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Pokemon GO, GOING, GONE

Pokemon GO

Last night my son came through the living room while staring at his phone and simply walked out the front door. For the next half hour I caught glimpses of him wandering around the neighborhood, with his face welded to his phone. I thought, “Ok, well, the family insanity gene skipped my generation but showed up in my child.” I began Googling to see what I had to do to have him institutionalized. I found some interesting sites, but none of them condoned or even mentioned the need to taze your child. I’ve always wanted to use one.

As it turns out, he was playing something called Pokemon GO. Wikipedia says that it is a “free-to-play, GPS-based augmented reality mobile game…(that) allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokemon who appear throughout the real world.”

There is nothing new about this. In my day we called that sort of thing LSD. Augmented reality was a lot cooler back then, I believe. Imagine playing the game while under the influence of LSD. People would be running around screaming, claiming to be chased by tiny monsters. Goodbye to good trips, folks.

I predict that this game is going to spread like wild fire, and will eventually prove to be calamitous. You think distracted driving is a problem now, wait until millions of Pokemon hunters cruise around with their nose buried in their smart phone. God help those other millions of players on foot. I can see accidental swimming pool incidents; I can see some trigger happy home owner who sees dozens of strangers roaming around his yard like zombies, and decides to go Pokemon hunter hunting. I can see – wait, let me just make a list of things that can, and will, go wrong because of Pokemon GO:

Someone will:

step in front of a moving vehicle;

fall into a fountain;

get robbed;

walk off a cliff;

get into a fight over the same Pokemon;

wreck their car;

get stuck in a drain pipe;

temporarily forget reality;

permanently forget reality;

fly into a rage when their smart phone battery runs out of juice;

go outside naked;

make a terrible witness to a crime;

develop what will be called ‘Pokemon neck syndrome’;

be late for their wedding;

become constipated;

miss the first episode of next season’s Walking Dead;

accidentally vote for Hillary;

create a music video about it;

write a blog about it;

go crazy;

find that they made a wrong turn in Albuquerque;

become addicted;

get sidetracked on the way to a court appointed Pokemon GO Anonymous meeting;

be mistaken as a deer by some hunter;

find themselves in a drug deal gone bad;

starve to death;

be the first person to walk across the country playing Pokemon GO;

be the first person to play Pokemon GO in every state;

get attacked by wild dogs;

get involved in a class action lawsuit against the makers of Pokemon GO;

step on a landmine;

walk into a stranger’s house;

become incontinent;

dream of finding a Pokemon;

have a nightmare about a Pokemon;

create a Pokemon GO dance;

discover cheat codes;

wander off the reservation;

hop the White House fence just to get a Pokemon;

choose the game over sex;

spark an international incident.

 

I’m sure there will be all kinds of interesting anecdotal stories to come, but I won’t provide the world with one. I’m too busy trying to beat the Pinball Wizard.

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Yo Mama So Fat

YOMAMASOFAT

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June 6, 2016 · 4:55 pm

What my Cat Dreams

What my Cat Dreams

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May 13, 2014 · 4:26 pm

Pigeon on a Stool

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There is one phrase that, when spoken, brings an immediate spark of fear within us. There are actually many words that can freeze our heart, such as when our boss walks up to us and says “I want to see you in my office right now,” or when our significant other won’t look us in the eye when they say “We need to talk,” or when we get a phone call from the doctor a couple of days after taking blood from us, saying “Please come to my office as quickly as you can.” Actually, now that I think about it, there are oodles of things that would bring out my inner “Oh, crap, what fresh Hell is this?” But I want to concentrate on one in particular, one that if you  have a brother or sister you heard with some regularity, or even if you weren’t cursed with siblings you were confronted with these words from some obnoxious little twit in the playground. To be honest, I don’t think it invokes fear as much as it stabs you with guilt, whether you did anything or not. (but if you’re anything like me, you’ve always got something to be guilty about). When I tell you the phrase, imagine a little girl with pigtails and a starched dress puckering up her face in front of you and spitting out the words with venom: “I’m telling on you!”

I grew up with two younger sisters, and for some inexplicable reason I developed a penchant for torturing them. One day I took a Coca Cola bottle and poured all kinds of stuff from the kitchen into it (including, of course, hot sauce, pickle juice and vinegar) and then topped it off with some dark food color to make it look legit. I’ll never forget it if I live to be one hundred and forty: I handed it proudly to my sister Beth and she took a huge swig of it. I never knew liquid could shoot out the nose in two huge streams like that. When she recovered, she screamed “I’m telling!” and I instantly regretted it. I must have suffered from some sort of mental illness that prevented me from seeing the consequences of my actions beforehand. I think I was just blinded by my fervent desire to persecute them without mercy. My parents knew I had this sadistic streak in me, and tended to believe whatever horror my sisters told them about me. I wish I had kept track of my beatings, because I’m sure it would have set some kind of record. Once my sisters realized the power of “I’m telling on you,” they used it against me every opportunity they could. “If you don’t give me a dollar I’m telling Dad you tied two cats by their tails and threw them over the clothesline!” “If you don’t let me watch H. R. Pufnstuf I’m telling Mom you drank some of their homemade wine!” “If you tell mom I drank some of their homemade wine I’ll tell your friends you watch H. R. Pufnstuf!” I was damned. So, being doomed to an eternity of punishment, I redoubled my efforts to make their life miserable. I stopped torturing my baby sister, though, after she threw a heavy glass ashtray at me once and it pushed my eyeball out the back of my head. Here’s the puzzling part: whenever I told on my sisters my folks called me a tattletale and ignored my claim. I was indeed damned.

Eventually I grew up and joined the Army. The term ‘Tattletale’ was replaced with the word ‘snitch.’  There was no worse label. Once branded, the soldier was mistrusted and shunned. Gone were the days of face-to-face “You’re going to be in trouble when I tell!” That would have insured a melee. Instead, snitches typically slithered secretly to the Sergeant with their accusations. If the Sergeant was worth his salt, the snitch would regret his decision for the rest of his stay there. I’ve seen snitches hung on telephone poles by their tongues. We learned quickly in the military that if we saw another soldier doing something wrong, it was handled within the ranks and never spoken of afterwards. But this is where it became interesting for me. No matter where I was stationed I quickly came to be known as the company comedian. It was kind of like being a court jester. I could say anything, no matter how outrageous or disrespectful, and as long as I made it a joke people laughed. I discovered that if I used my sister’s nasally, accusing whine “I’m telling!” everyone would laugh nervously, because there was a part of them that, even for a moment, thought I knew what their dirty little secret was. Like I said, we all have something to feel guilty about.

Do me a favor and try it today. You pick the moment. I don’t care if you catch someone doing something wrong or not. Just blurt it out like you mean it and watch the reactions. Hey, even if they look at you funny the rest of their life, you can be sure there’s some little voice inside of them wondering if you will indeed tell on them. Who knows, it might even make someone fly right.

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On Fear

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If someone tells you they aren’t afraid of anything, they’re full of it, and I don’t mean fear. I guarantee you that if you’re sitting alone by yourself watching a good scary movie and a bloody hand lands on your shoulder, you’ll do the 100 yard dash in less than two seconds. I promise you that if you’re at your job, doing your thing and minding your own business, and a ghost suddenly comes through the wall and reaches out to you, you will say it and then do it.

We all like to think we wouldn’t freak out if the news suddenly interrupted our show with a breaking report that aliens have just landed in front of the White House. I’d be willing to wager that Rachael Ray won’t be the thing we care to watch right then. That goes for Duck Dynasty, too. If the major networks start talking about alien spacecrafts landing all over Earth and then the power suddenly goes out in your town, you’ll wish you had bought that extra box of shotgun shells. Yep, there are plenty of things that can frighten us.

I’m not talking about phobias, either. That’s a world of fear all on its own. I met a woman once who was so claustrophobic she had trouble with public bathroom stalls. That is kind of an unnatural fear. If a snarling pit bull suddenly lunges at you and your flight or flight instinct kicks in, that’s not a phobia. If you see a woman walking toward you holding her pet Yorkie and you start screaming like a girl at a Justin Bieber concert, that’s probably a phobia. I have to admit, if I saw Justin Bieber walking toward me on the street I’d scream like a girl while I’m running away. Now, I hesitate about admitting my phobia to you, because I’m afraid you might start messing with me. Wait, that’s a fear about a fear. I’m in deep trouble. Let’s just say my unnatural dread concerns certain eight-legged freaks. You see? My palms are sweaty right now and I’m fighting the urge to use bug spray on every square inch of my writing room. My wife told me once years ago that THEY (I refuse to say the word spider. No way, no how) like to climb in your mouth when you’re asleep. I suddenly developed sleep apnea so I could wear that face mask. Little monsters can’t get me now. I even stuff my ears with cotton and duct tape every other orifice just to keep them out. I think this qualifies as a phobia, don’t you?

But let’s get back on track (or I won’t be able to finish this article). Every one of us is capable of fear, no matter how brave we think we are. There used to be a TV show called Fear Factor that tested contestants’ reaction to frightening things like tightrope walking, eating live Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and being trapped in a closed coffin with a few hundred rats. You will never see me volunteer for a show like that. I saw an episode where the contestants had to eat buffalo testicles or sheep eyes. I don’t care if it does taste like chicken, I won’t eat them. But I think we’re delving into the realm of disgust, which is a kind of sub-category of outright fear. Watching someone at church eating their own booger isn’t really a fear. Unless they’re bringing the sacrament to you.

The next time someone sticks out their chest and boasts that they aren’t afraid of anything, it won’t do any good to challenge them. I confronted a young man once who claimed to have no fear by asking him what he’d do if a ghost suddenly appeared in front of him. He confidently said he’d beat the plasma out of it. Yeah, right. Theologically speaking, you should be so secure in your relationship with God that nothing will cause you fear. I can agree with that in essence, but I admit to being human, too. Don’t be ashamed if you start shaking uncontrollably after some idiot comes within an inch of pulverizing you in your car. Fear is a natural reaction to some perceived threat to your survival. I know all about fear. I’ve been married four times.

Now I’m afraid one of my ex-wives will read this.

There’s no hope for me.

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On the Whiskers of a Great Discovery

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When I was a kid I wanted to be able to talk to the animals. Seriously. My goal in life was to be Doctor Doolittle. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to understand critter-speak? I’d be able to find out if Polly really does want that cracker. I’d know what the fuss is all about with that tree full of crows in the backyard. I’d finally get my dog to understand that my socks are not nesting material. Come to think about it, I’d probably be the most sought after person on the planet – except for the Pope. Everyone wants a selfie with him. I could charge for my translating ability and end up richer than Forrest Gump. Yes, I’d say I had some pretty wise aspirations as a child.

Well, it’s taken me over 55 years, but I have finally managed to reach the first step in my lifelong quest of being the Animal Whisperer. I discovered that cats have a written language! Ok, so I still can’t tell the difference between a “Meow” and a “Rrrowl,” but give me some time. I’m sure I’ll be hissing and purring with the best of them soon. For now, though, I’m up to my beard deciphering the things my kitty Mr. Jack has inscribed around the house. If you own a cat you’ve witnessed them scratching everything from the chandelier to the carpet. They’re not sharpening their claws, my friend. They’re actually writing! You see them outside shredding trees and telephone poles and have always thought they were just relieving pent up energy. On the contrary, they are communicating with each other through what I believe are cat-scratch bulletin boards!  Once I become fluent in their language, I’ll be able to ask them such important questions as Why ignore us when we call them, How can they sleep so much and can they teach us to do it, too, and What’s with leaving mice on the doorstep? Personally, I think it’s like a Mafia warning: Give me tuna or this could be you.

I’ve been busy translating table legs, throw rugs, doors and the dog’s nose to name just a few. For instance, on the side of the dog’s food dish Jack wrote “CHOKE, YOU MISERABLE BEAST.”  On his favorite window ledge it says “THAT STUPID SQUIRREL BURIES ACORNS AROUND THE YARD THEN FORGETS WHERE HE PUTS THEM.” Just this morning I found a treasure trove of information on the back of the couch. I think he’s been keeping a journal. I’ll be sure to share his entries with you as I decipher them. For now, though, I have to be cautious. Jack is becoming suspicious, so I’ve only been able to translate when he’s napping. I’m not sure if he knows I’ve cracked the code of his language, but I have to assume he considers it private and wouldn’t be too happy if he knew I could read it. The last thing in the world I want to do is piss the cat off. He could reduce this house to toothpicks if he wanted.

I believe I’ve discovered one of his earliest writings this morning while cleaning the kitchen. On the floorboard Jack etched “I HAVE ONLY BEEN HERE A FEW MOMENTS BUT HAVE SEEN MONSTEROUS BIRDS ON THE TOP OF EVERY ROOM SPINNING THEIR WINGS SO VIOLENTLY IT CREATES A DRAFT. I AM SURE THEY WILL DEVOUR ME SO I’LL HIDE RIGHT HERE UNTIL THEY FLY AWAY.” I think Jack was talking about the ceiling fans. The day we brought him home he freaked out and bolted through the house. We finally found him the next day cowering behind the fridge. Now I know why.

I feel like the first man to have climbed Mt. Everest, except I’m not as cold. This has got to be one of the greatest scientific discoveries since the automatic drip coffee maker. Once I acquire enough data, I’ll submit it to whatever Grand Poobah council you send such stuff to. Maybe I could get a grant. Maybe I could contract it out to the government. Maybe I’ll be able to have lunch with Donald Trump and Bill Gates. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what catnip actually does to cats. The possibilities are endless!

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Javelin Catching and Other Hobbies

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A hobby is defined as a regularly undertaken activity that is done for pleasure. It is a pastime or pursuit that is not always done for monetary gain. Webster (only the most quoted fellow in the world, beside Jesus, of course) says that a hobby is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” As I’m sitting here, my brain is trying to convince me that under these definitions sex can be a hobby. I never thought of it that way. My brain needs a counselor. Normal people, however, have hobbies such as woodworking, crochet, Dungeons and Dragons, model building, hiking and terrariums. My hobby is collecting stool samples from famous people and sculpting them into miniature likenesses of the pooper. I promised myself I wouldn’t elaborate about that here because it would hijack the article, and besides, who is interested in a piece of shit like John Travolta? I mean, beside me.

I’d like to introduce you to a few rather unique and factual hobbies that some people engage in. If you know me, you’re aware that my twisted mind could come up with stuff on its own, but I want to keep this legitimate just so you will be able to appreciate the wonderful diversity in the world. Also, instead of trying to ferret out individuals like myself who practice such hobbies that can’t be discussed in Sunday School (believe me, I’ve tried), I’ll stick to those that are slightly less unusual.

Probably the most well-known bizarre hobby is extreme ironing. It originated in Great Britain because, well, we all know they’re stuck on that little island with nothing better to do. It is even considered an extreme sport and performance art. Extreme ironing is the act of actually ironing clothes while engaged in such activities as skydiving, skiing, mountain climbing and while under water. There is even a world championship every year. Last year’s winner was Bjorn Olsson from Gothenburg, Sweden. He was able to iron a pair of trousers while simultaneously bungee jumping, shaving his own head and bottle feeding an infant. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Another hobby I think is rather different is competitive dog grooming. These are people who deliberately embarrass man’s best friend by giving them haircuts to look like pirates, tigers, ninja turtles, pandas and other strange non-doggy things. Insiders call it ‘creative styling.’ Dogs call it ‘ruff.’  You know, it’s bad enough when you make a poor poodle look like it was stuck under a lawn mower, or like it was trimmed by an epileptic, but turning him into The Good Ship Lollypop is taking it just a little too far, don’t you think? A Mr. Herman Finklestein from Hoboken, New Jersey once groomed his chow Bear to look like a flying saucer, and then filled the animal with helium to amuse his neighbors. Bear was last seen hovering over a beef packing plant in Emporia, Kansas.

I have a daughter who is fascinated with cemeteries. Yes, this is actually a hobby, and it’s called Taphophilia, which is not to be confused with necrophilia, or the sexual attraction to dead people. I suppose that could be considered a hobby as well, to necrophiliacs. But there are folks who enjoy hanging out in cemeteries, checking out the headstones, going to famous gravesites such as Graceland where Elvis and his family are buried, doing gravestone rubbings which involve using paper and black chalk to make impressions of the things written on tombstones (my favorite is in Boot Hill cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona: “Here lies Butch / We planted him raw. / He was quick on the trigger / But slow on the draw.”) and other strange grave hunting things. A Mrs. Claudette Bouchard in Lyons, France used to throw Dance of the Dead parties in her family’s cemetery until local officials demanded she leave her deceased relatives underground.

There are so many unusual hobbies out there such as beetle fighting (putting Paul and John in a ring and letting them have at it), duct tape clothing (I refuse to wear a duct tape hat – I want to preserve what little hair I have left), javelin catching (the less I say about that the safer we’ll all be) and noodling (fishing with your hands. Just give me one of those javelins, ok?). Look, anybody can play chess or reenact famous battles with toy soldiers. Try to do something different. You are one-of-a-kind, aren’t you? Who knows? You may be the very first person to turn road kill collecting into a bonafide hobby. I’d come see it, but only if you handle my Johnny Depp crap carving.

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