the yellow banana accusing him of being a coward, or the red apple suggesting a passionate advance on the part of the gift giver? Was there some symbolism in the obvious artificiality of the fruit, or in a gift of fruit itself? Was it sign of affection, or a warning of future harm to befall him?
He carefully examined each individual piece, trying to find some clue leading to its origin or manufacturer, but they had been stripped of any identifying characteristics. Where did anyone even find wax fruit in this day and age?
Who would leave such a gift? How did it get there? What did it mean?
Three days later, responding to a concerned call from his co-workers, his landlord and a policeman entered his apartment. They found him sitting at his kitchen table, dressed in his bathrobe, his Sunday paper beside him, unread, with a cold cup of coffee set in front of him, staring with glazed eyes at a bowl of wax fruit.
What, they wondered incredulously, could a man find so endlessly fascinating about a bowl of wax fruit?
It's 4:30 a.m. I went to bed at midnight. The dog woke me up at 2:30 needing to go outside for a little doggie alone time in the backyard. I had to stay up to let her back in. I went back to bed at 2:45. I woke up coughing at 3:30 and never fell back asleep.
I have to get two girls ready for school in 2 and a half hours, and actually operate a motor vehicle in the process.
NewsDay Tuesday: PTA Hijinks, or, Adventures with the Crazy Lady
I don't go to PTA meetings (yet), but I am a member and I do what I can to support their efforts. Since I'm friends with many of the PTA officers, sometimes they approach me to find out if I'm interested in volunteering for this project or that project. Since I'm planning my re-entry into wage slavery, I volunteered to take on some tasks that pertain to my career -- so I have more recent work samples than, say, those from the last millennium.
That's how I wound up in charge of the yearbook, the website, and, theoretically, the newsletter. Except I don't have the newsletter, because the Crazy Lady won't give it up. She won't give up her other voluntary positions, either. Even though she has no children at the school. They have packed up and moved on to Junior High and High School. She refuses to do the same. She still shows up on registration day, to "take pictures for the newsletter," and on the first day of school (seemingly neglecting her OWN daughter's first day at Junior High) to "take pictures for the newsletter, and at Market Day because she's bat-shit crazy.
Now, truthfully, I tend to have a soft spot for eccentrics. I am making an exception in this case, because:
She is lacking in both computer and writing skills, and has no business writing the newsletter in the first place;
She is mean-spirited and petty (for instance, taking pleasure in the fact that a fourth-grader broke her arm while roller-skating, simply because she doesn't get along with the girl's mother);
She is standing in my way.
I am technically involved in the newsletter; I am the "associate editor,"which means I look it over for typos and errors. I don't know why I'm doing anything at all, since the PTA told the principal they had washed their hands of the newsletter when she didn't have the ovaries to ditch Crazy Lady. It's not a PTA function at all anymore -- it's under the principal's jurisdiction.
So I have a plan. I will pleasantly, sweetly and annoyingly turn everything in to the principal -- since she's in charge of it and all. I will make her realize it's much more of a hassle to keep on Crazy Lady than to get rid of her. I will bombard her with newsletter-related issues until she explodes.
We Interrupt "This Week in Coupons" to Bring You Intrigue
Okay, I'm always interrupting "This Week in Coupons." Sorry, Jiggs. But I have a mystery to solve.
My 20th high school reunion is coming up, and someone initially posing as Dawn Ewasiuk has contacted me via this very blog. And figured out who I was. Which makes me want to double up on the anxiety pills, but anyway.
Why anxiety? All I can think about is what kind of person I was in high school. I wasn't always nice. I was a vicious gossip. I was always sorry when I actually hurt someone, but I was compulsive about telling stories. While I can now appreciate that people aren't one-sided characters, heroes or villains, but instead have real feelings and complex motivations, back then I enjoyed crafting entralling stories. I guess everyone hopes they aren't the person he/she was in high school. But I digress.
It turns out that "Dawn" is not Dawn and has thrown down a gauntlet I cannot resist: figure out who "she" really is, based on these criteria:
(S)he will be flying back to Downers Grove for the reunion
We didn't really know each other in high school, but we knew a lot of the same people. (S)he thinks we must have been in a class together at some point, but (s)he can't recall which one(s).
Using my powers of deduction, Nyquil-dulled as they are, and narrowed it down to a few choices.
Bruce Berger. He looks so cute with his goatee and his obvious love and joy for his offspring. Doesn't he look nice? I'm glad he's happy, whether he's "Dawn" or not.
Robert Dittmer. This cracks me up because he was so dark and evil in high school and now he has two adorable children with Easter baskets behind them. That makes me smile; some woman sure changed his tune.
Leah Dziubinski. She was down-to-earth and no-nonsense in high school, but she's sure looking like a hottie now.
Denise Scalzo. From what I remember, she'd certainly be well-organized enough to track me down. She was a student council type with lots of energy and enthusiasm. I was a frequently depressed schlub filled with angst.
Matt Kresl. I'm not sure he'd remember me much, and it sounds like he's having fun in Nantucket. Like those guys on Wings.
Jean Ann Weil. See "Denise Scalzo," above. But we were less likely to have had a class together, I think.
I'm betting on one of the top three. They'd be more likely to remember me and to have actually have shared a classroom with me.
I'm just gonna spout out a bunch of stream of consciousness bullshit because this site has left me incapable of coherent thought.
The kids are sick and Dilf's out of town. It's not his fault, but that doesn't make emptying the barf buckets any easier.
And I'm pissed of because the materialistic bastards who run our economy and our lives and our country are ruining everything and I just know, after they've collected their plunder and left everything in shreds, they're gonna turn to us normal working stiffs and say, "Here's YOUR country back. Power to the people!" Thomas Jefferson tried to warn us about this shit. Of course, he kinda conveniently uses "conquered" for "stole from the people who were already here." But still, he had a point.
And another thing. I'm sick of laundry and bills. I don't mind cooking and cleaning up. I can get cleaning done pretty quickly. I just fucking hate giving money to jackals who I want to punch in the face, so I put it off. I'm never as much as 30 days late, but I still drag my feet. Except on medical stuff, which isn't my fault. I swear to God, I get these bills for the co-pay or whatever, which I pay. Then all of a sudden I get these 90-day-ago bills for $240 or some shit that I have no idea where they came from. "Insurance didn't pay that amount." Why the hell not? But I've got to pay it. Because it's "my responsibility." I would like to see what would happen if my husband's employer would say, "We're only gonna pay ... um... 60 percent of our premium. It's our policy. If you think this policy is in error, submit your claim in writing, and someone from our organization will send you a form letter that says, 'tough shit. no tag backs.'" We'll see how that sits with them. Lying cheating fraudulent motherfuckers.
I don't get angry at the laundry. It's just really overwhelming right now. I'm avoiding it because I'm a big baby about big scary piles of stuff.
This isn't really a rant, but an observation. Perhaps an economic indicator. We have a pay-per-container garbage system here. You pay for stickers and put them on the trash can handles. Well, this week was "garbage amnesty" week where they would haul away anything -- no questions asked. Like an old couch or a gas grill that doesn't work anymore or your old bike frame or whatever. Every year they do that, and every year there's a couple of Fred Sanford types who drive around in trucks and pick the choicest plums. Well, this year, I'd say the number of junk pickers has quadrupled or so. There was an explosion of people sorting through the garbage. And while the previous people seemed to be somewhat professional scrappers, these new folks came from all walks of life. In station wagons and minivans and such. That's my sociological observation of the day from my front window.
Because that's as far as I can get with all the coughing and sneezing and vomiting and such.
If this weekly feature were simply about mocking people, or pointing out fashion missteps and hooting in derision, making fun of Comic Con attendees would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
But truth be told, I understand these people. Like the Renaissance Fair folks, they're just enjoying some escapism. Come on, we live in some pretty depressing times here -- if dressing in costumes can help some people forget about how our once-great country is being run into the ground by selfish opportunists, more power to them.
But, like Renaissance Fair-goers who wear garb from other time periods or genres to the detriment of their intended effect, some Comic Con-ners don't keep within the spirit of the characters they're trying to represent.
For instance, if you are not skeletal, perhaps you shouldn't try to be Skeletor:
If you are missing the helmet or headpiece from your costume, sometimes you just can't substitute whatever you find lying around on your bedroom floor:
Unlike Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind", you can't just pull down your curtains or take apart your bedding to construct an outfit, and be recognizable:
And, finally, if the court has ordered you to remain in a mental health facility, you should listen:
Speaking of last minute, I didn't even think I'd participate this week... I started writing at 11:30. So, if it sucks...
The last minute of the last night of the carnival always made him feel desperate. Would there be another? He couldn’t take that chance. He had to make every second count.
Should he take another ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl? What about a corn dog; should he get what could possibly be the very last jumbo corn dog of his life? Oh no… funnel cakes… or the giant slingshot ride…
Think, man, think! You don’t have a moment to lose!
Tormented by the blinking lights, tortured by the smell of fried dough, he collapsed in the middle of the Midway, tore at his hair and screamed, “Why me, God? WHY ME! Why do you torture and tempt me like this?”
The agony of his indecision tore at him like a pack of dingoes trying to open a package of Slim Jims. It was simply too much for one man to bear. He clawed at his scalp, unable to come to a decision. The other carnival-goers stepped over him, impervious to his despair. One child stuck a licked-clean cotton candy cone in his ear; a teen poured what was left of his snow cone down his pants. He noticed neither of these assaults.
The lights went out. The noise died away. The carnival workers dismantled the booths and rides, packed them onto truck beds, and hauled them away.
And, just like the previous year, and every year since 1975, his family had to pick him up from the deserted parking lot at 3 a.m., sticky and comatose, curled in a fetal position sucking his thumb.
Last Week's entry was a bit hodgepodge, held together by the common element of gas. Today's post celebrates a man who may be the crusty-old-curmudgeonly-grandfather-who-nobody-wants-to-invite-to-Thanksgiving of rap music -- Victor Lundberg.
I have been able to find two mp3 recordings for your listening pleasure: the first, "An Open Letter to That Goddamned Punk My Teenage Son", was the more popular of the two. Click here to hear.
For those of you who don't want to sit through the whole thing, my favorite line comes at the end:
And I will remind you that your mother will love you no matter what you do, because she is a woman. And I love you too, son. But I also love our country and the principles for which we stand. And if you decide to burn your draft card, then burn your birth certificate at the same time. From that moment on, I have no son!
For more of his charming and warm-hearted social commentary, listen to "To the Flower Power":
it makes me think we are being brainwashed into starving ourselves for some reason. Why does the government care about how fat we are? Then it occurred to me.
When they round us all up to be shipped to the labor camps, they can fit more of us into the boxcars at the same time if we're smaller. They's save a few trips back and forth that way -- they'd use less fuel, hire fewer jack-booted thugs, the whole process is sped up. Hey, who says government isn't concerned about efficiency!
I'm sorry to be the one to tell this to the world, but Nick is an abomination unto the Lord, a violation of the laws of nature, a tool of evil marked by Satan himself...
He has a third nipple. Yep, he's a Thirdie.
If I had known Nick was a damn dirty thirdie, I would NEVER have let him in my house, let alone use my shower. He was around my children!
For those of you who are calling me a Nipplist or Supernumeraryphobic, I say, you're damn right I am! These thirdies are trying to push their agenda on us. Pretty soon, there will be third-nipple bras just to accomodate their freakishness. They will have Third Nipple Rights parades, with shirtless people flaunting their filthy third nipples without any shame at all. They are a threat to us normal, red-blooded two-nippled Americans.
God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve and Adam's Third Nipple. These people are not part of His plan. They shouldn't be able to adopt children, they shouldn't be allowed to teach children, and for goodness sakes, don't let them marry!
People like this guy are trying to convince us that they're "normal". In this post, he tries to trick us into accepting his "nipplestyle" by suggesting a well-known truth (third nipples are evil) is "unenlightened."
He also exaggerates the percentage of thirdies (one in 18? come on!) and encourages the thirdies to shout their abnormality from the rooftops! Obviously, he doesn't care that I will have to explain to my children what "supernumerary" means. Oh, no. Next thing you know, they will be teaching "third nipple acceptance" in school! The day that happens, I'm homeschooling.
Selfish. Decadent. Unnatural. Immoral. That's the thirdie lifestyle.
I can't think of any legendary hero whose appeal has lasted as long as Hercules. Thousands of years have passed, yet he still inspires a Disney movie and a cult TV show.
Is it the homoeroticism that somehow became attached to his character that makes him so unforgettable? As early as the 1960's -- in a cartoon aimed at children, no less -- Johnny Nash can't contain his feelings when singing about him:
Whatever it is, it crosses cultural boundaries.
It also crosses historical eras, geographic areas and any semblance of common sense.
I am amazed at the depth and breadth of Hercules-related stories out there. I will make it a priority of mine to investigate all things Hercules, and report them back to you. I'll bet you even have a Hercules-related favorite you'd like to share. All in good time -- I'm sure we'll get to it. And maybe throw some Thor in there for good measure.
Flash Fiction Friday: It's a Swamp Thing; You Wouldn't Understand
The sound rippled across the swamp, causing all who heard it – prey and predator alike – to furiously scramble for safety. Every animal in the wetlands, alligator and muskrat, deer and panther, wild boar and bear, dared not be caught in the fearsome beast’s path.
He was Letiche, known as Loup Carou to the Cajuns, or simply “The Honey Island Swamp Monster” in the English-speaking world.
The carnivorous aquatic humanoid stood more than 7 feet tall and weighed nearly 500 pounds. He ripped apart and devoured every animal he laid his sickly yellow eyes upon. The stench of death followed him wherever he went. Today had not been a lucky hunting day, and Letiche was in a foul mood. He lifted a cypress out of the boggy land by its roots, and hurled it out of frustration into the murky waters somewhere out in the distance.
His spirits seemed to lift, however, as he spotted a crude dwelling just ahead of him, and the sweet smell of cooking reached his snout. The glowing fire inside the hut led him through the mists and fogs of the swamp to the doorway. As he heard the banging of pots and the clink of utensils, he crept stealthily toward the hunched figure inside.
Carefully, he skulked behind the creature, who was too busy stirring and measuring to notice the hot breath of the crazed monster. He reached out his shaggy, muscled arms, which had effortlessly rent so many alligators and wild boars and stags in two, his blood-encrusted claws nearly upon his victim, who suddenly turned to face her attacker with a ear-splitting shriek of sheer terror...
“Don’t DO that!” She scolded the beast. “You know I hate it when you sneak up on me like that.”
Letiche gave his mate a sheepish grin, then lifted the lid of the pot which stood bubbling merrily away over the fire pit.
He inhaled deeply, then wrinkled his nostrils. “What’s that?” He asked, suspiciously.
“Walrus,” she answered him, pertly.
“Awwwww, you KNOW I hate ethnic food,” he whined. “I’m starving. I only had a couple of squirrels and a half-dead snake all day, and now this?”
She folded her arms imperiously, furrowed her brow, and glared at him. “The Yetis are coming for dinner.”
“Not the… I hate the… How could you DO this to me?” he pouted. “All he ever talks about is that damned mountain he lives on, and how many stupid human climbers he’s eaten, and how crampons get stuck in his teeth. And HER with her crazy religious talk and how she almost ate the Dalai Lama once…”
“Listen,” she said sharply, “I’m stuck in this miserable hut all day while you pal around that big oaf Sasquatch and leave me to do all the work. Just once, just ONCE I would like to have a nice dinner with someone who has more to add to a conversation than, ‘Smell this – what do you think I sat in?’”
Letiche, sensing defeat, cast his eyes downward and sighed. “When are they going to be here?” he asked, dejectedly.
“In about half an hour,” she answered as she turned back to her cooking pot and stirred. “Just long enough for you to wash that horrible odor off of yourself.”
As he rubbed himself with sandalwood and cinnamon bark, he vowed to release pictures of the Yetis to USA Today and get them out of his life for good.
It seems Satan was jealous his little cloven hooves don't fit into any shoes, so he cursed mankind with Cruggs.
Yes, someone has merged Crocs with Uggs to create the ultimate footwear freak show. Indeed, they are the Yorkie Poo of shoes.
Let me see if I understand the concept: take a furry liner with which to overheat the feet; then, when they're good and sweaty, encase them in unbreathable plastic so they boil in their own rank juices! Genius!
And, they're clogs -- so, being open in the back, snow can get in there, too. What a great idea!
I can think of two good things about this: presumably, they will be worn in winter, meaning you may find snow upon the ground with which to make snowballs, enabling you to pelt the Cruggs-wearer with them; also, they're bright colors will make them easy to spot for targeting with said snowballs. Winter fun for all!
*Apparently Boing Boing already beat me to the punch, but for the record, I heard about these a week and a half ago; I've just been late getting to them.
Vacant House on Übermilf's Corner Rented by Meth Addicts
The house on the corner has been vacant since the elderly woman who owned it died during the big power outage in 2005. Mysteriously and without warning, someone moved into it on Saturday. Yet the for sale sign still stands; I know what that means: renters.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. I've known plenty of people who've rented and kept up a house beautifully. On the other hand, when Dilf and I lived in Wheaton, the renters across the street disassembled and reassembled a semi cab in the front yard and had wild parties with miscreants many nights of the week. Which sort of renter would we get this time?
(Really, would I be writing about them if they were normal?)
So, they spent all day Saturday moving in. We thought about walking over and introducing ourselves when it seemed they were finished moving in, but thought better of it. After all, moving is exhausting; we'd give them a chance to rest before intruding.
We grilled hamburgers and ate dinner outdoors. All was quiet. We popped some popcorn and watched a movie. All was quiet. We put the girls to bed when the movie ended around 9 p.m. All was quiet. Dilf and I went to bed at 11 p.m. or so. All was still quiet.
At roughly 1:30 a.m., I woke uncomfortably congested from my allergies and rose to take my allergy pill. I heard Younger cry in her sleep, so I peeked in to check on her. Moxie was standing guard over her on the bed, one foot on each side of her head and feet, respectively, glaring out Younger's open bedroom window.
"Crazy mutt!" I thought. "It was just a little cry." Then I heard car doors and voices outside. I went into my living room and looked out the window. The street was lined with cars. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., a wild party had broken out on the corner.
I took my allergy pill and lay down on the couch; it helps to sit up when I'm congested. I fell asleep on the couch, awoke at about 3 a.m., and headed back to bed. The party was still in full swing.
Through our open windows, their voices and laughter infiltrated my sleep. Dilf woke at 6 a.m. to find the party just wrapping up. After a long day of moving into a new house, they had partied all night long.
That doesn't happen without artificial help, people. I just hope they don't make it themselves in the basement.
Summer's over, people. Back to business. And coupons are serious business.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Proctor and Gamble issued the only coupon section in yesterday's paper. On the plus side, I generally like Proctor and Gamble products (Oh, Swiffer, how I love thee...), but on the minus side it lacks the diversity of a traditional coupon section.
One P&G product did pique my interest, however: the PUR Flavor Options water filtration system. Actually, that's a bit of a misnomer. Yes, it filters the water, but then it adds "stuff" back into it to give it fruit flavoring. What sort of stuff? That took some research, but I found out eventually.
Above and beyond the "What's in that stuff?" question that puzzled scientific minds greater than mine, is it water? The "water" that pours from the faucet and the "water" in the oceans are still considered water even though there are other compounds and such floating in it. But "Kool-Aid" isn't considered water, and that is a bunch of chemical compounds floating around in water, too.
PUR's advertising reads, "Healthy water you need...Flavor when you want." So, you can have healthy water OR flavor. That's almost kinda honest, in a sneaky sort of way. While the flavored water contains no calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats or anything according to the "nutrition facts" panel, a more thorough investigation will lead you to the ingredients list in teeny tiny letters: Water, Propylene Glycol (14%), Citric Acid, Peach Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Acesulfame K, Sucralose, Benzoic Acid (Preservative), Sorbic Acid (Preservative).
Yummy. While Dilf and I imbibe diet drinks from time to time, I don't give them to the ÜberGirls. I don't trust man-made things. I'll stick with the filtered water that comes out of the refrigerator door.